Monday, November 3, 2014

Boo Went October!

October seemed to fly by quickly and as I've looked back at the pictures it actually seemed to be pretty full too. 

Can I just say that I work with some really talented people? This door is super cute and they also made another one that looked like a mummy. 

Every weekend in September and part way through October Snowbird hosts Oktoberfest, mostly it's for those that enjoy drinking but I had heard that they had some other booths and activities for everyone to do. The last weekend they were open Kayla and I went up to see what it was all about. They did have some other stuff that wasn't drinking but the food was outrageously and the other options were very limited, it is definitely a drinking persons heaven. Highlights from that day were having a lady spill beer on me in the bathroom line (she didn't notice that she was spilling but this guy that was sitting beside the line told her that she had spilled on the ground and that she needed to hold onto that rare commodity) and the beautiful colors of the trees changing. I had hoped to make it back up there to go hiking through the orange and greens.

These pictures don't even do justice of how gorgeous it was up there, the roads were packed up and down the sides with people parked to go hiking, biking, and just to take pictures.

My Grandma passed away on October 14. It ended a long journey for her (95 years!). The funeral was held the Saturday following on the 18th. It was a great funeral where I learned several things about her that I never knew and from those that were non family I could feel of the love that she had for others and others had for her. After the funeral and luncheon all of the grandchildren were invited to go back to Grandma's house and pick out items that we wanted to keep. It was so much fun being there, at one point there were 10 or so of us sitting in the living room just going through memories around Grandma and Grandpa and just growing up as a family in general. Sophie found a box of jewelry that she wanted to try everything on.

The 19th was my birthday, it's kind of difficult to do lots of stuff when your birthday is on a Sunday so Derek and Kayla decided to take me out to do stuff on Saturday. We were all finishing things up so didn't get started quite as early as we were hoping (we were going to do a bike ride or hike) so instead went for a drive up AF Canyon, the colors were absolutely gorgeous. I love living somewhere that actually has a fall, the colors changing and crunchy leaves make me so happy. After the drive we stopped at a stream and walked around, when we were coming up there was someone that stopped us to ask if we could jump-start their jeep for them and it randomly happened to be Derek's aunt and uncle. We finished the night with a campfire, it is so peaceful and relaxing just sitting by the campfire.

Kyle was awesome and made my birthday dinner. He let me pick out the recipes (I picked this super yummy pasta recipe and we had two different kale things, strangely I loved the kale slaw/salad from Costco). The cake was this super yummy with fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream stuff too! I also went to church in the morning and then afterwards Kayla and I went on a bikeride, it had been way too long- I was missing the wonderful feeling of the sun on my face and the wind blowing through my hair. Ben/Sonia Family and Leah joined us for dinner and afterwards I got to go on another quick bikeride, I rode home with Katrina so she didn't have to go home in the dark by herself.

My ward had a combined activity with Kayla's ward, they were doing a pumpkin carving contest. We also invited Derek. The original plan was that we were going to all work on the same pumpkin but it became quickly clear that Kayla was going to work on her own, luckily Derek had brought another pumpkin from home and he and I worked on one together. I'm pretty sure that I have carved a pumpkin before but I don't really remember doing it. It was super fun and I strangely didn't get grossed out by the feeling of taking the guts out of the pumpkin. Derek cut out the mouth and I did the rest of it, I was freaking out that it was getting all messed up and it did end up looking not completely bad. Derek said it kind of looked like it was scared of itself. When they were judging they looked at ours several times and it seemed like we might have actually come close to winning, but it was still fun and I'm probably should be glad that I didn't actually win because the prize was a bag of candy.

I'm not sure if I should admit this but one of my kids decided that I needed to have a boyfriend and took it upon himself to help me by signing me up for a dating website. I find it rather entertaining, he is rather insistent about it and asks me everyday if I've gotten a boyfriend yet and when I reply no he asks who I've talked to and who my favorite is. I figured it would be something that would end the next day but still a couple of weeks ago he is still concerned about me being boyfriendless.

Derek's dad had a timeshare up at Snowbird and we were invited up to stay the night on the last night that they were up there. It was so nice, we headed up Friday night after I got off work. When we got there Kayla and I put our stuff in our room, it was pretty much a second hotel room connected to theirs, we even had our own entrance if we wanted. Derek's dad had dinner ready for us, it was so yummy. After that we went swimming in the heated outdoor pool and then the hot tub, so relaxing. We started a movie but everyone was falling asleep so we all went to bed.

This was the view from our balcony (one of four that was in their timeshare), all of the colored leaves had fallen off but it was still a beautiful view.

This one made me feel like I was in Oregon.

