Wow it has been a time

I’m not really sure what made me think that it has been an incredibly long time since I have been posting here. I feel like for some time, that this was really just my place to put stuff. But – why? Why here? Why share it with anyone? I think my life is pretty mundane. And really, who’s life isn’t with Covid asking everyone to be/stay at home.

So, I promise – to write more. To share more. To be more involved and to add information here….at least more than I have in the past YEAR!

Getting My Name Changed Back

I got divorced about 10 years ago now. Even though I didn’t really want to stay attached to my ex in name. I did want to keep the same last name as my kids. It was much shorter than my maiden name. I had been in the business world for 13 years with that name. I was not sure if I was going to get married again someday (I still one day hope for that). So I kept it. I kept his name and said I would change it when my kids graduate from High School.

Now is that time. I will tell you, when you decide to change your name and it is not attached to either a marriage or divorce. The courts don’t make it easy for you to just be…you again.

I’m about mid-way through the process. I had to do an FBI background check, I have to do a Colorado Bureau Background check, then I have to go to court, I will have to print the name in a local paper and then I will have to go back to court again. Just for a judge to give me a right to be my old self all over again! The courts sure don’t make it easy.

Northeast Road Trip

I have been traveling a lot in the past several years for my job. When I started reviewing every place I’d been – I realized I’m really close to seeing all 50 states by the time I turn 50. So, I have written out lists. I have loose plans. And I have a real job [read: limited vacation] – so I can’t just take a road trip to see all that I’ve not yet seen. So I plotted to take advantage of the fact that I was in Baltimore for a work related then and then tacked on a road trip in the Northeast United States to check off several states.

My rules are that I have to eat or sleep in the state for it to count. So, no airports don’t count. Also, in regard to restaurants on the “eat” part – they have to be a non-chain, no drive through sit in local restaurant (or friend’s house).

On the last day of my work event, my mom flew in to Baltimore to meet me (she also lives in Denver). The next morning I picked up a rental car in Baltimore. I had a bit of an issue with it – but that worked out, because they upgraded up to a red Rav-4. We set out to Deleware and ate at a cute little place called Smiley’s Cafe. It was hopping. And certainly seemed the place to be for brunch for the after church crowd on a Sunday morning. (Check off DE for me!)

Then we kept traveling through a corner of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and then into New York (I have already seen all three of these – but they were on the drive up). I had surprised my mom who has been a big Yankees fan since she was a small girl. I had bought stadium tour tickets. BUT, because of the issue I had picking up the rental car in Baltimore we were almost an hour late and there was no other tour for us to jump in on. Boo! So, I had promised her a stadium tour – we toured the exterior of the building and the gift shop. We got back in the car and headed up to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut (Check off CT for me!). The Mohegan Sun is a large and beautiful casino/hotel. We were treated to Bobby Flay’s restaurant there that night.

sailing ri.jpgThe next morning we headed out to Rhode Island. We went to Newport where we had purchased a sail boat tour. It was just 90 minutes around the harbor – but so much fun for someone who lives in a land-locked state like me. The folks at the Madeline were very knowledgable, able to answer any question we had and ready with great stories. I would highly recommend that as part of your tour in Rhode Island! I feel like I missed a lot of Rhode Island and may try to get back (maybe after I’m 50 and have completed this quest). We ate lunch at a place called 22 Bowen’s. We about lost our minds on the awesome burger – Wagyu beef, buttered lobster, truffle oil aioli, and guyere cheese on a brioche roll. But after that meal I could check off Rhode Island! YAY! We did end up going back to Mohegan Sun that evening for another night. (I may have changed that if I had a choice to do this again – and maybe stay in R.I.). 

BnJ Factory Tour.jpgThe following morning was a fairly early start and one of the longer days on the road. We went up CT (through Hartford), western Mass (I’ve already been to Boston so I didn’t need to check off that state), and into Vermont. I think Vermont is nearly one of my more favorite places. We stopped at the cheesey but need to do it Vermont Country Store, then we drove to a covered bridge (this was something I think my mom would have wanted to see more of), over to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour, and then up to the Trapp Family Lodge. The Lodge was fantastic. I really wish I would have been able to spend more time there. The grounds seem to have everything you would need. We loved eating at the Bierhall – of course enjoyed the beer and the cheese. (We didn’t make it to Cabot although that was also on a list for a one day return). I love my mom but she is getting older and she can’t do a ton of walking. I felt bad wanting to go walk the grounds/trails but leaving her. So we pretty much just hung out at the hotel.

