Saturday, January 30, 2010

40 and Fab!
My friend Kristin, who has also been the voice of reason in my head ever since we moved here, just turned 40!! Happy Birthday Sister! The girls took her out for the day Wednesday. Not that she didn't have other options..but we wanted to sort of dominate her day. :) Lori and Tricia started early am by putting up a friendly neighborhood announcement on her garage, in the form of a large poster, that said: ......And the princess gracefully turns 40! So fitting. Earlier that morning at the gym, Jewelia's husband - not a slight man (picture ex-BYU football player) climbed atop the locker ledge at the gym and made the announcement that his friend was turning 4o today and lead them all in Happy Birthday. That morning we took her to Sanctuary Day Spa at the Gateway for lovely lovely pedi's and then had a fabulous lunch at The Dodo. Ron paid for our lunch....since he was out of town....Very nice.

Angie - We missed you!!! Wish you could have flown out from Virginia....:)) Susan, you too! And time :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ogden is calling me...

Growing up in Davis County gives you options to enjoy going about equal distances north or south to find a unique, quaint little place to eat. Up until a few years ago I would always lean to go south. Call me a snob, but Ogden just didn't have the pull for me. Well I'm here to say that I was all wrong. Ogden really has a lot to offer and I think it has become my favorite place to eat out. Here are a few of my favorites up that way and in different parts of Weber County:

Carlos Produce on 31st and Washington
This is my favorite and most recent find that I stumbled across after driving home from skiing a few weeks ago. I stopped at this little produce store that looked like a farmers market still operating in the middle of the winter. Not only was the produce big and beautiful and fresh, they had all things any true mexican food afficionado could want. All of the great spices, fresh herbs, drinks, tortillas, hot peppers, big dates, tamales. I was in my mecca. I bought a bunch of stuff to make for dinner that night. That is a good way to spend a Saturday in January: skiing and a great little market and homemade mexican food. I found out that Sacco's Produce in Clearfield is a sister of the owner of Carlos and it is pretty similar. My friend Kristin has been telling me about Sacco's for years, and now I know why.

Tony's Pizza
My dad took us as kids to this 50's pizza parlor that he used to take my mom to when they were dating - it's been around THAT long! Your typical little hole in the wall-turned fabulous eats-inside on 39th street, down near the Ogden Country Club. I remember we loved it because they served all of the sodas in the smaller glass bottles just like back in the day. The pizza is fantastic - my favorite being the green olives and mushrooms. Salads are great as well. Once I convinced Kerry to make the drive for pizza with the kids, he was sold.

A temple night out with friends landed us here. Our friend Jonathan took his doctor clients here all the time and had talked it up for awhile, but we always voted it out "to do next time" - it is a little pricey. But let me tell you: EXCELLENT sushi with the owner being the real deal straight from San Francisco. Very very good. We ordered off the menu per J's recommendation. The mochi ice cream is also fantastic. Yum. A good splurge. On historic 25th street.
Heading up towards Morgan you pass a little tiny town called Taggert. Just off the Taggert exit and under the overpass is a hidden little gem called Taggert's Grill. This may seem a little far, only until you've been there and tried the food. Then the drive is seen as a pleasure. It is great in the fall with the leaves changing and the restaurant is tucked up next to the river and the mountains which is really a beautiful little spot. The blue corn enchiladas are my standing order and their bakery window is complete temptation with all of the giant cookies and desserts anyone could ever ask for. One time my sister Annie and I decided to ditch skiing because it was too windy, left the resort, and headed over to Taggarts for lunch. Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

A brewery pub in a great location on historic 25th street. Great food - a little bit of everything. Awesome salads, hummus, ginormous onion rings. mmm... A little slow on the service. Don't go if you have an impatient husband...

Union Grill
Downtown Ogden. Another favorite by the train depot. French onion soup is delish.

Sandy's Fine Diner
This is a favorite of another friend of ours that we were introduced to on a temple night. This is your good old fashioned family diner on Washington Ave. They are famous for their pies and the meatloaf rocks.

Utah noodle
Again, one of my parent's favorite places to go for Chinese food from years and years ago.

The Oaks
Heading up or down Ogden canyon you can stop at this place for a great burger, salad, chicken. We usually like to go in the warmer months when you can sit outside next to the river on the tiered patios.