Snowbird was having a customer appreciation day Saturday morning, you could donate a couple cans of food and ride up the tram for free. This was only my second time going up to Snowbird so of course I had never ridden the tram before, a couple of cans of food was so much nicer than the $18 it normally costs to ride up. It was really impressive riding up and I can only imagine what it looks like when it is all covered with snow.  I took this picture from the top, it was so beautiful, I couldn't stop starring out at it, it made for a great thinking spot.

Apparently I stood there for awhile and everyone thought that it made for a good picture, Derek, his Dad, and Kayla all took pictures of me standing there without me knowing about it until later. The first one is one that Derek took on his phone and edited and then the second and third Derek's dad took on his camera (I have serious camera envy of his camera---it is AMAZING!).

Derek's stepmom gets free tickets to Lagoon because they always go to Lagoon for their employee day, she had given Derek a couple of tickets that were expiring this weekend. I had never gone before and we decided that splitting the 3rd ticket would be much better than each of us having to pay for a full price ticket. When we got home from Snowbird everyone had somethings that needed done so we split up for a couple of hours and then met back at my house to go to Lagoon. I discovered that I am most definitely not a crazy rides person, I think that I bummed Kayla and Derek out a bit because there wasn't a lot of them that I was willing to do but I did go on several roller-coasters (the ones pictured below). 

We did do a couple of haunted houses there as well. They were quite entertaining, in the first one Kayla was in the front and for some reason Derek said her name, one of the actors heard it and started calling her name- her name followed us for awhile over several actors. Derek and I were laughing so much. 

Kayla had been telling me that I needed to make cupcakes so last Sunday I decided to make some. I used it more of a chance to play with pipping frosting. I thought that I needed to use a smaller tip but I think that next time I will use a slightly larger tip to give it more, but considering that I've never had any learning I think they look pretty good. 

Last Monday my ward was going to Cornbelly's (and Kayla's randomly decided to go too), so we went together. I've never been to a cornmaze before. Kayla figured it all out and I kind of just followed her through, it was fun but I would go again but I haven't decided that it is required to be part of my yearly celebrations (unless of course my ward pays for it again :D).

We did awesome, we even went in order from sign to sign without having to ask for help from the maze police and we didn't cut through the corn!

I held my Halloween party for my school age kids on Thursday because I knew that on Friday most of my kids wouldn't be there and I didn't want them to be disappointed if they missed it and I knew that most kids would behaving their school parties on Friday and I wanted to be unique :D We had our snacks be pumpkin patches (I was supposed to have crushed the oreos but A. I was lazy and B. I realized that it would have been a lot messier to give the kids crushed oreos to make their pumpkin patches). Most of the kids just ate their pudding out of the snack packs and then ate the candy separate but I did have a couple of kids that actually put their patches together. After snack we played outside until the rest of the school age kids came back from school, we bobbed for apples and then played a couple of other games.

Once we got lower in numbers the kids got to play in the haunted house that Jenn and Sarah had created for the preschool Halloween party on Friday. Again that I work with super creative people, the kids absolutely loved it!

Kayla's brother is in marching band and this weekend was state competition and regional competition in St. George. Her parents are part of the band boosters and so were down there all weekend, they had gotten a hotel room and invited us to join them. Friday because it was Friday and Halloween numbers were down really fast, I was able to leave at 4 when we got down to 8 kids. I had everything packed and helped mom with some stuff until Kayla came to pick me up, we helped hand out some candy to the first trick or treaters and then we headed off.
We brought our bikes and her parents brought theirs, of course we weren't going to leave them on our cars. It made me smile every time I walked into our room and saw the four full-size bikes, of course Kayla and I realized that we had over $5000 worth of stuff in our room and that did make us a little nervous with house keeping going in and out. 

When we arrived to St. George Friday night we went straight to Dixie College to catch the awards ceremony and to help put away all of the props into the trailers as they were leaving locations for Saturdays performance. Much of our Saturday was spent at a local high school watching band performances, as I didn't grow up with a band let alone a marching band I had no clue what to expect. It was AWESOME! Each band spends the whole year working on one performance that they work on and improve as the year goes on. This is a recording of Westlake's performance from a different competition this year (you can skip to minute and a half unless you want to listen to someone having a conversation about the length of some girls hair).

The day started out crazy windy and then added rain to the mix. During Westlake's performance it started raining hard right in the middle of their show but almost to the end a beautiful double rainbow. Westlake made it through the preliminaries and into the finals, we were so proud of them. They are a fairly new school and band and seem to be getting bigger and better every year, two years ago they got 10th and this year they got 4th! We had hoped that they would get 3rd but 4th in the region is awesome (they had schools representing from Utah, Washington, Idaho, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and there might have been others that I can't remember)!

