Southwest Family Road Trip Day 4: Grand Canyon Sunset

swroadtripgrandcanyon1

There are so many places that I can't wait to take my kids. Grand Canyon was definitely at the top of the list. We managed to arrive less than 2 hours before sunset. It was a mad dash to get to the Yavapai Point about 2 miles out from where we were staying but it was so worth it! This trip was important for me to find time to connect with my family and be able to share different wonders around the country. If you missed the other days: Day 1: Santa Fe, NM here Day 2: Tent Rocks here Day 3: Petrified Forest  here I don't know why it is so difficult to focus on the positive. Well, I guess it might have something to do with the rollercoaster ride of the last 6 months. {Quick recap: Husband switched jobs after 10 years. Now dealing with husband traveling, buying first home, and dad diagnosed with cancer.} I know that not all that is bad but when you are overwhelmed it's really easier to focus on the bad. My brain starts to go to that pessimistic place as we were … [Read more...]

Southwest Family Road Trip Day 3: Petrified Forest National Park

PetrifiedForestNationalPark1

Ready for Day 3? Yesterday we drove a little under 4 hours from Santa Fe, NM to stay in the iconic Wigwam Motel. After camping for the past 2 nights in Santa Fe, NM, this quaint motel was exactly what we needed before continuing our journey of exploration the southwest. Today on the itinerary is Petrified Forest National Park. Petrified Forest National Park is made up of 200,000 acres including the Painted Desert among other sites. We can't wait to get our day started! Teaching our kids during our vacation is just as important as having fun. Stepping back in time to stay at the Wigwam Motel was a fun way to show them to appreciate the past. As an added bonus, Wigwam Motel is less than 30 minutes from Petrified Forest National Park making it an ideal place to stay. Petrified Forest National Park is amazing! I first experienced Petrified Forest's wonder when I was in the 3rd grade with my family. I have been waiting until my kids were oldest enough to truly appreciate the … [Read more...]

Southwest Family Road Trip Day 2: Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks Memorial

kashakatuwetentrocks6

Day 2 of Southwest Family Road Trip is off to a beautiful start at Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks Memorial. Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks Memorial is near Cochiti Pueblo, NM. It was about a 40-minute drive from Santa Fe. Trust me when I saw that Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks was worth the Drive! We originally thought of omitting this from our itinerary due to the drive. We were afraid if we didn't get there early enough it would be too hot since there is limited shade. We woke up early so we would arrive shortly after sunrise. It was perfectly timed considering the weather and it was less crowded at that time. As we were leaving Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks Memorial, the trails were definitely becoming more congested. We started in the slot canyon trail. We planned our day to start close to sunrise. In retrospect, We should have started the loop trail first since it had no shade. The Slot Canyon is an amazing way to show kids science at it's finest. It is magnificent to see in person how wind and water … [Read more...]

Southwest Family Roadtrip Day #1: Winsor Trail

SantaFeCollage1

Now that we are living in a small town of a little over 4000 people, I am determined to keep my boys traveling the world. As much as we have dreamed of buying a home. It can be a bit scary to be committed to a location forever. At times that thought can be overwhelming. Anyways we are on a mission to help our kids see all that is out there beyond the midwest. Don't get me wrong I love the midwest. We have traveled all around it and while we planned on moving to the pacific northwest someday our dreams have changed. This summer we took our boys on a journey that would end with the Grand Canyon. I hope you follow along as we go from  Santa Fe to Petrified Forest to the Grand Canyon and everything in between! Day 1 began in Santa Fe, NM: We checked into a cabin at Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground off old Las Vegas Highway. Technology has become such an important part of our days so we wanted to reconnect with nature on this trip. This campground was perfect for that! However with a … [Read more...]

How to slow the signs of Aging with Jouviance {Giveaway Alert}

jouviance5

Please note: See how I slow the signs of aging in this honestly sponsored Soapbox Influence Campaign in collaboration with #BonjourJouviance & The Women Bloggers. Giveaway is sponsored by the Kendal King Group This month I turn 34. It's funny how I find it annoying at times when people think I am much younger than I am. I am the one who always gets carded when we go out with friends. The thing about looking younger now is that I am certain I will be thrilled when I am REALLY old! Here's the truth, though, slowing the signs of aging to look more youthful isn't by accident. My routine isn't elaborate but some good Anti-aging products like Jouviance {found at CVS} paired with healthy living choices can go a long way to slow the signs of aging. I have always heard that genetics play a role in how we age. While this may be true, the choices that we make can definitely affect how youthful we look. I pride myself on being low-maintenance. I usually only wear makeup for a night out on the … [Read more...]

