Day 49 & 50: Fox Run Regional Park and Rosie's Diner

Our Colorado summer is well underway, and we have been tearing it up! Our first week, we explored Fox Run Regional Park, which might be my favorite park in the city. It is so delicious! We pretty  much drove through a forest to get there, and Claire exclaims, "Mom! Are we in a forest?!" And I got to say, "YES!" See:

This is the gorgeous view from my blanket where I sat watching the kids play:

Pike's Peak, I love you.

The air felt cleaner, fresher, and slower up there. Maybe we just chose a good-weather day, or maybe we really were in an enchanted wood.

I've been there once before, but I was so glad we decided to explore it again. It is absolutely stunning and lovely. Since we were farther north in the city, we hit up a local diner with friends, which was quirky and fun. It might even have been good food, too. Happy Summer to you!


Day 48: Summer Reading Program

This reading program is super cool. It is through our local library, and the kids fill out a reading chart. For example, there are 9 stars in 3 different sections. For every 20 minutes the kids read or are read to, they get to color in a star. When they fill in the first section of stars they take their chart into the library and get their first prize. The picture above it the first prize. As you can see, we already used two of the coupons. The first one was a $5 toy from Once Upon A Child. The second one was a free kids meal at Del Taco. We did both of those the day the kids earned the first prize, and now we have other activities to plan based off the rest of the coupons! They will also earn a frisbee and a book for the next two sections, but I think they start with the coupons so that you have an entire summer to enjoy the free kid's meals and activities.

Do you have something like this in your town?


Day 47: The Bearded Iris

13 years ago, I came home from a college class to find a bouquet of spring flowers tucked between the doorknob and the door of my apartment. They were from Dustin. I thought it was the most beautiful bouquet I had ever received. I remember there being a large, pink gerber daisy and a couple of purple irises among the others. 

 I'm pretty sure this is the first time I had seen an iris, and I loved it.

Most couples have a song that they share. Dustin and I have a flower. It is the iris.

As we've gone on our summer walks through the neighborhood, I've found gorgeous, delicate bearded irises, and also! I have some in my backyard! They're the yellow ones, but they are still amazing.

Do you have irises where you live? I'm glad to have them here however long they decide to last.


Day 46: Red Rocks Canyon Open Space

We love, love, love Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Something that separates it from Ute Valley Park is that the kids can do some 'scrambling' because the hiking path is carved right into rock in some places. Adults also 'scramble.' We see lots of rock climbers when we visit.

I guess also, the rocks are red instead of sandstone white, and we see horses a lot.

It's further from our house - maybe 20 minutes in the car - but it's closer to other parts of the city that we can combine into a fun day trip, like Manitou Springs, which we'll have to talk about later.

Can you tell these photos are from last January?


Basically this is a picture dump, but they are all just so good because of the scenery. In fact, it makes me want to go again. We've got to make it happen!


Day 43, 44, & 45: Horseland, the Dutch Bakery, and Feeding the Geese

I feel like we are in constant conversation with locals about what to do here in the Springs. We just want to check it out for ourselves. Dustin discovered these horse stables from our dental hygienist on a Wednesday and we visited that weekend. These pictures are actually from January of last year, but they are some of my favorites of our many, many visits to what we have named, "Horseland." This name comes from a favorite Netflix show of the girls. If your kids are also obsessed with horses, check it out.

Look how to tiny Blake was!! 

So, these are horse stables on public land, so anyone can walk through and say hi to the horses. On this particular day, one of the horse owners was exercising her horse, and she offered to let my kids groom her. How amazing is that?

After walking through all the stables and saying hello to all 60 horses, this opportunity was more than a cherry on top.

We've taken visitors here several times because it is free and it's pretty fun to pet the horses and even feed them sometimes. And, almost always afterward, we visit Boonzaaijer's Dutch Bakery because it is amazing. I wish I had pictures, but I couldn't find any, and I definitely wanted to include this gem WITH Horseland because for us they go together. I've ordered the Napoleon and chocolate cheesecake. We've also brought home an entire loaf of banana poppyseed bread, which was really yummy. Besides the delicious baked items, they also have a small grocery section of dutch goods, which I'm totally into.

After picking up our treats, we head over to what we call 'the duck pond' even though I'm pretty sure we've only ever seen geese there. If we remember, we bring them some bread.

The picture above is from last winter, and the following two are from last summer. Sometimes we don't even take pictures, so this trifecta of activities really does make it into our weekend activity mix quite often. My favorite part is obviously the bakery, but making my kids happy usually makes me happy, so these are pretty great activities for checking that one off the list. In fact, maybe we'll do these this week for our first week of summer!


Day 42: Chef Sugar

A few weeks ago, a good friend showed up on my doorstep with this:

Pretty, isn't it? Also, it was delicious.

The flavor pictured above is lemon something or other, and it was divine. I could have listed the bakery it came from, Chef Sugar, based just on that one cupcake, but of course, I did some reconnaissance for you. ;)

Straight from gymnastics, we stopped by in person to see what else Chef Sugar had to offer. Honestly, it was a little uptight inside the shop, so I didn't take any more photos inside, but it was pretty cute with a black, pink, and sparkle theme. The shop has been open for 5 years. They specialize in wedding and party cakes, but that didn't stop me from ordering cupcakes. Buy 5, get one free.

It was kind of like being at a chocolate shop. A glass case displayed all the beautiful cupcakes. There were probably 30 flavors on display, and when I asked where the delicious lemon one was or the s'mores flavor I had heard about, guess what the answer was? 

THERE ARE OVER 80 FLAVORS!!! They rotate them. If that's not enough to keep me coming back, I don't know what is. Avery has the strawberry shortcake in her hands above.

Here's the pretty box:

And, be warned, these are all cell phone pictures, so the cupcakes might not look quite as good as they could. Below we have a key lime, chocolate peanut butter, salted caramel, and two more. Haha! Can't remember. We sliced them up and shared them all at home.

We didn't eat at the shop because I didn't really feel like the kids and the mess they bring with them were as welcome, so there is that. Also, the shop is in a strip mall, and I don't know, but I'm against strip malls. They are just so . . . not charming.

I think the ideal way to enjoy these cupcakes would be to pick them up for a fun girls' night. Dustin didn't appreciate the cupcakes nearly as much as any one of my girlfriends would have, plus they are kind of pricey to buy for kids who are equally happy with a Hostess cupcake. So, if you're in the Springs, grab a dozen for a girls' night and thank me later.


Day 41: It's Not Romantic But It Must Be Stated - Traffic is Not a Problem Here

The other day, I was driving home from Claire's school, and I wanted to answer a text. Every time I hit a red light, I would pull the text up on my phone to finish writing it out, and the light would immediately turn green. Sometimes this would happen before I finished typing out even ONE more word.

Well, I was annoyed until I realized what this actually meant:

Traffic is almost never a problem in the Springs.

Nice, right? When I said 'the other day' up top, I really meant 'at the beginning of the school year.' Granted, I am not driving on the freeway or any busy road really, but even when I do end up driving on busier roads to take the kids to various appointments, I feel like I can still never finish my texts between red lights, and isn't that the true determiner of whether or not your city is too congested? Can you write multiple texts while waiting at red lights, or not?

Now, not only do you know that Colorado Springs is not congested, you also know how to find out if your own city is full of traffic or not. How many texts can your write on your way home? While sitting at red lights, of course. Let me know.