Hiking Black Canyon Trail

I’m back again with another awesome hike in Arizona that you don’t want to miss. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this trail sooner, so the second I started the hike, I knew I just had to share it with y’all. Not only are there incredible views hiking Black Canyon Trail, but the surprise at the end is so worth the four or so miles. 

Right off the i17 north in Rock Springs, Arizona, you’ll find the trail head for Black Canyon Trail. There’s no fee or permit needed for this trail, but you will need good hiking shoes, your backpack of essentials, plenty of water, and if you’re anything like me, a camera. 

We hiked about 4 miles round trip… two miles to the bottom of the canyon, and two miles back out. We saw other hikers along the way and some trail bikers as well, but it wasn’t a super crowded trail, which we loved. 

The views along the top of the canyon looking over the mountains and valleys was incredible. We had some rain clouds overhead, but only experienced a few sprinkles here and there which was dreamy. 

The kids had a blast playing and exploring in the canyon below. Lots of rocks to climb on, a stream to play in, and sticks for pretend fishing and hiking back out. The kids used big rocks to build a bridge across the stream the our furry friends who joined us had a great time too.

After hiking back out of the canyon, we headed about 2 minutes south to Rock Springs Cafe where we enjoyed pie and giant cinnamon rolls together. We had such a fun day. 

If you haven’t hiked Black Canyon Trail, it should definitely be at the top of your list for a moderate hike that’s not too far out of the city with views that will happily surprise you. 

Biking Arizona Canal Trail

Hello friends! It has been so beautiful here in Arizona… we really get the best springs! They don’t last very long, so we try to get in as much time outside as we can before the weather is too hot. If you’ve been a MFTM reader for a while, then you know we love hiking Arizona. But we also love biking Arizona Canal Trail, too! 

Lots of people don’t know this awesome fact about the Arizona canal system… we have built in bike trails along them! That’s right… (mostly) paved paths that are used for not only biking but also for walking, jogging, running, and horseback riding! 

The Arizona Canal Trail is a 25 mile long trail that travels through Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, and Scottsdale. Because we live so close to Skunk Creek Trail, that’s where we start our biking and typically we head west to Rio Vista Park and then onto New River Trail (all of which are apart of the Arizona Canal Trail).

The canal is actually really pretty in the spring. There’s greenery, blooms, and even water trickling along in the wash. The trial is away from traffic and cars (for the most part), so it feels safe to take the kids along. We love that the trail hits a few parks (like Rio Vista) so that we can pack lunches or books in our backpacks and bike baskets.  

I remember riding bikes with my parents on this trail when I was a little girl and I love that I can share those same experiences with my daughter now. Arizona is such a beautiful state! Be sure you get outside and enjoy it.

We’ll be off on another bike riding adventure this week since we are on Spring Break! Will we see you out on the Arizona Canal Trail?

Hiking Tonto Natural Bridge, Arizona

We love the month of March here in Arizona for so many reasons. And I declare it to be the best month for hiking and biking. It’s starting to warm up a bit, but not too much. The desert is in bloom and places that require permits (like Fossil Creek) are starting to open for spring. Since we homeschool, we have a very open schedule to hike and we even plan day trips most weeks so that we can explore other beautiful parts of Arizona. One of my very favorites is hiking Tonto Natural Bridge, Arizona. Have you been?

Tonto Natural Bridge is a state park located in central Arizona near Payson and has been one of my very favorite hikes since I was a little girl. Looking at the photos, you can see why. It’s absolutely beautiful. 

There is an entrance fee to this park (gotta keep those parks clean and well kept so that we can enjoy them) but it’s affordable and you pay in the gift shop that located in the adorable Goodfellow Lodge. Be sure to pick up a park map while you are there so that you can decide which trails you want to hike. 

