our exotic vacation to the potato capital of the world

I’m an Idaho girl born and raised– but I didn’t grow up in potato growing Idaho.  In fact, I don’t think I really saw a potato field until I was a teenager.  I grew up in Boise, which is about as citified as Idaho can get.  (And really one of the coolest cities there is, in my humble opinion.  The Denver area, where we live now, is pretty cool, but way too big for me.  Boise is like a mini Denver.)

My brother, however, married a girl from the potato capital of the world and lives there now.  We decided to make this year’s Idaho trip to their neck of the woods.  No matter where you go, if you’re with family it’s the perfect place.  We had fun.

Hone house in progress

My brother and his family spent the winter making this little house, built in something like 1913, livable.  For $19,000 they got some good bones, but had to totally gut it.  The before pictures are pretty scary.  It amazes me how some people choose to live.  The plaster had completely fallen off the walls in some places so you could see right outside through the walls.  My brother and his wife didn’t realize that the black sink was really bright orange enamel until they did a little cleaning before the kitchen demolition.  My brother’s done an amazing job turning it into a lovely home for his family. They’ve just got to build a garage and put siding on and they can say it’s done.

My parents came out too and brought one of my little nieces.

The kids played outside every second they could.

the littlest ones playing in the rocks

We got there just in time to see a baby gecko hatch!

hatching gecko

freshly hatched


We went swimming at Lava Hot Springs,

Baya swimming


too big for the floaty


played with Papa at the park,

Papa pushing

and celebrated his birthday.

happy birthday papa!

Did you know that there is an entire museum dedicated to the Idaho potato?

did you know there was such a place?

Well, now you do.  One thing I learned is that potatoes are native to South America.  They were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers, spread throughout Europe, and then were later brought to North America.  So even though Idaho is so uniquely suited to potato growing they’re not from there.  I never knew that.

More importantly, though, the museum houses the largest collection of potato mashers (neatly displayed thanks to some kid’s Eagle Scout project) and the world’s largest Pringle (technically a potato “crisp”).

world's largest potato

There was also some prep for the front walk to be done, so all the boys pitched in to help.

the whole team diggin' in the dirt

Little kids sure love to do REAL work.

dig, dig, dig

It kept them busy for a long time.

I sure love my family and it was so good to visit Tyler and Katie and their cute boys.  Cramming 7 extra people (or 10!) into a little house with one bathroom can be a little crazy– but it was good crazy.  And too short.

(We did venture farther than the Potato Museum– that’s where we saw the bison I posted the other day.  It will take a whole other post to show you that, so come back tomorrow.)


the first camp out of the year

We decided last minute to go camping over the long weekend.  Barry had been out of town all week, so hurrying to get ready right after he walked in our door from the airport was a bit crazy and stressful, but it was worth it, I think.

first campout

first campout

first campout

We played and explored and got dirty.

the sweater with a zipper

the hat I knit in March

the hat I knit in March

And put those March birthday hand-knits to use.

from the 4 year old

drawing in the sand

My littlest boys drew and drew in the dirt.  Ian left me love notes everywhere he could.  4 year old boys are full of so much love.

pussy willows

pussy willows

We’re welcoming summer.

our favorite Saturday place

saturday in the rocks

We’ve been going regularly to a nearby state park full of boulders and fort making possibilities.

saturday in the rocks

Even my little lean-to fort of sticks has stayed in tact.

the fort i made

saturday in the rocks

likin' the lichen

under the boulders

the back fence

fort of sticks


saturday in the rocks

It is good for the soul to build a relationship with a place.

weekend away

Last weekend we flew my mom out and Barry and I headed up to Keystone to ski and just be together.


We broke out our old nordic skate skis.  Mine haven’t been used since we were going to college and living in Logan, Utah– I think since before Brenna was born.  That’s 11 years ago my friends.  Geesh.  I’m sure I used them while I was pregnant with her, but I don’t think I’ve strapped them on since.

nordic ski day

About 2 seconds after this picture was taken I lost my balance.  It took a little while to get my rhythm.  Barry, of course was such a pro he could ski AND take pictures at the same time.  I, however, just had to concentrate on breathing the scarce air and keeping my skis and poles moving with a little bit of coordination.

skate, skate, up the hill

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.  Even up in the mountains it was above 50 degrees.  So, so, so lovely and refreshing and relaxing.  Yes, even skating uphill was relaxing without the kids in tow!

We went downhill skiing the next day.  Not my strong point, I must say, but I found one blue run I actually enjoyed!  It had some sections just steep enough to challenge me, but then got easy again.  Let me just say I do not have a need for speed!  The weather was perfect again and we had so much fun being together.

alpine day

How cool is it that I’m married to my best friend and the funnest guy ever?