Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Silicone Hot Pads

Wow, this past week has gone toooooo FAST!  My training schedule is ramping up and is naturally taking up lots of time, it is obvious that I need to find balance to keep up on da blog and laundry, and dishes, and . . .  and. . .  and. . . spring is coming too, which means more time outside, longer bike rides, events, and I want to attempt growing zucchini again this year.  Honestly if anyone would like to offer "free" tutoring in this department, I'm interested!  Oh, I'm excited just thinking about it all,  it's going to be a busy fun summer! Plus, I can't forget about my class that I am teaching at Kitchen Kneads this week!  Preparing for these classes is always stress laden, but for today, lets talk about 

Hot Pad Holders. . . 

I love these little guys.  They come in lots of fun colors
These are silicone hot pad holders, but they are more useful than just getting cookies out of the oven

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These little guys can get really HOT or so the instructions say, but what about really?

I decided to cook one in the oven and let it “pre-heat” to 450°,  The thermometer says 402°f.  
I think the smoke got me a little nervous.

inside it’s a little smokey, and it cooled down fairly rapidly, but the hot pad?

. . . perfectly fine! It came out of the oven unscathed. 
The food particles left behind are well done though

I’ll admit it was pretty warm, well lets not exaggerate, it was actually pretty hot, and I had to use tongs to get it out, but the point is, these guys can get PIPING HOT before they self destruct. 

The older variety just came in basic boring squares and were thinner, and a little more flexible, than the new variety.  This red one is the “new and improved” version.  It has a cool pattern in it and they have put a fabric layer inside so it’s even better!  The old ones would sometimes burn the fingertips if they landed in just the wrong place.  The new one, no way.  It’s stiffer and not quite as flexible, but still flexible enough.

At our house Ice-cream is a staple, and with that comes topping, which gets kind of sticky and stuck sometimes, you know the kind of stuck that makes you think wood glue.  These cute colorful hot pad holders work perfectly as a “gripper” to get those stubborn lids to come off.


As you can see, both old and new grip just fine,
. . . works like a charm

Look at this cool trick!  How many times have I taken a pie, casserole, or cake somewhere else other than my house, and it wants to slide all over the floor of the car, making me drive like grandpa with handicap privileges?  Not anymore, with these little guys my pan stays put!  Well, okay, I’m not sure about 4-wheeling, but let me know if you try it some day.

They are an easy grab for that hot pan you need to get off the stove.
Or as a trivet to set that hot pan on.

So What do I really think?
These are awesome, no more stained hot pad holders waiting for laundry, these go right in the dishwasher and come out perfectly clean. 

just make sure you lift carefully and shake the water out of the little waffle squares first.
They hold a ton of water.

There you have it, a worthwhile investment for any kitchen

Monday, March 14, 2011

A flat tire, Fresh Bread, & a Whirley Pop

I can't believe it's been a full week since I've been here to visit!  How time flies.  This week has been busy but fairly uneventful to say the least.  I think I am still adjusting to a ramping up training schedule.  On Tuesday I had visiting appointments, which took up much of the evening, not leaving much time for anything else.  Wednesday, we had a theater meeting that went kind of long.  Thursday, I got off early and the weather was so nice that I determined to take the bike outside for a ride.  However, I had a flat and had to change it first.  By the time I got it fixed it was too late to go outside, so back on the trainer the bike went, with the forecast of rain and possibly snow for the next few days, it seemed the logical choice.

So as it was I didn't actually get to ride at all Friday night, sort of discouraging.  The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that my tubes were old.  I found a hole in one and repaired it, but then as I was putting the wheel back on the bike, it went flat again, turns out the valve stem was bad also.  Tube and tire change #2, exact same thing, bad valve stem, by this point I had changed the same tire 3 times.  I pulled out a brand new tube, as I was pumping it up, it blew up too!   It appears that I got it caught in the tire, I found the proof in the huge gaping hole in the side of the tube, of course that didn't work at all, and I discarded it. into the growing pile of bad tubes!  My grandmother used to always tell me that “Haste Makes Waste”, thanks for the words of wisdom, I’ll try to remember that little statement next time.
Second brand new tube. . .  went on without a hitch but by the time I was done I had changed that same stupid tire five, yes that's 5 times, but finally have a tire I can ride on and a TON of practice changing flat tires.  Hopefully it's not an omen for the season.

