Sunday, December 10, 2017

L.A. and Christmas is coming!

 We never celebrated our we finally took a quick weekend to L.A. to see Universal Studios. We got a great deal on airfare, and an AirBnB. We didn't bother with a rental car, just did Lyft and Uber. This was a great idea by the way. Our rides were consistently about 2 minutes or less away from our location, and we never had to wait for a ride. It was very convenient not to have to battle traffic or parking. Overall we had great drivers too. There was one ride that was a little uncomfortable as the driver was listening to political talk radio, but other than that it was nice. 
 The place we stayed was within walking distance of the park, and we ended up going up there to the City Walk part for a number of our meals. We did the L.A. zoo one day, and the Studios park the next. Unfortunately, my camera on this phone is awful. It has really discouraged me from taking pictures. I got nothing good in the zoo. and in the following post, all of the lame ones are from my phone. The good ones are from Jeff's. 

 Of course we loved Harry Potter world the best. The main ride which was flying in a chair with Ron and Harry on broomsticks beside you, was so great we went on it three times. I was deathly motion sick each time, but it didn't stop us. So funny. At the end of the ride, where you see all of the characters cheering you on from the great hall, I got a little choked up! I swear after reading the books and listening to the books, and watching the movies, all multiple times, these guys seem like my friends. I'm a freak.

 We loved how waiting for the ride (the waits weren't long at all this day luckily) you got to see all of these different parts of Hogwarts, parts of the stories. It was almost as good as the ride itself. These are the school greenhouses.

 In the castle hallways with the moving portraits. We even saw Dumbledore's study!

 You could also go into the wand shop and see a wizard get chosen by their wand.

 However we liked the Despicable me ride a lot too. It was a real feel good thing. You came out feeling pretty happy.

 We did do the Walking Dead ride/walk-through thing mostly to say we did it. But we both hated it. Not fans of the gore and scare stuff.
 But the raptor encounter was so fun. We would have done the Jurassic park ride a bunch of times too if it didn't get you so wet. The weather was perfect, but getting wet made you a little too chilly.

 Hogwart's express.

 Anyway, great time in L.A. We were so sad to hear about the fires that broke out almost as soon as we came home.
This weekend we went to the Dickens Christmas festival up at South Towne expo center. We got kind of a late start, but then we ended up having plenty of time there. We got to try some treats, enjoy the Victorian actors and presenters, and the girls even held a Sugar glider and dipped candles. I got a little something for our family for Christmas too. Overall a success.

 Our cookie game is going strong right now. We got a late start this year...
Because I felt it was necessary to flock our Christmas tree. I know it sounds crazy, but I have been wanting a flocked tree for 3 years and I was done waiting to save up for one. I did it myself and it wasn't too bad at all. Ok it was a little bad. But it is done!

 I can't get a good picture this year! Here we are doing cookies in 2014. Look how little Ari looks!
 Ari is my main helper this time. She is doing great so far. We have only done maybe a fourth of our job, but I have already watched "White Christmas" through once, and most of "A Christmas kiss". I love the movies I know so well I don't even have to look up at them much. I just listen and bake. This is a great part of Christmas for me. However the highlight is going to be talking to my Tia whom I am missing like crazy this year.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


 Earley family Thanksgiving at my house. We have so many living nearby right now I feel really spoiled. Everyone took a food assignment,and I hosted because....I wanted to haha. I love hosting, especially when someone else helps with the food stuff.
 We've got me and Meesha's family and Gavin's family, and my Aunt and Uncle and my parents. Slowly we are luring everyone out to silicon slopes.

 It didn't matter what the rest of us said, Alex decided he was eating outside.

My brother kept telling him nobody else was going out there, but he was determined. Finally my dad decided to go out and eat with him. At least it was nice and warm Thursday.

 My sister's oldest even came up for the holiday. What a treat to see him!

 My niece was another treasured guest --my brother's oldest.
 We drank the fresh apple cider we pressed at my sister Kira's house in Yakima. It was like liquid gold. So sweet and perfect.
 I think there is some cousin teasing going on here!

 Getting ready for pie time!
 This was probably my ugliest pie year ever. However I think the varieties were all good picks. We did our family favorite Apple sour cream, a sweet potato pie, our chocolate covered pretzel pie (which I made 1 1/2 times big because everyone wants "a little chocolate" no matter what they pick), and the new one was a lemon sour cream my sister Kira recommended to me. It was a huge hit too.

 After eating we took a long walk around the neighborhoods enjoying a spectacular sunset. I probably needed to walk the equivalent of a marathon with how much I ate, but then, that is Thanksgiving for you.
We were able to have a second get together with Jeff's side of the family down in St. George on Saturday. Sadly this was the only picture we got. We had a great time, cooking together, eating, and talking. Jeff and the kids and Paola and I all went out to the Chuckwalla trail in the morning for a run. We didn't see any desert tortoises like last time we were there, but it was wonderful. So warm as to be almost too hot. Lovely. We had a hard time finding rolls down there. I nixed making them with the short time we had, and three different bakeries were out. Paola finally grabbed some brioche, and chopped it into rolls. Holy cow. Perfect. I highly recommend brioche if you want to live it up for a holiday. Dad insisted on getting a watermelon from Costco, and cutting it all up himself for the meal. It was surprisingly a great melon for the time of year! Mom sent us home with too many treats, and my diet is not going so well lately as a result. Well that and having two amazing meals in a row.