Aug 20, 2010

Dog Lake

I can never seem to remember to turn the gps watch on and off, it's such a hassle. Last time I left it on until I'd driven halfway back down the canyon, this time I forgot to turn it on until I had hiked up about half a mile. I think it will have to do though. It shows hiking up the short route and down the long. Just imagine the starting point is in the same place as the ending point and you'll have the complete hike.

This is the glory that is Dog Lake. It looks a lot like a huge mud puddle. I like the hike so much because it's a perfect length and the trail itself is very pretty with lots of shade. The destination beauty wise leaves something to be desired, however, the dogs all hang out with their doggie buddies and have a blast.

Round Trip Distance: About 6 miles if you take the long route, 3.6 miles if you take the short steep route.
Starting/Ending Elevation: 7626/8785
Round Trip Time: 3 hours this time, but normally it only takes about 1 hr 45 min round trip.
Shade: 75%+
Baby Carrying Comfort: Great. No areas are very steep.
Overall Difficulty: 25%
Trail Pleasure Scale: 70%
Destination Pleasure Scale: 25%
Best Time of Year: The avalanche gate is only open from July 1st-November 1st. It's a good hike the whole time, except it can get pretty chilly in the fall.
Dogs Allowed?: Yes, offleash on odd days. Even days bikes are allowed, so I only go odd days.
Canyon Fee: $3

Monica and Gerry, with a Sadie dog in the background. 

Lots of shade.

Aug 19, 2010

Four Years

It's gone by so fast that until this week we were both confident it had only been three years. I went hiking with Laura, and since she and Ryan got married four months after us, I idly asked her how long they'd been married. Sure she was going to say almost three years, but just wanting to double check. I was shocked when she said almost four, but she was positive. I told Tim it was actually four and he didn't believe it was true. I had to consult my blog and low and behold, it's been four years.

It's been a great four years. Trips to Vegas, San Diego, Lake Tahoe, Frozevelt, Seattle, and Lake Powell. Lots of puzzles and crosswords. Playing pool all the time, bowling, texas holdum with Tim's friends. Hiking, jogging and x country skiing galore. Clubbing and parties slowly became cooking, movies at home, cuddling and home projects. Then pregnancy and our sweet Munchies. Watching Tim be a daddy, it's one of my favorite things. Here's to the next four years and many more!

Aug 18, 2010

Coffee Table to Ottoman

My coffee table is metal with sharp edges and corners, not very baby safe. I decided to turn it into an ottoman instead by covering it with foam and material. Tim did the actual work because it ended up being more involved than I had planned. I think it turned out nicely.



Aug 17, 2010


For a little while now I've just been giving Munchies quick showers to clean her up. I decided over the weekend what she needed a wading pool so she could splash around and take advantage of the weather while it's here. The wading pools were all sold. Instead she got a big tuperware container, but it works just fine. Once she figured how how to splash she became a pro. Everything within a 3 foot radius of her was soaked, especially daddy. She was having a great time.

Aug 13, 2010

First Time - Updated

Must update this post to say that Tim is not in fact the author of this poem. It was a false alarm. Turns out he just copied a poem down, but he was convinced it was his, because he doesn't know why else he would bother copying it down and also he had a couple things crossed out and rewritten. False alarm. Thanks Sammy for saving us from a life of lies.

Tim has been going through boxes of old stuff and found a poem he wrote years ago. I think it's very touching.

The sky was dark
The moon was high
All alone
Just her and I
Her hair so soft
I knew just what
She wanted to do
Her skin so smooth
Her legs so fine
I ran my fingers
down her spine
I didn't know how
But I tried my best
I started by placing
My hand on her chest
I remember my fear
My fast beating heart
How slowly she spread
Her legs apart
When she did
I felt no shame
All at once
The white stuff came
At last it's finished
It's all over now
My first time ever
Milking a cow

Aug 12, 2010

Maple and Brown Sugar Granola Bars

Another MSPI friendly recipe I've been using a lot lately. I found without being able to have soy oil in any amount that most pre packaged food is off limits to me. Other than fruit, it's nice to have something to snack on that you don't have to prepare. Store bought granola bars all have milk ingredients or soy oil, and they're something I used to eat a lot of. My mom suggested making them from scratch, and I found this recipe. I had to tweak it of course, because nuts and fruit in granola bars? Ick. Here's what I ended up with, and let me tell you, it is deelicious. I double the recipe and freeze most of it. When I go on a hike I put a frozen bar in my pack, and by the time I eat it, it's thawed. At home I put one in the microwave for a few seconds and its all warm and soft.

3/4 cup maple syrup (or maple flavored syrup)
1/2 cup butter (fake butter in my case, earth balance to be specific)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
2 cups quick oats (I think I usually use a little less, just stir them in until it slightly difficult to stir more in, however, don't wait until it's nearly impossible to stir more in unless you want a granola bar that tastes more healthy)

Spread it in a pan and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until edges brown.

Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake has preserved my sanity during this time when I've had to give up dairy and soy. Original recipe here. My recipe is slighly tweaked as always. The cake doesn't taste vegan at all. I've had multiple people taste it and confirm it. Laura actually makes it regularly now, and she doesn't have any kind of diet restriction.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup fake butter (earth balance is pretty tasty)
1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar

Bake at 350 for around 28 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

I just use the recipe on the back of the hershey's coco box but alter it slightly to fit my diet:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups unsweetened coco powder
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup fake butter

Aug 10, 2010

Red Pine Lake

 I also hiked to Dog Lake since my last hiking post, but the gps data got screwed up because I forgot to turn off the watch until I had driven halfway back down the canyon. I'm going to be hiking to Dog Lake again Wednesday, so I'll just post the gps data from that hike.

Here is the Red Pine Lake gps data.

Round Trip Distance: 6.32 miles
Starting/Ending Elevation: 7637/9647
Round Trip Time: 3 hours
Shade: 75%
Baby Carrying Comfort: Last mile is very steep, it's a long way to have to be extremely cautious. Doable, but I outsourced it to Tim and I'm not sure I would want to do it myself.
Overall Difficulty: 70%
Trail Pleasure Scale: 80% Beautiful, but slightly grueling for the last mile.
Destination Pleasure Scale: 100% flowers everywhere, green, stunning lake.
Best Time of Year: August. Before August you have to hike through the snow, and after August it gets chilly up there.

Dogs Allowed?: No
Canyon Fee: No

We had to try three times to hike this one this year. The first time we ran into snow with 3/4 of a very steep mile to go. The second time it began raining hard, hailing, and booming thunder. I brought a jacket to cover munchies, and she was as happy as ever in the middle of the storm.

Here's a nice picture of the view down the canyon you see after about 1.5 miles.

Third time was a charm. This is one of the prettiest hikes around. Especially the last leg of the hike, there are flowers everywhere.

You're also surrounded by mountains, the tops of which are pretty awesome in places. This picture didn't quite capture them clearly, but the formations on the tops of these mountains were cool.

Pretty river along the way.

The lake is impressive. Or, rather the reservoir. There is a dam, but I was confused because I thought a reservoir would be getting low by this time of year.

It got chilly by the time we reached the lake. The wind was blowing fiercely and we had to hide behind the dam. Here was our view of the lake.

At least the view the other way was green and pretty.

Aug 9, 2010

Avocado Smoothie

I've had to make an effort to get enough fat in my diet ever since I had to eliminate dairy due to Munchies' MSPI. Recently, I realized avocados are one of the healthiest sources of fat and started eating one every couple of days at least. Normally, I just put some italian dressing in the seed hole and eat them that way. But, I found a recipe for a smoothie and thought I'd try it. I adapted it a lot to get something I really liked. When I was drinking it this afternoon I kept saying "Mmmmmmm" out loud it was so good. Basically, it's the creamiest most delicious orange julias ever, except green. You can't actually taste the avocado, but it does lend an amazing creaminess to the smoothie.

1 avocado
1 cup milk (vanilla almond milk in my case)
3 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Now, blend it all to oblivion. I can tell you from experience if there are still green chunks floating around it really puts a damper on the outcome.
Add 1-2 cups of ice, blend to your desired texture.

Aug 7, 2010

8 Months Old


She giggles all the time now. If she hears me laugh, she looks over and giggles almost every time. She really wants to be a part of the action. She giggles also when she sees Tim after not seeing him for a bit.

She understands now that out of sight objects are still there. If I hold a book between our faces she leans to the side to peer around the book at me. She will pick the side that's shortest to peer around.

Her noises are getting more varied. She does more types of sounds than just dadada and mamama and babbles a lot. She loves blowing raspberries.
She likes eating my food, I've been offering her a taste of most of what I eat. She gets a big smile when she sees I'm offering her something and she prefers if what I'm offering is something solid she can grab and feed to herself. She still doesn't like baby food.

She isn't crawling yet, but she wants to. She stares at objects in front of her and tries to get to them by moving her body with her arms alone. So far it's counter productive, as when she does that she scoots backward. She also does a lot of lifting her booty in the air and bouncing around trying to figure out how to get herself moving. We're thinking she will figure it out within a month.

She strikes like a cobra when one of the animals gets within her grasp, snatching a fistful of hair.

We really have to watch her around Zeus and make sure one of our hands is in between his face and her hand when she is doing this, since he's been known to attack when bothered even slightly. He, like Sadie, will need a new home because of this. Speaking of Sadie, my friend Carin said she would adopt her if I can't find her a home. She lives in Texas and it's $350 to fly a dog of her size there, so I still and hoping to find a good home here, but it is so nice to know that I have a backup plan now.

Sleep hasn't been going quite as well, as described here. However, it has drastically improved. She's back to waking up once or twice and going almost immediately back to sleep. I think I'm usually the cause of her waking up too, getting up for a snack, to pee, ect. Tim finally go the screen door installed to her room so that we can leave our doors open and hear her at night so now I need to try getting her to sleep in her own room. I do have a baby monitor, but I can't help but feel like it might suddenly stop working in the middle of the night and I don't want my door and her door shut for that reason. The screen door to her room makes it so that the cats cant get in there and sleep on her which you hear about, but I'll be able to hear her.

