Merry Christmas to me!
I got an Instant Pot for Christmas from Dave and my boys!** Whoo!
**No, I don’t mind getting kitchen appliances as gifts. I find a lot of joy in the kitchen and the geeky side of me loves checking out the latest in “kitchen tech.”
Believe it or not, through all my cooking adventures, I never delved too much into pressure cooking. I remember my parents’ pressure cooker, it was the kind with the little weight that sat on top: when the pressure was just right, the little weight would rock back and forth singing an undulating whistle of steam. I don’t remember the specific recipes they’d cook, I think it was vegetable soup and maybe chili.
It was years before I’d really delve into how a pressure cooker works and why it could be one of the most useful things in a busy family’s kitchen. More »
Our family had a fun, although rather subdued, holiday season. Dave had a pretty major surgery Thanksgiving week — a procedure called a “microvascular decompression” — and he’s been home recovering with the family for the month of December. Because of that, we kept our social calendar pretty empty: we didn’t have our traditional holiday open house for the first time since 2008 (when I was TDY for much of December), and we didn’t go to any of the holiday parties to which we were invited…except for the Boy Scout party for the kids. That one was definitely our speed.
Dave’s parents visited for a week right after Dave came home from the hospital. By this point Dave wasn’t able to do much, so his parents enjoyed a relaxing week.
For this new year, I’ve taken the advice of a fellow GeekMom writer and tried to come up with a single word to direct my efforts. My word for 2017 will be “Return”. “Return” to work (hopefully), “Return” to writing (for this blog and for GeekMom), and “Return” to my exercise habits that I’ve allowed to falter in 2016. More »
Lunch for 4 for under $30? Yes please!!
For those who don’t know, Dave and I are “Eastern People”. He’s from New York, and with the exception of 3 years or so in Hawaii when I was very young, I grew up on the Eastern Seaboard. We are accustomed to humidity, high populations, and rich colonial U.S. history around us.
People from the western U.S. have their own set of traditions and nuances (calling “interstates” “freeways”, for example), and apparently In-N-Out Burger is one of them. There aren’t many of these restaurants, and they’re all concentrated in a 5-state area: California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas (why they completely leapfrogged over New Mexico is beyond me). In-N-Out has no plans to expand beyond this small market, unlike Five Guys, which now has well over 1000 outlets. We had a chance to check it out! More »
It was so warm, Dave could ski in shorts…well, sort of…
On our first full day in Park City, we decided to check out the Park City Ski Resort, which was just a couple blocks from our condo. We took advantage of a military deal for the resort, although being one of the Vail Resorts, it was still pretty costly, even for end-of-season conditions.
It was quite warm, with highs in the 60s and blue sunny skies.
As a consequence, there weren’t many trails open, and we had numerous detours. We’re grateful the boys were skilled enough to negotiate some of the detours.
Skiing at Park City at the end of March was like skiing on the East Coast. Icy. Jacob and Timmy are obviously spoiled rotten skiing in Colorado because they had a very hard time with the changed snow conditions. They didn’t have the best day. More »
Our June/July 2014 summer vacation to the American southwest was fun and filled with National Park goodness.
We are grateful for the National Park Service’s “Military Annual Pass” program which saved us nearly $80 in entrance fees on this trip.
Here’s the summary of everything we did:
The next big “see America” trip I have up my sleeves will take us northward towards Yellowstone National Park, but I don’t know when that will be.
One of my favorite photos ever. My boys enjoying America’s beauty.
On the 2nd full day of our Grand Canyon trip, we decided to get an early start and hit the Bright Angel Trail.
The Bright Angel Trail originates at the heart of the “touristy” part of the South Rim Grand Canyon park. It’s a well-maintained trail, in part because this is the trail that the mules use for those tours. Because of the accessibility, it’s definitely more crowded than the remote Hermit’s Trail. More »
Hermit’s Rest is on the far western end of the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
We had made it clear to the boys that we would be hiking at least part of our two days at the Grand Canyon. I saw a list of family-friendly activities in the park summer guide. We chose the Junior Ranger Family Adventure Program, in which families can descend down into the canyon via the challenging Hermit’s Trail. Dave and I wanted to get some exercise, and we were confident our kids could handle it.
Getting to Hermit’s Rest, where the program began, was a task in itself. We drove to the Grand Canyon Village part of the park, where we then caught a bus that took us on the 45 minute drive to the western end of the park. It was a gorgeous drive with several views of the canyon to enjoy. More »
We arrived at our campsite with plenty of time to set up camp. We enjoyed a relaxing evening with a camp stove dinner (I can’t remember what, probably burgers and hot dogs).
We had to walk 1-2 campsites over to reach the restroom building. On one of our walks to the restroom building, we saw this magnificent elk feasting on tree branches. The kids were awestruck, and I rushed over to the truck for our camera’s telephoto lens.
We chatted with the kids about what we were observing: the size of the elk, the size of his antlers (at least 4′), what he was choosing to eat, the trouble he seemed to be having getting his antlers tangled in the tree branches. Enjoy some photos of what we spent about 20 minutes observing. You can see the full album here. Several other nearby campers were similarly photographing it.
Jacob said, “Hey Mom, take a picture of me with the elk!”
Then Timmy said, “Take a picture of me too!” This photo cracks me up!
My favorite of the 70+ photos I took.
The Four Corners Monument is a very *short* stop off U.S. 160, at…well…the junction of four states.
You can’t drive between southwestern Colorado and New Mexico/Arizona without stopping briefly at the Four Corners Monument.
The monument is operated by the Navajo Nation. Since we were in the Navajo Nation. We paid an entry fee of $5 per person to enter the monument area, and what I saw was quite surprising. Not in a good or bad way, I simply didn’t know what to expect. More »
The Bar D Ranch is about 10 miles north of Durango and is a fun, family friendly activity.
After our ride on the Durango & Silverton, we headed about 10 miles north of Durango (much of which was along the train route) to visit the Bar D Ranch.
These types of ranches are popular tourist attractions throughout the southwest. There are several in Colorado, including the Flying W Ranch right here in Colorado Springs. Our family had never done something like this, so it was a completely new experience.