1st brick 3-11-11

Friday I worked late, but had a great brick training session that morning. 
As you can see there is some work left to do, I still have a tendency to pause too much in my routine, I am working on leveling it all out.  What you can’t see is the improvement from where I began on the bike, huge gaps in pedaling and much more frequent than even this.

for this session I rode 12 miles, and transitioned into a 3 mile run. Just like a sprint tri.  The transition actually went very well, 1:43 minutes, which I was pretty happy about, it can only get better from here. I am hoping to trim it down to 1:15 for the sprint.  The tough part of transitioning from bike to run is that your legs literally feel like cold tar.  They move, but only sort of. . . they just feel heavy and sluggish.  It quickly became very obvious why it's important to practice the transitions for a triathlon.  I need to work on the swim to bike, but will wait until the outdoor pool opens, to make it a little more authentic.  That maneuver is a little challenging at the pool I'm currently using.  Saturday I worked all day and then needed to prepare a lesson for Sunday.   It was a busy week.

The UPS man brought me a new watch that will go swimming with me.  I was pretty jazzed when it arrived on my doorstep!  My old one, the first HR monitor I purchased almost 7 years ago finally and officially died.  the band broke and the battery died all in one week.

I love that it's pink!  my other choices were blue or black, so pink was the color of choice.  This is nothing super fancy, but it will allow me to count laps at the pool. This means I no longer have to remember exactly what I swam while I was there, which for me is a huge challenge, so I typically "guess" at how far I went on a given day.  The little black thing is a foot pod, so I can track how far I run on a treadmill.  It works with my “FR305” too.  Now every training session will be recorded, no making stuff up, the data will be there or it won’t.

On Monday my new Cadence sensor arrived, I think UPS is learning where I live after this week, but I don't mind so much, he always brings me packages, and who doesn't like packages?  But with this little treasure, I am back in business with the GPS devices and even more exciting, it works with both my FR305 and the Edge 705!  That made for a good week!  Yes, dear brother, I kept the Polar on too, just for you.  The orange tire is my “trainer tire” and is only used in the house.  Besides, it adds color to the room.


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The daughter came home for a visit without the hubby today, and we had a great time!  She picked herself up a Bosch mixer.

and made her first loaf of bread, she did a great job! 
Of course she had a super tutor :-)  That would be ME

The process is identical to Cinnamon Rolls,
only the ingredients and how you shape the bread is different.

it was fun, and delicious!  We were very impatient and  cut it while it was still piping hot, which always smooshes it a bit out of shape. 
I had to run an errand after she left, and the house was still filled with that fresh baked bread aroma when I got back. . . .  mmmmmm!  It’s fairly obvious we ate way too much fresh baked bread.  No dinner for me tonight!

then for fun we pulled out the popcorn popper and made some popcorn!  We haven't actually used this popcorn popper before, so decided to see how it worked.  It’s called a “Whirley Pop” When I picked it out, of course at Kitchen Kneads, my favorite kitchen gadget store, at one of their store meeting they pulled out every style of popcorn popper they carried and made popcorn. . .  now that sounds like a fun meeting!

The "Whirley Pop"  won hands down, what's even better, it is one of the least expensive pop-corn poppers one can purchase, and it's dishwasher safe, so that’s the one I decided to get.  I've actually had this in the basement for quite a while, I just haven't been brave enough to test it out until today.  I guess I needed moral support for my motivation.  We have given these for wedding gifts for the past three weddings, and as a Christmas gift this past year. I figured it was time for me to see exactly what I was giving away.  It turned out to be a good thing!

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The lid has a stem that goes down into the pan to stir the popcorn while it pops 

Pour the popcorn in with a little cooking oil, we started with a just little bit of popcorn then did more after realizing how much fun it was!

Make sure the “clip” is firmly pushed down or the stirring thing-a-ma-jig won't stir the popcorn as well, and both sides of the lid will open, which might not be such a good thing.

turn the crank, while the popcorn pops.  
WARNING:  if you open the lid to see what is going to happen, watch out. . .  
The popcorn will pop right out of the pan!  
Trust me on this, we tried it and it popped right out on our nose.

When the pan gets full, empty it into your popcorn bowl, if it is still popping, then return the pan to the stove and keep stirring.  It only takes about 4 minutes to have a big tub of popcorn.  We decided that you could probably add your butter and salt part way through the popping part and it will get all stirred in while it’s popping.  pretty cool gadget!

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The awesome thing about this popcorn bowl is the nifty little plate in the bottom:

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It fits in the bottom, so all those obnoxious un-popped kernels go to the bottom and away from your fingers into your mouth.  Helps prevent broken teeth!  Now that’s what I call a great invention

So while it was a fun day, I'm tired  The time change is always exhausting for the first couple of days.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

a deflating experience

After we dug ourselves out of the driveway after the big snow storm, I decided to clean out the garage so I could park the van in there.  I guess I'm finally tired of cleaning it off, scraping the windows each morning, and shoveling around it.

