Monday, October 27, 2008

Clark Planetarium- Salt Lake City

Tyler's sixth grade classes at his school took a field trip to the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City a couple weeks ago. I was lucky enough to get the day off from watching children- thanks Stacey and Blanca! Dallin went to a neighbor's house and had a blast! The morning started at 8:30 when we boarded the new Front Runner commuter train that runs from Davis county to Salt Lake City. From there we took the Trax to the Planetarium at the Gateway Mall. Trax is like a mix of a cable car and bus. The kids loved riding the Front Runner especially since they didn't have to sit in their seats and could walk around. There were giggly sixth grade girls going from group to group to socialize. I felt bad for the poor commuters that were bombarded by over 75 sixth graders! No, really the kids were entertaining! Since I was on the field trip with Tyler, they assigned me 4 boys to supervise. They were all good kids and didn't make trouble.

Tyler on his first ride on the Front Runner!
As you enter the Planetarium, there is this globe suspended by three cables. If you are in a group like we were, they have a presentation that shines four different projector images onto the globe to give it a full picture of whatever planet they are presenting. In our group, they started with the sun and worked their way out to pluto. When the image of earth came up on the globe, I was surprised to have a spiritual moment as I looked at the beautiful blues and greens. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to God for this gift of a beautiful, perfect planet for life in the middle of the Milky Way. Who would have thought that I would have a spiritual moment on a sixth grade field trip! Just a couple of minutes later, one of the teachers sat down by me and mentioned just about the same thing that I had experienced! Someone was really inspired to put the program together!
As you tour the museum, there are many different space things to look at. Here is a suit from one of the Apollo missions.
This is an actual moon rock from another of the Apollo missions. It was really hard to get a decent picture of this with the glare of the angled glass and my flash.
I really liked this form of the moon and tried to get an artistic picture of it. I think it turned out okay. Could be better if I had a tripod and worked with the lights more.
I just liked the colors in this photo and the interesting signs that make it feel it really is Central Station.
This young man is one of Tyler's friends from Church. He was also in my group. I looks like he is on the planet Mars! The school my son attends has a manditory uniform policy. White shirts with collars and blue dress pants are required for field trips. While we were there, we also saw a presentation in the dome theater. It was presented by a man with a microphone so that you could ask questions if you had them and he could stop to answer them. I was actually tired by the time this presentation was done because of all of the information I took in. Then we went to the Imax theater located in the museum and watched a movie that was narrated by Tom Cruise. It was very informative and was in 3-D. The kids really liked it- but it is geared towards school aged kids and adults.
By the time we got back to the station to leave Salt Lake City, I had a small headache and was tired. We all had a great time and learned quite a bit. I would recommend this museum to older kids who are interested in the planets and the solar system. Toddlers wouldn't find this museum too exciting since it is geared towards children that can read.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sydney's New Dog

Sydney got a new dog! We rescued her from the Davis County Animal Shelter. She is a chihuahua/pekinese mix we guess. Her name is Sophie. I know, you are probably wondering why we even let her get a dog when we already have one, and a bird, and rabbits and snakes, mice and lizards. The story began about 10 months ago when we had our cat Nickels. Dallin had been waking up several times a night even though he was over a year old. I would go into the room and the cat was in the crib with Dallin. I was sure he was the reason Dallin kept waking up. Also, the cat fur was driving me crazy as was the hairballs I would find and have to clean up. I was also pretty sure my allergies were worse having the cat.

Finally I told the family I was through with having a cat at our house. I put up an add on KSL which has an awesome classified section. No one responded. A week went by and I was growing impatient since the baby was waking up and I couldn't lock the cat in a room or else he would have an accident. Ryan and I are also firm believers in not having cats roam city streets and pooping in flower beds. If we lived in the country, it would be different.

Soooo, I decided to take Nickels to the animal shelter. That night, Sydney was begging to go say goodbye one more time to him. I said we could go after school the next day. When we got there, Nickels had already been given a new home. He didn't even stay there a full day! Sydney was so upset, since she was so close to him. He would sometimes sleep on her bed.

This brings us to our recent purchase. Sydney has been begging, drawing pictures and sending us letters about getting a cat. I found out one of the kids I babysit has cat allergies. That was enough of an excuse to rule out a cat. I suggested a small dog that could sleep on her bed. We went to the shelter and found this cute little bundle of energy. She is very sweet and loves to give kisses (licks). She is an awesome lap dog and keeps Sampson company. We only had one accident on the first morning, then no more for over a week now! Sydney loves Sophie and enjoys taking her for walks with her friend and her friend's dog. Sampson is just too big for her to handle and hasn't been properly trained. Sophie's side profile. She is very soft to the touch and I love her little curled up tail that wags very fast when she is excited. She reminds me of a small fox.

