A Denver Family's Adventure Through The Ups And Downs of Life

Monday, July 26, 2010

Atlanta Vacation- Good. Flight Home- Not So Good

On Wednesday night, my husband, son and I flew to Atlanta to visit my parents. (Just to let you know, I'm not from Atlanta. They moved there after I moved to Colorado.)

The flight out was great. No big meltdown from Sam. The long weekend was hot, humid and fabulous. We went to a Braves game, went out on Lake Lanier on their boat, went to the Georgia Aquarium, and had a great time playing on their Wii.

Now, here comes the bad part, the flight home.

Before heading off on another adventure into the Georgia sun, I went online and checked the status of our return flight. At that time, everything looked good and the flight was showing "On Time." I knew that we couldn't do the online check-in because they wanted to make sure that our son was really under 2 years old. If he was, we would have had to purchase a seat for him. The airlines definitely want their money.

My dad drove us to the airport 2 hours before our 7pm flight (I'm a stickler for getting there early) and everything still looked good. We got in line at the ticket counter and there were rumors flying around (no pun intended) that the flight was going to be delayed until after midnight.

It took us over an hour to get to the front of the line where we were confronted with the realization that we would have to hang out in the Atlanta airport until after midnight. As of today, I still have not received a decent explanation as to why. There were some rumors flying around that it was (1) because of an emergency landing, (2) the crew never showed up, (3) plane trouble, or (4) it was because of a medical emergency landing. If I have time this week I will try to find out.


So, we were given the option of staying overnight in Atlanta and fly out at 4pm today or hang out in the airport for a replacement plane that would get in at 11:45pm and probably wouldn't take off for Denver until after midnight. Either way, we would be given $14 each for food (not including Sam) and $200 flight voucher good for 1 year.

I was all for staying over in Atlanta, but my husband couldn't do it.

I just knew that we wouldn't be home until after 2am, so I called and left a message for my boss saying that I wouldn't be into the office until noon (at the earliest). I suggested that Brian do the same, but he insisted that he would be okay with such little sleep.

We decided to eat dinner (on Frontier's dime), so we headed to Houlihans and found a small table in their lounge. Because we didn't check anything, we had a ton of stuff surrounding our table. I requested a highchair from our server and she said that there were some upstairs, but didn't make any effort to retrieve on for us. Of course I was pissed.

I headed upstairs to realize that they had a nice big dining room with a ton of room, so I went back to our table and told my husband about the room. He agreed, and I packed up all of our stuff and headed upstairs.

Dinner went smoothly. Everything tasted great and we were very happy for the extra room.

Our next destination was through security. That went very smoothly, too. They didn't even blink about the milk that we had packed for Sam. They didn't even do any tests on it.

Sam was wide awake for the first few hours, but I knew that he was going to be getting tired (aka- cranky) so I put his head on my shoulder and started to lull him to sleep. He fought so hard to stay awake, but eventually nodded off.

Getting on board went very smoothly, too. There wasn't anyone in the aisle seat so the 3 of us had the entire row to ourselves. After takeoff, we laid our son between us and he slept for about an hour. He overflowed his diaper, so I changed him and the outfit in the restroom and he went right back to sleep between us for the rest of the flight (even touchdown- not a peep).

We arrived in Denver after 1:45am. Our carseat that we had gate checked was accidently put through to baggage claim, which was a pain. The shuttle that we had reserved for our ride home wouldn't be available to take us home until between 3-4 am. There was no way that I was going to wait for that.

The cab ride cost $53 (as opposed to the $32 that we would have paid for the shuttle), but getting home earlier was a priority.

We walk in our front door just after 2:30am. Our son was awake on the ride home, so getting him to go back to sleep took a little time, but he eventually crashed just before 3am.

I got our Sam's food ready for the next day and we went to bed, too.

I don't know how my husband is doing after going to work on only 4 hours sleep, but Sam took a 1.5 hour nap (along with the 4 hours that he slept in his crib) before I had to start getting to work, so I feel pretty good.