One of the big things in the garage, left over from summer was the inner tubes.  There were three of these things taking up all kinds of space.  I floated over a HUGE sharp pointy rock and so one tube was already deflated, I discarded it.  I began to deflate them by pushing in the little pin on the valve stem, but it was taking FOREVER!  I somehow recalled a conversation at work, something about taking out the valve stem to deflate a tire faster. . . 

Having absolutely no clue about such a gadget I set out to find out exactly what it was.

So off I went to the local Auto Zone and asked the nice clerk if he knew what a valve stem removal tool was.  He excitedly, he marched over to the applicable aisle and showed me this little gadget.   It was just under $6.00, he also noted that I might loose one of the stems and pointed out that you can buy a package of 4 for about $2.00.  Yes, I'm wearing little gloves, it was cold in the garage!

After giving me a few useful "tid-bits" of information on how to use my new little tool, and how to easily accomplish my task, I was quickly on my way. 

Have you ever had those moments when you get as excited as a child on the first day of school over a seemingly simple thing?  well, this was one of those for me. . . this was super cool!

Here is a picture of the valve stem, securely in it's place.

Put the little tool over the stem and turn, just like a screwdriver.  Within seconds you have removed the little guys that keep the air in your inner tubes. . .

The valve stems look like this

A tube without a valve stem looks like this, just a hole, letting all that stinky, rubber air out.

And within minutes the tubes go from full grown size, to

a reduced shrunken size, like these

to a completely deflated state like this
sort of like a melting snowman
just waiting until summer when we blow them up again.

So there you have it, a valve stem removal tool, a handy little gadget to have around

And after an entire day of cleaning, organizing, juggling, relocating, rearranging, liquidating, and discarding "stuff" from out of the garage
also a very deflating experience. . . new reality: I need a bigger garage!

I have some cabinets along the wall and it's not quite wide enough.  I got the van inside, but I couldn't get out of the van to check it out!  So I get to decide, liquidate the cabinets, or park in the driveway.  

. . . .  I've decided to just park in the driveway.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Digging Out After A Snowstorm!

Life here has been pretty boring for Flat Stanley.  First off, the entire month of January we didn't have a car, then the weather warmed and melted everything, so we couldn't even go ice-skating, but just made it cold and grey, then it was just cold.  But on this morning we woke up to a little over 12" of new, fresh, soft fluffy snow.  I didn't have anyone to go into the mountains for a real adventure, but the backyard worked just fine, and Oscar Dog was able to join us.  At first it was kind of sad, because we were going to go to St. George for a bike ride, but it was rainy and cold there too, so we decided to stay home.  I mean honestly, I can stay here and be cold for free, why pay money to freeze to death????  But Flat Stanley is still hoping to go on a bike ride before he goes home in a couple of weeks.

So back to the adventure of the day:

But before we could “play” in the snow, we had to shovel out first.  Last time there was a huge storm we left town, and missed out on the digging out process.

We have some super nice neighbors that helped a ton!  They have a Snow Blower.

A snow blower works sort of like  a lawnmower, except it blows the snow from where you don’t want it.  It’s important that you steer clear though, or you will get plastered in snow.
the place it came in the most handy was at the mailbox.  We have to clear a path for the mailman to drive his mail truck. 
This picture is from the internet, but this is what a Snowplow truck looks like
They typically don’t plow our street with the big plow trucks, but today they did, and when they do that they leave a big pile of snow all along the side of the street, and when there is a ton of snow like we had, it is impossible to drive through those mountains of snow, and it’s also a lot of work to move all of that snow out of the way.

Our driveway is basically done, now for the mailbox.

just a little bit more digging, we had to get more gas for the snow blower.

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That’s a TON of snow!

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But the shoveling is all done now, so we get to play!

Oscar Dog is pretty excited!

One thing that is pretty nice to have when you play in the snow, is snow pants.  Snow is wet and very cold, snow pants are big poofy pants that keep you warm and dry.  You will also need some good boots.

To go Snowshoeing, you must have Snowshoes!

Without them, you just sort of sink in the snow.

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Snowshoes just attach to your feet over your boots:

With snowshoes on, you just sort of float on the surface of the snow.

this is a foot print made with a snowshoe

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we had a lot of fun blazing trails for Oscar Dog around the yard

But he got cold and wouldn’t come out after a little while.  
Oscar Dog is getting old and is becoming a wimp!

The snow sure is beautiful, and if you like hiking, Snowshoeing is a whole new world of white, peaceful beauty.  It’s too amazing to try and describe, you have to experience it.

Hope you enjoyed our adventure, even if was only the back yard, we still had fun.  It’s hard to believe Flat Stanley will be going home soon.

Anyone up for a snowshoeing expedition?