Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas 2017

Katie and Maggie begged for a Gingerbread House kit. So we picked one out and they had a great time putting it together. It even stuck around for a while, though candies did slowly start to go missing. Yuck. But it's a fun project to do. 

 This photo is of the girls and I after church one day. I just love these two!

About a week before Christmas, I see this pattern and decide that THIS MUST HAPPEN FOR CHRISTMAS!!! Now I am not sure why I wait to do my Christmas crafting for so late, but I do. Lucky for me this was a very quick knit and I actually finished both of them two days before Christmas. I took this picture while I was wrapping gifts. They really turned out cute I think!

Christmas morning was a blur of excitement, of course! The girls seemed thrilled with the things they got. On a whim, Santa brought them each a Nerf gun with extra ammo. They have really had a blast with these (pun intended).

 They each got one of these pillows that has sequins sewn in just a way that you can change to color just by rubbing your hand over it. Well they found out these pillows make great targets for the Nerf guns. So they set them up and fire away! When the Nerf bullet hits the sequins they change their color.

We have had a wonderful holiday and wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year.
2017- How did that happen?!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December Fun with Cousins

My sister Jamie and her family, and my sister Pam and her family, all live out of town. WAY out of town. Jamie has recently moved to Alaska from Tokyo, and Pamela has been in Italy for the past year. But they were both able to come for a couple weeks to visit!
We had a great time and did several activities with the kids. A trip to the Festival of Trees was at the top of the list. I just got one good pic here. Some of the cousins were still in school at the time.
L to R: Katie, Maggie, Benny, Clara, Eva, Ella

Our Cousin Ella celebrated her 10th birthday at this gymnastics studio. All the kids had a blast running and jumping into the giant foam pit. Then cake!

Followed by a massive Christmas cookie decorate-a-thon!

But all too soon the fun ended and back on the plane they go. We all hope to see them sooner than next Christmas!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Katie Time Travels!

November 12, Katie had the opportunity, with her Girl Scout Troop, to go to Camp Floyd State Park for the Ladies of Camp Floyd event. It was like going back in time to the 1860s when there was a stagecoach stop and Inn in Fairfield. All the girls were given a hoop skirt to wear and they got to do different activities, such as; washing clothes with a tub and a wash board, spinning wool, trying to do school with chalk and a slate. They learned about proper etiquette of the time and learned how to play games that kids would have played 150 years ago. The general public is welcome to come and learn about the stagecoach Inn and history of the surrounding area, if you are looking for something to do one Saturday Camp Floyd State Park Museum .

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Great Weekend in Arches...

It's mid-October and that means a camping trip in Arches National Park. You may remember last year we had a bit of drama on our way there, but no trouble this time! We got our shopping done Wednesday night so that we could get up on Thursday morning, pack, and get our of town. The day was beautiful and very mild. We rolled into Arches around 4 pm and found our campsites. We were the first ones there so we got first dibs! Got the tent set up, kids are really getting helpful with this. Everyone else started to arrive and get their stuff set up, the kids found plenty of rocks to climb on and we ate our hamburgers for dinner.

Friday morning we had a nice breakfast and then the kids took off rick climbing and playing in the sand. I sat and read after cleaning up breakfast. Jeff and his friends played the card game they all love. At 4pm we left for a nice dinner in town. We went for BBQ at the Blu Pig. Once we got back to the campground, I could tell that things had been 'moved around'. Just as I was asking Jeff where he moved everything to, the campground hosts stopped by to inform us that we had left our garbage unattended and the ravens had a good old time going through all the garbage. We were horrified and had no idea they would do that. The park ranger apparently caught the ravens in the act, shooed them away, and picked up all of our garbage. The campground hosts told us the ranger would probably stop by tomorrow and talk about this with us, maybe give us a ticket. Great. Did I mention we were horrified?