I don't know how long I'm going to be able to stay awake tonight, but I'm going to do my best to get Sam back on our normal schedule and get his food ready for this week and go to bed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday's Houshold Tip- Simple Ways to Save on Air Conditioning Costs

Small changes around the house can significantly reduce your air conditioning costs. Make over your home and your electric bill with these money-saving tips:

•Keep lamps and other heat producers away from the thermostat. They'll cause your air conditioner to run more than it needs to
•Upgrade to CFL bulbs. They generate significantly less heat than incandescent bulbs
•Turn off lights when not in use. Even CFL bulbs produce some heat
•Minmize the use of your oven. Microwaves, crockpots and toaster ovens are great warm-weather stand-ins
•Wait until after the sun goes down to run your dishwasher, dryer and other heat-producing appliances
•Lne-dry your clothes to avoid using the dryer all together
•Mnimize the use of rock, cement and asphalt on the south and west sides of your house
•Plant for shade near your condenser unit. Cooler outdoor air means your HVAC system won't have to work as hard to cool your home
•Keep curtains and blinds closed during the heat of the day
•Use Smart Strips to turn off electronics that aren't in use. Anything that draws power also produces heat
•Insulate ductwork in attics, crawlspaces, garages and other unconditioned spaces
•Install reflective window tint on windows that get a lot of sun to minimize heat absorption
•Plant fast-growing shade trees along the south and west side of your house
•Get a yearly maintenance check of your system and change the filter regularly. A well-tuned system will run more efficiently
•Install a programmable thermostat. Then, set it to bump up the temperature when you aren't home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

English Lesson- For All Intensive Purposes???

How many times have you used the phrase "for all intensive purposes?" Me, probably 25,876 times.

While I was on vacation in DC, my cousin, a Gastroenterologist heard me use this phrase and let out a small laugh. During one of her years in college, her English professor pulled her aside and explained to her the real phrase when she used it in a paper.

The phrase is a corruption of "for all intents and purposes" by persons who have heard the phrase, but have not read it in it's proper form. It means "for all intents, and for all purposes."

This phrase dates back to the 1500s and originated in English law, where it was "to all intents, constructions, and purposes." In modern usage, "for all intents and purposes" is also acceptable. The phrase means "for all practical purposes" and is generally used to compare two nonidentical acts or deeds, i.e., "She went to his room and drank with him, which she viewed to all intents and purposes as consent to sex." (In reality, only a sober 'yes' is consent to sex so to all intents and purposes she is a rapist). A shorter equivalent phrase is "in effect."

I guess that I didn't pay as much attention in English class as I had thought.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Auction Items Still Available for Bidding- Colorado AIDS Walk

Auction Blog

1. Night Out #1 (Value $318.00)
-2-Night Stay at Hotel VQ at Mile High and Comedy Works Tickets

2. Night Out #2 (Value $325.00)
- 2-Night Stay at Red Lion Hotel Denver Southeast and Comedy Works Tickets

3. Night Out #3 (Value $90.00)
- $50 Happa Sushi Grill/Sake Bar Gift Certificate and Two (2) Comedy Works Tickets

4. Night Out #4 (Value $87.00)
- $25 Maggiano's Little Italy Gift Certificate, Two (2) Passes to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Two (2) Comedy Works Tickets.

5. Night Out #5 (Value $62.00)
- Two (2) Passes to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Two (2) Comedy Works Tickets.

6. Chauncey Billups Autographed Nuggets T-Shirt (Value $50.00)

7. Two (2) Arapahoe Basin Lift Tickets (Value $130.00)

8. Two (2) Passes to Elitch Gardens Theme Park. (Value $81.98)

9. Two (2) 60 Minute Massages at Renaissance Aveda Spa & Salon. (Value $85.00)

10. $30 Wahoo's Fish Taco Gift Certificates (Value $30.00)

11. $45 Gift Certificate to Grease Monkey (Value $45.00)

12. $45 Gift Certificate to Grease Monkey (Value $45.00)

Please bid as high as you can. 100% of proceeds are donated to the Colorado AIDS Project and are fully tax deductible.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday's Houshold Tip- Removing Odors From Your Hands

One more odor that is hard to remove from your hands is the smell of onions. All you have to do to remove the onion smell from your hands is to rub used lemons or limes on your hands and then wash your hands with your normal hand wash liquid.

