Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Gardens

I am so excited about my gardens, though I wish my tomatoes didn't look so pathetic still.

This is a close up of one of my Adirondack Blue Potatoes. Isn't it pretty?!

This is my herb garden- I have three different lavender plants, peppermint, carroway, dill, oregano, and thyme. I want to transplant some of my spearmint, and buy some basil. I also have some strawberries. I realize they're not herbs, but they went well there.

My Bountiful Basket for the week

I am especially excited about this week because I just did the basic basket, with no add ons. Everything was something I buy very frequently, and all of it was really great stuff.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

We got back from our memorial day weekend. We had a really great time. We'd wanted to leave thursday, but K had "no child left behind" testing Friday morning, so we held off til after school friday.

We camped Friday night at Pleasant Creek Ranch, a Camperworld resort in Mount Pleasant, UT. Saturday, we went to the Scandanavian Days parade and fair, and then had a reunion at my grandma's house in Ephraim.

We spent Sat night at my grandma's old house in town. Sunday, we had planned to go to the Goblin Valley area with my parents. The weather had been really drizzly to this point, so my parents canceled out. We decided to go anyway. We didn't get to the area til late afternoon. We decided we would camp close to the entrance to Little Wild Horse slot canyon. However, when we got about 4 miles out, the road was washed away in a big, fast moving flash flood. Well. Guess we're not going THAT way. So we turned around and camped at the base of a beautiful red rock cliff. After we got camp set up, J wanted to check out the flooding more, so he hopped on his rhino and went to check it out. We discovered the road washed out even bigger a bit further east, and it started washing out less than 20 minutes after we passed it. And the first flood had only started about 30 minutes before we got there. A lot of people were stranded on the other side of the floods, including people who had just gone for a day trip. Luckily, those people were prepared and had plenty of food and water to last the night.

The next morning, the water was completely gone, and the desert was in bloom. We were able to drive right to Little Wild Horse, and had a fabulous time hiking around. We left sooner than we really wanted to because we thought the weather looked a little threatening. We did not want to be caught in anything, so we left.

Here's a slideshow of our hike through Little Wild Horse.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Adirondack Blue Potatoes

I decided I wanted to plant Adirondack Blue potatoes in my garden this year. The grower I ordered them from would double my order from 5 to 10 lbs for only about $4 (total including shipping being about $21), so I did.

I planted a bunch of the potatoes a week ago (haven't seen them poke through yet, so I'm starting to worry a little). I still have a good 6 lbs or so left. Just in case the garden experiment was a terrible failure, I decided to fry up a few last night as fries. I thought it was so cool! Of course, I love oddly colored things. I thought the weird colored ketchup was just about the neatest thing ever.

Here's the potatoes that I had just barely washed:

Cut in half:

Sliced into fries:

And after frying:

I'll admit they aren't nearly so beautiful after frying. I may bake some tonight and see how they look baked.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Preschool Program

Today was the end of year preschool program for S.

She got to play the part of a caterpillar turned butterfly. I managed to get part of her butterfly flight on camera.

She must have been an understudy for a frog because she played a frog too, although her name wasn't on the schedule. It was so cute to watch all of those little kids singing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Humiliating Japanese Driving Memory #1

Sadly, I have quite a few embarrassing memories associated with driving in Japan. I really wish I had known about blogging when I lived there, because my blog would've been a LOT more interesting back then. Unfortunately, I didn't, so you'll just have to have occasional memories of it. This is the first.

When we got to Japan, we were given a super fancy brand new Honda J-Odyssey. It was like the American version, only cooler. It came equipped with a navigational system. Eventually, we learned how to program it so that it spoke English, and the instructions were in English, but it took a couple weeks. In the first couple of weeks, we managed to put pins in our home location and church location, and then push buttons and hope to find our way back home.

K's school was going to do a field trip to a place with a kitchen, and we were going to teach the kids some cooking lessons. To make sure I could go, I dropped J off at work very early, and then was ready to go to school. We had some Swedish friends, the Kalman family. They had several children enrolled in the school, and had been giving K a ride each day, since we lived very close together, and I was stranded during the day.

On the morning in question, I picked up the Kalmans without incident. I knew how to get to the school one way, but decided to go a different reason. By this time, I had programmed the navi to have school directions, so I'd told it to take us to school.

To get to the school from this alternate direction, you get on an overpass with several little off ramps. If you take the wrong one, who knows where you go. If you don't get off the ramp, you end up on the toll freeway. Well, the navi system is telling me to turn onto a one way street that is against the direction I'm driving. I refuse to do this (for obvious reasons).

