Aug 27, 2011

Vacation: Lake Tahoe Coming Home

Did you know it's 13.5 hours of driving time between Lake Tahoe and our house? This doesn't count the gas and meal breaks. Because we were coming home on Sunday, we stopped for church, as well.

Did you also know there are pretty places in Nevada? I'm seriously not joking. I drive through Nevada frequently, and I've never seen a place like this. Just over the mountain from Tahoe is this little place called Carson Valley and it is GORGEOUS. We almost didn't leave. Especially after we found out the ward we attended had been fasting and praying for new families to move in.
Oh my goodness. The valley is mostly ranch land. GREEN IN AUGUST ranch land. The town we were in was clean and small (with a Thai place) and the people were super duper nice. The only thing wrong with this place is that it's in Nevada, so there were also a couple small casinos. I hate gambling. It's just taxes for people bad at math. Sadly, people who are bad at math are pretty much the last people who should be gambling. It's 8 hours from my mama, and 12ish from The Hubs parents. Those are both totally doable one day driving distances. I may be thinking moving thoughts.

Also on the way home, we stopped for dinner in California somewhere at a Denny's. Zsa Zsa is two, right? So imagine our surprise when she stabbed dinner with her fork in one hand and started using the knife in the other to cut between the tines. Clearly, she's going to be a brain surgeon. Also, she now has no excuse for eating rice with her hands the night before.

We got home about 1:30am Monday morning. Our whole family was glad Hubs had taken Monday off from work, as well.

Oh, and our first week back, Phoenix has been setting record highs. Who came back to early? <raises hand>

Vacation: Lake Tahoe Day Four

Saturday the kids and I kept it low key. We rode the trolley to the Rainbow Trail, which is where I hiked approximately forty thousand miles while holding a toddler who wouldn't let me carry her on my back. We went to the stream profile room, which was SO cool, we took Daddy back with us later that afternoon when he got home from his meetings. (But after we had some so-so Thai food in a restaurant rated the best Thai in Tahoe. SO glad we didn't go to that other Thai place.)

The Profile room is an underground room right next to a creek (if you're from Idaho, creek is pronounced crick, trust me). One wall of the room is glass AND it also makes up a part of the stream so you can see the fish that are swimming in the creek and the craw-fish and all the other cool stream-stuff. My kids ADORED this place. It was pretty cool, but to be honest, the best bit was being able to sit in the dark while my kids quit whining for slightly longer than 4.2 nanoseconds. By Saturday, we were ALL pretty much done with this trip.

It turns out a small person inherited her mother's proclivity for travelling poorly. Sorry, honey. Really I am. For both of us.

On our way back to the condo, we stopped to get ice cream. The kids both REALLY wanted rainbow sherbet, so that's what we got them. Zsa Zsa took a couple licks of hers and then stole my pistachio ice cream. And she wouldn't give it back. So I stole Hubs hot fudge. But I gave his back, because I'm awesome like that. Rainbow sherbet is kind of nasty. I guess I can't blame her, but from now on, she's going to get whatever I'm having. This stealing of mommy's food has gotten to be quite a habit the last few weeks.

Things I Learned This Week

  • You're supposed to vacuum as many times in the week as you have people living in the house. Did y'all know this? WHY didn't someone tell me I'm only vacuuming HALF as much as I should be? I thought I was being all proactive getting out the Bissell twice a week. Pish. 
  • My son can spell his name...and send texts and emails from my phone. This means people I haven't talked to in oh, forever, are getting text messages from me that say only The Boy's name.  

  • Just because you CAN make a tutu without a pattern doesn't mean you SHOULD. Unless you want to do it over three or so times. Seriously, use a pattern. :D I will say it was super a lot more easy to do with my new sewing machine, courtesy of my mama. 
  • Cooking three dinners in one night, day after day can get a little old, and your personal family may starve. 
  • Job's Tears (croix beans) are good for colon cancer.
  • If you let your kids read Dr Seuss, they are bound to Box with Socks. At least they weren't boxing foxes. 

Aug 19, 2011

Vacation: Lake Tahoe Day Three

Today I sorta forgot what day is was. Not just the date, the day of the week. Yup. More than anything my life resembles the movie Ground Hog Day.

