Sunday, October 27, 2013

So Scary!

This year I opted to actually decorate for Halloween.  I tried to keep a low budget and think I managed pretty well considering I really had nothing already purchased to work with.

First project was to take styrofoam blocks and make some headstones.  I purchased cheap grey spray paint at Walmart and then used up some leftover faux brick spray paint from our wedding bridge.  I threw a little bit of black on there for more texture as well.  After shapes were cut and spray paint dried, I used black acrylic craft paint to write inscriptions.  I searched the web for the most fun names I could find.

When I was at Walmart I picked up some Zombie Crossing tape and figured that would serve as a cute theme.  I grabbed a zombie hand as well to place in front of one of the gravestones.



The other decorations I made were some bats that I cut out from black foam boards.  I used some glow in the dark acrylic paint for eyes.


I strung up black lights on the inside of the porch awning and replaced out porch light with a black light bulb as well.



My pumpkins I spray painted black then covered with glow in the dark glitter on some and painted glow in the dark designs on some others.




Last project was to cover everything in spiderwebs!  So spooky!



I hope you all have your decorations up!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Afghan #2

About four years ago I made my first knitted afghan...this little beauty that you see below.


It took me all of my Nike sabbatical time (ok really I was temping and let go for a three month period before getting rehired again) to make.  I'm pretty sure I spent about $300 on all that yarn...nice yarn.  It will probably go down in history as the most time spent and most money spent on a knitted project ever for me.  Btw I was living a rent free life back at my parents during this time if you are wondering about my sanity.  Not that that makes for a very good excuse...

This time I wanted to make a nice throw for the downstairs family room.  I had purchased a cheap Ikea blanket as a filler when I first moved, but it was quickly getting ratty and needed to be replaced.  Opting to be more economically savvy this time I went to the JoAnns superstore up in Provo as I knew they would have a decent yarn selection.  Yes, there was going to be acrylic in this one, sigh.  Armed with my 50% off coupons I purchased a few different brands of wool blend yarns all of bulky weight.  After knitting up a few swatches of various stitches I decided on Bernat Roving.


While it is 80% acrylic / 20% wool, it was still super soft once knitted up.  A lot of times acrylics feel soft in the skein and get really rough and not pleasant in their knitted state.  Since it does have wool, I'll have to be careful when washing, but it was worth it.  So fluffy.

The stitch I chose is called the Irish Moss stitch and looks like this.


I wanted something that looked modern and that I wouldn't get tired of.

This baby took me 16 skeins...roughly $50 after all my coupons.  It measures 54" x 72" and I worked on it about a month off and on between other projects.



Much cozier than that old Ikea blanket.  Chris and Farrah agree!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pretty Yummy Pie

While this did happen awhile ago, I am still posting it because it was an event for me.

My first pie ever baked!  In my pretty white ruffle dish that Kristen got us for our wedding.

I found a simple recipe on the internet, and it tasted pretty delicious.


It turned out a little too juicy, but still purdy!


I have since made a few more with a different recipe I got from my mother and it is less sweet and in my opinion, more delicious.

Cannot wait for next year's peach season so I can start canning with Lorry and make a billion more of these!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Trip to Moab

So as I hinted in the last post, my friend, Rachel, flew into town on Thursday, two days after Nicole and Mollie left.  We had booked a hotel for two nights in Moab before we knew about the impending park closures.  The last time Rachel visited me here we were total slugs and watched an entire season of Sons of Anarchy together during her visit.  Reliving our glorious college days of Felicity, puzzles, and delicious meals.  This visit I was determined to show her what Utah had to offer.  Wouldn't you know my plans would go and get foiled?  Whomp. Whomp.

Alas, we were determined to still have a good time.  Especially since we couldn't cancel the hotel room without forfeiting all our money.  Luckily, the Moab website was very helpful in finding alternative sites and hikes to go see and do.  There were actually quite a few that could take us around the outskirts of Arches National Park.

We took off on Friday afternoon and decided to tack on an extra hour so we could see the scenic route winding along the Colorado river.  It was definitely spectacular, but maybe not worth the extra gas unless you are actually heading into Moab from the east.  If you happen to go to Moab and do any of the non national park hikes, then you will most likely get a glimpse of what we saw on that scenic drive.

