An Excellent Excursion in Playa del Carmen

I’m back today with one more Mexico recap and recommendation! I mentioned in this post that we did an excursion on our recent trip to Mexico. Although often these tour-guided trips can be pricey, I thought this one was worth it! The one we did was with Mayaland tours and was called Tulum & Tankah. We were able to book it right at our hotel which was very convenient. One great thing about this company was that the size of our tour group was relatively small. We only had about 5 couples in our group, which made the experience feel less touristy. The other I loved about this particular excursion was how it combined elements of history with adventure. DSC03631 I’ve been to Playa del Carmen a handful of times in my life, but I had never been to any of the Mayan ruins. We were excited (well okay, I was more excited about this part than Calder) to be able to visit some ruins at Tulum! These ruins aren’t the biggest structures in the area, but they sit right on the coast and once acted as a popular port city. The site was beautiful! I love seeing ruins and imagining what life was like when they were fully functioning buildings. DSC03633 DSC03638 DSC03643After spending some time exploring and checking out the “secluded” beach (not so secluded if you count the droves of tourists!) we were back in the van heading to the eco-adventure village called Tankah. This village is inhabited by Mayan descendants still trying to keep some of their culture alive. On site, they had several cenotes that we swam in and zip-lined over. photo 4_2_2_2_2_2 DSC03646After an authentic Mayan lunch, we got to go off-roading in some Jeep wranglers. The boys took turns driving the car and the off-road trail was actually a lot more exciting than we were expecting! Calder loved it so much, when we got home he traded in his truck for one. (Not kidding, we had one within a week hahaha! My husband can be quite impulsive 😉 ) photo 2_2_2_2If you’re planning a trip to the Yucatan and are wanting to do a guided excursion, I definitely recommend this one. The variety of activities will ensure you don’t get bored and the small size of the group will also enhance your experience. Happy planning!

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3 Summits

Wow, is it really already Friday? Where did this week go?! We have been busy truckin’ away at painting and Calder is staying busy with exposing that beauty of a brick wall. I will say, he won that battle…we will leave it the red that it is because it’s absolutely imperfectly gorgeous! But it will be a LONG job…and don’t you worry, there will be updates. Here is a little teaser…

BUT I am not here to post about the house just yet. I want to share about our camping trip last weekend! It was SO fun 🙂 Did I ever think I’d become a girl that enjoys sleeping in a tent? I love being outside but not so much the tent sleeping, not showering part. I will say I’m being slowly converted by my outdoorsman of a husband and I’m thankful for it! We had awesome weather and enjoyed the company of great friends and the beauty of the changing aspens trees. The are such a vibrant yellow, it’s gorgeous!

The pictures just don’t do them justice.

Enjoying a little campfire cooking on a frosty morning.

Gorgeous river valley where the boys spent the day fishing, while we….

climbed THREE 14ers! Woo check that off the summer goals list! It was a long day of climbing, but so rewarding. And now my count is up to 4! There also may or may not have been some miscommunication with the guys which caused them to have to hitch hike back to town haha. Good thing it was a life long goal of Calder’s to hitch hike! He can die happy now…

Looking down at Kite Lake, where we started.

Almost to the summit…snow on top!

Celebrating with food and football in Breck. We even got to watch K-State!

It was a wonderful “last hoorah” in the mountains before the house happened. This weekend will be the major move..not quite as much fun so I’m glad we were able to get out one last time before ski season.

Anyone do anything fun last weekend or have exciting plans this weekend? Or just relaxing with some football? (The hubs has officially turned me into a football fan too. He and Friday Night Lights. ha)

Be sure to keep checking in to see the progress we make on our house! If you’d like to stay updated via Twitter or Facebook, click the corresponding buttons on the right sidebar!

Recent Happenings

This past weekend:

Day trip to Estes Park area (again) for some relaxation and fishing and hammock napping!

Yesterday:

Went to the farmer’s market with Spencer (the little guy I nanny) and sampled the BEST cantaloupe I’ve ever tasted. Proceeded to buy one and eat the entire thing for lunch. PS- I loveee farmer’s markets with all the colorful produce, food trucks, and fun merchandise to look at!

Throughout July:

Made an offer on a house and anxiously and stressfully waiting to see if we get it or if it falls through and daydreaming about decorating and home projects. So far, the offer has been accepted, the inspection has happened and price renegotiated, and now we are waiting for the appraisal and loan paperwork. If all goes well we’ll be homeowners in a more urban area in about 2 months!

This weekend my parents-and-sister-in-law will be here. Looking forward to a great weekend with family! I cant believe it’s almost august already! Where did the summer go!?

 

Estes Park!

