Who Knew You Could Buy This for 20 Cents?

For years, I've tried to grow tomatoes in my backyard.  It's been an ongoing exercise in frustration, to say the least.  Each fruitless season, I gripe to friends and family... begging for advice. I love the concept of gardening, I just don't seem to have a knack for it. So I came up with one last approach to try this season, before throwing in the trowel.  My husband built me a raised garden bed a few years ago, so I've got a dedicated spot.  Our journey into backyard chicken ownership added an extra challenge, but I think we've even got that figured out with the help of some extra chicken wire. One variant I've tried is the location where I purchase my plants.  Does this make a difference?  Walmart vs the local greenhouse?  Perhaps.  But irregardless, my garden was still a bust.  Last year I literally got *zero* tomatoes.  Go figure. My New (Cheaper!) Approach to Gardening So I'm done playing that game.  All bets are off!  This year I have a two part strategy: Try … [Read more...]

Celebrate Earth Month By Playing! #PledgeToPlay

Earth Day has evolved into Earth Month! Hey, I think our fabulous planet deserves a month of our time, in thinking about how to take good care of her.  :)   So how about trying to take one hour per day this Earth Month.... to play! Not on your phone. Not on your tablet. Not in front of the tv. Or the computer. Just play.  Indoors or out.  Although it seems ideal to try and get you and your kids outside to play in honor of Earth Month.    But even if it's indoors, an hour of non-electronics play is saving electricity (and hence energy). Here's a cool site that offers exclusively eco-friendly products, and has come up with a fun campaign (with prizes!) this month to encourage people to be mindful of playing and taking care of our Earth. Green Toys #PledgeToPlay Green Toys is an eco-friendly company, making toys from 100% recycled materials.  In looking over their website, I realized that my son happens to have three different toys from Green Toys.  And they are … [Read more...]

Winter Family Adventure Day in Ouray

I've written in the past about my family packing up and heading out for a no-definite-plans Family Adventure Day.  We love to explore our area through day trips, and see what outdoor fun we can find. Winter is not exactly my favorite season.  Sometimes I just feel like ADVENTURING by reading a book next to my fireplace at home.   But I have to admit, if you bundle up before heading out.... you can have a pretty awesome Winter Edition of Family Adventure Day. Our Family Adventure Day in Ouray, Colorado Known worldwide for its Ice Climbing Festival, Ouray is one of our favorite mountain towns in Colorado.   Although we've seen climbers practicing in December, we don't attend the January festival.  While it's impressive to watch those crazies tackle a frozen waterfall climb, it's a little too crowded for the casual wanderer that weekend. But any other time... Ouray, Colorado is downright charming.   It's known as the "Switzerland of America" because of being enclosed on three … [Read more...]

The Vital Piece of Gear All Outdoor Lovers Need

What if I told you there was one, vital piece of gear that could be used year-round, was affordably priced at around $50, had flexible sizing so it could be easily shared among your family members, and would improve the quality of multiple outdoor experiences?  There is.  And they are commonly known as hiking gaiters. In the past, I'd noticed people wearing hiking gaiters on cross country ski trails.  Not being aware of the advantages of wearing them, I was curious to try out a pair of Hillsound Equipment Armadillo LT Gaiters. After a few uses, I've decided they are game changers!  I've been converted to the Leg Gaiter Camp, and I feel pretty strongly that they are a vital piece of gear all outdoor lovers need in their lives. Hiking Gaiters ~ Many Outdoor Play Uses   Call them what you will:   hiking gaiters, trail gaiters, SNAKE gaiters (yikes), walking gaiters, or waterproof gaiters.  They are easy to put on, and add awesome protection without adding any weight, … [Read more...]

6 Things To Love About Fall

It's not a hard season to love.  And if it didn't herald winter on it's immediate haunches, I'd reckon many would say it's their favorite time of year.  Since I finally live somewhere that actually has 3 months spent in each season, as God intended (no offense, South Dakota)... I absolutely love Fall!  Here are some of my favorite things about it. Pumpkin Spiced Anything     Either Starbucks has changed their #PSL (ridiculously priced Pumpkin Spiced Latte) recipe to include a nearly inconsumable amount of flavoring, or I've gotten too old to handle it.  Don't get me wrong... I still order one from time to time, because they are pretty fantastic.  But that's because of my overall pumpkin addiction. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin buttermilk pancakes (for real - check that recipe out!), burning pumpkin scented candles.  Can't. Get. Enough. New Episodes of Favorite TV Series I don't watch that much TV, and had … [Read more...]

