Sunday, August 28, 2011

Giving Gifts

Has anyone ever noticed how the gifts we give for weddings, babies, birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas have all become so commercial and assembly line.  I know that gone are the time when a young woman spent most of her youthful man hours amassing linens and making blankets and quilts as part of the dowry she would bring to her marriage to help her setup a home for her new family.  True that with weddings and bridal showers the couple is trying to acquire what they need to set up their own home, and the gifts tend to roll with the times, and technology.  It's surprising however how less and less people are considering handmade gifts as suitable for young couples.  Less so for babies or birthday gifts, but it seems like everything has to be based on a monetary amount or value.

I think making gifts means a lot more, considering not only the money spent, but the time spent in making the gift.  I'm not sure what it means to others, but I think that a handmade gift shows a lot lot more thought and feeling towards the receiver that had that person just gone to the store and purchased the gift.  besides it's fun for the giver as well, in the planning and execution of the crafting of the gift.

Yesterday I went to a cousin's baby shower, representing my mother as well, who had a prior engagement she couldn't get out of and bearing the gift that we were jointly giving to my cousin.  Now before I get into what we gave her, it needs to be understood, that neither of us has much spare cash.  Due to the economy, and my father's line of work my parents have fallen on somewhat harder times, and likewise, as is the current trend, my husband and I due to school and other things are attempting to dig ourselves out of debt.  Now my sweet cousin like many brides had the forethought to register before hand to make it easy for her guests to know what exactly she and her soon-to-be husband needed to establish their home.  Unfortunately like many brides, a lot of the things were a little out of my mother's and my price range.  We thought instead of buying one or two cooking utensil's each, we might try to think of something she might need that she or I could make.

So I called my aunt and asked what colors her kitchen and bath were and then headed over to the Walmart craft section to buy some peaches and cream cotton yarn.  As many of you have witnessed due to prior posts, I like to knit and crochet, and I thought I could knit my cousin some nice soft washcloths for her bathroom, using a basket weave pattern.  Fortunately for me Walmart had just the right colors.

I'm very proud of us.  I'm proud of what we accomplished with the little that we had, and I hope that my cousin loves the gifts we came up with as much as the fun we had making them.

Hope you have a lovely Sunday.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Rio Tinto Family Night

 We all look forward to this every year, a fun night to go with the girls and play games and eat lots of free food.  In the past they have held it at the soccer stadium and put up soccer stations or obstacle courses, had live music and balloon artists.  They would open up all of the stadium concessions and we could pretty much eat all our hearts desired.

This year, however Rio Tinto rented out Utah Hogle Zoo for an entire two days!  We decided to go on Friday with some friends and we had a blast!

Admittedly we didn't see tons of animals, but like Marina, the friends that came have a little girl of two, so we mostly rode on the train and carousel, ate free concessions, and played with the water spraying dinosaurs.

We got to see a really funny family of spider monkeys though, the baby kept climbing the fence and jumping on the adults.

A lonesome looking silver-back gorilla.

Multiple birds, like grouse, turkeys, peacocks, and some other tropical birds, like a talking cockatoo who whistled and then waved his wing and said good-bye when a little boy waved at him.

Gabby really liked looking at the bald eagles.  We were fortunate enough that the nocturnal tigers in the Asian Highlands section of the park were out.

The little girls kept getting side tracked whenever we would pass a shop.  It was pretty funny, especially when Mirna found a pink plastic explorer hat and tried it on.

We had a good time, even if we only got there at 4 pm.  One of Mirna's favorite things was the water misting fans.  She kept playing in front of them and wanted to be up high so she could get a full blast from them.

Little kids and water, .....never a dull moment.

Well I hope that where ever you are in the world, you get the opportunity to go to your local zoo before summer is out.  As well as some other fun and interesting summer activities.

Anyway happy Monday everyone!

~ Fraise

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lack of Connection

Devil's Gate, one of the rock formation and land mark that marked the Mormon Pioneer Trail.

