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Colorado Springs Travel Guide

This post has been sponsored by Colorado Springs, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

During my senior year of high school I was living with a friend's family and got to go on vacation with them to Colorado. It was one of the most breathtakingly beautiful states that I'd ever been to, and I've made it a point to go back with my own family ever since. 

Colorado Springs is the perfect destination for an outdoors family vacation that is jammed pack with lots of adventure. Whether it's going skiing in the majestic mountains in the winter and early spring, or hiking and kayaking during summer break, there are lots of things to do in Colorado Springs for the entire family. If you're looking for some great family vacation ideas in Colorado Springs, you've come to the right place. I've gathered together a list of all my favorite places for families at all adventure levels and price points!

Garden of the Gods Park: This 1300-acre natural national landmark is sure to top your Colorado Springs bucket list.  Walk among the deep red, pink and white sandstone and limestone formations and enjoy a free 30-minute, naturalist-led walk full of fascinating facts about wildflowers, wildlife, gold-seekers and many other Colorado-themed topics. Stressed about planning a full itinerary for your trip? Problem solved with these family travel guides!

Fountain Creek Nature Trail: This is a great hike for kids and adults of all ages and abilities. at 1.7 miles long it's not too rigorous, while still giving some majestic views of wildflowers and water features, and lots of activities at the Fountain Creek Nature Center. If you're in the market for more family friendly hikes, check out this article with four more your family may love!

Museums and Shopping: If you're looking for some fun attractions such as museums, or shopping at the local farmer's market, Colorado Springs has a lot to offer. If you have a kid who loves arcades, mines, dinosaurs, splash pads, there truly is something for everyone! For more attractions and things to do at every level of adventure and price point, click here to see an entire list of Colorado Springs attractions. 

Have you been to Colorado Springs? I'd love to hear about your local favorites in the comments below!

SANPELLEGRINO® Peachy Summer Mocktail

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MySanPelTe #TastefullyItalian #CollectiveBias

(Hover over the image above to shop these items!)

This year my family and I have started to make the switch from buying conventional food and drinks for our family, to purchasing organic products that are not only better for the environment, but better for our bodies as well. With summer right around the corner, we're looking for ways to enjoy refreshing summer beverages, that not only taste good, but fit into our new organic lifestyle as well.

I have been a huge fan of SANPELLEGRINO water for ages, and when I heard about their new SANPELLEGRINO® Pesca &tè and SANPELLEGRINO® Limone &tè varieties available at Walmart, I knew I had to give them a try. SANPELLEGRINO Pesca &tè is made with Organic Certified USDA ingredients. At just 50calories, it's the perfect combination of Italian Fruit Juice and real tea extract. 

I love creating fun summer mocktails, and since these drinks were already organic, I wanted to add ingredients that would only enhance it's natural flavors and cleanliness, and not take away from it.  For this summer mocktail, I added some organic maple syrup, and some frozen organic peaches. The maple syrup did an amazing job at adding a little depth and sweetness to the already fizzy and flavorful SANPELLEGRINO Pesca &tè, and the frozen peached helped the beverage to stay cold, without watering it down. 

1 1/2 cans SANPELLEGRINO® Pesca &tè
4 frozen peaches
1 tbsp maple syrup

Pour 1 1/2 cans of SANPELLEGRINO Pesca &tè into a 16oz mason jar, and add five frozen peaches to keep the drink chilled. Pour in one tablespoon of maple syrup for a little extra depth and sweetness. Garnish with a peach on the rim if desired. 

Which SANPELLEGRINO flavor are you most excited to try? Be sure to pick up a case on your next trip to Walmart! 

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Guide 2019

I don't do a lot of gift guides over here, especially for Mother's day when I don't feel like I really want anything, but over the last few weeks I've bought some things I've really loved, and I actually had a few good gift ideas for Derek, so I thought I would share some ideas with you in case you're in the camp of not knowing what you would like, hopefully these will spark some ideas. 

Food Storage Containers: I've been really into beefing up the cleaning and organization game of my home a little bit over the last few weeks. These containers are highly rated on amazon, come in a pack of 7, and cost a fraction of the price of the oxo brand ones that everyone raves about. Definitely worth a try! 

