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Get Your Garden Ready with Early Spring Zone 5 Gardening Chores

Early Spring Zone 5 Gardening Chores depend a lot on the weather. While it might not be possible to do much outside except wait for mud to dry up, there are many chores you can be doing inside in March. Here is list of March garden chores for zone 5.

boots in a muddy garden

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Early Spring Zone 5 Gardening Chores

March is really still winter in Iowa. Even though we have had a pretty mild winter this year with very little snow, we just got 5 inches of the fluffy white stuff a couple days ago! Basically in March, we’re waiting for the ground to thaw out, warm up, and dry up. When that’s happened, we’re ready to start planting a few things, but until then, here’s what you can do!

1. Plant cool season crops and annuals.

Peas are  planted first, then lettuce and radishes. These crops can be planted directly in the ground as soon as the soil has warmed up and is dry enough to work. You can also plant cool season annuals as soon as the ground is warm and dry, like pansies, if you can find them at the garden center. Make sure you include these top 10 early spring plants in your garden plan so can enjoy the earliest harvest possible.

2. Make new garden beds.

If you garden in beds, or would like to start, now is the perfect time to make new garden beds while you still have time. This is something you could have been working on all winter, too. You might also want to cover a couple of your garden beds to keep pests out and extend the growing season. This tutorial will help you easily cover your garden beds.

The nice thing about gardening in beds is they are usually ready to go before the ground. You don’t have till garden beds and you can put down plastic to help warm up the soil. If you don’t garden in beds, I recommend trying one out this year!

3. Prep the beds

Hopefully, the ground will have thawed and begin to warm very soon. Once it’s dry, usually by the middle to end of the month, go ahead and remove winter mulch and add a layer of leaf compost to your beds. Mix everything up nicely and as soon as the outside temps are warm enough, go ahead and plant those peas! 

Peas do best when the temperature is in the 55 – 70 degree range, as early as 12 weeks before the last frost date. Germinating peas can tolerate temperatures as low as high 20s, but temperatures in the teens are to much for them and will kill them. Watch your forecast closely when planting those first early crops! Learn more about peas at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

4. Test the soil

Now’s also the time to test your garden soil so you know what nutrients need to be added before the growing season starts. Information for testing your garden soil in Iowa can be found at Iowa State Horticulture Society. If you don’t live in Iowa, just google how to test garden soil in your state.

covered garden bed in a country garden

Plant your cold frame

If you have a cold frame, it’s time now to start lettuce and spinach outside in the cold frame! Soon you’ll be harvesting yummy greens. I love those first greens!

Organize your garden seeds

If you haven’t already done this, now is the perfect time to inventory and organize your garden seeds. Make sure you have everything you need to get going and order whatever else you might need. You can read all about my favorite garden seed organizer here. I love it so much!

baby seeds in a seed starting tray

Start your seedlings

March is time to start most of your garden seeds, if that’s something you like to do. Most seedlings need 6-8 weeks before the last frost date to grow big enough for planing, and with an average lost frost date of May 15, that’s right around the corner. Get my best tips and seed starting supply list here. And here are tips for starting broccoli and other pesky brassicas – which can be a tricky type of seedling to start.

Plan your garden!

If you haven’t planned out your garden, this is also the time to finalize your garden plan and draw it out. It’s important to draw it out so you can remember from year to year what you plant where. Remember that you need to rotate crops so keeping track is pretty important. Here are my best garden planning tips to help you out. Grab my free garden planting guide here so you know exactly when to plant what!

For more spring gardening tips, read these posts from my Tuesdays in the Garden Blogging Friends.

Refresh your flower pots for spring! An Oregon Cottage

frugal family home

7 Gardening Chores to Do this Spring – Frugal Family Home

 angie the freckled rose

Spring Garden Chores – Angie the Freckled Rose

homemade food junkie

Spring Garden Projects – Homemade Food Junkie

hearth and vine

Simple Tips for Preparing Your Garden for Spring – Hearth & Vine

What are you working in your garden this month? I’d love to hear what you’re up to. Happy gardening!


18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks & Free Printable Checklist

It’s officially March and you know what that means – it’s time to get busy cleaning! Save a lot of time with these 18 Spring Cleaning Hacks and enjoy the free cleaning checklist printable we made for you. 🙂
spring cleaning

How can it be time for spring cleaning already? Are you ready? I know I’m not. Truth be told I have a hard enough time with the day to day tasks! Trying to add in more for deep cleaning is hard! To help us all out, I’ve put together a post with 18 different time saving clean springing hacks! All of these ideas should help those of us who struggle to keep the house in order. Are you with me? 

18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks

18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks & Free Printable Checklist

Time saving tips and tricks for those of us who hate spring cleaning.


While you’re here, get this Spring Cleaning Checklist!

Now that you’re inspired to spring clean, grab my spring cleaning checklist and start checking those items off the list! I highly recommend that you involve the whole family. Spread the love and get busy cleaning. 

Spring Cleaning Printable

Download the Printable here

 

Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks

Are you ready for Spring Cleaning? What chore do you most dread?

 

7 Reasons Your Family Will Love The Grove Resort Orlando

 All the amenities of home and more –  plus free shuttle service to Walt Disney World theme parks – makes The Grove Resort Orlando the perfect place for your next Florida getaway!

The Grove Resort Orlando

Image provided by The Grove Resort

7 Reasons Your Family Will Love The Grove Resort Orlando

SimplifyLiveLove occasionally receives complementary products, hosted travel, and/or compensation related to the content shared here. Many thanks to The Grove Resort Orlando for hosting our recent stay there.

mom & son winter vacation

Do you ever travel one-on-one with your kids? Family vacations are a lot of fun, but one-on-one time is amazing. Recently I took a one-on-one trip to The Grove Resort Orlando with my son, and we had a fabulous time playing at the resort, and also spending a day at nearby Hollywood Studios. If you’re looking for a family friendly full service resort near the Walt Disney World theme parks, look no further than The Grove Resort Orlando.

A trip to Walt Disney World is a dream vacation that many families work hard to afford. If you’re looking to maximize your time and money, staying off property may be the best bet. Orlando offers many options for families, but here are seven reasons why my son and I highly recommend The Grove Resort Orlando.

