Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Pots

Robin has his first firing under his belt, and although he only had a few pots in last week's reduction cool firing, he came out of it with a wealth of information. 

This firing was only fired to cone 6 - instead of the cone 12 meltdowns that Robin is accustomed to. That's a difference of about 200 degrees fahrenheit, cooler that is. Another big difference is that this kiln is fired down, so over the course of several hours the temperature is built up to reach the desired temperature and then instead of closing it up, stuffing it full of wood and letting it cool itself - in this firing the crew slowly brings the temperature back down with continued stoking. 

Robin is really excited about the diversity of palette that this new way of firing offers. The reduction cool kiln creates surfaces with a colour range between black - purple  - red - orange sienna, and all the surfaces are a matte finish. This reduction cool firing is more suitable for sculptural or architectural type pots because the surfaces are more dry and rough to the touch.

His next firing that is coming up next week will be a high temperature firing, cone 12. There should be a lot more melting and ash buildup on these pots over the 5 days that they will take to fire the kiln. He'll have several of the large jars that he's been working on in this firing and hopefully some new mugs and bowls for our cupboards at home! 

The kids and I are headed back to Calgary for a visit with family and friends for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, so we'll miss out on the next firing and wood fire pizza party. Too bad. But we'll be excited to see all the pots when we return in a couple weeks. 

Monday, September 29, 2008


Our pear tree is prolific. And I don't have enough friends to give them away fast enough. In fact I really only have a couple friends, but that is besides the point. The pears are ripening, falling off the tree and mulching themselves into the lawn before my very own eyes. 

We've had pear cobbler, pear tart, pear smoothies, Indian chicken with pear sauce, pear pie, pear and cheese salad. I'm getting a little peared out! I was thinking this very morning, as I was picking up the overripe ones around the base of the tree, whether I'd met my pear saturation mark and what I was going to do with the rest of them when I remembered our neighbor Caroline had mentioned something about a dehydrator. 

Caroline and Mark are our french Canadian neighbors that live around the corner from us (our backyards butt up against one another). They have a 3 year old daughter named Arianne and a delux swingset that Isla has looked longingly at through the fence since we moved in. Well today Isla had her chance to swing and slide to her heart's content with her new friend Arianne, and I solved my pear problem.  

Our playdate worked out really well, the girl's got along swimmingly, Rosoce was, well Roscoe, smiley and happy as always to do whatever, and Caroline and I cored and chopped pears while we visited and reminisced about the motherland. 

They have a great food dehydrating set up, with a corer contraption that is cooler than cool. And the best part is that I don't have to feel guilty about not wanting to eat ANYMORE PEARS. We can dry them and save 'em for later this winter.  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We found fall!

Okay so maybe I exaggerated a little bit when I commented on the signs of fall being all superficial. Today we took a drive south on highway 165 through the winding countryside into yet another canyon of the Wasatch mountain range. We ended up at the Porcupine Dam, about 20 miles south east of Logan. And there we found FALL! 

It was absolutely stunning. Every shade of red, yellow and orange imaginable filled the canyon bottom. Higher up the grass is browned and bare patches of scrub typical of this region litter the mountaintops. We drove up to the dam for a landscape view and then headed back down to the meandering creek to see if we could find a walking trail. 

Our original intent was to drive out there to see the salmon spawning farther up from the dam, but the road beyond the dam head looked sketchy for our low riding VW, and we already lost the bellypan from under the car when we went out to Bear Lake.  So instead we poked around the creek on the output side of the massive dam wall. 

On the drive back we stopped in at a U-Pick Orchard. The owner was there with his son picking apples, spent some time telling us about the place and his story about how it came to be. He was originally from up state NY and moved out here to Logan to go to USU, and never left. The orchard is mostly apples, all sorts of varieties, and they also make jams, spreads, cider etc... They have a massive pumpkin patch that you can pick your own for $2! Pretty good deal I'd say. So we spent about 45 minutes mucking around the patch, riding in the wagon and scoping out the best looking pumpkin we could find. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Fall Harvest Festival

Today's activities made up for a whole week's worth of sitting around. After a busy morning at the Gardener's market, and a midday nap, Isla, Roscoe and I headed south down the highway about 10 miles to the American West Heritage Centre for their Fall Harvest Festival. 

