Cookies. Oh, yummy cookies!

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Springbok ‘A Kid’ll Eat the Middle’ – 500 pieces

I finished a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle recently by Springbok called ‘A Kid’ll Eat the Middle’ made in the 1980’s. The white areas were not as hard to piece together. All of that black was really tough!

I love me some Oreo cookies! It’s one of the cookies I remember grabbing out of an egg basket cookie jar when I was a kid and devouring it. They happen to be vegan too! I found that out a few years ago.

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Childhood Cookie Jar

Here I found a picture online of the cookie jar my Mom used when we were kids. It’s at least 35 years old. A familiar piece from my childhood but ugly as heck. How could you ever forget a cookie jar like this!? ūüôā

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Speaking of vegan cookies… I baked a few dozen vegan chocolate chip walnut cookies for my family and friends last week. My place smelled great! They were gone in 2 days though! Didn’t last long at all. I need to make another batch for others since I’ve had a couple requests for more cookies.

This time I also have a new cookie scoop!  My 15 year old Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop broke a while back. I never replaced it so, my cookies varied in size. Now, my cookies should be more uniformed than my previous bakes with this scoop.

It makes me very happy to use my almost 20 year old Kitchenaid Stand Mixer that was handed down to me from my Mother too. Any time I get to use it for anything I get excited! Need to knead some bread? Mix a large batch of cookies? No problem. This thing is a workhorse.

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 Well, those cookies won’t bake themselves. I better get going. See you soon!

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It has taken over the world!

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It has been a few weeks since the launch of the phone app,¬†Pok√©mon GO. There are passionate people on both the pro and con side about game-play, but I choose to play it responsibly and use some common sense. So far, I’m having a blast! (Guess that means I’m on the pro side.)

When you download the app to your phone, you choose a player name, team and a starting Pok√©mon. You are considered a Pok√©mon Trainer. Then it’s pretty much, throw the red and white ball at one and catch any you see.

Your camera will play¬†a huge part in the game and it’s called ‘Augmented Reality’. This AR combines what we see through our cameras in real time¬†and a computer generated ‘pocket monster’.

It also uses your GPS location to spawn new ones for you to catch with your PokéBalls. You can turn off the AR to make it easier to catch them.

Playing this game forces you to walk outside… a lot! You could also ride your bike to each destination. There are Pok√©Stops, where you can replenish items, that you go around to in your area. There are eggs to hatch and the only way to do that is if you walk for¬†kilometers.

PokéStops are located at public places like libraries, museums, recreation centers, pieces of art, historical landmarks, some businesses, places of worship, all kinds of parks and college campuses.

Unfortunately, at this time, no one has the ability to add or remove these PokéStops placed by the makers of the game. Cemetaries are also locations, but I hope people are respectful and choose other places to gather. (Also, please do NOT litter!)

Ok, so, you’re walking along the path in your neighborhood park and come across a ‘gym’.¬†It’s a tower-looking thing that changes colors by whoever wins the fights. You have red, yellow and blue. Those are team colors.

Anyway, you can add a strong Pokémon that has a high CP (Combat Points) from your deck and assist teammates of the same color in keeping the gym from other players. This is where you fight other Pokémon trainers. Only the strongest of your team can be crowned.

Here’s an example of a public park¬†with¬†a gym and 5 Pok√©stops located there. The dropping pink hearts means someone put down a ‘lure’ attracting Pok√©mon to the spot. Everyone benefits from the lures and catching them.

The blue PokéStop at the very top does not have a lure, but you can still get items from it. Once you collect the stuff, the PokéStop turns pink. They refresh fairly quick.

By the time you walk to one and back, the others will be blue and available again. This is how you can get a lot of Poké Balls, potions and lures.

The bouncing green leaves (top left) indicate a Pokémon is there and the bottom left (3 little pics) shows you the options that you might get. Click on it and you get a nearby list that shows the nearest 9 Pokémon.

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Take your dog for a walk. Take your children to the park. Meet up with friends who play too. Either way, it gets you out of the house and into some fresh air.

Be prepared for more people at the various locations doing the same thing you are. Just follow the leader around in a giant circle.

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By using the map, you can find these monsters and PokéStops. All that walking can only benefit you health wise! Explore your city and find new places you never even knew existed.

There is a Pok√©Dex that tells you which ones you have caught and how many more you have to go. There is currently 142 and the slogan is ‘Gotta catch them all!’.

If you catch one, the very first one is registered in your Pok√©Dex. If you can’t catch them, then it is outlined in gray (bottom) and marked seen.

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There is more to the game than just catching them all. You gather XP (Experience Points) to level up your trainer and get higher CP Pokémons.

You have to gather enough of each Pok√©mon to get their specific coins in order to evolve them to their stronger, bigger versions using the star dust you’ve collected. You can see a few evolved in the Pok√©Dex above.

