Vacations, travel and visiting places are some of my favorite things to do.
Here are my top ten vacation I wouldn't hate taking. They are in no particular order.
1. New Orleans -- yes, I have been here before but each time I've been, it has only been for a couple of hours. I need a whole weekend here. I want to stay in a few of their haunted hotels: The Andrew Jackson Hotel and Hotel Monteleone. This will be an adult weekend only. Who is game? When are we going?
2. Chicago -- I've only been in Chicago a few times and only in the airport, so that does not count. I mean, the view was cool from the plane. What are your favorite things to do in Chicago?
3. Washington, DC. -- So many free things to do and see. Plus, it is close to Baltimore and we can head to Camden Yards for a day/night of baseball.
4. Destin, FL -- white beaches, blue water I can see through, magical settings...my favorite beach vacation place. I am never disappointed when visiting Destin.
5. Boston, MA -- so much history.
6. Cruise to Alaska
7. Colorado Spring, CO and that area. -- This another place I visited as a child and have very fond memories. I want to relive some of those.
8. Grand Canyon National Park and going to a lot of National Parks along the way. -- I've never been here.
9. Wisconsin Dells
10. Staycation -- right in my own home. I like my home.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
We arrived at the Badlands on a Thursday evening. We set up camp at the Sage Creek camping area. And we had one trail my whole family wanted to hike. The Notch Trail.
You have probably viewed pictures of the Notch Trail and not realized what it was.
It has the steep log ladder you climb during a portion of the trail to get up to the dramatic views and the plateau.
|We took this from the parking lot. Perfect timing.|
The Notch Trail head is at the South end of the parking lot of the Door and Window trails. The total trail length is 1.5 miles long.
You get amazing views as you meander through the canyon.Be cautious of your steps. You don't want to fall, trip or step on something that would not have a pleasant ending.
I couldn't handle all these amazing views. I wanted to cry at the beauty of the entire Badlands, but with the sun setting, it was impossible not to have some sort of feels.
There are a lot of steep areas and drop offs. If you are afraid of heights and/or falling, this is not the trail for you.
The hike is moderate to difficult depending on your hiking level and fitness level and there is always something to look at.
The canyon walls start to narrow about a third of the way into the hike.
If you think you are off course, look for the reflective markers. They will steer you on the correct path.
The wooden ladder is bolted to the hillside. I took the ladder up as well as my daughter. The boys took a different route. There are more than 50 rungs and it gets steeper as you go up. We started out walking and ended up having to use both hands and feet to traverse to the top.
But it is completely worth it.
See, it's steeper than the original picture looks. I can't believe I went up and down this thing.
The trail does come to an abrupt end as you go along the side of the canyon. It's worth it though. Just don't be skiddish.
Advice for hiking this trail:
1. Don't go alone.
2. Follow the markers or look for them if you feel lost. There is no board walk to guide the way.
4. Have fun. It's okay to do that.
5. If you are afraid of heights, stop at the ladder, even though that is one of the best parts.
6. Bring a camera, but don't be so engrossed it in that you don't experience the beauty outside the pictures.
7. Sunset time is quite amazing in late May.
I cannot wait to go back to the Badlands. I want to hike more trails and explore the terrain even more.
What is your favorite hike at the Badlands?
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Dear MOMS Club®,
Thank you for allowing me to find you when I needed you. I was a mother in a completely different part of town than where I grew up and lived most of my life and the only companion I had was my AOL Message board for September 2003 mothers. I heard some of the moms talk about how they joined their local MOMS Club® and absolutely loved it. It got them out of their home and gave some entertainment and purpose for the mothers and the children. I heard their stories for a couple of years. I had checked the website when my middle child was less than a year old but there was not a chapter in existence.
When my youngest child was five months old, I decided to check the website again. There was now a club that included my area in their boundaries. I was so excited. I emailed right away to find out what I needed to do to join this club. I received an email back within a couple of hours and lucky me, there was a business meeting coming up. I showed up and was confident in myself. I saw other moms, just like me. I joined MOMS Club® that day. February of 2006. It’s been eleven and a half years since that day and I am still a member of that club even with all the changes we have gone through.