We kept it low key on Friday and found a sports bar when we went into town to check if they would be playing the Duck game or not.  Of course, like Springdale, the entire town had no subscribers to the PAC12 network.  Gah.  Good thing I brought my laptop again.  After the bar we walked a bit around town, but it started drizzling so we opted for an early dinner at The Moab Brewery.

We got an early start the next morning and headed out on our first hike to Negro Bill Canyon.  We picked our trails based on views that would be similar to what we would have seen in Arches.  I had to make sure Rach saw an arch and a natural bridge.  This hike would end at the Morning Glory Natural Bridge.  We wound around alongside a pretty stream for most of the jaunt.  A lot of back and forth across the water kept it exciting.  You could definitely tell this trail hadn't gotten too much love in the past.  I assume it's a whole 'nother ballpark now that it's been a few weeks after the shutdown.  Although, Utah did reopen the parks using state money recently, so who knows.

A shot coming out of the foresty, stream area and into the sunshine.


Finally we see the bridge!



There was a little cave like area underneath where the trail stopped.


As we were leaving we saw someone walking up on top of the bridge.  Crazy kids.

After we made the trek out we went into town to get lunch.  We dined at a mexican restaurant, Cabo Grill that was in an old drive thru of sorts.  It was yummy, but a little pricey for the local in our opinion.

We were hoping to find some sort of saturday market still going on, but were disappointed after checking a few locations in which I had been to them in the past.

We headed out on our second hike to see Corona Arch.  This one had a lot more uphill than the last hike...it even had a small ladder to climb at one point!  All in all a fun hike.



And a shot from the other side looking out at our uphill climb.


We stopped to snag a few fun photos on the way back down.


Fingers crossed no train coming!


And because Rachel was demanding some artsy shots...


We called it quits on our hikes for the day and got back to the hotel around 3:30.  Just in time for me to shower and get the game on by 4pm.  Sweet!

We were originally gonna go out and and have a nice dinner again, but who needs a nice dinner when you already have beer in your hotel fridge and a yummy pizza place in town that delivers?  Right?  No, we did not watch another entire season of Sons of Anarchy, but we did get a good number of shows in that night.  Clearly refueling after all those calories lost earlier.

Since the state parks were still open, the next morning we headed to Dead Horse Point.  I had been there previously with Kristen and Eric and knew it was worth the view.  After finding out there were a number of good hikes to do, we opted for one called the Big Horn Overlook that was recommended by a ranger before heading up to the actual viewpoint.  It had a number of great stopping points that overlooked the canyon before getting to the actual trail end view.



I could have sworn this was the spot where Chris and the boys jumped out onto the sketchy rock that Mary got photoshopped on, but I learned when we got back that that had been in Canyonlands.


In case you missed this one a few years ago.  Chris is actually jumping...Steve photoshopped Mary out there to make it look like no big deal.  EEEEEEK!


The terrain was pretty cool along the way as well.


When we finally got to the end of the trail I had to coax Rach out.  I think my time in Zion had made me fearless.  To get out to the far rock you had to walk up and down a small two foot wide spot.  Sketchy!


The view was SO worth it!  You can see the Big Horn there in the left upper corner.


Once we made it back to the car we drove up to the packed Dead Horse Point lookout.

So gorgeous!  Dirty river, but spectacular sight!



Some artists painting out on the ledge.  Yikes!


We got back around dinner time to Springville and got to wake up super early on Monday so Rach could make her flight to L.A. for work.

Such a fun weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend Trip Part II: Zion National Park

I left off with us heading to Zion around mid-afternoon on the Saturday before the government shutdown.  This day also happened to be a free entry day of which there are only about 13 throughout the year.  Needless, to say, it was very busy.  After driving 12 miles through the park from the east entrance to the west entrance, we managed to swoop an amazing spot right up front at the visitor's center just as I was about to give up and go park in BFE.

After chatting with a helpful park ranger, Nicole and Mollie we decided that it would be fun to do another hike that day and check out the Emerald Pools.