“Made Better By our Stories” {Prim Goods}

primgoods#madebetter1

Please note: I received review products in exchange for my honest content. The overall theme of Great Contradictions is inside and out healthy living. For that reason, I was especially excited to work with Prim Goods since they have a similar philosophy. Brands that help resonate my true passion really make this job worthwhile. But it's not just about a job. It's more personal than that. I am the child of a recovered addict. It's not something that I often talk about. However, addiction has been a major part of how I turned out the way I did. It forced me to grow up quicker. It made me more cautious in my risk taking. It made me aware of how easy it would be to give in to my addictive personality. My personal experiences in life resulted in a career working to help teens with their drug recovery to help break the cycle. Today I am pleased to be able to talk to you about an innovative type of residential recovery center for women and women with young children called Primrose … [Read more...]

DIY Vanilla Mint Body Scrub

VanillaMintBodyScrub1

This year I will probably sound like a broken record. This is the year of taking care of ourselves. This is the year to pamper ourselves. I don't know what your situation is but odds are likely you need some pampering. Do you have a hectic schedule these days? Try this DIY vanilla mint body scrub to pamper yourself in the comfort of your home. Are you making more time for yourself? I broke my hand in December. It has been quite a battle conquering not just the movement issues but the severe dry skin. This is a tame version of my hand in recovery. Cast hand took my winter skin issues to a whole new level! What I love about DIY projects is that they use many items already found in the pantry! At-home pampering can save you time and money which most of us are short on these days. What are some of your favorite pantry items you keep on hand for DIY projects?   5.0 from 3 reviews Print DIY Vanilla Mint Body Scrub Author: Natalie Z.   … [Read more...]

Lego Valentines {Free Printable}

LegoValentine-2Preview

{Please note: This is not a sponsored post. However there are affiliate links} This week is Valentine's Day! I like to let my kids do their own thing. Despite having all boys they all have their own likes and hobbies. However Legos definitely play a role during their days. If your kids love Legos like mine, print off these Lego Valentines! These Lego valentines are versatile enough for boys or girls. I know in the past I have bought multiple boxes of Valentines to keep both the girls and the boys happy.  Buying some boxes of cats or princess valentines for the girls. Buying super hero or dinosaurs for the boys. What I love about these Lego valentines are that they are a fun way to be neutral to keep everyone happy! ~~~~~ All you have to do is click the image below and print the Lego valentines! Pair these Lego valentines with homemade crayons (find my tutorial here) or chocolates with these molds    to this   or these fun Lego head cakepops Are you ready for … [Read more...]

Gluten free Ghirardelli filled Chocolate Cake and $75 gift card giveaway

ghirardellichocolatesquaresfilledcake

Please note: this post is sponsored by Ghirardelli chocolate. As always I have provided my honest opinions in this post. Less than two weeks until Valentine's Day! We have been busy relocating from Little Rock to Southeast Kansas where I am originally from. It has been quite a transition especially with their buying our first home. Valentine's Day is probably going to be more of an at home experience this year while we are buying a house, renovating said house, and dealing with all those fun grown up things. At our recent trip to Walmart, I found some Ghirardelli chocolates with Valentine theme that are going to be a great addition to Valentine gift for the teachers, my kids, and my secret ingredient in the gluten free Ghirardelli filled Chocolate Cake found below! After you are done checking out the delicious recipe, don't forget to enter for a chance to win $75 American Express gift card {2 winners}! What are your plans for Valentine's Day? John and I have been together for … [Read more...]

How Rewarding Yourself Helps You Achieve Your Goals

As is the routine for this time of year, people all over the world are plotting and planning. They are reflecting on the past year and coming up with ways to make this year even better. For most, this means setting some pretty big goals that they want to accomplish. However, setting goals is the easy part. Once you set them, you have to get to work. You have to have a plan for achieving them. You have to figure out a way to gain some momentum. Even that can be pretty straightforward, though. ~~~~~ The problem comes when that momentum slows to a crawl (or stops altogether). What do you do to help you get through those periods when the motivation that you have right now is waning? Better yet, how can you prevent yourself from losing that motivation? One simple, scientifically-proven way to achieve your goals is to establish a connection between making progress and feelings of happiness. ~~~~~ Let’s take potty-training a child as an example. When it is time to potty-train a child, … [Read more...]