Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Does Utah Celebrate July 24th?

The_Mormon_pioneers_coming_off_Big_Mountain_into_Mountain_dellPhoto copyrighted by Harry A. Kelley. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In Utah, July 24th is known as Pioneer Day, but do you know WHY we are celebrating? Many people think that we are celebrating Utah’s Statehood, but that didn’t happen until January 4, 1896.

Pioneer Day is the celebration of the Mormon Pioneers that sacrificed all they had and traveled to the Great Salt Lake Valley to escape the religious persecution they were facing throughout the rest of the country. After being driven from their homes, thousands of pioneers joined Brigham Young in this new land, and spread outward from there to settle what we now call Utah.

July 24, 1847 is the day Brigham Young and the first big group of pioneers entered the Great Salt Lake Valley. (That is why many of our celebrations are called “The Days of ‘47”.)

These early Pioneers faced many obstacles and challenges. I have a handful of Pioneer ancestors, and honor them for the courage and strength they had to sacrifice everything to come to the place I know and love as home.

Margaret Ann Griffiths Clegg:

One of my pioneer ancestors is Margaret Ann Griffiths Clegg. She was only 16 years old when she pulled a handcart to Utah with her family. They left Liverpool, England on May 28, 1856 and met up with the Edward Martin Handcart Company in Florence, Iowa to begin their journey to Utah. They were the last handcart company to arrive in the Great Salt Lake Valley that year, and as a consequence faced heavy snowstorms and starvation.

mag1Here is an excerpt from her autobiographical sketch, which can be read in its entire online:

In three days we sailed for America. We landed at Boston, U.S.A. and took the cars [train] and came on to Florence, Iowa and camped there four weeks till our handcars were ready for us, then we started to cross the plains. It was the first day of Sept, and we arrived in Salt Lake the same year on the last day of November 1856, making it three months traveling. We were as happy a set of people as ever crossed the plains, till the snow caught us. We would sit around the camp fire and sing and were as happy as larks.

Well after the snow caught us we had a pretty hard time. I have seen as many as seventeen sit around a campfire eating supper and I have seen some of them fall over dead as they were eating. I think there were six hundred and fifty of us when we started out to cross the plains, and I believe there were only three hundred that arrived in Salt Lake City. It was the last handcart company that came in that year. It was the last day of November 1856 when we arrived in Salt Lake, Utah.

My father took sick and he had to ride in one of the wagons, that had provisions. One day he felt a little better and thought that he would try and walk, but he could not keep up as he had rheumatism so bad he could not walk, and he took hold of the rod at the end gate of the wagon to help him along and when the teamster saw him, he slashed his long whip around and struck father on the legs and he fell to the ground. He could not get up again, and that was the last wagon for the handcarts had gone on before. As I was pulling a handcart I did not know anything about it till we got into camp, and then I went back about three miles to him, but could not find him, so I went back and I was nearly wild. I thought the wolves might have him.

My sister Jane lost the first joint of her big tow and I was terribly frozen up myself, I was laid up nine weeks in Salt Lake, because my feet had been so badly frozen. (After I was placed into the wagons and the frost left my feet, large bags of water formed at my heels.) My father died the next morning after we got in to Salt Lake. He was frozen to death, He was 47 years of age.

Learn more about the Utah Pioneers:

Check out our list of 2014 Pioneer Day Events and Activities

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Local Business Spotlight: Asphalt Materials Do It Yourself Landscape Center


We recently discovered Asphalt Materials, the place to go for anything to do with landscaping and making your yard look fabulous.

When you walk in, they have an eye-catching display of products you can choose from, and a friendly staff to assist you in what is needed for your project.

I loved the different variety of products offered, and even though we went in for a certain item, we ended up choosing a completely different product for our project to make it look more interesting. What we had in mind for our project changed because of the variety of products they have available, and it turned out much better than we had imagined.

