The Adventure contiues…

210 183 172 170 171 166 125 124 251Friday morning I woke up bright and early. We had to get packed up to head out. We left about 10 am after a pretty poor continental breakfast. We stopped at places all along the way to take pictures. There is so much to see, each day it is a new site, a different angle or even just the way the light hits it.

One of our stops was at Bedrock City. It was so much fun. The kids and adults had a blast. It was a mini replica of Bedrock… complete with the Stegosauruses!

We then headed to the canyon. We decided to take a shuttle bus to one of the areas on the South Rim. There were three stops all very beautiful. Dad continues to scare Chris to death! He wants to get up close and personal with the edge and Chris is terrified of heights. Mom tries to tell him but he just won’t listen.

After that we headed to another area for shuttle buses only. We were given access because of us needing handicap accessibility. This was by far my favorite part of the South Rim. Words cannot describe how breathtaking it was!

Our second day at the canyon ran a little long. We were heading to a town named Cameron(where my dad said he was sure there would be motels). Turns out it is a little spot on the map with lots of scenery on the way, none of which we could see because it was pitch black outside. I decided we would head to Page. That was another 150 miles away. We got there close to 11:30. I stopped at the first motel I came to. The clerk was very friendly and informed me that every room in the town was booked…ugh!!! He suggested driving onto the next town 250 miles away(not an option) or the Walmart Parking lot. I opted for the parking lot. That was quite the adventure. Walmart is not 24 hours but lucky for us the McDonalds next door is. So we were able to go there for potty breaks. While uncomfortable, it definitely saved some money.

As it turns out Page is another tourist town with tons to see and do. But we were headed to the North Rim. On our way out of town we stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam…it was magnificent. After we all got back into the car , it was onward another 2.5 hours.023

The North Rim, while beautiful in its own right, was not my favorite. It took a very long time to get there and there was really only one area to overlook. It was very scary as the edges on this side were dirt and rock…it would not take much to slide the wrong way!074 078

The highlight to the North Rim was the herd of buffalo we seen traveling across the meadows. There were about 300 of them. The babies were adorable! The kids wanted to get out and roll around in the dirt with them!!!063

After leaving the North Rim we headed back into Utah. Utah is a gorgeous state! As it neared the dinner hour we decided to google places near us to eat. Dad found the Cowboy Buffet and Steakhouse to be the most interesting. While heading there we came across yet another canyon, Bryce Canyon. OMG… it was amazing. The color of the rocks is second to none. We ended up in a little town, very quaint. We checked into a Best Western Plus for the evening. We got the Queen Suite. Such a great hotel! After we checked in and got settled we headed out for our dinner. The buffet was ridiculously overpriced at $21.99 a person. It was so not worth the money spent!

After a good nights sleep, we wandered down for the hot breakfast that was included with our room. We enjoyed eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and a whole slew of other stuff…YUM! We hoped to stay another night but after checking with the front desk, I found our room had doubled in price… ridiculous for a Sunday. My guess is they lower their prices in the evening to try to fill up but we did not have time to wait around and see.

Our morning got off to a rocky start. Cassie left her retainers on the breakfast table and they got thrown away… there goes another $250 dollars! Mom lost her cane and then her credit cards… ugh! I am going nuts with everyone losing everything!

On our way back on the road we stopped at numerous places to capture the beauty of this land. Cassie wanted to hike up the rock at one point so I let the kids do it. Little did I know they were going to go off the beaten path. Mind you this rock juts up into the sky. It is full of little rocks that make for easy sliding. Thankfully they made it up in one piece. Now the coming down was another story… Cass wanted to go higher while the boys decided to play it safe. So to speak! They made it to an area where the only way to come down was on their butts for a little while. Both boys cut their hands on the rocks. Chris cut his the worst. They were then able to stand up and walk across to the path…not easy but they made it. Cassie who traveled the same way was taunting the boys as they had to slide. Well it sure came back to bite her. Not only did she have to scoot on her butt too but she ended up sliding past the point of no return… the only way to get down was to make it straight down… talk about scary!!! Darn kids are trying to give me a heart attack!249 248 234 235

