Destination: HERE.

I sometimes forget that we live in a destination town.

Everyday life for us is an anticipated vacation for others. John’s brother and nephew came in from New Jersey this weekend, three days they hoped to fill with as much skiing and fun as possible. Henry was even going to miss a day of school for this ski trip to Uncle JB’s house! To play in Utah snow and stay with us in Park City was a blast for them, and an awesome reminder that we live in a special place.

I openly admit that I’m a fair-weather snowboarder. If it’s 10 degrees with frigid wind and no visibility on the mountain, I’m home with my slippers! But not the Howe boys, who knew their allotted time on skis was finite. They were out of bed, bundled up, fed, packed, and in the truck before my eyes even opened. I was treated to a couple of ski lift smiles via my iPhone before welcoming them home, tuckered out but happy.

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We headed out for dinner that night, three boys and me. I heard all about the day’s adventure and got caught up on the family. (Side: I gave gluten-free pizza another chance- and it was not bad!)

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The weather forecast on the mountain for Sunday was not Amber-friendly, so I took a risk and banked on Monday to be family ski day. While the boys shared photos of Day Two of Snowbird fun, I took Cholula on a little adventure close to home.

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After my hike with Cholula, as the sky outside lit up and darkened and lit up again, I started prepping for Make Your Own Taco Night. One thing I’ve learned by watching friends with children is that kids like options. I figured each person could choose their own taco shell (crunchy or hard), taco meat (season or plain ground beef, seasoned chicken), and then I’d provide a rainbow of fixings and a couple of side dishes. Make ‘em just the way you like!

I made some fresh pico de gallo mid-day, so it would have time to sit in the fridge to get extra delicious. I chopped up some tomato, red onion, cilantro, and a bit of jalapeno. Pico always needs more salt and more lime than I think it will, so I was generous this time. Gorgeous!

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Next, I’d gotten it in my mind that Taco Night was incomplete without an appropriate beverage. Margaritas! I had a big bottle of agave in the pantry, so I busted out my beloved juicer and went to town!

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Equal parts lemon/lime juice and agave sat in the fridge, waiting to mingle with ice, tequila, and a lime wedge later. Fun! (It was mostly an excuse to visit my juicer.)

The gang tumbled in the door, another successful day on skis behind them. I set out some snacks, and we all hung out in the great room, hockey on TV (those East Coasters), chatting about the day. For an “easy” make-it-yourself dinner, it was turning out to be a lot of prep work. First, I made cilantro-lime rice and set it aside – I needed the burner for other stuff. Next, I sautéed some onion and added drained black beans, a bit of chicken stock, and lots of Mexican seasonings and let that simmer away for awhile. Taco topping options: two kinds of shredded cheese, fresh pico de gallo, chopped scallions, slices of avocado, extra diced jalapeno, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.

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Somehow, it all landed on the counter at the same time and the hungry boys dug right in. I opted for two crunchy tacos, one chicken and one beef. Delish!

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Even more delish? Agave margaritas.  What a great family dinner!

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Monday came early. The blue sky was promising for my last chance at a ski day with the boys. The temperature on the mountain? A whopping 5 degrees. Eeek! I packed an extra set of long underwear and told myself to BUCK UP.

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We had a fabulous day! The mountain was positively stunning. It WAS cold, but between the crowded tram ride, a coffee break, extra layers, and a few glides down the hill on my snowboard, I was quite warm.

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The best part for me was seeing how much fun John’s brother and nephew were having! When it was time to leave Snowbird to catch the plane back to New Jersey, we all wished for a canceled flight. Many hugs and thank yous later, I was waving goodbye to the boys with sadness. A full house can feel hectic, but we don’t get to spend much time with far-off family. This morning, the guest rooms are empty and the house feels a bit too quiet. I hope it’s not long until our house is the family vacation destination again!

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In the meantime, I’ll giggling to this video of Henry showering his dad in snow.

Isn’t family just the best? I miss them already.

11 replies »

  1. Good gracious, woman! BYOT (Build Your Own Taco) Night in our house is one choice of meat, jarred salsa, no margaritas … I might have to change how we do things around here. I’m inspired.

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