Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Kindle paperwhite

(This is a review for the 2012 model)
I got a refurbished paperwhite.  I love this device, it is the ultimate e-reader for me.  I wasn't sure if I would like the touch screen, but I love it.

  • read in the dark
  • love the touch screen, so much easier to select what you want
  • good battery life


  • no dedicated turn page button
  • refresh can seem slow, but no worse than a regular kindle
For me, this device is perfect in every way except for the lack of a dedicated page turn button (wanted because I like to eat and read and don't want to get grease on the screen).

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Electra Townie 3i Review

My husband is really into biking.  I like walking.  I don't like worrying about falling over, yes, I have very little sense of balance.  I few years ago I bought a cruiser-style bike with lots of gears.  I didn't ride it unless my husband was with me.  Honestly, it intimidated me.  Shifting gears was intimidating and my husband had warned me that certain combinations of back and rear gears were bad, but I could never remember which ones.  I also didn't like having to balance on my toes when stopped.  I have children and riding with them means lots of stopping, sometimes quickly.

I thought trying biking again would be fun, but I wanted a different bike.  My balance had improved a little thanks to riding the exercise bike.  I began my quest for the right bike for me.

I initially considered a recumbent tadpole tricycle.  I tried out Sun's entry level trike, but it had a few issues.  It was very expensive.  It was bulky and would be harder than a traditional bike to store fit along the edge of the garage.  The main issue was my husband hated riding it.  If I was going to spend a lot of money on a bike, I wanted it to be one we both liked.  So trikes were out.

I remembered several years ago (before I bought my first bike) about the Electra brand.  Their bikes were slightly reclined to allow the rider to put her feet down flat.  I didn't consider them at the time because they cost more than I wanted to pay, but compared to a recumbent, they were quite cheap.  I went over to a Infinity Cycles who happened to have the Electra Townie 3i and it was on sale. 

What I liked:
  • I could put my feet down flat when stopped an feel stable
  • It had three speeds with an internal hub, so no parts sticking out to get caught on things, and it should be very reliable
  • It had three speeds, which is easy for me to understand and not feel intimidated by
  • It was cute.  I also bought a rack for it so I could carry things.
  • The seat goes low enough my eleven-year-old daughter could ride it too.  She likes this bike and she is timid bike rider as well.
  • The bike rode like I expected it to.  I felt very in control.
  • I can pull a bike trailer with my four-year-old in it just fine, but the area around where we live is fairly flat.  I stay mostly in first gear with the trailer.
  • It has holes to fit a water bottle holder, fenders, and a rack.
  • I really liked riding it.

What I didn't like:
  • I am a little over 5'8" (with long legs).  The seat is at its max height and it is just barely tall enough for me.  It is slightly too short for my husband (5'11), not that he really wants to be riding my girly bike :)
  • It is longer than a normal bike (probably 12" or so).  This meant it fit in our minivan, but the middle seat and back seat had to be laid down.  It also had to lean over because it was too tall to stand up in the van.
  • My husband did not feel comfortable carrying it on our bike carrier because so much of it stuck out past the car.
  • The gap between 1st and 2nd gear is a little bigger than I would like.
  • I am slightly concerned that three gears may not be enough, but as a put-put bike, it does great.
  • The direction you twist the shifter to move up a gears just seems backwards to me.  I'll get used to this though and it isn't a big deal.
  • Initially, I had trouble shifting to 2nd speed.  I don't have that problem now.  It was me getting used to the shifter.
  • Coaster brake.  This bike has one hand brake and one coaster brake.  I wish it had two hand brakes, but I'm getting used to it. 
  • Fixing a flat on the rear tire is a pain

I've ridden my bike 25 miles now.  In terms of speed, I'm riding it pretty comfortably now in 2nd speed.  I average 8-9.5 mph.  My fastest is around 15 mph.  I think my husband took it up to close to twenty and averaged 14 mph.  I'm not comfortable going fast yet, so overtime, I expect my speed will increase.

I really like my new bike and am having fun riding it.  I would recommend it to others who are concerned about balance or are timid bike riders and anyone that wants a fun bike.

Update (6/3/2014):
Still loving riding this bike.  I attach the child trailer to it and pull my daughter around.  I usually can't get out of first gear pulling her, but the trailer isn't supposed to go very fast anyway.  That may also be because I'm not back into biking shape yet.  I think at the end of last year I could pull her in second gear.  I like that I feel in control of this bike.  I wish I had five gears instead of three sometimes, but the three work just fine.