On the road again, I am determined not to stop again. Headed into Piute, we come across a beautiful lake. Mom would like to see it closer up. It is a state park no big deal. $5 later we are headed in… I am driving along what appears to be a road, Other people are parked down by the water, why can’t I get closer?306 304 Well I will tell you why!!! It is sand and we are not in a 4 wheel drive vehicle! Stuck we are… Chris tries to get me out of it, Dad tries to get me out of it.  Chris decides it will be a good idea to take his shoes off as they are full of sand and he might be able to get a little more leverage in the sand… not a smart move! I am finally able to start moving and I hear Chris yelling at me to stop as he chases the vehicle… his feet are burning literally! He now has blistered feet to bring back as a souvenir! After yelled at one too many times about why I am not moving forward and backwards when I am told… I finally get out of the drivers seat and say have at it. Well that worked great for a minute… Chris and I were pushing while trying to give dad direction… not an easy feat…lol! The hearing thing is definitely an issue at times unless we are trying to get away with something. When all was said and done we were buried pretty deep in sand! I got on the phone to Triple A and Chris headed down the beach to solicit help.  We were very fortunate, 5 gentleman came to our rescue. The one was able to pull us out with his tow rope and truck. YAY us… we were on the road again! Well after we had to navigate out of the riverbed… which was very rocky! I saw a couple of cute little bunnies and one little creature that moved to fast for me to see what he was… dad wanted no part of trying to figure it out.

Today is Cassie and Cams turn in the backseat… they were bickering back and forth so I took away the electronics. They found other stuff to amuse themselves. They were putting bags on their heads and playing… whatever keeps them amused!270

On the road again… well sort of! We stopped at just about every overlook and rest area, much to my fathers dismay! But it was beautiful.357 308 353 520 364 394 402 410 415 463 472 477 502

At one overlook my dad thought it might be funny to mess with the kiddos… Cameron was first! “Cam what is that behind you? No don’t look, hold still”.. he pretends to grab something off the ground! I ask them to pose for a picture and dad sits it on Cams shoulder…”Grandpa, what is that? It smells!” Dad smells it and realizes it is piece of poo from one of the animals…lmao! He then proceeds to have each of us smell his hand! Nasty man!!! I say  to dad, mom is going to kick your ass n throw you off this ledge if you take that shit over to her… mom hears me and says if you weren’t shitting yourself all day…. hahaha…. there were people close to her.

Onward we go… our stopping point for this leg of the trip is Green River!!! We are staying in a suite with three queen beds… I got a steal on this room! Only $89.00 for the night!

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Today marks day 7 of our adventure out west. We made it to the Grand Canyon! What an awesome experience to see it in person.

We left our motel in Flagstaff around 10 am. It is an hour and a half drive to get to the Canyon. Along the way we went through two National Forests. Just outside of the GCNP is the Grand Canyon Village. There are quite a few hotels and restaurants there. We stopped at Wendy’s for lunch.

Chris had to get moms walker out of the trailer for her. As he was working on disconnecting the many ratchets and bungees, one disconnected and flung its way towards dad. It hit him  in the leg and doubled him over. Thank goodness he was able to recover from it rather quick! We all had a good laugh!

We made it to the National Park by 1 pm. It costs $25 just to enter the park. Once there we attempted to find the Canyon but this visitor center area is massive. Finally we found the trail to the Mather Point Overlook. It was absolutely breathtaking.

My kids were on a mission to scare me to death I think. They were constantly going to the edge… there are no guardrails. 008 009 010 012 017 021 033 039 040 041 043 044 048 057 062

We spent about 4 and a half hours there walking the South Rim Trail. It was an amazing experience. Cameron’s response was… this was worth the trip! He never imagined  being somewhere like this.

I was so exhausted after our day! We got back to the room around 8 pm our time(which is 3 hours behind Ohio time) I cooked dinner in the room. Nothing fancy… macaroni and sauce. The kids whined about it so mom and dad ordered them pizza from a place called Nimarco’s. I tried a piece and they have some good pizza. Loved the crust!

Tomorrow ends our stay in Flagstaff… We will spend a final day at the South Rim and then I am not sure where we are headed next

 

How something so simple makes things so easy

I recently took my girl scouts on a campout. We planned to stay in Covered Wagons! Cool, right? Yep until my girls discovered we would be roughing it. Outdoor latrines, no running water and most of all cooking over the fire only. 139

My girls and I were up to the task. We set out to create our menu. Friday night dinner was hot dogs and s’mores. Saturday for breakfast,  scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and toast. Lunch was intended to be cold lunchmeat sandwiches but we quickly decided we wanted them hot. Dinner Saturday night consisted of chicken and pepper packets and cheesy potatoes.