Three Bedroom Master at The Grove

Image provided by The Grove Resort Orlando

1. The Grove Resort Orlando = Spacious Residential Style Suites

When you’re traveling with family, being able to spread out is the key to sanity – everyone’s sanity. This is true whether you’re with one child, or with everyone. As a mom of four, you can bet I appreciate my space!

One thing The Grove Resort is not short on, is space. Featuring one- to three- bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, full washers and dryers, a living room, and so many fun entertainment options, The Grove can be a great way for families to get a big bang for their buck in Orlando.

grove resort collage

From playing at Flip Flop’s Family Fun Center to swimming at Surfari Water Park and boating on Lake Austin, to learning to surf on the FlowRider – families with kids of all ages will enjoy spending time on property at The Grove just as much as they will enjoy exploring Walt Disney World. And maybe they will even prefer it!

Valencia Restaurant Grove Resort

Image provided by The Grove Resort

2. Lots of Dining Options at The Grove Resort

Guests staying at The Grove might enjoy fully equipped kitchens in their suites. They’re so helpful if you’d like to prepare your own meals. It’s super easy to order groceries (or pizza) and have them delivered using The Grove’s Delivery to Your Suite service. 

Verona Craft Cocktail valencia restaurant the grove resort orlando

However, don’t feel like you have to cook! Cooking your own meals can be a great way to save a little money, but the resort has enough delicious restaurants that you don’t have to cook at all if you don’t want to! If you’re not feeling it, head down to one of the restaurants have someone else cook and clean up! Win, win. 

Ben enjoyed picking up snacks at the Alfresco Market. Featuring souvenirs, wine, a little coffee shop, candy, snacks and more – this market is perfect for grabbing a little something on the way out the door. 

Center Cut Filet Mignon from the Valencia Restaurant Grove Resort

I highly recommend trying the Valencia Restaurant while you’re here. They have great meal options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ben’s favorite other than the Cafe Mocha I let have for breakfast one morning was the Valencia Burger with Shoestring French Fries. I really loved the Center Cut Filet Mignon and the Verona Craft Cocktail. YUM!

surfari water park

3. The Grove Resort’s Surfari Water Park

Another great feature at the Grove are all the pools. Sadly, it was a little chilly and windy while we were in Florida, but that didn’t stop Ben from spending time in the water at the Surfari Water Park. He enjoyed the water slides and the 695 foot lazy river. If you want a little quieter pool area, check out the Springs Pools. Located near Lake Austin, you’ll find another three full-sized pools, an oversized hot tub, and a children’s splash area as well!

hanging out at surfari water park orlando

It was too chilly for me to swim, but the private cabanas and pool side delivery of drinks and food  from the poolside bar and grill restaurant called Longboard Bar & Grill made sitting outside in the sun quite pleasant! The weather was so much nicer than the snow and ice back home, I really don’t have anything to gripe about! 

flowrider at the grove resort

4. FlowRider

The highlight of Ben’s day at the Surfari Water Park though, was learning to surf on the FlowRider! In his 30 minute lesson (only $30!), he progressed through holding on to the board to sitting on the board, and finally to standing on the board and actually surfing! I must admit, I was surprised at how far he got in such a short time. 

 

Watch the video and see how he did! He said it was a lot of fun and didn’t hurt at all when he wiped out. The instructors were very professional and nice and they helped Ben a lot.

boats at lake austin

5. Lake Austin

More fun water options at the resort include renting boats on Lake Austin. We were really looking forward to taking out one of those cute swan boats or having a driver take us for a spin in the pontoon boat, but unfortunately a wind advisory while we were on property kept us from enjoying these nice amenities. When you go, I hope you get to try them!

flip flop's family fun center

6. Flip Flop’s Family Fun Center

When you’re ready for a break from water activities, head inside to the 6,600 square foot Flip Flop’s Family Fun Center! You and your kids both will enjoy glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, arcade games like Air Hockey and Skee-Ball and so much more. And yes, Ben kicked my butt at pretty much everything in there except mini-golf. I still smoked him at mini-golf. 

ben at the escape spa grove resort

7. Escape Spa at the Grove Resort and Spa

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to pamper yourself with a little spa action! The Grove Resort also has a full service spa so you can enjoy a mani-pedi, massage, or facial to really get your relaxation on! Even Ben enjoyed his first ever manicure on our getaway. He said the hand massage at the end was ah-mazing, and yes, I made him wear the robe. He was not amused. But he was a good sport. 😉

If all of this hasn’t convinced you to check out The Grove Resort, perhaps learning that a three-bedroom condo that sleeps eight costs under $300 a night will! If you have a large family or you’re taking a multi-generation trip, you really can’t beat that price!

If you’ve been to The Grove, I’d love to hear! Have so much fun on your next Orlando Vacation!

mom and son

And if you liked this post on The Grove Resort Orlando, you might like these posts too:

Top 11 Secrets to Planning a Trip to Walt Disney World on a Budget

Fun, Affordable Family Skiing at Sunlight Mountain Resort

Sarasota Bayfront Park

Robinson Preserve, Bradenton Florida

The Mall of America is the Perfect Place to Escape from Winter!

My kids have been begging to visit the Mall of America for years and we finally realized that it is the perfect place to escape from winter! There are so many indoor things to do at Mall of America -perfect for kids of all ages – plus food and shopping! Here’s why you should plan a visit to one of the biggest malls in the United States!things to do at the mall of america

SimplifyLiveLove occasionally receives complementary products, hosted travel, and/or compensation related to the content shared here. We were thrilled to collaborate with Mall of America and Bloomington MN CVB to bring you this post.

Fun Facts about the Mall of America

No trip to Minneapolis is complete without stopping at the Mall of America. I recommended that you plan to spend at least one full day there, but you could easily spend two to three days if you plan to do all the fun things. With over 400 free events at the Mall each year, you’ll find lots of entertainment you just can’t pass up. Before you go, there are a few facts you’ll want to know!

walking from Best Western to MOA

Where is the Mall of America?

Located 15 minutes from Minneapolis in the suburb of Bloomington, the Mall of America is linked to the Minneapolis / St.Paul Airport (and the Amtrak Station) by the Light Rail Train. Two hotels are connected to MOA and more than 50 hotels are located within ten minutes of the mall. 

