Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More pics from Moab, Utah

Justin took these photos in Moab and I just got them from him.

The first picture is a panorama he took. 

 These picture are at the powerhouse dam area. We were in the swimming holes on the little river.

 I think he took this at the Sand Dune arch area, right as the sun was setting. 
 This last picture is of a lizard and a water bottle. Yes you read right. This little guy came up to Justin's water bottle and stopped just to lick it. Then he decided he didn't like the plastic bottle and ran away. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Moab, Utah....

Get ready this is a long post! Mostly pictures with a bit of explanation in between. 

We Just returned home from a great weekend in Moab, Utah. We left Salt Lake on Thursday afternoon and arrived in Moab around 8pm. It was a hot 94 degrees when we arrived but that was the last we would see of that kind of heat. 

Day 1
Just before dark as we were getting ready to make our dinner, this guy crawled over Justin's foot. As you can see he was huge.  All he wanted to do was burrow in the sand. We were careful to make sure we all kept our shoes on when outside.  Otherwise he didn't bother us at all.  Later we found him dead.  

We were also waiting for some friends from church to get there as well. They arrived safely and we soon went to bed.

Day 2
I had heard about a park where there were Musical instruments and I knew we had to check it out. This park is on Millcreek Rd.  Just a hop skip and a jump away from where we were staying on Murphy's Lane. This is the Rotary park and it had 3 playgrounds and nice walking trails.  Our favorite playground was the one below. IT WAS AMAZING. We all had a ton of fun here.

As you can see it is starting to rain.... so we left but we did come back later that day and many more times through out our trip.

We ended up leaving the park and then heading out to a place called Indian Ladder. It is really easy to get too. It is on Kane Creek Rd. We had great hopes of being able to climb I really wanted to go up but,  my legs were too short and I did not have the upper body strength to even get up the first bit. And as I caught my husband saying on video to another guy in our group, "My wife would never be able to make this". It's ok the only people who were able to make it were 3 guys out of the group.  He didn't know I had the video camera on watching him on his way down. I did not end up taking any photos here. Justin did take a lot of photos though.
After that we headed to some thrift stores, Wabi Sabi.  It was a great little thrift store. We picked up a brand new pair of swim trunks for Justin, Tags still on and everything, $4. A can of tennis balls $1. Some Litton ware 4 pieces  for a total of $4.50. Litton ware is a microwaveable cookware. I have a few pieces from a yard sale. My Mother in Law introduced me to it. It can cook in the microwave or reheat but it stays cool to the touch.  I love this stuff. I found 2 square pieces. 1 small round and a very Large deep round pot/bowl. All with lids!!!

Next we headed back to the Rotary park so the kids could play more.
Also at this park was a huge tree stump. It was old and the middle was hollowed out. It was almost like an Arch made of tree. I never got a shot of the whole thing, like I wanted to. But I got the kids in front of it as in this picture,

and on top of it.

After that we headed back to camp to make dinner, and sit by the fire. It was kind of chilly. We were also waiting on the last people in our group to get to Moab. They pulled in right in time for dinner.

Day 3
Saw us headed into Arches National Park as a group. We decided we needed to climb to Delicate Arch. It is the one on the Utah license plate. So my kids kept calling it License Plate Arch. First stop on the trail was at Wolfe Ranch. 2 little log cabins. I mean little, teeny, tiny, squishy inside cabins. The man who built them lived in the first one which is partially under ground. When he brought his wife there, he built a slightly larger one with a wood floor. When I say these cabins are small we are talking ONE room cabins. The table took up most of the room.  
Here is a picture of Zac and Jo wishing they could purchase it and move right in!  Ok I'm joking.

Here is the photo I was not going to post, however I needed proof that I actually did climb this thing and I lived to tell about it. But Just barely! The hike is only 1.5 miles all up hill. There is an elevation gain of 480 ft.  At this point in the trail I had handed Justin my camera, thus the photo. And had gone through 1 1/2 bottles of water. Upon handing the camera off I got a cramp in my shoulder that started traveling all the way down my back. I started shaking, my whole body was trembling and I could not stop. This was about the time that the feelings of impending doom started.  I continued on my way, holding Justin's hand. I just kept telling myself I needed to get there. I finished off my water, and the cramps started to subside and the shaking went away with it. We were almost to the top!  This is supposed to be a 45 minute hike each way. I know I took at least an hour and a half.  The kids and the rest of the group made it up and waited for us.

About the time I got there, the rain and thunder started.  So it was a quick trip down the mountain once again.
This time we were racing down, it is an open area and we were trying to beat the chance of Lightning. Elyssa was my hand holder. The wind started blowing and the rain started coming down, she was freezing, so I took off my t-shirt and put it on her. I thankfully was wearing layers, and had a tank top on. By the time we got to the bottom we were drenched. Soaked through in the way that water was dripping out of my hair and into my eyes and my shirt was dripping and my bra was soaked through. Can I just state for the record that when we started our hike it was HOT like 80 degrees hot, when we got back in the truck it was only 51 degrees. We decided we were all cold and wet and miserable, so we were not going back to camp to eat, we wanted some quick easy lunch!