Somehow, I end up on the toll freeway. I take the automated ticket when I get on. By this time, I am freaking out because I'm a good 10 minutes late for school, and I've never been on this toll freeway. All of the signs are in Japanese. I get off at the first exit. I have managed to lose my ticket. I have no idea the name of the entrance I got on at. I am pregnant and hormonal and at my limit. I burst into tears when the poor man running the toll booth doesn't speak English. He has me pull off, and leaves me to his superiors to deal with. By now, I am really, really, really late. The other parents have begun to call me because they are very worried.

The superiors at the toll booth apparently didn't want to deal with a weeping pregnant woman because they decided my toll wasn't worth it and let me go without paying. I get off, and I have no idea where I am. I have never seen this part of town before. Considering I'd only lived there a couple of weeks, this isn't surprising. I manage to get my navi to give me directions home. I figure I'll drive until I recognize the area, and then go the way to school that I know.

One of the moms was sweet enough to wait at the school for me (there was NO WAY I was finding the field trip place on my own at that point).

The other moms really fussed over me, which of course made me want to cry even harder. K's teacher, Ms. Bzdel, cheered me up with her own "Lost in Japan" story that was definitely scarier than mine, though she had less witnesses. For the rest of the school year, the other mothers were genuinely concerned that I was going to get lost if I ever drove anywhere. The Kalmans drove K to school for the remaining time they lived in Japan.

My embarrassing situations in Japan taught me something. The more witnesses you have to an incident, the worse it is. The more people you KNOW and SEE DAILY makes it even more painful.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Latest Bountiful Baskets haul

I have to admit I'm a little disappointed with this weeks' haul. First off, it was really, really crowded this week. Last time, I was only gone 15 minutes. This week, I had to wait in line for a half hour. I really am fairly ok with that. Here's what I got:

I like having a fruit heavy basket. The only disappointment for the basket itself is that the mangos feel very squishy, and are wrinkly, so I'm not sure if they're going to be edible.

I upgraded and got a 40 lb box of granny smith apples for $14. WOW!!!!! That's like $.33 a lb. Amazing deal, and beautiful apples.

Lastly, I upgraded to get the Asian pack. Oh yay, more mushrooms. Only my husband eats those. But, lots of Asian cuisine includes mushrooms, so an appropriate pick. I'm excited about the fresh ginger. It looks beautiful. It didn't seem like that much stuff for the money. Of course, the napa cabbage was really, really buggy. I had to get a couple flies out of the bag. Then, I saw holes eaten through it. Maybe if I was hungrier, it would be salvageable, but I just don't feel comfortable eating something that buggy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Who do I choose? (edited to add two more)

Background: When we were expecting our first baby, a friend of a friend gave us a really nice, solid maple crib. The only caveat was that when we were done, she asked that we pay it forward and give it away.

So, I posted an ad on ksl, saying "best, but not necessarily most desperate story would get it" and have gotten a bunch of responses. I can't decide who to give it to. I am going to paste their stories, and ask you all to help. They are posted in order received.

Choice 1-
I'm expecting my first baby in July. We are current been trying to save money for our little girl. I would love to have this crib. Is it still available?

Choice 2-
My crib is gone after raising 5 children. Now I'm a grandmother and didn't think I would need one again. But my daughter and son-in-law are coming to live with us for the summer (from Indiana) while he does an internship here. Thus I need a crib for their 8 month old baby. I also tend another granddaughter two days a week while their parents are struggling to get through school. I'm back in the baby business, but this is a lot more fun this time...being a grandma!

Choice 3-
I have been looking for a crib now for a few months. We are having our fourth child. We were done having kids and donated all our baby stuff last summer to charity. About three months after doing so we found out we are expecting a little shocked and still excited as we were with the others we are in need of some baby items and a new car. Its amazing how growing from a family of 5 to 6 changes a lot of things. Well hopefully you pick me but would like the person who needs it most to have it also. Good luck with your decision making.

Choice 5-
Our story will definitely not earn this crib for being the saddest story, because this is one of the happiest times in our entire lives! Approximately two months ago we found out that we are expecting our first baby. We are thrilled, and we look forward to the wonderful journey of being parents. Brittany is currently 13 weeks pregnant and we are looking forward to becoming parents!
Our names are Brittany and Braiden Pickett. We are both attending Utah State University. Although we knew having a child would be very expensive while going to school, we knew that having a baby is what we needed to do right now in our lives. As the time passes, we feel even more that we made the right decision.
We would love to have this crib to put in our baby’s room. We would enjoy having it because not only are you giving it away for free, but it is beautiful! We really love the maple and enjoyed seeing it all put together in the pictures. If we are chosen to receive this crib, we would like to keep on this tradition and give it away for free after we are done using it. We think this is a really awesome idea.
Like you once were, we are young, poor, college students and would really benefit from receiving this crib. We would be able to come pick up the crib in Clinton. We currently live in Logan, Utah, where we are going to school. Thanks for the fun opportunity of writing and we hope you have enjoyed reading stories from different people. Thanks again!

