Lake Powell Paradise

It’s summer time in Arizona, and around my house, that means cooling off in the beautiful waters of Lake Powell. Yea!

Lake Powell is like floating in the Grand Canyon. The cliffs and large rock formations are beautiful.

We have a houseboat that we jam pack with people, food, water toys, and games. We try to find a private cove with sandy beaches and snuggle in for the week.

We usually drive the boat a few hours into the lake, but this year we stayed fairly close to the marina, so the cliffs were not as high. It didn’t matter though. The smaller rocks around us were perfect for exploring and jumping in the water to cool off:)

The kids would wake board and tube behind the ski boat all day and in the evening we would drive around and just enjoy the red rocks and blue water.

Every turn would have a new rock or cliff to admire.

And what would a vacation be without some handwork to relax with? I brought my Persian Tiles along and crocheted while I enjoyed the view.

It was a great week. I can’t believe it is already a memory. But what SWEET memories they are!

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a virtual Lake Powell trip with us. I hope you have sunny days and smooth water wherever you may be:)

20 Things to do in San Francisco 

Hello!  I am so excited to share this post with you today!  I just got back from a fantastic vacation to beautiful San Francisco.  We spent 5 days there and never ran out of fun things to do.  In fact, there are so many things to do there that I thought I  would share the things we did and the lessons we learned so you won’t have to research and make the same mistakes we did.  You’re welcome!:)

Here is a list is 20 things to do that are all amazingly fun.  Most of them are free or very inexpensive which is also an A+!  Pick and choose a few, or do them all.  Whatever you choose, you are sure to have a GREAT TIME!!

  1. Amtrak Coast Starlight Train
  2. Muir Woods
  3. Walk across Golden Gate Bridge
  4. Fort Point National Monument
  5. Alcatraz
  6. Walking Tour (includes #7-12),
  7. Ferry Terminal
  8. Cable Car Ride
  9. China Town
  10. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factoey
  11. Coit Tower
  12. Pier 39
  13. Lombard Street
  14. Fisherman’s Wharf
  15. Boudin Sourdough Bread Factory
  16. Ghirardelli’s Square
  17. Giants Baseball Game
  18. Haight and Ashbury Streets
  19. Japanese Tea Gardens
  20. Oakland Latter-day Saint Temple and Bridges

1. Amtrack Coast Starlight-


Instead of flying, if you have time and can take the train up or down the coast,  I highly recommend it.  We boarded at Union Station in Los Angeles.  We relaxed and visited as we went up the coast.  What a way to travel!

We didn’t get a sleeper car.  It was an 11 hour ride and cost $80.00 per person.  The seats were roomy and we could walk and move all over the train.

The push of a button opened the doors between the cars.  The ground is extra shaky here!  Watch that step!:)

There was a water station on the wall of our car. There was also a snack bar available for munchies.  We weren’t completely happy with the food, so we called ahead for a pizza to be delivered to one of our stops along the way.  Woo hoo! Hot gourmet pizza on the train!  We felt so smart:)!


While we could see the pretty view from our seats, there was also a glass observation car that was available to everyone.  Gorgeous!!  I loved traveling on the train❤️

We arrived at Jack London Square in Oakland and hired an Uber to take us to a car rental company.

2. Muir Woods-

Muir Woods is a Redwood Forest National Monument. It is like walking in a Faerie Land. The trees are majestic and the greenery is soft and enchanting.    

You don’t need hiking shoes, but a nice walking shoe is a good idea. The paths are flat and paved.   There are hiking paths, but the walking trails were plenty for us.

The hardest part about Muir Woods is the parking. Unless you get there before 9:00am or earlier, don’t even plan on parking there.  The lots fill up quickly and the parking lines on the side of the road literally can be MILES long!  

This is the Donahue pick up location
Take the public transit shuttle.  It is FREE with your receipt for entering the park:). How slick is that?!   They drive you right to the front entrance and drive you back.  Easy!  Donahue and Pohono are the two pick up points.  Check online for more info of times and directions.

3.  Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Walking across the bridge is a “bucket list” must. It is 1.2 miles from edge to edge.  The roaring sound of the traffic, the slight movement of the bridge, and the spectacular views make this a favorite activity.  There is a walking and bike riding path on the edges making it very safe.  This is a FREE adventure!

  • If you are with a group, it is a good idea to have a “designated driver” here.  
  • Park on the North side of the bridge.  (We did this right after Muir Woods and took the exit right before the bridge and parked in the parking area there)
  • Walk across.  Have your designated driver only walk halfway and walk back.  He or she  can drive to the other side and park there to pick you up:)
  • The south side has the visitors center and lots of pretty photo taking places.