It’s just over 3 1/2 hours from Des Moines, a 5 1/2 hour drive from Eastern Iowa or Omaha, and a 6 1/2 hour drive from Kansas City which makes it the perfect distance for a quick getaway when you need an escape from dreary winter weather or a rainy weekend.

I’m sure you could even leave your coat at home! We didn’t take ours to the mall at all. All hotels offer complementary shuttles to the mall and there are lots of great places to stay within a very short walking distance.

How big is Mall of America?

The Mall of America spans 1.15 miles on only one level and there are multiple levels, so you’ll definitely get your steps in! Home to over 520 stores, including an Apple Store and the Lego Store,  we could have spent much more time shopping than we did.

Over 40 million visitors go to MOA every year which is more people than the entire populations of Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Canada combined!! It also makes the Mall of America the most visited attraction in the United States!

Is there tax at Mall of America?

One of the great perks of Mall of America is there is NO sales tax on clothing or shoes! I think a mother/daughter back to school shopping trip would be so much fun! Only my son is my biggest shopper. LOL! I’d have to do a mother/son trip. We only had time to explore a few of the stores, but even though we aren’t big shoppers, I know my kids would love to explore them more.

Is there a curfew for teens?

There is a weekend curfew for teens. If you’re visiting with kids under 16 on a Friday or Saturday night, they have to be with adults after 4 pm. They can walk around on their own before 4 pm, but after 4 pm they need to be with an adult.

I can tell you from experience that if your teens are off on their own after 4 pm on a weekend night (and they’re arguing with each other), they will be stopped and security will call a parent. True story. LOL!

buy mall of america coupon booklet

Food in Mall of America

In addition to lots of fun things to do at Mall of America, and a huge selection of stores, there are also over 50 restaurants to check out, from fine dining at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar to Hard Rock Cafe to Piada Italian Street Food and Shake Shack in the food court. You’re sure to find something delicious to satisfy any taste or budget.

Pro tip: Make sure to buy a copy of the Mall of America Coupon Booklet. We used quite a few coupons on food and at stores as well. The kids were excited to see how much money they could save! 

blueberry drink at firelake grill

Mall of America is So Much More Than Shopping

While we did spend some times in the stores at the MOA, there are so many more things to do than just that. I can’t believe how many fun activities one mall is able to pack inside! Here are some of the fun things we did during our very busy day and a half at the mall.

Things to Do at Mall of America

We arrived at the MOA on a Friday afternoon after our Amtrak trip out to Montana. We were supposed to have arrived by 8 am, but due to a freight car derailment in Idaho, our Empire Builder train was seven hours behind. 

Instead of spending most of Friday and half the day Saturday at MOA like we had planned, we spent a couple hours on Friday, then shut the mall down on Saturday.

We were not able to fit in everything we wanted to do, so if you’re planning a trip to Minneapolis, make sure to stay long enough! I recommend at least two full days at MOA if you want to do all of the things there.

Here are the six things we really enjoyed at the Mall of America:

the escape game at MOA

1. The Escape Game – 

My kids have been dying to do an escape room, but truth be told, I was a little worried. Our family can argue with the best of them. With six strong personalities, I was concerned that we would fight the whole time. 

we escaped from the escape game mall of america

Luckily, we didn’t! We worked well during our 60 minutes together and managed to solve our Special Ops mission with seven minutes to spare! Everyone had a lot of fun and I was so impressed with how well we were actually able to work together. The Escape Game at the Mall of America was my favorite part of the trip.

Learn more about The Escape Game and buy tickets here.

nickelodeon universe at mall of america

2. Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park – 

Did you know that MOA has its own indoor theme park? Again, I was a little skeptical of an indoor amusement park, but MOA delivers! $38 buys an all-day wristband, good for unlimited rides in the largest indoor theme park, and my kids put their wristband to great use.

on the swings at mall of america

They loved the roller coasters most of all, but there are rides for everyone, including a water ride and lots of rides for toddlers too. You can enjoy photo ops with Nick characters who hang out at the park and take little shopping or eating breaks as well!

fun rides at nickelodeon universe mall of america

3. Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course – 

Confession. My kids were not able to get me on the Ghostly Gangplank ropes course or zipline, but they had an absolute blast! I wasn’t sure how my youngest daughter would react after getting to the top of the Barnacle Blast, but she did just fine and enjoyed zip lining with the best of them! 

dutchman's deck mall of america

In fact, she used my ticket the next day and went back for more. At 55’ above Nickelodeon Universe, the zipline at MOA is the longest indoor zip line in North America! 

Pro tip:  you do need to be 48” tall to enjoy this attraction and it is a separate ticket, but you get a discount with a theme park ticket. You’ll need close-toed shoes for this attraction. But don’t worry – if you forget, you can borrow a pair of Crocs!

Learn more about Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course here!

flyover america

4. FlyOver America – 

If you’ve ridden Soarin’ at Epcot, you know the drill. FlyOver America is very similar. It’s an interactive ride that takes you high above the earth for a bird’s eye view of either the USA or USA and Canada. We took the USA flight and really enjoyed flying over the country. 

Not only are you really moving, you also feel the wind and the spray of water from time to time. My kids loved seeing places we’ve visited and we even found our home state of Iowa in the movie as well!

Check out FlyOver America here!

Moose Mountain Adventure Golf MOA

5. Moose Mountain Adventure Golf – 

As if I haven’t covered enough things to do at Mall of America yet, there are also a few opportunities to mini golf right in the mall! The whole family, from young to old, enjoyed our 45 minutes on the Moose Mountain Adventure Golf course. It was pretty busy, but we kept moving. We enjoyed looking out over the edge and watching the roller coasters from this 18-hole mini golf course!

minnesota sealife aquarium mall of america

6. Sea Life Aquarium – 

Don’t let the bored expression on my kid’s face fool you!  While not the biggest aquarium by any means, my kids really enjoyed the interactive nature of the Sea Life Aquarium inside the mall. How many malls have aquariums?

We spent about an hour learning about Seemore the Green Sea Turtle, Dutchess the Sawfish, jellyfish, sharks, and more. The 300 ft Ocean Tunnel was especially fun, but the highlight for my younger kids was filling out the Dive Logbook and earning a prize at the end.