We ran back to the hotel between the preliminaries and finals to grab a blanket because it had gotten rather cold. While I waiting for Kayla to grab something I looked outside and saw this beautiful sunset.

Sunday we tried going to a YSA ward for church but we found out too late that the address they had on the churches website did not exist, we did find another church but because the YSA wards were meeting a strange time the church had already started. We knew that Kayla's parents wouldn't be ready yet to leave (we had hoped to go on a bikeride) so we decided to give them more time and went to the St. George Temple. It was a beautiful walk around the grounds and we took some pictures (of course :D)

On our way home we got an unexpected and unwanted surprise...SNOW (ugh!). These pictures don't even show how bad it was at some points.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Alexia's Birthday Cake

For Alexia's birthday Libbey asked me if I would be willing to make the birthday cake. The only parameters that she gave me were that it be chocolate and girly (I was a bit bummed with the chocolate requirement--I was hoping that I could do an ombre of pinks, you know the ultimate girly). I immediately started having ideas in my head of what I wanted to do. My original plan was to make chocolate flourishes that I could stand up and make 3D on top of the smash cake and when I went to search I found this other great idea instead. It's actually pretty simple (I would highly recommend having a second person to help press and wrap the chocolate cage around the cake---you can find my post on how it's made HERE) and can be quite pretty and add such a nice touch to the cake. 

I was a little disappointed with the butterfly, I had tried coping a rhinestone pattern (which was absolutely gorgeous!) but the pearls that I used were a lot larger than the design and they used 3 different sizes in the original so I ended up just doing the outline of the butterfly and then dropping pearls randomly. 

I was quite nervous driving to their house with the cake, I held the plate the whole time saying to the cake "Please be careful, please don't break" and other things of the like. 

So I didn't do complete chocolate, I had to get some kind of surprise in (I hadn't told them I was doing the pink cake and they didn't know about it until the cut into it!)

Welcome to Mexico!

(Lucky for us we have several Spanish speakers in the family, which made it easier to get a better deal...I think that, that guy in the purple looks like Erick's Dad from behind)

Day 3 and destination 2 brought us to Ensenada Mexico! When we got off the ship we walked through a building full of little shops (that were already tempting the shopping senses of the girls) and found that they had lots and lots of buses lined up to take us into downtown for $1 or $2. On the way there the guide told us all about the different tours that we could take and how they would charge us cheaper, blah, blah, blah! (though of course it was cheaper then the prices that the ship offered but we still could get it cheaper!) With lots of people (and different nap schedules) it is sometimes hard to decide on what to do, we had heard about a blowhole and decided that is what we would all do. We walked a couple of blocks away from where the bus dropped us off and we found a nice guy that was willing to drive us all out there with his buddy for a very reasonable price.

Shopping looking at the wares

Candy and other yummy treats everywhere!

In case you didn't know Jacob is a big fan of superheroes, when he saw these cool masks/capes I think that it was love at first sight :) He was so happy to get it and there was a bit of a panic when we were getting out of the vans and it could not be found at first.

See all of those red jackets? They were a school group from China and they were on the cruise with us, how cool is that!?

Look at all of that water!

That is some cute kids and an Auntie looking at the water coming up.

Jacob found the perfect spot to watch the water come up, and it came up really high and all landed on him! Everyone wanted to take his picture :D

So good!

One of our two buses that took us the whole way, someone had told us that it wasn't very far but I'm pretty sure that it took us 20-30 minutes to get there.

I do my own kind of planking :)
I knocked on the door but no one answered so I went down on the ground to see if I could see anyone in there and then they opened the door (at about the same time that their neighbor came out--yep I'm a dork!)

Libbey, Sonia, Kyle, and I (Mom's taking the picture)...after naps we went on a walk back into town to see what we could find.

That flag was HUGE!

Dang that's gorgeous!

Dinner time! I loved the fruit, I got some kind of fruit dish at every meal.

The waiters were dancing for us and Jacob wanted to join in so Libbey stood up and danced as well.

Dessert-- this is one reason why I want to go to culinary arts school to learn to make things pretty like this.

We walked in to the theater area to watch a show and they were teaching how to do a dance, immediately that's where Jacob and Libbey went (Libbey is in the white shorts on the right).

Jacob (front and center), he tried but we came in a little late so he was a little behind in learning the dance.

They did a version of minute to win-it this kid was probably 16/17 and he won! He was also from Utah, so it made us laugh when his prize was a bottle of champagne (I heard someone come up and suggest that he could trade it and get a shirt of something).

Our towel friend!