4. Fort Point National Monument

Right below the Golden Gate Bridge on the South side is Fort Point National Monument.  It is a good idea to combine this with walking over the Golden Gate Bridge.

This was an interesting Monument.  I liked seeing the old canons and canon balls they used to defend the old city.  We enjoyed exploring the little caverns and staircases. 

5. Alcatraz– 


If you can only do one thing in San Francisco, this is the must see attraction.  It costs about $40.00 and you need to book your reservations in advance.  You may need to book your reservations months and months in advance if you are going over a holiday.  


The ferry ride over takes about 10 minutes.  Once you are there, the National Parks Service gives you a headset with a WONDERFUL audio tour of the old prison.  The voices and sounds of the prison make the place come to life.   You can go at your own pace and linger, take pictures, and visit all you want.  Don’t miss it!!

6.7.8.9.10.11.12.- Walking Tour

I have combined all of these into a San Francisco Walking Tour Post that can be found here.  

If you don’t like to walk, you can just check out the locations on that post and drive to the ones that interest you:).  But, if you like walking and really seeing, and feeling the pulse of the city, definitely give this tour a try.  It is about 5 miles long with A LOT of stairs!



13.  Lombard Street- 
Lombard Street is claimed as “the most crooked street in the world”.   It is located on Presidio Blvd.  and ends on the Embarcadero.  


You can walk down the street, but I recommend driving.  The walkers don’t get to enjoy the fun of the eight hairpin turns, and isn’t that what it’s all about?    But if you are with a group, you may want to send one walker down a bit before you start the drive to get your picture 🙂

14. Fishermans Wharf-


There is a lot of shopping and fun hustle and bustle here.  There are street entertainers and lots of good food.  Yum!  I recommend eating at the Boudin Bakery.   They have the best sourdough bread in the city:)

15.  The Boudin Bakery-


This is the place to get your clam chowder in a bread bowl.  Believe me, we tried other places, and the bread was tough.  The bread here, tastes like it was almost hot out of the oven!   That’s probably because it was.  

The factory is right there with a little museum and views of the actual Bakery below.   The smell is amazing!   

If you like fish tacos, they make their own sourdough tortillas. Amazing!!   The fish and chips were fantastic as well.   Give this place a try, you won’t be sorry:)

16.  Ghirardelli Square- 

If you like chocolate, and really, who doesn’t, this is the place for you!  It is located just west of Fishermans Wharf on Beach Street.   There are lots of shops in the square, but the best is of course Ghirardellis!

They don’t offer tours of the actual factory, but they have a demonstration in the back of the shop.   The sundaes are so delicious and the give free chocolate samples to everyone who enters.

17. Giants Baseball Game


If you are visiting the area during baseball season, be sure to pick up a game at the beautiful AT&T Park.  They have tickets ranging from cheap to expensive. We spent $17.00 and were in the top tier.  We could still see great though.  

The food at the stadium wasn’t that good.  We all wished we would have just tried the classic sausage hot dog offered in the hallway.   Oh well, next time:)

I bought a hat outside of the stadium from a vendor for 10.00 and felt quite smart because my hubby  bought his at Target for 17.00!  

18. Haight and Ashbury Streets

Groovy!   This area is recognized as the place where the hippie movement began.  The shops are all eclectic and bright colored.  Far out, man!

And of course, I would never let my fabric loving friends down by not finding a fabric store on my trips:) I went to Mendels fabric store on Haight Street.   While most of the store was more of a craft store, there was a fabric section in the back.  I think it geared more toward fur and fabric on rolls, but there was some cute cotton by the yard in the back.   

19. Japanese Tea Gardens-


If you have never been to a tea garden before, you are in for a zen like treat. The oldest public Japanese Tea Garden in the United States is inside the Golden Gate Park located between John F. Kennedy Dr. and Martin Luther King Dr.

The quiet serenity is palpable here.  The manicured hedges and soft bubbling fountains really do bring a feeling of peace and well being.  

And, if you get here before 10:00am it is FREE!  Even more serene for your pocketbook:)!

20.  The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints Temple and Bridges – 


Up on the hill on the Oakland side of the Bay,  you will see the Latter-day Saint temple.   It is a beautiful building with spectacular views of the city and Bay Area.  It is especially stunning at night.  There is a free visitors center there as well. 

It is fun to take a drive over the Bay bridge to get to the temple.   Enjoy the temple and views, and then complete the tour around the Bay by driving over the San Rafael Bridge and finishing with the Golden Gate Bridge.

There you have it.  I hope this list is helpful to any of you who are thinking of taking a trip to San Francisco.   Enjoy your trip!