Although the last day of summer has come and gone, the halloween garb and goodies are appearing on shelves and fall colours are fashionable again (which is good for me since that is all I own), it certainly doesn't feel like fall here. Rather I feel like we are suspended in this never ending summer timewarp, where temperatures are still reaching into the 30's by mid afternoon. 

I'm not complaining, just commenting on the strange warm weather that just doesn't seem to want to quit. 

Needless to say it was a lovely afternoon to stroll about the grounds, similar to a living history site, like Heritage Park in Calgary. The festival events were targeted perfectly for Isla's age. Lots of great activities for kids and adults, everything from the popular corn maze, a pie eating contest, an old fashioned carnival for kids, petting zoo, ponyrides and more!

Here's a recap of our day in pictures:

in the pumpkin patch

teepee town

Kids only wagon ride

Wagon ride around the grounds

riding the bronc - cute style

lost in the strawbale maze

first taste of cotton candy


ponyride (that's twice in one month!)

Let's hope they'll sleep well tonight! I certainly will. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008


With all this sitting around at home being sick, Isla and I have been having some great conversations. Her language is really quite exceptional, I sometimes forget that she is not even three yet when she includes words like "otherwise" and "certainly" in her daily vocabulary. 

These days especially it seems she is like a sponge, absorbing new words and gestures everyday. And of course the never ending question WHY follows most of anything that we happen to be talking about.  

Here are a few Isla-isms of lately:

1. Our friend Treasure
We've been seeing lots of our friends Donna and Trevor, for dinners and at the studio of course when we swing by to see Daddy at school. Isla dubbed Trevor, Treasure. It was so endearing that we have all started calling him Treasure and now Isla corrects us that we are saying his name wrong. 

2. Right now I appear to be the apple of my daughter's eye. I remind myself to lap this affection up because I can tell that she is 2 and 1/2 going on 16 already and soon enough she won't want to be seen with me. But for now, she wants to do and wear all the same things as I. In particular, for some reason, she is adamant about wearing the same colour panties that I am wearing and if she discovers that the colour is not the same she immediately goes and changes her underwear.  Good thing for me I have several pairs of pink panties (not just black - they don't make toddler underwear in black as far as I know). Anyways, this morning when she was getting dressed and inquired what colour WE'D be wearing today, I answered "Blue underwear today Belle". She was quick to correct me and replied "we wear panties, not underwear Mom, underwear is for boys." 
3. Isla has caught on to how using her words can get her things in life, as opposed to whining of course. We strongly encourage a pleasant tone of voice in our home, which in turn Isla has figured out how to use her tone of voice to her advantage. It becomes quite hilarious when she's requested something, such as a popsicle, and has been told no, to which she replies in a very sweet voice, "It's okay mommy, I can have another popsicle, don't worry, it's okay." 

4. The Moniker
Isla has a plastic harmonica that has become almost as valuable in her eyes as her doll Maggie. She calls her harmonica, her Moniker. The Moniker comes with us on walks, to the park, in the stroller, in the car and she always has it at bedtime - although she's been given strict orders not to play the Moniker when Roscoe is asleep. We've been reading the Winnie the Pooh Storybook collection this week and last night instead of reading one of the stories I found myself explaining that yes Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Rabbit could all play the harmonica because they had mouths but not Owl because Owl has a beak and he wouldn't be able to get his beak around the airvents to play it properly. I wonder when she'll ask if real bears, tigers, pigs and rabbits can actually play musical instruments since she already knows that birds can't.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quarantined but with friends...

I forgot to mention one very important thing in my most recent post. My new friend Kate is a keeper. As mentioned previously in the Dating Scene post, Kate has been so welcoming and friendly since we've arrived. But today she made a friend for life when she brought over homemade pumpkin thai soup and freshly baked bread for our sick little family, all so that I didn't have to cook. Thank you Kate, you made my misery disappear today, at least for the dinner hour. Many, many thanks. I think I'll go blow my nose now. 