Update (7/12/17)
I recently sold this bike and bought a Townie 7d instead.  The three speeds were limiting me a little, because my preferred riding speed was right between the 2nd and 3rd gear.  The range of speeds on the 7d fits my riding style better.  It also has two regular hand breaks instead of a coaster break.  Having to shift only while pedaling is not a problem now that I'm better at riding a bike.  I still loved the 3, but the 7d fits me better now.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The new subdivision and park

A builder is going to put in a new subdivision on Center Street and approx 1500 s in Lehi.  Here's the pdf of the plan:  I'm excited because it includes a park with playground equipment.

On a less happy note, they are looking at putting in a gas station across pioneer crossing from us.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Lehi shed zoning

This is what I got from talking to the zoning and building department at Lehi City about building a shed.
  • Sheds >200 sq ft need a permit
  • If the shed is in the backyard, sheds must be at least 6' from the back of a house
  • if the shed is on the side of a house, there must be 10' from the side of the shed to the property line
  • behind the house, the shed must be 16" from the property line.
I'm trying to be accurate, but call Lehi City yourself to verify before building. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Weird things i want

Random things I would like:

This nesting nativity
or this nativity
amazon gift cards

I wish:
Tile backsplash for kitchen
Under counter water heater for kitchen
Solar panel kit from harbor freight.
new flooring for upstairs
solar panels for house
band saw
Lego Mindstorms

Things I've wanted in the past:
Zoomer the robotic dog

Monday, June 10, 2013

Best parks in Northern Utah County

Here's some of what I think are the best parks in northern Utah County.  I'm sure there's plenty more, we just haven't made it to them yet.  This list is in no particular order.

Neptune Park
Address:  452 W 400 N  Saratoga Springs, UT 84045
Why it's Great: huge climbing pyramid, play structure, nice separate play area of younger children
Caveats: it's a newer park, so not a lot of shade

Bonneville park
Address:  1450 North 800 West, Orem, UT
Why it's Great: Big play structure, swings.  
Caveats: Some of the older kids like to climb up the outside of the big slide.  If you have an adventurous little one, you might want to keep an eye on them. This park isn't amazing, but in my mind this is how an average park should be, but often aren't.

Discovery park
Address:  1435-1511 N 100 E, Pleasant Grove, UT 84062
Why it's Great: Huge amazing wooden play structures.  This is a great place to let older children run free.
Caveats: Not really for younger children.  The slides are really high off the ground.  There is a younger child's area, but my little kids quickly bored of it and wanted to go with the big kids, so I had to follow them everywhere. 

Dry Creek Trail Park
Address:  100 W 1580 N  Lehi, UT 84043
Why it's Great: Nice play structure, creek to wade in, short walking trail with bridge that crosses the creek, Frisbee golf  course, big old trees to climb, nice restrooms (for a park)
Caveats: lawn is not in good condition, lots of weeds, but a great place for kids.  I'm not sure if the creek is running all the time or just when the irrigation water runs

Nielsen's Grove Park
Address:  1931 S Sandhill, Orem, UT
Why it's Great: Cool swings that move in a giant circle (think swings like at the fair), small play structure, trails for walking, fountain, pond with ducks
Caveats: circle swings aren't always working well

Other Cool Parks: 

Draper City Park
Address: 12500 S 1300 E, Draper
Why it's great: manual exercise equipment, play structure, electronic play toys
Caveats: none

Liberty Park
Address: 600 E 900 S  Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Why it's great: huge splash pad, two big play structures, lots of walking trails, big pond
Caveats: I haven't actually been there in the summer yet, very pretty in the fall though.

Children's Discovery Garden
Address:  3900 N. Garden Drive, Lehi, Utah 84043
Why it's Great: splash pad in summer, hedge mazes, small stream to race boats, caves, spider web for climbing
Caveats: This is part of Thanksgiving Point and costs money ($6).  Closed during the princess festival.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Summer 2013 fun plans

I'm using this post to make a list of the fun things I want to do with my kids this summer (not in any particular order):
  1. Natural waterslide (Alpine Sliding Rock)
  2. Provo river falls
  3. Timpanogos Cave
  4. North rim of the Grand Canyon
  5. Battlecreek falls
  6. Bridal Veil falls
  7. Boulder, CO
  8. Thanksgiving Point Gardens
  9. Thanksgiving Point Children's Garden
  10. Splash pad in Highland
  11. Museum of Ancient Life
  12. Discovery Gateway (via FrontRunner)
  13. Hutchings Museum
  14. Neptune Park

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins made with Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling

After Christmas, my husband picked up several cans of Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling on clearance.  I wanted pumpkin muffins, so here's what I came up with.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins made with Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 c white flour
2 c whole wheat flour
1 c oats
1 T cinnamon
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 30 oz. can of Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling
1/2 c oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix pumpkin, oil, and eggs.  Add wet mixture to dry mixture.  Mix.  Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon 1/4 c of batter into greased muffin pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done.  Makes 24 muffins.