Monday, October 13, 2014

Manitou Springs

In September we went to Manitou Springs for the day. There's really lots to do in that area so we'll have to go back again. Oh bummer! ;)

I wanted to surprise Dave (this will also surprise all of you) so our first stop was the World Famous Penny Arcade. You probably need some proof so here's photographic evidence that I went into an arcade:

It was interesting (but not surprising) to see what we both gravitated to - I wanted to play the old games like pinball and skeeball while Dave wanted to play all the modern games like Mortal Kombat. I did play Ms. Pacman and Dave even talked me into one game of Mortal Kombat.

Just for the record, I'm not too bad at skeeball... but I really sucked it up on everything else. One observation from this little foray into the world of video games - it was obvious that these games have been made for men since the very beginning - even the really old ones were full of scantily clad, overly busty women no matter what the game was and most of them are violent. Yuck. Just sayin'.

We took a tour of the Cave of the Winds. Have you ever seen the darkness of a cave? At one point they turned off the lights so you could see what total darkness is really like when you literally cannot even see your hand right in front of your face. It was DARK! It only gets that dark two places in the world - in caves and at the bottom of the ocean.

Manitou Springs has 7 natural springs where the water is naturally carbonated. We tried it. Gross. That's all.

Jodee recommended Heart of Jerusalem as a good place to eat so we tried it out. We liked dinner but the best part was the Baklava - oh! my! word! Incredible. We split a piece. I told Dave he has to get his own piece next time because I want my own piece.

A couple observations about Manitou Springs... 1) There are lots of hippies there but what was unique about that was how many old hippies were there. Tons. 2) There are some serious hills there! So, we'll avoid it in the winter and visit in the summer. 3) There's lots to see and do in this area and we only had one day. Georgetown is still our favorite but we'll be back to Manitou as well.

Oh, and one last note - 

There's a Mata shop there - mata is the preferred drink in Argentina where Dave served his mission and he's always wishing he could have it here.  Needless to say, Dave was so excited to see the shop and then so sad to see that it was closed because we were there on a Saturday and the shop's owners are Jewish so it's closed on their sabbath. Guess that just means we'll have to take a long weekend and stay down there sometime so Dave can have Mata.  Ok, twist my arm.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grand Lake

We went to Grand Lake in August.  We decided it was a little farther than we want to travel for our mountain days since they're just day trips but it's definitely a place we'd like to go back to for a long weekend sometime.

We went on a short little hike (more like walk) to this river:

Gorgeous!!  I'm such a sucker for rivers and lakes!  (It's just outside of town but I can't remember the name of it...)

Then we had our picnic lunch at the lake (Grand Lake - I do remember that!).

We had Pan Bagnat (which is a fancy French name for really good tuna sandwiches) - I'll blog that recipe later.  Super yummy!

While we were eating the storm clouds rolled in and it got really windy and chilly - this seems to be a trend with us.  Maybe we should just eat in the car... The takeaway is that if you see us getting lunch out it's time to pack up and head out because the storm will be there soon.  ;)

After lunch we went to stroll through town and look who else decided to stroll through town and take a little break right in the park:

It was really cool to see him so close - he was huge!  I texted J a picture of him but he apparently wasn't so impressed. I guess you had to be there. 
But really seeing a moose so close made him seem very majestic. 

One more shot in front of the lake - getting colder and starting to rain:

My hubby is such a good sport! I saw a pull out next to the river and I wanted to get out and walk around a little on our way home and he pulled over and let me take all the time I wanted. 
I'm a lucky girl!

We enjoyed Grand Lake and saw lots of camping spots on our way up there - making plenty of notes as we went so we can go back and explore the area even more some day. Very pretty.

Things I learned on this trip - all our pictures together are selfies so we need to ask people to take a picture of us now and then.  And I really need to stay on top of these blogs since I'm already forgetting details!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


We went to Georgetown last Saturday and I have to tell you I'm in *love* with Georgetown!  It's so stinkin' cute!

We drove up Guanella Pass to Clear Lake for a picnic lunch. The lake was nothing too exciting but the scenery around was fabulous and the drive, while full of switchbacks, was gorgeous. Thank goodness for my seabands or I'd get sick every time we go up the mountain! We started to have lunch and the wind was blowing and it was C-O-L-D!

We ate in a hurry because, well, it was cold. Just as we were heading back to the car it started to rain. Before we left that morning we said "maybe we should bring jackets" but then we forgot. Lesson learned! It's late August - we need jackets. We should probably always have them in the car anyway.

After lunch we went into Georgetown. It was cool in Georgetown but substantially warmer than up the hill aways!

One thing I love about Georgetown is that it sits in this little valley and any direction you look is a towering mountain covered in pine trees. Love!

We walked around the main street area for awhile then went to the Hotel de Paris Museum. The poor volunteer who was taking care of admission that day was an older lady and she was so frazzled that she had to run a credit card charge through because we didn't have cash. Lesson #2 learned for this trip - bring cash! Some of these small places deal better with that and some only take cash.

