Utah Trip Day 1

img_0680I got waaaay behind on sharing our Utah trip, and I’d be willing to put money on the fact that most of you would fully support me on that. It’s because I was having so much fun relaxing with/enjoying the company of CJ, Lauren, Zeb and their friends. And even some of my friends 🙂

We arrived in Salt Lake City late Wednesday night. With only one slight incident. As we gazed in awe of the lights of the city, we noticed that the airport seemed a bit close for our altitude. Right when we should have been descending rapidly, the plan dropped suddenly then swiftly began an incline. Weird. It was enough to get an audible gasp and/or “whoa” from nearly everyone on board. For about five minutes we were stymied as we watched the airport slip behind us as we inclined. Then the pilot came on and announced that the landing was too tight so we were trying again with more room. Whew!

I had warned my husband that in a particular book he was reading there was a deep analysis of an airplane crash, and I recommended that he not read that part in flight. Apparently he forgot and was right in the thick of that chapter when the excitement occurred. Talk about timing!

CJ and Lauren were there to meet us, and they gave us a night tour of their world as we drove to their home about 45 minutes away.

Now CJ is a ski instructor at Deer Valley and he taught enough lessons to people with altitude sickness to realize that we might want to stay off the slopes our first day there. It was so delightful, sleeping in and chatting while we sipped Lauren’s amazing coffee.

Late morning, we headed back to Salt Lake City to check out a very pretty mall. It was right around the corner from where I had gotten my tattoo two years ago. I stopped in to see if I should have it touched up (that had been recommended to me by the artist two years ago).

While my artist was not available, her co-workers agreed with me that it still looks great and doesn’t need touching up, even two years later. Well done, Mina from Cathedral Tattoo!

At the mall we signed up for a Virtual Reality appointment at the Microsoft store, gazed at fish swimming near stores, enjoyed a fountain display.

Then we spent some time playing with Virtual Reality at the Microsoft store. It was truly amazing. I felt like I was petting a whale, I created 3-D drawings that I walked through, and I shot lasers at incoming alien robots that were attacking me. I’ve done VR in my living room, and this definitely took it to a new level for me. Fun!

After we went home, we played a bit more with our own living room games, and Chris and I took turns riding on a VR roller coaster. Curazy! Love it!

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We topped off the day by picking up Zeb from his house ten minutes away then going to Cafe Rio, where we met my fabulous co-worker, Velda 🙂 We were having so much fun that they practically closed the place down around us. As we said our goodbyes, CJ and Velda traded some Pokémon.

What a glorious kick-off to our almost-a-week of vacationing with our progeny.

The Keurig Coffee Machine – A Favorite Kitchen Appliance

It’s been a long week, and even though the stars are coming out, I can’t seem to get coffee off my mind. I figured this would be a good time to rave about one of our family’s favorite pieces of kitchen technology – our Keurig coffee maker. And no, this is not a paid ad for Keurig, I’m just sharing a good thing our family loves.
I remember one summer morning half a year after we purchased the machine. I was driving my son to work and realized that I had made one cup of decaf coffee, one cup of caffeinated coffee, a cup of hot chocolate, and a cup of tea in less than ten minutes while getting ready to head out the door. Now that’s pretty cool.
The Kitchen Appliance With the K-Cup® or The Filter?
What is a Keurig coffee maker? It’s this delightful machine that makes hot drinks one cup at a time in a matter of seconds. People can use a pre-measured K-Cup® purchased online or in a store such as Sears or Walmart. I will admit that we use selections from our K-Cup® collection sometimes when we have guests over. Generally, however, we’re not thrilled with the price or the waste. The K-Cup® averages $.50 a cup and the plastic liners aren’t very biodegradable.
Instead of using the K-Cup®, we use refillable filter inserts. Since the water is so pressurized going through, it takes cheap coffee and makes it taste great. We compost the grounds, rinse out the filter, and prepare the next cup. We keep six filters on hand for ease-of-use, and they have lasted for years.
Why We Love Our Keurig
You know those amazing $4.00 coffee store drinks? They haven’t even tempted me since we bought our machine. When we want a fancy drink, we just make our own froth and drizzle some caramel or peppermint shards over it.
As an additional perk, we always have hot chocolate ready for the kids before they even get their boots off after coming in out of the snow. I don’t have to keep a tea-pot at the ready – all I have to do is press a button.
Our Really Good Deal That Was, Then Wasn’t, Then Was Again
I’m a tightwad so when I decided to get the Keurig machine as a Christmas present for my husband, I turned to Ebay. The good news was that I got a really great deal. The bad news was that when I received the Keurig B60 from Ebay and turned it on, the “not ready” message was blinking. I called the company and honestly told them my problem and also mentioned that it was an Ebay purchase with no warranty. They fixed my problem for free anyway, and they were very friendly. I will definitely consider purchasing more from them in the future based on this experience. We reset my machine by doing the following two steps:

  1. Press the small and medium cup buttons at the same time then immediately press the menu button three times (the number listed there showed how many cups of coffee the machine had made–mine said 0:04 which was four cups).
  2. Hold the medium cup button and hit menu button then the small cup button quickly while still holding the medium button then release the small and medium quickly.
Tips For Using The Filters
  • Watch your grind. If it’s too fine, the filter clogs. If it’s too coarse, you won’t get the flavor. We find that Folgers® has the perfect mix. Black Silk is our favorite.
  • Do surgery on a K-Cup®. If the water flows through your filter too fast, you can create your own homemade baffle. We got this idea from the Amazon forums. To do this you:
  1. Enjoy a fabulous cup of coffee using a store-bought K-Cup® (most new machines come with a K-Cup® sampler).
  2. Peel the top of the K-Cup® off and throw it out.
  3. Carefully cut the top of the K-Cup® along the horizontal line near the top of the k-cup.
  4. Make sure the hole knock-out at the base of the K-Cup® is fully knocked out, preventing blockage.
  5. Insert the K-Cup® liner into the plastic filter cartridge that the filter goes into (it generally comes with the filter package).
  6. Fill your filter with fresh coffee grounds.
  7. Insert the filter into the cartridge, nestling it into the homemade baffle.
  8. Twist on the lid.
  9. Place the filter into the Keurig per the directions on the cartridge and make your coffee.
Features That Make Our Lives Easier
The Keurig coffee machine is filled with great features ranging from auto-start and auto-shutoff to temperature control. It’s simple to use, and you can easily choose which size drink you would like to enjoy. You set your mug on an overflow section that pops right into the dishwasher if you ever want to clean it. All-in-all, it’s a really smooth process. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make myself a cup of coffee… Want to join me?
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