Saturday was a day of card games for Jeff and his friends, the girls and I, went to Sand Dune Arch with two of the other wives and the other kids. The instant they got in they started digging quite the pit. It was fun to watch the kids do this, and to watch the random kid come up and start pitching in. Kids are amazing in their ability to work together.

Anyway, we stayed there about an hour and then the rest of them went off to hike The Windows, while the girls and I went to this new Moab Dinosaur park that is on the road going into town. It is fairly new and (in my opinion) mostly geared towards the 12 and younger crowd. My girls really enjoyed it. There is a nice, easy trail that takes you through different dinosaur eras, with statues of different kinds of dinosaurs. They have an information plaque at each statue. We had fun. There are also several interactive displays, and two theaters. One of the theaters we went to was a 5D walk through PALEO AQUARIUM!!!! You wear the funny glasses and walk past these "tanks" with (animated) paleo fish. Not unlike walking in the fish cave at Cabela's. The tour guide told you facts about that particular critter and you move to the next. The final "tank" was for the MEGALODON!!! The tour guide is talking about it, and all the sudden the megalodon swims right to the glass and bumps it, while at the same time the floor shakes, water sprays, and people scream. I was laughing the whole time, but Katie and Maggie had their eyes closed and missed all the fun!

Once we got back to the campsite, I learn from Jeff that the Ranger did come by, and took down Jeff's information and ran him through the NPS Database. We are now known to the NPS as rabble rousers and next time we will be ticketed for ravens in the garbage. At this point I start getting ready for dinner and between that and packing up the next day, I had to have Jeff write the rest as he was more involved with our second run-in with the law...

Early in the afternoon on Saturday, while the rest of the gang was off hiking, and Johnny, Brian and I were sitting around playing cards, an older man approached us in our campsite and said "Hi, I'm from the Czech Republic, and I'd like to set up my tent back here aways." We saw that his group was in the next camp, and I said "sure, just go back there away from us, and set up. So we saw him set up his little red pup tent, and then his whole group left for the afternoon.

It was after dark, and we were eating dinner, when Czech man came up to me directly while I was prepping my food, and said "Something has happened to my tent, I need you to see it." So I left my food to get cold, and wandered over to where his red pup tent was set up. He pointed to a six inch rip in the rainfly fabric down near the ground, and said, "Your children did this." I didn't believe him, and mentioned that he had set up his tent basically in the middle of a trail that went back and forth across the face of the rocks, and that there were people passing by all afternoon and evening, and that I seriously doubted my children did it. He told me that "adults would not do this." and that there were no other children around. Having sat there all afternoon watching a parade of people going past his tent, I basically told him that without evidence to the contrary, I wasn't going to accept his accusation. Knowing that we had trouble with the ravens trying to get our food, I asked him if there was any food in the tent, and he took a very long time to answer, and then said no. I told him if he wanted to take the matter further up some chain of authority, he should inform the campground host. And I left him to go back to my cold food. We asked the kids if they'd ripped his tent, and they all denied it utterly. We told them we wouldn't be mad if they did it by accident, and just to tell us if they had. Nobody fessed up. 

Later, Brian and I walked over to the campground host's spot and informed him of all that had happened. Then after we were done with our story, he says: "Well, you know I'm not on duty tonight, that's the other campground host."

Anyway, that's where it sat overnight. In the morning, we noticed that the older lady campground host was talking to the Czech man and then she got on her golf cart and was getting ready to leave, when I asked her about what he had said. She told me he told her this story about my kids ripping the tent, and she didn't believe him, and wasn't even going to bother me with it, until I asked her. Then somebody in his group photographed us, and our gear, and cars, and everything, and he came over with his bill, saying "I know Americans are honorable people." I took a look at it, and said "I'm not paying you a dime," as I was thinking "Yeah, we are honorable, but we're not suckers." Then after he and his party had left, the campground host brought the park rangers to talk to me and take my statement. They told me not to worry about it. I gave them the handwritten bill he had given me. 