I jumped right in headfirst. I needed this in my life. I became friends with Yolanda, our Founder and President. I am still friends with her and I think she is a great and wonderful person and I love seeing her new adventures in life. I attending age-specific play groups, lots of outdoor events, lunches and brunches, but I can tell you, my favorite part was the monthly business meeting. It made me feel like I was part of something bigger, an organization with a purpose. I started by submitting calendar events. I would spend hours scouring the internet in hopes of finding events for both mom and children that were either free or very low cost. This is where I learned about all the awesome events going on in the Kansas City area. There was so much to do that I was completely unaware of before. So MOMS Club® thank you for allowing me to learn more and explore my community. I was seriously an expert on all the children’s water and splash parks in the area.
When elections came up, I was nominated for Administrative Vice President. I accepted the nomination and was voted in that July. As the AVP, I helped out the President when needed; I coordinated the service projects and fundraisers. We didn’t have any fundraisers, but we did have a few service projects. We prepared a meal at our local Ronald McDonald House and fundraised through WalkAmerica (now March for Babies) for March of Dimes. Both events had amazing turn outs. The WalkAmerica went so well, I was asked by March of Dimes to be on their local committee to help organize the family team things for the next event. MOMS Club® led me to many volunteer opportunities.
The year I was AVP, I decided to volunteer for International MOMS Club® as a website reviewer. I loved doing this. The big world wide web. The chapter websites were waiting to get published and all they needed was my review to be complete. I did a lot of these. I emailed a lot of Presidents. I approved a lot of websites and chapters were able to grow their membership. After this job was completed, I decided to become a Big Sister through International MOMS Club®. As a Big Sister, my job was to assist a small number of chapters. I was their first stop liaison to International. I would answer questions, review their newsletters and receive a monthly update from each chapter. I started out with a few chapters in the Kansas City area and soon moved up to Area Coordinator and received additional chapters to help out. After a few months there, our Assistant Regional Coordinator, my friend Yolanda, asked me if I wanted to become a State Coordinator. I said YES! As a State Coordinator, I had to interview with Mary James. She called me, we did an interview, I was nervous. I got the volunteer job. I became the State Coordinator for Missouri and eventually I was given Iowa. I also had Big Sisters and Area Coordinators under me. I was happy as a clam mentoring other moms. I got so many newsletters. I read so many newsletters. I got more ideas for my own chapter.
By the end of my term as AVP, our chapter was asked to sister. In MOMS Club® to “sister” is to break off into smaller chapters. Our chapter became so large, that we were asked to split into three chapters. The current President took over the west portion of our chapter, I took over the central portion of our chapter and our Membership Vice President took over the east portion. We worked long and hard to come up with boundaries and to get everything approved. Right before our sistering, we had a huge celebration. It was an emotional event and few tears were shed.
In July, our new chapter was founded. We were official. I was founder and the first President of this chapter. My board consisted of volunteers that first year. They were all dazzling and delightful and I couldn’t have had a better committee to steer our new ship. After my year as President, the Membership Vice President was voted into the Presidency. She had a different way of running things and membership dropped. She learned from her ways and soon membership surged again. I did serve one term as Administrative Vice President after my initial founding of the chapter. MOMS Club® gave me a sense of leadership and accomplishment. I founded a MOMS Club® chapter and it’s still going super strong today! Thank you for that. It makes me feel like I’ve achieved something. I was the one responsible for bringing all these moms together. They are still finding this chapter and still joining and finding friendship and purpose.
I was able to travel during my time as State Coordinator. I traveled to Texas to attend the Regional Conference. I met many MOMS Club from all over our region there. I still remain friends with a few of them. I recently ran across pictures from this event on my facebook memories and it brought back the fun times. I remember the food, all of the chapter boards and raffle baskets. I remember hanging out with my friends from far and near. If you are a MOMS Club® member, I encourage you to attend these events. I helped when we had a small Missouri, Kansas and Iowa luncheon. It was a blast. Another one that was worth the whole Saturday.
I made some of my best friends during this time. I am still in communication with a handful of them and I love seeing their families grow up and all the exciting life events they are going through.
I have my membership pins for being Founder, President, Administrative Vice President and Member. I have kept them all.
I am not active in my chapter that I founded, even though I am still a member. I will always be a member of this chapter. I do try to attend the End of the Year banquet if I am available. I know none of the current members will even know who I am and that’s okay. I did this for them. I did it for the mothers who needed other mothers. I did it for the mothers who needed friendship. I did it for the mothers that needed other adults in their life with so much in common. MOMS Club® is for MOMS.
Thank you MOMS Club®, I appreciate you for helping me through that chapter in my life.
