Thursday, July 14, 2022

Our Outdoor Adventure to the Arizona Rim Country

 This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx.

We recently got back from a quick little outdoor adventure in Arizona's Rim Country. We love that it's a quick less than two-hour drive from Phoenix and SO MCUH COOLER especially this time of year. It's so nice to be able to get out and adventure together and spend so much more time OUTSIDE in the summertime. We usually have a good mix of outdoor adventure time and relaxing afterwards too. I literally got this box of goodies form Babbleboxx the day before we left and immediately packed everything, they sent me because they were all so PERFECT for our little getaway! Read on to hear about our adventures, get inspiration to plan your own trip, and reviews on the goodies I brought with - there are even some INCREDIBLE discount codes on some of the products too!

One of our favorite hikes this trip was on the Arizona Trail- it's an 800-mile trail that runs from Utah to Mexico and right through Arizona. The Pine Trailhead we were on was so scenic with soaring tall pine trees. I packed a few of my goodies form my Babbleboxx for the hike - CORE Foods bars and Lily of the Valley EcoDrink Naturals.

I have been wanting to try these CORE Foods Bars for a while and they were soooo good! I loved all the flavors, but I think my favorite was the Dark Chocolate Cherry. CORE Bars are plant-based, organic, refrigerated bars that provide amazing nutrition and immune support due do their prebiotic and probiotic fiber content! I will for sure be repurchasing these and you can try them too and save with 20% with discount code SUMMER20.

I also LOVED this Lily of the Valley EcoDrink Naturals multivitamin hydration drink mix. The strawberry lemonade flavor I sampled tasted really yummy and for sure quenched my thirst. I did taste a little bit of the vitamin taste in it but that's probably because one little stick packs SO MANY nutrients- 28 highly absorbable ones including 100% DV of Vitamin A, C, D, E, B7 and B12, PLUS key electrolytes to keep me hydrated!

Once we got back to where we were staying it was time to relax and unwind. I immediately made lunch and settled into eat it on this incredible front porch swing. Our Babbleboxx included these incredibly cute SOLO Cups and SOLO Paper Plates in this fun flower pattern. At home I prefer to use reusable paper plates and cups but while on vacation I'm (mostly) all about convenience. The plates were great sized and super strong and sturdy too. A fun-fact I didn't know about them until now, they are made with 99% plant-based renewable resources which makes them recyclable and also compostable too!

I made myself a little hydration mocktail using the 18-ounce clear printed SOLO cups. I mixed some of the EcoDrinks Naturals hydration packet with a carbonated water and then added in some fresh sliced strawberries for a super fun and bubly drink! I love that these cups contain 20% post-consumer recycled content.

After lunch I ate my lunch, I noticed that my skin was a little red from our hike, so I pulled out my Lily of the Desert 99% Aloe Vera Gelly. This gelly is made from organically grown aloe vera plants and was so soothing and not sticky at all - I feel like many other aloe vera gels I've used have been super sticky, but this wasn't at all. It worked great as an after-sun care for me and it also makes a wonderful scalp soother, shaving gel or hair styling gel too!

Shortly after lunch a great afternoon storm started to roll in so I cozied up on the porch swing again with my Staheekum Women's Summit & Go Slippers in honey and my new book from The Running Press- THE WORKOUT BUCKET LIST by Greg Presto. First, the Summit & Go Slippers from Staheekum are sooooo cute and cozy! I love the honey color and the corduroy textile top. They have a memory foam insole and a durable indoor/outdoor outsole and get this - the liner is made from recycled water bottles! Staheekum is a PNW brand focused on sustainability and the outdoors - in fact, a tree is planted for every item sold on Even better - they gave me a code to pass along to you, BBOXX22 to save 10% off your purchase. 

Even though I was tired from our hike (and if I'm being honest, from the storm clouds too - overcast weather always makes me feel so sleepy!) I couldn't help being inspired after thumbing through THE WORKOUT BUCKET LIST by Greg Presto. The book includes over 300 life-changing races, epic adventures, and bucket list items and is super motivating and inspiring. It combines history and pop culture, with a hefty dose of travel and adventure inspo too! It's the perfect book to bring along on YOUR next adventure trip or inspire you to book an outdoor adventure of your own!

What outdoor adventures do you have planned this Summer?

