Shadows May Fall – $25 Amazon GC Giveaway!

I’ve got another giveaway for you, involving Shadows May Fall.  Check it out!

 

 

http://www.ratsandmore.com/2016/06/25-amazon-gift-card-shadows-may-fall.html Automatic
One of my favorite things about summer is the opportunity to explore and read new books.  Sitting on a lawn chair in the shade with a light breeze and a lemonade at my side is one of the perfect settings for relaxing with a good read.  Does anyone else feel the same way?

Suspense and mystery book lovers, rejoice!  Mell Corcoran’s new book,
Shadows May Fall (Book #3 in A Series of Shadows) has just been
released and you can win a signed copy!

This giveaway has two fantastic
prizes:

* Grand prize will be a $25 Amazon gift card + all 3 books in the series, signed by the author.
* 2nd Place prize will be a signed copy of the new book.

Thanks to Mell Corcoran, and our giveaway co-hosts Your Strong Tower, Lil’ Blog and More, MakeUp Fun, Drop the Spotlight, and Utah Explore, for sponsoring this great giveaway! Read on for a sneak peek into the
third installment of this thrilling read!

Shadows May Fall 

There is no rest for the weary, as seasoned homicide detective Lou Donovan learns the hard way. Immediately following Lou’s work on a string of complex murders, she finds herself faced with the task of finding a new killer with some seriously twisted methods. An adult film executive
becomes the first unwitting victim of a killer just beginning a
psychotic spree. As Lou meticulously grazes each new murder scene—scenes that send every other detective ducking for the bathroom—Lou and her new partner must follow their instincts to a dark and deadly place.

 

Before you enter, let me share with you a little bit of information about the author:  Mell Corcoran, a Southern California native, is a writer and animal enthusiast. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. Though her formal education and professional background is rooted in law, her lifelong passion for literature has become her first love.

The contest runs from June 21st through June 27th, 2016. You can enter via the GiveawayTools form below. This is open to US residents age 18 and up. The winners will be contacted via email, and will have 48 to respond and claim their prize.  Good luck to you all!

 Disclosure:
The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are
not responsible for prize fulfillment.  This event is sponsored by Mell Corcoran.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway.
This giveaway starts June 21st, 2016, and will end on June 27th, 2016 at
11:59 pm. The winner will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a
new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the
name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form.
 

Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway

http://www.ratsandmore.com/2016/06/kindle-paperwhite-giveaway-ends-72-open.html
Welcome to the Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway Event – This is a fun big event, just because!  Summer is the time to explore and experience…it’s also a wonderful time to unwind and relax…to curl up with a good book.  That’s why we’re teaming up to bring you this fun giveaway.
and Co-hosted by: Utah Explore, and Deliciously Savvy.

 

Good Luck everyone!
The Giveaway!
1 lucky winner will receive a Kindle Paperwhite. Open to Worldwide entries. Ends 7/2. Enter using the GiveawayTools form, below:

 


 Disclosure:
The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are
not responsible for prize fulfillment. Lil’ Blog and More will be sending the
prize out. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway.
This giveaway starts June 10th, 2016, and will end on July 2nd, 2016 at
11:59 pm. The winner will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a
new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the
name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form.

7 Ways to Save Money on Vacation

If you love to travel and need a good vacation but money is tight, keep hope.   There are many ways you can get the break you need and ways to save money on vacation.  If you are willing to be flexible, you can have a great break from the daily grind.  You can have a good time, relax, and enjoy!

7 ways to travel on a budget!

My family recently got back from a vacation that cost  $175 for our family of 4.  That included food, travel, a hotel, and fees to get into the local attractions.  It was a wonderful time, and exactly what we needed in the midst of cold, snowy, and flu season.

So, let’s get right to it.  Let me share with you the ways my family is able to save hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on vacations!  Some of the links below are affiliate links that support us.

 – Travel in the off season.

Deals are easier than ever to find when you avoid the summer months.  A bonus is that you’ll avoid the crazy crowds, which will give you more time to do what you want to do and see what you want to see!

 – Use deal sites for your hotel stays.

There are a lot of deal sites out there.  My favorite include Groupon and KSL Deals.  Looking through KSL Deals, I found a 1-night hotel stay at a hotel near one of the National Parks that my husband has wanted to visit.  The deal was $45 for that hotel room, which included 2 king-sized beds, and more than enough space for my family.  Currently, Groupon is offering $10 off your first deal to new members, so you can make it even more affordable!  These places also offer a lot of activities to do in the area of your stay, so that you can capitalize on other deals while you’re in town.

 – KISS (Keep it Short & Simple).

