Wanderlust Wednesday: Mount Timpanogos

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Whew! Thought I was a goner there for a while, didntcha? Well, I’m back! Seeing as how it’s still Wednesday (barely), I’m gracing you with a little Wanderlust Wednesday post I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. And by “little” I mean long and with picture overload. You have been forewarned.

Today’s post is a bit different in that I’m sharing somewhere I actually got to go! I’ve been trying to be more positive and active in enjoying the gorgeous area where I get to live, because really, I’m pretty lucky. There are a lot of people who live where I live because of the natural beauty and easy access to so many opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, hunting, and whatever else you want to do outdoors. Just a quick drive from my home is the beautiful Mount Timpanogos. And by a quick drive, I mean closer than the nearest Costco. Or Target even. I mean, I actually have to pass by this mountain to get to these places.

So one day this summer, I got the crazy idea to drag my two oldest children (who are 8 and 10) up and back down this magisterial wonder with me. I would get them out into nature! And fresh air! With no screens! For a whole day! It would be a wonderful bonding experience! Little did they know what I was getting them into when they looked at me with glitter in their eyes for all the excitement they felt that Mom was taking just the two of them on an adventure for the day. {insert evil laugh}

Now, I had hiked this mountain as a teenager, but not since. There are two trails you can take – and I think we probably took the slightly more difficult one. Oops. I mean, it was okay except for the hundred and fifty three times I thought my 8 year old was going to fall right off the side of the very narrow mountain-goat-esque trail and plunge to his death. It’s a miracle I didn’t have a heart attack, actually.

Anyway, it was glorious and beautiful and gorgeous and a fantastic hike. We only hiked so far as the lake, but many people hike to the summit. All along the way we saw wildflowers in full bloom. We had our handy-dandy Field Guide to Wildflowers book and often took the time to stop and smell (and identify) the roses.

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I only had my iPod with me because I didn’t want to haul my big ol’ Nikon up the mountain, so the pictures aren’t as crisp as they could be, but it was good enough to capture a little glimpse into the memories we made that day. So I’ll spare you any more rambling and just warn you again of the impending picture overload. Enjoy!

Before. Despite the chilly morning, I can assure you that these two were, in fact, excited for the adventure ahead.

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Our view from the get-go.

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Along the way, there are multiple waterfalls that you pass by/over/through. This was the first of the many.

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We took a lot of rest stops. ;)

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We are STRONG! {And we don’t realize just how far we have to go.}

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Stopping to see just how far we’ve come from the trailhead.
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Also, selfie proof that I was there too. :D And another gorgeous waterfall.

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There are parts of the trail we liked to call “The Jungle.”
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And then the heart attacks started. This was the beginning (and the easy part) of the scary part. I didn’t take many pictures for the next long while because I was busy yelling at reminding my children to stay next to the mountain instead of the cliff.

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One of my favorite places we rested. Mountain bluebells for DAYS, I tell you!

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We were getting pretty worn down, but just over this hill and then another small hill, was Emerald Lake. Ah, sweet rest! Unfortunately, or fortunately really, we were enjoying it too much to take pictures.

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Headed back down. This picture makes me so happy – those are my kids! On that mountain! They were troopers!

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And this one. My favorite from the whole day. We can do hard things.

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Aaaaand after:

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Contrary to their faces, they really did enjoy the hike. We all did, but yeah, we were pooped by the end. I tell ya what, though, I can’t wait to make this a summer tradition! I love getting to spend time like this with my kids with no distractions for any of us. But next time, I think we’ll try the trail up the other side of the mountain. Okay, one last look at that before and after:

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Do you have a favorite trail you’ve hiked? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Trampoline Ice Cream

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This is such a great idea for summer fun, so listen up! Did you know you can make ice cream on the trampoline? It’s true!

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All you need are some plastic freezer bags, ice, rock salt, and your ice cream recipe of choice, and then follow these easy peasy lemon squeeze directions:

Fill a quart size zip top freezer bag about half way with your home made ice cream recipe of choice. Push out any extra air you can and then zip that sucker super tight. Stick that bag (the one  you just filled) inside another quart size bag and zip that one super tight as well. We don’t want any leakage, ya know?

Next, cover the bottom of a gallon size freezer bag with ice and then a generous helping of rock salt. Don’t ask for exact measurements, because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Be generous.

Stick your ice cream mix filled bag inside the gallon bag and add more ice to fill up the bag and then another generous dumpage of rock salt. Zip that sucker up tight.

Hand the bag to the kids (or, you know, do it yourself) and tell them to keep it moving on the trampoline! In 20 minutes or so, pull the ice cream filled bag out of the bigger bag and (this is important!) rinse it off with cold water before opening it or you’ll get a mouthful of salty ice cream. If it’s not solid enough for you yet, close it all up again and keep bouncing it around until it is.

Grab a spoon (and a bowl if you’re so inclined) and enjoy the fruits of your labors!

 

(P.S. – if you don’t have a trampoline, you can also just shake the bags. It’s more fun with a lot of people, so you can take turns shaking so your hands don’t freeze. Another alternative is tin can ice cream, which is what I grew up making. Mmmmm…I love ice cream.)

Girl On Fire T-Shirts

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Oy. Let’s just start off by acknowledging the fact that I am no good at this blogging thing. For a while there in the last couple of months, I considered just quitting altogether, but I’ve decided to buck up and continue to post stuff every now and then. So you’re stuck with me.