Saturday, September 11, 2021

My Top 5 Favorite Peloton Rides

 What are some of your all time favorite Peloton rides? Here’s my Top 5:

1. Greatest Showman with Robin (11/16/18)
2. Coldplay with Emma (11/21/19)
3. Whitney Houston with Ally (7/1/20)
4. Britney Spears with Cody (7/15/20)
5. Lady Gaga with Cody (1/16/20)
These are my go-to’s when I’m not feeling motivated to workout- they all are pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on my face and leave a sweaty mess all over the place. I think I’ve taken each one at least 5 times! Share your favs with me because clearly I need to branch out a bit!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Our Winter Getaway to The Strawberry Inn

We loved our trip last Fall to the Strawberry Inn so much, that we decided to book a stay up there last week. The area got so much snow the week prior, and we couldn't wait to see how Strawberry and the whole Rim Country looked under a gorgeous blanket of white snow! Spoiler alert: it didn't disappoint! 

Adam had some appointment he couldn't miss in town, so it was just me and the kids this time. I was a little nervous leading up to the trip - I have never driven in the snow before! All of my worrying was for nothing because the drive was so pretty and so easy - just 2 hours from our house. They are really good with cleaning all the snow off the roads so traveling up to Strawberry was honestly a breeze!

We were so excited when we got there and saw all the snow on the ground that we all immediately put on our snow boots and started playing! Little Taylor wasn't too sure about the snow at first- it was so deep that if she stepped in the wrong spot, her little legs would sink right down- but she quickly warmed up to it and soon was as obsessed as the rest of us with all the gorgeous snow!

At the Strawberry Inn we stayed in the same Tiny Cottage #14 that we stayed at last Fall. You can see more interior pictures of that cabin from last time we listed, here. It is perfect with a fun little turf backyard area (which was covered in snow!), two sleeping rooms (one for me and one for the kids with bunk beds), a kitchen, dining room with table and chairs, bathroom, and living room! It's honestly so perfect with all the things we want and so nice that's it's its own little unit, so that don't have any shared walls with anyone else. I love how the Tiny Cottages are decorated - clean modern touches and white shiplap. Cozy touches like luxe throw blankets and convenient items like Keurig machines and coffee pods come standard too! And I really love the yards, especially this time, I could send the kids out to play in the backyard snow and sit inside with my coffee and still keep on eye on them!

We brought food to make meals if we wanted, but ended up getting takeout both nights. The first night we went to Bandit's which is right next door to the Inn. It was so yummy!! We ordered and then waited by their fireplace to warm up while our food cooked. We split mini tacos and a big chicken sandwich with the yummiest tater tots! For desert we made snow cones out of real snow from our backyard area and grape juice and then all settled in for a movie night! There is a flat screen TV in the living room and master bedroom in the tiny cottages.

The next morning Brayden did his distance learning schoolwork while I finished some computer work and then we hit the road for some snow play!

 Our plan was to drive to Green Valley Park in Payson, which is about 30 minutes away, and was recommended for it's awesome hills for the kids to sled on. Before we hit the road, we stopped by the Pie Bar for some of their famous empanadas and fresh fruit pies. 

We split a couple of those in the car and saved the apple pie to enjoy after our sledding adventures. We visited a couple of the little shops in Strawberry/Pine along the way in search of a good shovel for digging in the snow with too and found a great one!

Green Valley Park was well worth the drive. While much of the snow in Payson had melted, there was still enough on some hills to do some sledding. The kids had a blast and we had fun playing on their playground equipment too! It's crazy how warm it got that day - I think it was around 65 degrees, so we actually got very warm playing in the snow and there were times that I had stripped down to my tank top even!

Back at our cottage, I was able to put Taylor down for a nap in the bunk room (which has a little pocket door) while Brayden and I relaxed and caught up on some work, It was such a gorgeous afternoon that we had the door on the porch open - you really can't beat the views up here!

Later, we hopped over to the Lower Park part of the Strawberry Inn. The Strawberry Inn right now is three separate areas. They have the main Inn part with boutique hotel rooms, and then the Lower and Upper Parks which have tiny cottages, There are also two bigger homes you can stay at (the Bungalow and the Guest House) if you want even more space or amenities. 

We didn't explore the Lower Park last time we stayed and I was so surprised and thrilled to find out that there is a creek that flows behind these cabins! It was so pretty and peaceful! We walked along that for awhile and then played in the large yard area for quite some time because the snow accumulation was EPIC! There was even a giant pile of snow that my daredevil son decided would be perfect to slide down!

Afterwards, we picked up dinner again, this time from Sportsman's Chalet, which is right next to the Strawberry Inn too.  While we waited for our food to be cooked we looked around inside this place and it was really fun - they let people sign their names on the walls inside and literally every surface upstairs was covered in so many memories of past patrons. Really fun to see that much history! We ordered pizza and burgers to share and they were amazing as well! Strawberry is a small little town but the food and people here really are so incredible!

