Climbing My Mountain

Our second hike of the trip was to a destination that I had been to a couple of years ago.  It's a terribly rocky drive in the jeep to where we would enter the trailhead for our hike.  My last attempt at climbing this mountain wasn't very good.  I made it half-way to the top and just couldn't go any further.  It was a combination of my asthma, the altitude and my fear of heights.  But this day was different.  I was there to conquer my mountain both figuratively and literally.

I am a determined person. Some might even call me stubborn.  I really didn't know where we would be hiking this particular day until we got there and it looked familiar.  But I do know that I had somewhat of a rough morning emotionally so walking it out would be good for the soul.

As I mentioned, the path on this particular hike was very rocky and uneven so we brought walking sticks to help with the climb.  The view along the way was gorgeous but I must say that I have never climbed any mountain that was quite as difficult as this one was for me.  I learned what switch backs were and as we came to more and more of them and climbed higher and higher I soon realized that this mountain was kicking my butt!  But you see, that's the thing; I was not willing to let it win.
        This is the road that we came in on and the mountain we climbed is in the background.
               There were streams and waterfalls along the way that we stopped to admire.

We made it half-way to the top (same place I turned back before) and I said, "WHAT?!  This is only half-way??" (HUGE sigh, lots of heavy breathing and possibly quite a bit of whining too.). Anyway, Hubby asked if I wanted to continue or turn back.  I kept standing there looking up and finally said, "I'll go up."  I wanted to make it to the top.
As I stopped along the way to catch my breath, I always sat back on a rock and kept saying, "This is so beautiful."
On one of those stops, we took another couple's photos and asked it they would take ours as well.


My breathing was very labored, but I kept going.  Stopping quite frequently to catch my breath and let other hikers pass by.  As people were coming back down from the top they would stop to encourage me to keep going, saying it wasn't much further and that if I was that close I had to press on because there was a beautiful lake up there.  And so I pressed onward.

I believe the entirety of the hike, there and back, took us about 3 plus hours.  But WOW...When we reached the top it was gorgeous!





On the hike back down, I, of course, began thinking again...because I find that hiking is a great place to sort out your thoughts.  And my thoughts were focused on climbing  mountains metaphorically as well.  You see, I compared climbing that mountain to life.  We often times have these huge mountains to climb that seem so overwhelming.  Situations that appear so difficult that we don't think we can make it.  We stop to contemplate that and along comes someone who encourages us, cheers us on.  We then take a deep breath and continue.  Because, although the journey may be long and difficult, when we reach our destination, it is beautiful.

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Jeep Rides in the Mountains

One of my favorite parts of our Colorado trip was the evening jeep rides through the mountain trails.    With the windows rolled down it was chilly, yet so invigorating to get out and search for hidden streams,  sunsets over mountain tops and moose grazing in the valleys.  It was just before dusk that we set out and so we were able to capture wildlife that was coming out of hiding.

       We watched moose graze from afar not wanting to get too close as to disturb them.

 However, when we were watching some other moose move about, we didn't notice this one!  I glanced out my other window and WOW!  He was so close to us and didn't seem afraid so we just sat and watched him for a while.
I captured this beautiful ground covering through my window as we were driving.  To me, it looks so  magical, as though fairies inhabit the area.
Chasing streams though was a favorite for me.  If you stepped outside the jeep and listened carefully, you could hear them rushing over rocks through the forest.  And then it was a matter of just following the sound that would take you there.
Although I tended to get scratched up a bit, I found that standing in the stream captured the best view.
And this photos says it all.  In the still and quiet dusk, you suddenly look up and there is the sunset over the mountain peaks.  I don't care where I am in this world but there is nothing like seeing a beautiful sunset.

Needless to say, these jeep rides were some of the most peaceful times I had while in Colorado.  Just taking in the scenery and nature.  I find it worth the time to travel to new places and experience new things to feel this peacefulness come over you in moments like these.



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The Aspen Groves

The thing about autumn is...we, here in Louisiana,  just pretty much don't have one.  And, yes, I would love to open my windows to the cool breeze and slip a sweater on in the morning before I go for a  walk and enjoy the red, yellow and orange of the leaves changing.  OK, so I suppose I could do without the rest of the things but those leaves...I'm just obsessed with them.

I guess it's true what they say:  We always wish for the things we don't have and take for granted the things we do have.  For me, it's the leaves.  I can remember as a child getting out all of those fall colored crayons and coloring pages of leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows.  All of those things have screamed AUTUMN to me for pretty much the entirety of my life.

While in Colorado, I enjoyed seeing the changing colors of the landscape as we drove around, however, when someone mentioned taking a drive through the aspen groves, it was a must for me!
     Driving through the aspen groves with the mountains peeking through was so picturesque.
See those leaves laying on the ground?  I wish I could have captured a photo of them fluttering to the ground so gracefully.  Because that is just what they do in such a magical way.
Driving along the narrow roads through what appears to be tunnels of trees, where the shadows fall perfectly across your path.  The feel of autumn overwhelms one's senses.


