Up to 57% off of Admission at the Discovery Center | Springfield, Missouri

Discovery Center Springfield Deal

Cooler weather is approaching (although this latest heat wave makes it feel otherwise), and it’s time to start thinking about indoor activities for the winter months.  These also make GREAT stocking stuffers! If you’re in the Southwest Missouri region, or planning a visit, you should definitely take advantage of this deal on passes to the Discovery Center!

There are 3 options available:

  • Admission for 2: $13
  • Admission for 4: $24
  • Admission for 6: $31

Regular admission prices are $8 for children ages 3-15 and $12 for adults ages 16+.

The promotional value of this certificate will expire 120 days from purchase, and the paid value will not expire.


Other local deals available:

My Favorite Bullet Journaling Tools

*This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our full disclosure policy for more information.

I’ve always been a huge planner fan, but I prefer structure and perfectly organized forms.  Recently, I’ve been dabbling in bullet journaling as a creative release.

I love notebooks that lay flat and have a nice, thick paper.  These Moleskin Cahein Journals (in a set of 3) are some of my favorites, and the price is great, too!

Neatness is not one of my strong points, so I prefer to use an erasable pen.  These Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens are my go-to pens.  They write clearly, cleanly erase, are available in a fine point, and are clickable- all necessary to combat my sloppiness.


7 Adorable Easy Easter Cupcakes That You Must Make This Year

Easter Eggs Cupcake Roundup

I love making fun and cute cupcakes with the kids, and these adorable Easter cupcake recipes prove that cute cupcakes can be made by all ages.

These Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake Cupcakes  by One Creative Mommy are a quick and tasty alternative to the typical lemon cupcake recipe.

For a more decadent cupcake, try these  Easter Bunny Cupcakes by Dorky’s Deals.  Chocolate cupcakes are topped with chocolate frosting, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Whoppers and a few candy embellishments to create adorable brown bunnies.  These could easily be swapped out with white chocolate Reese’s and gumballs to create the traditional white Easter Bunny.

A simple boxed Funfetti mix is baked into cupcakes, frosted, and topped with this surprising topper to make these Easy Easter Cupcakes by Ann’s Entitled Life.

When I saw these adorable carrot cake cupcakes, I had no idea the toppers were made with circus peanuts!  Head on over to Cutefetti to learn How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcake Decorations with Circus Peanuts.  Not a fan of circus peanuts? Check out this  Gumdrop Carrot Cupcakes recipe.

These Easter Candy Cupcakes from The Frugal Navy Wife are made from scratch, and then topped with birds nests made from common ingredients.

Peeps and Wilton icing decorations make Peek-a-Boo Peeps Easter Cupcakes by Dorky’s Deals a must have dessert for every Easter gathering.

Seven Things You Didn’t Know About 529 College Savings

Most 529 Twitter Party


When your children are young, your top priorities are getting dinner on the table, scrubbing grass stains out of baseball jerseys, and remembering to take the trash can to the curb (because smelling those diapers for another week is NOT an option).  It seems like a lifetime will pass before they make it to college, and figuring out how to pay for it is the last item on your to do list.  Then, in what feels like the blink of an eye, you’re filling out college applications and financial aid paperwork.

Missouri (along with many other states) offers a 529 plan to help you get a jump start on your college savings.  A MOST 529 plan can be set up in as little as 10 minutes and provides some pretty awesome benefits to both the account holder and beneficiary.

  • It’s FREE to open!  That’s right- there are no fees to create your MOST 529 account.  You can easily open one online here:  Open a MOST 529 Account. 
  • Even though your account is state specific, the benefits can be used at any eligible university or college in the United States or abroad.
  • If you’re an account owner and you live in Missouri, you can deduct up to
    $8,000 ($16,000 if you’re married filing jointly) of your MOST 529 Plan
    contributions when you file you state income taxes.
  • You can contribute up to $14,000 ($28,000 if married filing jointly) per year without triggering federal gift tax. You can contribute up to $325,000 total with a MOST 529 plan!
  • A 529 plan isn’t just used for 4-year degrees.  It can be used to pay for any eligible 2 or 4 year college, vocational or trade school, or even postgraduate studies.  This can also be used on some housing, textbook, and even computer costs!
  • You can set an account up for virtually anyone that has a valid social security number: children, cousins, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even yourself!
  • Qualified withdrawals are tax free, too! If the original beneficiary decides not to continue their education, you can transfer the benefits (with no penalty)  or withdraw the balance (penalties and taxes will be assessed upon withdrawal).

