I lived in Salt Lake City for the first 18 years of my life. Then I moved all the way to Provo for the next 4 years. I spent another year in Salt Lake, and another 2 years in Provo. That's 25 years. After that, we lived in St George, and visited the Salt Lake area on a regular basis. Once we moved to the Midwest we spent less time here, but we still made the trek back once a year. And now I've lived in the Salt Lake Valley for 2 years. And you know how many times I went to Music and the Spoken Word? Once. One time. That's it. All those years, all that time living in Salt Lake, and I only went once. So I slapped it on my 40 by 40 list.
And then my awesome friend Larrie saw my list, and said she would go with me. This by itself would be a wonderful thing, because it's always better to have company, and especially someone like Larrie. But even better: Larrie's mom is the Concertmaster of Orchestra at Temple Square! So we got to sit up close, like 3rd row close. I don't think I've ever even walked up that close in the conference center, let alone sat there! It was magical. The music was beautiful, the spoken word was uplifting, and it was a wonderful addition to my Sabbath day worship.
It's been almost a year since we went, and now I kind of want to go again. Maybe take my kids so they don't repeat my mistakes.
Last summer, I decided we were going to make this paddleboarding thing happen. We live close to a lake, and thanks to our HOA we have access to a number of kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards that we can take on the lake, for FREE! I love free! So we headed to the lake to check this one off my list.
I think the first day, we had an old guy doling out the boats, who said it was too windy for a first-timer. We were sad, but we took a kayak out instead, understanding how wind could make things more difficult. The next time we went, we had someone I'll call Doofus. Doofus seemed to be completely annoyed that we were there, making him get up from his cozy chair to get a paddleboard out. Getting the boats and boards out doesn't seem that hard, so I couldn't figure out what his problem was. When we first approached, he explained that he had heard thunder, and we had to go an hour without thunder before we could go on the lake. This was fine, we went home, and came back an hour later (during which we distinctly heard no thunder). Neither had Doofus. But he said nope, no paddelboards, but he'd be happy to give us a kayak. We explained that we didn't want a kayak, we wanted a paddleboard. He nodded, and went to get a kayak. We again explained that we didn't want to go kayaking, and he basically indicated that he wouldn't be letting us use the paddleboards today. No explanation, not even a fake one. So we left. Clark sent a strongly worded email to the HOA (which he received no response on). I was not impressed.
We went back a few days later, Doofus was there again. His attitude remained the same, but he reluctantly got out a couple of paddleboards and let us on the lake. To this day I have no idea what his problem was, but I have thankfully not seen him since then.
ANYWAY. The paddleboarding itself was awesome! It was much harder than I thought it would be, but in a good way. Clark and I both paddled out while kneeling, then stood up after a lot of effort (and a little confusion, how are you supposed to stand up without tipping over? I still don't know exactly how that happened...), and made our way around the lake. It was great!
I didn't get a picture of this activity because, hello, my phone would go right into the lake. Plus, I had to use all my appendages (and my core) just to stay on the board. But trust me, it happened, and it was fabulous.
I'm pretty sure you all know how I feel about pie. I might just be a tiny bit obsessed. Someone shared with me a list of the best place in each state to get some pie, which is when I first heard of Burr Trail Grill. I said to myself, "Um, there's no way this restaurant in the middle of nowhere is the best pie in Utah." But then I heard it straight from someone who had been there that it was, in fact, amazing. Thus began my quest to get to Boulder.
Where is Boulder, UT, you ask? Well, it's close to nothing in the middle of nowhere. When we planned that trip to Capitol Reef, I noticed that Boulder, UT was only 53 minutes away, which is the closest I'll ever be, and so I made it priority to get. that. pie. The rest of my family thought I was crazy to want to go so far out of the way for a piece of pie, but I insisted. And let me tell you, none of them thought I was crazy after they tasted this pie.
I got the peach, since peach is my favorite. Oh my heavens, it was fantastic. The crust was so flaky, the peaches were so sweet and delicious...it was most definitely worth the drive. I don't know when I'll be back, but I plan to be back.
40 by 40 #35: Eat pie from Burr Trail Grill in Boudler, UT: 🗹
Last summer (August 2018) we headed down to Capitol Reef with my extended family for a little vacation. Clark had to stay behind because he started working (happy day!), but the rest of us had a great time. We camped in a tent (a first for the girls), went hiking, saw petroglyphs, and even harvested some fruit from the orchards in Fruita. I had never been to Capitol Reef before, and it was amazing! All that glorious red rock that I love so well, but without all the crowds you find at Arches and Zion. We really need to go back, with Clark this time!
For our anniversary last year (2018) we took an excursion into town and stopped at Gilgal Gardens. Because nothing says true love like a jaunt through a weird sculpture garden!
But I jest. Gilgal Gardens has a reputation of being a weird place, but I actually really enjoyed our time there. It helped that we had a pamphlet to guide us, giving us insight into the symbolism behind all the sculptures. It was really quite beautiful, even the Joseph Smith sphynx.
But one of my favorites was this one, the swords and spears changed into plowshares and pruninghooks. Possibly because the scripture this is based on (Isaiah 2:4) is one I find to incredibly hopeful: "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." I can't wait for that day.