Dartmouth in Hanover, NH was a good morning stop for a coffee shop and breakfast Maine Stay.jpg(another check for me) and on into Kennebunkport, ME. What a cute little town! We stayed at the cutest bed and breakfast, Maine Stay Inn. We shopped around the shops and ate dinner at Allison’s – we had a lobster roll, lobster bisque and Maine blueberry pie! This was the perfect meal to end the trip! All Maine-y and such. But check another state for me.

llbean.jpg

After a great breakfast at the bed and breakfast (and fantastic company), we headed out to see a lighthouse and then shopped at the L.L. Bean mother-ship store. I kept with the refrain of “how are you going to get that home?” until I got to L.L. Bean. Where I bought a flannel! A flannel that will hug me warm this fall with great memories of a cool trip.

Gretchen’s Great Grabs May 2019

Mother’s Day is over and summer is almost here. I joke about being “solar powered” meaning I am a happier person when the sun is shining. In celebrating Mother’s Day AND in anticipation of summer – here are a few of my top grabs this month to treat myself.

Fresh lotionFresh Hesperides Grapefruit Lotion. I went to a networking event for work last week. (I work in hospitality/hotels). Let me go back for a bit. When I was younger and we arrived at a hotel that had the little travel bottle of shampoo, conditioner and lotion we really thought we were at a fancy hotel. My sister and I would fight over who would get it (why we couldn’t share or even go ask the front desk for more, I’m not sure). So, I still equate these with luxury. But every once in a while the product is so awesome, I’ll actually want to go buy more.  This lotion is so fresh smelling, so moisturizing, so spring time. I went and got more. $23.00 for a 300 ml bottle.

Chuze Fitness. I’ve belonged to gyms before. When I first got out of college it was Bally’s. Later, I worked at 24 Hour Fitness. I’ve not been to a gym in a couple years. I could feel it. On the months before my *yikes* 30th High School Reunion, I decided it was time again. I had heard of Chuze Fitness from a friend. So I decided to go. I am in love with the Team Training classes (they are a cross between classes and personal training). $49.00/month with team training.

I miss youI Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott. This book of essays is all about life. I can so relate to but have never been able to put into words myself. Some of her observations literally made me laugh out loud because I SO AGREE! Plus, it’s a quick and easy read. Hardcover $15.60 on Amazon (I picked it up for FREE at my library. Yay Douglas County Libraries!)

 

Pancake in a cup. For some reason, certain parts of the year, I am on the go a lot more than others. Spring seems to be go time for me. While Mother’s Day may have been a leisurly breakfast, I don’t usually have time for that. I’m recenly loving Kodiak Cakes.  They are so simple and easy – the mix comes in a cup, add water, stir, microwave for a minute and you’re out the door with a 100% wheat grain healthy breakfast (I sometimes use the box mix and just measure out how much mix/water and put in my own coffee mug). Available at most grocery stores for $2.25.

Hedgren PackHedgren Backpack. I thought the days of my carrying a backpack were long since over, when I finished college. But, I do find that when I travel I like to have a backpack. The freedom of both hands. I also like to carry my work laptop home or on business travel with me. The old Jansport, while functional is not all that pretty. I recently got a Hedgren Pack at their warehouse sale It is a black nylon pack with gold hardware (zippers and buttons etc). The pack retails for around $150 but I got it for $20. While I love a deal – it so pretty and the perfect size even I might pay full price for this beauty!  Their luggage may be my next buy.

Gretchiverse Great Grabs – March 2019

March is not only spring break but also Colorado’s snowiest month. It is a reminder that Colorado is my favorite state because we get to see all the seasons (sometimes all in one day). But there are several other things that are my favorite this month.