I finally got that color page from years ago just taking a leisurely drive through the mountains.  And it was everything I could ever imagine it being and more...


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Oktoberfest in Breckenridge

I had never been to Oktoberfest anywhere.  I had only heard of it, but as they say, reading about something is totally different than experiencing it yourself.  Well, we had no idea that Oktoberfest would be going on while we were in Breckenridge.  We just happened to go into town for a little lunch and we found this wonderful festival just getting into full swing for the weekend.

 The street was blocked off to traffic and vendors were set up on the sides of the street with all sorts of trinkets, food and of course beer!
If you were drinking beer you purchased tickets and then hopped in any line to refill your cup.  Or stein.  Every year this festival has a different collectible stein made and shipped in from Germany.

 The aroma wafted down the street as you passed each food vendor.  Just look at some of the options on that sign.
                                                              And homemade pretzels!

Some of the locals added Oktoberfest foods to their menu and Hubby and I stopped in at this quaint little wine bar for a glass of wine and an Oktoberfest themed charcuterie board.

But honestly I think the most fun part was seeing everyone dressed in their Oktoberfest wear!  I would so be dressing like this too if only I had known the festival was going on ahead of time.

We had so much fun that we've decided we should visit Breckenridge each year at this time just so we can attend the festival.  And who knows...maybe we'll come up with our own outfits to wear too!


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Essential Oil DIY Air Freshener Recipes

I don't know about you but I am hooked on my essential oils.  I love everything about them.  How they are good for my health, my environment and such a great alternative to using candles since their scents have such wonderful benefits.  So, you can only imagine how excited I am to share with you today, 10 DIY Air Freshener Recipes made out of essential oils!

                                        DIY ESSENTIAL OIL AIR FRESHENER RECIPES

To make your own homemade air freshener to use around the house just follow the steps below. It’s incredibly easy. Once you get the hang of it you can mix and match scents and play with the strength of the concoction!



To make these air fresheners you will need a base of 3 ingredients, and then you will swap out the scents as you wish. You will want a spray bottle that fits 8 ounces, a funnel, distilled water (if you don’t have distilled, tap is fine), and two tablespoons of either 60+ proof vodka or rubbing alcohol. Vodka and rubbing alcohol both have ethanol which is used to solubilize (or dissolve) the oil into the water and acts as a preservative. They also have mild disinfectant properties.




Next, you will want to pick the scent you will be using. Citrus scents will feel more invigorating and refreshing, while scents like lavender and chamomile can be soothing. Mix and match until you find a scent that is uniquely yours.

Finally, just grab the spray bottle and use the funnel to pour in about 1 cup of water. You can double the recipe if you want to make 2 cups of air freshener or find the smell too overpowering. Lastly, drop in the prescribed amount of essential oil and shake it up.

That sounds easy enough, doesn't it?  Now, for the recipes.  I am only sharing a few of my favorites but remember, there are 10 recipes in all.



Notice that each recipe is unique in that it not only freshens your home but it also has properties that create a certain "feeling" within you.  This Grapefruit, Tangerine, Lime has a scent that will all energize you.



                               Lavender Chamomile is good for relaxation.


And if you want just a fresh, clean scent, this Lemon-Basil recipe should do it for you.

There are so many benefits from using essential oils so why not jump in and give them a try by creating some of these great air freshener recipes.  There is also a button where you can DOWNLOAD each recipe and keep in handy in a file. 
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The Colorful Show Called Autumn in Colorado

Y'all, the heat is simply oppressive here in the south.  You can only understand this statement if you have been here.  In September, while other states are enjoying cooler weather and sitting outside around a fire pit, we here in Louisiana are sweating, running our air conditioning on 68 degrees and swatting at flies.  Yea sure, when these cooler climates are snowed in and freezing to death we are bragging about still wearing shorts and flip-flops, but the heat of early fall here has the last laugh.  That's why, when offered to use a friend's house in Breckenridge, Colorado for a week we jumped at the opportunity!

We left the sweltering heat and landed in Denver where we took a transfer up to 10.000 feet in Breckenridge.  When we got out of the vehicle the air was already cool and crisp with a humidity level of only 18%.  It was an instant relief.  That is until I was struck with altitude sickness.  I was expecting this so was prepared on this first day, armed with Tylenol, Yogi Ginger Tea and a little oxygen.  By the next morning I was feeling much better and ready to conquer the day with a little hike.

                                     This was our view upon rising, every single morning.

This first hike was not a difficult one.  We took our time and made our way along the trail, hubby pointing out animal tracks and I taking in the scenery. We stopped along the way to eat a snack and just enjoy being able to enjoy the outdoors.

      Hubby bought my these Hoka hiking shoes before we left so I felt like a "real" hiker!

I actually took note of the signs on this visit and learned how to read about everything concerning the trails I would be hiking.
                                            He lead, I followed.  It's usually best that way.
                       Of course, I'm always snapping photos.  He's getting used to it.  Sorta.
Looking at the animal tracks along the way I wasn't too afraid.  Until mention of a bear came up.  But this cute little chipmunk let us creep right upon him to capture a photo.  Look carefully because he blends in really well with the rocks.

