Wednesday, July 18, 2012

San Diego

Scott had a paid day off two weeks ago, so we decided to jump ship. By jump ship, I  mean leave the desert, and catch some sunshine and waves.
We began our trip on Thursday night, leaving around 8:00pm. We got there at about 7:00 am that morning, had some breakfast at Jamba Juice and waited until the zoo opened. Then we found a shady spot to park and headed in. Here is what happened!

First, we saw some really cute Meerkats! This one stood up for me. Super cute. 
 Then, I saw all of the holes. I immediately started singing,
 Dig a tunnah,
Dig digga tunnah
What was that?
Quick before the hyena come
Then we saw elephants! There were huge and dirty. This one was throwing dirt. Awesome. I sent this picture to my dad, because he loves elephants, and the terd never texted me back. 
 This one was yelling. It was really loud, and kind of stressful.
I was standing about 2 feet from the barrier in the front of this picture. I was going to take a picture of the one in the background, and then he came around the corner. I about dropped my phone!
 We walked and walked and walked and were looking for some shade or cooler areas or something, and decided to go to the frozen area of the zoo. Turns out, its out doors and it was hot anyway. Scott and I tried to get funny pictures with the animals, and this one was perfect. Before we took this picture, this polar bear was eating carrots out of a container. She was picking them up out of the container with her teeth and then putting them between her paws and gnawing away, but then she got tired, and just laid down and ate on her side. Scott decided he would help by holding her up.

 We got these super awesome tickets that let us get into the Zoo, SeaWorld and the Safari Park for unlimited times for a week for only $99, and included was the bus tour! Scott had never ridden in a double decker bus, so we got in line, and basically ran to the top. You can't tell, but we are pretty high.
From the our seat on the bus, we were almost eye-to-eye with this 17' giraffe! He is the biggest one at the zoo and is a baby daddy of all the babies there. In fact, there was a baby, and we had to go back after our ride to get a picture.
 He is 3 weeks old. You can't really tell how much smaller he is, but he is a doll.
 And here is my silly picture, it is supposed to look like the baby daddy giraffe is kissing me! What do you think?
Right before we left, we decided that we would take the air tram down to the gate. It was getting hot. And by hot, I mean 70 degrees. But, with a UV index of 11, it felt like, a bajillion degrees. 


Scott and I make a point of going to Diners, Drive-ins and Dives places no matter where we are. When we went to Boise on our one year anniversary, we went to Westside Drive-in. That place was awesome. Well, there were two places that Scott and I wanted  to visit while here in Sunny San Diego. The first one we visited had fish tacos that Guy said were awesome. So, standing in line for about 20 minutes...we finally ordered and sat down. We got calamari, crab pico, and two fish tacos a piece! Beer-battered cod, mahi-mahi, SWORDFISH, and something else I can't remember. 
We ate these like we were never going to eat again. There was a piece in there that was still the little squid or octopus or whatever! Just battered and fried and still shaped like that thing! Scott broke it before I could take a picture, and then we ate it! Then we go the rest of our was sooo much . We didn't finish it. And we felt realllly bad.
But it was good. Not as good as the pizza we had the next day...


The next day we decided to stay the day at the beach. We slathered in sunscreen at about 10 am, thinking it was early, as the travel site I went to said that most people get there at about noon. Well, it took about 15 minutes to find a parking space, and then we had to walk about 3 blocks. We played in the waves and took some long walks. The waves were so fun. Maybe too much fun...I was just minding my own business when the waves started to take me out to sea! I started to get pulled into the rip current and when I told Scott he laughed at me and said, Come on back closer! I was trying as hard as I could! I almost started to cry. When Scott saw that I was trying, the look on his face got worried. He walked out to me and tried to pull me back in, but every wave tried to pull me back out. After struggling for a couple minutes that felt like eternity, we finally made it back in. Within seconds of getting out of the current, the life guards told everyone to get out of the water at that exact spot I was stuck at because the current was too strong. 

You can't tell right now, but we go soooo burned its not even funny.


Oh. My. Gosh. This pizza was uh-may-zing. And I have even been to Tony's in Mooresville, and I am craving Pizza Luigi's right now instead. (Gasp! That is a cuss word in my parents house). Well, we went to this really is a dive. Like, I should have locked my wallet and phone in the glove compartment in my car dive. Like they only take cash dive. Like Scott held my hand very tight on the side-walk dive. It was scary. And the variety of people who came to the place were....interesting. But, standing in line we chose the pizza we wanted from the case, they reheated it...all 4 pieces of pizza that were bigger than my face, for $12! Holy crap that was cheap! And we got two drinks! I got margarita, and a spinach and ricotta, and Scott got the Capone (sliced meatballs, sausage, pepperoni) and something else that I can't remember.