Little House on the Prairie. My favorite show as a kid was Little House on the Prairie. I was fully convinced that I was going to be Laura Ingalls Wilder – despite the fact that I was the oldest of only two girls (which at the very least would have made me Mary) and that I was born in 1970 something.  But as I was searching for my next Amazon Prime or Netflix binge – I found that Amazon has all the Littlet House seasons! Yippee!!!  I started binge watching Season 1 and am finding I love it nearly as much now as I did when I was little, even if my delusional mindset is a bit more realistic these days.

Trader Joe’s Rose Water Facial Toner. The first time I went to a Trader Joe’s here in Denver, I wasn’t so sure what everyone was so dang excited about. The stuff was “weird” and the shelves were nearly bare. I now understand the value of the strange (and awesome) Trader Joe’s mix of items. My daughter and I recently tried the  Trader Joe’s Rose Water Facial Toner. With hydration and freshness this was a perfect little spritz on our face when traveling (which we just did to Disneyland) as well as a great start to any day. At just $3.99 we can all really stop and smell the roses!

Third Love Bra. I’m typically pretty modest – I don’t talk about the underwear that I have on, where I shop or how it fits. But this is one I’m ok talking about – mostly because I feel like it is a hidden gem. I tried the 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra. I was mostly intrigued by the memory foam cups and half size cup size options. They said the pleated straps are perfect balance of softness and support – and won’t fall down. They have a try on program, for just $4.99 you can try the bra on and then return it if you still don’t love it. Plus, when you first sign up you get an extra money off!

Irish Egg Roll. Because I’m no a pretty tight budget – I try to look for meals that not only make the meal that day, but also have some great leftover potential. This month, you can get corned beef fairly inexpensively. I like the St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage. What to do with all the leftovers? You may have already done the Ruben sandwich – which is good too. But, my most recent favorite is stuffing an egg roll wrapper with lefover corned beef, cabbage, and carrots. Fry then serve with ground mustard as an amazing, quick, eazy and yummy leftover recipe.

I started Great Grabs – because there was a lot of great little tips, items, shows, books, movies, recipes that I was loving and wanted to share somewhere. If you have something you’d like to share with me, please message me!

While You’re Traveling Food Doesn’t Have To Break The Bank

Through a series of circumstances, my daughter is joining me in California this week. I will be there for work – while she (at age 17) will be at Disneyland with her friend. It is sort of a cheaper version of Spring Break for them. But a trip that they get to sort of do on their own. I already had a room because I’m there for work. We cashed in some airline points. She has had a few dog-sitting gigs that gave her enough money to get the discounted Disney tickets on her own. She also got $60 from a grandparent who found out she was going so that will act as her “souvenier” money.

Since I’ve been writing about cheap meal menus for the past couple weeks, I thought this would be a good time to talk about how we don’t let eating out every day eat our entire month’s food budget.

When I arrive on Monday afternoon, I will swing by Trader Joes’ and get some yogurts and some bagels/cream cheese and apples, bananas or grapes (things that don’t need big fridge space) for us all to eat for breakfasts all week. We did check that the hotel rooms do have a small fridge. Also, when we are at the store, we will plan at least a couple nights of sandwiches. So we will buy some lunchmeat, bread and chips.  We will plan to drink water – my daughter doesn’t drink carbonated anything – so that saves on soda money plus all that sugar. We have been told that the girls can bring water bottles into the park and refill them. This will save them a lot of money. When we are at Trader Joe’s we will also get them some snacks just to have in their backpack (and back in the room) to tide them over. I have told her since it is a “vacation” she can get one snack each afternoon. But hey she’s a teen and will be in the park with just her friend so what she does with her money is really her own.

We have done our research of things that the girls can eat with a smaller budget at Disneyland. These include apparently to-die-for corn dogs ($9.95 includes chips), we have also heard a hot spot is Bengal BBQ outside of Indiana Jones ride has some great deals (Someone told just just around $5 for a couple meat skewers), and Jolly Holiday soup around $6. They also researched some lobster nachos at California Adventure that the girls think they can share. There is a fruit bar where you can get healthy snacks for under $5. However, depending on what we find at Trader Joe’s I may tell the girls to bring a piece of fruit with them in their backpack. I also tell them that they should eat late lunch/early dinner to try to get dinner (something more filling but also at the lunch prices).

The great news is that, since I’m there for work, I will have a daily stipend so while food is more expensive than what I’ve been cooking at home the last couple weeks – this will at least be off-set by that stipend.