Hubs didn't come home last night. He stayed with a friend in Reno so he could get his after party on with a bunch of other (published) authors. Guess what they did? Played card games. Not like Uno or Whist , we're talking geek card games. I can't even give you an example, because I'm not that geeky. If I were invited to an after party, it wouldn't be the kind with card games. Just say'n. (Mama's still got game.)

Anyhoo, I spent four hours last night holding an overly tired, screaming Zsa. By the time I finally rolled into bed, it was today. And the kids got up at 5. That would be am, in case you need clarification.

Luckily my super awesome cousin, Marge, lives a couple hours away AND likes Tahoe so she came up today with her two super cute cutie pie boys and we played on the beach all afternoon. She literally saved my sanity. Plus, she brought me a nectarine. I was in serious need of a pit fruit. Serious, serious need.

Can I just say, Marge and I were pretty good friends growing up, because we were the same age and all our cousins were lots older (or in the case of my sisters, lots younger) but since we've hit adulthood, we never manage to be in the same part of the country at the same time, so it was really great to get to visit and relax with her. She's pretty much da bomb.

The kids had a great time, got burned in random places and generally filled every bodily crevasse with sand.

Supposedly Hubs will be coming home tonight, though he said he'd be here around 5 and I just got a text saying he found a class at 5 he wants to attend, so who knows. All I know for sure is, he's not authorized to purchase any more clothing. He bought a new shirt today so nobody would see him in the same thing two days in a row. I'm pretty sure that's the first time in his entire life he's been concerned about that. Ferills.
At least if he doesn't buy any more clothes, he has to come back at some point, right?

Aug 18, 2011

Vacation: Lake Tahoe Day Two Point One

You know how Hubs is at Geek Convention TM? Well, he's there partly to have fun, but more to make connections and today he was part of a writer's panel. His work was reviewed by some professionals in the field and later he met with some famous authors and went to dinner with said authors. That was AFTER he was invited to attend a party tonight being hosted by a publishing house. You have no idea how hard a time I am having not tossing around names here. Let's just say this particular house is one of two, maybe three companies that publish the bulk of the type of writing Hubs does. This house is the Babe Ruth of publishing and it's the top of the top in his genre.
This has the potential to be a freaking huge deal. Especially because we're only on day two of Geek Convention TM. But it also means Hubs did not come home tonight. We all make sacrifices for greatness, right? Slowly going bonkers for lack of adult conversation is my sacrifice. Not only is Hubs gone while I'm awake, I have spotty cell coverage. I'm good for texting, and that's about it.
Anyway, I hurriedly ordered some business cards for Hubs since he forgot his, and he picked them up before the party. Hopefully (fingers crossed) he meets the right people. Hopefully he actually talks to people and doesn't spend the whole night in his typical wall flower pose. Hopefully, he channel a little me tonight. (Or really, a little anyone who isn't half agoraphobe.)
Later: I just found out Hubs isn't going to come home at ALL tonight. Which means he won't be here in the morning. Which means I get to explain that to my kids. Super. It also means I will have been on single parent duty for 48 hours by the time he makes an appearance and it ALSO means, I don't get a nectarine. I could kill for a good nectarine about now. Seriously.

PS It took me FOUR HOURS to put Zsa Zsa to bed. No lie. I thought we'd both go crazy before she passed out. This child needs confined and defined space like no one I've ever met.

Vacation: Lake Tahoe Day Two

Today was stellar on LOTS of levels.
First, Hubs was here when the kids got up so he made everyone breakfast. Score. :)
Housekeeping came by while the children and I were getting our gear together for the morning's excursion. We ended up leaving in kind of a hurry since like, 8 people came to clean our one bedroom condo and it was a touch crowded. (and PS how do I tip for that at the end of our stay?)
We took the shuttle up to the Gondola. Sadly, the camera was in the car with The Hubs, so I made due with The Boy's Camera (which the kids fought over) and my iPhone camera. We waited FOREVER for the shuttle to pick us up, but once it did, the driver was super nice and gave us lots of tips on stuff to do while in the area.

