We have had a fantastic summer! It ends soon. The kids go back to school this week. I'm already frightened for the coming winter. I don't like Utah winters. I just hope I've soaked up enough vitamin D this summer to last me until Spring.
I've tried to spend as much time as I could making memories with my kids this summer. I'm sending my youngest off to kindergarten soon, and though right now the idea of my mornings off seems pretty exciting, I'm going to miss the kids.
Surprisingly, for all the things we've done this summer I've spent very little money. There are a lot of free things to do in Utah if you know where to go. One of our favorites is the Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base. It's free and really big! You could spend most of the day there.
Also if you live in the Salt Lake City area you can take advantage of something called the Communtiy Exploration Pass. I hesitate to tell you about it because I think it's so awesome, and I don't want it to be too hard for me to get a pass. There is a limited number avalible from the Salt Lake City libraries on the first of every month. The pass gets your family (it says up to 4 people but they usually let all 5 of us in without question) into Discovery Gateway Children's Muesum...
The Natural History Museum of Utah... (the brand new one! It's soooo cool!)
Red Butte Gardens...
.... and the new Leonardo art/science muesum. FOR FREE!
Pretty awesome, right! You have to show up at one of the Salt Lake CITY libraries (not county libraries) early on the first of the month to get one. It's good for the entire month but you can only get one pass each year. You must have a city library card and they keep track of when you last got a pass. But, it's so worth it! You can read more about it HERE.
I also scored a great deal on a Seven Peaks Pass Of All Passes (Only 10$ apiece! Watch this site for deals) which got us into Seven Peaks Waterpark as often as we wanted as well various sporting events and the Tracy Aviary, which was way cooler than I thought it would be...
Did you also know that on the top floor of the LDS Church History Museum downtown there is a children's area that teaches about the history of the church in South America. There were lots of fun things to play with, including big foam blocks to build play houses, a play kitchen area, and dress up clothes. Yep, thats right... completely free!
Apart from getting into places for free we also tried our hand at camping this summer with all 3 kids (something we hadn't tried yet). We failed. It rained... hard. Our tent leaked, all our stuff got completely soaked, and we ended up heading down the canyon to spend the night in our own warm beds and driving back to the campsite the next day. Oh well, maybe next year.
Our last adventure of the summer was our annual trip to Yellowstone National Park. I've mentioned before we have "connections" to a cabin in Island Park Idaho, just 20 minutes outside Yellowstone. So... yeah, an almost free family vacation! (not quite though, we like to eat out a lot. The kitchen in the cabin is tiny)
Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring.
Our kids now have 4 Junior Ranger badges. They've earned one every year we go up to Yellowstone. It's a fun program for the kids where they learn how important it is to take care of our National Parks.
(It's FREE too :)
This summer we learned a lot, we swam a whole lot, and we played non-stop.
If you're from Utah then you know about Pioneer Day, or the 24th of July. It's the day we as Utahns celebrate the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley and a day to celebrate what a great state we live in. Here's a shot of P in her pioneer bonnet enjoying the day with her cousins.
My annual Harry Potter birthday party was a success. For now the kids go along with it and think it's a ton of fun. A few more years and they may think I'm a bit of a nut, but I'm going to keep it going as long as I can :)
"Professor Snape's Potions Class" The kids loved the slime we made!
A few other shots of our summer... P went home and made herself a bow and arrow and is asking for archery lessons after watching Brave in the movie theater.
Yeah, she MADE that, from a big stick she found in the yard!
A summer evening car show. This is how I remember spending my summers as a little girl. Car shows and swimming in the ocean off of Southern California.
We saw a whole lot of fireworks...
and had a ton of sleepovers with friends...
and watched the Olympics every night for 2 weeks straight!
(enjoying scones and tea during the opening ceremonies)
The boy even got a job this summer. Mowing Papa's lawn every week. He saved up a bit of money and happily spent it all on Legos and video games.
Amid all this fun stuff my husband and I were even able to get away for a day and celebrate 12 wonderfully happy years of marriage. Obviously it's been hard work too, but it's all so worth it! Our family makes us very happy and we are working on raising these kids together.
Here's hoping Autumn is just as fun!