We will let you know how we do on this budget trip to Disneyland when we return. Until then, have a super week.

It was Payday week

Before I go getting all excited for payday week – I realize that I’m still in the midst of paying off debt. Which means that we don’t celebrate the payday by going out to dinner and the movies this Friday night. Nope, we stay at home and invite people over…for frozen pizza (but even frozen pizza tastes better when shared with friends right?).

We are looking once again at our menu for the next week and trying to keep it as cheap week 2. So here we go with our menu for the week. I also don’t talk about lunch much – because I usually take leftovers and she takes a simple sandwich, chips, fruit lunch.

Sunday – It is Colorado and we are in winter which means that you never know when it will be cold out and a soup will be perfect. Tonight we will have chicken and dumplings. I got a giant box of bisquick at Costco for around $3 and we almost always have chicken in the freezer. This week (since it was payday week – we got another bag of chicken tenders). We also put in carrots and celery to make it a little healthier. We also used bullion for the chicken stock (rather than buy chicken stock – because we already had it at home).

Monday – My friend had so graciously given us a couple really big filets of Halibut a couple weeks back. I still have one in the freezer. This is the perfect week to add the Halibut to the menu again. We like to coat it with some crunched up chips (since we usually have those on hand because of lunches). We will have fried fish filets, french fries (got these on sale for just 99 cents for the bag of sweet potatoes), and garlic/olive oil roasted tomanotes (we had some small tomatoes left from last week). While this meal was REALLY cheap for us because we already had the fish. Fish is not all that expensive – so still a cheap meal.

Tuesday – I know that Dave Ramsey says don’t go to restaurants. But Taco Tuesday is a cheap way for us to have dinner. Tacos at Del Taco are just $1.29 for three of them. We order six and have water (soda costs more). So we have a meal for my daughter and myself for just $2.60. (Less than it would cost us just to buy the taco shells). And tonight is also a night that we have some stuff after school and work – making the quick grab dinner ideal. I order two of the tacos soft shell so I can warm them up for lunch the next day.

Wednesday – Tater tot Casserole. Tater tots are having their moment. (At least so all the cool kids are telling me). This was probably the most expensive meal of the week. We browned 1 lb ground beef ($3); added a can of cream of mushroom soup (79c – cause we use the store brand); added a can of green beans (60c); salt and pepper. Put that in the bottom of a pan. Put a bag of tater tots ($2) on top of that and sprinkled with cheese (we already had cheese – but maybe $2 for the block – we like cheese and used a lot). We put that in over at 350 for 35 minutes. Total meal was $8.39 (but lots of leftovers)

Thursday – Chicken and waffle sandwiches. We used frozen waffles and chicken nuggets. We toasted the waffles and then loaded the chicken nuggets on top (already cooked) then drizzled maple syrup over the whole thing. Delicious and easy. Plus CHEAP. The waffles were made using part of the bisquick box (the same one I used for the dumplings on Sunday) – I happen to have a waffle maker. We also opted for the chicken nuggets but if we wanted to be a bit (ever so slightly) healthier – we could have used the chicken tenders that I said we already have in our freezer.  Because we already had this stuff in our freezer it won’t cost us anything. BUT if you are buying waffles they will be around $2 for a box of 8 and $4 for a bag of chicken nuggets (that you can use again for lunches at another time).

Friday – In the round and round that is the weather in Colorado. I hear we are supposed to have more snow on Friday. That is why Friday will be soup day. Safeway has progresso soups on sale for just 77c a can. If my daughter and I can agree on one soup we will have that and share it tonight. If we can’t agree. Well we may just go crazy and open two cans and each choose our own. For under $2 for a full meal.

Sometimes I feel like I really just want to go out to dinner – but I am really finding the cheap meal challenge sort of fun too. Making sure that we are using things that we already have/stock in our freezer as well as staying well under our budget number for food. When we stay under that number – it just means I can spend more paying down my debt.

Gretchiverse Great Grabs – February 2019

I get Oprah Magazine. I have since something like 1999 – one of my most favorite columns in there is Gayle’s favorite stuff. I like Oprah’s favorite things but, that is usually only once a year (or is too expensive for me to really even consider buying anything). But Gayle’s column lists what music she’s listening to, what book is awesome, and sometime some super products. So I figured what better than a monthly, Gretchiverse’s Great Grabs!