Free Classes:

563716_501044793288651_1355984916_nNot only do they have materials needed for your yard, but free classes to teach you how to do it correctly. Even though classes are free, space is limited so make sure you go online and reserve your spot for the class you want to attend.

Some of their upcoming classes include Raised Box Gardens, Gardening For Beginners, Container Creations and more. Entire class schedule can be found on their website. 

(Photo to right courtesy of Asphalt Materials Facebook page.)

227445_168801546512979_8279043_n(Photo courtesy of Asphalt Materials Facebook page.)

Asphalt Materials is located at 8051 South 1300 West in Riverton. You can reach them at (801) 561-4231, or connect with them on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also visit their blog for Landscaping tips and ideas. I love their tips on using rock elements to update your landscaping.

I was provided with a gift certificate to visit and review Asphalt Materials. I was not compensated financially for my review, nor was I required or persuaded to write any specific type of review. The views and opinions expressed are all my own.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

More Pioneer Day Fun

Get out and celebrate Utah's Heritage this week. At Utah's Adventure Family we have a whole section of Pioneer ideas that will teach your kids hands-on history. Here are links to find hours, directions, and reviews of a few of our favorite Pioneer adventures:

Fort Bluff: Located in the small town of Bluff, this site is newly revamped to celebrate the Pioneer trek down Hole-in-the-Rock. There is a lot to do and explore, but it is quite a drive from Salt Lake to get there!

Fort Deseret: Just outside Delta is the only Pioneer fort made of mud left standing. There isn't a Visitor's Center or a guide, but this site is a relic of true Pioneer history.

Layton Heritage Museum: Layton has a great museum that focuses on the early settlers of the area. It's close to home and best of all, it's absolutely FREE!

Tooele Pioneer Museum: This one is right next door to the DUP museum, so you can check out both at the same time. There is a large array of Pioneer artifacts to browse. This is one of our boys' favorites.

Territorial Statehouse: This one is in Fillmore and is now a state park. We loved touring the old capital of Utah. There are artifacts, photos, and the old jail.

The Golden Spike at Promontory Point: Our boys love trains, and the reenactments of the meeting of the rails are really fun. Make sure to check which days they do reenactments before you go.
The Beehive House: Brigham Young's home in Salt Lake City is pretty luxurious by Pioneer standards. Check out his mansion which includes a music room and huge dining room.
Camp Floyd: This state park is west of Lehi in the small town of Fairfield. It served as an army encampment for the army that came west to put down the Pioneer "rebellion."
LDS Church History Museum: A lot of cool artifacts are in this Salt Lake City museum including Brigham Young's sunglasses and the death masks of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. 
Local Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museums: We visited the museums in Tooele, Moab, and Springville, but almost every town in Utah has one. 

For our reviews on hikes, museums, camping, and all other adventures in Utah, come on over to Utah's Adventure Family and follow us on TwitterInstagramFacebook or Pinterest.
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Celebrate the Pioneers: Pioneer Games and Music

Pioneer Games

This month we celebrate the pioneers that came to the Great Salt Lake Valley and founded the great state of Utah that we enjoy today. Below is a list of fun pioneer games and music to play at your own Pioneer Day celebration. You can also walk in the footsteps of the pioneers by hiking the Original Mormon Pioneer Trail in East Canyon.

For more Pioneer Day fun, check out our list of Pioneer Day Events and Activities.

Pioneer Games:

Stick Pull

Hoop Roll
hoop roll

Buzz Saw or Whirly Gig


Pioneer Games resources to check out:

Where to go to play pioneer games:

My favorite songs about the Pioneers:

Coming Home by Tim Gates

Come Come Ye Saints

Ephraim’s Rescue Soundtrack (Life and Death by Paul Cardall)

Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked

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20 Totally Awesome Free Summer Activities in Utah

Author: Alyssa Craig


With summer time in full swing and the heat rising, Utahns are on the lookout for fun, free activities for themselves and their families. Whether you are looking to enjoy the outdoors, experience some culture, or escape the heat, don’t forget to check out some of these great options!

