activities, adventure, Family, fun, Seattle, Summer, travel, Uncategorized, Washington, zoo

Seattle, Washington

Two weeks ago today, right now, I was on top of the Space Needle in Seattle. I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks!

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Tyler and I took our 1 year anniversary/Tyler’s graduation trip to the Pacific Northwest. We left the day after his graduation and one day before our anniversary. We were gone for 9 days. It was a BLAST. We started in Seattle.

We arrived to Seattle Sunday night, May 8, to our little “Cabin in the City” we found via Airbnb, which I’m just going to pitch for right now. Use Airbnb on your trips, guys. Our little rental was a cabin behind someone’s home, and it was so cute and cozy and the renters were so nice and helpful.

The next day, May 9, was our first anniversary!!!!! I can’t hardly believe we’ve been married a year! Then again, I also can’t believe it’s only been a year. Regardless, it’s been the best year 🙂

We breakfasted at Beth’s Cafe, as featured on Man v. Food for their ENORMOUS omelettes. It was delicious. They serve mounding plates of food and bottomless hash browns…need I say more?!

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Our first day in Seattle was our “Animal Day.” We hit up the Woodland Park Zoo first, which we enjoyed not only for some unique and/or endangered animals (ocelots, red pandas, golden lion tamarins, etc), but also I loved the vegetation they used to plan the park! We spent 3 and 1/2 hours exploring the park before heading over to the waterfront to give the Seattle Aquarium a visit.

The Seattle Aquarium is a little small, but very cool! Mine personal favorite part was the harbor seals. We got there around 2 in time to see the keepers feed them and they had the seals do some tricks. We also had a lot of fun with the touch pools, the underwater dome, and the jellyfish ring.

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We ended our day at Pike’s Place Market. Can’t do a Seattle trip and not give Pike’s Place a visit! Because it was our anniversary, Tyler bought me one of those big, lovely bouquets of flowers. So pretty.

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We also found this most delicious bakery called Piroshky Piroshky, and couldn’t ignore the mouthwatering smells and line of people pouring out the door. I think I could’ve eaten every single thing they were selling. (Pro Tip: in the afternoons, I think around 4, they have “happy hour” where all their pastries go on sale for 3 dollars each!).

All in all, despite our difficulty navigating the completely nonsensical streets of Seattle, it was a great first day (and a great anniversary 🙂 )

Our second day was (mostly) centered around the Space Needle. We started with the EMP Center (Experience Music Project), which Tyler really wanted to go to but I wasn’t too enthused about. Except it turned out to be really cool! Easily the best part was the three “genre” exhibits: sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Each exhibit was uniquely designed to fit the theme. For example, the sci-fi exhibit felt like we were on a spaceship and the fantasy one featured castle-like and forest features. We had a ton of fun exploring everything and, of course, jamming on the instruments on the top floor in one of the recording rooms.

Next we visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Absolutely beautiful! Also, definitely talk to the curators standing around! Tyler asked one of them a question and we learned A LOT about the exhibits because of it. But really, the glass is just stunning, and my pictures do it no justice.

And then, of course, we paid the top of the Space Needle a visit. It was an (unseasonably) beautiful day, which is perfect for being atop the Needle. You could see Mt. Ranier!

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I thought it was a great idea, too, that they had binoculars and telescopes up top as well.

Our last Seattle venture was to tour University of Washington’s campus. I have a friend who is a student there, so it was REALLY fun to see her and she gave us a tour of campus and escorted us to THE pizza place for thin crust pizza lovers, Mod Pizza. My pizza had ricotta cheese and asparagus (among other things) on it, and I felt very fancy (haha).

UW’s big draw (at least for the geeks among us, like me) is what they call their “Harry Potter Study Room,” which is a GIANT hall that literally looks like the Great Hall. I mean, how cool is this?!

And thus concludes our Seattle trip! But not the end of our week-long trip. Oh no. We visited my old hometown of Tumwater/Tenino near Olympia, and then Ocean Shores. Then Olympic National Forest. And then Portland.

caramel, Desserts, fun, no bake, popcorn, snack

Soft Caramel Corn

Last week, Tyler and I were so sick! (Remember? That’s when I also made that sweet potato chili.) By Friday, we were sick of being sick, so we had a stay at home game night!

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(And also watch Supernatural haha)

No game night is complete without a treat, and I made this caramel corn that my mom is pretty much famous for (or at least I think she should be!). I’m not a big caramel corn fan because it usually goes hard and is all crunchy and hard to chew, but not this caramel corn! This will stay soft for WEEKS! Not that it would ever last that long because it is far too delicious.

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You will need:

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C corn syrup
  • 1/2 can (about 7-8 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (about 5 qts when popped)

In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Stir in the milk. Simmer until the mixture comes to a soft ball stage (about 235 F). THIS IS A KEY STAGE! If you boil your mixture too long, you will not have nice soft caramel corn.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and pour over popped corn. Stir to coat entirely.