A handful of years ago (ok, maybe more than a handful...Like 6 or 7? How much is a handful, anyway?) I was into making things from scratch. I was trying really hard to avoid prepackaged foods, partly from a health perspective, but also to save a little cash wherever I could. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I have gotten away from that. Sometimes it's nice to create things from scratch, but sometimes you just need to BUY THE DANG GRAHAM CRACKERS, HOLY SMOKES, WHO HAS TIME TO MAKE HOMEMADE GRAHAM CRACKERS?
Ahem. Anyway. During this phase, I pinned a recipe (on pinterest) for homemade pop tarts, which sounded highly intriguing. I love a good pop tart (they are basically breakfast pie), so I thought making them myself would be kind of fun. But that recipe sat there on my "Recipes to Try" board for years, through the passing of my "All Homemade All The Time" phase, into my "I Have No Time For Anything" phase, and finally into my "Oh, I Have Time Again, And Oodles Of It" phase. (Having kids in school all day is kind of the best.) (Also the worst. But that's a blog post for another day.) It had been sitting there for so long, that I decided to slap it on my 40 by 40 list to finally make it happen. (If it's on a list, then I have to cross it off. I'm a crazy person. It's fine.) (I also love parentheses way too much.)
This is all to say, I finally made some homemade pop tarts back in April, and I loved them. They were kind of a lot of work, and they didn't taste anything like store-bought pop tarts, but they were flaky and sweet and delicious. Would I make them again? Maybe. But certainly not on the regular. My pants barely fit as it is.
I even took a couple pictures, amazingly enough! Don't mind the general mess in the background. That's what my counters always look like. We dump everything there. I don't even see the clutter anymore.
In case you were curious, I used this recipe. And I went with cinnamon sugar, because it's my favorite kind. And maybe the fact that it looked the easiest played a small part. Maybe.
Here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for: my official 40 by 40 list.
I've separated these tasks into 8 categories because have you ever tried to make a list of 40 things you want to do? It's madness. But if you have a specific category, and you only have to think of 5 things for that category, it's much more manageable.
Some of these things are things I've never done. Some are things I want to do again. Some of them might not make a lot of sense to you right now so you'll just have to wait for the write up after I finish them. But I think this is a feasible list for where I am in life right now. Obviously I'd love to put "Travel through Europe for 6 weeks" or "Hike the entire Appalachian Trail" on here, but those things aren't really within my reach. I decided to focus on things that are very possible for me to do in the next 3 years and 8 months. I may or may not finish them all, but dang it, I'm going to try! Let me know if you'd like to join me on any of these adventures :)
1. Run a 5K. (The whole time. No walking)
2. Hike a mountain peak.
3. Go snowshoeing.
4. Hike the Fairyland Loop at Bryce Canyon National Park.
5. Go paddleboarding.
11. Write a hymn.
12. Learn the basics of playing the violin.
13. Perform somewhere with the Blockburger Family Band.
14. See an opera.
15. Go to a classical music concert.
16. Create some map artwork displaying all the places we've lived.
17. Create a Cherries Virtue recipe.
18. Make pajama pants for the family.
19. Make a new wreath for my front door.
20. Learn to make paper flowers.
Places to Go
21. Take my kids to Yellowstone.
22. Visit Yosemite.
23. See the Spiral Jetty.
24. Visit Canyonlands.
25. Visit Capitol Reef.
Things to Read
26. Finish reading 1776.
27. Finish reading all the Chronicles of Narnia.
28. Read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill.
29. Read a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
30. Read a book of Emily Dickinson poems.
Things to Eat
31. Eat creme brulee.
32. Eat a macaron.
33. Eat a Kouing Aman from Les Madeleines.
34. Eat a Doner (Doener? I need an umlaut!) kebab.
35. Eat pie from Burr Trail Grill in Boulder, UT.
36. See a play.
37. Finish my denim quilt.
38. Write a short story.
39. Make homemade pop tarts.
40. Go to Gilgal Garden.
I sat down on January 1st and thought about what I hoped the coming year would bring. I had a few ideas on some things I wanted to make happen, resolutions if you will, but they seemed a little too big to complete in one year. Then I looked back at my list of 2017 resolutions, and felt a bit of chagrin that 30 by 30 ended up being 30 by 36. Then I realized that 36 is not that far from 40, and well...instead of creating a list of resolutions for 2018, I put together my 40 by 40 list.
I'm going to create a separate post for the actual list (to make it easier for me to find when I want to reference it), but know that most of my "resolutions" for this year will be to work on that list. However I've also been thinking of all the things I hope will happen in 2018, and here's what I've come up with.
I hope our little family is in a different situation next January. I hope Clark has a job, we have a home, and we feel settled. I hope we remain in the Wasatch Front, where we can attend all the family events, from Sunday dinners and birthday parties to baby blessings and weddings and everything in between. I hope my girls find themselves at a school they love with friendships that can last for years. I hope we spend a lot of time in the mountains, in all seasons. I hope can meet new friends and reconnect with old ones. I hope I can offer a little more compassion to those who cross my path, and I hope I can send a little more kindness out into the world to ease the pain and suffering that is everywhere.