On Wednesday, May 25th  at 1:00 p.m. CST,  we’ll be co-hosting a Twitter Party with experts on the MOST 529 plan.  You can follow me on Twitter HERE or with the handle @SensibleFamily   We’ll be using the hashtag #MOSave4College and will be giving away some great prizes!

A Weekend Trip in Springfield, Missouri

*This trip was sponsored in full by the Ramada Oasis and Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. All opinions expressed are my own.

A few weeks ago, I was presented with a unique opportunity to become a weekend tourist in Springfield, Missouri- an area that is often too close to home to consider for a vacation or weekend getaway. Springfield is the closest city to me (about a 45 minute drive), and we visit frequently- but when we do, our days and evenings are filled with gymnastic meets, basketball and volleyball games, and more boring things like medical appointments and grocery shopping.

It has been a while since my hectic life and work schedule has allowed me to enjoy some of the more leisurely activities that Springfield hasto offer, so I was really excited to visit some familiar places, along with exploring new ones!

Five bloggers attended the event- Stefany from To Be Thode, Bobbi from Living in Retrospect, Fawn from Instead of the Dishes, Erin from Humble Hardy Happenings, and myself. Our host for the weekend was the lovely Susan Wade from the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  Susan planned a weekend packed full of delicious food and artsy activities.

This post is written as an overview of the weekend, but I will be expanding on several of the stops in the coming weeks.


Ramada Oasis


Our luxurious accommodations were provided the Ramada Oasis.  It was such a neat and quirky hotel!  It was originally the largest Howard Johnson motel, but has been turned into a hotel that could not be named more appropriately.  The rooms all have a patio overlooking the atrium, which was full of fountains, palm trees, and the pool area.

We began our adventure with a meet and greet dinner at the Fire and Ice restaurant, which is located in the Ramada Oasis.

2016-01-23 10.03.44

We got up bright and early on Saturday morning to enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then headed to Creative Escapes Glass to create suncatchers.  I’ll admit, my creative juices are far from flowing at 9:00 a.m., so I was a bit unsure of what to create.  The technique is great for beginners, and Rebekah taught us exactly how to layer, cut, and secure the glass to make the patterns we wanted.

Once we got started, we had a lot of fun.  I would recommend it especially to groups of friends looking for something a little different and crafty to do for girls night.  Projects start at just $12 and can take as little as two hours to create, so there’s something for almost every budget and schedule.

Creative Escapes


Photo by Susan Wade

I was a bit nervous as to how mine would turn out.  I wanted it to match my kitchen and display a lot of light, so I went with large and bold pieces.  (Have you seen my modern retro farmhouse kitchen?)  I had nothing to worry about- it turned out great!

After we left Creative Escapes, we headed on over to Springfield Hot Glass to watch a glass blowing demonstration and look over their beautiful creations.  Although both, Springfield Hot Glass and Creative Escapes, are focused on glass art, the techniques are so different that each visit was a truly unique experience. Springfield Hot Glass does offer individual classes, but it is a much more labor intensive and time consuming process.  I recommend swinging by and watching a demonstration, it is a truly mesmerizing process.

Springfield Hot Glass



We headed over to Relics Antique Mall to do a little shopping and enjoy lunch in their tea room.   I had no idea how large the store was!  We spent the better part of an hour and a half browsing and didn’t even make it through half of the store.  We were joined for lunch in the tea room by the owners, Beverly and Matthew Robb, along with the mayor of Springfield, Bob Stephens.

The tea room was very busy, and after we ate, I learned why.  The food was spectacular!  Most of us tried the locally famous Chicken Waldorf Sandwich, and we all ordered dessert.  I indulged in the Lemon Berry Mascarpone cake, which is already tempting me to make a return trip.

Relics Waldorf Chicken Salad


While we waited on our desserts, we walked over to see the event center that was debuted last fall.  It was decorated for a wedding show, and it was a beautiful space for any event.

Relics Flea Market


After lunch and shopping, we made a quick stop at the Springfield Art Museum, then headed on over to Askinosie Chocolate, where we lucked out and had a chance to talk to Shawn Askinosie, a former defense attorney turned chocolatier, about his products and truly unique mission.

