Friday, October 24, 2014

SA Conference 2014

Dave and I committed to help put on the regional Single Adult conference this summer - one last time. Here are some of the decorations we put together with help from Becky and some of our committee members:

Building the jail - we used fencing pieces and secured PVC pipes on as bars. We spray painted the pipes black. And we decided that the fencing wasn't really strong enough so for future reference, if you're going to build a jail don't use fencing. 

We attached plywood boards to the bottom and the sides. Our biggest concern was stability and safety. The little money bags you see at the bottom were filled with sand to help stabilize it.  This worked for one night but we all decided that we could have benefitted from a much better design from the get to. But hey, not bad for a design off the cuff.  :)

We even stapled old fashion looking fabric to the inside of the doors and put wood-look paper on the lower outside. 

We had mustaches and a hat to pose for pictures: 

Next we made a watering hole. I love the way it turned out but this project was my first and last pallet project! I do not see the appeal. Seriously they're a pain in the rear to work with. Just my opinion...

We made a "kissing booth" where people could guess how many kisses were in the jar. Then we decided we could also have them guess lemon drops and root beer barrels.  I think the idea was good but we were out of time and energy to make the booth as well as we did the other things so I didn't love the way this one turned out.

We made big sandwich board signs out of plywood. They were heavy so they wouldn't blow over or get knocked down easily. We stapled our signs and cowboy silhouettes to them - don't they look cool? Love 'em!


Speaking of signs, we also made Wanted signs for each speaker to post by the classroom doors:

We used gold and brown plastic tablecloths (I couldn't face washing cloth ones this time) and put red and blue bandana, mason jars with a burlap & lace warp filled with real babies breath and little gem-like rocks scattered on the bandanas as the table centerpieces.

For the buffet tables we put burlap down the center with some cow print fabric for color and variety. We used the same gem like rocks as well as "gold" nuggets to scatter on the table. Again, mason jars with a burlap & lace wrap and wildflowers. 

Along the walls we did rosettes in two sizes - huge ones and then a big bunch. These took pretty much forever to make. I think we had 4 people spend about 3 or 4 hours making all the rosettes.

For the small ones that were all bunched together we made all the rosettes and then used floral wire to secure them to a sheet of grid wire sort of like chicken wire but with smaller holes.  Gloves were required as it's sharp and it was trick getting them all secured on tightly and close together.

We always forget how BIG those walls are and how much you need to really make an impact. We were glad we had the big rosettes.

We had a torn fabric garland and hung a sign that said Howdy Ya'll at the entrance. (It's hard to read the sign here but it was sure cute!)

We strung lights across the gym (you have to have lights!) Here's a fun story about the lights....  We had bought the lights we needed but moved in the middle of all this. The day before the conference we were house sitting (really, too much going on at once) and came home to make sure everything was together to haul over to the church the next day. This is when we discovered that the lights were missing. They're somewhere in our storage unit (!!) so we had to buy new lights and now we are the proud owners of several boxes of lights. I hope our new house has a pergola or patio or something. If it doesn't maybe Dave will just have to build us one...  ;)

We hung up our moon on the stage for a good background there and hung black paper behind it to camouflage the stage.

And then the fun began...

We couldn't have done it without Becky, our committee and the stakes who signed up to help us set up all the decorations. I was mostly pleased with the way it turned out and I hope the conference attendees enjoyed it.

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.