We ended our hike and then set out for a bit of a jeep ride that afternoon, ending with this gorgeous view.

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DIY Halloween Hats!

I just LOVE Halloween.  It marks the beginning of a new season with all of the pumpkins and hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting.  Leaves begin to flutter to the ground and suddenly the hot days of summer give over to the cooler, crisper days of autumn.

With 10 little ones over here, I am always looking for some cute new craft to do with them and this year for Halloween I have found these  5 adorable DIY Halloween Hats to make!  The hat templates are absolutely FREE for you to DOWNLOAD and there is also a list of supplies you will need along with instructions for making each hat.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

Ahoy Matey! This Halloween, give your little captain of the sea a hat to complete his look! Simply print out our band and let your kid color in his skull and bones. Crunching for time? Print the colored in black band to save you a few minutes! Your child will be ready to take on the great sea, aka the sea of houses for trick-or-treating!


Supplies 

  • White cardstock
  • Scissors 
  • Hole punch
  • Tape
  • Thin elastic

Directions

  1. Print the hat template either colored in or print white.
  2. Cut out the hat. If printing the white hat, have your child color in the hat.
  3. Next, punch holes where marked on the hat. 
  4. Tie or tape thin elastic onto the hat as the head strap, adjusting the size as needed.


For a simple and creative DIY bat craft, try a bat headband! Create your bat headband for your child’s Halloween party with friends or for trick or treating on Halloween night. Read up on bats before they dress up so they can share some facts with their trick-or-treating pals.


Supplies 

  • White cardstock
  • Hole Punch
  • Scissors 
  • Glue stick
  • Stapler
  • Thin elastic

Directions

  1. Print out the wings on white paper and cut out. 
  2. Print out the two eyes, fangs and nose. 
  3. Glue the eyes, fangs and nose to the center of the headband. 
  4. Fold the edges of the wings about a ½ inch (marked) and staple each side so they have movement.
  5. Hole punch either side of the hat and attach with thin elastic, creating knots to secure.


Now, aren't these super cute and don't they look fun to make with your kiddos?  I thought so too!  Just click HERE to DOWNLOAD all of the templates to make getting ready for Halloween even more fun!

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NEW Paperless Post Flyer!

Y'all, I just discovered the CUTEST invitation that can be texted, e-mailed or shared to social media!  You heard me right, texted.  How great is that?!  It's quick, convenient and with texting, it goes straight to the invitees phone.  Plus, the invitations are animated which make it even more festive.  Want to get started on your flyer now?

FIRST:   Choose your category.  Is the occasion a birthday or some other sort of party?
SECOND:  Choose your design.
THIRD:  Personalize with all of your information and guest list (There is RSVP also).
FOURTH:  Copy your link and send invitations out.
FINALLY...Just wait for your RSVP's to start rolling in!


                                                  THE PAPERLESS POST FLYER
                                                            FUN to DESIGN
                                                          SIMPLE to SHARE
                                                           TOTALLY FREE!

         

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Printable Slow Cooker Recipes

We all know that our family expects to eat an evening meal but GOSH how we hate the planning and cooking and standing over a stove.  Well, I've got just the thing for you; 10 Five-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes!

There's nothing better than a good slow cooker recipe that you can just put the ingredients in and let the cooker do the rest.  Today I have for you 10,  Five-Ingredient  FREE Printable Slow Cooker Recipes.  All you have to do is download them and add them to your recipe file.  Here are a few of my favorites:
 Who isn't looking for an easy yet delicious sandwich for weekend football tailgate parties?  This pulled BBQ chicken sandwich fits the bill perfectly!

 OK, I'm a southern gal so I grew up eating all sorts of cobblers with fruit straight from the orchard out back.  Needless to say I LOVE some cobbler!  This recipe is great for any time you need a quick dessert recipe that tastes like you spent hours making.

Chicken is my go-to food so I am always looking for a new recipe to change it up a bit.  This lemon and garlic roasted chicken is so simple yet flavorful and I know it will soon be a family favorite.

Trust me, you do not want to miss these time-saving Slow Cooker Recipes that will free you up to do the things you really want to be doing!


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Free Vintage Food Label Downloads

Hey, if you're like me, organizing is a necessary evil.  No, really, I do love to have things organized, especially my pantry.  But if I'm going to get everything organized in there I feel like it should be labeled...and cute too!  That's where these adorable Vintage Food Labels come in.  They're functional,  easy, cute and FREE!
                                   Take a look at all of the adorable labels that are available!
                                             There is one for ever staple in your pantry.
And there are some for Homemade Cookies, Lunches and even ones that you can personalize for anything else you want!
All you have to do to get these FREE DOWNLOADS is CLICK HERE and then apply them to your containers.  To apply the vintage food labels to your containers, try spray adhesive for plastic surfaces and double-sided tape for glass and ceramic surfaces. You also have the option to punch a hole in the label and use string to tie a label around your mason jar container. 

Wherever you decide to use these labels I hope you have SO MUCH FUN creating something unique!

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