Palmyra Trip: Smith Family Farm

Monday, July 30, 2012

 After spending some time in the Sacred Grove, I made my way to the Smith Family Farm. There were't any tours going since it was the week of the pageant, so I just quickly walked through and took a few pictures. I really hope I get to go back and listen to the sister missionaries talk about life in the Smith home.

Palmyra Youth Trip: The Sacred Grove

Thursday, July 26, 2012

After we had lunch and got into some church clothes, we headed to the Smith farm house and the Sacred Grove. We were running low on time by this point, so we didn't really get to see much of the Smith farm (I totally snuck away and got some pictures...I'll share those later), and decided to prioritize the Sacred Grove. What's the Sacred Grove you can find a little information here

It was quite a lovely experience and I'm so glad I got to be there with the youth.

Of course I had to have the young women do a little mini photo-shoot before we headed in. This totally annoyed Jeff by the way. I didn't care! One of my favorite pictures from the trip is the one of Brother Swindler taking a picture of the girls. He was totally my photo buddy. We went all paparazzi on them!

I'm just so grateful that I live on the east coast and can visit these church sites! Totally a testimony building experience!

Palmyra Youth Trip: Cooling Off In Seneca Lake

Monday, July 23, 2012

We took the youth up to Palmyra, New York to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant, the Sacred Grove, Palmyra Temple, and the Peter Whitmer Farm. I've been looking forward to this trip for quite some time and let me just say it was truly a wonderful trip. I'm going to be posting about our trip over the next few days.

I missed the first day of the trip, which consisted mostly of driving, settling in to the cabins at Seneca Lake Camp, a rousing game of ultimate frisbee, and a devotional. I hear the devotional was very good, so I'm a little upset I missed it. I showed up late that evening (I had to work).

The next day we got up and had a little breakfast and then headed straight down to the lake. We had a great time cooling off (it was in the high 90's for most our a trip) and boating. We really have the best youth! They're just so much fun.

Friday Favorites: Summer Break is My Favorite

Friday, July 13, 2012

I don't get a summer break anymore. I really should have been a teacher. Oh, well. I do love summer vacations! Jeff and I are actually going to try and go on a few this year. We already went to Chicago and I'm hoping we get a camping trip in. We shall see...


CSA: Box 7...A Box With No Lettuce!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I think this may be our first CSA box that doesn't have lettuce in it. We did however get some more chard. :) Always chard...

I'm really excited about the items in todays box. I love corn and onions!

Chicago: Day 4 - Do-Rite Donuts

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

And back to food :) What can I say...we love food! Jeff wanted donuts on Saturday morning, so he did some research to find where to get the best ones in the area. He found Do-Rite Donuts. They were really good. EXPENSIVE, but really good. I think my favorite was the boston cream pie. I also liked the old fashioned with chocolate. Let's face it, I liked almost all of them. I just love donuts!

I figure that since this is my last post about Chicago I should talk about The Wit, which is the hotel we stayed at. This hotel had a few things going for it, however there were more things that made it a place that we will never stay at again. Why, you ask? Well,

Things that were great about the hotel:

  • Location - Perfect! It's located on the corner of Lake and State Street in downtown Chicago.
  • Cleanliness - Also, very nice. The only exception to this was that they would leave room service trays in the halls for a couple of days before they picked it up. They actually did this a couple of times.
  • Design - Very nice. Totally upscaled. We loved the chandeliers in the lobby.
Why we will never stay there again...
  • NO POOL - The hotel opted-in to put a bar on the roof instead of a pool. While I know this is a money maker for them, it sucked for us in the 100+ degree weather.
  • TERRIBLE CONCIERGE - Jeff always leverages the concierge while on a trip. They are the best people to give advice on what to do and where to eat in the city. Well, the concierge at the Wit was completely uselss!
  • LAZY FRONT DESK - So, Jeff was looking for a cable to hook up his iPad to the TV. He called down to the front desk to see if they had one. He knew it was a long shot but figured he would give it a try. Well, after they put him on hold for a long time they came back with, "Yes, we have them, but they are all out right now.", we decided to go and get one at a RadioShack on the way back from our boat tour. Jeff bought the cable he needed, but decided to call the front desk again to see if they had an HDMI cable he could borrow, since he has several at home and didn't want to pay $20 for another one. The front desk told him that they would have one sent up to our room. We were all high fives and walked back to the hotel. After waiting for some time and no cable, Jeff called back down to the front desk to inquire as to the whereabouts of the HDMI cable. After being on hold for some time the front desk informed him that the hotel doesn't have any. AWESOME! 
  • ROOM DOORS THAT DON'T LOCK - Supposedly there is a problem at the Wit hotel with the room doors not closing all the way and locking. They sound like they have closed, but they need a little extra push to lock. We tried our best to make sure we REALLY shut the door, but we got calls from the front desk to inform us that our door wasn't closed. We even had hotel security show up to tell us to close the door. You would think that if this was a hotel wide problem they would fix it. Just saying.
  • AWKWARD BATHROOM DOOR - The bathroom door was a sliding door. No big deal, right? We have all seen these before. Unfortunately, the bathroom doors at the Wit have a gap on both sides of the door when it's closed. A little awkward when you're sharing a room. Also, it was hard to open and close.

