The Stream

Friday, February 27, 2009

More desert fun

Yesterday we headed up to Zion National Park with Dannielle and Braden to make a quick hike up Angel's Landing. The last ascent was freakier than we remembered.

Ascending the Landing

On the edge

We actually went on our 2nd date up here, so we had to replicate the same photo we took way back then.

2nd date redux

We grabbed this panorama (better seen by clicking on it) at the highest point on the Landing.

Zion pano

This morning we took the kids out to Snow Canyon to play on the dunes.

Crossing the dunes

Micah playing in the sand

We also had some fun ourselves.

Sand Jumping

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Red Cliffs

We headed over to Red Cliffs Desert Reserve with the kids and saw some great scenery on a perfect day. There are 1000 year old Anasazi ruins up on an overlooking hill, which the kids enjoyed playing around.

A family in ruins

We then followed the river up the canyon to some small pools and falls.

Kids in a rincon

Lower red cliffs pool and falls

Red Cliffs cactus

Gretchen managed to keep everything but her feet dry until the very end and then she fell in the river while we were cleaning off her shoes before getting into the car. She spent the rest of the trip telling Becket how naked she was.


Red Cliffs pano

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Warner Valley trip

We took a nice short trip out to Warner Valley, which is just east of St. George. It is a beautiful desert valley where some exquisite dinosaur tracks were discovered in 1982. It is also site of the ruins of Fort Pearce, built in 1866 to protect a nearby spring from use by Indians with whom the settlers were battling.

Ft. Pearce gate

Kids on Ft. Pearce walls

We found some cool petroglyphs on the rocks nearby the fort.

Ft. Pearce petroglyphs

Becket especially loved the prosauropod tracks.

For perspective

It was a neat trip I would highly recommend to anyone in the area.

The expedition group

Warner Valley pano

Sunday, February 22, 2009

One photo too many

We got together with the family this weekend for Mat's mother's and grandmother's birthdays. They turned 60 and 90 respectively and we had big parties for both of them. This unfortunately meant wrangling untold numbers of progeny to stand together for family pictures. We met at the Brigham Young home early Saturday for a picture, and by the end of it we had at least one kid in each family crying.

Brigham Young Home

All the grandkids at Brigham Young Home

Brigham Young Home HDR

We then went up to Parowan and saw the entire extended family and did yet another portrait, with over 100 people. It was fun to see everyone and how we've all changed. Becket surprised us all while we were just about the start the party. He walked up front, grabbed the microphone and sang Happy Birthday to Elaine in front of all these people. Were not sure what prompted the solo, but it was a cute moment.

Becket serenading Elaine

We took a nice picture of Elaine and all the great-granddaughters with her namesake, including our own Gretchen Elaine. She is a very special lady and we all adore her.

Four great-granddaughters and their namesake

The lady of the hour

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grafton: A non-spooky ghost town

Grafton, Utah

We made a trip to Grafton yesterday, a ghost town near Zion National Park with some neat old buildings. It was founded by Mormon pioneers sent by Brigham Young to try and start up a cotton trade. The town scratched out an existence, but never really prospered.

Cows grazing in Grafton

There are some beautiful fields surrounding the area with cows grazing. The settlers there were plagued by regular floods and insufficient farmable land to sustain their needs. Once a canal was built to irrigate the land down in Hurricane, the majority of them left. The last resident left in 1945.

Grafton church

The buildings fell into disrepair, but have mostly been restored over the past few years. If you are ever at Zion, it is worth the short drive off the highway to see.