Microfiber Cleaning Cloths: This has been the year where I "clean up" a lot of the bad products and things in our home. We've switched to mostly organic food, natural cleaning products, and have been reducing paper where possible. I recently started using microfiber cloths to clean my home instead of paper towels and have been loving them. This 50 pack of cloths is less than $20!

J Crew Vintage T-Shirt: Every summer I see so many cute shirts from J Crew and then never buy them. This is a bit of a splurge for me, but I did get some cute shirts for summer for Mother's Day this year. I can't wait for them to get here! This one has a star print on it and will be perfect for the Fourth of July! 

Steam Mop: This is my other Mother's Day gift this year and I'm so excited to get it. We have tile floors in our house, and I've been dying to get a steam mop to lift all that impossible dirt that naturally just gets stuck to tile. This one is highly rated on Amazon, has 10 total functions (carpet cleaner, steam mop, clothes steamer, etc...) 

J Crew Color Block Sweatshirt: I saw this and just knew it was me from the get go. It will be perfect for cool summer nights at Bear Lake, or our trip to San Diego this summer! 

J Crew Lace Sleeve T Shirt: If you know me, you know I love a good bold red shirt, with a good sleeve. Adding this one to the collection that is quickly growing in my closet right now. 

Letter Board: Letter boards are so trendy and fun right now. I bought this one a few weeks ago for our bedroom and seriously love it. It's a nice big size, highly rated on Amazon, and it's under $25 which is way less than what a lot of other people are selling them for!

A Nice Throw Blanket: We recently decorated our master bedroom in our new house and I bought this blanket for our bed. It is incredibly soft and just pure perfection. 10/10 recommend. 

Buffalo Check Pillow Covers: We have huge 26x26 buffalo check pillow covers on our king size bed right now and I love them! We also have 18x18 ones on our couch and I equally love them! Such a small little purchase that looks cute all the time!

Fit-Bit Versa: I got this watch last year for a blog project and have loved it ever since. It has all the same functions of an Apple Watch (from what I can tell), but costs half the price! You can even buy different bands and things for it too! 

Mason Jar Centerpiece: I had been looking for a new centerpiece for our table for ages, and finally bought this a few months ago. It's super cute, and I bought some of this boxwood plant greenery to go inside the bottles and it looks so cute! Plus, there was so much extra greenery I was able to use it in tons of other spots in our house! 

Buffalo Check Place Mats: I love being able to see the natural wood of my kitchen table and not covering it with a tablecloth, but I also want to protect it from kids at the same time. These place mats are such a happy middle ground. They're inexpensive, look great, wash great, and I love the look of them on the table with our mason jar centerpiece! 

3 Best Shoes For Kids With AFOs

This week marks three years since Kinsley started wearing AFOs, which stands for ankle foot orthotic, but we can just call them leg braces. We have been through many different brands of shoes, and like all things, we've had things we've really liked, and things that we've absolutely hated. We've tried literally everything and have come up with a small list of three of our vary favorite brands. 

Shoes For AFOs: This company is new to me, but they make the cutest shoes for kids with leg braces. They are on the pricier end, about $80 after shipping, but these are literally the only church shoes we've ever had for Kinsley that 1) stay on her foot, 2) actually fit with her leg braces, and 3) don't look like a piece of geriatric medical equipment. We ordered these for Easter Sunday and were so pleased with how well they worked. My only complaint is that they're a bit wide for Kinsley's narrow foot, so we had to add additional velcro to the strap, but otherwise they're perfect and we love them! 

Her very fist AFOS!

Nike: I can walk into any store, grab a pair of Nike's one size larger (to accommodate the brace), rip out the insole, and know that it will fit Kinsley's foot ten out of ten times. The only thing that I don't like about Nike's is that if your child drags their toes when they walk, and the shoe has fabric on the upper part of the shoe (like most nike running shoes), that fabric will get worn down super fast. Kinsley drags her toes a bit, and crawls a lot, so we always go for shoes that are more of a skater style and have more rubber on the toes so that the shoe doesn't break down as fast. 

