Tidbits To Remember When My Children Are Grown

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Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, bad decisions and good, regrets and triumphs.  Looking back at my own childhood, I have so much sympathy for what my parents endured. While they were on a journey that took them down a different path than my own jaunt so far, I see many parallels between our lives, our adventures and misfortunes.

I also see many areas that I want to learn from. Not necessarily mistakes that they made, but small divergences from the path I want to remain on, that I hope not to repeat. These lessons are not just from observing my own family and experiences, but from friends and even strangers I have watched along the way.

Knowing how my mind works (meaning it doesn’t) I think it prudent to write down these lessons, these little tidbits of advice for my future self. Seeing as I can barely find the sunglasses on my head…

Remember Your Younger Self

Remember how hard childhood can be, how difficult it is to try and discover yourself and be your own person. Remember that you feared becoming your mother as a teenager….

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Re-Purposing An Old Dresser Into A Bench/Credenza

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In our house we have always had a credenza placed behind our couch so that I have a place to set my wine while watching shows and everyone else has a place for EVERYTHING that shouldn’t be there….This credenza also acts a way to separate our entrance-way from our living room and to give everyone a place to take off hats, gloves, shoes, backpacks… pants… EVERYTHING!! Lets just say the credenza, which was actually a crappy old dresser, was well used and needed a serious upgrade! This thing needed a major overhaul! Keep reading to see how to re-purpose and old dresser into a bench!

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench

Getting started!

I haven’t put on my CRAFT HAT, so to speak, for quite awhile so I was nervous to begin this project. It’s literally been 15 years since I broke out an electric saw to do more than whack at some annoying branches…luckily I was able to goad coax my husband into being my slave helping me with the transformation!

Re-purpose your dresser into a benchAs you can see, our dresser-denza had seen better days! I took this picture after i had already begun and had taken most of the drawers out, all of which never stayed on their tracks… The doors in the center were missing a piece of glass courtesy of my now 5 years old and the thing was HUGE! It left no room for people to get shoes off without plopping on the floor in front of everyone else who needed to come inside.

First things first, I took off the back of the dresser in jiffy about an hour…I never thought a piece of flimsy non-wood could need so many frgggin’ staples! Or that a one year old could make this task so hard…

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench

After we muscled the sucker outside and I smashed the remaining glass in the door, we started trying to figure out how to physically support the changes we wanted to make. We finally decided on making the entire back of our “bench” out of ply wood which would give the entire thing a nice, firm foundation.

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench

We measured a piece of plywood (actually we ended up with 1/2 particle board) for the center and attached it exactly in the middle, ending where the drawer would have begun. Then we broke out the circular saw and cut straight across the top. To cut the side we had to stand the dresser on it’s side and do a little juggling, but with a little muscle we were able to cut the side with a circular saw as well and had the first area for our bench done! Holy cow, we were actually doing it! I was seriously a bit freaked out by the fact that we hadn’t screwed anything up yet…and by how much saw-dust was in my bra…

making progress/taking shape!

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench

If you decide to attempt this bench, be sure to save the top section that you saw off on each side. This will easily drop down and become the seats of your bench.

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench
Please excuse my three-nager, he doesn’t think clothes are a necessity for life…he’s not wrong, but still…

Once we got each section for the bench correctly cut, we attached the rest of the ply-wood particle board to make it extra heavy sturdy. From here, we had to start thinking about some more support. I was convinced that it needed more support for the sitting areas, however my husband thought I was a dumbass cute girly girl, and simply watched while I started shoring up  the sides and bottom with extra pieces of wood I had taken from the drawers. We used the sawed of side pieces to create bottoms for the sections under the bench where I wanted to put cute, lady-like, baskets that the kids hide gross crap in would make me look fancy…

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench

After we felt that everything was shored up, we made a couple small adjustments to sections we had cut from the top of the dresser that would now become the seat of benches. This was ridiculously simple and quick and I found that most of my shoring was, in fact, unnecessary. The bench seat fit easily and was rock solid.