For this hike, you need good shoes and a backpack of your hiking essentials. The gravel is slick, which makes this hike a little more tricky that others. If you have little ones with you, be sure you have a set of extra hands to help lift little ones over big rocks. Hiking backpacks that carry little ones would be a great help too.

Once you get to the natural bridge, there’s lots of places to explore and marvel at… my favorites being the waterfall and rainbow you catch a glimpse of.

The water, caves, algae, stalactites… even the little toads we watch hopping around. This place is just magical.

After exploring under the bridge, we decided to hike back out and explore the trails on top of the bridge. The look out spots were awesome!

The picture above is a view from the top of Natural Bridge. There’s even a hole in the top of the bridge where you can look down and see through to what’s under the bridge… where we just came from!

Pretty cool, right?! The picture below is a picture looking into/under the bridge from one of the look out points.

There’s the glimpse of the rainbow! And you can feel the mist from the waterfall right from this spot. It’s absolutely beautiful. 

If you haven’t taken the kids to hike Tonto Natural Bridge yet, I highly recommend it! It really is one of my most favorite. 

If you are looking for other awesome hikes to do with your kids in Arizona, check out Fossil Creek and Grasshopper Point too!



Hiking and Biking Backpack Essentials

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® ,  but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CleanFaceWithEquate  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.

Hello friends and Happy Monday! March is one of my very favorite months of the year and I can’t believe we are already here! It’s my baby’s birthday month and it’s the month that Arizona has the very best weather ever. We love spending time outside together, and March is the month to do all the hiking and biking we possibly can before the weather starts to warm up substantially. So this month I will be sharing my favorite places to hike and bike with kids in Arizona. To start off the month, I thought I would share hiking and biking backpack essentials so that you’re prepared for hiking and biking with us!

I don’t claim to be a professional hiker or biker, but we are definitely avid. I have been taking my daughter hiking since she was a baby, but especially when she turned three. Now that she is almost ten, it’s opened a whole new level of hiking and biking that we can do together. 

One thing that I am good about is being prepared. Before heading out for a hike or bike ride, you’ll want to pack up a backpack of some essentials. 

  • Sunscreen- Arizona is mostly sunny, so sunscreen is a must. We put it on before heading out and throw it into the backpack for reapplication later.
  • Water- We bring a couple of water bottles in our backpacks if we aren’t wearing a camelback. It’s so important to stay hydrated.

  • Sunglasses- Usually we are wearing these already, but I usually have an extra pair in my backpack just in case. Again, Arizona is sunny!
  • Snacks- I like to put a couple of granola bars, a baggy of mixed nuts, fruit leather, or beef jerky in the backpack for a quick and healthy snack while we are on the go.

  • Mini first aid kit- In case of bums and scrapes, we bring a travel first aid kit in the backpack too. This can include tissues (for runny noses or allergies) and essential oils (like Tea Tree oil for disinfectant) too. 

  • Chapstick- Our lips always dry out on hikes and bike rides, so this is a necessity for us! Drinking lots of water helps too.

  • Equate Fragrance Free Makeup Remover Towelettes- We are sure to pack these towelettes in our backpack! We love their convenience, ease of use, and that they are fragrance free and made with essential oils and 99% natural ingredients! They are inexpensive and versatile, so we can use them to clean our hands, face, or ‘ouchies’ while we are out hiking or biking. Not to mention I use them nightly to remove my makeup (and waterproof mascara!). 

I find Equate Beauty Fragrance Free Makeup Remover Towelettes in the cosmetic section with the other facial cleansers at my local Walmart. I usually buy 2 packages at a time because I keep one at home and one in my backpack or purse. 

Do you take a backpack filled with essentials when you take the kids hiking and biking? What else would you add to this list? I would love to know!

Thanks for stopping by, friends! We will see you soon with more hiking and biking fun! 