Sleeping with Sydney. What an awesome companion dog.
Sophie vs. Sampson. Just a little size difference!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Pictures

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Popper Fun

One of the toys that we have is the Fisher-Price popper toy. Dallin and one of the kids I babysit that was also 22 months, figured out a new way to play with this toy. We had a couple of pieces of paper from school laying on the floor. It was in small strips and they were spelling words from one of the older kids. The little boys crumpled them up and put them into the popper toy. Then they turned it on. Those papers went flying and the kids laughed and grabbed them again. They stuffed them as fast they could and turned it on again. This kept them busy for about a half hour! Dallin's smile says it all!

Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve

One of our favorite places to go on a warm, Sunday afternoon is the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve. It is located in Layton, Utah. We like it because of the well-made boardwalk that you can walk on and the diversity of the animals. One year we saw a family of red foxs that had a den just 10-15 feet off of the boardwalk. One thing that you need to take with you besides your binoclars is mosquito repelant. The boardwalk is over a mile long, in a loop and has different learning stations along the way. There is also a huge tower that is not handicap accessible, but offers a great view of the wetlands. You also get a great view of the mountains and Antelope Island. Enjoy the pics!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh Happy Day! I'm a CNA!

I passed my state exams to be a Certified Nursing Assistant! I set this goal over two years ago, and I finally got the courage up to take the state exam- two days before it expired. I was really scared of passing things off in front of an Registered Nurse. Go figure. I can speak infront of hundreds without notice, but I was freaked out about the skills portion of the exam. I didn't know that two students get tested together at the same time which makes it less threatening. I also had a really easy senario to have to perform. I could have done the harder ones, but it was the luck of the draw. I'm so happy! I will be certified for two years and can go to work in Nursing Homes, Home Health Care, Rehabilitative/Restorative Therapy places, Assisted living facilities, or Hospitals if they allow new CNA's. There are always jobs available for this kind of work and the projection is that it will increase as baby boomers retire and need help. I could now apply for nursing school if I wanted. But don't worry. I'm not doing anything right now but running my day care business! Hope your day goes well!

Need a new handbag- or want one?

Click here to enter a contest to receive a handbag- FREE! It is sponsered by Handbag Planet and they are opening an online store on October 14th and 15th. The contest is free and you don't even have to pay for shipping or handling and it requires no credit card to complete. They are giving away 24 handbags in 24 hours! You can pick which one you want to put your name in the drawing for. Or you can do what I am doing and earn more entries by putting it on your blog or website or other places. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wasatch Reptile Expo- 2008

My other life is centered around the business that my husband runs out of our basement. He raises snakes to sell on the internet and at reptile expos. In September was our annual Wasatch Reptile Expo put on at the Utah State Fairgrounds in Salt Lake City. This year, Ryan had many more snakes to sell than in previous years. I have spent time helping out at previous expos, but this year I wanted to add to our capital by introducing toys for kids with a reptile theme. We had done this on a much smaller scale to raise money for the Utah Herpitological Association a few years back. We had sold little toy snakes for 50 cents a piece and gave away some candy. It was a big hit back then, but I hadn't done anything like it since. The parents told us they loved being able to buy a souvenir without having to buy a live animal. The kids loved the toys and enjoyed a quick sugar rush while Mom or Dad dragged them around the expo. Back then, it wasn't geared to kids and there wasn't as many animals to touch or get close to. This has all changed.

This is a picture of my new idea to have a table dedicated to the selling of toys for the little visitors. It was a good idea because of how well it sold. This was my plan- I went to our local Dollar Tree and bought any toy I could find that had to do with reptiles. I borrowed $60 from Ryan (from a snake fund) and bought packages of little snakes and geckos that had eight toys in the bag. I sold those for 5o cents a piece and they sold like hotcakes! So, I profited $3 for every eight tiny snakes bought. Then I also bought these really cute books that fold out into a snake shape. They sold for $3 a piece. There were 1 foot snakes that you could put in water and they would expand 600 %. They were also sold for $3 a snake. I had some little pieces of gummy creature candies that we sold for a quarter. Then, the big favorite- a squishy frog that was clear and filled with colored fluid and little confetti pieces. they also sold for $3. Each of the $3 items netted $2 since I had bought them for a dollar. This was how it looked right before we opened on Saturday.

