Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Longest Drive EVER

We said goodbye to Utah on the night of July 5th. 
After eating at Texas Road House with Nate's family, we hit the road. 
We knew we had a long drive ahead of us 
but I don't think either of us really understood how long it really was. 
Our apartment was boxed up, our car was packed to the brim, and our cooler was full of drinks and snacks.
We were ready to go.
Virginia here we come!

Wyoming greeted us with a beautiful rainbow. It was huge!
It looked like this on both sides and you could see where it connected in the middle. Gorgeous! 
We took our first sleeping break in Wyoming from about 2 AM to 6 AM in our car. Nate found a dark place to pull over on the side of the road and we snoozed away until the sun woke us up. 

Nebraska left a bitter taste in our mouth. It was so boring, so flat, and it felt like the drive would never end. And to top it all off.....we got a speeding ticket for going 10 over. 
Dang it.....
In Utah everyone goes 10 over and it is considered normal! 

 Corn, corn, and more corn....we saw lots of corn in good old Iowa. 

Here is our fantastic driver, Nate. 

And of course a road trip wouldn't be complete without Nate's favorite soda, Coke. 

 In Missouri, things started getting exciting and a little scary too. We got caught in a huge rain storm! The freeway was flooding and people were pulling off to the side, stopping, and waiting for the rain to stop before continuing on with their journey. Our windshield wipers were on full blast and we still couldn't see. I checked the weather and it said extreme weather alert and I got a little worried about tornadoes since we were in tornado country. We were almost completely out of gas but our exit was approaching soon where we could fill up at a cheap gas station. Then if things couldn't get worse, something popped in the hood of our van and we lost power steering. We thought that we were out of gas.Then the temperature gauge started rising quickly and we were soon up to the H. We knew it wasn't just the gas but something else was up. We took our exit and Nate carefully drove the car to the gas station without power steering with the car loudly beeping that we were overheating. It was a crazy 5 minutes! But luckily and miraculously, we got to the gas station we were searching for and parked under a covered area. The rain was still coming down like crazy! There was crazy thunder and lightening too. I was getting worried that our car was broken and that we were stuck in Missouri where a tornado was coming. The gas station lady even told me that it was just the beginning of the storm and it was supposed to get worse! Thanks lady! But Nate came to the rescue! I don't know what I would do without him sometimes. He can fix anything. He got out his tools, popped open the hood, and went to work in the storm. About 30 minutes later we were fixed and on the road again with a perfectly good working car. And thank goodness....the rain died down a bit too. 

We got to St. Louis, Missouri, to find some good old fashioned BBQ food for dinner. 
We happened to drive by the famous monument, the Gateway Arch. 

We searched Urban Spoon and Yelp for the best BBQ in town. We decided it was between Pappy's and The Shaved Duck. Since Pappy's was closed before we got there, The Shaved Duck it was. And the cool thing is that "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," with Guy Fieri from Food Network ate at this place! 
We knew it had to be good! And it was!

We started off with their famous Smothered Fries. Guy ate this when he visited. It was yummy. 
The description on the menu about it says this:
 Pulled rib meat over crispy, hand cut fries, smothered in home-made cheese sauce. 

I got their pulled pork flat bread with apples, bacon and white cheddar. 
It came out a little funky how they displayed it, but it tasted divine!
 Nate got their special that was a limited edition menu item. 
It was called, "The Cardiologist." What a great name huh?
 I hoped after Nate ate it that his heart was going to be alright....
It was a beef brisket sandwich with fried onion rings, bacon, and white cheddar. 
This is Nate's, "Hurry and get this picture over with so I can eat my food please- fake smile," face.
At least he will let me sneak a picture in here and there. 

After dinner we drove through Illinois and when we reached Indiana we found a nice rest stop to take our 2nd snooze. It was dark outside but all the lights at the rest stop were making it too bright to sleep so we had to get creative. We put up covers all along the windows using windshield sun blocks, pillow cases, and shirts. It worked quite well and we were able to sleep for about 8 hours.

 This is me very very very bored and getting antsy from being in the car for so long. 
I started taking pictures of myself. 

 This is Indiana. The scenery started looking more pretty the farther East we got but I on the other hand looked more scummy and gross each mile that we traveled. By this time I hadn't showered in 2 days, was wearing the same clothes as when the trip started, and hadn't brushed my hair or put on an ounce of makeup. I had stains on my pants, dirt on my feet, and really needed some deodorant. I felt like an orphan.

 We saw lots of nice scenery and pretty rivers. 

Hello Kentucky!

We were getting hungry for breakfast so we found a great restaurant called, "Wild Eggs." 
It was a 45 minute wait so we took that time to walk around the little mall area and stretch out a bit.
We noticed that our feet were completely swollen. Nate's were worse than mine but mine were pretty bad too! I guess that many hours in the car will do that to you!
This restaurant was way good. It was well worth the wait. 
 I had lemon curd raspberry pancakes and Nate had a Mexican take of eggs benedict.

The south has a ton of water towers! Everywhere we drove we saw them. They all looked so different too.

Poor Nate. He took a much needed break. 
His feet were so swollen and he was completely sick of driving 
so we took a little stretch and nap at a near by rest stop. 

Finally.....We were making progress! West Virginia!

We could tell that we were entering humidity country when we saw this cloud floating low in the air. 

