We’ve been experimenting with some new art styles. Check out Elyse’s video on how to marble paper with our new Caloyee Marbling Kit.
Here is the kit that we purchased from Amazon. It’s a little on the pricey side ($69), but it is high quality and includes everything you need to get going. It even comes in a nice carrying container. In addition to paper, you can also marble fabric, shoes, photo frames, candles… We haven’t tried anything but paper, yet, but we’re excited to give it a try.
We love the vibrant colors and simplicity! Give it a swirl!
A guide for a perfect winter trip to the South Rim
By: Parker Eveleth
Eight million years ago, this place was once just a small canyon that over time was carved by the Colorado River.
In 1919, the Grand Canyon was dedicated as a national park by Theodore Roosevelt. Now one of the greatest sights in the world, the Grand Canyon attracts over 5 million visitors annually.
All seasons are hiking seasons in the Grand Canyon. More than eight trails stretch between the Grand Canyon visitor center and Bright Angel Trailhead. If you are going to hike down any trail in the winter, make sure to bring hiking shoes and crampons to help you from falling on the ice. An extra layer is recommended while hiking in the cold weather, especially while you are in the shade because it gets chilly.
At the bottom of the canyon, there is a lodge called Phantom Ranch. There are cabins for staying the night and they also give you breakfast and dinner. After you are done resting for a couple days at Phantom Ranch, you are ready to go. You will hike to the top and be super proud of yourself. Going down and up in the same day is not recommended. All the signs at the trailheads say not to do this. They make over 250 rescues of people doing that every year!
There are mule rides that go to the bottom or around the rim of the canyon so you do not have to walk the whole 7 miles down to Phantom Ranch.
South Kaibab Trail (probably the most hiked trail in the canyon besides the Rim Trail that goes all the way around the South Rim) can take you down to the bottom or you can take Bright Angel Trail and take it to the bottom. South Kaibab is the easier and shorter hike down. If you are looking for a short 3 mile hike, start at the South Kaibab trailhead and go to Cedar Ridge past Ahh Ooh Point and come back. The distance to Ahh Ooh Point is 1.8 miles round trip. All of these trails help people experience the canyon.
Why are visitor centers so helpful? Park rangers. They help with everything you can imagine to make your winter trip the best ever. You will find the park rangers leading educational talks and critter chats. There are four visitor centers including one park headquarters. There are three on the South Rim. Both the Verkamps visitor center, and the visitor center on the North Rim are closed for the winter. At the east end of the South Rim, is a extraordinary tower called Desert View where you can go to the top and have great views. At Desert View there is a ranger station. Make sure to pick up a hiking map and a park map at the visitor centers.
A free shuttle bus leaves from the visitor center and the popular places including all of the lodges, campgrounds and the backcountry information center near the Maswick lodge. You could also drive yourself around the park. There are 4 lines on the South Rim, the orange, blue, purple, and red. Orange, blue, and purple all run in the winter. The purple line takes you from Tusayan in to the park. That one you might have to pay for because of entire fees.
Lodging and Camping
If you are looking for a place to stay on the South Rim, there are 6 lodges. Most of them have a café, like at Maswick Lodge. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available or there is a pizza pub at Maswick Lodge. All meals are under $15.
Camping is available in the park. Of you want to camp the old fashion way, Mather Campground has no hook-ups. If you want to stay modern, there is Trailer Village with full hook-ups. Showers, laundry, bathrooms, and a little camp store are all at camper services right in front of Mather Campground.
So if you are under an hour and a half away from one of the world’s greatest sights, make sure to stop and the Grand Canyon, it is worth the drive.
Geckos are a very interesting animals. When we are in Hawaii I like to look for geckos and gecko eggs. I also like to see them climb. Here are some facts about geckos.
What Geckos Look Like
There are many different types of geckos species. Geckos are all different colors, such as green and brown. They have spots on their back that can be red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. They camouflage when they are on a branch. Geckos can purposely make there tail fall off when a predator bites it. They have bumps if you look closely. There eyes never close because they have no eyelids. They lick their eyes to clean them. There tongue can go super long. There bodies are 4 to 6 six inches long. They have cool claws
Geckos live in every continent, except Antarctica. They can live in the desert, mountains, and rainforest. Lots of geckos live in Hawaii. I have not seen a gecko in San Diego.
When you see a gecko it is normally climbing. Geckos clime with grip pads with hairy pieces that are called setae. They use them to climb on the trees. They can climb on almost any surface because of their setae hairs.
What They Eat
Geckos eat insects, crickets, fruit and plants. They also eat flower nectar. Some geckos eat tiny lizards.
More Facts About Geckos
Some geckos are nocturnal. Some others are called Day geckos and they are active in the daytime. They can chirp, bark, and click as their noises to defend their territory. They are reptiles and they lay eggs. They can live for 5 years.