Askinose Chocolate

Askinosie Chocolate is a direct trade company that is highly involved with the farmers and decision making. Chocolate is sourced from four countries: Honduras, Ecuador, Philippines, and Tanzania- each with a highly distinct taste.  Profits are  shared with communities to help create sustainable resources, such as lunch programs in areas stricken with malnutrition.

We then headed back into downtown to tour Hotel Vandivort, which is a newly opened boutique hotel located in the old Vandivort Theater.  The hotel was nothing short of spectacular, with intricate attention to detail and highly knowledgeable staff.

We followed with dinner at the newly opened Civil Kitchen and Taproom (due to the lighting, I was unable to get a clear picture of my dinenr), which was fabulous!  Being a new restaurant, they were experiencing an unexpected crowd due to some local events in town, so a few mistakes were made early on during our visit, but they were promptly remedied by a fabulous and hilarious server who more than made up for the mishaps.  I highly recommend stopping in if you are looking for delicious and unique foods and desserts.

Hurts Doughnut


Of course, no visit to Springfield is complete without a stop by Hurts Donut, which we indulged in on Sunday morning.  As you can see, I grabbed a half dozen to bring home to the kids!

Fantastic Caverns

From there, we headed to Fantastic Caverns, America’s only ride through cave, located just outside of town.  I was very excited to take a tour that wasn’t as a field trip chaperone, so that I could focus on the story being told, along with hearing some new, darker tales of the cave’s history such as the cave’s strong presence during prohibition.  The most fascinating is that the cave was originally explored by 12 female members of a local athletic club who answered a newspaper ad asking for explorers.

We decided to finish up our trip with lunch at the Aviary, which was fabulous, as always.  My photos didn’t do the food justice, so some things are better left to dream of.  We visited the location at Farmer’s Park, which I had never been to before.  I was delighted to see that they now have a patisserie!

It’s not often that I get to step back and enjoy the local attractions and destinations, especially with such a gracious and knowledgeable guide.  Not only did I get some time to relax and view some of the finest the city has to offer, I gained several new friendships.  I look forward to sharing more local destinations and in-depth stories in the future!




Guilty Pleasure Shrimp Pasta | A Budget Friendly Recipe to Please a Crowd

Shrimp Pasta Horizontal copy

I consider myself somewhat of a foodie.  I prefer high quality ingredients to generics, foods that can only be described as an acquired taste, and intensive cooking techniques.  In fact, I was almost too ashamed to post this recipe, but then I realized that posting it would, in fact, make the world a better place.

You see, this recipe includes the THREE items that make me cringe.  But somehow, when you put them together, you have this magical dish.  A dish that feeds a large crowd for pennies, a dish that they won’t just eat, but one that they will crave and request for the rest of their lives.  It’s THAT. GOOD.

This makes a very large batch, but the sauce freezes well for a quick weeknight reheat.  It comes together in just a few minutes and can easily double for big gatherings.  It is easy to throw in the crockpot and take to sports dinners, family reunions, or to keep all to yourself.


  • 1 large onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 8 ounces
    sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons
    olive oil
  • 1 can cream of shrimp soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 4 Ounces
  • 1 TBSP Tony Cachere Cajun Seasoning (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon
    ground black pepper
  • 1 pound small shrimp, shells and tails removed


  1. Chop onions, bell peppers, and celery. Finely mince garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onions, peppers, celery, and garlic. Sautee over medium heat until onions turn clear. Stir in mushrooms and cook until tender.
  3. Mix in cream soups, Velveeta, and seasonings. Stir constantly until Velveeta is melted.
  4. Turn to low heat and add shrimp to saucepan. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink.
  5. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.

Upcoming Zaycon Deliveries + New Product | Buy Fresh Meat in Bulk For Less

Screenshot 2015-09-21 09.06.26

Looking for a quick way to kill your grocery budget?  Take a trip down the meat aisle.  Premium cuts are outrageous, and budget cuts are usually poor quality.  In fact, at most of my grocery stores, all cuts are poor quality.