Similar to the Junior Ranger programs at national parks, the ranger program at Sea Life Aquarium helps kids learn about sea life and gets them interested and active in their surroundings!

Buy Sea Life tickets online and save a little bit of money!

I’d be remiss in my post if I didn’t also mention the family-friendly hotel right across from the mall where we stayed for two nights.

best western plus bloomington mn

Best Western PLUS Bloomington Hotel by Mall of America

The Best Western PLUS Bloomington is located across the street from Mall of America. We walked over in under ten minutes. It was an easy walk to a skywalk over to the Radisson. The hotel also has a shuttle, though, so you don’t have to walk.

best wester plus pool

Perks of the Best Western PLUS include free parking, free all you can eat breakfast buffet, water park for the kids and a huge spa for relaxing in after a full day at the mall! We stayed in a pool side room and were happy that the pool noise stopped promptly at 10 pm each night so we could get a good night’s sleep!

pool at best western plus MOA

With all of the fun things to do at Mall of America, why wait to go? Make sure to enjoy all of these things and let me know about your favorite thing to do there too! 

For more information on visiting the Minneapolis area, check out these posts too!

5 Delicious Farm to Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities

30 Free Things to do at the Minnesota State Fair

7 Best Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities

Family Fun at the Grove Resort Orlando

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

If you’re trying to eat local, in-season food, make sure to include these top ten plants for early spring harvest. They will yield the first food in the spring so you can have farm fresh produce as soon as possible.

top 10 plants for early spring harvest

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission from your purchase.*

One of my long term life dreams is to eat only locally grown and produced food, like Barbara Kingsolver did in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle {one of my most favorite books of all times}. At first thought, it sounds kind of doable, right? I mean, I have a big garden, and I have egg and meat chickens. I’ve also found a source for local pastured pork and organic, local, grassfed beef. But the logistics are really a lot more complicated than my pea-brain can handle. And it would take a REALLY REALLY REALLY big garden to produce enough food to feed my family of six. Maybe some day.

For now, I will be content to do what I can, and that means maximizing every growing season, and this post starts with spring! Enjoy my list of the top 10 plants to consider if you want to get the earliest possible harvest out of your garden.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

bowl of strawberries and asparagus in the grass

Early Spring Perennials

I love perennials because I can plant them once, and reap the rewards for years! It’s also a bonus that a few garden perennials produce some of the earliest food in the spring, so make sure to include them in your garden.

Rhubarb – it seems a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with rhubarb, but I love it. It’s also ready for picking sooner than most other fruits and is delicious in crisps, scones, and made into syrup too!

Strawberries – strawberries are the first berries to ripen, usually late May or early June in my area. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry right out of the garden! And since conventionally grown strawberries are some of the most pesticide laden fruits grown, we prefer to grow our own.

asparagus on a sheet pan for roasting

Asparagus – asparagus is ready for a full harvest the third year after it’s planted. It’s one of the earliest crops of spring – so delicious!! We look forward to fresh asparagus every year.

Spring Veggies to Plant before the Last Frost

Spring Onions / Potatoes – can be directly sown from seed six weeks before the last frost if the ground is workable. Onions grow quickly and the greens can be cut pretty soon after they start growing. If you leave the bulb in the ground and just cut the greens, they will even grow new greens for you!

Potatoes are generally ready for harvest a little later, but you can carefully collect new potatoes without disturbing the plant ten weeks after the potatoes were planted. We use the no-dig planting method to grow potatoes. Learn more here.

Spinach / Kohlrabi / Kale – can be directly sown from seed five weeks before the last frost date. It’s especially important to plant spinach early as it needs six cool weeks to reach maturity and bolts quickly in hot weather.

Peas / Radish / Carrots – can be directly sown from seed four weeks before last frost date. Peas also don’t do well in hot weather, so make sure to plant them as quickly as possible. Every year I have volunteer radish crops in my garden because I let some go to seed in the summer. They are some of the first fresh veggies we eat!

Forellensuss Lettuce

Lettuce / Swiss Chard – can be directly sown from seed two weeks before last frost date. I also have volunteer lettuce in my garden from time to time and love it! Fresh lettuce is just delicious.

Check your seed packets to see which varieties mature the quickest. Some radishes are ready within 25 days! And lettuce is very quick growing too.

Did you know I wrote my first book? You will love my new book – part homesteading tutorial and part cookbook. If you want to take the next step toward self-sufficiency, learn how to raise your own chickens for meat! Or if raising chickens for meat isn’t for you, you can also learn how to utilize the entire chicken in your kitchen to save you money and help your family be a little bit greener!

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A collage of pictures including strawberries in a bowl, forelenschuss lettuce, and a basket of eggs and lettuce harvest.

What plants do you look forward to most in spring?

10 Practical Gardening Tips and Tricks to Help Your Garden Thrive

Gardening for beginners does not have to be hard! If you want to start your first garden but aren’t sure where to start, these ten practical vegetable gardening tips and tricks for first time gardeners will be a big help.
Ten Practical Tips for First Time Gardeners

Practical Gardening Tips and Tricks to Help Your Garden Thrive

Growing a garden can be very rewarding, but there are a few things you should consider before you start.

1. Start small and manageable

Gardens take a lot of work and the work increases exponentially with the size. You’ll need to have time to plant, water, weed, de-bug, harvest, and cook, so it makes a lot of sense to learn small. You can still grow a lot of food, even in a small garden. You’ll be surprised at how much food you can grow in a 4 x 8 or even a 4 x 4 raised garden bed! Keep it small the first year so you don’t get scared off from trying again. grow veggies you like

2. Grow fruits and veggies your family loves to eat

It’s really easy to get caught up in the beautiful seed catalog and order many different types of seeds, but keep it simple the first year. If you don’t like zucchini, there’s absolutely zero reason to plant it. I give you permission to skip zucchini if you want! 

The Best Garden Seed Organizer Ever!

3. Plant these seeds directly in the garden

Some plants do fine when you plant them as seeds. And some you must plant as seedlings. Knowing the difference will make a big difference in your success and can save you a lot of money too. Seeds are a lot cheaper than seedlings. The following ten common garden vegetables can be planted directly from seeds and they will do great.