Recipe: Easy Berry Smoothies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearNewWater #CollectiveBias

Hello friends and Happy Valentine’s Day! Today I am sharing my growing love for being intentional. I’ve been talking about this a lot as it is my focus word for this year, and I have found ways to implement it into most of my life and daily routines. Being intentional with my time and my health means I need to make sure I say ‘yes’ to things that will nourish my mind, body, and soul and ‘no’ to things that don’t. Our new morning routine consists of daily meditation, yoga practice, and easy berry smoothies, which sets us up with such a positive and nourishing start to our day. 

Because I am not a professional yogi, I often utilize YouTube to find yoga flows for my daughter and I to try and practice. And for kids 10 and under, I highly recommend Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube. The instructor themes her flows to fun stories, songs, and movies your kids will recognize. Practicing yoga and meditation together is so much fun and I feel like I am modeling good practices for my daughter as well.

After our yoga practice, we make easy berry smoothies, packed with all the good stuff including wanu water. I love using wanu water in our smoothies because they are naturally flavored and include essential nutrients like B1, B3, B5, B6, B12, K, Folic Acid, Biotin, Fiber and antioxidant Vitamin E. They are also gluten free and vegan and are naturally sweetened by Monk fruit. 

For my easy berry smoothie recipe, you’ll need:

  • handful of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen black & blue berries
  • 5-6 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt (*optional… remove if you want vegan/dairy free)
  • 1 cup wanu water (any flavor)

Add everything to your blender or Ninja and blend until smooth. Transfer into a cup and don’t forget a smoothie straw! Such a great invention, those smoothie straws. 

We love all of the wanu water flavors: Kiwi Cucumber, Peach Passion, Watermelon Raspberry, and Dark Cherry. We take them with us when we go hiking and biking too. You can find them all at your local Safeway. Save $1.00 on the purchase of any two (2) 16oz bottles of wanu with this coupon (Expiration date: 12/31/18). 

I can’t wait to hear if you try out our easy berry smoothie recipe! Be sure and let us know!

What does your morning routine look like? Are you intentional with that time so that you can start your day off right? 


Out of Africa Wildlife Park

This trip was hosted by Out of Africa Wildlife Park but all opinions are 100% my own and I only share things I love and think you will love too!

This year my word and big goal is to be intentional while also having less things and more experiences. Though we are natives to Arizona, there is still much of it we have not experienced. When we decided on a trip to Camp Verde to visit Out of Africa Wildlife Park, I couldn’t be more excited. I knew my animal-loving, thrill-seeking family would absolutely love this adventure, and I know you will too! 

After we arrived, we checked out the map so that we could schedule our day accordingly. We wanted to be sure to get the most out of our trip, so we picked out some of our very favorite attractions so that we wouldn’t miss out! 

First we hopped onto the safari ride so that we could see, feed, and learn about the animals living at Out of Africa Wildlife Park. We really enjoyed Pilgrim the giraffe.

He was so fun to feed!

After the safari ride, we had a very important meeting with a guy named Bart.

That’s right… Bart is a sloth! And he was who I was most excited about meeting. We scheduled a private visit with him and learned so much about this fascinating animal. Did you know sloths are faster in water than on land? We even got to feed him and pet him! He loves carrots, apples, and sweet potatoes. You can see more of this in our video too!

And of course I had to get a selfie with my new best friend… he was just way too sweet! 

Once sadly parted ways with Bart (lol!), we decided to check out the Tiger Splash show which was so much fun! You’ll have to check out our YouTube video to see how awesome it was… but in person is always better!

After the Tiger Splash show, we walked about and checked out some of the other animals (check out that beautiful lioness!) until it was time for our zip line date with Predator Zip Lines!  We had an absolute BLAST zip lining over the park… what a view! Check out our video for more on that too.

After our zip line adventure, we finished up our day with a picnic lunch and more animal encounters around the park. 

We loved learning about Totter the otter who was rescued from a canal in downtown Phoenix (who even knew otters lived in Arizona?!). When she was found she was underweight, dehydrated, and infested with fleas and ticks. Now she’s as happy as pie and completely healthy. She was so fun to watch playing in her habitat. 

