Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eating Our Dessert First

While I was in Utah, Laura decided we really needed to eat at this cool place called The Chocolate located on State Street in Orem.   So while Laura's downstairs neighbor watched the kids.  (Thanks, Hillary!), Natalie, Kara, Laura, and I went to get dessert there around 2:00.    The actual place is a pretty old house.   This is a picture of the sign. 

It's a small bakery/cafe. The rooms are simple yet beautifully decorated with sofas and tables.   You order your food, find a room to get comfortable in, and they bring your order to your table.

We relaxed for awhile on the sofa in the "blue room" until our food came.  Yes, we only ordered desserts!

First we had a mint brownie, turtle brownie, fruit tart, and caramel tart. Then two glasses of milk to go with a cookie baked in a little pan with a scoop of ice cream on top.   It's called a cazookie!

Boy was everything delicious!  Needless to say, we were pretty full and not really ready to eat dinner at the usual time.   Eventually hunger won, and besides, there was another new place in Orem we just had to try, so we went to Cafe Paesan, a unique Italian Bistro where they serve cafeteria style, and everything is fresh.  I love eating in Orem.   Of course the best eating of all is right there in Laura's kitchen.  Among other things, she makes some amazing pizza!   We also had some delicious fajitas one night.  Laura got the recipe from Real    It's definitely one I'd  love to try again.

Halloween With the Barnetts

Kart's family has an interesting tradition of dressing up on Halloween and going out to dinner.   I'm not sure the history of that tradition, but it's been fun to see some of their pictures over the last few years of their whole family in costumes.  Since Natalie and I arrived in Utah on the 29th, and their Halloween dinner was going to be on the 30th, we spent a lot of the next day shopping for and putting together costumes so we could join them for dinner.  

After seeing a cowboy hat in the craft store, I decided to be a cowgirl, which was nice because Owen was already planning to be a little calf:

Emma was Princess Tiana from the Disney Movie, "The Princess and the Frog":

Aiden was a fireman that got into the face paint did his own makeup (I love the green eyebrows!):

Kara and Natalie were Salt and Pepper:

It was tough getting her hair poofy enough, but Beth was a beautiful Sarah Palin:

Laura was a cat, and Kart was Papa Smurf:

We all arrived at Red Robin before Kart's family and took several pictures while we were waiting.   The Barnetts arrived in their costumes, and we had time for lots more pictures, since the hostess told us it would be another hour before we could get a table:

Here's a view of the dinner table:

It was fun being part of the Barnett's crazy tradition!

Road Trip with Natalie

On Wednesday, October 27, Natalie closed the trunk of the Mazda, which amazingly held most of the contents of her room, and we set off to cross the country from Virgina to Utah.   Here is a list of our fabulously interesting activities:





SLEEPING IN COMFORT INNS (where they offer complimentary breakfast in the morning that includes  waffles!)

ENJOYING SOME PRETTY SCENERY (the color of the sky, and the play of light in the morning were amazing!)



EATING IN RESTAURANTS IN COLLEGE TOWNS (Ohio State and University of Iowa)
 *sorry, no pictures*



        (yes - there was snow on the ground)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Five Days in Utah

Skip and I got to spend a few wonderful days in Utah. Kara picked us up and drove us to Orem, where Laura and Kart and their kids live. They have recently moved into a new home - a duplex of sorts where they live up, and their neighbors live down. They have a garage too, and a fenced in yard, giving them lots of storage and play space. They have a trampoline in the back yard, and I got to play with Emma and Aiden on that several times. (Sorry-no pictures of that.) I forgot to bring the battery charger for the camera, so I didn't get a lot of pictures, but here are a few:

This is Emma and Owen. Owen's grown so much since we saw him in the summer. He's crawling now, and is such a pleasant little guy. Laura works in the early morning at the cupcake shop, and Kart is a master at the morning routine. We had fun helping out a little with breakfast, and keeping the kids happy.

One morning we made fall leaf pictures with some stickers I'd brought from home. I use the foam stickers with my church nursery kids all the time. They're easy and fun:

Here are the finished products:

We enjoyed eating a lot of the leftover cupcakes from Cupcake Chic, but as if that wasn't enough cupcakes, and in our quest to further perfect cupcake goodness, we tried a batch of our own Oreo aka Cookies and Cream cupcakes. Everyone helped!