You’ve probably heard me talk about Zaycon Fresh before and how much it helps our grocery budget while keeping my picky palate happy.  If not, check out this post detailing the service and my experience: ZAYCON FRESH: THE BEST AND CHEAPEST WAY TO BUY FRESH MEAT

I noticed over the weekend that Zaycon has added a new cut of meat to the delivery schedule.  They’ve added 80/20 ground beef (often referred to as ground chuck) to the December deliveries for just $2.99/lb.  I adore the 93/7 beef, especially for tacos, sloppy joes, casseroles, etc., but I prefer a little fattier cut for burgers and meatballs.  I’m thrilled to have the option to order both!

They have several deliveries coming up this fall.  Each area has a different schedule, so make sure you sign up to see events in your area.

You must order early, and it looks like all events are open for orders now.  The dates shown below are the general pick-up dates for the entire country.  Pickup is at a single day and time for each city.

October 2nd-16th (October 7th-8th for SWMO locations)

  • Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets (25lbs)
    $6.99/lb X 25.00 lbs | $174.75/case
  • Frozen Premium Alaskan Cod
    $5.49/lb X 25.00 lbs | $137.25/case
      SOLD OUT
  • Bacon – Hickory Smoked, Medium Sliced – 36 lbs
    $3.79/lb X 36.00 lbs | $136.44/case
  • Pork Sausage Links
  • $2.79/lb X 20.00 lbs | $55.80/case

October 23rd-November 21st (November 3rd-4th for SWMO locations)

  • Chicken Breasts (Fresh Boneless Skinless)
    $1.89/lb X 40.00 lbs | $75.60/case

December 4-th-18th (December 9th-10th for SWMO locations)

  • Carvemaster Boneless Applewood Smoked Ham
    $3.49/lb X 20.00 lbs | $69.80/case
  • Fresh Ground Beef, Lean (93/7) – 40 lbs
    $3.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $159.60/case
  • Fresh 80/20 Ground Beef – 40lbs
    $2.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $119.60/case



Kids Eat Free at Joe’s Crab Shack Through September 30

JCS-KidsEatFree Images

Joe’s Crab Shack is offering a great kids eat free promotion through September 30th!  You can get up to 3 free kids meals with an adult entree purchase.  The best part?  Kids meals are available to kids 13 and under.  No coupon is required for this promotion. This is valid for dine in only and is not valid with any other promotion.

This is a very inexpensive way to treat your family to a dinner that may otherwise be out of your budget.  If you’re in Southwest Missouri, the nearest Joe’s Crab Shack location is at the Branson Landing.  For other areas, click here to view locations.

Here are a few sample prices* to help you plan ahead:

  • Homestyle Chicken Tenders: $12.49
  •  Joes Classic Steampot | tasty dungeness crab, sweet snow crab, boiled shrimp, and smoked sausage: $22.99

During this time, Joe’s Crab Shack will also be collecting donations for No Kid Hungry.  No Kid Hungry is an organization devoted to ensuring that no child has to worry about where their next meal comes from.  Each dollar donated can help provide up to 10 meals for a child in need.

To further encourage you, each donation will also get you a coupon to use on a future visit.  This coupon is redeemable from October 1st, 2015 through December 31st, 2015.

The coupon value is correlated to the donation amount, as shown below:

$2 donation = $5 off a $20 purchase
$5 donation = $10 off a $20 purchase
$10 donation = $20 off a $40 purchase


I was compensated by Joe’s Crab Shack for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

*Prices may vary by location.  We cannot guarantee the validity of the prices shown above.

I’m the Mom on Her Phone at Practice– Why I Don’t Regret It

I'm the mom on her phone at practice

It’s Monday night, and I arrive at gymnastics early.  I drag my enormous bag from the trunk of the car and head inside. My daughter doesn’t mind that she’s 30 minutes early, she loves to watch the competitive teams practice, but I’m here for another reason.  I’ve got to grab a table, or at least a chair, before the other parents get here.

I see the sneers and the eye rolls as I drag out my Macbook and 3″ thick paper planner.  I know what they are thinking, I’m guilty of the same thing.  How on earth can a good mom spend her time playing on the internet instead of watching her kid?  My case is a bit different than most.  This actually makes me a BETTER mom.  Not better than anyone else, but actually makes ME better.  I’m using this 90 minutes to work. I’m not scrolling Facebook. In fact, my Facebook feed is disabled.  I can only access my own sites and pages.  I’m not going to let my life slip away just so I can monitor the lives of others from afar.