Converse: This should be no surprise since Converse is owned by Nike, but these are my very very favorites. They're cute and stylish, and because they have the big block of rubber going across the toes, they hold up to toe dragging and crawling for ages. We bought Kinsley a pair in August when school started, and they lasted for 8 months before we just barely had to replace them over the weekend. Literally the longest a shoe has ever worked for her.

Are your kids in AFOs? I would love to know what your favorite shoes are in the comments below! 

Babble Boxx Review

This post is sponsored by Babble Boxx. 

I love partnering with brands who are doing amazing things. When I was sent the most recent Babble Boxx, I found myself taking out the products and going, "Yes! Yes! Yes!". Babble Boxx curates brands and products together in a box to send to influencers based on their preferences. One person can get a box catered to health and fitness, while someone else can get one catered to beauty. It's a win-win for everyone, and is an awesome way for smaller brands and companies to be able to expand their reach to a broader audience. 

I have been dying to try a pair of bone conduction headphones since I run and bike outside almost everyday. I love listening to music super loud, even though I know it's not safe since I can't hear cars or other people that might be trying to get my attention. These Trekz Air from Aftershokz are perfect since they allow me to hear the world around me, and my music at the same time, since they're not inserted directly into your ear. You can get $50 off Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium Endurance Bundles when you shop directly on their site.

As a tired mom, I love a good eye gel as much as the next one. These patches from Patchology not only smell good, but provide amazing benefits as well! The Green Tea, Bergamont, White Mulberry helps you to stay focused, motivated, and energized while the Rose, Hibiscus, Lotus Flower patch helps you to feel creative, joyful, and positive. My personal favorite is the Calendula, Evening Primrose, Lavender right before bedtime, to help me feel relaxed, calm, and serene. 

I love a good drink as much as the next person. This fitness drink from Celsius contains 7 essential vitamins, no artificial preservatives or flavors, no high fructose corn syrup and is very low in sodium. Celsius is clinically proven to burn calories, and accelerate your metabolism. What's not to love with these amazing benefits? 

I've also been loving these Berry and Enzyme Power from The Synergy Company. You can mix 1 tsp of the Berry Power into your morning smoothies or with 4-6 ounces of water to give you a boost of antioxidants that will support your heart, brain, immune system, and more! The Enzyme Power can be taken as a capsule with each meal to help aid in digestion support! You can get 15% off your order with code SPRING15 at checkout through May 31, 2019. 

What Kinsley's IEP Taught Me About Qualifying For The Boston Marathon

If you've been following my running journey for any period of time, you'll know that like most runners, I have a dream of running the Boston Marathon. It's hard to watch that race from start to finish on a Monday morning like I did this past week, and not feel inspired by the athletes who toe the line and leave nothing behind. I watch it, and dream of nothing more than to be able to toe that line with a qualifying bib one day. 

However, in a recent instagram post, I shared how I've come to the realization that my self-worth isn't dependent on whether or not I ever qualify for Boston, and how qualifying isn't something that I'm actively working on right now. I think for a lot of runners, we get caught up in this idea of all or nothing. I either spent 20 years of my life running, and eventually qualify, or I never do, and then I'm mad at myself for dedicating my entire life to something that never happened. Like everything else in life, we can't have an all or nothing approach. 

I signed up to run a marathon this summer and just realized that my heart isn't in it to run 26 miles at this point in my life. Im busy, I'm finishing school, I'm working on finding full time employment after graduation, and to be honest, I find more joy in 3-6 mile jaunts around my neighborhood than I do at the idea of an 18 mile long run. 

There was also this moment with Kinsley that I thought was really reflective to my life in running. She had a PT at school for the last year who had a goal on Kinsley's IEP that she would, "Walk 200 feet with a one hand hold."... Meaning she would walk 200 feet just casually walking holding someones hand like any other kid on the planet. The goal was so far fetched, and so unrealistic. I asked many times for the goal to be replaced with something else on her IEP, only to be told no each time. 