Now we're all sick. Not Robin, but the kids and I are all suffering from sneezy, stuffy, nighttime and daytime misery. Robin has likely escaped this wretched cold because he's been so busy at school. 

The last few days have been more or less the same: Wake up, blow nose, wipe Roscoe's nose, make coffee, blow nose, wipe Isla's nose, make breakfast, blow nose, wash hands, eat breakfast with the kids, blow nose, wipe Rosoce's nose, wash dishes, wipe Isla's nose, watch kids playing in the front room, blow nose, put Rosoce down for nap after his nose has been wiped, entertain Isla, wipe Isla's nose, make lunch, blow nose, wash hands, eat lunch, put Isla down for nap after he nose has been wiped, entertain Roscoe, wipe Roscoe's nose, make supper, blow nose, wash hands, eat supper, put kids to bed after wiping their noses, blow nose, go to bed. 

Anyways, if you get my drift, we haven't been feeling well the three of us, and certainly have not been inspired to blog about anything other than our misery, so there you have it. Let's hope for a better day tomorrow. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Glistening girl

This is Isla, as I found her 20 minutes into her 'quiet time' this afternoon. She was in fact, being very quiet and now I know why. 

Yesterday she woke up with a rotten cold. Her runny nose has been so persistent that she's rubbed the top 10 skin layers right off her upper lip. To ease her discomfort I'd been putting vaseline on her nose and lip to soften the rawness. Absentmindedly I forgot to take the jar of vaseline with me out of the bedroom when I put her down for her afternoon nap. You can see where this is headed.....

I even made the comment to myself that she must have been so tired and feeling miserable, the poor little thing, because it was quiet right away in her room, I honestly believed that she'd gone right off to sleep. After awhile I heard the door handle rattling and a little voice saying, "mommy I can't open the door, it's too slippery". ACK! - was my response.

Double ACK!  - was my next response when I actually opened up the door and saw her
glistening from head to toe, smears of vaseline all over her body, on the dresser drawers, up and down the railings of the crib, all over the walls, caked into her bedsheets and pillow, all along the headboard and footboard of her bed. Even Maggie (her cherished doll) was sufficiently lubed up from top to bottom. 

Of course the door handle was slippery, she was still clutching a 1/4 of the jar of petroleum jelly in between her greasy little fingers. No wonder she couldn't get a grip. 

So I took some photos, plunked her in the bathtub and spent the most of the afternoon de-greasing my daughter and her bedroom.  

Saturday, September 20, 2008

For the love of Pizza and Pottery

It has been my observation that people obsessed with clay and firing kilns also have a deep appreciation for making pizza. For some reason the two obsessions go hand in hand. 

I first discovered this when Robin and I were living in Australia and spent time with Ian Jones and his partner Moraig McKenna, out at their property in Gundaroo. Both of them clay artists, with multiple woodkilns at their refurbished church for a studio/home/gallery, were also well known for their pizza making parties. We enjoyed many woodfired pizzas with them during our stint down under. 

Another example that comes to mind is our good friends Tom and Kathryn, also both clay artists that run Pleasant Hill Pottery just outside Eugene, Oregon. They have built a woodfired pizza oven that we have heard great things about, but have yet to sample. 

And now here at Utah State University, in the middle of the kiln compound just outside the clay studios, is a woodfire pizza oven. There is a pattern. I wondered perhaps if it was a love for making and kneading the dough, similar to the process of wedging the clay, that drew potters to pizza making. Or whether it was the celebratory nature of ceramics, the eating and drinking off of handmade objects that the participatory pizza making and eating had such a profound relationship. But tonight I realized, it's really all about the firings. Potters just love to fire things.

Tonight we headed over to the school around 5p.m. to participate in a wood fired pizza party. The students are firing the reduction cool train kiln, so the pizza oven was fired up earlier in the day to be ready to feed the hungry stokers at suppertime.  Making pizza in this oven is a common event, common enough that supplies such as pre-made dough and pizza sauce are kept on hand at the school in case the urge and opportunity is there. Everyone then donates the rest of the toppings. 