I have to do this so that I CAN spend time with my kids.  I own multiple businesses, and I often have a lot of work to do or delegate.  I’m able to streamline this into the few blocks of time I get each week without my toddler.  He spends around 12 hours a week at daycare, and on gymnastics nights, my husband is able to meet us to get him so that I can have this uninterrupted time.

Even though I have a separate office at home, I’m still wracked with guilt for not doing the millions of things that need finished. You know, the dirty laundry, phone calls, dishes, clean laundry (which is much worse than the dirty), messes, and unlimited access to the refrigerator.

I am watching my daughter, it’s just over the top of my screen.  In fact, as I’ve been writing this, she is doing the funky chicken across the balance beam because she knows I see her while I’m typing.

There are several kids in her session, so she’s not practicing constantly.  She dresses in the brightest clothes you’ve ever seen, so it’s pretty easy for me to see when she’s moving.  I can stop what I’m doing to watch her latest trick and when she’s done, I go back to work.  This 90 minute block twice a week gives me time to plan and get my week on track, which makes me more efficient- which in frees up more of my time to spend with my kids.  Gymnastics are the only nights that I am able to wrap up my work from and enjoy the rest of the evening with my family.

My daughter is also very active in softball, volleyball,  basketball, and school clubs. Those activities are packed with non-stop action that I can’t always look away from, nor expose my computer to.

I don’t regret my decision at all.  I’m able to be with my children during summers, after school, school holidays, and never miss a single thing they do.  Not many parents have that opportunity, especially without financial worry.  I’m lucky.  Damn lucky.


Zaycon Fresh: The Best and CHEAPEST Way to Buy Fresh Meat


You’ve probably heard me sing the praises of Zaycon Fresh for years, but I realized that I’ve not updated the original post in a very long time.

Zaycon is a company that works directly with meat producers to bring customers prime cuts of fresh meat in bulk and skip the middle man.  This results in the freshest meat possible at a great price.

They offer events for many locations throughout the year.  All you have to do is sign up, look for an event in your area, and purchase the items you want.  Each event has a specific delivery date.  To pick up, all you have to do is visit the location.  It’s all set up as a drive thru, so you just need to roll down your window, show your receipt, and they load it for you.

When you purchase meat at the grocery store, it typically takes 21 days to get from the producer to the shelf.  With Zaycon, it seems to average 6-8 days.  The pack date is plainly stamped on the box.

We raise a lot of our own meat, but Zaycon is a close second.  Once you try it, you’ll definitely not want to go back to grocery store meats… especially the chicken!

I get asked a lot of questions about the Zaycon meats, so I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A to help answer them.  If I miss something, please comment or ask in our Facebook group.  I’ll do my best to answer!

Alicia, I’m really picky about meat.  How can I believe you that this is actually good?

Do you buy your meat in a grocery store?  If so, you probably aren’t that picky.  I worked in a butcher shop for several years and we farm.  I process almost all of our meat myself because most aren’t up to my standards.

Is this hormone free?  The chicken breasts look very large.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually illegal for any chicken producer to administer growth hormones.  There are several types of chickens that are bred to grow to a large size very quickly.

How hard is this to process?

It’s only going to be as hard as you make it.  Because most items arrive fresh, you can package and freeze them with no worries.

When I process chicken, I typically halve the breasts (they are a butterfly cut), then I filet each one to thin it.  This speeds up thawing.  There’s occasionally a piece that needs a bit of trimming.  If I have extra time, I will slice strips for fajitas and dice some for quick stir fry, jambalaya, soups, etc.  It takes me about 30 minutes per case to process and package it into freezer bags.

The bacon is very easy to pull out pieces and bag separately.

The sausage links are frozen, and they fit perfectly into a quart bag.  Because they are flash frozen, you can also freeze the entire box if you have room and just pull out what you need.

To process the ground beef, I simply slice burgers off of the roll, place on a cookie sheet between layers of parchment paper, and freeze.  I usually make up a batch of meatloaves or meatballs, because that is hard to do with meat that’s been frozen.  To freeze batches of ground beef for tacos, soups, casseroles, etc., I cut a roll into 10 equal pieces (that’s 1 lb hunks), place into a quart freezer bag, and flatten.  They store easily in the freezer and take up little space.

Some people prefer to make up freezer meals, marinate the meats, etc.  This will drastically increase the time you spend processing, but will speed up dinner time in the future!