Next we hit up Lowes for some cheap, decorative siding that we found in the molding section. This was a little more tricky, We used the table saw to cut the molding to the correct dimensions and then cut straight up and stopped before the decoration section. Here we had to use a hacksaw to get the little grooves and everything to fit correctly…My husband We REALLY needs to invest a in a Jig Saw so I can force him in to even more annoying projects!

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench

Once the pretty molding was attached (we used tiny, baby nails), we were done with the hard, construction aspect of the project! It took only 8 hours and we had created an awesome, functional bench for our entry way!

I, being the annoying wonderful wife that I am, thanked my husband profusely for helping me with all the sawing, cutting, banging and especially for insisting we build and construct in his garage gym rather than let me bake in the sun all day. So much LAVA for my hubs!

The finishing touches!

The next day I took to the task of painting. I decided that I needed some good paint that would endure the constant smacking of 6 children and so bought some high gloss, hard drying, paint for the sections that I wanted to turn white. I also bought some Restor-a-Finish as I didn’t want to undertake the task of stripping ALL the wood and redoing it. I sanded all the places I wanted to paint white and used the finish repair to shine up and hide the imperfections of the wood I was leaving alone.

Here it is! I used a little bit of calk and wood glue to hide any places that we weren’t PERFECT at cutting and I think it turned out fantastic!

Re-purpose your dresser into a bench

What do you all think? I am so happy with how this project turned! It actually looks so good that i makes everything else near t look like crap…on to the next project!

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Colorado Pumpkin Patch; The Best Place For Fall Fun In The Colorado Springs Area!

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While fall inevitably means that winter is coming, and I’m going to be cold for 4 months, it also brings SO much excitement to my family! Fall means Pumpkin Patch time! We Love exploring the Pumpkin Patches in our area each year. This year we were privileged to explore The Colorado Pumpkin Patch, which is definitely one of the best places for fall fun in the Colorado Springs Area!

While this pumpkin patch does not have “you pick ’em” pumpkins they do have a great fenced in area to close pre picked pumpkins. However, the gourds are honestly not the reason you come to this patch! There are so many fun activities for the kids that you could easily (and we did) spend the whole day here!

We headed to the massive slide first. We could have spend another 30 minutes here, but we couldn’t take any more of our 3 year old insisting we go down with him….while those bumps are ok for tiny butts they wreak havoc on adults!

Our next stop was the corn boxes, always a blast but make sure you clean out everyones pockets before you do laundry!

I was particularly impressed with some of the more inventive activities at this pumpkin patch, such as the Human Foos Ball

and Lazer Tag! This was the perfect place to ditch the kids and take a load off for us pooped parents! Our kids found tons of friends to shoot with and could have spent allday in this area.

We also really enjoyed the pumpkin shaped jump pillows,

* Note that they were currently fetching more gas for the generators during this picture and the pillows were slightly deflated for a moment

and life sized board games such as Jenga, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Checkers.

Take note that the tractor and pony rides are rather costly and that prices are not clearly posted, we wanted for 30 minutes for pony rides and it was almost our turn when someone finally came around asking for $8 per 3 minute ride….This is definitely not feasible for our large family and I wish we had known before we wasted time in line.

Despite our pony ride set back, we had a wonderful time at the Colorado Pumpkin Patch! We brought our own lunch as we didn’t know what to expect, however there was plenty of food to purchase on site and next time I definitely want to try some of their creations!

Right now you can get a Free drink (with paid admission) at the Colorado Pumpkin Patch! Grab a soda, bottled water, flavored tea or other drink valued at the concession stand valid for up to four admissions! Just click HERE for your special coupon!

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Big List of Fall Activities in Denver, CO!

