Saturday, August 27, 2016

Water Bottles and the Blackham Bunch

Disposable water bottles ... there is a bit of a debate about them (the waste create by the plastic, etc.) but they do have their place ... and not ONLY for drinking!

2016 became known as the year for water bottle flipping! It was everywhere! All the time! Crazy! Driving people crazy with the flying bottles and the THUNK, THUNK, THUNK as the kids tried to flip the bottle and have it land (on the base, or even trickier, to "cap" it on the top). 

A video posted by JenB (@jenblackham) on
I posted my first "flipping" feature in August, and had several mom's chime in that this phenomenon was happening in their homes too. Then the kids try to get tricky... 

Double stacked!
He was pretty impressed with himself!

That's not the only unusual activity we do with water bottles though ...

A video posted by JenB (@jenblackham) on

We'd seen instructional videos on YouTube about how to "instafreeze" your water. We attempted to follow the steps to no avail. We couldn't get it to work. Then, we accidentally accomplished it after putting some water bottles into the freezer section of our mini fridge. The temperature there isn't nearly as consistent as a regular freezer. Sometimes the bottles freeze completely, sometimes they stay liquid (but very cold) ... and when they do, we can do the "instafreeze" easily. When the water is exactly the right temp, a tap to the side causes it to form a soft freeze. It's about the consistency of an icee. It's so cool to see the water change to ice, after a simple tap to the side of the bottle.  If you put that ice in a bowl, and pour the water over it ... it freezes right before your eyes. Pretty cool, huh!  They boys then sprinkle a powdered drink mix over the ice to turn it into an icee treat to eat.

Like I said at the start, we understand the debate and try to use refillable bottles whenever possible. I've been thrilled with my BIG pink water bottle. It always has enough ice and water to get me through class ... and I get an arm workout carrying it in. We have many of the refillable Gatorade sport bottles the boys use for their basketball games, and several of the "mister" refillable bottles too.

... and that is my Bottled Water Blog post ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The A/C and Me

What? A post about air conditioning? Well I must admit, I L.O.V.E. A/C and am not sure how well I'd cope without out it. We HAVE had to live without it, for a few days here and there in past years, as our air conditioner would freeze up, and we'd have to turn it off for hours. 

Even when the A/C was working, the West side of the house (the kitchen/family room) was always hot. With the evening sun pounding on the many windows, and not enough vents in that area, the A/C just couldn't keep up. As it attempted, our bedroom (on the East side) would get pretty chilly ... which was actually okay with me, especially at night (I like to cuddle in my blankets). 

I remember being pregnant with one of the boys (probably Cooper) when the A/C wasn't working. Gray came home from work to find me outside sitting in a small patch of shade, looking miserable. He went out and bought a portable air conditioner and set it up in our room, so at least there was ONE place to escape the heat in the house.

That portable air conditioner moved out into the family room when the house one was back up and running. Just a little extra push in that area. The kids would often come in from outside and stand right in front of the machine. After several years of use and abuse, we replaced it with another portable unit.

A couple years ago ... we replaced the house unit and had additional vents placed in the kitchen and family room area. It's been pretty effective. The only drawback was now our bedroom doesn't turn into an ice box ... it's one of the warmer rooms now. I have to turn the thermostat way down to get our room cool. Mornings (as the sun comes up and hits the house are the worst. I like our Nest thermostat, so I can adjust it from my bed without getting up).

Keaton's new bedroom (also on the East side) suffers from the morning sun too. It's HOT on summer mornings! With the portable A/C not in use in the family room, we went ahead and set it up in Keaton's room. He had to move things around to make it work, but we actually like the new arrangement better.

Now the boy is jumping for joy in his COOL room ...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Callahan's Crossing (Trek Time)

All packed ... no, Oreo didn't go.

The stake participates in a pioneer trek every few years. Grayson had gone on two here, once when he was in the Young Men's Presidency, and once while in the bishopric (also once when he was 14 years old back in the Cottonwood stake). Landon went a few years ago. Now ... it was Callahan's turn (Keaton was also eligible but didn't feel the pull and we didn't force him). Cal made the run to DI to grab some clothes (boys are so much easier than girls to outfit!), we gathered the gear ... and of COURSE the old "stinky pete" hat that Gray and Landon had worn. It's fourth time going out. 

Callahan and Travis
Tuesday morning, July 26, we were up early and to the church by 6 a.m.  Then they were off.  The trek historian posted pictures and their progress as internet access would allow. This trek was to Martin's Cove. They did some walking Tuesday, with square dancing in the evening. Callahan said the dancing was fun, and was his favorite part!

A little dancing to end the first day ...

 As they are put into families (Callahan was in #12 - Brother Hansen in our ward was with him), Callahan mentioned how quickly everyone got to know each other, and how they really did become family. 

Jordan Oaks Stake

Serious shot

Silly shot

Of course, being the pedometer person that I am, I made sure his Fitbit was running and ready for the trek. He is using the Zip currently, which was perfect for this, as it has a replaceable battery that lasts longer than the rechargable ones (my Charge wouldn't make it four days). One Wednesday, he got 26,651 steps. Thursday was the BIG day, with 44,687. Back on busses on Friday for the return home (synced the Fitbit, and while Callahan came close, he didn't quite pass me on my Fitbit friends list). 

Welcome back Callahan! He wore his old basketball shoes, and said they worked perfectly. No blisters. He does have a nasty looking toe (ingrown?) that we will be keeping an eye on (I remember we got Landon's toes fixed a few months before his trek, but I hadn't been aware of Cal having any issues until now). I'd had to do most of his packing (as he was working a lot before leaving) and he hadn't realized I'd put a set of scriptures in his bucket, so he stuck a set in his duffle ... so he had two. He also didn't notice the spray bottle (for cooling off) until the last day. I packed sunscreen, but he didn't use any. His nose and hands got pretty toasted!

Upon his return, he took a shower, then went to Costco to grab some dried mangos they'd had on the trail. He was craving them! Then he and Keaton went and played basketball for a couple hours. Back to the usual routine!
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