Sunday, June 12, 2016

TWO Peas in a Pod

Yikes. Week two has really flown by. I was hoping to get a few extra posts in here before the big mama, but it didn't happen. I have high hopes for next week though. Let's jump right into this last week of fun.

As you know, Monday is supposed to be craft day and it hasn't been yet. First week, we had a holiday, and this week we had a shakeup. (By the way, I like it when things get shaken up--but not stirred--because I want the kids to learn to be flexible. By all means, have a plan, but bend when that wind gets blustery.) Tricia asked if I could watch her kids on Friday. Our planned field trip would have been over the top with two more little ones, so we swapped craft and field trip day and it went well. Our field trip that happened on Monday was to visit the Hot Pots. (I haven't been there since my early college days which is well over a decade behind me.) I gave the girls the scoop and warned them about o' naturelle bathers and we were off.

I had good directions up to Diamond Fork. The only thing that threw me off was the sign. I thought it would say something about 'Hot Pots' or 'Fifth Water Hot Springs'. No such luck. The sign says 'Three Forks Trailhead'. I passed it and had to eventually loop back, but we got there. Six sunscreen applications later and we were on our way.

The kids were amazing hikers. No one complained. They just kept trucking on. And this after June ran 4 miles in the morning, Robyn had swam for an hour, and Ivory had done gymnastics for 2 1/2 hours. (These kids are tough.) We stopped for pictures and brief snack breaks.

We hiked past this really cool twisted tree. I wonder what made it grow in a spiral?

It is about 2 miles to the hot springs. That is about an hour hike. Because it is gradually uphill, the hike there is longer than the hike back. We finally arrived. It was pretty quiet. Just two couples and their dogs.

People arrived in droves after us. Most of my pictures conveniently leave others out, but there were plenty of kids and adults milling around. Happily, that equaled no nude bathers. (Bonus!) On the hike back out, we reached the parking lot and found a bus. I wonder what group was visiting with us? I bribed my kids to stick their head out of the hole in the waterfall. Everyone took the bait. In fact, some kids went back multiple times. Can you tell who is in each picture?

I promise Pearl also dunked her head several times, but she couldn't get her body out far enough and you could never see her in the photos. (For the record, that was my first time putting my head in the falls. I went up there with friends, but was not brave enough. Look below for a college flashback. I'm in the back middle in a blue suit with sulfer mud on my cheeks.)

Here are some more shots of the girls enjoying the water.

We only had one minor injury. Daisy slipped by the falls and scraped her leg and took a small chunk of skin out of her hand. We bandaged her up and were on our home. It sprinkled on us a bit, but it felt good after the morning heat. I would say these girls are awesome hikers.

Tuesday when we went to the library, they were having an Art Carnival outside. Four of the five opted to remain outdoors and experiment with all the different paint applicators they had at the tables. (Brushes, spray bottles, tennis balls, toys, feathers, etc.) Daisy wanted to read inside with me. After I got the girls squared away outside, I went in to find Daisy sitting in the toddler section and reading all the board books.

Mom: Would you like to come pick out some books and read with me?
Daisy: I am already reading.
Mom: The board books?
Daisy: Mom, these books aren't boring. They are very interesting.
Mom: They are called board books because they are thicker and easier for young hands to hold onto.
Daisy: Oh, well I still think they are very interesting.

She then proceeded to bring a stack and read them to me. Cute.

A dozen bored board books later, we went out to collect the artists. Check out these fun designs.

I loved this Frozen depiction of a crazy blizzard by Robyn.

We also collected our reading coupons, some of which happened to be ice cream cones. Best to get those right away before we forget.

Wednesday we went swimming again. We are short one since June opted to play games at PERC.

Tyler spent his week up at Directions. Let's take a short segue to discuss his week. Directions is held every year in June. They are at a different location every year. (Remember when it was at Disneyland?) This year was close to home in Deer Valley. (About an hour drive away up the canyon.) My involvement with Directions is minimal. I come on Thursday evening when they have the big banquet and I chat with Virginia. (You would think I would have a picture of Virginia after ten or so years of Directions, but I only have one picture of her on Splash Mountain.) I learned that the Thursday banquet was a little pricey this year and spouses were not invited. I wasn't going to let that stand in my way of my one day a year that I get to see Virginia, so I went up on Wednesday evening to have dinner with some of the Directions folk.

Tyler had a crazy day. His boss got sick and couldn't come to help with any of the presentations, so the team scrambled and covered for him in a professional manner. When I reached Tyler in the evening, he was ready for a relaxing night with good company. We ate at a fun restaurant with yummy food and cool water jar lights. Look at this chicken schnitzel.