Grafton, Utah

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Best Romantic Comedies (or so they say)

Here is what Rotten Tomatoes suggests as the best romantic comedies (they averaged the critics ratings and then ranked them highest to lowest:
25. While You Were Sleeping
24. 40 Year Old Virgin
23. Forgetting Sarah Marshal
22. Harold and Maude
21. Eat Drink Man Woman
20. What's Up Doc?
19. Breakfast at Tiffany's
18. The Apartment
17. Splash
16. Chasing Amy
15. When Harry Met Sally
14. High Fildelity
13. Knocked Up
12. Moonstruck
11. Hannah and Her Sisters
10. About a Boy
9. Bringing Up Baby
8. Four Weddings and a Funeral
7. His Girl Friday
6. It Happened One Night
5. Sense and Sensibility
4. Manhattan
3. Roman Holiday
2. Annie Hall
1. Philadelphia Story

Some of these I haven't even heard of like #'s 21, 18, 11, 7 & 6? Any of you seen these? If so, would you recommend them? I think my favorites from the list are About a Boy, Sense and Sensibility, Roman Holiday (huge Hepburn fan!) and While You Were Sleeping (tradition for my little old self to watch it at Christmas). Are they missing any? What about that cute one with Will Smith and Kevin James, Hitch?

Happy Valentine's Day! Hope everyone can do something fun.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How about them apples?

What started out as this:

Is now this:

I don't know if you can see what is left of Micah's apple that she's been gnawing on the last hour, but I found it to be intriguing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Juice Boxes and Martha

Just curious....Do you find this trend in most kids that when they are given a juice box, they don't come up for air until you here the air pocket slurp? My kids average about 56 seconds from start to finish when they inhale these little mylar pouches.


Here's our friend Martha. She was a former elementary school teacher from Honduras. She goes the extra mile in the kids workshops for Home Depot by giving the kids a snack, drink and a hug the first Saturday of every month. Next month race cars.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Achoo! A Thing

This has been floating around like the common cold. I don't normally catch these colds, so to speak, but I've found it very interesting to learn about people and their silliness. I started a list in my head, and well, I'm leaving this for my posterity. You definitely don't have to read it, but I would love to see if we have something in common.

1. I feel like half my day is spent with my body bent in half, cleaning, picking up toys, wiping faces, stretching because my back hurts from cleaning, picking up toys, wiping faces.
2. I laugh the hardest when someone trips or falls down unexpectedly
3. I use soap down to the last sliver. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and I feel like I am not an American that wastes, well, soap, at least.
4. Sometimes at night, I get really giddy because I get to go to sleep in a nice warm bed and then I’m so giddy that I can’t sleep
5. I’ve always wanted to visit Konigsee in Germany ever since my husband described it to me. There are two lakes and when you cross the upper lake there is a sweet little lady waiting to sell you her homemade bread, milk, and freshly churned butter. New Zealand Haka dances sound nice too!
6. When I was 8, I really thought I was the Karate Kid. I jumped down from a tree and kneed my brothers friend right where it counts. He fell over and Micki-Son was winner!
7. I require a 5 minute snoozer daily.
8. I got bit by a scorpion when I was 5 and cried in the hall for an hour until my mom finally believed something was actually wrong to come check on me. Tough love hurts, literally!
9. I love Farmer Markets… it’s variety of people, fresh food, fresh flowers and an occasional band
10. I’ve always wanted to milk a cow by hand while sitting on a three legged stool.
11. I want to go to lunch with the Car Talk guys, Click and Clack on NPR
12. I think I want to study Behavioral Science when my kids are in school. Maybe I should study it now, so I can figure out why they behave the way they do?
13. Nice sunny days really make my mood happy and peachy. Ask me anything on these days and more than likely I’ll say yes
14. I really like the songs, King of the Road by Rodger Miller, Patience by Guns and Roses and Your Love Is, by Peter and Storm (new one, on the blog)
15. I clean to clear my mind and in a funny way that is cleaning too!
16. I love to eat summer foods more than winter foods.
17. One summer, I thought I would try to shower by only using swimming pools. My hair didn’t look so great that summer.
18. I DON’T text. I can barely type out phone numbers that are worded.
19. You could spread Nutella over anything and I would eat it
20. My bad habit is not putting my shoes on the shelf when I’m done with them, but I swear, I’m only going to throw them on again in two seconds. Bad habit #2, not owning up to bad habit #1
21. I secretly wish the White House would hire me to clean up all this wasteful spending and also have me crack a whip on people working more efficiently in government jobs.
22. Someday, I would love to have a wrap-around porch, a cutting garden, espaliered fruit trees, and a sun room
23. I think I have a well-trained guardian angel, because I would have been long gone if he/she weren’t here. Especially, when I'm driving.
24. I love the wisdom and the laid back way of my elders. I think they’re quirky and I love that they don’t care about frivolous things.
25. I love atmosphere. For example, when you’re outside and the music is good, the lighting is good, the food is good, the temperatures just right with a slight breeze to lift your hair,…It’s moments like these that I just like to soak it all in.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dental Awareness Snack and Puffs