The Sonora Grill
Brand new and a little bit pricier, but the tortilla chips and salsa alone are divine. Right across from the new Solomon Center, so it's a great spot to go before catching a flick.

The Spring Chicken Inn
This is at the bottom of Trappers loop when you drop into Huntsville. Actually, it has been a long time since I've eaten here, and it may have moved. But it was this great little white farmhouse set back off of the road where I tried escargot for the first time in high school. I need to find out if it is still there....

Well that is a quick food editorial from a complete amateur that just loves good food. The weekend is here, so a great opportunity to head up north.
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So I have this whole thing with New Years Resolutions. I don't do them. Well, I think through them in my head, things I want to work on for the year, and I am all for setting goals and pushing to achieve greatness in our lives. But the whole New Years thing sort of makes me crazy. I think all it really is is a date thing. Like the idea of starting on Day 1 - Jan 1 makes us aware of exactly how many days we have been working on something, which creates the pressure of keeping a perfect record going until we finally CRACK! Then we look back and think I made it x number of days this year...and that particular goal seems to quickly fade away into last years wish list. Why set yourself up like that?
So I just go about it a different way. Like this year for instance, New Years Eve we stayed out with friends until 2:30am, got to bed by 3am, and slept in until 11am. I don't think that has happened since high school, but it sure felt good. As I woke up, we had this terrific cake dessert from the night before sitting out on our counter. So, Jan 1 2010, 11 am, I had cake for breakfast. Delish. I really just wanted to push the whole healthy eating goal out the door from the beginning, which took all the pressure off, and allowed me to start when I wanted, without all the pressure. I eat pretty good 80% of the time, and that is good enough for me. Some days it is only 30%, but in the end it averages out and I still get to eat my chocolate.
Last year, I set a goal to learn how to use chop sticks. Guess what! I shot for the stars and can use them like a champ. This year it is to start violin lessons and pick up where I left off years ago. That is the goal, not the resolution. I'm getting around to making the phone call pretty soon..... It's about time. It's been on my list of NY resolutions for the last 10+years. By mid February, I'll probably be ready.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No Toys For You!

These are Jack the Dog's chew toys and they are on top of the mantel, tauntingly, out of Jack's reach.
Beckham told me that they were put there because Jack was grounded.
I'm sure it hurts Beckham more than it hurts Jack to punish him like this.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Kerry showed the kids an email of a golfer who had reached into a pond to retrieve his golf ball and had his entire arm bitten off by an alligator. It almost looked fake - you could see the entire arm in the jaws of the gator, and then when they caught and killed the gator they pulled the arm - completely intact- from the belly of the predator to see if they could reattach it. I don't know what happened to that unfortunate man, and I don't know why Kerry showed our young, impressionable children the pictures, but Becks sure has an opinion on it.
On the way to pre-school today, he told me the whole story as I just told it, only he added his two cents at the end. He said, "That alligator wasn't being very respectful. And that man should have just let the alligator keep his golf ball."
Good Advice, Kiddo.

I just have to comment on this...

As a news junkie, I have been watching and reading all of the information coming out of Haitie, and it is so heart wrenching and unbelievable at the level of pain these people are going through. Seeing a young father carrying the lifeless body of his little 3 year old daughter and to see the expression on his face of the most painful agony. I can't even imagine. I just want to hug my kids and husband and never let them go. I am so grateful there are good, skilled people who are able to go into that country and help. I know there are ways to help from over here - probably mostly financially.

I heard something in a story just after the earthquake from a reporter that said
"Today, a lot of important things suddenly became unimportant."
I can't seem to get that out of my mind. It is true - the amount of time we spend on things that really have little or no value when it is all said and done. We all know it but seem to fall back into that trap until something like this happens.
As hard as it is to watch and to see, it inspires me to see the fight of the human spirit when catastrophes hit. To see people coming together and searching, working, and fighting to find and help their most cherished possessions - their babies, children, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and friends. That's really what it all comes down to when it is all said and done - the relationships we have with other people. God bless them all and the people who are working to help them.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Convos with Becks and Eva

Beckham stood on the chair behind me as I was working on the computer. He wrapped his arms around my neck and started to tell me what my new name was going to be. "Mom. Today your name is going to be Fluffy. Tomorrow it will be Good. The next day it will be Starlight, and the next day it will be Word World. And your name on the very last day will be George."