Since our stellar parking space didn't grant us enough time to do the complete hike, we drove through the neighboring town of Springdale and found a place to park near a sports bar we decided to eat at later.  We then hopped the shuttle back into the park.  Then switched shuttles and headed north up the canyon to where our hike was.  The logistics of this trip just killed me, I tell ya.

The hike was a pretty tame one as we headed up the nice paved trail to the lower pool.  Sadly, since we were there in the fall, there wasn't much waterfall action to make the site truly spectacular, but you could definitely get the picture. 



Sidenote*
As we walked around underneath the waterfall area, there was a huge chunk of rock that had fallen right on the walking path.  We assumed it had been there awhile.  Later, on our walk back down, we overheard someone say that it had just fallen the day before, but didn't really believe it.  Sunday we saw that that part of the trail was closed and heard it was due to the fallen rock.  YIKES!

Right as we were beginning our climb to the middle pool, we happened upon this cool area.


We had no idea why people were taking so long, but it proved to be a good chance for a photo op.   Once the people in front of us finally cleared, we saw why it was taking so long.

AHHHHHH!


Scary tarantula!!!

I took a running leap over that dude and was afraid to look behind me. 

We were almost to the middle pool when we hit another road block.  I should have known, right?


This guy got the name Bob by a young child who was passing through.  I'm pretty sure the next twenty people behind also started calling him Bob as the name kept getting passed.  We later found out that it's tarantula mating season.  Just FYI to those who might have arachnophobia and are thinking of touring here in the late fall.

A little bit further past Bob and we made it to the middle pool.  Such a pretty view with the sun starting to come down.


We decided to keep venturing further to see the upper pool and were greeted with the best pool in my opinion.




So peaceful and serene up there.

Luckily Bob and Bob Jr. were both gone on our trek back down.  We snapped a photo over the river that cuts through the canyon before jumping back on the shuttle.


We had a delicious meal at the sports bar when we got back, but unfortunately no one in town carried the PAC12 network.  No go on the Ducks vs. Cal game.  We headed back through the park to Ponderosa Ranch, which was the only place not completely booked in the entire area.  Might be the scariest night driving I have ever done in my life.  We had a cabin that night, but the wifi didn't quite reach us very well from the lobby until they closed up shop at 10pm and we managed to then get all the bandwidth.  Of course the game was not very exciting by then so I didn't mind shutting it off early to pass out in bed.

The next day we got up bright and early to head back into the park.  Our first hike of the day was Angel's Landing.  I had already told the girls my hesitation about this one after reading about it online and seeing the pictures on google.  I knew the first two miles of the trail was going to be the only for sure part of my hike.  And even that was crazy.  Two miles of steep uphill switchbacks.

Starting out in the morning it was a little chilly so we were very bundled.


As soon as we hit the switchbacks my layers were shed!


You can see they put grooves in the path because it it so steep!

After a trip through a mini quiet canyon and more switchbacks called walter's wiggles, we made it to Scout's Landing.


This was originally where I thought I would park my caboose and wait for the girls, but I was somehow convinced/had a moment of fearlessness in which I thought I would actually make the rest of the trek.  It started out easy enough...hanging on for dear life to a wobbly chain while hugging my body as close to the side of the mountain as possible while not looking down on the other side to the shear drop off.  No, I did not take any pictures because there was no way that I would let my hand loose from that chain for even one second!

Chanting the Little Engine That Could mantra in my head I somehow made it alive around the curve of this particular stretch only to be greeted with this sight.


Yeah.NOPE.

And that is the closest I got to completing Angel's Landing.  I sat with some other lovely/sane hikers who I got to know during the next hour as I waited for the crazy girls to finish the rest of the hike.

Since I didn't complete the journey, I've got some of their photos to show you all to completely freak you out.  AND a video.

Nicole on the way up.


The girls at the top.


Clearly if you can stomach that hike it's an absolutely INSANE view!



Nicole falling off the edge.


And a video Nicole shot to show off the beautiful view!


I know, right?  I chose life though.  I had to.  Who would take care of the fluff?  Who would feed my husband?!