To see more of our amazing day at Out of Africa Wildlife Park, check out our video below. Be sure to visit the Out of Africa Wildlife Park for business hours, more information on the park, as well as location and deals! Would you believe you can enter the park for FREE during your birthday month?! How cool! 


I hope you put Out of Africa Wildlife Park on your must visit list! This is not a government owned zoo, therefore visitors are what keeps this animal sanctuary going. It’s such a fun day trip for the family. Let me know when you visit!

Sick Kit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., Campbell’s® , Lipton, Premium Crackers, Theraflu and TYLENOL®. All opinions are mine alone. #SickDaySolutions #CollectiveBias

Hello friends! With it being winter time and ‘sick season,’ I thought I would share the Sick Kit that I put together to give to friends or family members who are ill. It’s never fun or a good time to be sick, but it’s always a good time for a surprise gift basket on your doorstep… especially when you’re sick!

This Sick Kit is perfect for someone who is under the weather, filled with all the sick day necessities! I’m going to show you how with a quick run into Kroger, you’ll find trusted products that will have your friend or family member feeling back on their feet in no time!

Here’s what you will need to put a Sick Kit together…

  • Cute basket or crate
  • Campbell’s® Chicken Noodle 4 Count 4 Pack
  • Lipton Daily Support Herbal Supplement with Green Tea
  • Original Premium Saltine Crackers
  • ExpressMax Severe Cold & Flu Caplets
  • TYLENOL® Cold + Flu Severe Day/Night
  • Jar of homemade Chocolate Peanut Clusters
  • Sick Kit printable tag and twine to tie it on

Why do all of these components make the perfect Sick Kit? I’m so glad you asked, friend!

A cute basket or crate will make packaging up your Sick Kit so much easier.

Campbell’s® soups are a staple in our home when we are sick. For generations moms have turned to Campbell’s® Condensed Soup to soothe and comfort. It warms you up when you need it the most! 

Lipton’s new wellness range of herbal supplements are boosted with botanicals and are carefully blended with essential oils known for their wellness benefits. 

Nabisco PREMIUM is the #1 saltine cracker and pairs perfectly with Campbell’s® soups… they were practically made for each other, am I right?

When I need powerful relief but without the prescription, Theraflu is my best friend. 

TYLENOL® is the #1 doctor recommended pain relief brand and the Day Night pack comes in convenient caplets to relieve painful cold and flu symptoms like coughing, congestion, and sore throat both day and night. (Remember to use only as directed.) 

And lastly, sometimes you just need a quick, chocolatey pick-me-up when you’re sick, so these Chocolate Peanut Clusters are the perfect solution! A chocolatey crunch that you can pop right in your mouth. I like to package them up in a jar to give out as gifts. 

I thought I’d share the easy recipe for these Chocolate Peanut Clusters with you too so that you can make them for your Sick Kit! You’ll need chocolate melts and peanuts for this recipe… that’s it! Melt your chocolate down and add peanuts to it. There’s really no specific measurements… I usually eyeball it until I feel like there’s a good chocolate to peanut ratio. Stir well and then put spoonfuls onto a Silpat or parchment paper. Let cool in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. Package in a glass jar when cooled! Easy and delicious.

After you purchase all of your supplies at your local Kroger store and make the Chocolate Peanut Clusters, arrange them all in the crate or basket, print out the Sick Kit tags, and attach it to the crate with a piece of twine. It’s ready to surprise your sick friend with and make her/his day a little brighter! And if you want to save a bit of money, be sure to grab your digital coupons.

What do you do to kick your cold’s butt and get back to yourself again? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks too!

Campbell’s® –  © 2018 CSC LP  Lipton – © 2018 Unilever Theraflu – Read and follow label directions. Theraflu is for use in adults 12 years and older. Use products only as directed. TYLENOL®  ® Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017. Use products only as directed. The makers of TYLENOL® remind you to use only one medicine with acetaminophen at a time.