Isla was most pleased to hang out with the big kids, run around the compound and eat pizza. I don't think it would be hard to convince Robin that we should build a woodfire pizza oven at our place one day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Nap Trap

I am being held captive in my own house by my two small children and their ridiculous napping schedule. With Roscoe wanting to take his big nap in the mornings (9 - 11 ish) and then Isla needing to go down by 1:30 for a couple of hours- it doesn't leave much time for getting out and about. Especially when I also have to fit in a meal in that 2 hour window. 

I'm feeling a bit trapped!

Today we took a chance and packed up our snacks and diaper bag and headed out before Roscoe started showing signs of any sleepiness overcoming him. We went on another date with Kate and her kids to a nature park kids group. The Stokes Nature Park offers all kinds of programming at their interpretive centre, but today was an exception, the program was held in a community just south of Logan called Nimbley at an orchard. 

We were amongst a whole raft of preschoolers and babes out at the orchard picking pears, plums (3 varieties), peaches and apples. Isla seemed to enjoy the songs and activities and especially the company of so many other little people. Roscoe eventually took his time out and fell asleep in the backpack, only to be rudely awakened to be put back in his carseat. 

It is truly harvest season here. Our pear tree in the backyard is weeping fruit now. Every day (while my kids are napping) I head out there to pick up the overripened ones that have fallen on the ground around the tree trunk. If anyone knows of a good recipe that calls for 50some pears in it let me know.     

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Dating Scene

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be dating again. No need for alarm, I haven't left my husband due to his long hours spent in the studio and rare presence in our home. Rather, I'm in search of friends, for both me and my kids. 

It was pointed out to me today by my newest friend Kate, that making friends in a new place is really a lot like dating. First, there is the initial introductions, where you meet, partake in some small talk and perhaps leave with a favorable impression that this might be someone you'd enjoy hanging out with more, or not. Then of course there is the "first date" whereby one of you have to take the initiative to set up some kind of activity or event to get together. With kids, thankfully, this isn't difficult at all, in fact - they are the reason for getting together, lest you would surely go crazy in your home.  Of course it takes time to get to know someone and develop a true friendship and bond, but you can usually tell right away whether you have a connection with someone right from the get go. 

Where it gets complicated for us mothers of small children, is whether the kids get along. Regardless if you've just met your newest BFF, spent the last hour chatting nonstop and realized you hadn't thought about your children or their whereabouts for at least 1/2 that amount of time - if your kids don't get along, the relationship is bound to bust. 

Kate and I went on a "date" today to the local little zoo here in Logan. It was a splendid way to
spend a couple hours between designated nap times. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the zoo offered some new sights to take in for Isla, Roscoe and I.  It's a modest little zoo, mostly birds, but they do have a bobcat, a couple of coyote and fox, some pronghorn antelope and the latest addition this summer has been a couple of monkeys. The gate admission is $1, by an honor system of dropping some change into a lockbox at the gate. The area is fully enclosed, so the kids can run all about on the neatly mowed grassy areas, and next door to the zoo is a playground - which never fails if Isla's attention strays. 

My impression is that Kate and I are quite compatible. She has two children, Finnegan (4 yrs) and Maggie (8 months). Seeing that our kids are almost exactly the same ages, means we have tons to talk about. Kate and her husband Mike also lived in Vancouver for a year not that long ago while Mike taught at UBC, so they have some insight into all that is Canadiana. 

Kate has been so welcoming since the day we first met a few weeks back. She's hooked me up with all sorts of family friendly things to do in and around Logan, baked us muffins and soup, we've even exchanged cookbooks already. I think it may be the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Isla and Finnegan are still warming up to one another, seemingly more aware of their gender differences when there are other kids around, but happy to run and jump on couches together when it is just the two of them. As for Roscoe and Maggie, well, they make a cute little couple already. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First critiques

Robin had his first formal crit yesterday at school. He came home for supper, both energized and excited to talk about the conversations that took place during the group critiques. The way that it works is this: the grad students go around to each studio as a group with the three faculty members and are expected to provide an update on their research and respective bodies of work.