Since I didn't get to see those spectacular views first hand, we decided to go a few miles into the rim trail so I could see everything from a little higher up.  Tacking on a few more miles.  Ain't no thang at this point.



We snapped a few more pics on the way down.







We had our lunch at the Grotto and decided to take it easy on the last hike of the day.  The Riverside Walk was a nice leisurely stroll along the waters that ends at The Narrows.  I guarantee you we would have been renting water boots and walking sticks had the girls had an extra day there.

Mini waterfall along the way.


View into the narrows at the end of the paved trail.



Heading back out.



That trail was crazy crowded with quite a few domesticated squirrels along the way.  They were clearly fed way too much food.  We saw one actually climbing on a person with no temptation at all.  Nuts.  Pun intended.

We called it quits early that night so I wouldn't have to brave the drive at night again.  We headed into town to pick up dinner at a market then sat out at the pool and fine dined with our wine contraband.  This night instead of cabin we stayed in this little beauty.


That's right, a covered wagon.  Jealous much?

It had nothing but three beds, a trash can, shelf, towels and a flashlight.  Luckily we had brought one more flashlight, so we were able to play a very competitive friendly game of Scrabble before bed.  The bathrooms were about 100 yards down the street so it was a no go on showers.  Temperature got down to about 30 degrees that night...we had to get sleeping bags from the front desk to make sure we didn't freeze.  I refused to drink any water before bed so I wouldn't have to leave the wagon in the middle of the night and get eaten by the wildlife.

The next morning we got dressed under the covers for fear of freezing off body parts.  With about four layers on we headed out for our final day of hiking.  The previously decided upon hike had been the Canyon Overlook but of course got switched on me to the Hidden Canyon because the girls wanted to put my life in danger again.

After some crazy planning to get back a phone left in the covered wagon, we were off on the hike.  The beginning wasn't too exciting.  Long switchbacks with a lot of views that were similar to what we had seen a lot of the day before.

Then we came to another one of those "hold on to the chain for dear life" spots.  Clearly I was a pro at this point and didn't even touch the chains...JUST KIDDING!!!

Man I wish I had at least taken a photo here, but I didn't.  We were too busy scurrying along trying not to fall to our deaths.

We did, however, snap one on the way into the actual Hidden Canyon that was a little less scary.  You get the idea.


We went a little ways past this sign.


But upon reaching this cluster of logs, decided it was probably best to call it quits.


One the way back we snapped a few more fun pics.

Mini pools (I'm sure there is a name for these of which I do not know).


And a sketchy walk out to the edge shot.


About 100 yards from the shuttle stop on the way back down I happened to run into a very hostile wasp who decided to take out his anger on my left thigh.  Postive note, at least he knew that I was about to embark on a four hour drive back to Springville and didn't sting my right leg.

On our way out of town we picked up Mollie's phone from the visitor center after the cook at the Ponderosa Ranch dropped it off on her way home.  Thank goodness for good samaritans.

A few miles outside of Springdale we happened to pass about ten Lamborghinis in a row heading toward the park.  I may or may have not busted Nicole's eardrum from screaming so loud.  I mean, come on...ten?!  In a row?!!  In Utah??  Apparently there was some sort of event a few days prior up in Salt Lake. 

We had an awesome shrimp and chicken kabob dinner that night with Chris when we got home and polished off a few bottles of wine.  The girls decided to hike the Y at BYU then next morning and my legs said, "here're the car keys...have a good time!"

When the girls got back it was time to pack up and head to the airport.  We gave ourselves a little bit of extra time to take the scenic route through Park City.

We didn't get to see much as we were short on time, but we did manage to snap a quick shot with a yeti.


I caught a few of the girls enjoying the spectacular fall views of the slopes as well.  You can actually ski/snowboard straight into town over that bridge when it's snow covered here.  So cool!


Same shots Chris and I took a few weeks before!


Approximately 1 hour and 48 minutes after this photo was taken I was curled up in the fetal position on my bed vowing to never hike again.  That lasted for three days due to Rachel arriving and us heading to Moab that Friday.  But more on that later...

And thus ends the crazy, eventful weekend of Bryce and Zion.