After we ate our dinner back at our cottage, we made ice cream out of snow (it turned out pretty good!) and then settled in with some hot cocoa and popcorn for another movie night! The cottages are so cozy at night! We saw this gorgeous sunset through the trees.

The next morning, I worked out in the Upper Park yard area while the kids used the tree swing. After the warm temperatures the day before, lots of the snow had melted off the turf. We built a mini snowman village before we left to come back to Phoenix. 

If you get the chance to escape the Valley for a few days this winter, and can time it when there will be snow in Strawberry, jump on the opportunity! The Strawberry Inn is the perfect "home base" for all your snowy adventures and the food and winter wonderland sights will be something that you talk about all year long!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Disney Themed Lunch Ideas with Oroweat Organic Bread

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 This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx on behalf of Oroweat Organic Bread 

Taylor has always been my pickiest eater. She LOVES anything Disney themed so when I saw this Oroweat Organic White Bread made with Whole Wheat bread I couldn't wait for her to try it! It's white made with whole wheat bread, so it provides great nutrition for growing kids like her, while tasting delicious too. This bread is plant-based, USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and provides a good source of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Plus, it features  Disney's Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on the packaging - so it's sure to be a big hit!

I surprised her last week with this big box of goodies from Oroweat Organic and we immediately started digging through it. We couldn't wait to make some delicious sandwiches for our Disney themed party. Taylor is 4 and loves any excuse to turn an ordinary meal into a party! I started off by putting on an apron on her to protect her party dress, while I wore a chef's white chef's hat! There were so many other fun goodies in the box, like eco-friendly plates, reusable sandwich bags, and some fun Mickey Mouse shaped cookie cutters. We knew immediately that we wanted to use the cookie cutters to make some fun shaped sandwiches!

We used our cookie cutters to cut cute Mickey Mouse shapes out of our Oroweat Organic Bread. Then I let her help me spread each piece with non sugar added organic sunflower butter and low sugar organic raspberry preserves (our favorite!). They were so good and made for the perfect lunchtime party! 

If you'd love to have a fun Disney Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse themed lunchtime party, you can pick up Oroweat Organic White made with Whole Wheat bread at your local grocer. Here in Arizona, I use Oroweat bread, but you may find the same great-tasting products under the Brownberry or Arnold brands depending on where you live!

We have been using this bread all week and it also makes the best avocado toast in the mornings at breakfast time and fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner! What is your favorite thing to top your bread with? Tell me below in the comments!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Our Visit to The Strawberry Inn - The Perfect Phoenix Family Getaway!

We recently had the best few days away from it all as a family on a quick little getaway from Phoenix to Strawberry, Arizona! Strawberry is the cutest little town about 2 hours northeast of Phoenix along the most picturesque pine lined roads! I stared out my window the whole time at the scenery!

We have actually never been to this area of Arizona. We are creatures of habit and when we go away for a few days we usually go north to Prescott or Flagstaff so I was really excited to explore a new-to-us area! Strawberry is a really cute small town, just outside of Pine and near Payson, in Arizona's Rim Country. Everything there is absolutely charming- its the perfect small town feel where everyone is friendly and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous.

We stayed at the cutest little boutique tiny cottages which are a new addition to The Strawberry Inn

The Strawberry Inn is an 8 room inn, which is more hotel-style with single rooms facing out to a common area. 

The tiny cottages are a couple of blocks away from the inn, and really cool because they are all different, with multiple bedrooms, kitchens, and great front porches and private yard areas. We LOVED this option because we love to spend as much time as possible outdoors whenever we head north to escape the Phoenix heat. We also love having the kids in a separate room so that us adults can still sit and enj0y a drink or shows together after they go to sleep without being afraid to wake them up!

 We stayed in tiny cottage number 14 which had a great backyard area with a covered porch, a bunk room for the kids (the door closes!) and a separate bedroom for the parents. It also has a living room, dining area with a table and four chairs, and a small kitchen too with a full-sized fridge, microwave and two-burner stove!

I didn't have any plans of using the stove though because I had heard such great things about the dining options in and around Strawberry so I was excited to check these out! The first night we ate at The Old Country Inn. Their food was fantastic- I think we all agreed that their fries were some of the best we had ever eaten in our life!

 They forgot to put in my daughter's chicken fingers order, so they gave her a big basket of fries while it cooked and then not only comped her meal, but also gave her a giant ice cream sundae on the house for dessert! See what I mean about everyone being super kind in this town? It was perfect because it was actually her birthday- so we were wanting to get her a fancy treat for dessert anyway!