That's about it. It kind of felt like a shakedown after all was said and done. 

Leaving on Sunday, we got out around 9:30am. We left Moab via the Colorado River route 2/3 of the way to I-70 we had to stop and wait a half hour for the marathon to finish. We spent this time throwing rocks in the river and enjoying the sunny day. I was very glad to get home and cleaned up!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Labor Day camping in City of Rocks

We spent a lovely Labor Day weekend camping at Smoky Mountain at Castle Rocks State Park. This is very near City of Rocks National Reserve. We had lovely weather. Warm but not too hot. We left on Thursday, and arrived to our destination around 5 pm. Got our camp set up and started relaxing. That was the major theme this trip, relaxation!
On Friday morning we noticed the mountain was on fire so we spent quite sometime watching the fire fighting airplanes and how they would drop the fire retardant. That was fascinating! I was talking to an old guy at the store about the fire and he says they drop the red stuff right long the ridge lines, and sure enough that is what the girls and I noticed.

Saturday we took a drive over to Castle Rock State Park, and had a closer view of where the fire had been. It was really interesting to get a more close-up view- definitely could see the burn scar and the red streaks where the retardant had been dropped. The kids and I walked around a bit, and saw some petroglyphs and guys trying to climb some rocks.

Sunday was rather cool and drizzly, so we mostly stayed in the pop-up and played games. We always bring a good selection of those.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Utah History Summer

We didn't do many field trips during the school year, so I came up with the idea of learning about Utah History through several field trips. In June we visited the Natural History Museum of Utah. We enjoyed walking through the museum and at each level I would assign the girls a couple of tasks that they would write down in their History Notebook. They were pretty good about doing this. At the end of the museum we stopped in at the special exhibit, which was all about DNA and the Human Genome. There was even a guy at a table showing the kids how to extract their DNA. This was fascinating. He had them collect the DNA/skin cells from the inside of their mouth, and then basically rinsing the cells with a little rubbing alcohol. Next thing you know, there is a white stringy thing floating in the alcohol which is the DNA strand. Seriously, the Natural History Museum of Utah is a fantastic addition to this town! If you go, tickets are $14.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids. Open from 10-5, except on Wednesday when they are open until 9pm.

The next stop was Wheeler Farm. We live rather close to Wheeler Farm but rarely go there. I wanted to take the kids and do the house tour. I remember years ago in elementary school taking the tour. We got there about 10:15am and walked around the farm until our tour at 11am. We lucked out and had a private tour. The lady giving the tour was fantastic and took plenty of time to answer our questions. The girls had their History Notebooks and wrote down interesting facts.
If you go: The farm is free to wander around, but the house tours aren't. Tours are given on the following schedule, November to April- Reservation only M-F, then May to October, everyday 11am and 1pm. $4 for adults, $2 for kids ages 3-12.

Our next stop was the Utah State Capitol Building, followed by the DUP Pioneer History Museum. We actually took the tour of the Capitol building and if you haven't done that before I highly recommend it. Our tour guide was fabulous, a former High School History teacher. We learned so many neat things about our State's Capitol building. After the tour, we had lunch next door at the Capitol Grille. They make a delicious cheeseburger, so if you go on the tour definitely stay for lunch!

Once we finished lunch, we wandered through the grounds to the Pioneer Museum. I haven't been in there since I was 13 or 14. Wow! An amazing collection of pioneer stuff, and housewares, carriages, toys, dolls (Maggie's favorite), and so many other things. There is a scavenger hunt list that you can pick up at the door- the kids really enjoyed that. By the time we finished wandering through there, we were all tired and hot. On the way home we had to stop for a frozen lemonade at Chik-Fil-A!
Katie is taking the oath to be a Pony Express Rider.

Sadly, I had many more trips to various locations planned, but somehow I woke up one day and it was September. How does that happen? We will definitely have to hit those other areas on another day.