Monday, February 25, 2013

Idle Isle Almond Cream Toffee

The other day I called my mom at the rehabilitation center in Logan to see how she was doing (she had heart surgery two weeks ago). As we visited, she told me about a very vivid dream she had had. In her dream she was surrounded by piles of almond toffee cream candies from the Idle Isle in Brigham City. She was so excited to have unlimited access to her favorite candy that she ate and ate until finally she ate so much that she keeled over dead, but happy. On occasion over the past few years we have given mom gift boxes of the candy, which she then hides so that she can enjoy them all to herself.  I think her dream was her subconscious telling her to tell me that she needed another gift. I got the message. So today after classes, I drove north to Brigham City

The Idle Isle Restaurant was a favorite of my gandparrents, Bill and Veara Fife. He loved to order liver and onions. When mom was a teenager working at Penney's she would often order the 99 cent vegetable plate.

A few years ago the family sold the restaurant and moved the candy operation across the street. 

Inside are all kinds of tasty treats. Regular chocolates.

Colorful rock candies.

And even Boden Stick Candy. Delicious hard candy in flavors of clove, lemon, peppermint, brown sugar peppermint, and wintergreen. The recipe for this candy came across the plains with Mormon converts from Wales. Relatives of my grandma Fife have made this candy ever since and always made sure that my grandparents and now my mom received a gift box every Christmas. Mom shared her box this year with all of us at Will's baptism. I like the clove and wintergreen best. Learn more and order some here.

The pièce de résistance are the almond creme toffee candies.

I bought mom 1.5 pounds which filled to over-flowing the 1 pound box.

Once in Logan, mom enjoyed two pieces and then promptly hid them. Here's hoping the delicacies help her heart to mend and her body to be strengthened. I'll monitor when she runs out so she can get a new supply. At age 85 I figure she can eat as many as she wants.

Order almond cream toffee here

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mesquite, Zion, Bryce

Thursday after school (and after my morning visit to mom in the hospital in Ogden following open heart surgery last week) we headed south for the President's Cup soccer tournament in Mesquite, Nevada. I had to cancel my Friday classes--which brought an ovation from my students. I figure they could then use the time to take the first mid term or enjoy an additional day on their final break between now and the end of the semester. It seemed like half of northern Utah was heading south on I-15 for the President's Day Weekend. My cousin Betsey Hickman Holley and her husband Richard graciously offered their lovely vacation home in Sand Hollow (Hurricane) for us to stay in. The stash of magazines in their home included various home decor magazines which Sarah loved to look at and then compare with Betsey's knack for decorating.

Friday morning at 8:50 HC Storm (12 year old boys from Mapleton and Springville) played its first game at the five field Mesquite sports complex--two fields had real turf and three were artificial. Mike Cutler is the coach.

Will (with yellow shirt tail from his newly bought Messi/Barcelona shirt) is an honorary member of the team. He loves to watch Joel's games from the team bench. This spring he too will try out for a club soccer team.

The first game was sunny and warm, The second game on Friday evening at 6:20 pm (pacific time) was windy and cold. Poor Marie was on her second day of fever and bad cough. She was determined to watch, even in the cold, so she bundled up in a quilt and several fleeces.  The third and final game was Saturday morning at 8:50. Had the team not been shut out in all three games they would have moved on to more games.

 Here are some photos of the first game.

Looking for a teammate to pass to.


One week earlier Joel was side-swiped by another boy at a birthday party at a trampoline place. It really bruised his upper calf muscle. He hobbled around all week. When game day came he bucked-up, took some Motrin and played his hardest. Coach Cutler commented after the second game that if all of the boys had played as hard as Joel they would have won some of the games.

Joel (lucky number 13) in his trademark stance.

Will is always on the go. Here he is practicing a rainbow move. In the long wait between games on Friday we ate lunch at a diner, watched the fun movie "Parental Guidance", checked e-mail and read at the public library, and, while Marie napped in the car, we browsed Wal-mart (which I normally choose not to shop at given its treatment of workers in the developing world) where Sarah found some dark glasses and Joel a one volume set of the Ring Trilogy. Saturday after the game we went swimming at the community pool in Ivins (sure wish Springville had one of these) and then joined the team families for a pizza dinner and games at the team hotel.

Sunday we all slept in and then we went to an 11:00 Hurricane Ward for sacrament meeting. It was packed with vacationers like us. A newly returned missionary speaking with the representative from High Council introduced his talk (which was a nice story about a man persisting in restoring a favorite car from his youth) by hoping that everyone--including all of the visitors--were enjoying the holiday weekend. He then said: "I have had a great weekend so far. I got to work at the gun show. Guns are awesome!" I am glad he likes guns, but expressing that love in a sacrament meeting seemed out of place. We then drove to Zion National Park. It was the first visit for the kids and Marie's first visit since a childhood visit. Joel's legs were sore from his games and Marie was still sick so we opted out of any major hikes. We opted for the gentle walk along the entry to the Narrows.

The squirrel was not afraid of us at all. He got his hopes up for food when three of us reached for our cameras.

Further up the trail we rain into my nephew John, his wife Beth and their three children. John is the the oldest Emmett cousin and Will the youngest.We enjoyed a short visit and some rock climbing.

Over the years I have hiked the full length of the Narrows top to bottom once, partial Narrows from the bottom several times, Angel's Landing (twice), the East Rim trail, the Canyon Overlook Trail (several times), and the Emerald Pools trail. However I have never visited Zion in the winter when there is still snow and the trees are without leaves.  I enjoyed seeing Zion in another season.

Find the moon in the middle.

I was especially happy to see snow on checkerboard mesa. It really shows off the checker board pattern. The kids thought the tunnel leading to the east entrance was pretty amazing and even a bit scary.

Next was a chilly late afternoon stop at Bryce Canyon.  At an elevation of 8,000 feet there was still plenty of snow. Bryce during the winter was another first for me.

The views from Sunset Point

The views from inspiration point. 

We all agreed that we need to return to these parks another time when we are up to some real hikes.

Our vacation started on Valentines Day, Marie and the kids decorated these cookies the Sunday before.

A week earlier, Joel won another Science Fair with his experiment about the popping ability of kernels at room temperature, refrigerator temp and frozen.