After dinner on our first night we went back to our tiny cottage and snuggled up with a blanket out in our backyard to talk and look at the stars! They have some incredible stargazing in Strawberry! We later cleaned up and started a movie on Netflix (that and WIFI are included with your stay!) before calling it a night.

The next morning we woke up to the most incredible feeling weather (it is still really hot out in Phoenix). It was so fun to put on hoodies in the morning. 

When I opened the blinds in the kitchen to start making my kids some breakfast I was so shocked to see two giant elk in the front yard of our neighbors cottage! I had heard there was great wildlife up in Strawberry and Pine but could not believe that they were so close! It was for sure one of the best moments of our trip! 

They stayed in the yard for about an hour eating the acorns off their grass and we watched them and several other elk from our front yard and back yard too while we ate breakfast on our picnic table in our backyard! It was incredible. 

After our big elk sighting, we cleaned up and got ready to go hiking at nearby Pine Trailhead. The trailhead is about a 5-10 minute scenic drive from The Strawberry Inn and part of the Arizona Trail, an 800 mile trail that spans the entire state of Arizona, north to south, from Utah to Mexico, which is very cool. 

There are several different trailheads at this location and I can't remember the name of the one we took (only that we headed in the direction of Utah!) and it was gorgeous, as I'm sure they all are. We only went out about a mile and then turned around and came back but these trails are great for all skill levels - not too steep or rocky. They would be the perfect spot to trail run on too!

On our way back to our cottage we stopped at the Ponderosa Market, which is a great market near The Strawberry Inn. It's a smaller grocery store but is well stocked with any essentials you may need on your trip. We also played some yard games in front of the The Strawberry Inn before lunch. They have bean bag and ladder toss, along with giant Jenga and the cutest Little Free Library I have ever seen - all these were a family favorite for sure!

We had lunch back at our tiny cottage. Is it just me or do sandwiches always taste so much more delicious when on vacation and eaten outdoors? After lunch we tried to get Taylor down for her after noon nap in the bunk room. It's great because there is a pocket door that closes on the bunkroom which is super handy for naptime so the rest of us don't have to tiptoe around while someone is sleeping! Brayden and I played some yard games and read in the backyard while Taylor and Adam rested.

After nap/quiet time we went to visit the oldest schoolhouse in Arizona - which was 1/2 a mile down the road from our Strawberry Inn cottage - pretty neat, right? They have free tours but we didn't schedule one so we just peeked in the windows! 

Afterwards we headed to The Old Country Inn for an early dinner! Everyone that knew we were going to Strawberry told us to eat here for their amazing woodfired pizza and it for sure did not disappoint! They have a great outdoor dining area, which is where we sat. It is quite popular so we were told to come at off hours. Even getting there at 3:45 on a Wednesday we had to wait 30 minutes, which want too bad at all. They had a great grass field right next to the restaurant with a chicken coop and little wooden tree stumps to sit on while we waited (so fun, right?) and by the time we got seated and our food was brought to us it was the perfect time for an early dinner!

One thing to know about Strawberry and Pine is that it's a small town so certain places are closed on certain days of the week. For example, I think the Old Country Inn was closed for dining on Mondays and Tuesdays - so just call ahead or check their websites (if there is one!) so you won't be surprised! We wanted to go to the Lavender Farm that was nearby too but that was just open on weekends right now - a good reason to visit again soon, right?

After dinner we got some ice cream and went back to our tiny cottage. We played games and watched the stars in our backyard (this was one of our favorite nightly activities while in Strawberry).We all snuggled in the living room after showers to finish our movie on the TV before calling it a night.

The next morning we lingered at our Strawberry Inn cabin knowing it was our last morning there- we were not ready to leave! We ate breakfast outside and I lingered over a couple cups of coffee (the cottages come equipped with the cutest red Keurig coffee makers!) while looking for more elk sightings!

Before heading back to Phoenix we played more yard games and relaxed on our favorite red chairs and wooden porch swing. We loaded up on more coffee and snacks from the windmill coffee stand conveniently located at The Strawberry Inn for our drive back!

We truly had the best time at The Strawberry Inn and I couldn't recommend it more for a few day getaway for you and your crew! It was the best place to relax and recharge and enjoy the outdoors with my family. The awesome folks at the Inn (did you know they are family owned?!) graciously gave me a discount code to pass along to all of you! You can use my code gofastmommy10 and it will save you 10% off your stay. It expires at the end of the month, but is good for bookings through the end of the year! You can find out more about The Strawberry Inn, check out all the available rooms they have, and start planning your next getaway here!