The pizza was the best. It helped me forget that I was sooo sun burned on the back of my legs that the chair cutting into them hurt like the dickens. That is why I am grimacing in this picture.

I am kind of tired of typing about this, so I think I will just post the pictures!
 Here are four of the whales at Shamu Stadium. The video on facebook shows the funny noises they make!
 This is Mr. Turtle. He was moving so slow, I got a picture in front of him, and a video that took a lonnnnng time for him to move from the sand to the water.
This is the Cirque De La Mar Stadium. The giant white things on the blue stage are trampolines. They would jump off of them into the water. It was pretty cool.

So that was our trip to San Diego. We haven't done much since we have been back...oh wait, yea we have. So, I will post about those later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Plus Also...The Fire

Well, our beloved Eagle Mountain Hill caught on fire.

This is where it started on our side of the hill. I think I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

There should be a whole lot more pictures, but we got stressed and little distracted...The fire continued south on the hill, until the fire-fighters were able to put it out.

Pinterest Oreo Truffles and Bruschetta Chicken

MMM. Chocolate-y Oreo-y Goodness. Don't they look great?!

Those are not mine.

These are.

Here is my story in pictures.
I started with Double-Stuff Oreos. This may have been where the trouble started. The first thing I did was try and mash them up into crumbs. Well, there must have been too much cream. Dang it.

Then, the cream cheese was still softening, but I wanted to make truffles now, so I heated it up in the microwave. As I am writing this I want to put forth a disclaimer: MY MOTHER DID NOT TEACH ME HOW TO DO THIS, SHE TAUGHT ME HOW TO DO THINGS CORRECTLY. THIS IS NOT TO BE A REFLECTION OF HER WONDERFUL COOKING, JUST MY IMPATIENT STUPIDITY.

Next, I tried to mix the hot cream cheese and powder stuff.
Then, like the recipe said, I tried to roll it into balls. Epic fail. I had to look up online how to roll out truffles. One of the websites I found said to refridgerate for 12 hours! What?? What kind of recipe was I using....
So I waited like 2 hours.
At that point, I just rolled them into balls and melted the UNSWEETENED chocolate.
Then, because I didn't have a double boiler...I burned some of it..

Then, I tried to roll one of the truffle balls in the chocolate, and then tried to get it out...Well that didn't work at all. So, I ended up just pouring the chocolate on top of it. It worked.

They lasted less than a week.

This is a picture from Pinterest. When I made it last Thursday, it smelled so good and tasted so good, I didn't have time to take pictures. I have broken down what I did into some EASY steps.
~First, go put some aluminum foil on one side of your grill.
~Then marinate chicken in Sundried Tomato Dressing. If you have time, do it the day before. When you are ready to grill, put the chicken on the uncovered grill side. Let it grill for about 4-6 minutes.
~While that is grilling, prepare the bruschetta part.
        ~Dice some fresh tomatoes. I used 4 chicken tenderloins for the two of us, but I diced about 6 roma
          tomatoes. Just know that the more tomato stuff...the better!
        ~After those are diced, I used herb scissors to cut fresh basil into little pieces,
        ~ added about a cup of shredded mozz and
         ~enough Sundried Tomato Dressing to get it to mix and be moist.
~Your chicken might be done on one side now. Take your yummy bruschetta out to the grill.  Flip chicken cooked side down onto the aluminum foil. Put the tomato mixture on top, and finish cooking.

Scott and I also had some hard steak rolls left over...they were in the freezer...we popped those on the grill too and they crusted right up and had a soft center.

When the chicken was done, I put two pieces on my plate and put the entire aluminum foil tray on Scott's plate. He all but licked it clean.

We liked it so much, I made it again on Sunday.
This one is a keeper.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Well, that was one of the hardest, hottest, most rewarding things I have ever done.
On Thursday night, Angela came and stayed at our house as well as Errol and Janet. Scott and I made a pre-race dinner of grilled chicken fettuccine alfredo with roasted poblano pepper alfredo sauce, salad, garlic bread and grilled bananas foster. I feel like I would race every weekend to get an awesome dinner like that!
Then, on to bed. I woke up about 7 times! I had set my alarm for 6:00 am realizing I had not packed a bag for the weekend at all...but at 5:30am, when I couldn't get back to sleep, I just woke up and started to pack a bag.
Angela and I left for Logan and Cassie's at 6:30 where we hitched a ride to the starting line at Utah State. Nick McKee and Amber McKee as well as Matt Merkley were in the car with us. I apparently amused everyone with my stories...I tend to talk a lot.
We got to the starting line and checked in, went through the safety talk, decorated the vans, and accompanied Nick to the starting line at 11:00am. He was our first runner. As he ran across the starting line, he did a cartwheel...what a goofball. And it starts for team 951! Ready...Set...NO!