  1. Clark Planetarium (Salt Lake City): Admission is free, but shows cost a small fee.
  2. Gardner Village (West Jordan): The grounds are free to peruse the shops and displays. Check their website for the many events taking place throughout the summer.
  3. Hill Aerospace Museum (Ogden): View a collection of over 90 aircrafts from all over the world and throughout history.
  4. St. George Children’s Museum (St.George): Admission is free, though a small donation is appreciated. There are also many camps, classes and events available for children of all ages.
  5. tooele railroadTooele Railroad Museum (Tooele): Go for a tour of the railroad station and let the kids ride on the little train. Tour guides are available.
  6. Rooftop Concert Series (Provo): Shows start at 7:30 and there are many surrounding restaurants available for food during the entertainment. Come early to set up blankets, chairs, etc.
  7. Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City): Comprised of five different galleries, this museum offers exhibitions, films, events and classes.
  8. Movies on the Plaza Deck (Snowbird, Little Cottonwood Canyon): Movies are shown every Friday night from June 5- August 15. It is outdoors in the mountains, so bring the bug spray and a light blanket for chillier summer nights.
  9. Payson Scottish Festival and Highland Games (Payson): July 11. Enjoy Scottish music, food, entertainment and more! There will also be a 5k, fun run and parade.
  10. Annual Highland Fling: July 26-August 1. Some activities may have a small cost.
  11. Lunch Bunch Concerts (Salt Lake City): Every weekday afternoon (excluding holidays) between 12-1 pm, enjoy free music, ranging from folk to jazz to pop and blues.
  12. Utah Olympic Park (Park City): While there are some activities that do require payment, there are a variety of fun activities available for free, including: Alf Engen Ski Museum, Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games Museum, Discovery Zone, and the Mountain Challenge.
  13. Cool Air Concert Series (Snowbird, Little Cottonwood Canyon): Every Saturday from June 21- August 9. Bring your lawn chairs and coolers!
  14. Layton Heritage Museum (Layton): See displays depicting the rich history of Layton and the pioneers who settled this city.
  15. Silver Lake Boardwalk (Big Cottonwood Canyon): Located behind the Nordic Center by Brighton Ski Resort, walk around for sightings of many different birds and other wildlife.
  16. Monday Night Movies (Salt Lake City): Located at the Gallivan Center, each week the movies move to showcase a new decade ranging from the 60s-90s.
  17. Gilgal Sculpture Garden (Salt Lake City): Contains 12 original sculptures and over 70 stones engraved with scriptures, poems, and literary texts.
  18. Fiesta Days (Kamas Valley): July 18-26. A variety of events and entertainment such as music, games and food. Be aware some activities may cost money.
  19. Fort Douglas Military Museum (Salt Lake City): Though free of charge, donations are welcome. Among the display of war artifacts throughout the years you will even find Saddam Hussein’s boots brought back by a Utah soldier present at his arrest.
  20. Sweet’s Candy Factory Experience (Salt Lake City): Available by appointment, the experience includes a virtual tour with your personal tour guide, fresh factory samples, and educational and interactive stations.

Along with the fun and even educational experience each activity provides, there are added bonuses to choosing free events over those that may cost money:

  • If you are more money conscious, free events can help you stay within your monthly budget without having to sacrifice entertainment or date nights.
  • If you are working on getting in control of your finances, free activities can assist you by allowing you to allocate your money where it is most immediately needed. More tips for getting out of financial trouble can be found in this article.
  • Free events also help teach children money is not everything. As you enjoy family time together at these events, your children will recognize you do not have to spend anything to have a great experience.

Whatever your reason, treat yourself or your family to a free activity or two and enjoy this Utah summer!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hikes Along the Wasatch Front

Willow Heights Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
We've done a lot of great hikes along the Wasatch Front, and this week we are featuring hikes to beautiful mountain lakes! Visit Utah's Adventure Family for directions to each trailhead. Be careful: Most lakes in Salt Lake's canyons are in a watershed, so you shouldn't swim.

