Monday, June 30, 2008

Girls Camp and Phoenix

I'm home. It's good to be back after being gone for a week to Girls Camp with our church, and then on to a visit with family in Phoenix. All of it was wonderful, but it's always nice to come back to your own bed. After roughing it at camp, I'm more appreciative of flushing toilets and the luxury of taking a shower. Smelling like a camp fire 24/7 isn't my perfume of choice!
This year we took our girls to Jacobs Lake, near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. At an elevation of 8,000 feet, the weather was perfect for the end of June. Our little group was only responsible for 13 girls, but we joined a group of 150.

I can't say enough nice things about our girls. We had an age range of 12-18, and they were all so amazing. They were cheerful, helpful around camp, and were so nice to each other. Their mother's should be so proud. Our group color this year was orange, and here are a few of them in our orange tee shirts
Taking a group of girls away from their families can cause a few anxieties. One of the leaders had a refreshing approach to helping the girls adjust to the camp surrounding. They provided "Mother Nature", a delightful woman who went around with a basket of treats, and soothing words. If any girl started to suffer from being homesick, she was hugged by Mother Nature and all was soon well. Every day MN came out with a new creative outfit. This day I was ready to eat the yummy food right off her hat.

We played games and had a great time learning camp skills

The flag did make it, tied between two trees.
My family picked me up from Camp and we then headed to Phoenix to visit two of our children. Our main reason for the trip was to help my grandson celebrate his 3rd Birthday. How wonderful to see him growing up and to be part of his life. He was very excited to have us there for his party. Several nights before he laid his party hats and balloons on the table, and announced to my daughter "Don't touch these. They are very important!"

Our other grandson is 5 months old. When we visit I just want to kiss their faces off!

My son-in law owns the best "Fresh Mex" restaurant. If you are ever in the Phoenix area, make sure to stop by "Costa Vida". It's located in Mesa, Arizona at 1744 Val Vista Dr, right off of I60.
My son-in-law Daniel Dayton.
Costa Vida has such good food. We don't have a Costa here in St. George, so everytime we visit Phoenix we go back again and again. We just can't seem to get enough. One of my favorite dishes is their wonderful salads. Everything is made fresh. Nothing comes out of a can or freezer. They even roast their own chili peppers to add to the salsa.

Temperatures right now in the Phoenix area are way over 100 degrees. We tried to think of an activity our grandson's would enjoy and get us out of the heat. My husband looked ideas up on line and suggeted we go to the Arizona Science Center in down town Phoenix. We didn't know if it would be any good or not. We were so impressed with this museum! A great place for the whole family, from young children to grandparents. One floor of exhibits was dedicated to "Grossology", focusing on the slimy, oozy and stinky bodily functions. Wow. If that doesn't perk your interest, I don't know what else would! Might I add: "Gross" is an understatement!
What 3 year old kid wouldn't love to climb up a gigantic stomach, slide down through the intestines and come out.... well if you don't know what is at the end of your intestines, I'm not going to be the one to tell you. It was hard to "move, push,strain" (pun intended) my grandson to the next exhibit. By the time we were done, we were really pooped.

I know a little bit about flies. They've been in my house from time to time. Never in my life did I know what little "Vomit Slurpers" they are. I will never look a fly in the eyes the same again.
Playing in the sand with grandpa
No trip to the Arizona Science Center is complete with out playing "Urine The Game". Yes, you read that right. If ever you have sat up nights wondering how your bladder really works, this is the place for you.
This is just a small sampling of the unique exhibits the Science Center offered. Go on line to find out more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer stuff and Coyotes

Family and friends have been requesting these desert bars, so I made up a batch and shared them around the neighborhood. They have been a family favorite for years, and they taste a lot like a "Payday" candybar.

