Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Backyard Fun: S'mores!

S'more Ingredients
Here are the ingredients for summer backyard fun: chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. We have a small fire pit in our backyard, and so we started a fire and brought out everything necessary for s'mores.

The kids loved putting their marshmallows into the fire. We had to be careful with our two-year-old son, but he did well staying safe. This was his first time making s'mores, and (of course) he loved it! What kid doesn't?

Making s'mores and enjoying the evening outdoors next to the fire was great. This is how every summer evening should be! Fun, food and family--the perfect recipe for great memories.
Roasting A Marshmallow
Roasting Two Marshmallows 
Joshua Eating A Marshmallow
Joshua Being Silly Eating His Marshmallow
The Joy of S'mores
Joy Eating A S'more
Jonathan Eating A S'more
Eating A S'more For The First Time
S'mores Are Great!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Backyard Water Fun

Jonathan, Joshua & Joy
It's July. It's summertime. It's been hot in Utah, which is where we live. It was time to cool off!

There is a small hill in our backyard, and the kids like to get in our plastic Radio Flyer red wagon and ride down the hill. Amanda decided to add an extra fun element to this by getting out the garden hose and spraying the kids as they rolled past. They loved it!

To beat the summer heat you don't need to go anywhere or do anything fancy. Sometimes all you need is a garden hose and a red wagon. It's the simplicity of it that makes it great.

The kids cooled off and had a blast while doing it! And this is something they'll remember fondly of our house and summer--good memories. I'm sure this is something we'll be doing again and again and again--a new summertime tradition!

There's nothing quite like backyard water fun in July!
Jonathan Pulling Joshua & Joy
Joshua Getting Wet
Joshua Soaking Wet
Joshua Happily Wet
Jonathan Wet
Joy All Wet
Joshua Watching The Fun
Water Fun
Jonathan Pulling Joshua Into The Water
Joshua Getting Sprayed
Joshua & Jonathan Getting Sprayed With The Hose
Running Through The Water Spray
Running From The Water
Having Fun Getting Sprayed With The Hose
Jonathan Jumping Out of The Red Wagon
Jonathan Soaking Wet
Joy Soaking Wet

Monday, July 18, 2016

Treehouse Museum - Ogden, Utah

Being Silly - Ogden, Utah
There's a really neat place in Ogden for young kids called the Treehouse Museum. Located on 22nd Street just west of Washington Boulevard near downtown Ogden, this interactive children's museum invites those 12 and under to "step into a story." The Treehouse Museum is open Monday through Saturday and is $7 for kids 1-12 (under one-years-old is free) and $5 for those 13 and over. This is actually a very reasonable price for what you get.

Playing Choo-Choo - Ogden, Utah
Inside the museum are tons of different hands-on exhibits that invite kids to be imaginative. There is something for every interest. The museum focuses on arts, history and geography, so it is just as educational as it is fun.

My six-year-old and two-year-old sons could have spent all day just playing on one of the many wood toy train tables near the entrance. It took some convincing just to get them to explore a little further inside the museum.

One exhibit that was an instant favorite with all three of my children was the diner. Kids could pretend to be waiters, customers or cooks. They spent a lot of time playing here. It was crowded with lots of kids, but I never once heard fighting or crying or complaining--everyone just seemed to get along.

We were at the museum for a couple of hours. The kids didn't want to leave, but it was lunchtime and we had other things we needed to do. As we were leaving the Treehouse Museum we realized that we hadn't explore every exhibit--I guess we'll just have to come back! The kids had a really good time and we are fortunate to be near this great place.
Order Up! - Ogden, Utah
In The Kitchen - Ogden, Utah
Ringing Up The Order - Ogden, Utah
Here's Your Ice Cream - Ogden, Utah
Microscopic - Ogden, Utah
Music Making - Ogden, Utah
Thinking Presidential - Ogden, Utah
Painting Watercolors - Ogden, Utah
Pokemon Found - Ogden, Utah
Model Asian Store - Ogden, Utah
Building Squares - Ogden, Utah
Playing Doctor - Ogden, Utah
The Thigh Bone's Connected To The... - Ogden, Utah 
Joyous Firefighter - Ogden, Utah
Milking The Cow - Ogden, Utah
How The West Was Fun - Ogden, Utah
A Ticket For The Ten O'Clock Eastbound - Ogden, Utah
See also:
Utah State Railroad Museum - Ogden, Utah
25th Street District - Ogden, Utah

Friday, July 15, 2016

Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Walking On Water - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Antelope Island State Park, which is on (no surprise) Antelope Island--the largest island in the Great Salt Lake in Utah--has a land area of 42 square miles. A working ranch was on the island from 1848 through 1981, and now the historical site is a part of the state park.

To get to Antelope Island simply take Antelope Drive west from Interstate 15 in Layton. After paying the entrance fee of $10 per vehicle, a causeway takes you across the lake and onto the island.

There's a building on a hill in front of you as you enter the island. This is the visitors center and a good starting point. It takes a little winding to get to the structure. Inside there is a small museum explaining Antelope Island and a gift shop.

This was our first visit to Antelope Island. We stopped by the visitors center first. We then found a beach at Bridger Bay to explore the shore. The lake is currently low, and so the water is a long ways from the parking area. You have to walk over a bunch of sand to get there.

There was a slight foul stench on the island. It was worse coming across the causeway, but still barely noticeable along the shore. The last six or eight feet of the shore (just before the water) was covered with tiny flying bugs. It was a bit disgusting, but we got over it.
Path To The Shore - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
The lake is salty--much saltier than ocean water. You can float in it (although we never got deep enough to try). The water is very shallow near the shore for some distance, making it ideal for little kids to splash with their feet. There were a lot of good skipping rocks, so we did that. You can see the brine shrimp in the water.

Once we were finished at the beach we made the long trek back to our car. There was a public shower so we could rinse the sand off our feet. Then we drove around some, hoping to find some buffalo, which live on Antelope Island. We passed by a restaurant that looked like a good place to grab some lunch if we were hungry (which we weren't).

On the east side of the island we found a large herd of buffalo. There was a watering hole, and they were gathered near it. We were a ways off, but close enough that we could stop and watch and feel safe.

After about two hours we left. We didn't make it to the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, which I think would have been interesting to see.

Antelope Island has a unique beauty. Initially it looks like a deserted desert island. But once you get out on it and see the reflections in the water and subtly beautiful landscape, you realize the attraction to this place. There are lots of different (and unexpected) wildlife to see. You just have to look past the swarms of bugs and disregard the unpleasant odors.

We had a good time and I hope to visit again soon!
Brush & Water - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Sun Rays Over The Great Salt Lake - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Great Salt Lake View - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Across The Shallow Water - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Sandy Path - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Sand On Antelope Island - Antelope Island, Utah
Model Church & The Great Salt Lake - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Buffalo Grass - Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Buffalo Alone - Antelope Island State Park, Utah