We did some shopping in Salt Lake one day. Laura wanted to check out some baking supply stores, and we found some needed things there, including cupcake supplies, of course! Then since you can't pass up IKEA, and Laura really needed a guest bed for all these Baird Family guests that keep crashing at her house, we bought a fouton there. Emma and Aiden didn't get to spend a lot of time playing there, but they had a few minutes at the rocking chair theater before we started shopping.

One afternoon, we spent some time at a pumpkin patch, playing and picking out pumpkins.

On Saturday, we drove past Salt Lake, to Kaysville to meet up with the Lincoln family - Uncle Ivan, Aunt Luann, and cousins Stephanie, Blythe, and Amy. Uncle Ivan got us complimentary tickets to Lagoon, where we spent a short time letting the kids ride every ride we thought they could handle - boats, helicopters, space ships, cars, etc. (We were a little worried about Emma who had gotten car sick twice in the past few days.) She survived though, and they had a lot of happy, smiley fun. After Lagoon we all met for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Check out Stephanie's blog for pictures and more on that. We had a lot of fun there, and were glad Kara could be with us there too.

We had such a fun time, even though it was short. I think I'll have to visit again soon. Look for the Mom and Natalie roadtrip coming to a blog near you in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Some Vintage Fall Fun

Just wanted to post a little look at a few Autumn family memories:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Old Rag

Last fall Dara, Ryan, Kara, and I tried to hike Old Rag . Unfortunately, it turned out to be a somewhat rainy day, and we were advised not to attempt it. So finally we got around to rescheduling our planned hike (minus Kara unfortunately, since she's in Utah). It turned out to be a spectacularly beautiful day. We didn't have fall colors, but we sure had some vibrant green, blue sky, and 0 humidity. Ryan had done the hike before, but he wasn't too good about remembering exactly where and how far the top was. (How many times can we be "almost there"?) I knew about the "rock scramble" near the top - a lot of climbing around, over, under, between, and on top of huge boulders, but I was kind of surprised at how much rock climbing there actually was. It wasn't terribly difficult except for a couple of places that I was glad for someone (Ryan) to give me a hand up or a push from behind. The views were spectacular, and well worth it. Dara and Ryan were fun to hike with, and I'm looking forward to any future adventures they want to include me on.

The Rocky Summit

Dara and I


One of many scenic views

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Japan Meets America

This last week we had the opportunity to host a young Japanese student in our home. Her name is Riho. She's 14 years old, and comes from Yaostu, Japan. She and 19 other students her age toured New York City for a couple of days, then came to stay with host families here in Woodbridge. On Saturday, Natalie and I took her shopping at Tyson's corner. When we got home, I asked her what she'd like to do, and she said, "play piano". I found some music on her level, and she kept busy playing for over and hour. Skip cooked her a steak dinner in the evening. On Sunday, after going to church with us, we went with some of the other students and host families to the temple visitor's center. They saw "Testaments" in Japanese, and had their questions answered by a missionary assigned to the D.C. North mission, who happens to be Japanese. They toured in D.C. on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, they toured a typical? American high school - Gar-Field. They had time to shop at Potomac Mills, then went to Occoquan for a different kind of shopping. After that, we dropped the students off at our chapel, where they decorated and practiced for a dinner/program in the evening. At 6:00 all the students and host families had a pizza party. After eating, they taught us some Origami, played a Japanese game, and performed a dance for us. Riho was very sweet and eager to learn about and experience life in our home. Her English was pretty good, and we tried hard to learn about her life as well. We learned some of her favorite foods are pizza, spaghetti, and chocolate. She loved Skip's special popcorn too - sweetened with a little corn syrup. This morning before she left, I made her waffles. That was a hit as well. For a going away gift, Natalie made her a CD of American music. I gave her a piano book and some other small gifts for her family. It's nice now that we have a pen pal in Japan. I'm sure we'll continue to keep in touch with her.

Temple visitor's center, Riho on the right

Pizza party!

Teaching Origami:

Trying Origami:

Finished Origami:

Riho announcing the dance:

A scene from the dance, Riho in the middle:

PIctures with the family: