Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mammoth Hot Springs

There is water in Mammoth right now.  I hear that sometimes there isn't. I've had a few people tell me about it.  The colors of the rocks come from bacteria and other organisms that live in the different temperatures of water.  They vary in color according to the temperature.  Fascinating.

 Apparently this is how travertine forms.  I suddenly feel guilty that my bathrooms and laundry room have travertine tile - but boy is it gorgeous all polished and flat on my walls and floors.

Cool dead tree and its shadow.

My favorite spot - every time we visit Yellowstone. So colorful and the storm clouds just added to it.

And this is Emerald Pool.  Very pretty and perfectly named.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beeks in Yellowstone

      Here you can sort of see the Junior Ranger vests my children wore the entire trip.  Whenever there was a Ranger around, they always complimented their vests.  That was wonderful because it kept them interested in the Junior Ranger program.
      This is just one of the side road areas in Yellowstone.  Quite often you'll find that there area little gems along the way if you'll slow down and check things out.  Tyler and our son climbed down and took photos at the bottom of this waterfall.

This is at the visitor center at Moose Junction in the Grand Teton National Park.  We spent about an hour there so they could fill out the scavenger hunt in the museum to get their Junior Ranger badges.  

This is near the Mud Volcano, something about a breathing dragon.  

And we can't forget the view of Lower Falls from the Artist View Point.


And the North Entrance, very grand for such a remote spot in the park.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yellowstone National Park - the continuing story

I remember seeing really great muds pots back when I went with my husband's family to Yellowstone.  That was in the Spring of 1999.  So I wanted to share the mud pots with my kids because we had view most of the cool stuff in Yellowstone by this point in the trip.  Of course I am not showing these in the order they were taken.  

I just thought that boiling mud was fascinating for some reason.

This is in the Artist Paint Pots area but these are mud pots not paint pots.

The Artist Paint Pots were pretty and the walk up the side of the mountain was awe inspiring.  It's worth the little walk.  It was lovely to see the colors splashing all over.  Fascinating that there were bright blue, crimson, and chalk white pots while we were there.  You'll learn that the landscape is forever changing in Yellowstone.  Each visit offers something unique.

There are a lot of old dead trees in Yellowstone.  And it's not because of the big devastating fire in the 80's.  No, it's the boiling water.  Once in a while a small earthquake opens a new crack and everything starts to boil and the trees die from the intense heat.  The ground is unstable to you often get to see their roots, which fascinate me, being a gardener and all.  

This is the one I remember from 1999 except that is was more muddy back then.

It was amazing to be driving along and see the beautiful trees and then suddenly steam and a whole bunch of dead spots.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Animals in the park

Where are your favorite places to vacation?  
What about with children?
Where are their favorite places to vacation?

This time we printed off the Junior Ranger packets for Yellowstone at home so they could fill them out on the drive.   We ended up having to pick up the packets for the Grand Teton park at the visitor center in Moose Junction.

This is a bull moose. Can you tell?  I know, wrong side of the road and sun flare too.  
Moose Junction, Grand Teton National Park

Of course this one is in an enclosure.  It's a grizzly bear who is foraging for food.  We took the kids to West Yellowstone on our way out of the National Park.  They also have two different wolf enclosures. They now have an eagle/hawk/owl enclosure where they care for injured birds.

This is a bison walking up the road in Yellowstone National Park.  He was just plodding along but when we saw him later that day on our way down from Norris toward Old Faithful he was still on the road and had traveled miles.  He had a mission and all the cars on the road were going to just have to slow down and let him by.

This is the second elk we saw and a nice big bull elk too. Tyler made a noise like an elk call and he lifted his head long enough for a photo.

And this was just south of Mammoth Hot Springs.  Lots of elk there. A few small bulls and one spike. These were mostly cows with the bulls off in the trees.

We also saw a beautiful Fox, ravens, hawks, ground squirrels, and two coyotes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Uncle Tom's Trail in Yellowstone National Park

Good thing we live at 5,000 feet elevation and have hiked at much higher elevations this summer. This was really a piece of cake, just a little scary for me.  My husband just laughed.

This photo is quite a ways down the stairs but with more to go.  See that the stairs have drainage holes in them? That means you can see where you will fall to your doom, should this staircase that is bolted to the wall without much support from below collapse. At the Old Faithful visitor center we got to hear all about the earthquakes in Yellowstone Park.  Apparently they are daily and up to 15 a day.  The earthquakes are always changing features in the park such as geysers and mud pots which is cool but don't think about them when you are on this staircase.  However, the view is absolutely worth it.  Too bad we had to run up the stairs because some small child decided he suddenly needed to go to the bathroom. I enjoyed the view much better on the way up.

After this we made our way over to the North Rim and if you look closely you can see the people just above the right side of the top of the falls.  That was another 600 foot decent and accent.  Well worth it too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Snow in October

It rained and rained last night.  I think we even got a little hail.  That would be when my children ran downstairs to the theater room between getting home from school and waiting for daddy to get home.   I was in bed with the flu all of yesterday and today until 11:30 a.m.  The severe pain in my throat is gone but I have a cough but a cough is much better than throwing up in my book.  My husband took good care of me with the warm chicken broth and jello water. 