Salty Peanut Chews
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
2 egg yolks
1/2 C. butter
3 C. mini- marshmellows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks into butter. Add egg mixture into flour until crumbly. Press into ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake for 13 minutes. Top with marshmallow and put back in oven until marshmallows puff, not brown. Cool while preparing topping.
Topping: 2/3 C. white Karo Syrup, 1/4 C. butter, 12 oz. bag peanut butter chips, 2 C. Rice Krispies Cereal, 2 C. salted peanuts.
Heat the Karo syrup, butter and peanut butter chips until smooth; stirring constantly. Remove and stir in cereal and salted peanuts. Immediately spread over marshmallows. Cut into bars.

A BIG thank you to Huenu Smith for helping me create my header for my blog. I hope you like these bars, Huenu. You can find originally designed children's clothing on Huenu's site (see my side bar). A multi-talented lady who is brilliant with a camera, and has 2 beautiful children who serve as her models.

Yesterday when Ricci and I were at "Cloves" I found this cute pop-up birthday card. It's not my birthday, and I didn't buy it for anyone in particular, I just liked it! I may even keep it up year round in my laundry room. Notice the wash on the line is missing two letters. The "A" and the "Y" are spinning around in the washer. How cute is that?

Last night I asked my 16 year old son to take the garbage out to the curb. OK- he's 16 years old, so I wasn't too surprized he waited until about 11:30 pm to get it done. I'm in my pajama's by then and he came running back in the house and said "Mom, you've got to come outside!" In his hand he is carrying this huge lantern we keep in our garage. It has a 15 million candlepower and can bring light to items at a very long distance. Out I trapsed, hoping nobody could see me in my nighty and bare feet.

I have been raised in cities all my life. This is my first experience to live in a desert. Our home is in a neighborhood, but behind our backyard is the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, where 62,000 acres have been dedicated to the protection of the Mojave Desert Tortoise. Since we have lived here, I have yet to see a tortoise, but I sure have been exposed to many other desert critters. For some reason they like to think of our pool as a water source. Last night was no exception. As my son and I headed out back, I heard this wild, deep throat type barking. I may be a city kid, but I knew this wasn't a stray dog. My son shone the lantern up on the mountain and there we saw at crest's edge a coyote. This is the same mountain we hike all the time. My son even likes to go out at night. The only thing that made me feel better was the explaination that coyotes do not attack people. They do like to feed off of chipmunks, lizards and other small desert life. OK, maybe I'm going to try and be a little more tolerant if the coyotes want to hang around the perimeters of my house.
After all, I have gotten used to the 2 bats that show up every night at sunset and dive bomb our swimming pool. My son has named them "Bruce and Wayne", and they do keep the bugs down.

The other day one of my next door neighbors informed me we had a Gila Monster walk through our yard, and on through to her yard. I didn't see it, but she took a picture. Maybe there are some things it's just better not to know about!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Enterprise Utah/ Cloves Merchantile

I moved from Northern Utah to Southern Utah about 2 years ago. We relocated to the wonderful town of St. George. I have joined the local quilt quild, along with two different friendship groups. I've met great ladies who freely share their knowledge of quilting in this area. When I first moved here, many spoke of making trips to Enterprise to shop for quilt fabric at an old Merchantile called "Cloves". I knew it was a trip I wanted to make at one point too, and I jumped at the opportunity when my friend Ricci invited me to join her for the day. The town of Enterprise is located 40 miles North of St. George. We left a very desert atmosphere, and enjoyed a beautiful scenic drive rising quite a bit in elevation. How refreshing to see tree covered mountains and small towns dotting the way. Enterprise is a small town, with a population around 1,500. Many of the people sharing a legacy of pioneer heritage.
Cloves General Store: I'm not sure how old this building is, but from it's apperance, it's been around for quite a while. Inside the store we found many decorations, and knick knacks. Our favorite find was the old fashioned candy bins. Of course we had to load up on "Chick-O-Sticks" and chocolate.

They had an entire room devoted to quilting fabric. They carried top brands like "Moda" and "Blank" at very good prices. We had a great time hunting through, looking for finds.
More fabric..