If you ever go to a baseball game and you see
a lot of fans, there is probably some die-hard fans. We went to the American League
Conference Series. Yankees vs
Astros. It was a crazy stadium because
all the fans were supporting the Yankees and they were down in the series,
We walked around the stadium and the I saw David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez at the Fox Sports broadcast studio. I felt like I loved the game seeing and knowing those amazing stars.
Finally it was time for some ball. In the first inning, James Paxton the Yankee starter gave up 1 run. During the first inning, the Yankees do something called role call where when they are in the field the yell their names and they point to where we sat. James Paxton got out of the inning only giving up 1 run. Then the first batter DJ Lemaheiu. First pitch ball one! Next pitch… HOME RUN!!!!. The fans went nuts throwing 20 oz beers in the air and Elyse got hit by some.
The next batter grounded out. Very next pitch Aaron Judge hits a single.
Batter: Gleyber Torres, Double. Judge to third.
Next batter: Aaron Hicks. And the pitch… Three run home run off the foul pole!!! Bye this time fans are nuts and Justin Verlander finally got through the inning giving up four runs.
The Yankees only got one more hit. Then, my dad got eight chicken tenders and a pound of fries for us to share. Then we left in the seventh inning before the train got really crowded. But the Yankees won and everybody was happy.
People all over the world come to see Petrified Forest National Park. It is really amazing to see all of the wood from millions, if not billions of years ago. This place is prehistoric with fossils also being discovered in the area.
Humans roamed this area once and they still do. The Petrified Forest was named a national monument in 1906 but people had lived here more that 13,000 years ago.
Petrified logs came from conifer trees called Araucarioxylon. Araucarioxylon can be 200 feet tall. These trees were not standing while becoming rock.
Triassic period trees grew on a large water system. Logs were buried in debris and mud. Those debris and mud carried silica from volcanic ash. The silica and other materials caused crystals to form. The different log jams occurred here are now called: Crystal Forest, Rainbow Forest, and Jasper Forest.
These logs come in all different colors. The colors are purple, green, orange, yellow, white, blue, brown, black, gray and silver. So if you ever go to Petrified Forest National Park, make sure to go to the Crystal Forest to see how a tree can make something beautiful and extraordinary.
We could not help ourselves to go to South Williamsport to see the LLWS museum and fields. Every year, kids from around the world come to one place to have their dreams and teams on the line. Imagine you are a 12 years old and you are one out away from winning the LLWS, how would you feel? Scared? Maybe nervous? Or maybe you are a kid that win or lose, you will be grateful that you made it to this stage of hard competitive baseball level. You are in the record books all ready but you are very nervous. That’s what kids feel all the time. If they make an error, yeah their going to be mad, but still you have a chance to redeem your self.
Strike one! Strike two! Ball one! Ball two! Ball three! Full count. Everything is on the line. 10 to 10. Bottom of the sixth inning. Bases loaded. And the pitch…
In the museum we went. Seeing the creator of this amazing cool tournament in photographs and the first year winners, the Williamsport Little League, and the signed balls were really intriguing. We went in to the first section of the museum, which they called 1st Inning. They also had cool things, like jerseys from Williamsport and the MLB classic, which this year was Cubs vs Pirates.
Then we continued on to more hands on activities and then came my favorite parts, the base to base sprint, catch a LLWS pitch as a catcher, and the rob wall. The first time I did the base to base sprint in got 3.89 seconds but my last time I got 3.07 seconds. I improved in my running speed.
Then we watched another video and then we went to the fields. It reminded me of my friend Jack, when he came to a World Series game, but there was a rain delay. He started to slide down the hill with his other friend. The crowd applauded them while the were sliding down for the rain delay entertainment. I stared at the first field and imagined an intense game with two teams going at it, going for the title.
Then we went to the international field and did the same thing. Just stared at the field and imagined game day. Then we just drove off in to the distance. I was sad because I really wanted to play on the fields in the tournament but I knew that it would be really hard to get there.
And that lady’s and gentleman, that was Southern Williamsport.
We went to the Statue of Liberty. We had to go through security. Then we got on the boat. Next we got off the boat and walked around. First we started at the front of the Statue of Liberty and then we went back. It was very crowded there. Then we got our audio guides. We went in to the museum and watched a movie/video. Next we walked around for a little more.
The Statue of Liberty was green, with a cloth dress with a crown on her head and she is holding a torch with a flame in her hand. It was very exciting and interesting. We did not have the right tickets to clime the Statue of Liberty but we still got to see it.
Then we went into the Statue of Liberty store and we got a little sticker for the motor home. Next we got a stamp for are passport. We toke the boat to Ellis Island and we walked inside. Then they closed so we got back on the boat and went back to the dock. I had so much fun!!!