You can carry 250 Pokémons in your bag and 9 eggs at max unless you upgrade them from purchasing things from the store.

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Your Pok√©mon have different¬†types… fire, electric, rock, water, poison, fighting, etc. One is stronger than another and can defeat the other better. An example… my Vaporeon (water) can take down my Ponyta (fire) with some ease.

So, the point is… collect all, evolve higher, grow stronger, train and fight harder. Repeat.

Don’t let the media paint all of the Pok√©mon¬†Trainers as irresponsible idiots because of those few bad apples that can’t use common sense or respect!

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A Rattata won’t let me near the library book return drop.

Library book¬†return¬†drops have Rattatas harassing the patrons! Unsuspecting cats are dive bombed by Pidgeottos! Wee baby bunnies being chased around by Paras! It’s madness! ūüôā

Good luck to all you  Pokémon Trainers out there! Enjoy and please play responsibly!

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A Breath of Fresh Air

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Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO – elevation 8,200 ft

I took a hike last week.

It was during the week of the Summer Solstice that was ushering in the welcomed, warm weather and I wanted to see waterfalls.

Actually, I hiked more than once. The Rocky Mountain air smelled so clean, fresh and cool in my tired nostrils and lungs. How could I not hike more?

My husband and I first took a leisurely half-mile stroll around Sprague Lake, a man-made 13 acre lake built by Abner Sprague. The view was beautiful! You could see 5 different peaks and mountains that make up part of the Continental Divide.

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St. Malo’s ‘Chapel on the Rock’, Allenspark, CO –¬†July 2012

As we were driving to the trailhead for our next hike along the Peak to Peak highway, we stopped at this beautiful stone church that I had wanted to take more pictures of. It was built in 1936 by Oscar and Edith Malo and named St. Catherine of Siena Chapel.

Pope St. John Paul II¬†visited, prayed in and blessed the small, aptly nicknamed¬†‘Chapel on the Rock’¬†at St. Malo’s Retreat during his 1993 World¬†Youth Day tour to Colorado.

On November 14, 2011, a fire destroyed most of the nearby 60,000 square foot retreat and conference center and the Archdiocese of Denver closed it for repairs.

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Mt. Meeker looms over St. Malo’s ‘Chapel on the Rock’ after the flood¬†–¬†June 2016

Plans were made to reopen Camp St. Malo, then in¬†September¬†of¬†2014, a massive flood wiped out everything… everything¬†except the¬†‘Chapel on the Rock’.

This¬†5-mile long landslide,¬†triggered by the flood, had¬†swirling cold water, thick mud, big trees and heavy rocks come rushing down from Mount Meeker and tore up the entire area’s landscape. The little pond below the church¬†and the big evergreen tree next to it were gone.

St. Malo’s was officially closed indefinitely. The¬†chapel, that was spared from fire and flood, is still open and hosts many weddings to this day.

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Colorado’s State Flower – Rocky Mountain Columbine

As we hiked another trail, that took us to yet another waterfall, we found random Colorado Columbines dotting the ground. The purple and white Columbines are our State flower.

They added a splash of color around the green and lush trails and pathways that surrounded us. It was very peaceful for a beautiful June summer day.

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White Columbine

There are many different varieties of Columbines, but these were my favorite since they grow in nature wherever they please. They attract humming birds that you can barely catch with your eye as they flit about.

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Upper Copeland Falls, RMNP

We made it to Copeland Falls and it was roaring! The water was rushing down so fast it had white caps!

It was all snow runoff from the mountains as it melt. It felt frigid and you couldn’t keep your hand¬†in long before it¬†started hurting. The water had this green tinge to it even.

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Lower Copeland Falls, RMNP

If you spend a few days in nature, you’re bound to bring back inspiration and feel more relaxed. Wanting to come back and find more trails wondering where the rambling will lead you.

After a few miles, I was tired and worn out. We went back to our cabin and rested… for a few hours. We hiked til we couldn’t hike anymore during the whole week we were up there. We did 2 hikes a day and never saw so much wildlife!

Big antler-growing elk wandered around in the front yard of our cabin that happened to back up to the Big Thompson River. Great Horned Owl Mom, Dad and almost grown chick hung out on a rock face next to the parking lot as the afternoon storm rolled in.

As we drove up Trail Ridge Road, after dark, to watch the Summer Solstice Full Moon rise, there were elk everywhere, bigger than our Outback, in the field and next to the road. The night sky littered with stars were so clear up at the Alpine Visitor Center, which is at 11,796 feet (3,595 m) above sea level. Everyone should go stargazing up there!

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My husband watching the water rush by at Copeland Falls

It was time to get back to our city life and reality. Fortunately, for us, we only live an hour and a half away from Rocky Mountain National Park. We can come back anytime we want to.

Believe me. We will be back to decompress again. There’s nothing like a hike way out in a forest by a raging river. You feel so small yet appreciate the largeness of it all.

As Mother Nature intended.

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