We went back to our vans and those in van 1 (1: Nick McKee, 2: Amber McKee, 3: Matt Merkley, 4: Kari Patty, 5: Aaron Patty, 6: Angela Merkley) started to leapfrog with Nick through his run. Us in van 2  (7: Cassie Merkley,  8: ME! 9: Logan Merkley, 10: Lindy Merkley, 11: Nathan Gomez, 12: John Gillman) went to the first major exchange where we would start running at about 5:00 that night. We just kinda hung out there... we are all still clean, and un-sunburned and smiling.
When Angela came around the corner and into the first exchange it was finally our turn to run! Cassie was a beast at her run, and when I was walking to the first exchange for us...I started to get real nervous.
My first leg was awful! I started out too fast and ended up feeling really sick. It was realllllly hot outside. I ran as far as I could....then I felt like a wimp when I walked. It was only 3.4 miles for pete sake! When I saw the 1 mile to go marker...I got really excited. But it had to have been a long mile! When I started to get to the finish line, this like 100 year old man started to pass me! And I would not have that, so I started to sprint up the hill...not a good idea, I did pass him! (that means it counts as a "Kill" that we marked with the window chalk on our car.) Then I about passed out!
All the rest of the runs were great. We went to the next major exchange and I HAD to get this amazing coat.

We waited until John finished his first leg and we went to a school to sleep. By now it was 11:00 at night and we had about 1.5 hours of sleep on the ground at a high school. We woke up at 1:30am and got in the car to make it to the next major exchange. Van 1 had gone through their legs really fast. We took Cassie to the campground where she was to start her leg. At this time...I was feeling really sick. I hadn't really eaten anything since my last leg and was way under-hydrated. I had on my new jacket, my safety vest, my headlamp, and my taillight. As Cassie sprinted through the exchange and gave me the slap bracelet, I started off a lot slower than before. I had 7 miles to run through and it was dark! It was 2:30 in the morning. And beautiful. This leg was running down Morgan Canyon into Henefer. OMGosh I would run that leg over and over again. But, lets not get ahead of ourselves. In the first mile or so, Scott and the van stopped and asked if I needed water. I was in the zone! I told them in another mile and half to meet me for water. After they went on ahead, I noticed that the stars were beautiful. So, I looked up, and I saw the little dipper. And then I fell. I totally biffed it. The girl behind me just kept running. Bia.
So, a mile and half ahead, (still running!) I told Scott that I fell, and that my knee hurts and does he want to see it. He said no...just keep going. Well, when I finished the leg RAN THE WHOLE TIME ALL 7 MILES,  and I was in the light of the exchange I picked up my pant leg that had stuck to my knee....there was blood everywhere!!!!!!! This is my knee all cleaned up:

It is a huge knot. Anyway. After I had stopped running, Logan started his long leg. 10 miles! That is insane. Anyway, when John finished his 2 leg, we stayed at that exchange (which was a big park) We slept on a field like a soccer field/coach pitch baseball field. It was hot and then cold and then hot and then cold. I still had not eaten anything and everyone was nervous. Kari sent Cassie with a Naked smoothie...which I totally chugged! It was delicious and it made me want french fries. Which was some of the best news that people had heard in a while. We lounged in the shade until it was time to drive to Heber. 

As you can see, my feet are all wrapped because my dance shoes are not for running, which I learned the hard way. Anyway, we drove to Heber and Cassie had her last leg. It was about 87 degrees outside. I had 5.5 miles left and it was a steady uphill climb. Cassie was amazing at her last leg, she was running every time we saw her. There were people in their yards as we ran by with hoses that sprayed us. It was awesome. Then, it was my turn. It was hotter than I thought it was and I swear I trained for this. But I was not prepared for the heat and the steady uphill climb. I made a deal with myself that I would run for 3 songs and then walk for 1. That did not work very well. But the good news was that I was not the only one who was walking on that leg. That was was in the sun the whole time and then at the very end, there was an elevation gain of over 100 feet in less than half a mile. It was like stairs. When I had 1 mile to go, Cassie got out of the van and ran the last little bit with me. BECAUSE SHE IS A ROCKSTAR! We would say stuff like from the "end of the fence to that sign" it was like 15 paces. But when we saw the exchange, we ran the rest of the way. When I finally crossed over my last finish line I almost collapsed. Scott gave me a big hug and said he was proud of me. Then we helped Logan and Lindy climb Ragnar Hill. What they were doing made what I did seem inconsequential. But, I will get better at this running thing. Anyway, after riding the shuttle to Park City High School after Gomez finished his incredible downhill run before John's last leg. I got my blisters fixed and then when we saw John we all ran with him across the finish line! We ran all almost 200 miles as a team in 33 hours, 25 minutes and 11 seconds. It was awesome. We got our medals!