After lunch half of our group headed back to camp to put a dutch oven to cook. It had a smoked pork shoulder, Kirk had prepared and it was to be our dinner. We were having pulled pork sandwiches. Then we met up with the rest of our group at Indian Ladder again. The kids liked looking at the petroglyphs there, and playing in the wet sand. After a few hours of exploring we went back to Arches and explored the Sand Dune Arch. It is by far the easiest and most fun arch to explore. The hike is .3 miles round trip. The picture here is the first thing you see when you round the bend. The terrain changes from solid ground to sand, deep, soft, red sand. FINE sand. 
Like the best beach sand ever!
One more slot canyon that is super short and you are almost there.  You get the reward of seeing this. and playing in the natural sandbox below.

Here are a few of our guys on top of the Arch. Elyssa made it too. Last year she could not make it but she has grown a few inches and only needed help in a few spots. 
(Zac, Elyssa, Justin, Kirk)

(Justin, Elyssa, Anthony)

Here they are coming down. But I wanted a picture first!

I thought I would do a Photo Shoot under the arch in a cave like area. I can't figure out which is my favorite so I put all 3. After all, they are my most favorite faces!

It had been a LONG DAY! I could barely walk. So we went back to camp, and everything was wet! Camp chairs, tents, sleeping bags, the ground, the picnic tables, the marshmallows. Luckily we had more marshmallows in the trailer and the Roaring fire was nice and hot, we were able to sit on coolers, and we had the best pulled pork sandwiches and s'mores you ever tasted.
Pack Creek Camp Ground is AWESOME!  It has flush toilets and hot showers, washers and dryers and free Wi Fi. It made it a lot easier to deal with the rain showers, and the cold. Also the Management is super lenient they told us Check-Out was whenever we left. 

Day 4
We woke up and the sun was shining!!!! Time to clean up and get ready to go home.  We still had some exploring to do with the intent of heading home around 3 pm.  The kids kept themselves busy making new friends and building an arch of their own. While cleaning up and making breakfast, I put all of our dirty laundry to wash. After breakfast I folded and bagged it all.  It only cost $1.50 for the wash and 50 cents for the dry but to me it is priceless not having piles of laundry to hall in, that is all covered in red sand. 

Elyssa and Vahn

Next We headed to Powerhouse Lane. It is also on Millcreek Rd. From here you have a super short dirt road that leads to a trail head. At the trail head there are warnings about keeping your dogs leashed and out of the beaver ponds because the beavers would attack the dogs, then warnings about poison ivy etc....  We were there because on the little creek below, there are swimming holes! Once again I didn't take photos but Justin did. It is the coolest spot for hanging out in the water. The kids were exploring and climbing and wading. 
After that it was lunch time at the Rotary Park again. Then we filled the truck with gas hitched up the trailer and headed home. We made great time. Only had a couple of rainstorms on the way, and drove into Salt Lake in time to see the storms and a beautiful rainbow.

It was a great weekend despite the storms and rain. I think I only whined once, and Justin laughed at me. 
Today I am so sore I can barely walk. Seriously! I am not exaggerating. I think the bottoms of my feet are bruised as well. 
But we are home and we brought lots of pictures and memories with us!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lightning and Rainbows?

 Last night we had a really cool thunderstorm roll in. At one point there was lightning streaking around a rainbow. Some parts of the sky were black, while the sun was setting and illuminating things closer to the ground. The sky had some really weird colors painted across it. Then it was like we were experiencing night but it was also day. It was dark but sunny. Rainbows and lightning sharing the same space.

Then it got breezy  and darkness really started to settle in. And the rain began. It was a light rain and made the earth smell good. It cooled the air around us. I kept the back door open so I could get a few pictures. It felt good to stand there with a slight breeze on my face, a few raindrops on my toes. 

I was rewarded with this.  
My husband later told me that there was supposed to be an electrical storm every night this week. I am excited! I want more pictures.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ashton's First Dinner

Somehow I got lucky and my kids have made dinner for 2 nights in a row! Earlier today I was forced, by my own suffering from seasonal allergies, to take some Benadryl.  And as the side effects go I found myself in a drowsy stupor. I ended up having to lie down at 4:30 pm to rest my eyes. Some time during my nap I heard my son asking where the ground beef was. He needed to know if it was in the freezer, but he took the initiative to start looking for it. Then he started it thawing in the microwave.  Ashton was making tacos! When I went to the grocery store I picked up a taco kit. It came with hard shells, taco seasoning and taco sauce. He did very well following the directions. Then he reheated some of the homemade refried beans from earlier in the week. This was his dinner and it was sooo tasty! 
Elyssa helped set the table and get out all of the toppings and condiments for the tacos. I was so thankful that he decided to do dinner, as I was busy sleeping off my Benadryl and we had a softball game tonight!