Then the school dropped this PT (can't imagine why), and the new PT came in and wanted to revise her goals. She explained that while we would love to see Kinsley walk 200 feet with a one hand hold, there are many other things that she needs to be working on before we can discuss that goal. She needs to be able to pull to stand, she needs to be able to cruise along furniture, and a bunch of other things. So as of last week her goals on her IEP were replaced with things that would build her strength to eventually being able to do the one hand hold walk later in the future. It's not giving up on the goal, but recognizing that more foundational work needs to be done in order to get there. 

Likewise, there is a lot of foundational work that needs to be done if I'm ever going to qualify for Boston. I need to be able to run a 5k at Boston Marathon pace before I can ever dream of running the full 26.2 miles at a BQ pace. Once I hit the 5k, then I can work on that pace goal for a 10k, and then a half marathon, and then the full marathon. But it makes no sense to keep throwing myself into marathon after marathon with the dream and expectation of getting a Boston Qualifying time, if I can't even currently do that at a 5k distance. 

So Kinsley and I are both taking our time right now. She's chasing down pulling to stand and cruising along furniture, while I'm working on getting that speed that I need in a 5k/10k setting. Neither one of us are giving up on our goals, we're just taking the time to build the foundation that we need to get there first. 

My Easy Go-To Toddler Hairstyles

Kinsley spent the first three years of her life looking like a disheveled mess. I'm not by nature one who does frilly hairstyles all the time, but Kinsley's hair almost requires it. She has this strange texture that is a mix between baby hair and adult hair, which means some of it lays flat, but a lot of it is super wispy and fine. She also somehow got stuck with these waves that aren't necessarily pretty waves, and it's not her entire head, but just the back of it, so if we do nothing, it just looks incredibly messy. We're talking bed head meets 80s rocker.

I'm not going to be starting a hair channel on youtube anytime soon, but I do have a small arsenal of hair styles that I can do in under five minutes that look adorable and take minimal effort and supplies. These can all be done with a spray bottle of water, hair elastics, and a comb!

Puffer Pig Tails: 
This one looks a lot harder than it is. Simply part the hair down the middle and secure one side out of the way while you work on the other. Use a comb to part off 1 inch sections and secure with an elastic. Bring the tail from the top section down into the next one, and then part the 1 inch section and secure with an elastic. Repeat this all the way down until you run out of hair. Then when you go to do the next side, simply repeat the same process, matching up your part lines with the side you already did. For some added flair, pancake, or puff out the sections between the elastics for more dimension.

Half Up Half Down Connected Pony:
Gather your top section of hair like you're going to do a simple half up half down look, and then secure the bottom section of hair out of your way. Then taking 1/2 inch sections of hair, part them off at a diagonal, and bring the tail of the top section into the next section like you did above. Do this until you have no more hair in your top section, secure with an elastic, and top with a bow! 

French Braids:
I could not figure out how to do french braids for the longest time, but once I finally got it, they've become a regular in our house. My advice here is watch all the youtube videos and then try and try and try again, and eventually one day it will click. 

Lace Crown Braid:
If you already know how to french braid, this will be easy. Part off a top section of hair and then do a lace braid (same as french braid but only adding in hair from the front instead of the front and back). Do this all the way from one ear, over to the next, braid the remaining hair all the way down, and then secure with the rest of the hair up in a pony tail. 

Pull Through to Side Bun:
If you've seen Kinsley, you've seen this hairstyle. Put the hair in a side part and then take your comb at the line for the side part and bring it all the way down to create a part for your first ponytail. Secure that with an elastic. Then take your comb and make a part connecting that first side part all the way across the head to the ear on the other side. Tie off this section of hair on the top and leave it for later. Make three more vertical parts in the back section of the hair, bringing in the hair from the last section as you go. You'll end up with the top section of hair that you've pinned out of the way, and a side ponytail Smooth and comb out the hair on the top section and bring it into the side ponytail, and bring them together with an elastic into a messy bun. Video tutorial here:

Messy Bun Pig Tails:
Do the hair you would the same way for pigtails, but then turn them into mess buns at the end!

What hairstyle are you doing for your little girls on a regular basis? I'd love to know in the comments below!