We arrived an hour before the Gondola started accepting customers so we killed time with bathroom breaks, badly done photo ops with kids as shooters and a mini cinnamon roll. Zsa finished hers in a hurry and wanted to start in on The Boy's, but I held her off with left over frosting.
Then another great thing happened; we found out that not only would it be free for Zsa Zsa to ride up, but The Boy was free, too! Stellar! Instant $20 savings. THEN we found out for just $4 more on my ticket, we could get a $15 voucher for the restaurants at the top of the mountain. A ride AND lunch!

The way up was simply terrifying. I'm glad I didn't think on it too hard before we loaded up. It's so quiet in the car, it's eerie.  The kids had a blast taking (blurry) pictures and generally enjoying the 17 minute ride. We gained something like 3000ft so our ears were popping, also. We got off midway and looked through some telescopes and went potty before loading up again.
At the top we goofed off for a bit and then headed to the restaurant for grub.
Both kids wanted mac n cheese.

 What I did not know until we paid was that it cost $4.50 each for a tiny tub of it. I tasted it, and it was worth $4.50 a tub. Still. For mac n cheese? And that's when I figured out going to "the top of the world" had pretty much the same exchange rate as going to Europe.
At this point, a certain member of our party was in full-on melt down, but I couldn't really blame her since it was close to nap time and she was all oxygen deprived and stuff, so we headed down mountain.

Since I'd tipped the shuttle so well on the ride in, we didn't have to wait long to get picked up. (See Sandy? I listen to you.)
The kids laid down for 4.2 nanoseconds, and then we walked The Boy down to the beach house for the activities hosted by the resort. (Do you tip for that?) Zsa and I headed back to the condo where I laid down, and Zsa Zsa colored and ate a cookie. Then she laid down too, and went to sleep. I ran to the beach to pick up The Boy without Zsa, since she was sleeping, and I'm sure that act cost me 2 years of my life. I've never left a sleeping kid alone. I actually did it twice today, since I went to check on The Boy once mid-activity. So there's 4 years, at least. I was only gone 8 minutes each time, but it was a harrowing 8 minutes. If you've ever met Zsa you know it's totally possible I'd have come back to a building on fire or at the very least, newly decorated walls.
Here's what I found instead. Just like I left her.

We just chilled for a while after naps, waiting for Hubs and his friend to show up for dinner, which is when the next cool thing happened.
To Be Continued...
And PS, if your gallbladder hates you, give it Lecithin. Holy Toledo. That stuff WORKS. I ate real food and didn't vomit. My shoulder didn't ache and I pretty much felt normal. YAY! Thanks for the advice, Whitney. :)

Vacation: Lake Tahoe Day One

We made it. The first day was NOT stellar, but really, any day that starts with vomit before breakfast just isn't destined for greatness, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

After my gallbladder forced my stomach to evacuate it's paltry contents (during family prayer), we loaded up the kids and said our goodbyes to Idaho.

Once in Reno, the kids and I dropped Dad off at the hotel for his Geek Convention TM and headed over to Costco. Did you know at the Reno Costco they make you show your card before you can use the BATHROOM? Did you also know that while you're digging the card out from the cheerios on the bottom of your purse, they will close the bathroom and laugh at you and your two small children doing the potty dance until another (female) employee takes pity on the three of you and makes the bathroom guy let you in? True story. I would not make up a tale about potty dances.

The kids and I shopped a week's worth of groceries and then drove on out to the condo at lake Tahoe. Which is when we found out the condo boasted a MINI fridge. Oh yeah, baby.
Here's what I bought:
whole chicken
2 gallons of milk
tub of salad mix
2.5 lbs cheese
1/2 flat raspberries
2 lb blueberries
2 dozen eggs
veggie tray
lunch meat
Um yeah. It all fit. (not)
The first night I cooked the pizza and it touched both edges of the oven, because the fridge isn't the only mini thing about this condo. It's kinda like living in Japan. Diminutive.
Oh, and the fire alarm went off when I opened the oven to get the pizza out. It wasn't even crispy yet, let alone burnt.

I took the kids swimming, Zsa Zsa got a bloody nose when the car door ran into her face and  that about sums up the first day. Luckily, Day two was better.

Aug 16, 2011

Random Boy

Yesterday the kids and I were running errands. Zsa Zsa, upon getting buckled into her seat, told me she was going to sleep. The Boy handed out this little gem:

"Mom, I'm not sleepable right now. When I *am* sleepable, I'll go to sleep, OK?"
"I want to be a fireman with a fire HAT and fire BOOTS and a fire JACKET and ALL that stuff!"