We had so much fun cooking over the fire that we ended up doing just about everything over the fire, snacks and all.

Reynolds wrap made many of our meals so much easier! For breakfast we were able to toast our bread over the fire on a grate covered with foil. How great is that.

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Lunch that day we decided to put our cold lunchmeat sandwiches in Reynolds Wrap and lay them on the hot embers. 10 minutes on each side and we had a great hot super sandwich. No pictures here unfortunately… we were hungry!!!

For dinner we once again turned to Reynolds wrap for more Meal Magic. We placed our chicken and peppers into a square of non stick foil and folded it up into a pocket. We followed suit with our potatoes, a pat of butter and some bacon pieces. These packets came together so easily and cooked up in a half hour!

 

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By the time we left camp, my girls and I were much more confident in our fire cooking abilities! I am looking forward to experimenting more with Reynolds Wrap. You can find the Reynolds® recipe collection by following this link : ReynoldsMealMagic.com

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“I am an Allrecipes Allstar brand ambassador (a voluntary
position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from
advertiser are only used for experience-based reviews. The reviews, content and opinions
expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of myself. To learn more about the Allrecipes
Allstar program visit, Allrecipes Allstars.”

Towels… do you ever think about them?

Have you ever found yourself opening the linen closet and digging to the bottom of the pile for the perfect towel in there?

I have a smorgasbord of towels! All shapes and sizes. They range in age from 2 years to 10 + years. Why do I have so many you might be asking? Well… back in the day when I bought my house, fifteen years ago, my parents came to stay with me. We merged our towels. Then they moved out and left some behind. While we were living separately we each purchased towels here and there for our respective households. Four years ago, they came to live with me again. So begins the second merging of towels. I felt mine were great, mom felt hers were great! Neither of us wanted to get rid of any. We reasoned that with 9 people in the house we would need all of these towels.

This has been an ongoing dilemma. For those of you who don’t know my mother, she is a pack rat maybe even a hoarder. I unfortunately suffer from the same disorder to a certain degree. So here we are with well over 40 towels in the linen closet. This does not include the beach towels… we just have to have or the washcloths that always seem to be dirty, add to that our numerous hand towels and oh my gosh my linen cupboard could just explode on laundry day!

Alright, so back to the topic at hand, the perfect towel. I find myself looking for the right size and fluffiness for what I need. The problem is that the other people in my house do the same thing. The difference is that when I remove my towel from the bottom of the pile, no one can tell, when others do it, I open my closet to find unfolded towels, towels on  the floor and just in a general disarray. I hate that!

This morning I found my dishtowel drawer in much the same disarray which is what brought me to this whole train of thought. All of my towels have a time and place. Some days I want the bright yellow towel while others I find myself reaching for that poor little forgotten towel that no one else wants(of course sometimes that is my only option).

Is this a sickness that the people in my house suffer from? Am I alone in this craziness?

Loving someone vs. being “IN” love with someone

I have never quite understood this. I love my husband… isn’t that enough? What exactly is the meaning of being “IN” love? I think it is an overrated word that women and men use as a cop out in their relationships. Jim and I have been married for 19 years this year.

September 1995            me&mybaby

Could I imagine my life with someone else at this point… no! We are comfortable with one another. Maybe to some that sounds crazy. But I know that he accepts me for me and I accept him for him. There are not many surprises with us anymore but that is simply because I have become an extension of him as he has for me. Many times we know what the other is thinking well before we vocalize it. We have a nice life… its not always roses and sunshine but it is what we make it. We fight like anyone else but at the end of the day we like it or lump it! The love we have for one another now is no different than the love we had for one another when we married. Many times I find myself thinking we still act like those young kids. I still love to hold his hand when we are out and about. I can’t wait for him to come home and wrap his arms around me to say hello after being apart. He settles me(or tries to) when I am up in arms and at my wits end.
I am a firm believer that you make your life what it is. This feeling of being “in” love is for high schoolers who don’t know the true meaning of what it is to be loved or to love a significant other.
For me love is the feeling of security, the knowledge that no matter what you do or say can change the relationship you have. The knowledge that your other half will always be waiting for you when you get home. Is that boring? Maybe for some! But I feel that is what makes a relationship great! I am happy with my life and am glad I entered this journey with the man I did!