A crit is desirably what the word describes it to be - a critique of the work and hopefully helpful to the student, not discouraging. The students are looking for constructive feedback and a dialogue that may inspire them to take the work further, or sometimes not. It is therefore important to treat these crits as opportunities for growth, and although it is helpful to have developed a thicker skin through undergraduate critiques, some people never are able to let go of their defenses entirely. 

To his advantage, Robin is open to all feedback, and sees these next few years as an invitation to make the most of the resources and facilities, to take his work in directions he may not have previously thought while pursuing those ideas he's been interested in and hasn't given himself permission to until now.  

He has been making these larger jars now for the last three weeks, and admits to never having made this many jars consecutively in a row before. The process of making them one after the other has offered some valuable insight into the form and what it is he is trying to achieve in it. 
His concentrated efforts on this one particular form, has allowed him to think critically about what it is that has attracted him to these forms in the first place. 

His intention with these jars is to try and understand what it is that has inspired him about certain historical forms and their presence, and how he can adapt it to inform his own work. This was mostly what the dialogue in his first crit was all about. 

On the homefront, we've been having critiques at the dinner table over Isla's latest fingerpainting creations. She is particularly fond of the second one from the right. I of course think they are all masterpieces. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

From one mountain biker's mecca to another

It was a good thing I talked Robin into bringing his downhill bike with us to Utah. He figured he would be so busy in the studio, and that his green cruiser would be all that he needed to get to and from school. But to think that he wouldn't have the opportunity to get out on a trail at some point, I mean, isn't Utah one of the mountain biking capitals of the WORLD???? 

Well the opportunity came sooner than he thought. This weekend, Robin and a couple of the other grad students, Trevor and Ernie, packed up their bikes and gear and headed up Logan Canyon. The trail is called the Tony Grove trail, named after the lake at the trailhead. It leads north up the canyon to another lake, White Pine Lake and then heads south again past a number of ponds and springs, and offers some spectacular vistas of  the Mount Naomi Wilderness along the way.
From what I can tell of the photos Robin took, it was a great day out and he was happy to strike a balance amongst his hectic pace of making work and teaching.  His day trip brings to mind all the amazing places that I hope to see while we are living here in Utah. It would be a crime not to take advantage of the proximity of living so close to places like the Dinosaur National Monument, Zion National Park, Moab, Jackson Hole and all other incredible ski destinations in this state. Heck, we're only 8 hours from Vegas!

We are realizing that we've moved from one recreational backyard paradise and landed ourselves in another. All of the activities are the same; hiking, biking, paddling, skiing -  just with a slightly different flavour. Can't complain, I could have ended up in Nebraska. 


Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Utah State Fair

Yesterday we took our first trip into the big city with the kids. It was nearly 3 p.m. when the car was packed, the kids buckled and we had the rest of the days chores behind us to finally hit the highway south towards Salt Lake City. 

The drive is quite beautiful. Shortly outside of Logan the road veers east into the Wellsville mountain range. Winding through a canyon, the highway passes through hillside residential developments as well as stretches of steep and rugged sagebrush terrain. About 1/2 hours drive through the range and you pop out on the other side at Brigham City. 

The highway then connects up with the I-15 interstate and the next thing you know you're deep into the urban sprawl of Salt Lake City. Our destination was the Utah State Fairgrounds, not far from the city centre. 

The $8 admission fee at the gate bought us an evening's worth of greasy food concession stands, wild carnival rides, exhibit halls and people watching. Likely a total sensory overload for the kids, it was fun to watch them take in the sights and sounds. Isla was especially impressed with the drop of doom, check out her drop of the jaw....

Our indulgences included a $6 deep fried onion, some Hawaiian rotissarrie chicken and a pony ride for Belle. Both Roscoe and Isla exceeded our expectations, staying up several hours past their usual bedtimes  - with smiles on their faces even. 

We headed home well after dark, leaving the lights of the city behind us. It was a great family outing. My only complaint was the after effects of that deep fried onion, certainly not worth the six dollar price ticket. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday night Sushi

It was Friday night sushi at our place tonight. Trevor Dunn, a third year graduate student and his partner Donna, as well as Uncle Joe came over for some assembly line fun at the kitchen table. 

