Fun places to visit in Colorado Springs

A few weeks ago, my kids and I traveled to Colorado Springs for a Compassion conference (which I plan to share about soon!). While we were there, we visited quite a few Colorado Springs attractions, and most of them had free admission which made up for the one pricey thing we did do.

Pike's Peak Cog Railway - This was the one thing we paid admission for. It ended up being a really nice way to see a lot of scenery on the way up to the top of Pike's Peak. Our tour guide shared a lot of interesting and witty information with us on the trip to the top of the mountain.

Our Cog Railway train at the top of Pike's Peak

Our Cog Railway train at the top of Pike's Peak

Can you say you have been at this elevation?

Can you say you have been at this elevation?

Next time I find myself in Colorado Springs, I would love to drive up to the top of Pike's Peak. As much as I enjoyed the ride up on the Cog Railway, we sure didn't have a lot of time to roam around the summit once we arrived there. After standing in line for the restroom and getting the world famous hot donuts (both of which are a must!), there was really only time for a few photos, then it was time to load back onto the train for the trip down.

So, now onto the free stuff!

Focus on the Family Welcome Center - Even though my kids are older, I knew we needed to stop here to visit Whit's End and go down the three story slide. 

That three story slide is pretty cool!

That three story slide is pretty cool!

Kelsey was pretty excited when she found Narnia!

Kelsey was pretty excited when she found Narnia!

While we were here, we went on the guided tour, roamed around Whit's End, and explored the Kid's Korner. We were hoping to do a taping at the KYDS Radio, but we didn't realize you needed to make a reservation. If you have young children, I could see families spending a lot of time exploring Whit's End and the Kid's Korner.

Compassion Global Ministry Center Tour - Even though I have been on a tour of Compassion's Global Ministry Center before, I enjoy hearing different tour guides share their stories on the tour. And this time we had a very special tour guide and a special visitor on our tour!

Our friend, Rebecca, with my son, Matthew, and Sean, our trip leader from our Mexico sponsor tour

Our friend, Rebecca, with my son, Matthew, and Sean, our trip leader from our Mexico sponsor tour

Satish telling us the first time he saw this, he thought the garbage was too clean!

Satish telling us the first time he saw this, he thought the garbage was too clean!

We were surprised to learn that Sean, our trip leader from our Compassion Mexico Sponsor Trip, was our tour guide for the building tour. What a fun surprise!

And Satish, a formerly sponsored Compassion child, joined us for a part of the building tour. Once we got to this point of the tour, Satish shared with us that before he was enrolled into the Compassion program, he used to help his father sort through garbage to find things to sell at the market in India where he grew up.

Want to know what my favorite parts of the building tour are? Peeking at the mail center where all of our Compassion letters are processed and made ready for delivery, and visiting the replica Child Development Center, which is just missing real children ready to give you hugs.

Helen Hunt Falls - A friend of ours told us about the trails in this area.

This is quite a short hike at Helen Hunt Falls

This is quite a short hike at Helen Hunt Falls

Even though this is a relatively short trail up to the top of the trailhead, the elevation change and the overall high altitude made this hike just a bit challenging for us. But it was definitely worth the sweat and frequent stops along the way! If we had planned this day a little better, we could have hiked a couple of other trials while we were in this area. Next time...

U.S. Olympic Training Center - this was a favorite for both of my kids on this trip.

Waiting for their medals

Waiting for their medals

Michael Phelps trained in this pool!

Michael Phelps trained in this pool!

On this free guided tour, we saw different training areas and learned how long some of the athletes train here. We were told it takes four to six weeks for the athletes to acclimate to the high altitude of Colorado Springs (makes me not feel so bad that the hike up Helen Hunt Falls was a bit of a challenge for us!) 

Garden of the Gods - a trip to Colorado Springs almost requires a visit here!

Garden of the Gods rock formations

Garden of the Gods rock formations

While these rock formations are no comparison to what we saw at Bryce Canyon a couple of summers ago, they are definitely worth the visit. There are paved trails in the main area of the park (which is where we stayed for this visit), but there are many other trails to explore (which we will have to explore on another visit!)

U.S. Air Force Academy - Our last stop before heading to the airport was to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel

U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel

When visiting here, make sure you enter at the right gate (yes, we went to the wrong gate!). Once you make your way to the main visitor's center, you will find a building filled with history, a lot of information about what it takes to attend the academy, and what is required of the students at this academy.

No visit here is complete without making the short walk over to the chapel. What an amazing building! This is a building that should be seen in person, pictures just don't do it justice.

Well, that sums up all the places we were able to visit on our trip to Colorado Springs! And like I said, everything but the cog railway up to Pike's Peak was free!  Do you have a favorite place to visit in Colorado Springs?

July Compassion Share & Tell

Things have been a little (okay, a lot!) quiet here on my blog over the last few weeks. I needed a bit of a blogging break because we had a lot going on in real life. Next week, I hope to share with you about our trip to Colorado. But today, I wrote to my Compassion kids and want to share with you what I wrote to them this month.

July Compassion Share & Tell

This month, because things have been so busy, I decided to use Compassion's online letter writing option. In order to write a letter online, you just need to sign into your Compassion accountOnce you have signed in online, you should see an option on the left side of the page to 'Write My Child'. Click on that link, then a new page will come up showing your current Compassion kids.

One nice thing about writing to your child online, there is a 'duplicate this letter' option. By choosing this option, you can basically write the same letter to all of your children, and just make minor adjustments for name, gender, and any specific things you want to add for each child.

Here is my letter to Lina:

Hello Lina!

I hope you and your family are doing well! I have been enjoying your letters with the details of your neighborhood and the details about you. In fact, you and my daughter are the same height, 5'2" tall!