*  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent disease. (Lipton)

*Serving Suggestion (Premium crackers)







Sweet Elephant Baby Shower

Hi there, makers! A few weeks ago I had the honor of throwing my little sister a baby shower. If you’ve been around here for a while, then you know I love to put together baby showers (see here and here and here) for friends and family. Babies give me all the heart eyes, so I’m all about celebrating their arrival! My sister is expecting a little girl in February and her nursery theme is elephants with the colors pink and grey. So we thought we’d have a Sweet Elephant Baby Shower to celebrate baby Raelyn. 

This baby shower was so fun to put together. I used my Silhouette Cameo to make all of the paper elephants and added them to banners and mason jars full of fresh flowers.

I even added pins to the backs of a few elephants and stamped them for Mama, Amma (Grandma), and Nana of the sweet baby princess. 

We had the baby shower at 11:30am, so we went with a brunch menu, complete with a “mom-osa” and waffle bar! We had homemade waffles, fruit, chocolate chips, whip cream, syrup, orange juice, and champagne.

We also made a delicious breakfast casserole and had a tower of donuts topped with sprinkles.

I made the baby name sign with my Silhouette Cameo and gave it to my sister as a gift. It doubled as a great baby shower decor piece! All of the plates, napkins, streamers, balloons, and cups were purchased from Dollar Tree. The pink banners, paper straws and paper mandolins were purchased from Target. I have a plethora of chalkboards I keep with my party planning essentials, so I put those to use too.

We played three games: Guess how Many Peanuts, Who Knows Mama Best (print), and Name That Baby Animal (print). We had fun prizes for each the winners… gift cards and pamper items. 

As a thank you to guests for coming to the shower, I packaged up bath bombs in cellophane bags and ribbon. 

We had so much fun showering my sister with love and gifts for the baby girl. We chatted and laughed and made fun memories. 

There’s one thing I know for sure, my sister is so loved…and so is that tiny princess. 

We all can’t wait to meet little sister Raelyn! Especially this auntie!! Give me all the baby snuggles! Oh! And you’ll want to see the gorgeous maternity shoot we did, so head over here to see it.

Have you thrown a baby shower for a friend or family member? What was the theme?

My Sister’s Maternity Photo Shoot

Hello friends! Today I am sharing some of the pictures I took for my sister’s maternity photo shoot. I’m by no means a maternity photographer, but I love to practice using my camera and I especially love taking photos outside. Oh that natural lighting gives me all the heart eyes! Speaking of heart eyes, let’s check out these photos I captured of my baby sister… okay fine she’s not a baby anymore, but with almost 10 years between us, she’ll always be my baby sister.

We went to a local park that we have very fond memories at. We played here when we were kids. I had my engagement photos taken here and I was married in the rose garden here… and of course my sister was in my wedding. 

We had my daughter’s first birthday party here and now we are doing my sister’s maternity photos here. It’s a beautiful park with beautiful memories. If you live in the west valley of Phoenix, Arizona, then you are probably familiar with Saguaro Ranch Park, or what I used to call “The Peacock Park” because of the beautiful peacocks that roam the park. 

There are historic homes, citrus groves, lots of trees with places to sit beneath them, a rose garden that is just beautiful in the spring, and different animals that roam the grounds. On the other half of the park there are lots of places to barbecue and have get-togethers along with a giant playground, soccer fields, and lots of sidewalks for walking or roller skating. It’s obviously a big fan. And when my sister asked me to do her maternity shoot, I knew this is exactly where I wanted to take her.

Isn’t she beautiful?! I’m so proud to be her big sister. This is baby number 2 for my sister… baby Raelyn is due February 10th and we are just so excited to meet her! We just had her baby shower a couple of weeks ago (I’ll share that soon too), so my sister is ready to go! 