And finally.....
We made it! It felt so good to finally see that sign!
So far we love it here. It is so green and lush and we are in shock at how many trees they have out here! We are constantly driving through tunnels of greenery that just hang down and surround the roads. It always feels like we are in the middle of nowhere because of all the trees but in reality, the trees hide the towns and houses giving it that secluded feeling. The people here are very friendly too and so helpful.

Here is to more adventures and good things awaiting us in Virginia!

Making Gelato

"You are going to die this week."

These are awful words to hear.....but if a doctor told me that my time was short and I only had a few more days to live I would probably do a few things.......

First, or course I would visit my family and friends and talk to them on the phone as much as I could and tell them how much I love them. 

Second, I would do something crazy and adventurous that I had never done before. 

And Third, I WOULD EAT A TON OF ICE CREAM. I would probably eat it for every meal for everyday until my final breath. You are going to die so who cares? That is how much I love ice cream. It is definitely my top choice of desserts, of course along with frozen yogurt. Pinkberry to be exact. 

Nate loves finding deals and he is very good at it. He gets a thrill out of finding something for cheap, fixing it up and then selling it for more than he purchased it. He has magic hands and can fix anything broken that comes along his path. He likes going to auctions and bidding on items for cheap. Recently at the NPS auction in Salt Lake, he found me this little gem.....
 It is an Italian brand artisan gelato maker. He bid on it for only $65 and won! The same exact thing is $700-$800 on Amazon right now. What a deal! It was lacking a couple parts when he got it, but Nate ordered the paddle and lid online and now we have a complete gelato machine. The cool thing about this machine that is different from other machines is that it has a built in frozen bowl that keeps on freezing as it mixes. There is no need to remember to freeze your ice cream machine interior in the freezer the night before you use. it. This one just has it all there for you by the press of a small green button. So with this machine, you can make different batches of ice cream over and over again without having your bowl thaw out. It is brilliant.

So we bought this book on Amazon because it had the best reviews out of all the gelato books. I fell in love with gelato after living in London for a year and traveling to Italy and Paris. Nate and I ate it every chance we got, especially in Venice. We ate it about 5-6 times a day. :) Italians sure do know how to make dang good gelato! So I thought this book could get me off to the right start.
The hard part was figuring out what flavors to make! The first time I used it we were at our family reunion. I thought it would be a good time to try it out so I could have other people eating it besides me. I wanted to do an, "Ice Cream of the Day," and make a different flavor of ice cream each day. I did this a few years ago with cookies up there where I made a different kind of gourmet cookie each day and passed them around throughout the condos for everyone to sample them. But my ice cream of the day idea was a little much, so I just made 3 kinds all on one day. This book has so many great flavors! We finally narrowed it down to these: cantaloupe, cookies and cream, and peanut butter marshmallow. We bought all high end organic ingredients and went to work.

It is quite the process to make. It took all night with Nate and I both doing it together. There are so many steps of heating it to the right temperature to make a custard, then straining it through a mesh sieve, then emulsifying it, and on, and on.....Then they have to be in the fridge for 8 hours before you put them into the machine. It was a lot of work and time but worth it.

The next morning, it was finally time to make the ice cream! We started off with the peanut butter marshmallow one first.

 Then the cookies and cream......
 And then the cantaloupe.
Then after they are all mixed, they need to harden in the freezer for about an hour covered up in saran wrap. 
I'm telling you. It is a very long process.
But then you get results like these! 
It tasted so yummy and very similar to ones that we ate in Italy!
 Can't wait until I get to make my next batch! 
Salted Carmel? Chocolate Hazelnut? Raspberry? Stracciatella?
One of each? We will have to see.....

Angry Birds Birthday

Happy Birthday Caders!
My nephew, Cade, loves Angry Birds.
He had an Angry Birds themed birthday for his 7th.
Mindy bought a ton of Angry Birds shirts for all of the guests to wear at the party. 
I got a little creative and made an Angry Birds hat out of Cade's PJ bottoms to go along with my shirt. :)
We had Angry Birds snacks and played Angry Birds games.
Cade was pretty excited about it all. 

 Here is the littlest Angry Bird......Swayzie.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Condos 2013!!!

Every summer at the end of June for as long as I can remember, my family has a family reunion up in Hope, Idaho. We go to a place called Pend Orielle Shores Resort. It has been a week that I look forward to every summer since I was young. I love having all of my 6 brothers and sisters and their families together in one place along with aunts and uncles. We all really missed Brad and Judy's family this year. It wasn't the same without you guys. :( 
Here are some pictures from the week.

Frog O' Rama Competition 
Whoever collects the most frogs into their boat wins.
Sadly, someone not from our family took the championship this year. 
Nate, Kenzie and I were on a team. 


My Littlest Niece, Swayzie

Canoeing and Catching Turtles

Swimming in the Lake and Paddle Boating
It was freezing!!!

Hanging out on the Dock

Fishing off the Dock

Playing Games

Making Artisan Gelato
Nate bought me a gelato maker at an auction and fixed it up.
I made 3 kinds of gelato-
Cookies and cream, cantelope, and peanut butter marshmallow.

Camp Cousin
We wrote letters to Dylan, Elder Young, my oldest nephew, 
who is serving a mission in Texas right now and speaking Spanish! 
We also decorated pillow cases and signed them. 

Matching Stripes Day

Playing Bingo

Reading Books With Grandpa

Making Homemade Gak

Family Talent Show