Saturday, September 4, 2010

Goodbye my love!

Well today is the day, the day that my husband has been preparing for for months. Tickets have been purchased, magazines have been analyzed for hours on end, blogs have been followed, tears have been shed, the cable has been expanded and all space on the DVR will now be filled (sorry Ruby). Today is the start of College football (technically it started on Thursday-watching the entire SC vs. Hawaii game replayed next to me in full pigeon).
After weighing my options, I have decided to join my husband, to some extent, on this 3 month expedition (really 5 month). Last year I could tell you the names of over 15 quarterbacks, the schools they played for, their deficits and strengths. This year I am pretty much caught up on the happenings over the summer, this stems from hours of watching College Game Day Live, and listening to their adjunct analyst who happens to live with me. I have learned that when someone on TV says the words, "Lane Kiffin" to just leave the room.
Ruby is also just as excited. Her UCLA Bruin stuffed animal is dressed and ready to go. And a lifelong hatred of USC has been unhealthy instilled in her by her hero. If she sees a person with a USC shirt on a little smirk will develop and she will say loudly, "Uh Oh, USC. Mom we better go, he has on USC!" If they come on TV she will run and hide. She knows that at USC there is no cake or ice cream, they are mean to their mothers and they don't know the rules.
So farewell Phill, we hope to meet up with you a time or two before Thanksgiving.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fun Valley, Colorado

Since my late elementary years we have been driving through SW Colorado. From 1987-1995 I probably made this drive 15 times. Each time we would drive over Wolf Creek pass we would pass through an amazingly beautiful valley and at the bottom was a place called Fun Valley. It was a huge RV camping park. I could see from my window- put-put golf, little cabins, a river flowing. In my mind it was paradise. I begged my parents to let us stay there, but we were just too close to Uncle Mel and Aunt Rhoda's to warrant camping. One year in the mid 90s, my mom and I stopped by to get an ice cream and they would not let us in unless we were registered guests. This only intensified my Fun Valley dreams. Finally, this summer Ruby and I were road tripping back to Colorado with my mom and dad. They said I could pick the route, since we were pulling their trailer. I chose Fun Valley. She did not let me down. In fact, it was more amazing than I could have ever dreamed. The only odd thing is that there were virtually not Coloradans there, only Texans. The place is filled with and run by Texans. We all figured out pretty quick that we better have a drawl if we wanted to fit in. The place started in 1959 and it has not changed much since. There is a funatorium, put-put, snack shack, dinner lodge, square dance hall, inner tubing, bikes for rent, horse shoes. The best part is that you can "charge" everything to your camp site number. There is great fishing in the private ponds in FV and also in the South Fork of the Rio Grand River, which calmly runs through the middle of the resort. On our last day we took Ruby fishing, I caught an 11" Rainbow. Probably should have let me kid reel it in since she never caught one.
I am dying to go back next summer, anyone want to join us?

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Essence of Skew the Angle

So many times I read a these amazing blogs and think, "I am such a lazy dirt bag." I just don't understand how these beautiful women have time to look pretty, decorate their homes and children, learn to use a $2000 camera, write a blog daily and find furniture perfect for their homes for $5 at a flea market. I still don't even know what a flea market really is. So the pictures below are really the essence of why I started blogging, but of course have been too lazy to really take these pictures (which were shot with a palm pixi :) ).
The table was a steal, and I do mean that in the literal sense. My friend was moving into tighter quarters and I offered to take it off her hands so she did not have to put it in storage.

The plant is a Home Depot delight, $14.99. Now let's turn our heads to the left...

Happy Blogging!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sea World

We took a last minute vacation to San Diego last week. Oh how I love that town. We found a great deal at The Dana hotel on Mission Bay. It is owned by the same people who own Humphrey's Half Moon, so they are very similar. The old side of The Dana feels like Hawaii. We stayed on the old side, it was way cheaper. $76 a night! The hotel is right on the bay next to Sea World. As soon as we got our room I ditched Phill and Ruby at the pool and took my paddle board out. I was nervous as this is a pretty big body of water to navigate alone and in the wind. But I had to try since I could walk my board out from our room. I just love Stand Up Paddle Boarding! It is so serene, simple and empowering.

