♡ Gratitude Journal ♡

As Chris and I head off for a weekend camping trip today, just a few simple things that I am grateful for this week.

{ my absolute favorite flowers }
{ and the anticipation of being able to pick them from my own back yard soon! }

{ hiking trail maps }
{ and husbands for picking out just the right trails for my recovering knee. }

{ bird feeders }
{ and the cute little robins we hope to bribe with it. }

{ this simple rug }
{ for completing the entryway so darn nicely. }

{ summer maxi dresses }
{ for making my wardrobe choices so easy on those early weekday mornings. }

I hope you have a great weekend.  I would stay around and chat, but the mountains are calling and I must go. (John Muir).

Happy Friday!

A Mini Getaway - Manitou Springs

As I mentioned a few days ago, Chris and I stole away for a couple days last weekend.  We both needed a little time away from our house.  I think our inability to travel due to lack of funds has really begun to cramp our style so we figured we could at least stay overnight in a town we have never been to.  A great opportunity to explore a new area of Colorado!

So off we went, and along the way we found so much fun and beauty.

Our first stop?  The Cliff Dwellings just outside Manitou Springs.  

We were lucky enough that the rain held off until we finished at the dwellings, at which point we decided we should find a decent cup of tea somewhere.  We happened upon Colorado Old City (and promptly fell in love with the neighborhood), and wouldn't you know it... we stumbled into an English tea room!  The best part?  The couple who own it, hail from a town about 20 minutes from where Chris' family still live.  Small world, and all that...

We toured around a bit after our tea, and then got ready for our date night out.  After a lot of deliberation (we wanted to make the most out of our restaurant choice), we settled onto a Spanish tapas restaurant in our favorite new 'hood.  Delicious food and even better pear sangria!  It was a lovely evening out, followed by a stroll out in the chilly evening air.

Sunday morning, we were up fairly early for breakfast and onto the Pike's Peak Cog Train up to the top of Pike's Peak at more than 14,000 feet elevation!  But first, we strolled through the adorable downtown of Manitou Springs.  It was abnormally quiet and peaceful.

We had some spare time on Sunday before we headed back home, so we made time to visit Garden of the Gods.  I was looking forward to a little walk, but I had no idea how impressive the scenery would be.  

We came home feeling recharged and having replenished our mountain-time quota.  Well, enough to tide us over until we go camping this weekend!  Thank goodness for beautiful Colorado summers!

What fun things do you have planned this summer?

Summer Drink of Choice

Since Chris and I have been spending many grueling hours doing manual labor in our back yard the past few weeks, we decided it was time to find a refreshing summer drink to quench our thirst while we slave away. So I whipped up some homemade lemonade and, let me tell you, it definitely did the trick!  

Recipe: (this is hardly an 'original' recipe... I do not take credit for creating it. these are just the rough amounts I used of everything.)

1 gallon of cold, filtered water
9-10 organic lemons, juiced
2-3 sliced organic lemons
1/2 -3/4 cup Agave Nectar (to your taste)
A handful or two of ice cubes

Mix, chill, and enjoy!  A great fresh, summery drink.  I think there are many more pitchers of this in our future.  Now if only I could find food grade lavender to add to the mix!

Summer Has Arrived

Wow, I can't believe I have been MIA for almost a month!  I have a good reason for that.  A few good reasons, actually.  First, I had knee surgery.  Which isn't an excuse at all.  What better things did I have to do while laid up recovering?!  Nothing.  I just wasn't feeling very inspired to write a post about how bored out of my mind I was.  Once I was on the mend from surgery, we began some outdoor projects (before and after photos to come over the next few weeks), which have been keeping us pretty busy.  

And all the while, Summer has arrived.  In full force, might I add.  Hello 90 degree weather, which also brings with it the Colorado thunderstorms that are so famous around these parts.  In between recovering from surgery and house projects, we managed to have a night away at a cute little town called Manitou Springs (separate post coming soon, once I sort through all my photos!), have been luck enough to spend some time with friends, and even went to see Hillary Clinton speak.  Never a dull moment around here!

In reminiscing about this time last year, we realized that this will only be our second Summer here in Colorado.  It feels like so much longer that we have lived here.

Our outdoor projects for this Summer involve quite a major transformation.  We are staining our deck (and possibly removing the hot tub!), having some trees removed, installing sod in the back yard, creating a little fire pit area, building a wood "step" pathway through our gravel, and last but certainly not least... we are having our house painted!  Phew!  By the end of the summer, it will surely look like a different house!  

I love being able to enjoy meals outdoors in the warmer months, and Chris is eager to make good use of our grill!

Here are a few in-progress photos of the back deck.  The railing has already been painted white, and we love it!  The rest of the deck is going to be a medium gray.  We are about 90% done at this point, just doing the edges and touching up some places we missed.  After photos coming hopefully by the end of the week, because we are booked to go camping this weekend!  

Lots more before and after photos to come over the next few months, so stay tuned!  I don't know about you, but I am super excited to see the back yard transformed.

The silly thing that I am the most excited about?  We got a bright, colorful outdoor rug to put under our patio set, and I can't wait to see what it looks like on the newly stained deck!  

Happy Monday!