6 Tips to Saving on Heating This Winter

Winter Brrr… we’ve been in a freeze here the past few weeks, as in snow from before Christmas still lingers on the ground, a rarity here on the front range of Colorado. Sure, we get plenty of sun, but once darkness falls and the temp drops even further, I find myself asking SoulDaddy all too often how soon we can move to the beach.

The irony is that I used to ski 120 days a year in the cold with never a chill. Now, I get cold just walking the dogs for 30 minutes and find myself hustling home to huddle by the fire.  Continue reading

Wanderlust Summer 2013 Dates Announced

WL2013-save-the-dates538Have you heard of Wanderlust? I hadn’t either until I came across it in Body and Soul Magazine earlier this year and got all excited – until I saw the Colorado date had passed. Boo!

But alas, Wanderlust will be back at Copper Mountain July 4-7, 2013 – as well as in Vermont (June 20-23, 2013), California (July 18-21, 2013) and Whistler (August 1-4, 2013). Full lineups will be announced in early 2013, but you can be assured they will be loaded with mountainside fun, including yoga, music, hiking, paddle board yoga, organic food and wine events, the Speakeasy lecture series, the Wanderkind kid’s program and so much more. Continue reading

On The Mend: My Lessons Learned from Surgery

A few months ago, I joined a team of moms with LiveWell Colorado, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring healthy eating and active living in Colorado. Although Colorado is often touted as America’s “leanest” state, we are, unfortunately, not immune to the growing health crisis of obesity.

In fact nearly 58 percent of Colorado adults and 25 percent of our children are overweight or obese. And we’re getting worse. LiveWell Colorado was formed to take a leadership role in tackling the complex problem of obesity and realizing the vision of all Coloradans embracing a healthier lifestyle.

The LiveWell Colorado mission is right in line with my healthy living spirit, and I am proud to join a group of local moms who share a common desire to help influence healthier choices across our home state and beyond.

In the spirit of sharing, I’ve posted an article on their site that shares my holistic approach to surgical recovery. I fully credit these steps with getting me back on my feet and hitting the trails, not once, but twice. It’s an amazing journey to look back on and one that has only made me stronger.

On The Mend: My Lessons Learned from Surgery

Like many active Coloradans, I take every advantage to get outside and play. I have three bikes hanging in our garage: one for the road, one for the mountains and one for cruising with a toddler. On lazy week nights, I let our two dogs walk us around the well-worn paths near our house. On weekends, I look forward to longer family adventures.

At 37, few would guess I’ve endured two major orthopedic surgeries in less than four years. Though both grueling six-to-twelve-month-long recoveries tested me physically, mentally and emotionally, I’ve come back – even with a pregnancy tossed in! And you can, too.

Please continue reading the full post over at LiveWell Colorado.

Help Stop Development at Wolf Creek Ski Area

Wolf Creek Lodge is the largest building at Wolf Creek. For now. Photo by Josh CooleyThank you Primal Outdoors for bring attention to this important matter for Coloradoans, especially those of us who love to ski and ride!

The Wolf Creek Ski Area is one of Colorado’s last authentic ski areas where it’s still just about the skiing and snowboarding. The base area and surrounding forest is free of hotels, condos and restaurants; there is no Village at Wolf Creek – yet.

Read the full post here.

#Summer Lovin’

I’ve been trying to keep up with the posts this summer, but it’s tough because, well, like you, I’m out enjoying summer! There’s been lots of pool time, BBQs, camping, bike rides, hikes, and family visits. I feel fortunate that my hip – though not 100% – is fairly close, enough so that I can do all the above. I’m building up my endurance slowly, while K-Bear’s ever-curious mind enjoys every little adventure. Life is good here in Colorado, but pictures speak louder than words!  Continue reading

Corn Mazes and Pumpkins and Goats, Oh My!

I have found that becoming a parent gives you the opportunity to take excursions that you might not otherwise. Come fall, that includes visiting a local farm, where bushels of Indian corn, acorn squash and funny-shaped gourds signal the end of another harvest season.

Bursting with dried corn stalks and of fields of pumpkins, these farms beckon with the opportunity to make memories. From taking a hay ride to the pumpkin patch and choosing that perfect one, to wandering through a corn maze and petting the farm animals, there is no better way to spend an autumnal family day. Continue reading

Homemade Applesauce

Like many who grew up in New England, I was fortunate to have an apple orchard within town limits. Just when the nights finally started to cool off was about when Christiansen’s would open their big stand on Hwy 102, and we would stop in once a week for fresh cider and a big white bag of apples. I can still remember the smell of just-picked macintoshes simmering on the stove as my mother made sauce.