When you keep your vacations “mini”, you can save a lot.  Keep your vacations to 2-3 days, and you’ll be able to afford more vacations that way.  That means more breaks!  When you are able to avoid crowds by going in the off season, you’ll find that you can get through more in the time you have, anyway.

7 ways to save $$ on vacation

 

– Stay close by.

Explore the beauty of the world near and around you!  Enjoy the attractions that are available to you already!  It can still feel like a vacation if it’s a few hours away, and this will help you to keep it short, since you’re not spending a ton of time on the road.  You’ll save on having to buy airfare, and on gas money.  My family has been blessed to live near SO many national parks.  We’ve taken half a dozen mini vacations over the last few years, and never had to go to the same place twice.  Learn what’s around you, and enjoy it!

 – Pack your own food.

This is so easy to do, especially when you’re driving.  Fill a cooler up with stuff, and pack a box with non-chilled snacks (homemade granola, beef jerky, chips, whatever you like).  If you get a hotel with a microwave, you can bring microwavable stuff so that you’ll be able to feel like you’re not just snacking, but eating hot meals.  If the hotel offers a free breakfast, bonus!

 – Keep Souvenirs Affordable.

If you are going to a theme park, the souvenirs in the park are likely to be ridiculously expensive.  You can buy a themed t-shirt in advance at a local store (pretty easy to do if you’re trying for Disney stuff).  If you’re visiting nature-type places like my family often does, you can usually find small knick knacks for a good price at the location you’re at.  My kids are fans of rock collecting, so we may purchase a small bag of rocks.  My daughter bought a mini dream catcher at the gift shop for just $2.50, and she’ll always remember our trip because of that.

 – Make a list of what to pack, and double check it as you pack.

It’s so frustrating to get to your destination, only to realize you forgot your toothbrush.  So you then go to the gift shop and spend $$ on one.  Even if it’s not a lot of money, it’s money you hadn’t budgeted for.  So make a list in advance, go over it a few times to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, and then as you’re packing, go through each item ONE by ONE and cross them off.  Then if you’re paranoid like me, unpack everything and repack it again to double check, ha ha!

7 ways to save money on vacation! These tips are great.

Now that you know how you can cut costs, it’s time to get planning….let’s go on vacation!! 🙂

What great ideas do you have to save money?  What have I missed?  Share in the comments below!

 

 

1450807_10201872355343817_833512555_n*This post originally appeared on Better on a Budget in March 2016.  

Evelyn is the author at Better on a Budget, where she shares stuff about simplifying, saving, and self reliance.  You can visit her at Pinterest, FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

37 Camping Hacks and Ideas (Round Up)

Do you love to camp?  Are you ready to have a blast camping?  The season is upon us, and I’m SO excited to do start spending more time outdoors!  These camping hacks and ideas are sure to make your experiences (and mine) more enjoyable than ever!

 

 

37 Camping Hacks and Ideas for your next camping trip!

I think some of my favorite memories revolve around our outdoor/nature adventures.  I remember seeing a deer run through our campground at Yosemite.  I remember sitting as still as possible as I watched squirrels approach me, wanting food probably.  I smile when I think of grabbing a drink out of the stream, nice and cool.  I feel peaceful when I remember putting my feet in a cool river and listening to the earth around me as the sun shone, a beautiful warm.  And well, I’m excited to create more of those memories with my kids this summer.  I’m excited to have some new ideas to add to make the experience even more enjoyable.

 

Check out these fantastic blogs for tons of camping tips:

 

 

 

 

7 Kitchen Hacks for Camping from Just 2 Sisters

two tents on campground with laundry hanging up to dry on line

 

 

 

 

 

9 Ingenious Ways to Save Money Camping from Saving Money Camping

9-Ingenious-Ways-To-Save-Money-Camping-1

Camping with a Baby from Saving Money Camping

How-To-Handle-Your-First-Camping-Trip-With-A-Baby-1

12 Helpful Camping Hacks from Second Chance to Dream

12-Helpful-Camping-Hacks

8 Genius Camping Hacks from Happy Money Saver

tile-final-633x1024

Well, if you weren’t ready before, these camping hacks will have you ready now!  Let’s pack up and get outside. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Falls Trail

Ghost Falls Trail sounds like a pretty amazing hike.  It has some really great parts and some not so great parts as well.   Lets start with the good parts.  It is close to the Salt Lake Valley if you are around Salt Lake.  At the top there is a vault toilet and benches to take a break and eat.  There is a lot of wildlife, I saw a deer, squirrels, and a lizard.  It is not difficult.  Elevation gain is under 1000 feet.  Last there are beautiful views of the South part of the Salt Lake Valley, with the Draper Temple and Oquirrh Mountains.