Then at 8:00 a.m. my son came running into my room and said, "Mommy, guess what?" with the excitement only a 6 year old can muster.  "Mommy, it's not even Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas!"  So I asked, "Did it snow?" And he answered, "It SNOWED! It snowed a whole bunch, " slowing down the words whole and bunch to add emphasis. His excitement was contagious, although not contagious enough to get me out of  bed.  So at 11:30 when I got out of bed for the first time today, I saw the snow.  I was surprised at how much.  It will melt soon, I'm sure, but today while there is snow on the ground - I will be playing Christmas music in my house.  If that annoys you, you are NOT invited over.   Who wants to chance getting the flu anyway...

For those of you not from around here, this snow is an amazing blessing.  It has been a very hot and dry summer.  Usually the reservoir has filled a little by mid-October.  Instead, the water levels were slowly lowering even though they stopped pumping out water in August.  I can see the reservoir from my office window.  Now if the snowy weather will just keep going, we'll all be okay. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Yellowstone in 3 days ...

We spent three days visiting Yellowstone National Park and just got home tonight. In fact we picked up dinner on the way home and purchased some extra for the in-laws for watching our parrot Kiwi while we were gone.  

It's the first time our children have been to Yellowstone.  I was pregnant with my daughter the last time we came. The Artist Viewpoint is significant for us because that is where Tyler and I had our engagement photo taken almost 14 years ago.

What's your favorite place to visit in Yellowstone? 

What's your favorite trail to hike?  We finally went on Uncle Tom's trail and it is breathtaking - and our new favorite trail.

Since we've been home we've been busy unpacking, ironing church clothes, and playing games with Kiwi.

We had a great time and I'll be sharing more photos very soon! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My parrot can play cards

This trick took Kiwi about 15 minutes to perfect.  It started out with just touching the card with his beak - he'd get a click and a treat.  Then it progressed to him picking it up - he'd get a click and a treat. And then when he turned it over he'd get a click and a treat but he would no longer receive a treat for just bumping it with his beak or picking it up.  The next step was to get Kiwi to realize that he didn't need to turn it over and over and over.  Just flipping it over was enough for a treat. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My parrot can play fetch

We love Kiwi.  He is a yellow-sided Green Cheek Conure.
He has been a really great parrot to have as a companion.  My children all love to play games with him and we all love how cuddly he is and needs his head scratched often.  I started teaching Kiwi how to play fetch a few days ago.  This trick took him a few days to catch on.  The card trick he learned in 15 minutes.  I'll share that tomorrow.

He's great for our family because I am allergic to most pets.  In fact I can't handle parrots from Australia or Africa.  I wheeze when I get around them.  So any parrots from Central or South America are just perfect. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


How can something so small cause so many problems?

Luckily I made it out of the situation without having to use my EpiPen. I took 2 benadryl right away.  I feel bad that my kids had to witness me in shock.  My husband was awesome the whole time. I shook for about 20 minutes while we sat in the ER parking lot.  I shook so much that I shook their boosters in the back seat.  If my blood pressure stays normal, and if I can breathe (even if it's a struggle), and I don't pass out, then I try to avoid the ER and the Epipen.

Our house is a tree nut free house for a reason.  Thanks to my family and friends who help keep it that way.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Report on something in North America

My son got to do a report on something in North America after doing 7 hours of reading on his own after school.  The strict instructions were that parents let the child choose what to do for their report and let the child do the entire report on their own. Coleton said he wanted to do a report on North American birds.  I showed him how to google on the ipad and I cut the poster board with a foam core in half, asked him to write it all in pencil first and let him do the rest. 

He was so excited to share it with his friends and teacher at school.

Can't wait to see the next report.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Haunted Gingerbread Houses for Children

The most frustrating part of making a gingerbread house of any kind is assembling the pieces together.  Because I do this with melted brown sugar, I don't allow little hands the opportunity to get burned.  This way, it gets done quickly and the kids get to do the FUN part - DECORATING!!!

My daughter filled her chimney with all sorts of sprinkles.

My son filled the chimney with orange icing snakes -rattle snakes.

My daughter loved the Wilton Black Sparkle Gel and her fondant bat.

A pumpkin patch is a must with a haunted gingerbread house.

I made the spiderweb ahead of time by using royal icing made from the Wilton Meringue Powder and creating the web on wax paper along with the black candy balls (as my kids referred to them, cannon balls from the USS Constitution they're building too)

My son loved his fondant grass. 

The Wilton Bone Sprinkles were a favorite.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Haunted Gingerbread House

Maybe you know it or not but the inspiration for this house is from a place in town.  Of course I didn't stick with the same colors because I wanted it to be a little brighter.  It's getting so dark so early now.  We need a little bit of brightness around here.

Here it is with the grass down. Learned a lot here.  

I will add a ribbon around the foam core base.