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This is my favorite time of year! I love all the fall activities available for families to do together while the weather cools and Halloween approaches. Below you will find some of my favorite events around town as well as some that I have not yet had a chance to attend! These are all KID FRIENDLY events, so if you’re looking for adult minded, scary, or alcohol included events…well let me know cause I want to come!  Continue reading “Big List of Fall Activities in Denver, CO!”

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Break Summer Boredom With Kids Obstacle Challenge!

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I don’t know what it is about summer, but my children suddenly lose all of their ability to find fun things to do on their own. In my desire to keep them away from constantly twiddling their thumbs with video games and also create lasting memories, I thought the Kids Obstacle Challenge would be super fun! Judging from the picture below, I think we can call it a success!

This was quite a change from their before the race picture!

I have always wanted to have an obstacle course adventure with my kids, and this is definitely the best one around! Especially because parents run FREE and kids can run as many times they want simply by purchasing an additional $5 band!!!

With rock walls, mud pits, rope swings, cargo nets and more, this course was the perfect combination of difficulty and fun! The length is about 1.5-2 miles, and I was impressed with how hard my kids worked to beat me! They were tiny beasts of agility and fitness!

I got my 7 and 9 year old to run with me again…what rockstars!

This is such a great way to beat the couch potato mentality!  Plus, I was so happy with how proud of themselves they were!

Taking pride in your accomplishments is a big deal as kid, such a big deal that they were super nice to each other and didn’t fight for over an hour! That alone is worth the trip in my book!

From our youngest runner at age 5, up to our oldest, age 11, everyone had a blast! My husband had perhaps the best time as he and our 5 year old pretended they were soldiers as they army crawled through the jungle (AKA mud pit). 

Everyone also earned a really awesome medal for their hard work that they will treasure for a lifetime! Viktor (age 5) keeps telling us how grateful he is that he finally got to earn his very own medal. They key word here is EARN. He EARNED it, working hard and using skills to complete a fun, yet challenging set of obstacles. I am so proud of him and all my runners for delving right in and having fun while kicking butt!

Aside from all the fun we had running the course, Kids Obstacle Challenge also set up a fantastic warm up section and got the kids all riled up to run by squirting them with giant squirt guns as they did jumping jacks and squats!

There are more of these courses coming up in Arizona and Washington as well as in Las Angeles, Sacramento,  San Diego and the Bay Area of California! Register now to get early bird times and prices! Plus, my readers receive an extra 15% off tickets with code MUDDYFUN15! Just head to Kids Obstacle Challenge to view the coupon and then click “website” to buy your tickets and get more information!

Give your kids the chance to release their inner beast and push themselves, all while getting covered in mud together as a family! Prepare to Brave Your Adventure and have some family fun!



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Family Day At The Monster Truck Rally!

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When I think of American activities that inspire fun and patriotism, a handful of things come immediately to mind: fireworks, corndogs, and MONSTER TRUCKS!

My family has a BIG love of BIG trucks! We spend hours watching monster trucks on youtube and my boys have been begging for some real life monster truck action for years! This past weekend, we were finally able to indulge and go to a real live monster truck rally in Wyoming. Though we live in Colorado, the drive was absolutely worth it!

Mega Promotions’s huge Monster Truck Tour started last weekend in Laramie, Wyoming! Throughout the rest of the summer the tour slowly progresses north through Wyoming into Gillette, Sheridan, and finally into Helena Montana. You have to check out this amazing event! I love the American flag flying high and respected the prayer for safe travel and fun at the beginning of this show.

It was incredible to be able to walk around these giants and see just how huge they are in real life! 

We got to see Cyclops, Dragon Slayer, Kamikaze, and Wicked duel it out in a wheelie competition that my kids won’t ever forget!

Plus, Dragon Slayer’s driver happens to be the #9 Monster Truck driver in the world and is the father of Kamikaze’s driver! After an awesome competition Kamikaze came out with the win against his dad for the first time EVER!

It was so much fun for us to each choose our favorite truck and root and holler against each other! My 9 year old daughter, who I thought would be the least interested (besides her baby sister!) actually had the most fun with this! We bother chose WICKED to root for cause this truck was so unique!

