Monday, July 27, 2009

Excuse me sir, do you have a permit for that rocketship?

I wonder what the neighbors are thinking right now? Eric has started construction on a rocketship playset in our backyard, and it's quite the conversation piece already.

Last fall, Eric and I were reminiscing about the rocketship slide we used to play on at Fike Park in Colby. And he made the mistake of saying "I could probably build a rocket out of wood."

Ding! Ding! Ding! My Project Denneler bell went off and I wouldn't let the idea die. I think I hounded him all winter to design plans for it. Gus even put pencil to paper and drew up some plans of his own.

Although our rocketship won't have three levels like Gus has drawn here, (I love how he spelled "Control Room") it's starting to take shape and I can't wait to see it when it's all done. Stay tuned.

3...2...1... blastoff!

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to Buy a Car and Not Get Screwed.

Repairs on our 2001 VW Passat were getting more costly, and it seemed pointless to waste money on repairs when we could put it towards a new car. So we took the plunge and went looking for a new family truckster.

Eric found this video on YouTube called "How to buy a car and not get screwed." We both watched it, agreed that it was pretty smart advice, and psyched ourselves up for car shopping.

Five tips for buying a new car:
1. Allow yourself two full weekends to buy a car.
2. Test drive at least three cars.
3. Get competitive bids from 8 to 10 dealers.
4. Sell your used car separately.
5. Don't buy any extras.

So what did we do? We went out last Saturday, test drove two cars (Ford Fusion & Nissan Altima), negotiated one price, traded-in our VW Passat, and bought a new car with an extended warranty.

Oh well. So we didn't stick to the rules. It was fun. And very low-stress, unlike most car-buying experiences. Plus, our sales guy was really nice. His name was Kevin. (I know 4 or 5 Kevins - all very wonderful fellas.) I highly doubt we got "screwed" on our purchase.

Introducing our new 2009 Nissan Altima. Wanna go for a ride?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To Jo anne. With Love.

It's become a tradition for me to make these crispy, buttery sugar cookies for my friend, Jo anne, on her birthday every year. Ironically though, I'm probably shortening her lifespan - there's a cup of butter & oil in each batch. Love & angioplasty, my dear Jo anne!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

How I $pent my Summer Vacation.

I'm a firm believer in having "little luxuries" in life. Which is why, when I told Eric I wanted to go on a summer vacation - something we hadn't done in over 8 years - I made reservations at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Yes, it was expensive. But it was only for two nights. Plus, it was something I'd always wanted to do. And it was soooooo worth it!

The rooms were nice, but what you're really paying for is the incredible surroundings. Majestic mountain views, unbelievable landscaping & flowers, an outstanding swimming pool that my kids would have stayed in for the entire 48 hours, and customer service like I've never, ever experienced. It was all I had hoped for and more. Well, everything except my whiney kids. I would have paid extra if the Broadmoor could have magically made them happy campers, but when you take kids out of their routine, you've got expect them to be a little grumpy and uncooperative at times. Bea gave us more than her share.

And while we soaked up all the luxuriousness of The Broadmoor, we also ventured out to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. They're best known for having one of the largest giraffe herds in the US, and it was crazy-funny to watch Bea & Gus squeal as they fed them crackers. The zoo is on many different levels of the mountain, so you climb up and up and up, and it gets more beautiful with every step.

The last place we stopped before leaving Colorado was The North Pole. My parents had taken our family there when I was probably 5 or 6 years old. So while my memory is fuzzy, it was something I wanted my kids to see and experience too. It's a lovely little, Christmas-themed amusement park tucked into the side of Pikes Peak Mountain. And surprisingly, after 63 years, it's still very well maintained. The Peppermint Slide was my kids' favorite. In fact, I'm pretty sure we rode it no less than 23 times. Which made up for all the other rides my kids WOULDN'T go on - we're just not amusement park people, I guess. (We enjoyed the scenery more than a vomit-inducing Tilt-A-Whirl.)

So here's to summer vacations, fun memories and life's little luxuries!


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