15 April 2018

That Time I Won a Kitchen Appliance

This past weekend, for the second year running, Angel and I were asked to lead a group of teams to participate in an annual "Mall Hunt" which is run as a big fundraiser on behalf of a local hospice care organization.

Our first year, we brought 5 teams to the event, and all placed somewhere in the top 10 when awards were announced after the hunt. This year, because of all the tales of the fun we had last year, we ended up with 8 teams of two signing up for the event (which meant that this year it was the two of us adults in charge of 14 teenagers...running around a mall...while 200+ other people are doing the same thing...oh, and normal customers are simply trying to enjoy a Saturday at the mall).

Read on to see what happened this year!

This "Mall Hunt" primarily involves finding the answers to a bunch of cryptic clues while wandering the mall. Answers are always the names of stores in the mall--but you should not underestimate the mysterious reasoning that goes into the cryptic clues that we're given.

For example, in this year's hunt, these were a few of the clues and answers:

Clue: A Greeting with No Directions

Answer: SHINS <--This is the name of a store at the mall. I figured this one out because S, N, and S can all denote directions (South and North), and if you remove those letters, what's left is "Hi," a greeting.

Clue: You can mix a single gin here.

Answer: Smiggle. <-- The name of another store. If you mix up the letters in "single gin", it can become Smiggle, that is, if you assume that you can glue 2 n's together and turn them into an M.

I told you that these clues require a lot of mental leaps!

Clue: If you add whiskey, this turns into traveling salespeople.

Answer: Hakers <--The name of a store. If I assume that Whiskey is a reference to W in the Alpha, Bravo, Charley alphabet, and I add a W into Hakers, I can turn it into Hawkers, who are traveling salespeople.

Clue: It makes a late singer

Answer: Levis <-- If you rearrange the letters, they can turn into Elvis, who is a late singer.

Does your brain hurt yet??

The startling fact is that I am very good at figuring out these bizarre clues while wandering the mall and staring at the names of various shops. Our group, like many of the other larger groups that attend this event, takes a teamwork approach to the challenge--allowing people like me to figure out the cryptic clues and share answers with the rest of the group, while others worked on other parts of the challenge, which involve buying very specific products and identifying logos around the mall.

But our teamwork must be a little bit above average. There were 131 teams of two participating in the event this year, 8 teams of which were in our group. All 8 of our teams of two placed in the top 30, with one of our teams taking home FIRST place (the prize was 2 49" TVs!). My team placed 7th...and that's how I ended up winning a kitchen appliance!

Our 7th place prize was: a vacuum, an air fryer, and two pairs of knock-off crocs (everybody won crocs--and everybody won crocs last year, too. It's a tradition. We all wear them afterwards and call them our "Winner Crocs").

I asked my partner which appliance he'd rather have, and he picked the vacuum.

And that's how I won an air fryer.

Admittedly, I wasn't entirely sure what an air fryer was when I won it. Based on my research, it seems to be a cross between a deep fryer and a very fast oven.

I own very few kitchen appliances (no oven, no microwave, no mixer, no coffee maker, etc) so it's pretty funny that an air fryer is the latest appliance to be added to my minimalist kitchen, but we're excited to figure out how to use it to expand our dinner options.

Last night was our first night experimenting and we made roasted zucchini slices, potato slices, and lemon pepper chicken breasts. All of it was tasty. Do you have any recommendations on air fryer recipes? I heard you can bake potatoes in it which I'm really excited about because this oven-less girl loves baked potatoes.


So that was my weekend. We were gone for the hunt from 8 in the morning till 5 in the evening, and where was Cyrus this whole time? Chillin' with his grandma. That's by far the longest we've ever been apart and it was very weird. Apparently, though, he behaved himself very well. We start excessively young--when we pick him up, we don't ask "Did you have fun?" but rather, "How did you behave for Grandma?" Six-week-olds must learn that they have responsibilities, too. ;)

What's the coolest thing you've ever won? This is somewhere up there for me, although when I was a kid, I won a $200 gift card to Toys'R'Us from a calendar art competition and that was pretty epic for an 11-year-old.
rooth said...

I'm sure he was a perfect angel for Grandma :) Who could deny that face anyway?

Candysfarmhousepantry said...

I would be terrible at this. So you got the air fryer. Well enjoy your deserve it after figuring out those clues.

Karen H. said...

I am always intrigued when someone write about their air fryer...I'm interested on hearing your experience. Congratulations on the fun! :)

Suzanne Carillo said...

Ha! That sounds like fun! Although I admit I never would have figure out those clues.

I've heard lots of good things about those air fryers. I hope you enjoy it.


Jeanne said...

I would have had a hard time figuring out those clues. Have fun with the air fryer! I'm sure you will find multiple recipes for it.

Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

I would probably do well with a contest like this at a mall! I'm not normally good at brain teasers, but at a mall? That's my jam! I'm glad the babe was well behaved for his grandmother!

AnneMarie said...

Oh man, those clues are tricky! That sounds like such a fun event. I've never heard of an air fryer, I'm intrigued to hear more about it as you learn how it works!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Oh wow, that does seem like a tricky contest but how fun! And yay for getting an air fryer. I'd definitely be googling all the things you can now make. I'm glad Cyrus was good for grandma. :)


Sarah Shumate said...

What a cool way to raise money for a charity. I don't think I ever would have figured those clues out, so well done! And I have no idea what an air fryer does, but if you have no oven or microwave, I'd say you took home the better prize. Surely it beats cooking everything on the stove! :)

imaclutz89 said...

You will absolutely love your air fryer! I have a few recipes on my website for them and some mistakes to avoid doing with it. I can tell you french fries are absolutely amazing in it!

Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

This sounds like so much fun! I love all your stories of community events where you live, they always sound so different (and much more fun) than the ones we have here. Or don't have, as the case may be. You definitely deserve a prize with those clues, and I look forward to hearing about all the things you make with your new tiny fast oven!

Lecy Croson said...

How fun! Those clues sound really difficult. I would be horrible at that! That's so cool that you won an air fryer. You can make so many neat things in it!

mypixieblog said...

Those clues are making my brain hurt lol. This sounds like a lot of fun though! And yay for you got winning an air fryer. I actually went to an event over the weekend and that was one of the showstoppers. Who knew you could make so many things in one of them! Glad to hear your angel behaved at gramma’s <3

Brita Long said...

This is absolutely hilarious. Those clues are HARD!

The coolest thing I ever won... When I was 10, our local YMCA had a t-shirt design contest. Keep in mind I have almost zero art skills. But I have a creative mind, so my concept was very good. I won the contest. The prize was an annual membership to the YMCA. I literally used it once, to get the member rate for a week of summer camp. Basically since, my family already had a pool, and my mom was a SAHM so we didn't need the after-school program, we didn't have much use for the membership. But it was a cool prize to win!

Sheila said...

Very interesting competition, Rachel and good job with the clues - they sound hard! Congrats for the new kitchen appliance, I`m using an air fryer almost everyday and you will see the cooking is easier and most importantly - healthy!

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