The bad…   Narrow trails, which is not that bad, but most of the people using the trail are mountain bikers, and there is not room for the two, so someone has to find an area to step out of the way.  There are many forks in the trail, so it is confusing on your first time hiking the area.   The waterfall has poison ivy around the area so you cannot get too close to the waterfall.  Last, there is a lot of construction around the area and many trails are closed.

ghost falls

Lets start with the trail head.  The actual trail head starts at the end of the hike, which is the top area at the Jacobs Ladder Trail head.  When I went this was inaccessible because of construction.  If this was accessible the round trip of the hike would have been less than one mile.    Currently the best trail head is the Carolina Hills Trail head.  This trail head starts in a subdivision at a cul-de-sac, and there are only about 3 parking spots.  If you are able to obtain a parking spot your round trip to Ghost Falls is about 3 miles.  The most realistic trail head is at the Andy Ballard Arena.

 

From the Carolina Hills Trail head head East on the Equestrian trail, until it becomes the Aqueduct Trail, keep heading East following the Gasline Trail, the Gasline Trail will then become the Ghost Falls Trail. Round trip from here is 3.5 miles to Ghost Falls.

Head East and cross Highland Dr, and you will see the trail.  It starts with the Equestrian Trail, stay on the Equestrian Trail, until it becomes the Aqueduct Trail, keep heading East following the Gasline Trail, the Gasline Trail will then become the Ghost Falls Trail. Round trip to Ghost Falls from here is 4.5 miles.

25 Reasons To Love Utah

Howdy pals!  I’m feeling sentimental today about our dear ol’ state.  There are many reasons to love Utah.

 

It probably helps that the weather warmed up beautifully for most of the week.  I feel like I’ve come alive again with the return of sunny days!  Ahhh…spring does awesome stuff for my brain. 🙂

 

Anyway, because I’m feeling so happy, I want to share with you 25 reasons I love Utah.  I wish I were a true artist and could capture the beauty better, but alas, my (possibly less-than) average talent will have to do.

 

 

25 Reasons I LOVE Utah

Capitol Reef

 

 

25 Reasons I LOVE Utah!

Looking down at Bear Lake

 

 

 

25 Reasons to LOVE Utah!

Bells Canyon Reservoir

 

 

25 reasons to LOVE Utah!

Arches National Park

25 Reasons to Love Utah!

Canyonlands National Park

 

 

25 Reasons to Love Utah!

Looking down at Silver Lake

 

 

25 Reasons to Love Utah

Goblin Valley

 

 

25 Reasons I LOVE Utah and You Should Too! :)

Temple Quarry

 

 

25 Reasons to Love Utah!

Mirror Lake

 

 

25 Reasons I Love Utah!

Thor’s Hammer, Bryce Canyon

 

 

25 Reasons I LOVE Utah, and You Should Too!

Capitol Reef

25 Amazing Reasons to Love Utah!

Sunset in front of my house

 

 

25 Reasons I LOVE Utah, and You Should Too!

Mossy Cave Trail

25 Amazing Reasons to Love Utah!

Above Mirror Lake

 

25 Reasons I LOVE Utah!

Jordan River Parkway in Murray

 

 

25 Reasons to LOVE Utah!

Sunset at the U of U

25 Beautiful Reasons to LOVE Utah!Red Canyon

25 Reasons to Love Utah!

Canyonlands

 

 

25 Reasons to LOVE Utah!

Slot Canyon, Grand Escalante

 

 

25 Reasons to LOVE Utah!

Native American Ruins accessible only from the San Juan River

 

 

25 Amazing Reasons I Love Utah - And You Should Too!Mirror Lake

25 Amazing Reasons I LOVE Utah, and Why You Should Too!

Bryce Canyon National Park

25 Reasons I Love Utah!

The Wedge, Little Grand Canyon

 

 

25 Reasons I Love Utah - And Why YOU Should Too! :)Huntington Beach

 

 

So…are you feeling the love too?  These photos simply can’t capture the wonder that we’ve seen – but you can bet I’ll keep trying to do it!  Until next time…

Top 6 Spring Hikes for Kids in Salt Lake

Got spring fever?  Want to get out into nature NOW?  Us, too.  Why wait for summer?  Here are our top 7 picks for spring hikes for kids in Salt Lake and around that area.

 

Bells Canyon Reservoir

This hike is about a mile and a half round trip.  It’s a good one because it’s right at the mouth of the canyon, so it’s not much colder than in the city.  It also will provide you with elevation gain, so you’ll be able to get a workout and warm up as you so.  There are plenty of benches and rocks available to sit on.  Just make sure there aren’t any rattlesnakes under the rocks you choose (Don’t ask me how I know)!  You can get directions and more info HERE.