While the Monster trucks rested their wheels we were treated to some amazing stunts by a trick bike crew, an adorable race with kids ride-on cars by two 5 year olds, and a doonbuggy race for time! 

During intermission we were able to get Snow cones and cotton candy, catch rides on the Rumble Bus Monster Bus for $10 and also let our kids get their wiggles out on a bouncy house!

Perhaps our favorite part of the Monster Truck show was the FREESTYLE COMPETITION! This is where the trucks get to come out and show off to the very best of their ability with high flying jumps, massive wheelies, and mud spurting doughnuts!

One thing we did not think to bring, was ear protection. Let me tell you these Monster Trucks ROAR just like a real monster would! We were able to stem some noise by stuffing tissues in the kids’ ears, however I would definitely suggest bringing some ear plugs or covers when you attend, especially if you have little ones.  Once she realized we were’t feeding her to T-Rex, our 9 month old got used to things and settled in, however our 3 year old was happiest with his head on someone’s lap covered up with a jacket…Though he didn’t really see any monster trucks in action, he insists it was still the best day of his life and won’t stop asking for monster truck themed clothing and toys or when we will be going back!

We were even able to get our souvenirs signed by the amazing drivers after the show. They were extremely polite and happy to talk to the kids about driving their own trucks someday!

I am always looking for ways to keep my kids occupied during the summer months. Above everything, however, I want to create memories with them that will last a lifetime! This show was a huge hit for this summer and the memory will last for many summers to come!

Check out the Mega Promotions  page to buy tickets for their next show or just to get more information!


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Winc – A Better Way To Find And Receive Wine

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Mom’s have a reputation for loving their wine.  I am certainly guilty of adding to this stereotype! However, I really suck at finding good wine that is a good fit for me. I tend to buy what looks nice on the shelf and not be super impressed with the flavor. That’s why I am so excited to try  Winc!

Winc is not your traditional wine club; they personalize the entire wine experience –  perfecting how wine is made, distributed, perceived and purchased via their Palate Profile quiz that recommends wine based on each individuals unique tastes! It takes the hassle and guesswork out of picking a bottle from your local liquor store and delivers the perfect bottles directly to your doorstep.  No more intimidating language and steep price points, and more joy in the act of sharing a bottle.

My Readers Save $22 Off Your First Month of Winc! Simply go to: www.trywinc.com/usfamilyguide

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What Cord Blood Registry Means To Me & Why I Wish I Had Used It 7 Years ago

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*This post is sponsored by Cord Blood Registry, but the opinions expressed here are my own*

Cord blood banking has been something that I have heard about off and on over the last few years. However, while I have been interested, it has also been something I have felt was beyond my reach.  Over the last 12 months, I have come to realize all the potential benefits that come with cord blood banking with CBR.

What is Cord Blood Banking?

Through Cord Blood Registry (CBR) your newborn’s stem cells can be preserved for later use n case they or an immediate family member is diagnosed with a condition that is treated with stem cells.  These stem cells come from the baby’s umbilical cord which is made up of both tissue and blood that are rich in these powerful stem cells.

Cord Blood Registry

Continue reading “What Cord Blood Registry Means To Me & Why I Wish I Had Used It 7 Years ago”

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Summer Activities for Pre-K & Kindergarten with Avid4 Adventure Camps!

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With summer approaching fast, I, like most parents, am scrambling to make sure my kids have plenty of things to do to keep boredom at bay! For my older children, this is not as challenging. There seems to be million opportunities for kids over 7. However, for my younger kiddos, ages 3-6, I have a harder time finding camp-like activities that I am also comfortable sending them to alone.

My Preschooler is super smart, very curious, and easily bored…so we need some seriously great programming!

Pre-K Summer Camp Continue reading “Summer Activities for Pre-K & Kindergarten with Avid4 Adventure Camps!”

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