It was a fun tour that even takes you into the cellar. That wasn't so good for my tall husband but it was still interesting to see. Something like 90% of what you see there was original to the first or second owners - very unusual for a museum so I was pretty excited about that.

We also did the tour of the Hamill House museum - that was an excellent tour!

The house is gorgeous and the tour guide was great. We were the only ones on that tour and that always makes me happy because then you can go at your own pace and ask questions and really get the info on whatever interests you. The guide also gave us good information on Georgetown in general which always helps put things in context.

One thing he told us was that while most mountain mining towns had one decent fire department Georgetown had four (4!) excellent fire departments and because of that it's the only mountain town in the state that has never burned to the ground. This also explains why I love this town so much - seriously there were old houses and buildings everywhere with their little plaques "1875," "1888" and so on. No wonder it's so adorable!! There were two houses (adorable houses) for sale right across the street from the Hamill House but Dave wouldn't let me buy one. Well, actually he said I would really hate the commute. I said that's ok, I'll quit my job and stay right there in Georgetown...  ;)

This little mountain town is a gem and it's only about 45 minutes away from home. We both loved it and we'll definitely be back!! Next time we'll stay overnight so we can take more time exploring Guanella Pass.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I love the mountains and every year I intend on spending time there. And pretty much always it's the end of the summer and I realize with a start that we haven't even made it up the hill. When the end of June came around this year and I realized we hadn't gone anywhere or planned anything I decided we were going to sit down that night and put some mountain days on the calendar. We decided that we should explore Colorado by starting with day trips to mountain towns close by.

Our first stop was Dillon Reservoir and the town of Frisco.

We started at Dillon and learned our first lesson - make sure to check what's going on the weekend you're going up. This was the inaugural Frisco Triathalon so a lot of the roads were closed off to cars so that the cyclists could make their trek. Fortunately, we were able to park at Sapphire Trail and we walked around that short trail for awhile and enjoyed the views.

We had a picnic lunch and then we did some water color painting. :) I brought a tablet of paper and a box of Crayola watercolors and we painted the mountains. Silly? Maybe. But it was fun!

After that we went to explore Frisco. Neither of us felt like it was a town we could spend a whole day in but it had some fun things. They have a history museum that's well done. They've preserved several buildings and it's set in a really nice little park. We enjoyed that and enjoyed taking our time and just meandering through. 

Dave would have a hard time living in these houses since the ceilings are only about an inch above his head...

We also liked the Gatherhouse Glassblowing Studio.  They do demonstrations from 2-7pm three days a week. It was interesting to see them shape and create a beautiful vase. Too expensive to buy anything there but worth going and watching for awhile. :)

We didn't see anywhere we were too excited to try for dinner so we drove up to Breckenridge and ate there. And decided that Breck will definitely be on our Mountain list - it looks like a fun place to explore!

Frisco, CO

We came back totally sunburned (the dumbest thing is that we had sunscreen with us but we forgot to put it on! That would be the second lesson learned. Duh!) and tired but it was a fun day and so very nice to get away and not worry about a thing all day. 

What Colorado towns should be put on our list to explore in the future?  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weekend Review

Dave and I had Becky & Jeff's kiddos for a few days last weekend and we had lots of fun. Here are some random thoughts from the weekend:

We picked them up from the Pinewood Derby where Nana and Ponka had cheered them on. Tiernan's car won "Best Theme" and Josh's car won "Most Patriotic."  Nice job boys!

I had bought tickets to the Denver Pops Orchestra months before and I tried to find tickets for the kids so they could join us but much to their dismay I was unsuccessful.  Instead we (as Dad puts it) sublet our babysitting job to a great babysitter and the kids claim they had way more fun that way. Dave and I enjoyed the concert so it was a win-win. The concert was in a beautiful old church downtown - here's a little glimpse:

One day we made George Washington's favorite hoe cakes (recipe from Mount Vernon). Josh said (& Tiernan agreed) he didn't want to hurt George Washington's feelings (because he really likes George Washington) but these really aren't very good. We all agreed. Sorry Mr. Washington but we prefer our modern pancakes! We decided if he were here today he would agree.

Mia came knocking on our door on Sunday night to tell me she threw up all over the bed.  :(  Poor girl,  it's no fun to be sick but it's even worse in someone else's house. Then she got to stay here on Monday and be bored out of her mind all day while the boys were at school. Darn the luck!

This is how T left his sleeping bag in the mornings:

And this is how Josh left his:

Classic Josh and Tiernan! :)

We found out that I am missing quite a few important things since I haven't moved everything over to our house (since we'll be moving out shortly there's no point in moving everything over just yet). A few examples:

None of the kids brought a comb and I only have a round brush here. Josh said that kind hurts. I told him to be careful. 

I only had one set of sheets for the guest bed where Mia threw up so she got to sleep on the couch while I washed sheets. She said, "I nevah slept on a couch before!" Ah yes, well you never know what new and exciting thing you get to try at Carrie's house...  