For those of you who know or don't know here is a dental awareness snack idea
Peanut Butter
I added raisins because I thought it was hysterical


What if?


Here's the cream puff recipe. I'm taking some in to my husband's work tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Éclair Puffs
1 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
Pinch salt
4 eggs (She used large eggs, not extra large)

Bring to boil: water, butter, salt.
Remove from heat and add flour. Mix well. Add 1 egg at a time. Mix well. Makes a gooey substance. Drop heaping teaspoon full on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 till golden (25-30 mins). Cook them until really golden brown, not like a cookie, because you want it to be supportive enough to hold your cream.

2 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
2 ½ cups milk
1 pt whipping cream

Mix pudding with milk – follow directions on box (mix about 2 mins and then chill.) Whip cream until stiff. Allow both to set a bit in the fridge and then mix together and keep cold.
Then fill the puffs once they are cool.

Chocolate Glaze:
4 T cocoa
3 T and 1 tsp water
2 T oil
2 T corn syrup
2 cups confectioners sugar

Stir first 4 ingredients in a saucepan on low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and add sugar.
Ice the éclairs while the glaze is still hot. Cover it like a blanket, one swoop from one side to the other.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Smorgasbord Post

A lot of things I wanted to post, but not enough time due to my house owning me at the moment.

A few things that we did over the past week or so....

We went and met Mat for lunch. It's nice to do something different and spice things up a bit. Next to the ophthalmology center , they have a double wide trailer with wood paneling inside. It serves only the finest of gas station type food. It is known as the Trailer and Mat was kind enough to treat us with his allotted spending money.

So it wasn't exactly the most healthy lunch, Cheetos, ice cream, but the kids were delighted and they got creative as you can see.



Church ball. What cracks me up about playing with these women is that when we have a time out, someone is off to nurse, hold their baby or we're passing kids to and fro while we sub. We are having a lovely time.


Lately, Gretchen likes to add the phrase "or something" to ending of many of her sentences. Example, "I think this need some sauce or something" or "I think I'm going to go to the bathroom or something" or "You're hair looks funny or something." She is so adult.

We watched baby Kaitlynn on Friday and as you can tell she was well entertained. I asked the kids if we needed to have another baby...Becket's reply, "Ye-ah-a, Micah needs a friend." (Don't count on it)


Shirley Rollin's is known for her famous creme puffs. My friend Brooke invited her over to her house to teach the needy on how to make these incredible desserts. Husbands will think about these all day at work, well, at least mine does.


I didn't realize that there was such an art to them. You have to make sure they are golden enough so they hold the creme. The dough is also gooey, which I would have never expected. You also have to lay the frosting on like a blanket. Gorgeous!


This just in from Grandma Augenstein commenting on my weekly flow side bar of what the kids say:

Grandma has an addition for your blog,

Becket: why did you ask me that, Daddy?

Mat: Sorry son, I forgot for a minute. You asked all those questions because it's genetic. I deserve your questions because of the 10,000 I asked my mom when I was your age! I'd love to answer every one of them!

Grandma Andrea: You know it!! (P.S. He was an awfully cute, scary smart little boy, just like his son.)

Love you,


The end.

I'm no longer craving a chocolate chip cookie at 8AM in the morning. Thought I would share!