On an unrelated note….

WooHoo! I’ve been featured on 2 awesome blogs this week! Both for our map project.

Thanks House of Hepworths and Embracing Change!
This past weekend we got to meet up with our friends from Kansas. It was so great to see them and went by way too fast. Calder tackled Long’s peak with the men & Amy…one of the toughest 14ers! He has definitely gone above and beyond on the 14ers goal for the summer…but I still need one more so he hopefully has at least one more in him! haha Here are some pictures from the weekend!

Our whole group! Love these people!

Emily and I in downtown Estes Park!

Miss Claira and I..such a cutie!

Mr. Mason!

The backyard of the house we were all staying in..fun little hiking!

The view from our deck. So gorgeous!

Love this girl!

The hubby’s hike up. Looks so intense!

Summit Shot!

Couldn’t leave the mountains without spending some time relaxing by a mountain stream of course! One of my favorite mountain past times.

I can’t believe already another weekend is approaching! Hope you all have had a great week…any fun weekend plans?!

Wichita Wedding

Hello!

I can’t believe another weekend has come and gone. Time is moving so fast!! We had a great time in Wichita this weekend. I spent most of it with my good friend, Whitney and her little one Liam! Calder was busy doing wedding stuff with the other groomsmen most of the time so I was happy to have her to hang out with 🙂 These pictures were taken right before we left this morning, so they aren’t the most attractive, but it’s all I have that documented our time together!

The wedding ceremony was really nice and the reception was in an awesome venue! Calder got a barbershop haircut that morning that he was very excited about. He looked great in his tux 😉 but the bride was gorgeous! I didn’t get too many pictures of the details but here are the pictures I did get! Enjoy!

Gorgeous HUGE doors!

The venue was attached to the church..totally unexpected! It was called The Ville.

The decorated get away car was kinda crazy…

Tomorrow I start my new nanny job! It will definitely be an adjustment to not working at all…I’m hoping I can balance everything now having 2 other jobs too. I hope you all had a fun weekend as well!

Memorial Weekend!

I hope you all had a great weekend! Ours was filled with friends and disc golf mostly! (with some major apt. and car cleaning productivity mixed in..woohoo!)

Friday night we went to play disc golf…my husband’s newest obsession..with our friends Kelsey and Garrett and their dog Niko! Luckily for me, it’s fun and free!

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Saturday, we played disc golf again with another set of friends at this pretty cool course up in the mountains. It was called “Ghost Town” and it was set up in an abandoned mining town! Pretty cool!

Being up in the woods in the mountains gave us a little hike along with our frisbee game! Check out the gorgeous aspens 🙂

After we were done, we spent the rest of the afternoon in Golden, CO, home of the Coors Factory (which we toured when our friends the Kellers were here). We explored the parks and spend time down by the river. I love mountain rivers…I could sit next to it and listen to the rushing water for hours. It’s one of my favorite noises.

We found this HUGE tree stump. Apparently there used to be redwoods in this area?

And my hubby showed this trout who’s boss 😉

We also went to a Barbecue last night (an essential memorial day event!) and I spent some time reading and laying by the pool…so relaxing.

How did you spend your holiday weekend?

Book Review- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I just finished reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. What an awesome read! It is light hearted and funny in a lot of parts, but also deep and thought-provoking in areas as well.

In this book, Donald is approached by some producers to create a movie out of one of his previous books (Blue Like Jazz). Once he accepts, they start the editing process. He finds it an interesting process, and through it all he learns about the aspects of a story and what makes them good. He then come to the conclusion that his life has not been a good story and he begins to take steps to make it a better one.

This book was very inspiring to me to try and live my life with meaning! I don’t want to end up wasting the precious days that God has given me. I want to live with intention to create meaningful experiences and relationships in my life that will glorify God!

All of that inspired me to think of attainable goals and seek to achieve them…which I will post that list next week so stay tuned 😉

Overall, I definitely would recommend this. It’s such a fun & easy read! I read it in about 2 days… and I already want to read it again! If you are looking for a good summer read, pick this up at your library or book store!

What about you guys? What inspires you to do more than just go through the day to day? Have a great memorial day weekend!

(this is not a sponsored post…i just really liked this book!)

Snapping Turtles, Gardens, and a Graduation

This weekend the hubster and I made the 9 hour trek back to Kansas City to join in on the graduation festivities for my sister in law, Romy. It was well worth the drive! We had a blast just relaxing and spending time with lots of family we don’t get to see very often. I got to meet Calder’s grandma for the first time even! And we saw his brother that moved to Oregon almost a year ago that we haven’t seen since last summer. It was beautiful weather and we spent a lot of time outside enjoying his parents’ gardens, eating really good food, and playing card games. I hope you all had as enjoyable a weekend as we did!