Follow the instructions on the back of the seed packet and plant them at the right time of year using proper spacing and depth. Don’t forget to water your garden after planting the seeds as seeds need water to germinate. 

  1. Carrots
  2. Corn
  3. Cucumbers
  4. Beans
  5. Peas
  6. Lettuce
  7. Radish
  8. Spinach
  9. Watermelon
  10. Zucchini / Squash

4. Plant these as seedlings

The following six plants are best if you plant as seedlings. They have a longer growing season and need to be well established in order to bear fruit. Make sure to plant them according to best spacing and depth requirements as well. You’ll want to water your plants well after planting to make sure the plant roots have everything they need to really take hold. Most plants need an inch of water a week to thrive, so pay attention to rain and water your garden as needed.

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Peppers
  3. Broccoli
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Cabbage
  6. Brussel Sprouts

Buy Tomato Seedlings

5. Buy vegetable starts at the garden nursery instead of trying to start your own.

Stating seeds is a lot of fun and can be very rewarding, but if this is your first time gardening, it’s easier and more practical to just buy the baby plants at the store. It might even be cheaper in the long run too.

6. Learn your frost free dates and garden zone.

It’s very important to plant your garden at the right time, so head on over to this first and last frost calculator, plug in your zip code, and learn when it’s safe to plant your garden. Frost kills plants so make sure you know this very important detail! You’ll also want to know what your garden zone because some plants grow better in certain zones. Go here to learn your garden zone.

7. Choose a good garden location.

Most plants need full sun (at least six hours of sun each day) so keep that in mind when choosing where to place your garden. You’ll want to avoid trees of course, and also consider tall fences or other vegetation that may cast shadows on your garden.

8. Keep a garden journal.

If you want to continue gardening, it’s important to learn from your mistakes. Keep track of what you plant, when you plant it, how it grows, and how well it harvests. This will help you plan future gardens. This is the amazing garden journal I have!

don't forget mulch

9. Don’t forget mulch

Mulching your garden will help keep moisture in and weeds out. All of your plants will benefit from mulch, so don’t forget to include it in your garden. Straw, grass clippings, and wood chips can all make good mulch and sometimes you can even find free mulch too!

10.  Spend time in your garden each day.

Did you know I wrote my first book? You will love my new book – part homesteading tutorial and part cookbook. If you want to take the next step toward self-sufficiency, learn how to raise your own chickens for meat! Or if raising chickens for meat isn’t for you, you can also learn how to utilize the entire chicken in your kitchen to save you money and help your family be a little bit greener!

< Make sure you head out to your garden each day to check for bugs, weeds, and other problems. Tending a garden does take devoted time each day so make sure you're able to spend at least 10 - 30 minutes a day with your plants (depending on the size of your garden).

More awesome garden posts to check out!

5 Must Know Tips for Planting Tomato Seedlings

Tips for Planting Seedlings

How to Plant Potatoes – No Dig Method

Tips for Spring Garden Planning

Tips for Ordering Garden Seeds

How to Grow a 3 Sisters  Garden

Companion Plants You Must Have in Your Garden

My Favorite Garden Seed Organizer

If you want to start your first garden but aren't sure where to start, these tips for first time gardeners will be a big help. Growing a garden can be very rewarding, but there are a few things you should consider before you start.

Happy gardening, my friends! Make sure you check back each Tuesday for more gardening tips, tricks, and tutorials. If you liked this post on gardening tips and tricks to help your garden thrive, you may want to sign up for my weekly newsletter too!


How to Cook Perfect Dried Beans in the Instant Pot {Soaked or Unsoaked!}

The Instant Pot has been a real game changer for my family – especially its ability to quickly cook dried beans with no pre-soaking! If you want to learn how to cook all sorts of dried beans in a pressure cooker, this post is for you!

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot {Soaked or Unsoaked!}

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

Do you know how to cook Instant Pot Beans? Beans can be tricky in the Instant Pot. Sometimes it seems like they come out hard and undercooked and sometimes they are cracked and overcooked. Learn how to get perfect beans every time this post. It doesn’t matter if you cook soaked beans or un-soaked beans in the Instant Pot – learn the tricks to get them both just right! While both ways are totally doable with these useful tips, we prefer no pre-soaking of the beans!

One of the things I love the most about my Instant Pot is the ability to cook un-soaked dried beans relatively quickly. My Instant Pot has transformed the way I cook dried beans. I never remember to soak beans the night before and the ability to simply omit that step is so lovely!

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We eat a lot of beans here at SimplifyLiveLove. They are frugal and I always have them in my pantry. Our favorite types of beans to stock in the pantry are black or turtle beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. I buy them in bulk and store them in 5 gallon buckets. 

Keeping a stocked pantry helps me cook from scratch and having rice and dried beans on hands means we almost always have something to cook in a pinch. Curious what I always have on hand in my pantry to cook from scratch? Read this helpful post on pantry essentials and grab my free checklist so you can stock your pantry too!

Besides that, beans are quite healthy. They are a fabulous way to added necessary protein to your diet, they are high in amino acids, they are rich in polyphenols, and they are lower in calories and fat than other protein sources. Learn more about health properties of beans here.

What do we do with beans?

Like I said, beans are a staple at my house and I almost always have a container of cooked beans in my fridge ready for some purpose. I add them to taco meat to stretch the meat, they’re a staple in my kids’ favorite taco soup, and we make a lot of pinto beans for bean burritos, nachos, and more. We also often have rice and bean bowls with guacamole and all the fixins. We also use dried beans in the best chili ever – also made right in your instant pot!

how to cook unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

Time Chart for Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

I primarily cook three different types of beans: pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. But I have all types of beans in my pantry and so I’m sharing this handy chart of cooking times for nine different types of beans. Soak them, or don’t soak them. That’s your call. 

time chart for cooking dried beans in the instant pot (1)

Note: All times are in minutes. 🙂

How to choose a cooking time for unsoaked dried beans

How I choose a cooking time depends primarily on my end goal for the beans. If I plan to use the beans in another recipe, meaning they will continue cooking after I take them out of the Instant Pot, I will cook them for fewer minutes. 

For instance, if I’m using black beans in my taco meat, I’ll cook them for around 22 minutes instead of 27. But if I’m not putting them in another recipe, I will cook them for longer in the Instant Pot so they come out softer instead of al dente. I cook pinto beans for 28 minutes, for instance, instead of 25 if I’m making refried beans.