Having settled on the front-range in Colorado, I don’t have such an orchard handy anymore, but I do have plenty of apples at in-season prices, trucked in from the western slope and elsewhere. Making applesauce is one of my autumn traditions; I hope you too enjoy this incredibly simple, sugar-free celebration of the season.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. of fresh organic apples, any variety. Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Macintosh are all good choices. If in doubt, go for what’s on sale. Note: Apples are the #1 pesticide offender (see EWG’s Dirty Dozen list), so its always best to choose organic.
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmug

Directions

Wash, core and slice apples. I like to halve the slices as well. Remember that the more you cut them up, the smaller the skins in your end product. (I don’t advocate peeling apples; it’s a shame to toss away all those vitamins and fiber!)

Place the apples in a 2 qt. saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until soft, about 15 minutes. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Mash the apples with a potato masher until the chunks are well-dissolved. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 15 more minutes or until all water is absorbed and sauce reaches desired consistency.

Enjoy by itself, on waffles or with a side of pumpkin bread. It freezes very well so don’t be afraid to double the batch!

For Babies: Toss a portion of the applesauce into a blender or small food processor and blend until smooth. Portion it into ice cube trays, and transfer frozen cubes to an airtight storage container. Take out a cube or two as needed for meals.

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Bee Happy!

Last holiday season, my husband and I were scouring a craft fair for unique, homemade gifts when I first spotted Bee Happy. I was smitten by the name, intrigued by the products, and thrilled when I later found a full selection of them in my holiday stocking (points for hubby!)

Fast forward a few weeks to my best friend’s birthday; I was so excited about Bee Happy that I had to get my girl a set of her own yummy-smelling, all-natural lotions and such. I ordered online last-minute (of course), totally ignoring the blatant banner reading (in short), “Hey folks, I’m on vacation so orders will be delayed until I return). Ugh, oh.

Enter Kerry Carter, creator of Bee Happy, to the rescue. She called me from a beach in Mexico (yes, probably holding a fruity drink with an umbrella), and arranged for her husband to leave my purchase in their milk box for me to pick up. Really. She’s that cool, and that dedicated to her business.

It’s for that reason, and the fact that I adore her reasonably-priced products, that I decided to feature her here. Kerry’s dedication and ambition shined through nearly immediately after we started chatting.

“I started Bee Happy almost 5 years ago,” explains Carter. “I saw someone making a product similar to my Bee Balm but it was too greasy. I thought, I can do that, and I can do it better.”

And better it she did. A pharmacy technician by trade, Carter had the background she needed to get started. Bee Balm was first, a lotion bar perfect for rough heels and elbows, followed by body butter, lotion, cuticle cream, and lip balm. Then she got FDA approval for SPF 15 in her lip balms, a definite plus for the Colorado altitude. Her latest release? Eye cream, the result of a large number of client requests.

“I formulated these products for myself, using only the best ingredients, only the things I’d want on my skin,” states Carter. “I’ve gone back to the basics, and it works. People love it and they come back for more.”

I can attest to that.

As you would expect, either beeswax or honey is an ingredient in every Bee Happy product. She explains that with the exception of a small amount of preservative to keep the liquid products stable, they are all-natural. They are also paraben, gluten, and petroleum free, and come in a variety of scents, including original light vanilla, creamsicle, cucumber melon, almond, and citrus basil (for men).

Carter still works her day job in addition to Bee Happy, but has plans to transition soon. “I’d like to do Bee Happy full-time,” she admits. With the steady rate at which she is expanding, and the months it takes to devise a new formula, Carter will need it.

In the meantime, she’s plenty busy handcrafting and packaging all her products at home. “A sore muscle cream is next,” she reveals.

I’ve only tried her original light vanilla scent thus far, but it is divine. I’d like to sample another scent or two as well as the eye cream, but no worries; I have plan. It includes my holiday wish list and a husband willing to earn more points (wink).

You can find Bee Happy at craft fairs and retailers throughout Colorado. Carter also has representation in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Wyoming. All products are also available online at www.BeeHappyLipBalm.com.

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Free National Parks Day

There are 395 national parks in the U.S. and multiple times per year, our government opens them all up free of charge. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, that just plain rocks.

All across our beautiful country, from Denali to Yellowstone to Acadia, you, your family and your friends, can enjoy spectacular views and stunning wildlife. Those of us on the front range in Colorado are lucky enough to be within a few hours of one such gem: Rocky Mountain National Park. Continue reading