 

Spring Break in the Las Vegas Desert 

I am one of those moms who enjoys being with my kids so much that I will go on two spring breaks just because two kids have different spring break schedules.  Can’t they all just coordinate their schedules?  The bad thing about these spring breaks is that they both go to ASU.  One is in law school and the other is an undergraduate.  And they STILL have different spring breaks!  Ugh!

Oh well, more driving time to crochet on baby blankets:)!This blanket is taking quite a bit longer than I anticipated.  I didn’t remember the double ended crochet stitch going so slowly, but it does.  And I have another one to do…

Oh well, it is worth it.  The blanket has lots of texture and lots of little holes for fingers and toes.  I love how it is different colors on the front and back.  The instructions for this stitch are here if you want them.

The drive through the spring desert was so beautiful.  The flowers were purple, yellow, and orange.  I just love road trips. I especially love springtime in the desert road trips:)!

Last week we did Disneyland.  This week we spent a few days in Las Vegas.  We do Vegas different than probably most everyone.  I did not spend one penny at the casinos.  Not one!  But we did enjoy a few shows. We went to the Blue Man group and the Cirque-Ka

We loved the shows, but especially liked our hikes in Red Rocks Canyon just outside of Las Vegas.  It was beyond beautiful!

We did two small hikes.  One in the Red Rocks area and one to Willow Springs.  Both were easy, short hikes that everyone could enjoy. 

Those red sand stone rocks were beautiful!! We even spotted a caterpillar nest!  I wonder what kind of moth or butterfly they will be?

The hike to the waterfall was shady and cool.  It was only about 1.5 miles of fairly easy trail.

And lastly we spent some time at the Las Vegas Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temple. 

We had a super SWEET trip, but I am definitely ready to stay home for a while!

Toto- We’re Not In Kansas Anymore…

My best friend’s daughter got married today in Utah.  Here is what my car looked like this morning….This Arizona girl is NOT used to this!  The blanket of snow is so beautiful, but I must admit that I am worried about my drive home tomorrow.

Yesterdays drive from Eastern Arizona through Las Vegas to Utah was a wet, messy drive the whole way.  Back splash from trucks made the drive especially exciting.  Not!

We did have one highlight though.  We had a Destination Dining experience.  Whenever we go through Las Vegas, we HAVE to stop at Tacos El Gordo.  Have you ever been there?  If not, you really should make it  a must stop on your next trip to Las Vegas.

This taco shop is the real deal.  I don’t know why they call them Gordo though. They are little 3 inch tacos.

They shave the meat off of this big skewered thing and cover it with a green sauce of some sort.  Yummy yummy!!  Really, give this place a try.  It is a definite dining destination:)!

But of course, the highlight was the wedding.  It was beautiful.  I am glad we braved the cold.  The couple is so happy. Just as newlyweds should be:)

It has been a very SWEET day!

Bon Voyage!! -Gathering yarn for my trip


The day has finally come!  We leave tonight to start our 30th anniversary cruise:). Yea! Yea!  We will be traveling to the Jewels of the Aegean on the Oceania Riviera.   Well,  that really means we’re going to Greece and Israel!!    Can you tell that I am excited? 

Oceania has been so nice to work with so far. They sent us a very nice itinerary booklet with our names printed on it.  It is very customized to us.  We feel pampered already!

This is a 5 1/2 star ship that is geared to food lovers like myself.  I really am a foodie so I am excited to see what makes this ship known for its dining.

I of course am gathering my travel projects.  I would never let 19 hours on a plane go without some handwork.  You get me, right?  We crocheter/quilters are a keep your hands busy breed!


I figure that now is the time to start (and hopefully catch up) on my peacock bag.  Aren’t the colors pretty?  They are the originals from the CAL.  I love my little starfish stitch markers.  They match so well!  

I ordered this beautiful yarn cutter to wear as a necklace in the plane.  I didn’t even know they made these until one of you fantastic bloggers blogged about it.  I wish I could remember who, but I can’t so to all of you,  Thx!  

I also ordered this fantastic camel hair yarn with thoughts of the Middle East. 


It is really soft and pretty, but still kind of smells like a camel, lol:)!  I wound these hanks up into two lovely cakes of yarn that I am also going to bring just in case I finish the peacock bag.  It doesn’t look that hard…..

I plan on buying Israeli and Greek yarn and fabric to bring home as my souvenirs.  Won’t that be fun?

Soooo… I am off to start packing!  

SWEET!!!

–Tracy:)

I’m Glad that I Live in This Beautiful World

It has been a wonderful few days driving with my husband and visiting our children in Idaho:).  We enjoyed a day hiking on the west side of the Teton Mountains on the edges of Yellowstone Park.  I felt like I was in a Bob Ross painting with “happy little trees and streams”:)

Summer in Idaho is beautiful!  While I am sure that the long winter months would be brutal, the lovely summer is really picturesque.  Maybe I should become a snowbird….