Here is a verse I would like to share with you:

Psalm 1:1-2 - "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."

Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? I really like the book of Esther, but right now, I have been reading through the book of Psalms. I love being reminded to praise God in all things, and to remember to spend time reading the Bible.

Have you done anything fun during your summer vacation from school? My kids and I were able to take a trip to the state of Colorado. We even took a train ride to the top of one of the highest mountain peaks while we were there. The mountain is called Pike's Peak. I have included a picture of us below.

How is your family? I think about you and your family often, and I pray for all of you often.

I want to remind you that you are a special blessing to me and my family, and that God believes you are a special young lady. Continue to do well in school and learn as much as you can about God and His plans. He has a special purpose for your life and I pray you know how much He loves you.

Sending my love and hugs!

Next month, I will be sure to do handwritten letters to the kids because I keep finding great ideas on Pinterest and fun stickers to mail to them.

Have you written to your Compassion child this month?

Tackle It on Tuesday: Too many socks

So last week, I was almost embarressed to show you my overflowing sock drawer

Overflowing sock drawer

The drawer was so full, I couldn't even close it all the way! Yikes! 

This is a project that doesn't really take too much time, it is just a matter of making time to do it.

Soon to be rags pile

First, I pulled everything out of the drawer and made one pile of socks to discard. My husband likes to use socks in the garage for rags, so rather than throw these away, I was able to give him a full bag of 'new' rags.

The keep pile of socks

When I looked at my 'keep' pile of socks, I knew there were more socks there than I really needed to keep. My daughter took all of the colored short socks. Then I looked at the colored socks and realized I only needed one of each color. I added those to the growing garage sale box out in our garage.

A much neater sock drawer

Ah! I believe I can actually close my sock drawer now, and this didn't take much time at all.

What I am planning on tackling next?

Taking a bit of time off!! Yes, there won't be many posts here on the blog over the next three weeks. We have some travel plans, then family coming to visit from out of state, and a week of VBS (Vacation Bible School) at our church.

I will still be posting on Instagram if you want to follow me there.

In the meantime though, you can see what some of my blogging friends are up to:

Jill at Compassion Family always has some wonderful Compassion tips to share. But did you know she also has a blog where she shares some of her amazing photography?

Hannah at Because of Shamim has been sharing about missionaries in letters to her Compassion kids.

Aly at One Day Lighter is a new blogging friend of mine, I love how simple her blog is and the Truth she is sharing.

Have a great couple of weeks, and be sure to get out and enjoy summer!


June Compassion Share & Tell

Have you gotten caught up in World Cup fever? We usually don't spend a lot of time watching professional sports, but with six of Compassion's countries having teams competing in this year's World Cup, we are just a bit interested in following along. And we have children in three of those countries!

June Compassion Share & Tell mailing

My mailing to my kids this month includes quite a bit about the World Cup. Let me share with you what I am mailing:

This month, I decided to keep the content of each letter the same. I typed up the letter on my computer, and as I was printing out the letter, I made sure I changed out the child's name and number on each letter.

Here is what I wrote:

Dear Victor,

"For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." - Psalm 100:5

How are you and your family? Are you enjoying a break from school yet?

One thing we have been doing recently is watching some of the World Cup soccer games. Are you familiar with the World Cup soccer games? There are teams from 32 countries around the world competing in Brazil for the world championship of soccer teams. We have enjoyed watching the team from your country play.

With this letter, I have included some activity pages about the World Cup that I thought you would enjoy. On the map, I have colored in the country where I live and the country where you live.

Do you like to play soccer? I used to like to play soccer when I was in school.

Is there a sport you enjoy playing?

I love you and pray for you and your family often. I pray you always know that God loves you very much and He has a plan for you and your live ahead.

Sending my love and hugs to you today!

Have you had a chance to write to your Compassion sponsored child lately? 


Tackle It on Tuesday: Change of Plans

Just so you know, I am a blog-on-the-fly kind of a blogger. I don't have weeks worth of drafts prepped and ready to publish, I am lucky if I can put together 2-3 posts a week. So on some weeks, when I think I have the perfect post put together in my brain, life happens and my perfect post takes a different turn.

You see, last week, after I wrote my last Tackle It on Tuesday post, I was all ready to share with you how I would be tackling a pile of Food Network magazines I have been wanting to go through.

Clutter or not: pile of old magazines

The magazine subscription was a birthday gift from my sister a couple of years ago. I have been wanting to go through them and 'pin' some of the recipes onto one of my Pinterest boards. But then yesterday, I listened to this podcast with the title, Freedom From Stuff.

The podcast really made me think about how I handle some of the 'stuff' in my home. Which brought me back to this pile of magazines. While I enjoy looking for new recipes to try with my family, there are other things I could be doing with my time. And if you look close enough, you can see that those magazines have been taking up space in my home for a while. Time for them to find a new home!

So speaking of stuff, there are things that need out attention every now and then. During the podcast, Joshua and Tsh had mentioned that as much as we try to simplify things in our home, there is always 'stuff' coming into our homes.

Too many socks in the sock drawer

And right now, I have a sock drawer overflowing with socks. In a perfect and completely organized world, as soon as I purchase new socks, I would take the time to go through my sock drawer and give the 'old' socks to my husband for the garage. But, because I don't take the time to do this, I end up with a drawer full of socks that I can barely close because it is overflowing with socks! Yikes!

Rather than beat myself up for this happening (which is what a lot of us do), I plan to take a bit of time one day this week and clean up this sock drawer (and probably the underwear drawer too, but I probably won't be showing you pictures of that drawer!)

Do you have an area of your home or a task you have been meaning to tackle for some time? Plan a bit of time this week to tackle it. Let's encourage each other to tackle these tasks, so we have more time to enjoy our family and friends. Ready? Let's go!