Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Welcome back to Utah!?!
I have to apologize for not blogging these last couple of weeks. Our family went out of town to California and Nevada for TWO WEEKS! Ahh! I love long vacations, but then you get back and there is one million things that need to be done--laundry (10 loads in ONE day-ugh!), grocery shopping, cleaning, catching up on homework, and on, and on, and on. So..I am sorry blogging has not quite made it on my list of to-do's lately :)
First off, I want to send a big THANKS to all of you who we were able to meet at our classes in California and Nevada. We had a great time and it was wonderful to meet so many of you! We were so busy chatting that my sister Diana (our California rep) and I forgot to take any pictures--oops! The classes were some of the highlights of my trip, so thanks to all of you who came out to meet with us. Everything about this trip was wonderful except for kids throwing up in the car, a $300 speeding ticket (yikes!,) and our gross ghetto hotel--I don't recommend staying at a $29 a night hotel in California--it was scary to say the least! Other than that, it was a wonderful trip--here are some of the highlights!
We stayed in Indio, California with 80 degree weather--heavenly, for a week! Why do I live in snowy Utah anyway?? Our family is growing rapidly, so there was never a dull moment. We have 12 kids under the age of 9 and somehow we still LOVE being together. Our vacations consist of 7 days of swimming, EATING, more swimming, and MORE EATING!! We all were glad we didn't gain more than 5 lbs. on our trip. My family LOVES to cook and so we had a blast shopping and cooking in Indio. We each took a meal to be in charge of and so we had FABULOUS food all week: Sticky Coconut Chicken (our favorite!), Greek Beef Gyros, Creamy Sausage Fettuccine, Steak & Mushrooms, Hamburgers/Hot Dogs, and MUCH more. For the entire WEEK, because we all brought food storage items from home, each family only spent $50 on groceries. I LOVE being able to shop in my food storage before a trip and only needing to buy produce and a few items at the store. It helps make vacations affordable!
Our second week on our trip was spent at good ole' Disneyland. My husband is a Disneyland fanatic, so we went five days straight--from sun up to sun down. Being pregnant I couldn't go on many rides so this wasn't the most fun week of my life :) However, it was great to see the kids having fun!
Another tip to save money on vacations is to get a hotel that has a mini fridge and a microwave. We spent under $100 for our family of six in Disneyland all week by bringing food from home (and that included going out to eat twice). With a little preparation you can save a lot of money on food! Before we had left I had made and frozen meals we could eat in the hotel--Orange Chicken and Ham Fried Rice, Shredded Beef Burritos, Southwestern Egg Rolls, and French Dip Beef Sandwiches. All we had to do was warm up the food and dinner was served. It takes a little extra time before you leave, but makes life EASY once you are on vacation.
Enough about our trip..now on to one of our craziest family traditions that you may think is fun--or funny! For years now we have had the tradition of taste testing food while on vacations. With four brother in laws, my son, and my Dad with BIG appetites, they are always trying to find ways to eat more good food! So..what we do is we choose a food item each trip that we are going to taste test. We have done salsa (Pace was the winner surprisingly), macaroni & cheese (a no-name beat out Kraft), ice cream (Dreyer's won this one), chocolate milk, frozen pizzas (Freschetta is our favorite), and many more! This trip we decided to taste test store bought chocolate chip cookies. We of course had to make a batch of homemade since we KNEW those would win. The recipe is below--it is a fabulous, no fail, chocolate chip recipe.
With much taste testing and stomachs that ached, it was unanimous that Keebler Chocolate Chip Cookies were the winner. Surprisingly Chips Ahoy was the loser by many votes. Not knowing which brand is which really throws you for a loop. It was a fun time had by all--especially the kids! If your family vacation is ever needing a little spicing up, try giving a taste testing contest a try. It is a fun and DELICIOUS tradition :)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. shortening
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 rounded t. soda
1 t. salt
1/2 bag chocolate chips
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.