 I am a lucky woman!

My sweet boy is growing up so fast! He will be in 7th grade this year. He makes killer tacos and awesome brownies!  Already he is asking if he just has to make dinner or if he can make breakfast sometime as well.
You go Boy! 

Go Ashton! Go Ashton! Go!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Time to Learn How to Cook....

This week I implemented the, You-are-old-enough-now-to-cook-one-meal-a-week, plan. 
My kids are 10 and 12 years old and they know enough about cooking to make a few items on their own. They regularly make quesadillas, grilled peanut butter and honey sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, waffles, and brownies.
So I decided that because it is summer and it is a lot less stressful not being in school. Now would be the time to teach them how to plan meals and shop for the items they need, in addition to actually cooking a full meal. 
These are life skills. Math and reading only get you so far. Eventually you need to be able to do a load of laundry or feed yourself.  

Elyssa decided she wanted to go first. She wanted to do fried chicken. I talked her into an easier version of Shake and Bake chicken. Also on the menu she added dill and sour cream  mashed potatoes along with corn bread. I needed to have a salad with my dinner so I asked if I could make one and she was fine with that.

For this plan to work out I assigned Elyssa as head chef and Ashton was to be her sous chef. 
Elyssa could have him do any of the prep work that she needed help with. She asked him to make up the corn bread and he did a wonderful job. When it came out of the oven he buttered the top and slathered it in a light coating of honey. It was soooo yummy!

This is the photo of her first meal. 

The Chicken was a bit of a shock for her. She didn't know she would have to touch it. So after a few minutes of begging me to do it I told her she could wear gloves. She happily agreed and went on her way. She coated the chicken in an egg mixture and then in the shake and bake. She was done in no time. The mashed potatoes were instant but she added some dill and some sour cream to them. The salad was our first harvest of spinach and tender young green leaf lettuce from the garden. We tossed it with some diced red apple, diced avocado, croutons and balsamic vinaigrette. It complimented the meal perfectly. 

These kids are growing up so fast. 
Thank you sweet Elyssa for a wonderful meal, 
Well done!

Next week is Ashton's turn and he has decided Tacos are the way to go! Watch for that post, coming soon. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Photos of the Month

This is the latest installment of my "photos of the month" yearly photo diary. 
Hopefully I remember to keep it up. So far, so good. I can't wait to go back through all of these posts on New Years Eve! 

First of all I am posting some pics of decorations we used for a baby shower. I also used these same decorations the very next day for my Kraft First Tastes of Summer party. Hopefully I will be able to blog about that party one day soon. 

Now just let me tell you these next photos are going to be different for a few reasons.
1. My sweet hubby just bought me a new camera for my birthday, it was an early gift but he wanted me to be able to learn how to use it before our Moab trip. And trust me it is a lot different than my normal little point and shoot digital. Now I have a Nikon D3000.
2. Some of the photos are going to be experimental. I am just learning the whole Aperture thing and the other things I need to remember to adjust. I had a good friend come over last night and bring her husband who is a professional photographer. He helped me to understand what I need to get started but I think my brain was sizzling by the time he was done. 

Here are my favorite photos of May with my new Camera!!!

 This photo is of Stephanizzle and my sweet little Lyssapie! Those crazy girls don't hesitate to strike a pose if there is a camera nearby! I think I love this one because of the colors but also because 'Lyssa is wearing eyeshadow. I had no idea. 

This was an accidental shot. Just trying to see what I can do with the new camera, I took a photo of the sky. I was kinda surprised during editing when I studied the picture and saw that the clouds had a really cool pattern of waves in them. We were at the ball park and I had only had my camera for a few hours. 

 I love the colors in this photo. They make me Happy! Happy! Happy!

Memorial Day Weekend. Early Sunday evening, after church and after we had come home and done yard work and cleaned up the travel trailer and moved the jet skis around and were just getting ready to settle down for the evening. My dear hubby suggested that we go to the lake, and take a fire pit to roast some hot dogs and go fishing for a little bit. I was taken aback by the suggestion because it was just after 6PM, and we have not been that spontaneous in quite some time. After you have kids you forget how to be spontaneous. But now that our kids are 10 and 12 it is a little easier.  I am going to have to relearn the Art of Spontaneity! It only took us 20 minutes to grab our stuff and get on our way. I am so glad we went! We had a ton of fun and I was able to experiment more with my camera.

Monday Night we had Zac and Jolene over for dinner. It was nothing special just  Mexican we threw together in the crock pot. But the highlight of my night was having Zac explain my camera to me. This is where the brain sizzling came in.   He took a great photo of Justin, and he gave me some really great tips and got me on my way. 

He took this photo as well, of his sweet boys.  This is cookie LOVE!

I took this one and I just love the pouty look he gave me! This is my sweet Guy. After this summer he is officially in Jr. High. Sigh.... It makes me sad, but just a little. 

Thanks for stopping by. 
Hope you all had a great holiday weekend as well.