That night we ate in Old Town at Casa De Reyes. I remember eating there with my parents years ago. The food was amazing and we sat outside, in fact 99% of the restaurant ate outside. The location reminded Phill and I of our wedding (oh yes, today is our 6th anniversary).

Sea World was the next morning. Ruby had won 2 tickets to Sea World at that special needs dance, so it was a real blessing to have $120 in free tickets. Ruby had no idea what to expect and the place blew her mind. She was so amazed that she sat stone faced in every show, just studying what was going on. We made it to every show but one! We were there for the opening and closing of the park. It was a long, but great day. I proved my Wyomingness and got super sun burned. When will I learn? But I did surprise Phill in the fact that I kept buying trays of fish to feed the seals and rays.

We saved the best for last, Shamu. We got great seats. I have a large stash of emergency ponchos at home, of course I forgot them for Sea World. But not to worry, I made Ruby and I tank top ponchos out of plastic bags. We were on row 16, just below the wheelchairs. I am not sure if it really was the splash zone, but I was ready. Although I noticed that Ruby and I were pretty much the only ones in the audience with any type of poncho on.

Of course, like all kids who visit Sea World she wants to be an animal trainer and be called Marina.

That night we had great fried sea food at a little place across from our hotel and then went to Mission Beach for the rides. The place is just like I remembered from freshman year. Trashy, expensive, but so fun. Ruby left with a prized wooden rose bud and a ride on a Submarine that oddly went up in the air. Phill and I debated if she was old enough to handle it alone, I said yes and he said no she would cry. I think he teared up when he realized she was having the time of her life up high and with all the other kids.

The next morning I got up early and walked across the street to a new Einstein's Bagels that is right on the water (yep that is it in the photo below). It is owned by the Hyatt so it cost an arm and a leg, but worth it to wake up Phill with a fun treat and coffee. I am looking forward to meeting the girls there someday for a reunion.

A bit later we paddled behind Sea World and then hung out with a cute Cambodian family and helped them dig for ghost shrimp. We ended our trip with a few hours at the pool. Such a wonderful few days, but makes me want a long get away.


My father in law gets the best deals on produce. This time 24 pints of blackberries for $13. He gave them all to me. Knowing that these berries mold quickly I had to get right to work. I always use The Joy of Cooking instructions when I make jam and preserves. The instructions are thorough and easy to follow. Canning really is so much fun and satisfying. I can't think of anything more fun to give than a jar of jam with a Ruby-made label.

Here is how I did it:

I used just 13 of the pints and 4 small apples (chopped), 3 cups of sugar. I did not want to use pectin, so I used apples-they have the pectin naturally. It sounds like a lot of sugar but by law store brands have over 50% sugar (so that is what the Joy of Cooking says).
I stirred this mixture on a LOW simmer for probably 2 hours. Now that sounds insane and the reason it took SO long, too many berries. Maybe start with 3-4 pints.
Prior to stirring I prepped my jars (see directions in cook book), this makes a loud clanking noise, but I love the sound. When the jam is thick enough pour into hot jars. It is so exciting to watch the heat suck in the top of the jar and form a seal. It makes me want to can my own pasta sauce, tomatoes, pickles, etc. Too bad my garden is really bad this year. I guess that is what you get for planting a garden 15 miles away and expecting someone else to take care of it. I have been eating jam and toast every morning.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ice Cream Tank Top

When I was folding laundry yesterday I found a white tank of Ruby's that slipped past me. I set it aside to make it into a rag (after I tried a variety of ways to get the stain out). But somehow all this unfolded and we saved the shirt.
I had a set of felt ice cream cones that I had made for Ruby's flannel board. I placed a few scoops and a cone on the tank , made drips to cover the other stains and then liquid stitched them in place. I thought about Wonder Under, but figured the ironing would melt the cheap Micheal's felt. Then I stitched around each item. The whole thing took about 30 minutes. Ruby did the video work, so...