On the 26th day of our trip, we went to
Mackinac Island. This island is between
the upper peninsula and the mainland of Michigan. The only way to get there is by boat. There are no cars on the island, so bring
While we were on Mackinac Island, we went bike riding. We went about 5 miles. We were going to go all the way around the island but instead cut through the island there were 2 problems. The first problem was that it was hillier than the ride around the island. The second problem was that a horse that was pulling a carriage freaked out. When the horse got scared, he was kicking his hind legs up in the air. The people in the carriage started to get out and calm the horse down and control it. Then they had to call the horse carriage company. We had to wait about 7 minutes before one guy held the horse so we could go by on our bikes. They probably had 10 to 15 carriage tours going around the island and you know what that means, LOTS and LOTS of horse poop.
The island is known for its fudge. As you walk down the
street and look into a few windows you night see a guy or gal making
fudge. If you do, be sure to stop by and
watch them. There can be lots of
different types of fudge, including chocolate almond, blueberry, and maple
pecan. But we did not purchase fudge
because it was 9 to 10 dollars for a slice of fudge. You can get a slice of
fudge for 5 to 6 dollars in San Diego. But
we did get treats. My sister Elyse got a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream. But
I, the amazing Parker, got a chocolate dipped Rice Krispy with white chocolate
chips and white chocolate on top. After that we ate our treats at a picnic
table and we went back to the boat dock and waited about 3 min for the boat to
come. We got on the boat and headed to the main land.
Overall, Mackinac Island was pretty fun. I recommend going to the gift shops, tasting fudge samples, and taking your bike. You can see more of this beautiful island if you have a way to get around.
This place is an active dig site with the remains of at least 61 mammoths. It is believed to have once been a watering hole with steep sides. These animals would fall in and could not get out. We toured the site and learned about excavation techniques and these ancient creatures that once roamed the area. We chose the guided option over the self guided tour, which worked out well for the kids. I feel like they learn more when an expert is delivering the facts.
Windcave National Park, South Dakota
Unfortunately, we visited during a time when the elevators were broken, so we weren’t able to go into the caves. Nevertheless, we sure did learn a lot about the cave system from the Visitor’s Center and the rangers. There are over 150 miles of caves that have currently been discovered and mapped. The kids earned their next Junior Ranger badge, which the rangers make the kids work pretty hard for! We stayed at Elk Mountain campground in the park, which was surprisingly empty. We asked the host and we said they rarely get more than 40 percent booked. I highly recommend the ranger talks at any of the National Parks. This evening, we listened to a ranger talk Animal Interactions in Wind Cave. Basically, the prairie dogs are vital to this ecosystem. Since the elevators were not working, we also attended a ranger talk about the caves. We huddled around a tiny hole entrance, but one with a great story and cold air stream. Learning from experts in the environment sure beats a textbook!
Custer State Park
We started our drive through Custer State Park and off to the left saw a huge herd of bison down in the valley. We happened to be in town during the Sturgis Bike Rally, so there were bikes parked everywhere on the side of the road. We stopped to take a look, but not get too close. It’s amazing that people are willing to risk their lives to get close to these powerful animals. Because we had already seen the herd, we didn’t enter the park and pay the entrance fee. We saw what we came for!
Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota
We visited Mount Rushmore and it was just as magnificent as we imagined. When we first entered the park, I was a little thrown off by the parking structure and $10 parking fee, which wasn’t covered by the National Park Pass. As we walked through the towering monument pillars, the kids immediately eyed Theodore Roosevelt, dressed in costume. We snapped an picture and he encouraged us to attend his talk in the cafe. I’m so glad we did! Once again, the NPS did not disappoint. It was informative, funny, and engaging, even for the littlest one. There was a bit of construction on a viewing platform, but we felt like we got a pretty clear glimpse of the monument. Another Junior Ranger badge for the kids!
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
The Badlands campground is owned by a concessionaire, so getting a spot was a little more challenging that we first imagined. We got in later than we were hoping, but snagged one of the last spots. Rather than move the whole motorhome, we biked to the visitor’s center and the kids picked up their Junior Ranger books. During the evening, we attended a ranger talk on Bison, followed by an astronomy ranger talk, with three telescopes aimed at the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter’s moons. That night it poured, with thunderstorms and lightning. Of course the kids slept through the whole thing. The next morning, we hiked the “Notch” trail with beautiful views of the geologic formations where exotic marine mammals once lived.
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota
We stumbled upon this site as we were leaving Badlands. This very informative center taught us about the Cold War conflict and nuclear launch facilities in South Dakota. Pretty interesting stuff… and another Junior Ranger badge.
When we went to Dinosaur National Park, it was fun. One of the first things we did was go on the shuttle. We walked in and got our Junior Ranger books. And then had to answer questions about dinosaurs, like what did they use to uncover the bones? They brushed it all off so they could see the bones. We looked at the big wall of dinosaur bones and we got to touch the bones. We had to do the National parks pledge and we got our Junior Ranger badge.