Rothy’s Shoes. I’m sort of obsessed with these shoes. I have looked at them several times on websites, and they keep popping up in my facebook feed, my insta stories etc. I really would like a pair. I love the idea that they are made using recycled bottles and the company I work for right now, Informa, hosts an event called Natural Products Expo West (There is also an East version but that is in the fall). I will be on my feet all day working at the show – and will need comfy shoes. I am in charge of the transportation – so I’m sure I will have loads of opportunity to talk to people about my awesome shoes…so I’m ALMOST tempted to get them…but hello budget. Also, I think as a busy mom who is running from job, to lacrosse, to all the other stuff I do I love how versatile and yet stylish these are.

Dirty John Show on Bravo – This show was on Bravo, starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana. I love it. Connie does such a great job with the character Debra – strong yet somewhat gullible if only for the fact that she just wants love and wants to be happy, but then later trying to reason out and live with the  decision she made to be with John. Eric is so believable as John. John is scary but there is a vulnerability to him – I would think it would be simple to fall for him. And Ok – the whole story is a little scary as I’m a single mom out there dating…walls up now?

Outlander Series Books – I’m not sure what took me so long to actually grab one of those books (maybe because they are so long and realy a time investment). I’ve heard friends talking about it (and how how Sam Heughan is). I will say that it did take me a bit to dig it – but not long. I am already almost done with the second book in about 4 weeks – don’t spoil it for me please. But, I’m totally sucked in and feel invested in the characters. Not to mention that I hope there is a real-live Jamie out there for me. 🙂 I also have only watched the first season of the Starz show – because the books are so rich, I want to read them first…but also wanted to see Sam…

Happier with Gretchen Rubin Podcast  – I love the banter between Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth. The podcast is about the perfect length of just around 30 minutes usually and I never feel like the content “drones” or is preachy. They are simply two sisters in sort of two different places letting us listen in on their sisterly banter – which happens to have some really great and concrete ideas! I have a list of 19 for 2019! (Listen and you’ll understand).

What’s on your list? What is a Great Grab for you? Give me your suggestions!

P.S. These are NOT affiliate links. I don’t get anything at all by my suggestions or thoughts.

This is Cheap Week

I am mananging my finances fairly tight right now. I am a follwer of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. I find myself in baby step two  – that is getting out of all sorts of debt except the house. Baby step 1 is to save $1000 (and that is tucked away).

This week we had our house payment due (which is more than Mr. Ramsey suggests but I’m in a house I love, in an area I love, in the school district where my daughter will graduate in just a few months – so I’m staying here at least for the short term). Which puts us on what I’ll call Cheap Week.

This is the week of the month that we stay inside and play board games and devise dance party nights – as a solution to any kind of entertainment. We also live in Colorado – so there are a ton of beautiful hikes nearby that will cost NOTHING.

The most difficult part of this week is my teenage daugher who is having a hard time understanding my “no” to her asking if we can take a walk to the store for chocolate. Which apparently she’s got a craving for. The most difficult thing so far is her no’s. I guess easy to tell myself no – harder to say it out loud to someone else. I really see why if I was in a position to do this with a partner, we would really need to be on the same page and say no to each other.

Here’s what our cheap week dinner menu looks like this week:

Chicken Bowls – I got a giant bag of potatoes at the store (5 lbs) for just $1. We will make some mashed potatoes, put some chicken nuggets on top, canned corn, and a bit of gravy or cheese (or maybe both).

Dressed up Ramen – Thank goodness that ramen is making a come-back! (Was it ever really here)? But we picked out a spicy chicken ramen, we will add a bag of mixed vegetables (we got a bag on sale for just 50 c), I have some chicken still in my freezer so we will take a sizeable breast – cut it into smaller pieces and add to the ramen. My daughter also likes to add a cut up medium boiled egg. Voila! Fancy Ramen. All those restaurants can eat their hearts out.

Frozen Pizza – Wednesday is lacrosse night anyway – so a quick and easy meal is perfect that night. I got a frozen pizza from Safeway using one of their coupons for just $2! (and not the Totinos kind!). I sort of miss the mark of vegetables with this meal but we COULD add veggies on the side like carrots or add something to the pizza!

