Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our Last Few Days of Winter

Russ' brother, Ian, and his family came out yesterday, and we all went out to the lake this morning. The breeze was a little cold when we were speeding around, but overall it was a beautiful day. I can't say anything about the water, but judging by the short periods of time that our wakeboarders stayed in the water, I think it was pretty chilly!

Russ just loves being behind the wheel of his new boat.

Our first wakeboarder was Ian, and he set the bar pretty high.

But then another boat drove by, and their guy landed a full flip right next to our boat and blew Ian away. Oh well.

Russ went next. I did my best to capture some shots, but I did get quite a few blurry ones and some of just the wake. Capturing the height of the jumps can be a lot like trying to photograph dolphins. Your timing has to be just right.

At least our guys were wearing wetsuits, unlike some of the crazy people out there this morning.

Will was next.

Go Willy J! Yes, he's about to crash. (Sorry, the sun kinda ruined my picture, and he didn't keep going long enough to get any others)

The other kids had fun up in the bow.

Paige was dancin' to the music.

I think Katie enjoyed herself, too.

Patrick, not as much, but he was a trooper. (I thought I'd save you all from having to look at Ian's armpit.)

Despite the fact that it's still technically winter, it was a beautiful day at the lake, and best of all, there weren't too many other people there!

Funny thing is, Russ and Will plan to spend one of their first few days of spring snowboarding at Durango Mountain Resort. Go figure.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Ski Boat!

Today Russ fulfilled a long time dream of owning his own ski boat. We just bought this 2005 Bayliner 185 with a 4.3L 190HP inboard/outboard Mercruiser engine.

The whole family is excited for a summer full of wakeboarding, skiing, and getting tortured on the towable that was included in the sale. I would tell you what type of towable it is, but I haven't even opened the bag to look at it yet. It was offered for free, so we obviously just said we'd take it.

It rained on the boat last week, so Will is getting the ski ropes out of the locker to let them dry.

Looks like fun, huh? Now to see if we can squeeze it into the garage.

Friday, March 12, 2010


This is old news, to be sure, but Jill convinced me that old news can be good news, too. Way back in November, we decided to take a mini vacation to Tucson and Tombstone, partly because I had been too sick in October to go anywhere for fall break, and partly for my birthday.

I guess I didn't whip out the camera until near the end of the trip because we have absolutely no pictures from Tucson. The day we arrived... wait, wait... on the drive there, we saw the brightest, most enormous double rainbow spanning the vast and open desert. Beautiful! We just had to pull over to admire it. Sorry, no pic (dang it!).

Okay, okay, when we got there, we went to Colossal Caves and did the cave tour and some mining at the little sluice they had there that was designed to separate the tourists from their money. The girls ended up with colorful rocks while the boys got arrowheads, so they were happy about that. Then we went on a little hike that showcased the lives of the Indians that used to inhabit the area, and we got to see this unusual saguaro cactus with a genetic defect that made the top spread out like a fan. I'd never seen anything like it before in my life, but it was so cool! Sorry, no pic (what was I thinking?).

That night, we checked into the hotel and then tried to find a good Mexican restaurant. Yes, I actually went to the trouble of checking reviews online, and I settled on a place called Mi Nidito (my little nest, I think). I found out that Bill Clinton (as well as a slew of other famous people) had eaten there, so if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me ;) And it really was delicious! Their salsa was super hot, but it had a really good flavor, so I downed the whole bowl... 14 weeks pregnant, and I didn't even regret it later. Weird. I think on it fondly now.

Okay, pics soon. The next day, we headed down to Tombstone, and I have to say it was surprisingly cold. We did a little walking tour and visited the court house that has a museum inside. I must admit, I enjoy museums, but the kids were over it pretty quickly. After a ridiculously expensive lunch, we headed for the OK Corral and paid their overpriced admission fee to watch a reenactment of the gunfight. They reenacted several stories from Tombstone's past to make it a little more interesting, since the actual gunfight only lasted 30 seconds or so. The acting was sub-par, but the kids liked it, and we got some pictures with the actors afterward.

One of these guys just doesn't belong...

I had to pretty much threaten Will to get him in this picture (hmmph... teenagers).

After the show, we got to check out the back lot, and it had some fun exhibits. Plus, we were the only people to stick around, so we had the place to ourselves.

Well, ya know, I'd post the picture that has me in the wagon with the kids, but I'm afraid Papa J would comment on my round face. I'm pregnant, all right? (This is an inside joke with the Johnston clan... maybe Kristen doesn't think of it as a joke, though)

They had this place where the kids could practice their roping skills, which kept them busy while I checked out the other exhibits.

Is it just my imagination, or does it seems like Will is trying to rope his sisters more than he's trying to rope the cows?

Paige took a more gentle approach.

After the OK Corral, we visited the old printing press and got copies of the newspaper that was published the day after the gunfight. Then we stopped in for some ice cream, and the portions were surprisingly generous and inexpensive. Yay! On our way out of town, we went to the Boothill graveyard and got a picture in front of the graves of the gunfighters who died at the OK Corral. As you can see, it had been a very long day for Kallie.

They had some tombstones with some humorous descriptions.

All in all, it was nice to get out of town and learn some things about the wild, wild west, but Tombstone is a tourist trap, so it can get a little pricey. My advice is to pack your lunch!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prepare to Clap and Cheer

My cousin Kelly hosted a little crochet-a-thon, advertising that we would make these really cute cupcakes, and all we needed was some cake colored yarn, some icing colored yarn, a size G needle, and some black embroidery thread. The one thing she left out was "a whole lot of know-how."

Needless to say, I left without a cupcake or anything like unto it. My creation looked a whole lot more like a snake. Kelly had taught me the single crochet stitch, and I went to town. Of course, I messed up a lot, so when I got home, I started over and vowed to get through the entire skein of yarn before giving up. I spent the day stitching away, and by dinner time I had 10 rows of stitches and very little yarn left. I decided this little creation could be a scarf for one of my girls, so I thought I would save the leftover yarn for some fringes on the ends.

It's not fancy or pretty, but I'm pretty proud of myself! So proud, in fact, that I thought for a moment that maybe I could crochet some white baby booties for this baby. That's probably a bad idea, though (Lori, remember those gloves we made?). I had better stick to sewing the blessing outfit for now.

My hands were cramped and stiff by the end, so I have to say that I'm really impressed by all you crocheters out there. Kristen, thanks again for the baby blanket... you're amazing. I shall use it often.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Seven Layer Tortilla Pie

I try to feed my family a vegetarian meal at least twice a week (for both health and budget reasons), and tonight I'm making a meal that the kids actually look forward to, so I thought I'd share the recipe. It's from

Seven Layer Tortilla Pie

2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I always use about 1 tsp. dried, though, for convenience)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
7 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (I use the Mexican blend)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, mash pinto beans. Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and garlic.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.
4. Place 1 tortilla in a pie plate or tart dish. Spread 3/4 c pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top with 1/4 c cheese, and cover with another tortilla. Spread 2/3 c black bean mixture, and top with 1/4 c cheese. Repeat layering twice. Cover with remaining tortilla, and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture and cheese.
5. Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Hope you like it!