What happens if I don’t have time to process it the day I receive it?

I mentioned above how much faster it gets to you than the grocery store.  The driver picks it up at the producer just before he starts delivering.  I actually kept a chicken breast in the refrigerator the last time I bought to see how long it took to ‘go bad’.  It was 13 days before it started even smelling like grocery store meat.  You know, that icky ‘it smells like meat’ smell.  It took 16 days before it was at the point that I wouldn’t consider cooking it.

Most of the meats have a ‘use by’ date stamped on the box.  The ground beef I picked up on August 13th says to use or freeze by the 25th.  That gives me plenty of time to decide how I want to freeze it.  It also gives me almost two weeks to enjoy the fresh, never frozen meat!

I just can’t bring myself to buy meat from a truck.

You do realize that this is the same type of truck that delivers your meat to a grocery store to sit in their cooler for weeks, right?

How’s the ground beef?

I was finally able to coordinate a beef delivery last week, and to say that I’m thrilled with it is an understatement.  This is 93/7 ground beef, which means that there should be a fat content of 7%.  The most inexpensive cut you see in the grocery store is 73/27, which means that there should be a 27% content.

I actually bought a package of inexpensive ground beef at $3.99 to compare with.  The Zaycon beef was $3.99/lb, but I bought it with a coupon code that dropped the price to $3.59.  I drained over 40% of the weight off of the store bough beef.  That meant a pound of meat ended up weighing 9.6 oz once it was done cooking.  Then I cooked the Zaycon beef.  I drained ZERO!  Maybe a couple of drops, but it wasn’t enough to make much of a difference.  I ended up with just under a pound of cooked meat.

What does this mean?  That the store bought meat with a lesser taste actually cost me $5.60 per pound of cooked meat, while the Zaycon cost me $3.59 and tasted so much better.

I also decided to make up some identical burger patties.  I cooked one and left one raw to compare the size when the first one was cooked to well done.  Both still weighed almost exactly the same, but the shape was off a bit where the cooked burger plumped up. Here’s the difference:


How can I store this to make it last the longest?

Some people love to use their Food Saver to process theirs, but honestly, I’d rather not use mine.  It’s expensive, time consuming, and a hassle.  Because there are events for each cut at least twice a year, I can plan my orders to keep from having a large excess that’s frozen for a long period of time.

I usually just package mine in Glad brand freezer bags.  They don’t break down as badly as the others over time.  I prefer the quart, which will hold two large chicken breasts, 4 breast fillets, sausage links, and 2 lbs of ground beef.  They are the perfect serving sizes for my big eaters.

Can I share with a friend?  A 40 lb box of chicken seems like so much!

Of course, but I’ll warn against it. Each box is divided inside so that you can easily distribute.  One of the biggest complaints I get is that someone ordered one box to split and loved it so much that they couldn’t stomach buying meat at the store to get through until the next event.  20 lbs of chicken might last a couple a few weeks, but it doesn’t go very far for families.

Can I order at the last minute?

Even though they give a ‘last day to order’, almost all of the items sell out long before that date.  They can only fit so much on a truck!  Get your orders in early to avoid missing out completely.  Trust me- I speak from experience.

We sometimes buy meat at the store to supplement if we run out of Zaycon, because obviously we can’t grow it all- and not near at these prices.  In recent weeks, almost every package I’ve bought has went bad within 2 days of purchase, and long before the ‘use by’ date.  I’ve doubled up on my Zaycon orders this fall to prevent me from throwing out any food.


Colorado Vacation: Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

When we were planning our trip to Colorado, many people recommended that we visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.  It was a bit off of the path we had decided on traveling, which almost caused us to skip it. I can speak for everyone when I say that we are so glad we didn’t skip it!royal gorge

Hanging high above Colorado’s wild Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is America’s highest suspension bridge and a legendary feat of engineering renowned the world over.   Built in 1929 for $350,000, the cost today would easily exceed $20 million.   It was a world wonder then and still is today.  For those who venture across it, whether walking or driving, the experience is priceless.

The journey up the mountain to the park was along quiet and narrow, winding roads.  Most of the trees and plants were destroyed in the fire.  Once we reached the top, the road opened into a parking lot filled with hundreds of cars.

royal gorge visitor center

Royal Gorge Visitor Center



The Visitor’s Center is huge, clean, and packed full of cute and unique souvenirs.  There are large screens showing the history of the bridge, along with updates on the recent fire. There is a nice cafe adjacent to the Visitor’s Center that has some amazing gourmet sandwiches.