Water to Bean Ratio for Pressure Cooking Dried Beans 

The water to bean ratio for cooking dried beans in the instant pot is 4 cups water to 1 cup beans. One pound of dried beans is two cups, so you need 8 cups of water to cook one pound of dried beans in the pressure cooker.



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In addition to the beans, you’ll also need a good quality oil and salt as well. I prefer to cook with unrefined salt as regular ole table salt has been bleached and has a lot of additives that I’d rather avoid. My favorite type of salt is REAL Salt from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. I love its pretty colors and it has a nice taste and lots of healthy qualities too. There are so many different types of salt. We only use table salt for crafts.

how to cook soaked or unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

Some things to be careful about when cooking Instant Pot beans

Make sure you do not overfill your pressure cooker when cooking beans, or it will foam and boil over. While the oil helps reduce foaming, one pound of beans (2 cups) is the maximum you can cook in a 6 quart Instant Pot. I know, that saddens me too, but it’s not worth the mess to cook more. 🙁 Also, use high pressure and a natural release for best results.

That said, I cook 4 cups of beans successfully in my 8 qt. Pressure cooker. I highly recommend the 8 qt Instant Pot if you have a large family or like to cook a lot at a time.

Yield: 12 - 1/2 cup servings of cooked beans

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

how to cook soaked or unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

An easy way to cook dried beans in the instant pot. No pre-soaking required!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to instant pot.
  2. Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for the time specified in the chart.
  3. Use a natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes. You can naturally release the pressure longer if you want.
  4. Manually release pressure and enjoy.

Notes

If you have a larger instant pot, add 4 cups of water per 1 cup of dried beans.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 330mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information is not always correct.

And that’s it, my friends, how to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot! It’s totally worth the price of the Instant Pot to me, just for the ability to cook dried beans in a relatively short amount of time! Do you cook beans in your Instant Pot? I’d love to hear if you soak them, or skip it!

Want more easy Instant Pot Recipes? Here you go!

More Instant Pot Recipes You Will Love

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Let me help you Cook from Scratch! Get your free weekly meal plans by clicking here.

Here are the secrets to Instant Pot Beans. Cook dried beans, both soaked and unsoaked, with this handy time chart that will help you get perfect instant pot beans every time! #InstantPot #DriedBeans #InstantPotRecipes

 

Delicious Instant Pot Chili + 20 More Soup Recipes for Winter

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is nothing better on a cold winter night than a big bowl of hearty soup. If you’re looking for soup recipes for winter, you will love this Instant Pot Chili Recipe (made with dried beans and ZERO pre-soaking!) plus 20 more winter soups perfect for cold weather!!

instant pot chili recipe

Delicious Instant Pot Chili + 20 More Soup Recipes for Winter

I’m excited to team up with a great group of bloggers to bring you this first ever Houseful of Soups post! You will love the comfort foods so many amazing recipe creators are bringing you today. From hearty chili to chicken noodle soup, lentil soup, baked potato soup, French Onion Soup, and more: we’re covering all of your winter soup needs in one easy post.

First up, here is my delicious instant pot chili recipe made with dried beans, bacon, and hidden veggies. Cooked right in your instant pot without soaking the beans, you will love how easy it is to incorporate heart-healthy and frugal dried beans. I love that you can make this chili all in one pot with minimal mess and clean up!

instant pot chili

Let’s make this easy pressure cooker chili!

I think chili is one of the best soup recipes for winter! Is chili a soup though?? What do you think?

And instant pot recipes are my favorite because of quick cooking time and the easy clean up. Everything is made right in one pot which means fewer pots to scrub! This recipe is pretty versatile and I hope you love it. So let’s get cooking. 

Gather your supplies! It really is much easier if you get all the ingredients out and prepped ahead of time. I can tell you from experience that it takes forever if you’re cooking and chopping at the same time, while also hunting down the ingredients. 


Turn your instant pot on saute, gather and open cans, get out all the spices, chop your veggies, make sure the ground meat is thawed. 

Once your pressure cooker is hot, cook the bacon lardons until nice and crispy. It should take about 5-6 minutes. Remove bacon from pan, then add the chopped carrots and onions and cook right in the bacon grease. Cook them for several minutes until the carrots are soft and the onions are translucent and fragrant, then add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Remove the veggies from the pan and add the ground meat, cooking until completely browned.

put chili ingredients in instant pot

Next, add all remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get everything nicely mixed. Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on manual high for 45 minutes. Make sure the gasket on the lid is pushed back so it can seal properly. It will take the Instant Pot some time to get up to pressure, probably 10-15 minutes.

Once the cooking time is done, do a natural release of the pressure for 15 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure. I like the cover the gasket with a towel or washcloth so the steam doesn’t spew all over everywhere. Carefully open the lid, making sure to vent it away from you so the steam doesn’t hit your face. 

Stir the soup again and ladle into bowls. I like to serve chili with a variety of toppings like cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, sliced jalapeno, green onions, avocado etc. What toppings do you like on your chili? How about queso dip?

instant pot chili made with dried beans no soaking

A few notes about the chili ingredients. 

You can use any type of ground meat you like. We buy organic beef in bulk from a local farmer so that’s what I use most often. My mom makes delicious chili with venison that my father hunts and you can’t even tell that it’s venison. Ground turkey is also delicious in this chili, or you can mix and match any way you like!

One thing I love about my instant pot is that I can cook dried beans without soaking. Dried beans are staples in my pantry. I buy them in bulk (25lbs at a time) and always have them on hand. Using my instant pot, I can cook them quickly from scratch when I need them! Learn how easy it is to cook dried beans of all kinds without soaking in this post.

We like to add carrots because their sweetness is a nice contrast to the acidity of the tomatoes. I’ve found that adding carrots to tomato rich soups and sauces is a great way to sweeten without adding sugar.

Last year I learned from a very good cook that you can use ketchup instead of tomato paste! Let me way I was mind-blown! Now instead of buying little cans of tomato paste and having to deal with leftovers, I just use ketchup. My favorite ketchup is Vegetable Ketchup from True Made Foods. I tried it last year at Expo West and love that it uses veggies as a sweetener in place of the sugar!