Choice 6-
We are interested in the crib. We don't have much of a story to tell, we're just at BYU and this is our first baby. Obviously the budget is tight so a free crib would sure help out.

Choice 7-
I have a cousin and we are throwing her a baby shower and we had her a crib the guys loading the truck loaded tables on top of it and it got broken she doesn't have a job and we can't afford to get her another one she is due in 3 weeks it would be great thanks alot for listening I can come pick up anytime thanks

Choice 8-
I also live in Clinton and could pick this up today within minutes so you can have your living room back!

Choice 9-
I'm not sure that our case is all that special. We don't have a desperate need...yet. We're expecting a honeymoon baby in October. (This little one just really wanted to come.) My husband still has a year left on his undergrad and then two years for a masters', and I just graduated. However, because of the economy and my pregnancy, it has been difficult for me to find a job. We're doing okay, but we're getting more and more nervous about how we're going to afford it all. I've been trying to shop around for deals so that we're ready for when this little one comes. It would certainly help us alot, but I know there are probably others with a much greater need. That's awesome that you kept to your pledge. I would pass on that tradition.

Choice 10-


Gee, I don't know what to say. Ours isn't the saddest story or even the most difficult, but here it is. We had our first baby just 6 months ago. We've been trying to save money and put off getting a crib. I quit my job and my husband will be practically quitting his after this summer to be a full time student. He works as an excavator and here in Idaho things have been really slow. Anyways, our baby is just about too long for his bassinet, he always wakes up with his head smooshed against the top. I love the story you told about how you got it and would love to keep that tradition going. We love to serve others, I honestly believe that's how ends somehow meet up sometimes. Now we're not doing bad, we try and be wise with our money, but this would sure help buy some diapers in the future. Thanks for reading this story. If there are others worse off please don't hesitate to give it to them.

Choice 11-
I wouldn't say our story is a sad one but more of a happy one. My husband and I have had the opportunity to take care of 2 extra little girls both 3 and 8 years old. We had to make a the hard decision to use the money we saved for a crib to getting beds and new clothes for our new additions. We have seen so many cribs on-line but have always seem to be one call to late! Frustration yeah! but we still are trying!

We would love to have a crib for our daughter to pull her room together and all fun stuff we can finally do to make (MOM) happy!

Your Decision would make us happy if you chose us but either way our daughter will always be the happy go lucky baby!

Thanks for listening! it feels good to finally say that to someone!!! (photo attached of beautiful baby)

Choice 12-

I am interested in your crib (by the way, I love your idea in determining who the recipient will be), and I would love to tell you a little about us...

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in June. We are a little older (in our 30s), and we are very excited to be starting a family! I went to college when I was younger, but my husband just graduated with honors this spring (with a BS).

When I got pregnant, we were thinking that my husband would probably be returning to the workforce once the baby was born (he has been with the US Forest Service for 10 years). However, we were pleasantly surprised when he received a teaching assistantship position at the U of U to get his masters this coming fall. This means his tuition will be free, but I will have to continue working once the baby is born, and my single income will provide less than we had anticipated.

We are a healthy and happy family - and I have a decent job at Weber State University - but money is definitely tight for us right now. I have been searching the classifieds for a reasonably priced crib for a while, but frankly, I do not have the cash to buy one just yet. My husband is living 4 hrs away this summer to fight forest fires throughout the nation, which will bring in some extra income (which means I'm on my own all summer!), but we have a lot of expenses, so I would be thrilled if I could save some money on a crib! I have been starting to worry about how/when I am going to acquire one before the birth of the baby.

Thanks for the opportunity to share. I wish you the best in your search for the best recipient!

They all are great stories, and I am having the worst time deciding!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op

My friend Kirsten told me about this food co-op, and that they had recently expanded to Utah (they are based in AZ).

They are run by volunteers, and the fact that you get what you get means prices are really low. I got a basic basket and an Italian pack. The total came to just over $27, which included a $3 first time fee.

The basic basket costs $15. This was what was in my basic basket (that's two bunches of spinach, a bunch of red leaf lettuce and broccoflower in the back):

The Italian pack was around $7.50 if I remember correctly. This is what was in my Italian pack:

There's quite a few herbs in there, I think I saw basil and rosemary at least, but I didn't examine it too closely.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and was trying to not get my expectations too high, but I am extremely pleased and impressed despite myself.

They only do this every other week, and they have a limited number they sell at each location. I believe they open their locations to sale the Tuesday before. It goes pretty quickly, so you have to be quick. If you want to order for yourself, here is their website.