Monday, January 21, 2013

Odd Things to Do When It's -12 F

Freezing Fog from 20 Yards
Yes, you read that correctly. It has been getting super freezing this winter. It recently got to -12 F (yes 12 BELOW 0)-it was so cold they closed a local elementary school, since they couldn't keep the schools warm enough. 
While it's been colder than Alaska we've found some odd things to do when it's this cold.

Close up of fog

1. Freezing Fog : I have mentioned this weird phenomena a few years back. Freezing Fog only happens when fog contains supercooled water which freezes upon contact with objects it encounters, forming a perfect layer of thin ice on any and every surface. For this to even happen if has to be at least 14 degrees. It is absolutely beautiful to see. 

2. Snowing = Warm: Yes, I now love it when it snows, purely because that means it's warm enough to snow. I use to HATE, HATE, HATE it when it would snow, now I look at snow storm and think "Bring on the warmth and clear out this air!"
Glass Bubbles
3. Glass Bubbles:  This is super fun. Once it gets cold enough (below 0 works best) you get a bottle of bubbles, quickly blow one, and then watch is turn to ice before your eyes. You can just hold your glass bubble in your hands or have fun watching it shatter. As you can guess I think watching them break is more fun. 

4. Disappearing Water: Again, this only works if it's colder then Alaska. You take a cup of boiling water outside, toss out the boiling hot water AWAY from you (just in case it doesn't work) and the water will evaporate before it even hits the ground. 

If anyone knows of any other activities you can do during this once in a lifetime ice age like freezing snap let me know. Do I know how to have a fun winters' night or what? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


It's Christmas! It's Christmas!!
Have you never noticed how Christmas Morning kids wake up very, very early with unlimited energy? Normally, we have to drag Heidi Anne out of bed. Well at 6:00 AM we were awoken by this little girl whispering "Wake up, it's Christmas." Our feelings are, if we woke up our parents on Christmas Day, then chances are, she will wake us early as well. Since we were spending the night at his parent's home, we kept her occupied by playing "What do you think Santa left for you?"
I hear people downstairs! Let's Go!!!
At 6:30 AM she couldn't wait anymore. We went to check and see if anyone else was awake. She happily reported to us "PopPop and Grandma are awake! Do you think Aunt Sarah is, too?" So with Heidi Anne being the line leader flew down the stairs chanting "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" 
She got hugs from her Aunt Sarah, Grandma, and Poppa. With some french toast. 
Ana Rose with her new sister Caroline
 One of the things Heidi Anne has been wanting for a while now is Caroline (one of the new AG dolls). She loves Caroline because she has pretty curled hair, blue eye, and she likes to play outside but still does sewing. Yes, I do read these books to her, so she really likes Caroline.
Opening presents
Anyways, you should have seen her face when she opened a present and there was a Caroline doll looking sweetly back at her. Priceless She was so excited when she opened some of her other gifts, which turned out to be some clothing and accessories for Caroline. Char has 4 sisters, when they were little girls that had at least 1 American Girl Doll (if not two). So Grandma knew how important it is for a little girl with a special doll like that needs some accessories. 
A dress for Caroline
Opening her gift very carefully
After we finished exchanging presents at Grandma's house we started to head home. We made one stop on our way. We went to exchange gifts with my sister's family. It was there that Heidi Anne was given her very first barbie doll-EVER! It was Barbie Cinderella and Prince Charming. Kailah was jumping up and down just waiting to see Heidi Anne open the Barbie doll. She loves it!
One of the gifts was a cute decoration for them, it reads "Cram Fam" (short for family). I've been working hard to make a jean quilt for them as well. They do car camping and outdoor activities  I figured that would like this quilt. It was a labor of love. I had received news recently that my sister's husband, Rhett, has pretty much commandeered it. I think I will make a special quilt just for her. 
The top of the Quilt

The front and back of my masterpiece
Fast forward two hours later. We were home and began opening our presents. Since there wasn't much to open Char wrapped EVERY, SINGLE gift in bubble wrap. We were lucky to get a picture of her face when she opened her first bubble wrapped property. Even though there wasn't much to open, it took quite some time to open those gifts. Another trick we did was to wrap each item in it's own package  So a pair of pajamas had the shirt in 1 box and the pants in another. It was one of the best Christmas' we've had. Family, friends, actvities, presents, and bubble wrap. What more could a 4 and a half year old want.
There is Bubble Wrap!!
Playing with the wrap and the present isn't even fully unwrapped