It was a smorgasbord of sushi, edamame beans, garlicky shrimp and all the dressings. The funny part was that we all ate so much while we were rolling out the sushi that when we sat down to eat, we were stuffed! 

Trevor and Donna rolled like pros and there was no need to bring out the rolling mats. Joe taught us his trick to cutting the sushi rolls - swipe the knife with vinegar between each cut. And Robin enlightened all of us to a new sushi ingredient - mayonnaise? 

Trevor and Donna are from Colorado, and like us have a studio and kiln back home. Trevor will be graduating this year and is putting together his thesis show. Donna is a teacher at one of the local public schools here in Logan. 

It was great to have the company, and worked out well hosting the dinner party so that we could easily put the kids to bed and still socialize for the evening. 

Thanks to Trevor and Donna for the great idea!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Income earning or higher learning?

I suppose that was the question we asked ourselves about this time last year when we first started to put together grad school applications. 

It seems like a lifetime ago, recalling the process we went through, first to research the various programs, then to narrow down the list of schools to apply to, contacting references, writing a letter of intent, pulling together a portfolio and so on....

And here we are. The question still hangs in the air why leave a fully functioning studio set-up that took several years and a great deal of resources to pull together, to enroll in an MFA program that will hurdle us further into debt and farther away from our home sweet home?

There is no doubt in my mind that we made the right decision. And here's why:

As an undergraduate coming out of a BFA program in ceramics, Robin found himself at a crossroads in his career. He had the choice to either pool his resources and commit to setting up a studio of his own or take those resources and invest in another 2-3 years of education. After a lengthy journeyman period of school, apprenticeships, travel and residencies, Robin was ready to build and fire his own kiln. Which brought us of course to the Slocan Valley where we set up shop and started our pottery business and little family. 

We spent three years building the pottery up and like any other small business owner would attest, it takes time to establish oneself to the point of having a stable income, but the reward was that Robin was in control of everything and he got to do what he loved most, make pots. This last year in particular seemed a culmination our efforts over the past few, we took on more consignment galleries in Toronto and Edmonton, exhibited and made the most in sales than we ever had. It felt like we were certainly building on a good thing.

The question whether to pursue a graduate degree remained a dominant one in our minds, particularly for Robin it was likely more a matter of when not if.  The timing of our decision last fall to apply for Fall 08 entry seemed opportune somehow. For several reasons it made sense; the kids being young and easily relocatable, my maternity leave and the winds of change occurring in my career, the opportunity for me to stay home with them and a shift in Robin's studio practise questioning what direction he wanted to take his work in.  

So off to Graduate school we went.

Of course it will be expensive; the tuition costs, the moving and related relocation costs, living expenses over a two to three year period. Not to mention the negative income that we'll experience while in school. The encouraging part is that USU lends a helping hand with a hefty tuition break, and paid assistantships that will help to offset the costs. 

And truly, this experience is an investment. Graduate school will expose Robin to a higher level of discourse and thought about art, it'll give him time to concentrate on his own work, he'll meet and connect with people that will hopefully open a lifetime's worth of doors and it'll give him the opportunity to teach at the post secondary level. 

How could it not have been the right decision. Don't let me fool you. There will be days when I wake up wondering what the heck we are doing here. Today was one of those days. I'll just have to read this blog entry over when those mornings blindside me. Perhaps that is why I chose to write about such a topic as this on such a day as today. Over and out. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's in a loaf?

I'd like to introduce you to the Crumb Brothers. Crumb Brothers Artisan Breads is a bakery/eatery way across town that we were first introduced to by our neighbors, when they came by with a welcome basket that included a freshly baked loaf of ciabatta bread from CB. (Isn't that sweet?)

Crumb Brothers is to Logan like Oso Negro is to Nelson. In other words, it is synonymous. It seems suiting that we would support a place like the Crumb Brothers bakery. First because we like their bread but also because their baked bread is like an art form in itself. Their motto is "committed to creating superb hand-crafted bread", and we're all about supporting the hand-crafted. 

It's the businesses out there, like Crumb Brothers and Oso Negro that help define a place. They contribute to community well-being by building character and hopefully making life a little more pleasurable for those that live nearby and can enjoy what they have to offer.  Crumb Brothers is making my life a little more pleasurable these days.