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For those of you out there, that have other ideas, I would love to hear your thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if I am alone in this feeling. Jim disagrees with me on this and that is ok. I would love to understand the other side of it, he has not been able to convince me. Maybe I am just stubborn! Or do I already know this “in love” feeling and I just don’t term it the same way? Is “IN LOVE” really what I am? This is an ongoing quandary for me and I would love to finally put it to bed.

Heart Healthy

As I get older, I find myself thinking more and more about the “Importance of Living a Heart Healthy Lifestyle”. What exactly does that mean? To me, I think of changing the way I cook. Using different ingredients from what I have used in the past. This is a daunting task to me. I just don’t know where to begin.

I cook mainly from scratch. I am not a fan of the canned and boxed foods. I feel like if I am going to take the time to cook, I want to own it from start to finish. By doing this, I feel like I am making an effort to be a little healthier but there has to be more I can do.

This month as an Allrecipes Allstar, I have paired up with Mazola Corn Oil for Heart Healthy Mazola. They have conducted a study that shows eating about 1 tbsp.of corn oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in corn oil. What does this mean for me? I am not sure! I have never cooked with corn oil, so it is pretty foreign to me. Growing up my mom used vegetable oil and nothing else. I have in recent years began using EVOO, thanks to Rachel Ray. But that is as far as my knowledge of oils goes.

I was asked to make a couple of recipes using the Mazola Corn Oil. I have completed one so far. It is the

Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Grapefruit Salsa mazola

Now I did have to change out the salmon as we are a non seafood family. I used chicken instead. The grapefruit reacts with many medications so I swapped that out for mandarin oranges. The end result was a great dish that I would enjoy making again. I guess it would be fitting to also change the name to Sweet and Spicy Chicken with Mandarin Orange Salsa!I believe I kept this dish heart healthy even with my substitutions. I used the Mazola Corn Oil and really could not tell a difference. This means(to me) that I could substitute this into my cooking and no one will be the wiser! Which is something I strive for because if I tell anyone there is something different they automatically assume the worst.

I guess the question for me is if I use all products that are labeled “Heart Healthy”, will this make a difference? I like the idea of that because it would make this transition so much easier on me. But I am afraid that is not the only change I will need to make!

Thank you Mazola for sharing your product with me!

Kelly Goralski's photo.

My next recipe will be the Pork Carnitas with Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce. I can’t wait to try them!

If you would like to learn more about the healthy benefits of cooking with Mazola® , check it out here

For other great recipes from Mazola click here

I am an Allrecipes Allstar brand ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with
Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on It’s all Carrie, all the time. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Carrie Caldwell.
To learn more about the Allrecipes Allstars program visit, Allrecipes Allstars 

Sausage!!!

Growing up, I had the occasional breakfast sausage link. And when I say occasional, I am talking maybe twice a year. It was not something my mom ate so she seldom cooked it. Over the last year, I have engaged with Johnsonville Italian Sausage twice for my assignments with Allrecipes. My family and I have fallen in love with it. I now incorporate sausage into my meal rotation at least twice a month. My first go round with Johnsonville was back in March. At that time I tried out the Johnsonville-Italian-Sausage-and-Pepper-Skillet

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the Chiliville-Chili Image

 and the Johnsonville-Italian-Sausage-Sliders Image 

These were delicious. So when it came time to try it out again, I browsed through all of the delicious recipes that Johsonville has on Allrecipes.com and came up with three more to give a try. 

First up was the Johnsonville-One-Pan-Italian Image

 I am not sure where this has been all of my life but it was so easy to make and really, really good! I have been asked to make it twice in the last two weeks.

Next, I decided breakfast for dinner was the way to go. So I cooked up the Amazing-Muffin-Cups

 Image These cooked up great. I used Ore-Ida hash browns for the potatoes and ground sausage. These will become one of those things I make ahead for my family to grab on the go!

Next up was the Johnsonville-Italian-Sausage-and-Pepper-Medley Image

 I love the ease of this dish and the fact that it has few ingredients and great taste. 

Johnsonville Italian Sausage has become a highlight in my meal plans. The flavor it adds to dishes is great. I find myself subbing out the usual ground beef for it. 

Be sure to check out all of the great recipes @ www.johnsonville.com and on allrecipes.com – http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Trusted-Brands-Recipes-and-Tips/Johnsonville/Main.aspx?evt19=1&st=n&p34=HR_SortByNewest&Page=1#recipes

 I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.   Product received from an Advertiser is only used for experience based reviews on this site. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of It’s all Carrie, all of the time.