Bell Canyon Reservoir: This is essentially an urban hike in Sandy. The hike is only .7 miles on a wide, well-marked trail. The reservoir feels like it is miles from the city.

Lake Mary and Martha: Beginning at Brighton ski resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon, this trail starts out a bit steep, but levels off and travels past Little Dog Lake, too. The RT mileage depends on the lake you travel to, so you can stretch this as far as 4 miles.

Mirror Lake: This lake is in the Uintah Mountains. It is a simple 1.5 mile loop right along the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in Utah. The drive up to the lake is worth the trip!

Fehr Lake: Just down the road from Mirror Lake, you can avoid the crowds at Fehr Lake. It's only 1 mile roundtrip to this alpine lake which lies at elevation of over 10,000 feet.

Willow Heights Lake: This trail is in Big Cottonwood Canyon and leads to a small shallow lake. The trail is a steep 1 mile each way (2 RT).

Cecret Lake: It's pronounced Secret Lake, and it lies at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. This trail is very popular and leads to a high alpine lake. It's about one rocky, dusty mile each way.

Silver Lake: This lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon is one of our favorites because it is stroller accessible with a boardwalk that goes most of the way around. There are a lot of people that access this less than 1 mile loop. 

Payson Lakes: For those of you a little farther south, try these lakes up Payson Canyon. You can walk right along the shore of several of the lakes, which feature wide trails and bridges. Bonus: You can swim or wade in this canyon!

For our reviews on hikes, museums, camping, and all other adventures in Utah, come on over to Utah's Adventure Family and follow us on TwitterInstagramFacebook or Pinterest.
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Utah Pioneer Day Events and Activities 2014

Utah Pioneer Day Events 2014

July 24th 1847 is the day Brigham Young entered the valley with a group of pioneers after declaring it “the right place”. Many people think July 24th is to celebrate Utah’s statehood, but that didn’t happen until January 4, 1896.

Every year, Utah celebrates with pioneer games, festivals, and other fun activities. Below are some that we have found. Check back often, as we will be adding more and more events as we hear about them.

If you know of one we have missed, please email us at

Original Pioneer Trail Hike
Walk in the shoes of the Utah pioneers and others who have come this way before and hike the original Mormon Pioneer Trail in East Canyon. This is an easy hike for families of all ages, and you can make it as long or as short as you want to.

This Is The Place Heritage Park
What better place to learn about the pioneers than an entire village dedicated to their memory and life in early Utah?! Pull a handcart, sit in a pioneer schoolhouse, watch a Blacksmith at work and many other pioneer activities. Grab your sweetheart and kick up your heels at Brother Brigham’s Ball on July 21, or bring the entire family to Pioneer Days on July 24.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum
A FREE admission museum with the largest collection of pioneer memorabilia, including the wagon that Brigham Young was in when he said “This is the right place!”

Family History
Learn more about your pioneer relatives with the new LDS family history website.

Salt Lake City Cemetery Tour
Take our self-guided tour of the Salt Lake City Cemetery and visit many graves of the early Utah pioneers. Watch for the graves with the “Faith In Every Footsteps” badge on them to signify an original pioneer.

Utah’s First Pioneer Burial Site
In the 1980s, remains of the first pioneers to buried in the Salt Lake Valley were uncovered in downtown Salt Lake City. Among those found were also ancient native American remains. Visit the site where the remains were found, and then pay your respects to them at their final resting place at This Is The Place.

Pioneer Movies:


Salt Lake County

Utah County

Weber County

Cache County

Davis County

Box Elder County

Tooele County

Wasatch/Summit County

Washington County

Iron County

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Kiss Me Dirty Mud Run


Wanna get a little...dirty?! Come lose yourself in a sea of mud, color, foam, and girl power. Don't worry, Dudes in Drag, you can play too! With this much filthy fun, you just might have to ask someone to "Kiss Me Dirty" when you finish! A portion of proceeds benefits gynecological cancer research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

View more details on our calendar page.