Founder of the MOMS Club® of Kansas City-Northland, Missouri (originally KC/Gladstone)
|Fall Party Meeting 2007|
My daughter is the cute cow.
|Chocolate Making Demo.|
|Shannon and myself. We look so different now.|
|I still have my prize! I used it on my vacation|
|One of our Favorite FREE activities!|
|Chapter End of the Year Party 2006|
|My kiddos are old now.|
Saturday, June 17, 2017
You hear a lot of criticisms about Old Faithful on TripAdvisor and other travel sites. It's too crowded, it's like a mall, it's hard to see with so many people around. We were in Yellowstone from May 30th to June 2nd. That is super early in the season. A lot of trails and still closed and snow packed. It's was super cold at night, but bearable if you are prepared. It was a perfect time to go. The mobs of people haven't rolled in yet. There is still a crowd at times, but not like what people were explaining. We didn't get stuck for hours in long lines of cars. We were able to travel through the park with an occasional bear jam or bison jam.
We visited Old Faithful the first night we were there. It was raining slightly and we caught the sunset perfectly. My son has some awesome shots on his camera. That night, we took the short circle around the geysers just north of Old Faithful. We didn't see it erupt that night.
We came back to Old Faithful on our last night there. We were able to walk all the way to the Morning Glory Pool and back. We were able to see the Grand Geyser erupt, forever. That thing is amazing. We also got to see Old Faithful. We got a front row view for that. It was not crowded. The benches were full, people were awwwwing. It was nice. Everyone was quiet and taking in the moment. Old Faithful is still beautiful and magnificent. The eruptions are never the same. Some tall and some not so tall. You see all the birds go crazy right before it happens. The bison just chill right next to it because it's no big deal.
I dislike that you can't see my live photos on here. I call them my Harry Potter pictures because when I first discovered that my pictures did that, it reminded me of the Harry Potter pictures in the movie. It just makes the pictures so magical.
I did get a short video of it though, I had to stop it when the people around me were talking to much. :)
Have you ever been to Old Faithful?
Friday, June 16, 2017
I'm really enjoying my cast iron cookware. I used my flat skillet for this recipe. These sliders are super simple to make and taste out of this world. They were gone in a second at my house. I received so many compliments from my daughter and her friend.
Garlic Cheese Sliders
One Pound Ground Beef
3/4 cup Colby jack cheese
1/4 cup of Bacon Bits
Garlic Seasoning to taste (my house this means a lot!)
Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. You will want an even mix off all of the flavors. One flavor favoring one side is not ideal.
Form into patties. Yes, I definitely need help with the consistent size of my patties, but that's only for aesthetics.
Place on the flat cast iron skillet that has already been heated at medium. Once the patties are on, turn up the heat slightly.
Flip them and watch them cook.
I used Hawaiian Slider buns.
I created a sauce using mayo, fresh horseradish and garlic and used that on the bun. I place the avocado over it.
With this meal, I served homemade fries. I cut them super thin, salted them with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and baked them at 400 for around 20 minutes. Just before I pulled them out, I turned the broiler on. Watch carefully as they will burn.
Try this out, let me know how you like it.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
1. Leading my crazy, fun Usual Suspects on a winning season! Since this will be our team picture for the program, you know we are going to rule this season.
2. Visit the Badlands, Devils Tower and Yellowstone! -- Accomplished already….watch the blog for posts about our time.
3. Visit the other part of our small family in Seattle – we are leaving July 3rd! YAY! We get to spend the holiday on Lake Sammamish!
4. Go Blueberry picking! And make a pie out of those blueberries!
5. Visit the “Gardens of Myth” at Powell Gardens!
6. Go to the Drive-in movies!
7. Be a Tourist in Kansas City for a day. This is on my 39 List.
8. Tour the Boulevard Brewery
10. Take a ghost tour in Atchinson, KS
|The infamous Sallie House|
Linking up over at Mama Kat's and you should too.
It's funsies, I promise.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The Grand Tetons is majestic. If you have a few extra hours on a trip to Yellowstone, I recommend driving through and taking the little road to the Mormon settlement.
This area is known as Antelope Flats. This is where the settlement known as Mormon Row can be found. Mormon Row was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. I know a majority of people have seen the barns in pictures. They really are as beautiful as the pictures.
|Snow pack along the road in Yellowstone|
|Shorts and snow. It was actually around 70 degrees when we were out and about.|