This monster kept us entertained for quite some time…

You should have seen him snap!

Romy requested an air horn so Calder is putting it to use!

My in-laws have the most gorgeous gardens!

Love this…Calder playing with his little cousin Peanut!

Climbing trees with Sofia!

Love those cuties!

Love those touches of whimsy in the gardens! Was anyone else celebrating graduations this weekend?! What a fun and busy time of year! We have this weekend off but soon we will be on the road again traveling to a couple of weddings! Lots of events to start new phases of life!

Bon Appetit!

Last weekend when we were in Manhattan, my dad’s very thoughtful girlfriend gave Calder and I a housewarming gift…and it’s only the best gift I could think of! A subscription to Bon Appetit magazine, and the particular issue she gave us focuses on food AND travel…2 of my favorite things! It even had a little home decor in there too! Check out these gorgeous pages:

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That last image inspired me to have some roasted veggies ASAP! So I made some last night with our salmon dinner! Of course they aren’t as beautiful as the magazine picture but they turned out pretty good for just using what I had on hand!

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Yum yum love that caramelization! Also I learned a great tip!

TIP: When roasting whole garlic cloves, leave them UNPEELED. After they roast the skin easily comes off and the cloves taste amazing.

Roasted veggies are definitely one of my favorite ways to prepare them..what are some of your favorite side dishes?! Do you read food magazines to get inspired in the kitchen?

Weekend Map Project

A few days ago I gave a sneak peek of the map project we would be working on this weekend. And I’m excited to now be able to show you the finished product!

Our apartments have several vacant garages and we “borrowed” one to use to make this project outside but protected from the wind. We have been wanting to do this for a while and we have had the map for a couple of months now. We found it on amazon, but not sure exactly which one. We knew we wanted it to be pretty big and to be able to pin the places we’ve traveled but we didn’t really think about how we wanted to frame it or hang it until we started making it. And so this was definitely a learning experience as we made it work as we went and had no tutorial to follow! BUT if you wanna make your own like we did, here is a tutorial for YOU!

Originally we were going to back it with cork, but when I went to buy it, it was pretty expensive and it was too thin so we would have had to buy another material to back the cork with. My construction hubby came up with the idea of using styrofoam insulation and it worked perfect!

So first step is to get some insulation from any big box home improvement store. It will most likely only come in large sheets, but it was still cheaper than the cork idea. You will only need about half of it. You will also need some spray adhesive. First step is to spray the half of the insulation you are going to use pretty thickly and then also spray the back of the map. Allow to dry slightly before sticking them together (about 1 min).

Look at my good lookin’ helper 😉

CAREFULLY lay the map onto the styrofoam, making sure to press out the air as you go. Start at one end and have your helper slowly lower the other end while you are smoothing it out with you hands from center to edges. Once it is flat and stuck, put the other half of insulation over it and then put something heavy on top of that. Allow it to dry flat for 20-30 minutes to help it really adhere.

My husband came up with the idea of framing it with cedar planks to give it a rustic feel and to be substantial enough for the size of the map. So we measured the sides and went and got the pieces cut according to our measurements. Then we secured the pieces together using these metal tack plate things..not sure the official name 🙂

The tack things cause the boards to tilt a little bit so we also reinforced the corners with finish nails to make sure they laid flat. It would have been good if we had made sure it was square before nailing it together…but luckily we got it pretty close just eyeballing it. If you are doing this, I’d recommend squaring it off with a tool before nailing it 🙂

Now we needed to attach it to the frame. We first traced the frame around the map and cut the insulation accordingly. We wanted it to be a little smaller than the frame itself so we made sure to cut inside the lines about a 1/2″. We then super glued all around the map on the insulation border, not getting glue on the map except for the corners. Carefully we laid the frame on top of the glue and put pressure on it (aka sat on it) for a couple of minutes. To reinforce the glue, Calder nailed on the back through the foam into the wood. He put one on each corner, 2 on the long sides, and 1 on the short sides.

To attach the hanging mechanism, I used one of the ones I had left from the sunburst mirror project, and we nailed straight through the insulation into the wood, making sure it was perfectly centered. Make sure your nails are long enough to reach the wood.

All that’s left to do is hang it up! (it is surprisingly lightweight because of styrofoam being the main material!)

And add the pins! One color for my destinations, one for Calder’s and one for the places we visit together!

Did anyone else do any fun weekend projects??

ALSO! My sunburst mirror post is being featured over on my friend Courtney’s blog, Little Moments, today! Go take a look and check out her fun blog while you’re at it!