I know I promised to post photos, etc from my trip two weekends ago weekend in Wyoming, however unfortunately there was really no wireless connection I could use.  So I apologize from the bottom of my heart, it was completely out of my control.

Anyway without further ado, here is my report.

My trip's primary purpose was to visit my grandparents who are serving a service mission for the LDS church at the Martin's Cove Historical Site in Wyoming.

The trail into "Martin's Cove," a rock formation that forms a natural cove out of granite, that provided protection form the weather for the Mormon Pioneers in the Martin Handcart Company.  Many that died from exposure and starvation were buried here.
Visitor and humanitarian center and Sun family museum.

This is a historical site dedicated to the preservation to a section of the historic Mormon Pioneer Trail.  There is also a museum and out buildings displaying artifacts of the Sun family that previously owned the ranch land the site sits upon, as well a replica of the Fort Seminole.

Families and youth come here to participate in pioneer trek re-enactments, in which they dress, and live as a pioneer in a handcart company for three days.  Camping out and eating what would have been eaten at that time, they get to experience first hand what physical trials and sacrifices were made by our predecessors. It acts as a way to understand as a people the members of the Latter Day Saint church were willing to save everything they had and give up so much for their faith and to come to Zion in the Salt Lake Valley.  It's a very spiritual and building experience, especially for the youth. 

The missionaries live in a small "village" of mostly their own motor homes and campers as well as a few mobile homes.  Last year my grand parents lived in their motor home the entire time, this time they were able to live in one of the mobile homes, and only had to stay in their motorhome for one week while they were helping out at the other property in Rock Creek Hollow where the Willie Hand cart Company stayed.

My grandparents are in charge of the 45 bathrooms located all over the Martin site and property.  They make sure the bathrooms are stocked, manage and delegate the cleaning schedule, and power wash the bathrooms and monuments around the property once a week.  I have a lot of respect for them, this is not an easy job.  In addition when not attending to their "bathroom duties" they fulfill their shifts in ferrying visitors in the rovers, serve shifts in the humanitarian center making quilts, clothes and toys;  as well as the facts that my grandfather helps to serve as a fix-it guy for the property.  An LDS missionary's day is always full.

Thankfully they serve in shifts and so that allows them to have a little free time in the afternoons, and we were able to visit some of the local sites like the amazing waterfall created by the spillway at the Pathfinder Reservoir.

It was breath-taking, and the hike down over smoothed granite spans among the juniper, sage and cactus was really something.  The geography in that area is mostly flat lands with rocky outcroppings, like the famous Independence Rock, as well as the cove part of Martin's Cove. 

Most of this is a pretty pinkish granite that's been rounded though time.  The rest of the buttes and topographic anomalies were hills that looked like they had been formed underwater and then covered in grasses. 

It's interesting to see how the water shapes the granite, rounding it and creating odd depressions in the rock that probably create all sorts of little pools during thaw and run-off.  It's a very solitary feeling environment.

There were antelope running around and bunnies that frequented the little village of campers and trailers that make up the area that the missionaries live while they stay there.  I thought it was funny that an animal like an antelope that can jump so high would chose to scoot under the fences instead of jump over them.  Sort of like like the quail that live around me house, who chose to run rather than fly to get away. 

Then there were the bugs.  Anyone who has been to Wyoming, knows about the bugs.  My grandmother told me that they had been putting down stuff in that area to keep down the bug population.  However I've never seen so many crickets.  I can't even begin to imagine the bugs that the kids who come up there for a handcart trek get to enjoy.

Down stream from the Pathfinder Reservoir spillway.

We also went to the Alcova Reservoir to look at how full they were.  We were amazed to see so many sail boats in such a land locked place.  We stopped for lunch at the lake marina and I had the most yummy, crunchy fish and chips I've had in a long time.  It was really fun to go out to lunch like that with my grandparents and parents.

"Split Rock" was another rock formation used as a landmark of the the Mormon Pioneer trail used by pioneers to orient themselves.

In short, it was a nice, relaxing, and delightful little vacation.  It's just too bad that my husband worked that weekend!

I hope that you've had a fun time with some sort of vacation this summer. *^^*