The smell of garlic on hands is the bugbear of every cook, but one of the household tips that works best for this is to rub your hands on stainless steel.

Let's face it, we can all use some household tips to make life a little more easier at times. There are so many tips and tricks that can and do help with work around the house. But these are so personal that what works for one person, might not necessarily work for somebody else. There are numerous household tips that it is impossible to put them in one article. In this article, I am going to concentrate on how to remove those hideous odors from your hands. There is nothing worse than having odors on your hands which transfer to everything that you happen to touch.

One odor that is very annoying to have on your hands is fish odor. While we all enjoy eating fish but the biggest drawback is that in the preparation, you have to handle fish lots of times and that leaves you with hands stinking of fish the whole day. One of the very helpful household tips of many for removing fish odor is your common table salt. I know, it came as quite a surprise to me as well, when I first discovered it.

All you have to do is to put a couple of tablespoons of salt in your hands, wet the salt with a little water, rub your hands with this mixture a few times and then rinse your hands normally. Then put on some hand lotion to moisturize your hands and that awful fish smell will disappear immediately. One more advantage of washing your hands in this manner is that the salt rubs off all the dead skin on your hands to leave them gentle and soft.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Silent Auction Fundraising Blog for 2010 Colorado AIDS Walk

As many of you might know, I have signed up to run and raise fund for the Colorado AIDS Project.

To raise funds, I have contacted local businesses to donate items for a silent auction to be held at a local eatery. Unfortunately, I have been unable to secure a location for the event. Because of that, I’m going to do the auction from a blog.

After contacting local businesses, I have received generous donations in the form of restaurant gift certificates, amusement park tickets, autographed sportswear, museum tickets, spa gift certificate, lift tickets, a 2-night hotel stay and Comedy Works tickets.

I have put together a blog to showcase these 9 packages and would like for anyone interested in viewing and bidding on these items, please visit http://CO-AIDSWalk-Fundraiser.blogspot.com.

To secure a bid, please leave a comment with your bid amount on the item that you would like to win. Please also include your name and contact e-mail address to contact the winners at the close of the auction, Friday, July 23rd.

All donations to this fundraiser go to support the Colorado AIDS Project and are 100% tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Please feel free to contact me at awilson.aidswalkco2010@gmail.com if you have any questions or you wish to donate funds without bidding on an item.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Correction- Priceless

I accidently notied that I only progressed with one of my "Visit 10 State/National Parks or Forests I have never been to." Looking back, I have completed 4 of the 10.

1. Great Falls, VA
2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
3. World War II Memorial
4. Ford's Theatre

Also, I did not corretly list the amount of museums that I have been to. That number is 4 instead of 3.
1. Forney Museum of Transportation‎
2. Children's Museum of Denver‎
3. Littleton Museum‎
4. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday's Houshold Tip- Random Houshold Tips

Vegetable Hints:

Corn: Salt added to the water when boiling corn or added to fresh creamed corn while cooking toughens it. Salt after removing from heat.

Soak 20 minutes in hot salty water. Potatoes bake faster.

Cauliflower: Soak a head of cauliflower in ice water, flowerets down, before cooking to draw out any hidden insects. Add a teaspoon of vinegar when cooking to prevent discoloration. Be sure to cook with flowerets down.

Lettuce: Wash lettuce with cold water, dry with paper towels, wrap in a kitchen towel, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Hitting the base of a head of lettuce on the kitchen counter will make it easy to break apart. Breaking lettuce rather than cutting it will prevent the edges from becoming brown and discolored.

:Pickling Tips:

Use plain salt only when pickling. Pickles turn dark when iodized salt is used.

For delicious pickles, don't use vegetables that have been picked longer than 24 hours.

Jams or Jellies:

A small amount of butter added to the fruit when cooking eliminates the usual foam which forms on the top.

Cranberry Sauce and Applesauce:

When making cranberry sauce or applesauce, reduce the amount of sugar and add a little salt. This will not only reduce sugar and hence the calories, but will bring out the flavor.


To prevent lumps from forming when making gravy or thickening stews, mix the flour or cornstarch with a little salted hot water.

EGGS BOILING: Add a little salt to the water in which you boil the eggs, and if the eggs crack, the whites will not seep out.