She has been on lots of hikes this summer. Often she takes long naps during the hikes and ends up being a cute lil' sleeping face in the background of pictures.

 She loves her swing and the take stuff out of the basket game.

One last picture that I couldn't bring myself to exclude.

Aug 2, 2010

Hike from Brighton to Lake Mary, Martha, Catherine and Catherine Pass

We went on a hike Sunday with my parents. Even though it was hot in the valley it was fairly cool because we started all the way up at Brighton. Here's the gps data. And the hiking survey:

Round Trip Distance: 5.24 miles
Starting/Ending Elevation: 8,760/10,473
Round Trip Time: 3.5 hours (counting breaks)
Shade: 25%
Optimal time of year: Mid July for Lake Mary to be full, still some snow to hike through above Lake Mary then though. If you want to go up to Lake Catherine and to Catherine pass you really need to wait until August for the snow to melt.
Baby Carrying Comfort: A few steep areas, but not steep enough to be risky.
Overall Difficulty: 60%
Trail Pleasure Scale: 75% Lovely wildflowers, cool enough even with sparse shade on a hot hot day. The only thing I didn't like is that some of the trails are ski runs, so that isn't too scenic.
Destination Pleasure Scale: 100% 3 lakes to see and gorgeous views, no complaints here.
Dogs Allowed?: Nope
Canyon Fee: No

Conversation of the hike, special guest my dad:

Dad: I don't like watching these programs like Seinfeld because when they're over, I got nothing.
Tim: Well, what about a chuckle? Surely you could get a chuckle.
Dad: I can get a chuckle reading history. There are lots of hilarious stories about what dumbasses people are.
Me: (Sure he's trapped in a lie now) Let's ask mama. Mama, do you ever hear him laughing out loud reading history?
Mom: (With no hesitation) Yes!!

Munchies was ready and rearing to go.

Tim checked on her and confirmed it. Or, was he checking his make up? Good writing should include mystery.

First we hiked up to Lake Mary. The trail is fairly exposed with little shade. Lake Mary is actually a reservoir and the water level was about 50% lower than when I did this hike with Laura a few weeks ago. It wasn't nearly as pretty. I meant to take a picture to show how low the level was, but we took a wrong turn on the way back and totally missed Lake Mary. Oops. We continued on to Lake Martha, which is only about a tenth of a mile past Lake Mary.

Lake Catherine is nearly another mile past Lake Martha. The trail is much nicer after Lake Mary. Less crowded and much more shady. When we got to Lake Catherine I got sidetracked because a big mosquito landed on me and I smashed him smearing a huge puddle of blood all over myself. Luckily it wasn't my blood. Although, that proved much grosser. As a result, this is the only picture of Lake Catherine. It was taken on the hike there, you can see it off to the left in the distance. This picture also shows the wildflowers, which were out in full force the whole way.

We headed up to Catherine pass, just another 1/4 of a mile or less away. This is the view looking back toward Lake Catherine.

After that we headed up the ridge a little ways to another pass, but I forget it's name. It offered better views than Catherine Pass, where you couldn't see very well into Albion Basin.

Here we are at the unknown pass. We've passed out as my dad says.

My mom was smoothing my dad's hair for a picture, but I liked this one better.

We're in trouble now!

And that my friends, is all you ever wanted to know about this hike, but were afraid to ask.

Aug 1, 2010

Silver Lake (American Fork Canyon)

Here is the gps data for this hike. Tim suggested that I make a list to fill in for each hike, and I think that would be really useful to anyone looking for a good hike. Any suggestions for fields to include?

Distance: 4.76 miles (to north side of the lake)
Elevation Gain: 1,526
Round Trip Hiking Time: 2 hours 6 minutes
Best Time of Year to Hike: A cool day in Sept-Oct.
Shade: 25% (It's all in the first half mile though, after that it's devastatingly sparse for a mid summer hike)
Baby Carrying Comfort: A little steep right below the lake and in a few other places, needed to walk carefully, didn't feel it was dangerous.
Overall Difficulty:  50%
Trail Pleasure Scale: 25% This was a bad time of year for this hike, it was really hot. The trail was gorgeous for the first half mile though where it was green and shady. It also had stunning views in the last third.

Destination Pleasure Scale (Tim came up the the wording of this one, I think it's genius): 70% The lake and surrounding mountains are gorgeous.

The only bad thing is the shore is muddy in most places and there is no shade to be found near the shore that isn't brush so it's tough to sit and enjoy it.
Dogs Allowed?: Yes.
Canyon Fee: $6

This hike was just Tim and I. I feel like there was a conversation I was going to include, but now I can't remember it. Conversation was a little less peppy than usual on a hike due to the scorching heat on the majority of the hike. We were both in get 'er done mode after the shady stretch.  The dogs were too. At least there were a couple of stream crossings where they could get wet.

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