Today’s post is brought to you by this lovely pin. In our church, every summer we have what we call “Girls Camp” for our “Young Women” ages 12-18. Oh how I love Girls Camp! This year, I am lucky enough to be in charge of camp for the small group of  young women in our congregation (ward). The theme the girls decided on was “Girl on Fire” from The Hunger Games. (We’re emphasizing being on fire with the spirit rather than kids being forced to kill each other, by the way.)

In my search for ideas, I came across a great blog post from Better Than We Deserve from when they did the same theme. One of my favorite things they did was their bleached out t-shirts:

 

After showing them to the girls, they decided they wanted to do the same thing, so I ordered a bunch of black t-shirts and when they came, I set about to do a test one, with all of the bleaching-a-design-on-a-t-shirt knowledge I had gleaned from the internets.

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That was my SECOND try. (I didn’t even bother with pictures from the first one.) Not exactly what I was going for. So let’s just recap my failures here for moment, shall we.

Attempt numero uno: I used my trusty Silhouette Portrait to cut the stencils out of heavy card stock, and then used a spray adhesive to stick it onto the shirt and sprayed with a 50/50ish bleach/water solution. So much bleeding, you couldn’t even tell what the symbol was. At this point, I was kind of freaking out because we were supposed to do the shirts the next night, so I made a mad dash to Facebook (of course) and pleaded for all craft experts everywhere to help me.

Attempt numero dos: With some advice from friends, including the queen of freezer paper bleaching herself, I set out with confidence to try again. This time I cut some stencils out of freezer paper, ironed it onto the shirt, and sprayed straight bleach onto the shirt. Still bled like crazy (see above), but at least you could tell what the shape was, right? But the places where the bleach looks the strongest – yeah, there’s not supposed to be any bleach there.

We did something else with the girls that night and saved the shirts for later.

Attempt numero tres: I just didn’t get it, I seemed to be doing the same thing as I watched work in soooooo many videos and tutorials, and yet, crisp lines were out of my reach. But fear not, success is on the horizon. For my third attempt, I cut stencils out of transparencies, so the bleach couldn’t soak through the paper (even though it shouldn’t have with the freezer paper). I also found a spray bottle that had a more “misty” spray than the one I had been using. I used an only slightly diluted bleach solution, probably 2 or 3 parts bleach to 1 part water (I didn’t measure, just eyeballed it). I decided to forgo the spray adhesive and see what happened. And it worked!

Key things: Use a piece of cardboard in between layers of your shirt so the bleach doesn’t soak through to the other side. Make sure your spray is as misty as possible and DON’T OVERDO IT. I think this was one of my main problems the first couple of tries – I just sprayed waaaaay too much and soaked the shirt, so easy does it. You’ll start to see the bleach working in about 30 seconds or so. When your bleaching looks like you want it to, rinse that baby out right away and then wash it (on its own or with other things you’ve bleached), then dry it in the dryer and voila! Loveliness.

So last night, we finally had the girls do their shirts and I just love them. When I first started testing the bleach, I was disappointed that it didn’t make the shirts go white, like in the inspiration pictures. But, with the reddish/orangish/brownish hue that it DID turn, the shirts go well with the theme of being on fire, so I’ve changed my tune.

Here are a couple of the girls’ shirts:

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I especially love how this one looks like it has smoldering embers across the bottom:

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Here’s an up close view of the great logo one of our girls designed for us, combining the Young Women’s torch with the symbol of the mocking jay from the books:

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I love that each of the girls have a unique shirt of their own design, but that there is also a unity between them through the colors and the stencils. We had a lot of fun making them!

We have some other fun things planned for camp, so once it’s over and done with, maybe I’ll share a post about what we did. If you’re lucky.

Do you have any tips for designing with bleach? Share with us in the comments!

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: The World

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Hello hello again! Here it is Wanderlust Wednesday again and I actually have a post! It’s a bit different than my other Wanderlust Wednesday posts because today I am not highlighting just one place. I recently stumbled across this gem of a list of 33 Unbelievable Place to Visit Before You Die. 

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Ain’t that photo right there just the bee’s knees?! There are so many incredible places listed there! But I thought to myself, “Self, where would you go if you could choose to go to just one?”  And after much deliberation (i.e., a few minutes of looking at all the cool places), I decided that one place would have to be the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia.

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What can I say? I’m a sucker for lush green forests and stunning waterfalls.

So, if you could choose just one place to go on that list of 33 incredible places, where would you go? And why? Please share!

Orange Pineapple Heaven

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I’m going to keep this short and sweet tonight:

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(Image from the original recipe)

Orange Pineapple Crumble Bars

If you have any sense at all, you will make these PRONTO. It’s like heaven in your mouth. No joke, I was giddy with joy as I ate my first one. And possibly my second. And there may or may not have been much consumption after that as well.

Heaven on earth, I tell ya.

P.S. Waiting until they’re cold is not necessary. I would wait until they’re cutable and hold their shape, but eating them when the pineapple is still a bit hot is simply divine.

***UPDATE*** The quality of your pineapple will make a big difference! The first time we made these, we had a super ripe, super sweet pineapple and they were everything I described here. The second time, the pineapple wasn’t as sweet and they still tasted great, but I wasn’t tripping over myself to profess my love to the pan. ;) And yes, we made them twice in one week.