Then started the long drive home. When we got home, Scott took pictures of my pathetic feet, my knee and my awesome temporary tattoo. 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Summer Hobby

So, in the life of a teacher, it can get kinda boring during the summer. I mean, I do stuff. I do lots of stuff. Like sleep in, and watch whatever show I want while Scott is as work, and I read, and I make something yummy just for me.

And then it is 10:00 in the morning.

Today, I said to myself, "Self, you need a hobby. Cooking and cleaning are not a hobby, and you can only clean the bathroom so many times by 1 in the afternoon before it just gets weird."

So I decided that I would be your friendly neighborhood Pinterest Myth Buster!

That's right friends. I will have a post everyday about something that I tried on Pinterest, and how it worked. This will be a blog with failures and successes and TRUTH!

There will also be the occasional post about something cool that Scott and I did.

Like the one at the end of this week, with pictures from my race.

But anyway, I look forward to my summer of samples. If there is anything you specifically want me to try, let me know! Happy pinning!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Now Thanksgiving

Now we can get to Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving this year was in Tridell. I decided that I was going to make my French Silk Pie, which, if you have had before, I am sorry that you just drooled on your lap. This turned out to be a big deal because my cookie dough loving husband did not want a pie with raw eggs. It turned into quite a sore spot between us. So I made the pie normally, and wouldn't you know it, it was the first pie gone, and I was asked to make 2 next year. In your face Scott. Just kidding, love you. (but really, you eat my cookie dough..what is the difference?)

I love going to Thanksgiving in Tridell because, well many things, but one of the things that I like the most is the cranberry sauce that the Merkley's make. Cranberries, oranges and other stuff and love, and a few hours later, BAM! Deliciousness.

Anyway. Mia had a blast out on the farm! She loves all the open space to run around and even chased down a few prairie dogs.

But wait, aren't you wondering if I got sick? And the answer yes, I did. I got an awful cold that is just now going away. Thanks.

Thanksgiving or Halloween?

I think I have to go back to November. Or possibly October.

First there was the family reunion, which means that it was time for me to get sick. I always get sick, every time 2 or more Merkley families with children get together and we are there, I get sick. It started out really fun. We played Koob (I think that is how you spell it, and Mom, I think the boys would LOVE this game.) I made survival bracelets and got blisters from pulling the para cord so tight. We watched the BYU football game on a huge screen. I made birthday spaghetti. And then I got sick. Let me tell you, getting sick at Camp Hunt is not fun. First of all, Scott and I were staying in the loft of the director's cabin, and there is one bathroom and you can hear everything that goes on in there, and no street lights to see by. And, I am terrified of the dark. So, I had to wake Scott up to take me to the mess hall. Well, we went around the front, using the squeakiest door and the front door to the mess hall was locked. Scott had to go alll the way around to open it for me. Then, I ran to the bathroom, which has a realllly hard tile floor and kind of high toilets. I barely made it the first time. And it was scary in the dark. I had to turn on a light and the fan every time I went in there. Once, I tried not turning on the light because it was so bright, and I walked into a bowl that was sitting on the floor. Morning finally came, and I was still not feeling better. Scott decided that we should go home, and I puked in the car in a Sonic cup. I have not had Sonic since.

But I got better. I bought a car! Yay! But I have no pictures of it for you, because I am having difficulty finding where I put the camera for safe keeping. I hate it when I do that.
Anyway, I have a 2006 Mazda3. It is a 5-speed manual, with a moon-roof, 6cd changer and 400miles to my 12 gallon tank. Boo-yah.

Also, we had our first Trick-or-Treaters! We almost didn't have any, and then there was basically the entire neighborhood. I had fun at the beginning, and then I just got tired. Not only did I have to hand out candy, but Mia wanted to jump on everyone. Scott thought that it would be unfair to have her stay outside all night, so every time I went to the door, I had to hold her back on her leash. The medium-kids thought it was cool. My favorite trick-or-treater was this little girl about lets say 3 turning 4 dressed as a rock star. She had huge, crimped hair, gloves with no fingers, sunglasses shaped like stars, leggings, miniskirt....wait...I think I am describing most teenage girls who graduated in '88......anyway, she also had one of those little mics for a play karaoke machines. When I asked her what she was, she cocked her head to the side, put her hand on her hip, held the mic up and sang, "I'm a rockstar!" in her best impression of Tina Turner. It was awesome. She was cute.

If I take any pictures of my car, or find the camera, I will post them eventually.