And more fabric..
And more fabric...Right as we got ready to check out, a kind woman at the counter mentioned everything was 20% off. The prices were already so good, we were quite happy to hear we were getting a better deal than we had anticipated. The reason for the sale... the quilt portion of the store is being moved in July to Santa Clara, a small town right next to St. George. We were glad we made the trip before things changed.
Right across the street from "Cloves" we noticed a beatiful park and this very old building. As we went up the walkway, we noticed a woman inside, working on a quilt. She is a volunteer for the DUP (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers). This building houses their museum, including many artifacts from the early settlers. We viewed some old quilts, along with other pioneer exhibits. What a great way to end our day, before heading back down the mountain to the red rocks of St. George.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Dinner Ideas/ and Girls Camp Flag

Family Sunday dinners are a tradition in our home.
I'm always looking for new ideas and recipes to try
out on my family. It's officially summer here in St.
George. I think today the temperature was something around
103 degrees. I made Barbeque ribs and coleslaw, a fun
summer meal, and wanted something to go with it.
I saw this recipe for hot potato salad. I was raised near
the artichoke capitol of the world, and love trying new
ways to use this vegetable.

1 3lb. bag red potatoes, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 C. sliced green onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/3 C. white wine vinegar
2 T. Dijon mustard
In a large Dutch oven, combine potatoes and water to
cover. Bring to boil, simmer 8-10 minutes.
Drain. Spoon potatoes into a large bowl,
add artichokes, green onion, salt and pepper.
In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add bell pepper. Cook 3 minutes, stir in flour, and cook
for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually
stir in vinegar and mustard. Cook for 2-3 minutes until
slightly thickened. Pour sauce over potato mixture.
Serve immediately.

1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 T. finely chopped onion
1 C. mayonnaise
1 1/2 T. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. onion salt
2 T. prepared mustard
2 T. cider vinegar
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. celery seed
Combine all salad ingredients, set aside.
Combine all dressing ingredients. Chill
Immediately before serving, toss dressing
with vegetables.

I haven't had much time for quilting in the last few
days. I'm getting ready to leave next week for
Girls Camp with the Young Women of our church.
The last two years I've been asked to make the
camp flag. The requirements for this year was to
select a national site. Our girls chose "Arches"
National Park. Our color is orange. The flag couldn't
be any larger than 2' x 3'. I was happy to find this
great orange fabric that really looked a lot like the red
rocks here in Southern Utah. The rest came from
fabric in my stash. It was fun to make and hopefully
will look good tied between two trees up at Jacob's
Lake near the Grand Canyon. I'll let you know
how I survive!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday June 20th, 2008

For the last 11 years the small town of Panquitch Utah has held a "Quilt Walk" during the second week of June. The whole town shows their support by displaying quilts along the streets and in every store window. Events are held during a 4 day period. Quilt classes are taught at the local high school, and a free trunk show/ lecture is offered every day at noon.
I was able to go to Quilt Walk this last Saturday with some friends. Jeanna Kimball, national teacher, known as a true pioneer of hand applique was the guest lecturer. Jeanna shared with us her journey into quilting, giving us a history of her beginning projects. To view her quilts through a trunk show was amazing.
This is one of the first quilts Jeanna made. Doesn't look much like a first project for applique does it? Observing her skill level helps me understand why she moved so quickly into becoming a published author.

This another one of Jeanna's first quilts.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My First Blog

This may come as a surprize to some, but up until a few weeks ago I was unaware that there were "quilt blogs". For some reason I thought people mainly blogged with family and friends. Then my girlfriend Judi sent me a blog site from a lady in her quilt group in Alpine, Utah. Once I entered "Freda's Hive" and read Nanette's entries, I was transformed! I had to check out every site she recommended on her blog list. I found women, like myself who love to quilt, are dedicated to their families, read good books, and even share recipes. It doesn't get much better than that.

I am a social quilter. I love seeing the projects others are working on. I love being exposed to your creativity and individual expression through fabric. I have so many happy memories being with girlfriends while we work on quilts. I see this site as an extension of that experience. Thank you for sharing your talent with me. Hopefully I can pass something along that will interest you as well.