Tyler had a bison burger so large that he could barely fit his big mouth around it.

And look! I got a picture with Virginia! She is a fabulous lady. I'm just sad that she lives so far away in Texas.

She is brave too. She busted out all the stops and took not only a picture on the Grom, but a ride with Tyler as well. (I hear Directions brings out your wild side.)

The best part of the evening was convincing Virginia that since she had a little extra time in Utah this time around, she should come eat with us on Saturday evening.

The worst part of the evening was finding out Tyler's boss, Jeff, was not just sick. He had a ruptured appendix and spent his night in the ER. I'm not sure who slept more...the guy having surgery or Tyler who was up all night putting together Jeff's presentations for the next day. Jeff did not make it back to Directions, but I hear the web team did a fantastic job covering all assigned topics. Whew!

Back to me and the kids. While Tyler was sweating bullets with his team on Thursday, we were making goodies. We made something Robyn picked. There are called Coconut Thins.

It isn't really a cookie. It is a strange delicious little creation. You mix up your ingredients on the stove and make a type of batter. Since the batter is basically made of butter and sugar, it makes a caramely  flavor. You sprinkle some coconut on your batter and make sure they are placed well apart on the pan so they can spread out.

And spread out, they do. Look at the pre-baked original on the left and the golden, lacy cookie on the right.

They were scrumptious and easily polished off. They were crispy and buttery and oh so thin. Such a fun perfect treat for an afternoon. Get the whole recipe here.

Friday, we finally did a craft. We made Duct Tape Water Bottle Holders. These were super fun, but hard enough that it was easier to take one kid at a time to make them. Also, I had Tricia's cute littles with me. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of them because my time was mostly involved in cutting duct tape and feeding a whole gaggle of children. But let's look at this fun craft. Please go here for all the involved instructions. I'm sadly too lazy to write them all down here. The most important step to know is that you want a self-healing mat which makes the duct tape easy to cut with a rotary cutter, or if you don't have that, get yourself some parchment paper. Duct tape doesn't stick to it, and it will make your life a whole lot easier. Here is June making the outside of her bottle.

Ivory was dutifully cutting out her circle 'stickers' as the kids called them. They were at the bottom of the holder.

Let's just jump right to the finished product. Here is Pearl sporting a lovely holder. You can take these on hikes, or to the park, or simply carry them around the house to look fashionable.

None of ours were perfect. Sometimes the bottom was a bit off center, but they are all sturdy and useful. I'm excited to try them out on our next hike. (Read: I will not have to carry everyone's water next time. :)

Saturday rolled around and we were all excited to see Virginia. She was also bringing Rodney who is the president of her bank. They are both awesome people. The weather was a bit wet, but that was actually fortuitous because ALL the snails were out. The kids had been hunting them before Virginia came and I heard calls of 'SNAIL JACKPOT' all around the house. Naturally, the kids had to show off the snails when the guests arrived.

I think they found around 34. I can't remember exactly. I do know that a dozen snail pictures showed up on my phone courtesy of June. But get this picture. It looks so professional. I can't believe she used my phone to take this. I think it is my favorite snail picture of all time.

June thinks I should do a snail photo shoot. (We'll see if I ever get around to it.) Dinner was Tyler's famous BBQ chicken. We had a great time with Rodney and Virginia. We got some Ginger Ale and mixed some drinks. Cranberry and Ginger Ale is called the 'Ginny' because it was Virginia's choice of drink. Oddly, I didn't know she goes by Ginny to her friends. She came as Virginia and left as Ginny. The 'Rodney' was a mix of cran, ginger ale, and pineapple juice. That one has a great kick. So tasty. We also called that one 'Rod the Bog'. Rodney and Ginny were so good natured with the kids. They played BANG with us and Rodney became mortal enemies with Ivory. (Don't worry, they made up later. Plus, it was the Indians that seemed to kill almost everyone.) It was such a fun evening. I'm so glad both Rodney and Ginny were able to come hang out with us. I tried to color-correct this picture, but I think it still looks so blue because it was twilight.

The actual end of our week was sending Tyler out the door. Tyler should have been breathing easy with Directions behind him, but because of Jeff being out of commission, they needed someone to head out to Wisconsin for a large banking convention. (I'm sure there is an actual name for it, but it slips my mind.) Well, Tyler was the pick with Jeff recuperating. I'm so proud of Tyler that he is someone who can step into these big shoes in a clutch. I'm sure he will learn a lot this next week.

As for me and the girls...stay tuned for more summer adventures.

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