Despite having a not so great hotel we had a really great time in Chicago! I love it there and can't wait till we go back!

Chicago: Day 3 - Architecture Boat Tour

Monday, July 9, 2012

So, we actually did a little site seeing on our trip :) We didn't just eat our way through Chicago (as wonderful as that would have been). On Friday, we did the Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour. When I asked people what we should do in Chicago, almost everyone said to take an architecture boat we did! It was really nice. It was a great way to see the city and learn a little bit about the history through the architecture. There are some really beautiful buildings and I left the tour with a new found appreciation for architects.

Did you see Transformers 3? If you have then the building below will look familiar. Our hotel was actually right behind this building. I'm a big Transformers 3, so stoked I was totally by the fact that we would have had an amazing view of the events of Transformers 3 from our hotel room if we were in the movie. Yes, I'm a nerd. Don't judge!

Chicago: Day 3 - NAHA

Saturday, July 7, 2012

After a very lazy morning (which was perfect) we decided that we should head out into the sweltering heat in search of food. We were actually planning on going to a Mexican place we had heard good things about, but there was an hour wait and we didn't want to sit out in the heat for that long. Jeff and Sharon noticed that NAHA was across the street and recommend that we go there. Jeff had looked at the menu online that morning and thought it would be a good place for lunch.

Well, it was amazing! A little on the expensive side, but amazing! Jeff had the soft shell crab which was  a plate of pure deliciousness! I was surprised he didn't lick the plate clean. The sauce was so good and everything was made to perfection. Sharon had the BLT which was unlike any BLT I have ever seen. It was also delicious! Ben went with the pork shank which was tender, savory goodness. I went with a salad. Lame you say? It was actually perfect and totally hit the spot. I would totally order it again.

Well, the food was so good that we decided to get some dessert. I'm a strong believer in dessert at lunch :) My favorite was the rhubarb tart. We got two desserts to share, but I kind of wish I got the rhubarb tart for myself and didn't have to share (kind of like Sharon and a don't mess with Sharon and her slurpee)

Chicago: Day 2 - Food, Food, and More Food....Oh, and a Show!

Friday, July 6, 2012

We had another great day in the city. It was very hot (102 decrees), so we decided to spend some time at the pool after picking up breakfast at a little place called Heaven on Seven. Jeff found out about this place on Chowhound and I was a little skeptical at first, but it turned out being a fun little place. This is a hidden restaurant on the 7th floor of an office building. When we entered the builder I was sure Jeff was leading us on a wild goose chase, but in the end it turned out being a great place to get breakfast. Jeff and Sharon had the Bananas Foster pancakes and french toast (respectively). Really good! I got a bacon and cheese omelet. It was good, but they made it with American cheese which I'm not the hugest fan of. Overall, it was a nice place to get some breakfast.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool. We had to pay to use another hotels pool, but it was totally worth it.  It was sooooo hot out. We played a little pinochle of course and then headed to Giordano's for pizza. I have only been here for Chicago styled pizza, but as far as I'm conceded I don't need to go anywhere else. It's the best pizza ever! The lovely Karen recommend Giordano's on my first trip to Chicago and I don't think I will ever be able to visit this great city without stopping here.

We then headed back down to Navy Pier for a show and boat cruise. The show we saw was Cirque Shanghai: The Year of the Dragon. It was a pretty cool show and it wasn't very much money (total plus!). The performers did some amazingly crazy things! I was nervous the whole time I was watching them. You can see a little video of it here

Chicago: Day 1 - Forth of July!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jeff and I decided to meet up with Ben and Sharon (brother-in-law and sister-in-law) in Chicago for the week of 4th of July. I LOVE Chicago so I really didn't put up much of a fight when Jeff mentioned the idea.

We had a wonderful 4th of July in the City. We started off with brunch (you know me and brunch) at a place called South Water Kitchen. Supposedly this is one of the better places to get brunch in Chicago. We liked it, but it wasn't exceptional.

After breakfast we decided to go back to the hotel for a nap. Since brunch really took it out of us :) Then we went to Macy's on State Street. At first I thought it was a little weird that Sharon wanted to go Macy's since you can find them everywhere, right? Well, this isn't just any Macy's. It's the second largest department store in the world and a beautiful, historic building.

For dinner we went to The Gage. It was really nice. While I wasn't overlay thrilled with my meal (pork chop), it was still good. I think my favorite was the appetizers. The scallops were amazing! I think overall we liked it a lot. It was a good find by Sharon!

So, the reason why Jeff doesn't look so happy in this picture is because A) He doesn't like having his picture taken...tough! and B) He was trying to flare out his nostrils.

After dinner we walked across the street to Millennium Park. We spent some time at the Crown Fountain. Well, I spent time there taking pictures, while Ben, Sharon, and Jeff tried to get Sharon's purse zipper open (it got caught on some fabric and wouldn't budge)

We got to see the end of a concert in the park (an orchestra playing patriotic music) and then we walked to Navy Pier to see the fireworks. It was packed and kind of a long walk with the heat, but I'm glad we made the trek. They had nothing on Disney with regards to a firework show, but it was fun to be there with all the people watching the fireworks out over the water.

All in all it was a great day!