cheap, Dates, Family, fun

Cheap, Fun Dates Anyone Can Do

  1. Geocaching
  2. Penny Wishes: get a roll of pennies and go to a nearby lake/river/pond/fountain. Take turns throwing pennies into the water. With every penny, name a life goal or wish.
  3. Cook a new food together
  4. Bake cookies and take them to neighbors or family
  5. “Camping”: Set out sleeping bags on your floor. Roast marshmallows over the stove and make s’mores. Tell scary stories. Sing camp songs. Play nature sounds in the back ground.
  6. Really build a campfire and roast hot dogs
  7. Be tourists in your hometown
  8. Find the best climbing trees
  9. Attempt to make a movie
  10. Mock photo shoot
  11. Movie night, complete with popcorn
  12. Find a DIY project to improve his/her/your home and do together
  13. Visit the local farmer’s market
  14. Visit nearby family, especially elderly members.
  15. Do a memory session and record the two of you talking about how you met, dates you went on, your first kiss, etc.
  16. Take a series of photos containing a pair of shoes that document a day in the life of an invisible man
  17. Go sledding
  18. Build a snowman
  19. Have a snowball fight
  20. Build an igloo
  21. Make homemade pasta
  22. Do family history together
  23. Go on a run
  24. Play tennis
  25. Go rock climbing
  26. Go swimming
  27. Go hiking
  28. Feed ducks at a park
  29. Go to a hay/corn maze
  30. Visit an animal shelter
  31. Go to a local college or high school ball game
  32. Tour a local factory
  33. Go to an art or history museum (watch for discount or free days)
  34. Have your date try teach you how to do something they love
  35. Try to teach your date how to do something you love
  36. Paint Twister
  37. Go bowling
  38. Go miniature golfing
  39. Go to a “cheap seats” theater
  40. Go fishing
  41. Leave inspirational sidewalk chalk messages for passerbys
  42. Write a story together
  43. Try a new skill neither of you have
  44. Go for a bike ride
  45. Break out your old journals and share excerpts
  46. Go through old family photos
  47. Play hide and seek in a grocery store
  48. Go on a walk
  49. Watch a sunset from somewhere high up
  50. Watch a sunrise, then make breakfast together
  51. Go to a drive in movie
  52. Build the most epic blanket fort
  53. Make homemade donuts
  54. Have a paper airplane contest
  55. Get ice cream and just TALK
  56. Visit a bookstore or library. Read children’s books. Leave notes in your favorite novels
  57. Have some sort of movie/TV show marathon
  58. Read a book out loud together
  59. Go to a haunted house
  60. Find out where in your town they hold swing dancing nights and go

 MT Engagements-48

animals, bucket list, Cache Valley, cheap, Dates, Family, fun

Cache Valley Bucket List: Feed the Ducks at First Dam

Call me a child, but this is one of my very favorite things to do.

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First Dam, or Canyon Entrance Park, is the first of three dams on the Logan River as it winds through Logan Canyon. It’s an extremely popular spot for families, groups of friends, and fisherman, especially on sunny days, Canoes and kayaks frequent the surface of the water and picnics dot the grassy banks. My favorite part, though, are the ducks.

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A wide variety of waterfowl populate First Dam and they are always eager for a snack. Bring lots of old bread crusts and watch every bird in the area flock to you, honking and quacking to win your affection and your bread.

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Tyler and I have done this a handful of times now and started naming the birds we recognize every time. Tiny is a little bitty female mallard. Mohawk is a black and white duck who has a unique spray of untidy feathers sticking up on top of his head. Pigeon is the pretty dappled grey duck with the green beak. Fatty is probably our favorite – she’s the only one who will consistently eat out of your hand, and consequently she’s a lot bigger than the rest of the ducks.

I would highly recommend taking even just a half hour to stroll first dam and feed the ducks.

bucket list, Cache Valley, campfire, Camping, cheap, Dates, Family, fun, Summer

Cache Valley Bucket List: Bonfire at Second Dam

Where: Logan Canyon, Second Dam

When: Late spring, summer, early fall

Cost: Free

Is there anything that says summer more than a campfire? Campfires are always some of my summer highlights. I’ve done fires at second dam a number of times, and it’s always enjoyable. Roast hot dogs and marshmallows, enjoy tinfoil dinners, bring a guitar to sing songs, and tell stories with friends and family for an enjoyable evening.

Pros:

  • No cost
  • Fires on the edge of the water
  • Picnic tables available

Cons:

  • No camping
  • Fire pits close together, and you might have noisy neighbors

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animals, bucket list, Cache Valley, cheap, Dates, Family, fun, Logan, zoo

Cache Valley Bucket List: Willow Park Zoo

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Location: Willow Park, 419 W 700 S

Cost: 2.50 for adults, 1.50 for children 3-11

When: Closes around November, opens around March. Mon – Sat, 10am-6pm

In our first go at the Logan bucket list, Tyler and I visited the Willow Park Zoo. We weren’t expecting much – it’s a small zoo, and admission is super cheap – but we were pleasantly surprised. We had a great time!

Though small, the zoo offers a lot for its low price. In addition to local wildlife, such as elk, raccoons, turtles, coyotes, bobcats, porcupines, and several types of ducks and birds, the Willow Park Zoo is also home to Capuchin monkeys, kinkajous, emus, many tropical birds, desert tortoises, yaks, and some other unique additions, like the white raccoon and the albino porcupine. We spent about an hour and a half visiting all the animals. We missed the bird feeding though, which you can sign up to participate in the front office at 12:15 and 2:30.

I loved the Willow Park Zoo. We will be returning for sure! Be sure to check out Reindeer Trek around the holidays.

The tortoise attempting a jailbreak
The tortoise attempting a jailbreak

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We really loved the pelican, for some reason
We really loved the pelican, for some reason

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For Disney Hercules fans...
For Disney Hercules fans…”Wanna buy a sun dial?”