Then there’s this guy. I’m so proud of my nephew. Not only did he do such a great job fulfilling all of his bossy auntie’s requests during the photo shoot, but he did it proudly. He is proud of his mama and he is proud to be a big brother, and it just makes my heart about burst. I can’t wait to see him as a big brother to Raelyn. 

These two are an inseparable pair, my sister and my nephew. They have been through so much, but have come out stronger and closer than ever. 

Just the sweetest. I love them so much. 

Thanks for indulging my hobby! I love being creative and trying new things. I’m so glad my husband (the ‘real’ photographer) was there to help me play with my camera settings and answer my questions. He took over 200 amazing shots as well… we had a fun afternoon. 

Have a great rest of your week, y’all!



Live Everyday with Intention

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinionsare mine alone. #OwnWhatYouEat #CollectiveBias

Hello friends. My year is already off to such a great start. While goal setting and planning for the year, I choose a word to focus on. Something that will help me to grow as a person and be a better mom, wife, and friend. I try to dig deep and find what it is that my soul needs so that I can be those things. I really want to take charge and “own it” this year, so the word that I picked is ‘intentional’ which means ‘to do with intention or on purpose…deliberate.” I want to live everyday with intention.

I did some reading and soul searching over the word ‘intentional’ and came up with a few tips for intentional living. I broke it down so that I won’t be overwhelmed…change is hard for me, but often times so necessary for growth. 

Be Present

Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I want to be present in the moment. I want to take it all in and enjoy it rather than thinking about what’s coming next or multitasking twenty-five other things. The laundry can wait. The dirty dishes will still be there to clean later. Enjoy this season. Time is so fleeting. 

Plan Your Priorities

“Plan your priorities, don’t prioritize your plans.” I read that quote on Pinterest and had an moment of realization. Each morning I am going to start out with a good breakfast and plan out my day while focusing in on a few main priorities (it’s okay to say NO to things or activities!). I’ll probably turn on some good music, open the curtains, and talk about the day’s plans with my sidekick while enjoying breakfast together. And lucky for me, I don’t have to spend too much time making the breakfast… thanks to Kellogg Special K® food and snacks for fueling our busy mornings. Less time making breakfast equals more time spent planning our priorities together.

Healthy Choices, Healthy Thoughts

I want to be intentional with my choices and thoughts. From the food I eat to physical activity to self talk… I want to be intentional with it all. While planning out our day or week, I will be consistently meal planning and making sure that I have exercise and mediation on our agenda. Diets are out, confidence is in and that’s what I want to model for my daughter. 

The Special K® Nourish line has wholesome ingredients so you can feel confident giving your body what it needs. Having easy solutions for breakfasts (and snacks!) makes meal planning that much easier. Some of my very favorites are Special K® Chocolate Delight Cereal, Special K® Nourish Coconut Cranberry Almond Cereal, Special K® Fruit and Yogurt, Special K® Sausage Crustless Quiche, and Special K® Sausage, Egg & Cheese Sandwich. 

Want to have a smoother running morning so you can live with intention too? Hover over the picture above to shop the products! From 12/31/17 – 1/27/18: Get 10% OFF select Special K® Quiche and Handhelds at Target. If you shop in store, be sure to pull up your Target Cartwheel app!

From 11/1/17 – 6/1/18: Get a free Swell water bottle with an empowerment message on it via Kellogg Family Rewards when you purchase any combination of three (3) participating Kellogg® Special K® products between 11/1/17 and 6/1/18. Receipts must be submitted by 7/1/18. Click here to learn more about the Kellogg Family Rewards offer for a free Swell water bottle with purchase of three Special K® products!

I’m going to live less out of habit and more out of intent. I’m going to be present, plan my priorities, and have healthy choices and thoughts. This year holds so much potential and I’m looking forward to being intentional.

How do you live an intentional life? I would love to hear your tips!