Great Salt Lake Area Spring Hikes for Kids and Families!

 

 

 

Temple Quarry

This is more of a walk than a hike, but there is plenty of available exploration.  This is also just at the mouth of the Little Cottonwood Canyon, and so although you’re not going up far, you’re still getting the amazing and beautiful views.  We love to walk along the trail to the river (which has been diverted underground) and explore on the river rocks.  It makes for amazing picture taking as well.  Read more.

Enjoy these top picks for kid friendly spring hikes in the Salt Lake Area!

 

 

 

Jordan RiverParkway

This is another favorite nature walk for us.  It’s got a nice boardwalk for part of the area, and paved road in other areas.  If you want to go “off-road”, you can do that as well; there are a lot of dirt trails around. The Jordan River Parkway has so many sections that you can go to, or drive to.  There are options all over!

Top Picks for Spring Hikes and Walks in the Salt Lake Valley!

 

Little Cottonwood Trail

This trail is a little further up the canyon, maybe a mile or so.  It’s a little cooler than in the city, but not by much.  It’s got a lot of dirt trails that you can explore without much elevation gain, so it’ll be easy for the kids to participate.  As you can see in this post, the river is not underground here.

springhikes3

 

 

 

Ensign Peak/State Capitol

We enjoyed our first warm day of the year by hiking Ensign Peak.  In fact, we just wrote about it!  We enjoyed ourselves so much that we decided we couldn’t go home, and stopped at the State Capitol.  The building is beautiful, and it’s  a lot of fun to walk around and take pictures.  If you decide to sit on the grass and simply enjoy the sunshine, watch where you sit…there may be deer droppings, ha ha!

 

Top picks for kid friendly spring hikes/walks in the Salt Lake Valley

 

Bonneville Shoreline Trail

Like the Jordan River Parkway, you can access this trail from a lot of different places.  The trail stretches from the Idaho Border to Nephi, Utah.  You can see different access points HERE.  We walked along part of the trail in Pleasant Grove, and it’s got great views!

 

6 top spring hikes and walks for kids

 

There are so many great options.  Where are your favorite outdoor places to explore in the spring?

 

Ensign Peak Trail and State Capitol

Ensign Peak Trail is a very popular trail among the locals.   It starts just outside of downtown Salt Lake City.  Ensign Peak is fantastic for families of all sizes.  When you get to the top the view of the mountains are amazing.  Round trip it is only 1 mile, and has an elevation gain of 398 feet.  At the beginning and end of the trail is plaques that tell its historical significance, which makes it a fun history lesson.  It also has spiritual significance for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  To get there go to the State Capitol, then keep driving up the mountain into the neighborhood until you cannot go any further.  You will see an LDS church right next to the trail head.

Ensign Peak

 

The trail is open till 10:00 PM, and it is fun to see the Salt Lake valley on a summer night, but don’t stay too long.  You will get a parking ticket after 10:00pm.  The downside to this trail is even on a clear day you still have the Salt Lake City smog, and there is a lot of dog feces and other garbage littering the trail.   Feel free to bring a bag and help clean up some of the litter.  There is a trash can at the beginning of the trail.

 

Utah State Capitol

Another fun item while you are there is to go to the State Capitol.   The granite building is remarkable.  There is a trail path surrounding the Capitol that is lined with benches and trees.  There are other interesting statues around the Capitol building, for example:  Mormon Battalion statue, Native American, beehive, and even some Lion statues.  You can also schedule a tour at utah.gov.

state capitol

Limber Pine Nature Trail

Limber Pine Nature Trail is a must explore if you are in the Bear Lake area.  The trail is only 1.3 miles round trip.   The trail is an interpretive trail that has many signs along the way that explain many unknown facts.  The trail is located next to Sunrise campground, and the Bear Lake overlook.  The trail head and parking are located on South side of the street. Please see the google map for exact location. The elevation gain is minimal, and the trails are wide.  With all the signs to read and all the interesting sights to see, like odd looking trees, expect 1.5 hours.   The highlight is the 2600 year old Limber pine tree. The tree is among the oldest trees in the state of Utah. This trail is perfect for families, and kids usually enjoy it.  It is on the summit of the mountain with high elevation, therefore it is a fantastic stop in the Summer months. The trail is mostly shaded and doesn’t get too hot. Bear Lake has so many beautiful areas and things to do. Don’t forget to do this one on your way in or out.

Limber Pine

Be sure to take a lot of pictures and take you time to enjoy this beautiful area.

limber pine3
While in the area be sure to stop by the Bear Lake Overlook as well.