Within two hours of opening, I sold out of most of the sixty dollars worth of toys. I was able to pay Ryan back and still have about 70 dollars left. I had Sydney watch the table while I went to the nearest Dollar Tree and bought $70 worth of toys. While I was there, I got a phone call from Sydney saying some people wanted drinks. I thought, there is no way I'm going to try and figure out what type of pop people want, so I grabbed a couple of cases of water bottles at the Dollar Tree. I then sold the water for $1 a bottle. These sold very well too. There was no concessions at the expo, but even though we were inside, people were getting hot and had a hard time finding the drinking fountain. That is why the water sold so well. Later on that night I had to buy more toys for the next day. I spent $80 of our Saturday's profit and was well stocked again. At the end of the Expo on Sunday, I had earned $300 profit from selling the toys! Sydney had her eye on a baby bunny for sale and we let her buy it with the money she earned. I was able to purchase a used LCD computer monitor and a new soundcard and speakers with our earnings!

This is Ryan's nice glass display that he just bought. It helps to make sure the snakes don't grow legs and walk away- if you know what I mean! Stealing is a problem at these shows, so people have to show receipts as they go out the door past security.

Here is a bigger picture of Ryan and his display. All of the animals on the black table cloths are his as well as the ones in the display case. You can see my toy table in the corner as we were placed right in the corner of the Expo. That is why I could leave Sydney with the toys since Ryan was right next to us. Tyler had a scout campout Friday/Saturday so he didn't come with us. Then on Sunday he chose to go to church and pass the sacrament for the first time. I made sure to see him pass the sacrament, then I hurried down to SLC to help out Ryan and Sydney. Dallin was babysat by our next-door neighbors on Saturday and then my sister Kristi came up from Provo to watch him on Sunday for us. Thanks everyone!

Our Dumerils Boa was on display. The smaller snakes on top are the babies. This helped people to know how big they can get.

Ryan's new banner with the name of his business.

Here is the photo I promised of me holding the tarantula. Yes, it really is me- can't you tell by the freckles on my arm? This was the second time I've held a tarantula.

Sydney eating one of the novelties of the show. Lollipops with real scorpions or crickets in them, dead of course! No, she didn't eat all of the lollipop. Just the parts without the scorpion in it. These pops sold for $3 a piece by a guy that breeds crickets.

Sydney petting a burmese python that was getting a break from being cooped up in his cage. This guy came up and asked if we wouldn't mind having the python be on the ground behind our toy display. I said it wasn't a problem. Pretty soon, people would stop by our table, then see the snake behind us and go and look at it. They stopped buying the toys! I was glad when they put the snake away after only about 15 minutes. The chair in the photo is where Sydney and I had been sitting.

These three little guys (or gals) looked fake, but as I got a closer look, they were real! They were real posers! Just about as cute as bearded dragons get!

This young family was so cute, I just had to take a picture. They reminded me of the Ditto family- a couple of years ago when they only had four kids!

This is an interesting story. See the man holding the megaphone? That is Guy Versluis. He puts on the Expo every year. He was announcing the drawing for free prizes in this picture. Anyone who came automatically got a ticket. I noticed before the Expo that no one seemed to be taking pictures of the booths. When I asked Ryan about it, he said that Guy is usually too busy to do it. I then said I would volunteer since I had the camera and I've become a shutter-bug. Guy was very happy to have me take the pictures. I became the unofficial- official photographer for the Expo. The pictures will be replacing many that are currently on the web site. In this photo, I suggested that Guy tell everyone to smile and say "reptiles". He did and here is the result! I then told him to tell them to check out the website in a couple of weeks in order to see themselves. I guess I'm a shameless marketer at heart!

Since I took the pictures, I get to use some for my blog! These are our friends, Shaun and Jen. They had a booth next to ours. When the crowds slowed down, Jen would come over to our toy table and visit. Then her husband would give her this look of "Help!" and she would go back to her duties. They used three of my toy snakes to fill empty spots in their display. Check it out- and the price tag attached!

This price tag attracted many second glances, and even a news crew got a close-up of it. I was proud to say that one of my "stock" became famous (maybe) on the nightly news. I didn't stay up to see it.

Another one of our crazy snake friends- Evan Jameson (the taller one) with his worker that I don't know the name of (sorry). His wife is very sweet and I get along well with her too.

Ryan would every-so-often take out a previously frozen mouse and feed it to a snake. He would lay it on the display case and a crowd would gather every time. Here are some kids that enjoyed watching the snake and learning about how they ate.

This young man was one of the few that asked to hold our Dumerils Boa. He had a great time. His friends thought it was really neat.

Just one of the animals brought to be shown. People learn to appreciate things if they encounter them and have a good experience with them. This tortoise is owned by our friend Jim Dix who is pictured below.

Jim owns his own reptile rescue service. If someone has a venomous snake in their yard, they call him. When the Division of Wildlife Resources needs to train an officer in how to handle such animals as rattle snakes, they go to Jim. He is like Steve Irwin without the antics. Very mellow guy.

Well, I've reached the end of my photos I planned to post. I hope you enjoyed this eye opening journey into my "other" life!