Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Lost Days: Grand Tetons

I was talking with my Grammie yesterday, and she told me she has been waiting and waiting on my pictures from our family reunion to Yellowstone last July.  Even though I stopped blogging for a little while, the world didn't stop spinning, so I thought I would play catch up for the forgotten memories of the summer.  I'll start with Yellowstone, because Grammie is "the queen" of the family, and her wish is my command!

We flew into Salt Lake City, and started our drive up to Yellowstone through Idaho.  We stopped in Rexburg to visit with my brother, Spicer, who was attending school there.  He wasn't able to join us for the family reunion because he had his last performance at BYU Idaho.  We stopped by and checked out the set for his play, grabbed something to eat, and checked into a hotel for the night.

The set of The Shoemaker's Holiday.

Idaho countryside.

Approaching the Tetons!

Once we woke up in the morning, we were on our way to the Grand Tetons.  The Tetons were named by a Frenchman (surprise, surprise!)  because of their resemblance to...well, I think you know.  My dad enjoyed making lots of colorful jokes our whole time here.  The Tetons contained some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen, and if you know me, you know I am a sucker for a pretty view.  Cue the excessive amounts of pictures.

This quote is my LIFE.
These mountains are especially jaw-dropping because they abruptly rise up out of the valley.  There's no foothills, just suddenly, there they are.  The jagged peaks pierce the sky and make for an incredibly dramatic skyline.  We went to one of the visitors centers and then went on an easy hike around Jenny Lake.  I couldn't believe how around every bend there was another beautiful view.  I'm pretty sure there's not an ugly or less-than-stellar speck in this park.  I wish the pictures translated better, but you get what you get...

Wildflowers. :)

The water was so unbelievably clear (and cold).

Mountain Men.

Cowboy Ti.

My dad is my hero.  He pushed London up and over and around rocks and hills in this dinky umbrella stroller; no small feat!

I loved how lush and dense the greenery was.


Moose Track Jack.

The hike culminated at this spectacular waterfall.  Crossing the bridge after that long hike felt so amazing!  As my dad said, "It's nature's air-conditioning!"

My first ever selfie.  (Post-Myspace, anyways. ;))

Instead of hiking around the rest of the lake, we took a ferry back to the trail head.  We got another breath-taking view as we crossed the lake:

As amazing as the Tetons were, they were only the appetizer to our figurative feast awaiting us at Yellowstone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

London's Learning--A is for Apple

One thing that we've started since we moved into our new home is getting London ready for pre-school.  It's nothing too crazy, just a couple of little crafts and activities throughout the day. We probably do around 30 minutes every morning and then maybe 15-30 after her nap.  Some days she wants to go longer, and some days we do maybe 10 minutes because that's all she can handle.  I try to keep it fun for her and have it be something she looks forward to. 

I've been doing a theme for every week, and for our first week I chose the ever-classic "A is for Apple."  Here are some of the things we did.

To work on letter recognition we did an apple a and an alligator A.  You can see them up on London's art wall here.  I forgot to take individual pictures of them, so this is as good as it's gonna get. ;)

You can find tutorials on our "A" crafts here and here.

We also did a "sticker search."  This is a simple game where we look for the letter A all over the house.  Once London finds one, we put an "A" sticker on it.  We also played where we just had to find something that started with the letter A.  This version was a little bit beyond her right now, but it was fun for me to mix it up a little.

I've been working on making London a fabric alphabet (inspiration found here), and thought they would be fun to use while we work on our letters.  We use these for a game too.  I will hide the letters and give her hints on where to find them.  She gets so pumped when she finally does.  "I FOUND THE A!!!!" Trust me, it's awesome.  I'm just excited that she's starting to realize that not every letter is 'G'.  Parenthood is all about the small things.

 And our last letter recognition activity was a game we played on the chalkboard.  I would write a word and she would find the A's in it.  It was fun (and easy!) and helped us focus on the difference between uppercase and lowercase.

Our favorite not-Disney Princess.
"Ok," you're thinking, "this is all well and good, but where are the apples??"  Don't worry your pretty little heads! They're coming.  We did apple crafts to work on our fine motor skills...

Sorry instagram followers, you have already seen this cuteness. Apple prints for our apple wreath.

This was her favorite project.  She cut out all the strips we glued to the apple.  Tutorial here.

Working on her fine motor apples.

Quote of the week: "Mom, I got Blue's Clues hands!"
Finished fine motor apples.  Tutorial here.
Didn't get any close ups of our wreath or our apple tree, but here is the tutorial for our yarn apples in the tree.

I also made a sensory bin for with an "apple pie" theme.  IT SMELLED DELICIOUS.  

Juliet got in on this action.

Making "apple cookies." Sounds good.

Smells good enough to eat!
You can find the how-to on our sensory bin here.

There was also apple pie playdough...which also smelled delicious.

Directions found here.
 And school isn't school without a little math and science, right?

We counted apple seeds.

Simple and fun.  Explanation here.

And we observed how vinegar and baking soda react in our apple volcanoes.  "BUBBLES!!"

The set-up.

This never gets old!!!
Tutorial here.

As much fun as all this was, I have to say the crowning moment of the week was our field trip to an apple orchard.  It was a long drive, but so much fun!  London loved running through the trees and exploring the farm.  We went to Nivens Apple Farm, near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Butterfly enjoying a fallen apple.  These little guys were everywhere!

Because we were there too!

They have a pumpkin patch too!
 Once we got back home from our excursion, both girls felt the need to immediately dive into the apples we brought home..

After naps, we had an apple feast!  Complete with several kinds of apple slices, apple butter sandwiches, and an apple fritter.  

So there you go.  I actually had a lot of fun with this, so hopefully London is liking it too.