Christmas Eve-Char's Side

After we had fun with my family we went to go have Christmas Eve night with Char's side. (Not to mention how freaking COLD it was getting outside at City Creek!). 
Playing with Nutcrackers like Clara does in the ballet
Char's family have a lot of traditions for Christmas Eve night. His folks are planning on going on a mission, so we figured we would spend the night at their place so we could participate in all the activities without worrying about the 2 hour drive that night. 
One of the first things they do is make mini pizzas. Back in the day they would make bagel bite type pizzas. Now they use the Pillsbury biscuits and flatten them. It's fun to see the little kids love the idea that they get their very own little pizza with their choose of toppings. No compromise necessary. 
Keeping the girls busy while the pizza's bake
Almost time to eat!
After everyone is feed it's phase two of Christmas Eve. They re-enact the story of the Nativity in an improve sort of way. For example, Heidi Anne was Mary (note the pretty lacy tablecloth), Heidi Anne had her doll Ana Rose play the role of Baby Jesus. Alice was cast as Joseph (with walking stick). Heidi Anne wanted Millie to be the horsey. The look on Millie's face is really a smile, I just had a bad angle. Someone tried to get the guys to be the Angels. Heidi Anne said "No! Only girls can be Angels. The boys are shepherds." So the girls were Angels, the boys were shepherds / wise men, and the dogs were the sheep. It was the cutest pageant ever. 
I guess we were laughing so much and having so much fun-the little girls got to watch a quick little movie version of what we had just done. 
Next everyone shouts up the chimney and tells Santa what they want for Christmas. She told Santa she wanted a Caroline Doll with a purple dress and a Barbie Airplane. Well the Barbie airplane came way out of left field. My best guess is one of her friends had said that's what they wanted for Christmas and Heidi Anne thought "Hey, that sounds fun."

 Later we played a white elephant game. It's a new addition to the traditions so there are a few kinks to be worked out. It was late and we spent the night. Heidi Anne loved to get to spend the night in her Daddad's room he had as a kid. 

Christmas Eve Afternoon-My Family

The original plan had been for everyone to meet at Tucanos, take the Trax train to the new City Creek Mall, and then go see the lights. This is what actually happened.

Our adventure started with snow. Lots and lots of snow. We started to drive down to SLC to meet with my family at Tucanos. The snow was falling fast (at least 4 inches had fallen before noon) with big snowflakes all around. We started to go through the pass in nearly white out conditions. Just as we entered the canyon we saw the warning sign "Sever winter weather--Snow chains or 4 x 4 Wheels Required". We had neither. We had plans and family to see that we didn't want to miss. Slowly we entered canyon, surrounded by thick fog and whirling snow.Nearly 40 white knuckle minutes later we made it through the canyon. Once we were out the drive was fairly nice, compared to what we went through. To everyone else, I am sure it was just as nerve racking.

We meet my family at Tucanos Brazilian Grill (nearly 30 minutes later than planned but we made it!). We'd never been to a Brazilian grill before; in case you haven't either let me explain it to you. Every few minutes the waiters bring different barbecued meats, fruits  and veggies to every table. 

You then just pick what you want. There is an additional buffet with some American and Brazilian favorites, some of  my favorites that we tired were the barbecued pineapple, barbecued chicken, hearts of palm, fresh mozzarella balls. Heidi Anne LOVED the quail eggs, some sort of corn, the cheese rolls and the shrimpMy brother in law Rhett tried a roasted chicken heart, he said it was a little chewy. 
When we finished eating it was still snowing and cold outside and no one was sure on the Trax scheduled or cost, So everyone deiced to just meet up at City Creek. 
This was the first time any of us had ever been to City Creek. It spans nearly 2 blocks with mixed used dwellings. and a retractable ceiling, just like the ones found at football stadiums. It has a Tiffany's ! A huge Apple store, which was so packed because of Christmas Eve. 
We underestimated how big this place was. Naturally we got separated from each other. Char, Heidi Anne, and I just wandered around into different little stores window shopping until we found my sister's family. Heidi Anne found them first, she saw Kailah's coat by the water fountain from the other side of the street. The water fountain was synced to the music and would do a water and light show. It was fun to watch. At this point 8 of us were wandering around looking for the remaining 5 others. 
Trying to find 5 people in a 4 block radius during Christmas Eve is the ultimate wild goose chase. Sadly we never meet up with them. It was getting colder, darker, and the snow was falling faster and thicker. We walked around to see the lights. It got to cold and to slick. So we headed to have Christmas Eve Night