What can I say? He can't help being that random. It's genetic.

Aug 15, 2011

First Ever Placenta Encapsulation (no pictures)

Alright folks, I just finished the steaming/slicing portion of my first ever placenta encapsulation, and I have to say, that was a lot grosser than I'd expected. Those suckers are bloody. And slippery.

I can see why moms hire other people to encapsulate for them. I would, if I'd just had a baby.

Wow. It's nasty.

That being said, I'd do it again for the $200 fee folks charge for the service. It's maybe 30 minutes of stomach churning work for two Benjamins. I think I can handle that. :)

This time, however, I did it for free.

Never. Again. Not even if I love you. (OK, I MIGHT do it again if you're related to me. Maybe. But I'd also have to like you and there are not too many people who fall under both categories.)

Aug 5, 2011

Recipe Review: Costa Vida Sweet Pork Salad

I should probably preface this post with a disclaimer: I don't eat pork, and I hate the scent of cilantro. When I say "hate" I mean, if I chop it, I'll vomit. I'm not a puker under any circumstances but it's that gross.

Mom thawed some pork the other day when I said I wanted meat. Sadly, pork is not meat. It's a dead pig. Pigs don't get any cuter upon death and they weren't exactly gorgeous to start with.

So here's the recipe I chose from the Picky Palate via Pinterest. Obviously, my palate is picky-er. Just say'n. Here it is copied and pasted in case you're too lazy to to click through.

(Obviously, I'm too lazy to take my own picture.)

Y'all know I don't DO recipes that require bottles of this and boxes of that, but I figured since I wasn't going to be eating it, it didn't really matter. Am I right? OK then.

Sweet Pork Salad with Cilantro Dressing
2-4 lb pork roast
1 ½ Cups Coca Cola (seriously, not joking. Talk about something I don't have laying about the house)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Seasoning Salt
1 Cup Coca Cola
1 Cup ketchup (I used my organic HFCS free ketchup. What a waste of perfectly good product)
1 jar Herdez Salsa Verde (mild tomatillo salsa, I get it at Walmart, any size)
Equal amount of prepared ranch dressing (Hidden Valley)
1 Bunch Cilantro (ew. EW. EW! I did it, and I barfed but I was trying to be true to the recipe)
10 inch wheat or flour tortillas
Shredded green leaf lettuce
Black beans, I just used canned
Cilantro lime rice (steamed rice with chopped cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice, as much as desired)
Diced tomatoes, cheese, guacamole….etc
Crispy Tortilla Strips (flour tortillas cut into thin strips and fried in vegetable oil until browned)
  1. Place roast in crockpot with Coke; season with salt, pepper and garlic seasoning. Cook on low overnight, until tender.Remove roast from crockpot, discard juices. Shred pork into bite size pieces and place back into pot on low.
  2. Place Cola and ketchup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Heat to a low boil. Pour over shredded roast. Cook on low until ready to serve. (oops. I just saw this step. I was supposed to COOK it?)
  3. For dressing, place equal parts salsa verde and ranch dressing into food processor or blender. Add Cilantro leaves and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. To serve: Place tortilla onto a large bowl or plate. Layer with lettuce, beans, rice, pork, dressing and tomatoes, cheese and guacamole. Cheese, guacamole and crispy tortilla strips not pictured, but really good in it!
Obviously, it was totally gross. I made a cheese crisp and ate outside. I think the rest of the family ate it, but this could be because I didn't make lunch, either. Hello, there was pork in the kitchen. Like I'd go in there willingly?

Best Snack EVER

Holy Pizza Sauce, IB Nation.
My sister has discovered the secret to snacking.

It's salty, fast and HEALTHY.
I KNOW!!!!!! I'm excited, too!

Ready? OK.

Get a small zucchini. Slice it in thin strips or thin rounds. Zap in microwave for 30 seconds. Now get out your Costco container of shredded Parmesan. Oh, I know you have one! Hurry now.
Sprinkle the cheese over the zukes and zap for another 30ish seconds.
I'd have taken a picture but every time we make it, there's no time before it's gone again. We kinda ran out of zucchinis. Seriously. Without putting them in unlocked cars.