Drinks for school lunch? Um....... Oh wait a minute! I have a box of Capri Sun in my car. See? It's good to be prepared. In your car. 

Kid books to read at bedtime. I have lots of them!! Just not here. 

Next time we have them for a weekend we should be in a new house with all our stuff so we'll be better prepared and that will be good for everyone. Either way we had fun with them and were so glad they could come stay with us!  :D

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Tidings

This was a Christmas for the books. It was a mixed bag of sorts. We laughed and cried. We missed Mom terribly and we were greatly blessed.

Here are a few highlights:

Some dear friends of ours came caroling to us the Sunday before Christmas. Dad and I both cried. It was an answer to a prayer.

We had our Raclette dinner on Christmas Eve and realized that Mom knew all the details and we didn't so much. We made notes after we were done eating so that next year we'll be better prepared. It was still enjoyable and next year it'll be fabulous! ;)

Christmas day was here, there and everywhere.  I went to Dave's in the morning then we went to his dad's house then his brother's house then we stopped by aunt Peggy's house then finally back home for dinner and presents. The Hanlins were in the Springs with Jeff's family then over to Peggy's then on to Dad's and they got there about when we did. And that's where things got a little interesting. As you can imagine, all those stops took a little longer than we had anticipated so we got home about an hour and a half later than planned. That meant that the meatballs in the crockpot were....mostly burned. Yum! And the soup in the other crockpot was maybe a little over cooked as well. Before I left I had cut up fruit and measured out all the spices for wassail. I gave Dad instructions - Pour the cider in a big pot, add everything in this bowl and let it simmer for a couple hours. I was really excited for wassail! (I wasn't super excited for soup or meatballs...)

As we were sitting eating overcooked soup and burned meatballs (I think everyone was just trying to be nice and eat it anyway - or maybe they were just glad we were finally home so they could eat...) I took a sip of the much anticipated wassail. Oh dear. It was not good. Not like a little not good. It was really, really not good. There was almost no flavor - it was so weak. I thought, "Huh! I would never have thought wassail would get so weak from simmering too long. In fact, that's just weird. And dang, that's a really big pot of wassail to just throw out." Turns out Becky was thinking something like "I don't want to tell Carrie her wassail isn't good but..."

We even got Becky's kids to try it. They didn't like it.

Then Dad said, "I wonder if I put too much water in that wassail?"

Me, "You put water in it?  Did you use all of the cider?"

Dad, "Cider?  What cider?"

We all burst out laughing - there's no water in wassail but there IS cider.  And it was all in the fridge. Later that evening Dad, standing at the fridge, said , "Now I do kind of remember you saying something about that cider..."

We laughed about that all night. And maybe for a couple days afterwards. Dad is no longer in charge of the wassail.

Despite the hard moments wishing Mom was here with us it was a good Christmas with family and friends and laughs and blessings and memories. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

SA Conference Luau

Better late than never, right?  Here are a bunch of pictures from our Single Adult Conference Luau - none are amazing but it'll give you an idea of what it looked like. We had months of fun creating the tiki dudes, volcano, waterfall, centerpieces, signs, etc.

We'll start outside where we had a couple of these signs (thanks for the wood burning help Becky!) directing everyone to the various activities in the two buildings:

Inside is where everything came to life...

Tiki Dudes - cardboard boxes (boxes for all these projects were courtesy of Mom - thanks Mom!) covered in newspaper to give dimension then in paper mache then painted once they dried:

We had something like 25 tiki dudes, which looked like a lot in Kristin's basement but hardly any in the big cultural hall!

Next up, table centerpieces.  We made 3 different kinds to have a little variety.

Baskets with tropical flowers:

Palm trees!

Floral rings around vases.  Inside the vases we had sand, tiny seashells and rocks, and a battery operated tea light.

We had a tiki bar thanks to Kristin's generous friend:

One of our favorite features (and the one that caused the most frustration and took several rebuilds) was the volcano:

Once again this was a product of many hours of covering boxes in paper mache (I think we've all had about enough paper mache time to last a lifetime!) then we added lights wrapped in red cellophane for lava.  Behind the volcano we hung black paper punched with holes for stars (lamps behind the paper) and of course a sparkly moon (you can't have a luau without a sparkly moon can you?). 

In the back corner we built a waterfall.  Guess what it's made of?  Right!  Boxes covered in paper mache.  Then we put blue plastic tablecloths down the center followed by white lights.  Then we draped blue organza over the top. Justin and Paulette made a ring of stones around the pool of water and hung the background scenery.

We strung about 180 paper lanterns (fuchsia, orange and lime green) in three different sizes across the ceiling and added a couple strings of lights.

We had a delicious dinner from Lifestyles Catering and then Manea Polynesia came and danced for us. They did an incredible job!!  They had 16 dancers and did dances from many of the different islands.

Our conference committee was small but they were incredible to work with!  The best part of anything like this is all the new friends you have!  Thanks for everything Kristin, Debbie, Cheree, Penny & Dave!