Sausage and potatoes – Yes, using more of that bag of potatoes, we will roast them and put them with sausage that I got on sale at the store a while back. Does potatoes count as a vegetable?

Spaghetti – Yes, this does make it to our meal plan quite a bit. We can usually get spaghetti for around $1 (and when we’re really feeling it we make fresh spaghetti – which is really just flour, egg and water) and a can of spaghetti sauce for about $1 add some of our own spices (we like more garlic please). Full Meal is about $2. Sometimes I serve with a salad.

Orange Chicken – One of our favorite meals is Orange Chicken from Trader Joe’s for just $5 a bag plus some rice. I usually serve with some broccoli, it is a complete meal for us for about $6!

I do look for sales. I usually don’t have the money to “stock up” and keep things for a long time or have a hoarders kind of kitchen cabinet. I do however, grab things if I think it is a great deal and we will use them in the next couple weeks. Then I make a plan to do so. Especially knowing that the weeks early in the month are hard because of the house payment.

Do you have some great cheap dinner ideas that you’d like to share? We’re happy to try them.

Colorado Girl’s Summer Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? You know one of those lists of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”. My kids and I created our own sort of bucket list. While we didn’t call it Bucket List – we called it “Colorado Kid” list. It was all the things that we thought that someone who lives in Colorado should do in their lifetime. And maybe why some people actually come here to visit (instead of just those of us who get to live here). Some of the items were winter (ski, snowboard, snowmobile, ice skate on a lake, etc) there were quite a few that were summer items. So maybe you can start your own Colorado Kids list with some of these suggestions.

In Town (Denver)

  • WaterWorld is a water park on the North side of Denver (on 88th and Pecos). They have been recognized as one of the best water parks in the country and it is right here in our back yard!  https://www.waterworldcolorado.com/
  • At Elitch Gardens your sort of get a two for one, it is a theme park and water park. There are rides for all ages and sizes and plenty of other fun happenings from free concerts to dive in movies.  https://www.elitchgardens.com/
  • Who doesn’t love a night at Red Rocks? The natural amphitheater that is famous for the amazing sound and natural setting. One of the least expensive ways to really experience the venue with the whole family is Film on the Rocks! The films are typically proceeded by an awesome local band that goes along with the theme of the movie.  http://www.redrocksonline.com/fotr/
  • Free Concerts or movies is an amazing way to enjoy a Colorado evening and some entertainment. Most are free and pretty much you can find something on your side of town (because they happen everywhere). https://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2018/06/01/summer-2018-free-concert-and-movie-guide/
  • Cherry Creek Arts Festival (July 6-8) is a wold-class and award-winning arts festival showcasing the visual arts, performing arts, and culinary arts. So much to see for everyone. Just make sure you bring your water bottle. It is usually pretty warm out. My kids and I sat in the shade of the tent of the culinary stage. We watched the chef prepare the meal and wrote down the ingredients and steps. Then we went to Whole Foods, bought all the stuff and re-created the meal at home that night. Arts in the home. (We couldn’t exactly re-create some of the visual arts – and we certainly tried to recreate some of the performing arts). cherrycreekartsfestival.org/
  • If music is your thing, Underground Music Showplace (July) is the place to go! Let’s just call it a full two days of a free concert downtown. https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/
  • Taste of Colorado (Sept – Labor Day weekend) is a staple for anyone who has lived in Colorado for any time. Civic Center park is transformed into a tasting haven, top artists perform (Leann Rhimes was just announced for this year) and tents upon tents of crafts/community exhibitors https://atasteofcolorado.com/
  • Renaissance Fair. A bit cheesy but fun. Yes, we all want to walk around eating a giant turkey leg while we watch jousting or say hello to a King and Queen. It is a great teaching opportunity to talk through history and culture of a different time and place.  https://coloradorenaissance.com/

But if you’ve had too much in town – you can always escape to the Mountains!