This is a sponsored calendar event.

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“Popular” Broadway hit “Wicked” Now Playing at The Capitol Theatre

4.200543All photos courtesy of, Photographer: ©

July 9 – August 24, 2014
Capitol Theatre
50 West 200 South
Salt Lake City, UT

Last night my daughter and I had a girls’ night out and went to see “Wicked” at The Capitol Theatre. This was our first time seeing this “popular” Broadway production, and we absolutely loved it! We have decided it is now our favorite musical, and we can’t wait to go and see it again!

The story of “Wicked” is about what happened in Oz before Dorothy arrived, and how all of your favorite characters in The Wizard of Oz came to be. They all met in high school, and “Wicked” tells the story of why they are the way they are, with a few surprises that you don’t get to see in the original story. This is the “other side of the story” that you don’t get to hear in The Wizard of Oz.

Emma Hunton had big shoes to fill in the role of Elphaba, the “wicked witch”, originally played on Broadway by Idina Menzel. She far exceeded our expectations, and dare I say I thought her voice was even more amazing than Ms. Menzel! My daughter kept whispering to me throughout the production how much she loved Hunton’s voice, and how amazing she was. She had us in tears during her performance of “For Good” with Gina Beck, who we also loved in her role as Glinda.

A production is much more than just the cast, and we were also blown away by the costumes, lighting and set design.

7.196983 Had I known Wicked was so amazing, I would have made an effort to see it much sooner than I did!

Wicked is playing in Salt Lake City at the Capitol Theatre now through August 24. You can purchase tickets online or in person at the box office located at 50 West 200 South. 

7.196977 4.200542
Before they were Glinda The Good, and The Wicked Witch, they were Galinda and Elphaba

I was provided with two complimentary tickets to attend and write a review. I was not compensated financially, nor was I required or persuaded to write any specific type of review. The views and opinions are all my own.
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REAL Salt Lake Game To Support Suicide Prevention


Rocky Mountain Cup game!!!!

Come see Real Salt Lake take on Colorado Rapids on September 19th and you will also be supporting an awesome organization - Utah Chapter for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention!

Help us raise money to get the education out into the community!

Tickets are only $20 each and $5 of that will go to the foundation. We have 250 tickets that we need to sell!! Our contact at the Real Salt Lake office is being pressured to sell the tickets being held for us. We cannot have that happen! This is too important!

You can buy them directly from Shari Elliott 801-949-6192 or email You can also go online and buy them - You will enter promo code: AFSPU

Read more online….

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Summer Skies Mean Constellations!

Clear summer skies means stargazing! Finding constellations is fun, free, and easy. Check out our constellation tab at Utah's Adventure Family, or click on the links below for pictures and instructions on how to find your favorite summer constellation (All instructions are written with Utah's latitude in mind).

Big and Little Dipper: The Big Dipper is a cinch, but the Little Dipper can be a bit tricky. It is much fainter and looks less like a dipper. Check the link for more details. 

Cassiopeia: Queen Cassiopeia's crown, or chair depending on how you want to look at it, is easy to find in the northern sky. This is also an anchor constellation for many other night sky objects (to read more about anchors, click here.)

Cygnus the Swan: Cygnus is said to be a disguise for Zeus during his philandering. This constellation looks like a large cross and is directly over head in July. 

Draco the Dragon: Draco is tricky unless you have specific landmarks to look for. He is visible pretty much all year long here in Utah, but he tends to be washed out by the lights of the city sometimes. 

Leo: Leo the lion appears in the sky during the summer. He looks like a coat hanger to me, and he features Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the sky.

Lyra: The delicate lyre is a tiny parallelogram adjacent to Vega, which is one of the best known stars in the sky. This is a gem to find, and passes right over head in the summer.

Scorpius: Scorpius is a beautiful constellation that you can only see from June through August. It has a well known star, Antares to guide you.