Family Mountain Biking, Whining, and Wrecking

For many, Fruita, Colorado, is a sort of Mountain Biking Mecca.  Nestled along the base of the Bookcliff Range, in wide open desert - there are miles of rolling trails, with a gorgeous big sky backdrop.  Although we live so close to the area, we hadn't yet tackled taking our kids mountain biking there until last weekend. This summer, my youngest son graduated from a balance bike directly to a regular bike.  Some friends gave us a cool Hot Wheels bike, in GREEN, his most favortiest color.  It's a heavy little sucker, but he does pretty good on it. My poor daughter is a tall 10 year old, and has definitely outgrown her Barbie bike.  We've been trying to hold off on that expense until next summer, when I'd like to get her a decent "real" mountain bike she can enjoy the trials with.  She's being a trooper in the meantime. We are in the very early stages of mountain biking as a family, but I have high hopes for us!  My husband loves biking, and used to spend hours doing so as a … [Read more...]

Easy Family Hike in Vail, Colorado

Nestled in a valley, conveniently located right along Colorado's I-70, is the high altitude mountain town of Vail. In the winter, people flock here from all over the world for the epic skiing. But summer in Vail has it's charms too, including numerous hiking trails which offer the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking alpine beauty in a warm weather season (my personal preference over cold and snow!) Vail has done an excellent job of offering hiking information for the area - including trail maps, hiking trail descriptions, and directions on how to find the trailheads.  You can even download a copy of the Vail Hiking Guide, which is what my family used on our recent hiking expedition in the area. Easy Family Hike in Vail, Colorado We had a late start, so selected a shorter trail.  I loved how easy it was to find (literally 2 minutes from the interstate exit), and it turned out to be a fun and easy family hike:  Trapper's Run. This spring and summer Colorado has … [Read more...]

2015 Outdoor Gear Essentials Roundup

We're just about to wrap up July, and in my humble opinion the local Colorado kids here are heading back to school waaaay too early.   This summer my family was more determined than ever to get out and camp, bike, and hike as much as possible.  Personally, I've got A LOT of warm weather play and quality mountain time left in me for this season! One of the perks of being an outdoor blogger is getting to try all sorts of gadgets, technical clothing, and gear.  Sometimes it doesn't live up to the hype, or the price tag.  But other times I find quality items that we end up using time and again, which to me truly seem worth the investment. So without further ado... I present to you the Best-of-the-Best that I've found for outdoor adventuring this year:  My 2015 Outdoor Gear Essentials Roundup. Pelican 20QT Elite Cooler Pelican coolers have a reputation for being virtually indestructible.  Although we didn't personally try loosely strapping ours to the back of an ATV, then … [Read more...]

Power Through the Outdoors: Tips from Kevin Jorgeson

My family loves to head out and go camping at every opportunity. We make an effort to be screen free during these times, to try and maximize our enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoors.  But there's still some crucial outdoor gear we never leave home without, and  many of it requires batteries. Headlamps, lanterns, flashlights, and walkie talkies... all go-to items.  These need long lasting battery life both for safety reasons, and to enable you to power through your outdoor adventures even longer. Although I'm not a rock climber, I wanted to share these cool tips from Kevin Jorgeson.  Kevin is a climbing and outdoors expert, most notably known for his record-breaking free climb of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall.  He enjoys outdoor adventuring at night, and Duracell makes the only batteries he trusts for his long climbs. And be sure to check out the awesome giveaway of some outdoor gear at the end! Power Through the Outdoors: Tips from Kevin Jorgeson Outdoor climbing can … [Read more...]

Have a Family #MyDisconnectDay

Even if you don't have close access to some majestic National Park... most of us can make an opportunity to slow down once in awhile, and enjoy spending some time in the Great Outdoors. Doing so as a family can help you reconnect with each other, make some quality memories together, and typically costs next to nothing.  We flat out spend too much time staring at screens (all four members of my family are guilty of this... down to the 4 year old borrowing daddy's iPad), instead of talking, playing, and laughing together.  That's why I immediately loved Cabela's new #MyDisconnectDay campaign. What is #MyDisconnectDay? According to Cabela's, a Disconnect Day is: "One day to put down your devices and reconnect with the great outdoors, your family and your friends." Watch this awesome, quick video that captures the essence of #MyDisconnectDay... and I think you'll fall in love with the idea, too: And if that wasn't enough to get you to join in on a #MyDisconnectDay of your … [Read more...]