1. The eggshells will peel off easier if a teaspoon of salt is added while boiling the eggs.
2. After boiling the eggs, plunge them immediately into cold water for 10 or 15 minutes. They will then peel beautifully.

Rid your hands of garlic or onion odors by washing them with a mixture of (baking) soda and water or by rubbing them with lemon juice.

When washing dishes by hand, eliminate soap film on glassware by adding a little vinegar to the rinse water.

If you should ever wash your sterling silver in the dishwasher, make sure you do not wash your stainless steel in the washer basket at the same time. This would damage the stainless. This sounds backwards, but it's true.

When washing very greasy or smelly pans or dishes, put a few tablespoons of vinegar in the dishwasher to cut down the grease and to help remove the odor.


EGGNOG - Fresh Spill at a Party

Use a spoon or knife to lift off the excess. With a napkin, blot up as much liquid as possible. Rub spot with a cloth dampened with clear water.

Washable Fabrics:

As soon as possible, soak in cold water with an enzyme pre-soak product. When spot is removed wash garment in hot water and a detergent.

Non-Washable Fabrics:

Before sending to a professional dry cleaners, sponge with water and a mild detergent.


Washable Fabrics:

Scrape off cold wax with a knife, then press the spot between paper towels. Sponge with a dry-cleaning fluid before washing in hot water and detergent. It may take several washings before spot is removed.

Non-Washable Fabrics:

Scrape off cold wax with a knife, then press the spot between two paper towels. Sponge with a dry-cleaning fluid to remove as much as possible before sending to a professional cleaners.

Carpet & Upholstery:

Scrape off as much cold wax as possible with a knife. Sponge using a circular motion with a dry-cleaning fluid. It may take several applications before the spot is removed. Be sure to let the area dry completely between applications.


Cookies will not spread more than they should if they are placed on cool baking sheets before baking.
Dust greased cookie sheets with a little flour. This will keep the cookies from spreading during baking.
Shortening will come out of a measuring cup readily if eggs have been beaten or measured in the cup beforehand.
Cookies will remain soft and fresh if a slice of bread is stored with them in the cookie jar.


Snow for the Christmas Tree:

Snow for your Christmas tree can be made from a thick solution of powdered snow flakes and water. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture is stiff. Spoon on the tree branches and limbs. This makes an unbelievably beautiful tree.

Gift Tags:

The beautiful pictures on old Christmas cards can be clipped off and used as lovely gift tags.

Unique Wrapping Paper:

Use newspapers for wrapping gifts. Big packages wrapped in this manner and tied with red ribbon are especially eye-catching. Use wide-tipped felt pens for writing the "to" and "from" names. Children's gifts could be wrapped in the Sunday comics.

Longlasting Christmas Trees:

When buying Christmas trees, check for freshness by rubbing your finger across the cut side of the base, If the stump is gooey with sap, it is a fresh tree.

Douglas fir, spruce, and Scotch pine hold their needles better than other varieties.

To keep the needles greener longer, cut an extra inch or two from the bottom of the tree and stand the tree in a bucket of cold water in which one cup of sugar, molasses, syrup, or honey has been added. Let the tree soak for 2 or 3 days prior to decorating.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knocking Off 3 Items During 1 Trip?- Priceless

I took the time to update my 101 Things in 1,001 Days.

I was able to complete 3 items on my list during a single trip last week.

84. Take Sam to the ocean, any ocean
85. Take Brian and Sam to Washington DC
94. Take a trip to Philadelphia to see sister

I was also able to progress on five of my items.

96. Visit 10 State Parks or Forests I have never been to (1/10)). We went to Great Falls National Park in VA.
27. Visit 10 museums (3/10). We visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia which is part of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. I'm not sure if any of the monuments are considered museums. I'll have to double check and update my listing.
46. Go out with friends 10 times (6/10). We stayed with cousins and went out to dinner. We had such a blast the entire week.
60. Begin a 3x/week workout program and continue it for at least 3 months. I'm currently down 17 lbs.
62. Figure out which charity race I’m going to do and sign up for it/ complete it. 2010 AIDS Walk 5K

I took too many pictures to show them all. I will go through them and post the best ones soon.