20 + soup recipes for winter

Here are 20 More Soup Recipes for Winter!

I enjoy participating in Houseful of Soups blog hop and I know you’ll like all of these recipes. Make sure you head over to check them out and them to your dinner menus!

soup recipes for winter houseful of soups button

Here are a few more of my soup recipes too!

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Instant Pot Lasagna Soup

Creamy Chicken Stew – great for immune boosting

Effortless French Onion Soup from Scratch

chili made with dried beans

Yield: 8 servings

Delicious Instant Pot Chili Recipe {made with dried beans, no soaking required!)

instant pot chili made with dried beans no soaking

This delicious instant pot chili recipe is just what the cold winter weather ordered. Made with dried beans WITHOUT soaking, bacon, and a few hidden veggies, this chili is sure to be a hit with your family!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

    Turn instant pot on saute. Once it's hot, cook the bacon lardons until nice and crispy, about 5 minutes.

    Remove bacon from pan, then add the chopped carrots and onions and cook right in the bacon grease. Cook them for several minutes until the carrots are soft and the onions are translucent and fragrant, then add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

    Remove the veggies from the pan and add the ground meat, cooking until completely browned.

    Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.

    Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on manual high for 45 minutes.

    Make sure the gasket on the lid is pushed back so it can seal properly. It will take the Instant Pot some time to get up to pressure, probably 10-15 minutes.

    Naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure.

    I like the cover the gasket with a towel or washcloth so the steam is spewing all over everywhere.

    Carefully open the lid, making sure to vent it away from you so the steam doesn't hit your face. 

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 733Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 1608mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 13gSugar: 9gProtein: 56g

Nutritional data is not always correct.

So, what do you think? Which of these soup recipes for winter are you most excited to try? And does chili qualify as a soup or is it in a category all of its own?

chili with toppings

Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Mushrooms

If you’re looking for a way to eat more salmon, this cheesy salmon pasta with spinach and mushrooms is a delicious way to make that goal!

quick and easy salmon pasta recipe

Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Mushrooms & Spinach

I’m always looking for ways I can sneak in a bit of salmon to get my pickier eaters a serving of heart healthy omega three fatty acids. I like to find creative ways for everyone in my family of six to get more salmon without having to dish out $50 for dinner for us all. My family really enjoys this versatile salmon recipe, and yours will too! 

This Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Spinach & Mushrooms is a wonderfully delicious and frugal way to eat more salmon.

Not only is this pasta delicious, it also cooks up in a jiffy. Cooking salmon is actually really easy and this entire meal can be on the table in under 30 minutes.. So read on and be inspired to try something new tonight!

What’s the best type of salmon to use in this recipe?

I always recommend that you buy wild caught Alaska Sock-eye salmon whenever possible. It’s a little more expensive than farmed salmon, the health benefits are significantly better. Farmed salmon has much more fat that wild-caught salmon and it does not have the beneficial ratio between healthy Omega 3s and bad Omega 6s that are so good in wild-caught either. Read more about the differences here.

plated salmon pasta recipe


Sitka Salmon

I have found wild-caught salmon at both Costco and Aldi, I’ve bought it from Butcher Box, and most recently I was sent some Sitka Salmon to try out. Normally, I’m skeptical of the home delivery foods (I’m not sure why – we buy plenty from Amazon). But the Sitka Salmon was really nice. I appreciate the attention to the packaging too.

sitka salmon share

It included a recyclable plastic liner, compostable foam – just put it in your home compost and watch it disappear! If you don’t have a compost heap, simply dissolve the foam in water and you have a nutritious food to feed your plants! How awesome is that?

Additionally, the salmon is first rate. It’s wild-caught, just the way I like it. It’s traceable to fishermen who are paid an above average salary for their work, and the company purchases carbon offsets and promotes small-scale fisheries and conservation in Alaska too. Finally a salmon I can feel good about having shipped right to my door!

The good people at Sitka Salmon would like to give you $25 off one of their Premium Sitka Seafood Shares. Just click on my link and use SITKASOCIAL. This code is good through March 15, 2020 so don’t delay trying it out!

cook the veggies and the salmon

What type of vegetables can I use in this pasta?

That’s up to you! We really like the combo of spinach and mushrooms. If you don’t like mushrooms, feel free to leave them out. Broccoli and zucchini are also great in this delicious salmon pasta.

banza pasta

How about the pasta?

You can use whatever typs of past floats your boat. I like the organic pasta I buy at Costco, but if you’re gluten-free, Aldi has a great option for you. If you’re on a low-carb diet, I have an option for you too! We recently tried a high protein pasta made from chickpeas called Banza Pasta that is quite tasty too! It has 25 g of protein and 13 g of fiber per serving! 

delicious salmon pasta

How to Make Cheesy Salmon Pasta Recipe

Gather your ingredients, and boil a big pot of salted water for cooking your pasta. When the water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package instructions. I like my pasta a little al dente, so I don’t usually cook it as long as the package says. Drain, and reserve pasta for later.

While the pasta is cook, heat butter or oil over medium heat in a large pot. I love my 7 1/4  qt, oven proof Le Creuset Dutch Oven, by the way. It was expensive but worth every penny!

Once the butter is melted, salt and pepper salmon fillets, then cook skin side down for 3-4 minutes. Flip salmon and cook for 3-4 more minutes. The skin should be crispy and easy to peel off after you flip it, so peel that skin off. 

If you need another tablespoon of butter, or olive oil if you prefer, add it now. Then add diced onions and sliced mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook another 1 -2 minutes. Put the salmon back in the pot

Take off the skin from the salmon, and using your spatula, break it into small pieces. Also add spinach and mushrooms, cook for 2-3 minutes, until everything is cooked through. {By the way, I’ve found that by chopping my spinach up very small, I can claim it’s an herb, and my picky eaters don’t even notice it. If I didn’t have picky eaters, I would not chop it so small.}  By now, your pasta should be finished cooking and you can add it to the pot with the veggies and the salmon.

Reduce heat to low. Add two cups of shredded cheese and stir until melted. You should end up with an ooey-goey delightful pasta. Remove from heat and top with the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. 

Grab a fork and dig in! I think this dish is so tasty, I don’t even need to bother with a plate. 😉

Want the printable recipe? Here you go!