Corvus the Crow: The crow flies through the southern sky all summer long. It is among the easier constellations to find, just five stars in the shape of a quadrilateral with a tail.

If you're interested in learning about Telescopes or Messier objects, you can use these links for more information.

For our reviews on hikes, museums, camping, and all other adventures in Utah, come on over to Utah's Adventure Family and follow us on TwitterInstagramFacebook or Pinterest.

For extra fun finding the constellations, attend a FREE star party with the Salt Lake Astronomical Society
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10 Nontraditional Summer Hobbies for Every Kid

Author: Mary Kremer

The summer is a time for exploring the world and searching out new hobbies. If you want to help your kids stay active and engaged this summer, here are ten non-traditional hobbies to try out!

10 Nontraditional image #11. Chalk Art!

Chalk art is the perfect hobby to develop in the summer, since you need a lot of sunny days and little rain to perfect your technique. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • You’ll need a box of pastel chalk. You can buy these at any art supply store or online, for about ten dollars for a box of twenty colors.
  • Practice copying images before you start creating your own art.
  • Pick one large focal point. When you’re first starting out, small details can be difficult. Focus on one large focal point and think big.
  • Work in layers. It’s easier to build up color if you start with a thin layer of chalk and build on that.

2. Gardening

10 Nontraditional image #3Gardening can be an exceptionally rewarding summer hobby for a kid. Give your child a corner of the garden or encourage him to start his own indoor herb garden. If it’s small enough, a small garden can be maintained in a window year round. All you need to get started is some soil and seeds. Your child can grow flowers or vegetables and herbs to eat!

3. Spray Paint Art

Okay, so you don’t want your kid out at night tagging local buildings. But still, exposure to street arts is a great way to draw your kid into contemporary art and artistic expression. To get your child started, supply her with some cardboard and spray paint and let her start exploring in a positive atmosphere. You may also want to travel to a nearby city together and find some examples of street art that embodies the local community. It’s everywhere!

4. Skateboarding

Skateboarding is another one of those activities you might be a little more hesitant about. Still, it’s great exercise. Plus, exploring and developing new skateboarding tricks can do wonders for kids with low self-esteem. Plus, they can wear a sweet helmet like this one.

5. Book Binding

If your child is particularly crafty or artistic, he or she may be interested in learning how to book bind. You can look up instructions on how to book bind or you can check out a couple of books from the library on the subject. The basic materials you’ll need are:

  • Thin wood for the cover and spine
  • Material to cover the binding
  • Paper (you can sew pages together or buy pads of paper)

6. Keeping Chickens

Keeping chickens is a good way for a child to earn a little extra money (who doesn’t love fresh, local eggs?), and learn how to responsibly care for an animal. While the initial costs (buying the chicken, creating a coop) might be a few hundred dollars, chickens are relatively cheap and easy to maintain afterwards.

7. Leatherworking

With a few basic tools, your child can learn how to make keychains, small purses and pouches, and even moccasins, gloves, and belts of pressed and painted leather. Find the beginning tools you need online.

8. Building Models

Building model cities, cars, planes, or ships can be a rewarding and creative process for a child. You can go all out on this hobby, but to start out, all you need is:

  • An x-acto knife
  • Some paints and small brushes
  • Glue
  • Cardboard or thin wood (you can use old cereal boxes)

You may need to help with the more difficult parts of this process, but the designing and most of the building can be done with little or no supervision, depending on the age of your child.

9. Bird Watching

10 Nontraditional image #2All you need for this is a good set of binoculars and some patience. But if your child is willing, he or she will likely be surprised by the variety of birds to be found during the summertime. Encourage your child to look through books to figure out which birds they have viewed in the wild. Your child can even sketch the birds he or she finds.

10. Martial Arts

Martial arts are a fun way to get active and develop discipline. Check out your local dojos. Many offer group classes to help keep the cost down.

If you’re willing to branch out, this summer can be a wonderful time for exploration and education. Think outside the box! A little bit of of that can equal a lot of fun for you and your kids!

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