Over the break instead of Eva saying, "Oh yeah, I went there!" (with attitude) she said to her father, "Oh yeah. I'm good at went'en there!" Kerry totally called her on that and she quickly reworded her sentence.

Becks was sitting at the counter crying because Kerry told him to finish all of his cereal. Kerry looked at him and said, "Becks, we do NOT cry over cereal!" to which Becks, who knew he was in trouble, answered, "I'm not crying over my cereal. I'm crying over my friends."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas 2009

We had a wonderful Holiday and Christmas 2009!
Hope you all did as well!
All dressed up in their Sunday Best
And the boys are all looking quite dapper
Eva Girl looking lovely in her Christmas dress

Eva made this notebook for Beckham so he would have something to open before Christmas. He could barely handle waiting - it's good for him! She wanted him to have his own drawing book and he was so excited. She is thoughtful and loves to make things for people - I love this about her.
Auntie's Gifts Arrive!!!
They can barely contain themselves and we let them open them a few days early to spread out the love a little. It is so much fun to receive packages in the mail from Auntie. Not just for the gifts they bring, but they always arrive put together so nicely - all wrapped up inside a box that contains all sorts of treasures tucked away.

She also gave us some boxes of our favorite Fralingers treats from back in Atlantic City, NJ. Love this stuff - she totally got us hooked.
Jammies left by the sneeky little elves.
Kerry's patience finally ran out and he told Eva as she ran in and threw her coat on the couch that he was charging her $1 if she wanted it back since she didn't hang it up.
(This was about the umpteenth time we've asked her to.)
Tears broke out she was all the sudden a very sad little girl on a magical night. I wasn't very happy that he chose that moment to do it for the very reason that all of her pics from Christmas Eve would be her with big red eyes. But I have to say, it worked. I don't think it has happened since. I guess it will always be memorable!

New Ornaments on Christmas Eve.
This year I found some really cool glass blown sea creatures to remind us of our Aruba trip: a great big puffer fish, a lacy octupus, and a gecko for Becks. Ethan got a glass baseball because that is what he wants to start playing in the Spring.
Earlier that night we met my family for our traditional dinner at Sssssizzzler and then a movie. The sacrifice of the year: my entire family sat through Alvin and the Chipmunks..since it was about the only show out that worked with our kids. Oh boy that was painful.
The rest of the night, however, was very fun as we spent time at my parents eating and playing games. The biggest news of the night came when Jonny and Brooke announced that they were having a baby!!
Kiddos with their puppy - excited and ready for Santa.
Christmas morning!
We followed up with a Christmas Brunch at our house with my family. We have the famous Armstrong Mansion baked french toast along with bacon and juice and a big fruit salad that everyone adds to. Always yummy and easy.
This year we had Jonny and Brooke, Grandma and Grandpa Darrohn, Steve and Devyn, and Britter. Naps followed and lots of movies and toys and relaxing that day.
Later we decided to go out for dinner with our kids and Uncle Mike. The ONLY places open - at all - were Chinese restaurants. It was hilarious. We ate at a Chinese restaurant and had our very own Christmas Story moment. Classic!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

72 Hour Kits

I have had this recurring nightmare scenario playing out in my head for the last 5 or so years. It is me frantically running through my home trying to get my family out during an earthquake. In the middle of the chaos I glance at the fridge and notice my "to do list" held up by a magnet. Blaring out at me, as if to say, "I told you so", I see the uncompleted, neglected item:
"Get 72 Hour kits together".
The words are hard to make out because our house is crashing in around us and the earth is moving, but I sickeningly know all too well what it says.
I would think about the irony of that scenario all the time.

It has been on my list for years. It just never got taken care of.
1 year food storage - Done. 72 hour kits only wishful thinking.

Well Not So Any Longer! Goodbye to that nightmare. Hello to peace of mind!
This year we did not get Christmas cards sent out, or any lights up outside. But we did get these kits D.O.N. E. in the middle of December at a busy time. I'm glad we took care of it. It feels good. Now I pray we never have to use them.