Yield: 6 servings

Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Mushrooms & Spinach

Cheesy Salmon Pasta with Mushrooms & Spinach

Quick and easy pasta recipe and a great way to stretch salmon so everyone in your family can have a serving without breaking the bank.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 12 ounces salmon {preferably wild caught from Alaska}
  • 2 tablespoons butter, split
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped small if you're feeding picky eaters
  • 6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese {I used a combo of French Comte & sharp white cheddar}
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat one tablespoon butter over medium heat in a pan big enough to accommodate the finished dish.
  3. Add the salmon skin side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Once flipped, remove the skin from the salmon and discard.
  4. Add another tablespoon butter if needed, then cook the onions and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to low, add the 2 cups shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.
  6. Remove from heat, add Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy!

    Notes

    I recommend wild-caught Alaska salmon in all my salmon recipes. Feel free to experiment with veggies based on your preference.

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    6

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 540Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 612mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 35g

    Nutritional data is not always correct.

    What’s your favorite way to eat salmon?

    salmon pasta with mushrooms and spinach

    If you’d like more salmon recipe inspiration, here you go!

    Salmon Street Tacos

    Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

    Creamy Salmon Pasta with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce

    10 Minute Greek Salmon Salad

    And don’t forget to save $25 on your first salmon order today!

    Fun, Affordable Family Skiing in Colorado at Sunlight Mountain Resort

    Located about three hours from Denver and just outside Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Sunlight Mountain Resort is our pick for most family friendly place to go skiing in Colorado. If you haven’t been there, here’s why you must go to Sunlight Mountain for you next ski vacation!

    Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs CO

    SimplifyLiveLove occasionally receives complementary products, hosted travel, and/or compensation related to the content shared here. This story may contain affiliate links which means we receive a small commission on your purchase.

    Last year, my family took an amazing spring break to Colorado. One of the best things we did on that trip was take our kids skiing as the guests of Sunlight Mountain. Not only were they able to take their first ski lesson, but we enjoyed exploring the mountain for three great days of skiing. Thank you to Sunlight Mountain for hosting my family. Almost a year later, the kids still talk fondly about their skiing adventures in Colorado.

    skiiing-at-Sunlight-Mountain-Resort.

    photo courtesy of Troy Hawks, Sunlight Mountain Resort

    Fun, Affordable Family Skiing in Colorado at Sunlight Mountain Resort

     

    At first glance, Sunlight Mountain might not seem like that much when compared to some of the mega resorts. With only three chair lifts, the resort is not ritzy when compared to the giant resorts in Colorado. But don’t let that stop you from exploring all it has to offer. Free parking, no waiting, small crowds, powder all day, and over 700 skiable acres are just a few of the reasons Sunlight Mountain is perfect for skiers and riders.

    ski swim stay sunlight mountain

    Affordable Family Skiing

    For about half the cost of other Colorado ski resorts, you don’t have to break the bank to take your kids on a family ski trip. With four kids, we’re always looking for ways to save when we take our kids on vacation. While we want to save money, we definitely don’t want to sacrifice fun. Luckily, you won’t have to sacrifice anything at Sunlight Mountain!!

    short lift lines at Sunlight Mountain

    Small Crowds & Short Lift Lines

    Crowded slopes and long lift lines are often the worst parts of skiing. And crowds with kids is just a real disaster as far as I’m concerned. It’s so much nicer when you don’t have to worry about people crashing into you, or your kids crashing into other people, or losing your kids in a crowd. Luckily, we didn’t have to worry about any of that, and if we had wait to wait more than two minutes for a lift at Sunlight, that was a long time!

    ski lessons at Sunlight

    Great Ski School For Kids and Adults

    I grew up skiing in Europe and when I was young, my parents enrolled me and my sister in week long ski lessons almost every time we went. Not only did they enroll us, but they took lessons as well. Lessons were pretty much the norm in Europe, but I don’t really see that same emphasis on lessons here in the States. 

    Personally, I think the best thing you can do for your kids (and even yourself) is take ski lessons whenever possible. I need to take some more myself.

    Since this was the first Colorado mountain experience for our kids, it was important to me that they have a lesson from someone other than myself. We enrolled each of our four kids in one lesson and they loved it. 

    My eldest daughter had a panic attack the first time she got off the lift and the instructor was not only able to get her down the mountain, but he also gave her the confidence she needed to go back up. I can’t wait to put them back in ski lessons! They really enjoyed the lesson and the confidence they gained from it.

    Sunlight Mountain Ski school offers one of the best values for first time skiers, called the Learn to Shine program. With 3 half day lessons, ski rental, and lift tickets –  plus you get an additional 5 full day lift ticket,once completed. For just $450 for the 2020 / 2021 ski season, this is a real steal!

    Mt Sopris from Sunlight Mountain Resort

    Runs for Advanced Skiers Too

    While Sunlight Mountain is a great resort for beginners, they also have a lot of slopes that more advanced skiers enjoy too. With 67 trails through 700 acres, there really is something there for everyone. And the views of Mt. Sopris and beyond are simply stunning!

    Glenwood Springs Hot Springs

    Ski, Swim, Stay Package Vacations

    The great thing about skiing at Sunlight is there is more than just skiing. Located Western  Colorado near the White River National Forest, Glenwood Springs is known for its amazing hot springs after all! Take advantage of Sunlight’s Children’s Center and snowmobile tours at Sunlight and so much more.

    Book a Ski, Swim, Stay vacation and enjoy everything that Glenwood Springs and Sunlight Mountain Resort have to offer! With beautiful hotel partners in Glenwood Springs, relaxing natural springs, lovely restaurants, local shops and more, your family will enjoy any vacation you book!

    Make sure to watch the progress of their East Ridge expansion project which will add a new lift and 100 acres of additional ski trails!

    Do you enjoy skiing in Colorado? Where have you been and what did you love??

    For more of our fun family adventures, check out these posts:

    Our Amazing Colorado Spring Break

    Fun Family Weekend in La Crosse, Wi

    Heidelberg Germany – my childhood home 

    Custer State Park, South Dakota

    Mother – Daughter Teen Vacation in Panama City Beach

    Family Fun at the Grove Resort Orlando