  • Hike! Pretty much it seems like you can pull your car over on the side of the road and just start walking! Hiking is easy and fun. Stop and take pictures, see if you can find animal footprints in the dirt and try to identify the animal or just let the kids get their energy out. There are several books that can guide you and your team where a good hike might be for the ages and abilities of your crew. Some of our favorites? Bear Creek, Ouzel Falls, Royal Arch Trail and Mt. Falcon. My kids love wearing the water packs – that can be picked up pretty inexpensively!
  • Want to fly over Vail Valley? Try ZipLine! We went to 4 Eagle Ranch. The ranch has the usual ranch stuff (horses, rodeo series and western Family nights) but they also do Glamping, 4×4 tours and our favorite, ZipLining. The kids and I got outfitted at the ranch then hopped in a jeep and driven over to the Zip course. The course is 7 zips each getting slightly longer with the longest being 1000’! My daughter loved it. My son went tandem with a guide. They say they can hold most weights. 4eagleranch.com/
  • Several areas around town seem to have these amazing Obstacle Courses and/or summer tubing
    • Lawson Adventure Park is easy to get to as it is just outside of Idaho Springs (Eat a pizza at Beau Jo’s on the way home!) You can stay at the park in a Yurt, cabin or tent! But you can also just go for the day and try the activities. They have a Via Ferrata (rock climbing), Mountain Zorb (our favorite), learn how to fly fish on Clear Creek, try a short zipline, challenge course or try to stand up in a water walkerz.  http://lawsonadventurepark.com/
    • I can’t decide if I like snowboarding or summer at Vail more. The summer Vail Discovery includes adventure courses, ziplines, mountain coaster, tubing hils, climbing wall and bungee Trampoline. https://www.vail.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/…/epic-discovery.aspx
    • Maybe your kids aren’t ready for a full sleep away camp (or maybe like me, you can’t really afford that)> I love thatYMCA Rockies has day tickets. Try your hand at archery, canoeing, challenge courses, craft shop, bike rentals, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, disc golf, climbing, swimming, tennis, rafting, volleyball or the summer tubing hill.  https://snowmountainranch.org/activities/summer-tubing-hill/
    • Bailey has a new adventure park. I have not been to this one yet – but sounds like a lot of the same stuff from ziplining to obstacle courses.  http://treehouseadventurepark.com/
  • Rafting is such a refreshing way to enjoy the mountains and an ultimate check on the bucket list. We used River Runners several years ago with my kids. They loved it. They sat in the middle of the boat, didn’t have to paddle and enjoyed the ride. We were quite ready for lunch when the 1/2 day rafting was over. That mountain run off water feels good at first – but even in summer it’s sort of cold! https://whitewater.net/
  • Colorado is well known for our Western Roots. So, we had to add horseback riding. We like Safari Ranch outside of Fairplay – because the horses are not trained to follow another’s trail. You feel like you’re out there on your own. We did a ½ day of riding and the day ended by the grill -= where we made lunch and then headed home before the summer camping traffic started on 285. americansafariranch.com/
  • A great weekend getaway is Glenwood Springs. There is a lot to do in Glenwood. You can hike Hanging Lake, go to Glenwood Caverns, swim in the hot springs pool. https://www.glenwoodcaverns.com/
  • I grew up in Steamboat –  so for me this was a must to show my kids all the places I went as a kid. I remember fishing at Lost Dog Creek, camping at big mountain and hiking Fish Creek Falls. But there are tons of things to do in town as well. Try the mountain coaster, or get a tube and go tubing down the Yampa (right by the park/library). However, it’s a 3-hour drive so at least a night up there makes sense.
  • Colorado Springs has a ton to offer as well. You can do it as a weekend get away or a bit further of a drive for a few hours of fun. There is a lot you can see/do down there as well. Cheyenne Mtn Zoo is cool. The Cave of the Winds (and the terror-dactyl ride), 7 falls, and drive to Royal Gorge.
  • If you like sitting in a hot spring pool Mt. Princeton can’t be beat. We especially loved the part in the river where you can be literally sitting in a pool of warm water and still have your toes in the freezing cold river! When we went we did a bit of hiking up Agnes Falls then enjoyed the hot springs afterwards.

This is just a start of the fun places we know about or have discovered. We are pretty certain that the “Colorado Kid” list is something that can be changed or added to all the time. So if you know of some other great things that scream Colorado please send them our way!