I spent Saturday cleaning up the yard. Everyone knows the Easter Bunny likes a cleaned up yard. I made rolls and at some point the Easter Bunny sneaked through the yard without anyone noticing. Not even a pandemic can stop the Easter Bunny.
Some of our flowers in the backyard are looking pretty good:
After accidentally adding 50% too much flour to my double-batch of rolls I had to turn it into an emergency triple batch. The flour was already mixed into a dense mass, so I had to slowly work in the extra liquids by kneading it on the countertop. I was pleased with how well it still came out. And I came up with a new TV show: "Recipe Rescue" where professional chefs are given a recipe that has gone wrong and they have to salvage it. For the early episodes they're told what's wrong and in the later episodes they have to figure it out themselves.
We drove out to Utah to spend Thanksgiving with Erin's family this year. We arrived on Sunday night and stayed until Saturday morning.
On Tuesday we went to the Thanksgiving Point Natural History Museum.
Thursday was a busy day of baking 131 rolls, both baguette-style and soft-dinner-style, making cream puffs, eating food, and the girls playing in the snow.
I needed to make a lot of rolls, but the standard mixer bowl wasn't big enough. Turns out it works just fine to use another bowl of similar height and hold it yourself (and spin it around to help the mixing).
A whole gaggle of girls who had a ton of fun running around all week. Heather looks twice their size. I think it's mostly because she's all stretched out, but she's also tall.
On Friday we visited some friends that live in Lehi. Then we had to shovel 4 inches of snow off Erin's driveway to park the van. I don't miss shoveling snow!
We packed up Friday night planning for an early departure, but had to shovel more snow off the driveway in the morning in order to safely get to the street, which was not plowed.
We eventually got moving though had to head South due to the storm system coming through which also made I-80 across Donner Pass really dangerous with dozens of accidents and disabled vehicles. Shortly after we left, apparently a propane tanker overturned on I-15 around Lehi and had I-15 closed in both directions all day, but we avoided that.
Once we got out the bottom of Utah we had gotten ahead of the storm and the weather at least cleared up even if traffic didn't. We had hoped to get home in one day, which should have been possible with ~15 hours of traveling. Any dream of that happening though was shattered by the CA agricultural checkpoint which had traffic completely stopped for 27 miles.
We, and much of the rest of the highway, tried to stop for some food at the only town in existence for that stretch of road, Primm, just inside the Nevada border. We headed for a Taco Bell that Google thought existed, but did not. So we ended up at the busiest McDonald's I've ever seen. We grabbed some food to go and got back in the traffic jam. By the time we got up to the checkpoint they were closed for the day and you could just drive through, but it takes a long time for 27 miles of stopped traffic to start moving again.
We made it to Barstow and stayed the night there. When we got up in the morning, the checkpoint still had 5 miles of stopped traffic (according to Google Maps). We got moving again and made it back home after another 7 hours of driving. Patches of driving rain and poor visibility, heavy traffic, and incredibly unsafe drivers (gee, it's pouring rain, I can't see more than 2 cars in front of me, but this guy left 20 feet of space in front of him, I'm going to take it!). It was not a lot of fun.
At least a Raspberry Pi loaded with TV shows and Movies kept the girls entertained.
On the 30th we worked on carving our pumpkins. Which means I worked on carving pumpkins since everyone else thinks it's too gross cleaning out the inside of pumpkins.
Heather developed a cat-like design for her pumpkin. And Jess helped Corinne with a friendly-face design for hers. My design comes from the recently released game "Untitled Goose Game" in which you play a goose that terrorizes the neighborhood. Honk!
And costume pictures:
We started trick-or-treating at 6:30. The neighborhood seemed to get busiest around 7:15. Heather was scared of any decoration that looked like it might have the potential to move suddenly. Corinne was scared of any house without any decorations. But we made it down one side of the street, back up the other, and then back to the house. Then the girls were exhausted and Heather helped hand out candy while getting ready for bed (seems to be her favorite part of Halloween).
Every year since TK Heather has intently designed a leprechaun trap to put out the night before St. Patrick's Day. It's apparently something they discussed at school.
She has been a bit distraught that for 2 years now she has failed to catch one. They are just too clever to fall for her tricks.
This year she thought up an entirely new approach. Instead of trying to trap a leprechaun with force she built a playground. She hopes the leprechaun enjoys it so much that it will stay, but if not, she hopes it will have fun. This was entirely her idea and Jess and I find it awesome.
So she designed and built this playground. Jess helped with the bench, slide, and tree; but otherwise Heather built it herself. Look at that swing! Entirely her own design! And the sandbox is full of sand (bits of colored paper) and has 2 functional shovels and buckets! The big lumpy things are gold nuggets. In the center there is a pond. Beyond the pond is a flower and a blade of grass.
Then she wrote a letter for the leprechaun:
(Reproduced below with spelling corrected for readability)
Dear Leprechaun, I hope you enjoy the playground! It's called Leprechaun Park, but I didn't have time to make a park sign and monkey bars. Next year! But there is some gold! There is also a swing and a sandbox with buckets and shovels. There is a slide and a bench along with other things you will discover yourself.
P.S. Please sign your name here every year. Thank You!