Isla, Roscoe and I headed over to CB this morning after storytime at the library to buy ourselves a Decker Five seed loaf. The bakery is housed in a newly constructed timberframe building with lots of windows and ironwork accents. Inside there are a dozen or so tables, a coffee station and front counter with a varied selection of freshly baked loaves all of which are free to sample with complementary butter and marmalade. Outside the grounds are xeriscaped with a stone patio and walking paths. 

It's satisfying biting into a piece of Crumb Brothers bread and knowing that the ingredient list that went into making this bread is short and simple; flour, water, yeast, salt.  Not some scary list of "  -glycerides and  -itrates". But not all people would agree. There is another bakery in town, just around the corner from CB....

Monday, September 8, 2008

Daily requests

Everyday I can count on Isla to ask for two things: First if we can go to the park and second if she can have a popsicle (thanks to her recent sore throat experience). She always wins me over on the park, only sometimes on the popsicle request. 

We live a stones throw away from an elementary schoolyard that has three separate playgrounds, all for differing ages and stages is my guess. Isla of course likes the biggest one with the steepest slide. Our daily trip to the park usually means she rides her tricycle and I push Roscoe in the stroller. He's happy as always to follow us around and take in the sights, even if they are the same every time. 

And although we love our local playground, the other day I was surfing around online for things to do in the Cache Valley and I made a great find called Ryan's Place in the neighboring community of River Heights. So this past weekend we all headed over to check it out. 

And what a fabulous find it turned out to be. Ryan's Place is a playground paradise designed and built as a memorial to a small boy from this community that drown a couple years ago. There are all kinds of great climbing and equipment features and an area designed specifically for toddlers. Just a few of the highlights were the rocketship, the dune buggy, the dinosaur sandpit, and even a lounge style swing! I'm sure we'll make it back to Ryan's Place in the days to come. 

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Don't doubt a Dyson

Ever heard of a Dyson? If you are or have ever been in the market for a vacuum cleaner in the last few years, then you'll likely have seen or perhaps even testdriven one of these state-of-the-art appliances. Well we are now the proud owners of a practically new Dyson 14. 

Seeing that I've never purchased an upright vacuum cleaner before in my life, and I've always been under the impression that vacuum cleaner salepeople came to your door, I had to get the real deal on what was what in the world of vacuum cleaners from a reputable source. And Dyson was what I was told to buy. (Thanks Wanda)

So I started sourcing them out down here. My first reaction was total shock and awe at the price of these things, I could buy a decent beater car for the same price or a years worth of diapers for that matter! But I kept digging and found out that brand name purchase pricing is what we were dealing with.  So off to the bargain stores I went. The price came down a third at Sam's Club discount store (like a Costco), but still too expensive for our student budget. 

Last on my list was to go online and check craigslist, and sure enough we sourced out a furniture/appliance liquidation sale that was happening this weekend, in Logan. No Kidding! Another early morning with the kids, getting them up and fed and buckled into their carseats to go vacuum cleaner shopping this time, all before 7 a.m. 

I can now vacuum to my heart's content (not sure if that is really a good thing). Perhaps this could turn into a money making opportunity....I could take my Dyson door-to-door and offer to vacuum other people's homes? It is a Dyson afterall.

Lesson learned

What happens when you spend four hours making a very large pot on the wheel and then invite your toddler to have a closer look? KERSPLATT! 

I only wish I had the camera. We dropped in on Robin at the studio yesterday afternoon on our way to the park. He was about to wrap things up and join us for a lovely saturday afternoon together, that was until Isla stepped on the wheel peddle and 35 pounds of clay went spiraling into the air. 

Seriously, it's only funny now after the fact. All that work. I suppose we all learned our lesson. Needless to say Robin didn't join us at the park, he stayed and worked on another large jar for the rest of the day. 

We actually never made it to the park. We were on our way there when we were stopped on a bystreet by a parade procession. It was the APPLE DAY Parade.  So we jumped out and took in the local regalia. 

Marching band in Apple days parade.