No, I am an Arizona girl to be sure.   I like it hot.  But I do appreciate the beauty of other places.  I especially enjoy seeing the abundance of so much water! We saw two waterfalls on our hikes,  Cave Falls and Mesa Falls.


I felt like I was at a very little sister of Niagara Falls as I was right on the edge of Mesa Falls.  BEAUTIFUL!  I wonder if the falls freeze in the winter?

We were able to enjoy the views of harvesting of barley on our drive to the hike.  Talk about amber waves of grain!  So so pretty!

I wish that I could have all of my children close by. I miss them. But I very much enjoy the moments we do share. It has been a SWEET few days:)

–Tracy:)

A Visit to the Heartland

My children are spreading their wings and leaving the nest.  Where did those little kids go?  They are gone and  grown to now.  But I am so happy with the  wonderful new additions  that their spouses are to our family.

This week I visited my #2 son and his new bride in Wisconsin where he is working for the summer.  It was so fun because I went out with my best friend  whose daughter and son in law are working there too!  We had some fun adventures:)

Chicago — We started in Chicago where we went to the Bean.  I don’t really get this landmark.  It is a huge mirror covered bean that you walk under and take pictures.  It is very odd, but kind of hypnotic as well.  It is one of those must sees if you ever go to Chicago.

I, of course, had to have a Chicago style hot dog.  The hot dog is just your normal hot dog.  In fact, the one I got down by the bean was not as good as a Hebrew National.  BUT the toppings did make it exceptionally good.  It had fluorescent green relish (I wonder why it is so green?), hot peppers, sliced tomatoes, and a pickle spear –Yum!

We went to the Art Institute which was FANTASTIC!!  I loved seeing the original art and the beautiful architecture.  I loved the beautiful bold colors of Renoir.  This young girl sewing reminds me of my cute red headed girls learning to stitch:)img_0696I can’t believe how the strokes of Vangough’s brush seem to bring him into the room and he is alive again.
My daughter in law loved loved loved the art especially Monet.   But we both enjoyed the American art as well.  American Gothic and Nighthawks were both quite moving .

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Being from dry, Arizona made me especially appreciate all of the green and the flowers.    There were beautiful little and big parks at every turn.  To quote Dorothy,  “I’m not in Kansas anymore!”  It looks like you just throw out seeds and they grow.  .  You only need a lawn mower,  everything else takes care of itself!

Nauvoo– We also took the time to drive 5 hours to visit the historic city of Nauvoo.  Being a member of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints made this place very special to me.  I could feel the spirit of my pioneer ancestors as I walked the streets.  The old buildings have been restored and the tour guides are all dressed in period clothing.  It  feels like you are in the 1800’s.


We were there while the Nauvoo  Pageant was going on.  It was wonderful!!  The colors, costumes and music were all so big and bold.  It was a great evening:)!



Milwaukee–We of course had to take a trip to Lake Michigan.  I just can’t believe this is a lake and not an ocean. Crazy!   It is beautiful!


Pokemon was the constant activity of this trip as well.  The kids kept trying to get me to join the mania, but I have held strong.  I have too many other time fillers to add this to my day!  They were funny though.  Is Pokemon taking over your world too?


It was wonderful to be with my SWEET children and friends and see this fun part of our country.  I hope your summer is going well too!

–Tracy:)

Lake Powell – A Week in Paradise

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My son in law fishing in the cove just off our boat.

Our family spends the first week of every June on a houseboat at beautiful Lake Powell in Northern Arizona.   Lake Powell is immediately North of the Grand Canyon.  It is like being in the Grand Canyon only with water.image

It is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth.  We have our favorite cove where we dock the boat and literally don’t see another boat for the whole week.  I feel as if God created all of His majesty just for me and my amazing family.  It is a somewhat spiritual experience to be sure.

I enjoyed a relaxing week of playing in the water with my grandson and watching my kids wakeboard and tube.   In the afternoons I would sit on the top of the boat and put a few stitches in my “As we go Stripey Afghan”.

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Crocheting on Lake Powell

Later in the week we took a few short hikes.  The first was to Rainbow Bridge National Monument.   We drove the boat there and then hiked a mile or so to the bridge.   It really was amazing.image

Later we docked the boat at the marina and drove a few miles to Horseshoe Bend.  Wow!  Talk about a crazy view!  We stood on a 1000 ft cliff with no railings and watched the sun set over the Colorado River as it turned the bend.   This is not for the faint of heart!  But once again, Wow! AMAZING!

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Horseshoe Bend at sunset

As you can see,  We had a fantastic get away.  It was a SWEET time with my favorite SWEET people!

I hope you all had a nice holiday as well.

–Tracy:)imageimage