Royal Gorge Gondola

Royal Gorge Gondola


The Visitor’s Center opens almost directly onto the bridge.  General admission includes unlimited gondola rides across the gorge.  A gondola is a small car that travels across the Royal Gorge via a cable.  Each car holds approximately 6 people and is filled with windows so that you can view the Arkansas River- 956 feet below.

I’m not usually scared of heights, but I am often considered the scaredy cat of our family.  I tend to do nothing dangerous, but decided that I was going to step outside of my comfort zone for this trip. The gondola was one of my favorite stops of the entire vacation.

Royal Gorge Zipline

Royal Gorge Zipline

My guys are fearless and my daughter is a bit more cautions, but she will try almost anything once.  While my daughter was too light to ride the zipline, my husband and son anxiously exited the gondola and got in line to ride the zipline back across.  The zipline is taller than the gondola cables, and it takes you back across the entire gorge.  They really enjoyed it and thought that would be the adrenaline rush of the afternoon- boy, were they wrong!

Royal Gorge Skycoaster

Royal Gorge Skycoaster

There is also a Skycoaster, which they thought would be a mild ride in comparison to ziplining across.  In fact, I had to convince them to give it a shot.  Up to 3 people lay on their stomachs in a harness.  They are hoisted 100 feet in the air and then dropped into a free fall to swing out over the Royal Gorge at up to 50MPH.  Needless to say, when they were finished with the ride, they were begging to go again.  My husband admitted that it was one of the scariest rides he’s ever been on.

I am so glad that we decided to visit the Royal Gorge, and it’s on our list of places to visit on our return trip.  At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a budget friendly stop for a large family, but we spent all afternoon there and practically had to drag ourselves out at closing time.

Click here more information on the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

*We received a family pack of tickets to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.


Become a Blogger in 7 Days Online Workshop Begins on June 14th!

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Have you always wanted to start a blog or website, but weren’t quite sure how? Maybe you’ve looked at online tutorials and found them too overwhelming to even start? It’s time to quit looking and start creating! The Become a Blogger in 7 Days online workshop will get your site up and running in as little as a week. That’s right- a WEEK!

Become a Blogger in 7 Days is geared towards absolute beginners. The written lessons are packed with screenshots and will walk you through each step of creating your site. Unlike other beginner classes, Become a Blogger in 7 Days will teach you how to set up your site to leave room for maximum growth and monetization.

In addition to the written lessons, you’ll receive access to an exclusive Facebook group for 30 days. Why just 30 days? I’ve learned over the years that there are two things that will push you to succeed: time and money. If you take a free class, do you place as much emphasis on it? Of course not. The same goes with time. By creating the limits, you’ll work much faster and put more of an effort into it.

The Facebook group is a place for you to ask questions, receive assistance, talk out any issues you may have, and receive support from people going through the exact same thing that you are.

So, what are we going to cover in Become a Blogger in 7 Days? Everything you need to know to get your site up and running. This class is based on setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog, and we’ll also go over how to use it to create a static website. The lessons include:

  • Assessing Your Expectations
  • Basic Terminology
  • Choosing Your Domain Name
  • Purchasing Hosting
  • Setting Up Your Site
  • Creating Your Header
  • Installing Plugins
  • Creating Menus
  • Customizing Your Site

Each lesson has a short assignment that will help you grow your site and prepare for the next lesson.

What you’ll need to get started:

  • A computer and internet access (you won’t be able to do this from a tablet or phone)
  • At least an hour a day to devote to each lesson
  • In addition to the class registration fee, you will have to pay for one year of hosting and your domain name (around $72).

This class will run from May 4th-10th and is limited to just 25 students! If you cannot complete every lesson that week, don’t worry. The Facebook group will remain open until June 4th and you’ll have access to all of the lessons and information until then.  You can also elect to purchase an optional 60 day membership to the group so that you have a place to ask your questions.

When you register, please make sure and enter the name you use on Facebook, along with the email address you use to log in.  This will allow me to invite you to the group where you’ll receive all of your lessons.  You will receive a response within 24-48 hours of registering.  If you have any trouble with registration, please email me at alicia@thesensiblefamily.com.