To Create Sunshine

Creating a lifestyle filled with health and happiness


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The Hills of Tapatio Springs

If you are a lover of rustic charm found in nature, the Texas Hill Country is the place to go.  A few years ago my brother-in-law and his lovely wife moved into the exquisite resort community of Tapatio Springs.  This was a double blessing for my husband and me because not only do we get to visit with them more often, it gives us more opportunity to explore one of our favorite regions in Texas.

Tapatio Springs hosts the perfect mix of Texas nature with deluxe resort.  This awe inspiring golfing community is nestled in the heart of the hill country, just outside the charming town of Boerne.  I have to tell you the brief ten minute drive on Johns Road from I-10 to get to Tapatio Springs is just as sweet and charming as the lovely community itself.  Once you exit I-10, the road twists and winds through the rustic and hilly countryside that gives the area it’s name.  As you drive be sure to keep your eyes open for deer, sheep, goats and various other wildlife you might see as you drive.

As you take one last turn around the bend at the top of the hill you get your first breathtaking view of Tapatio Springs. The resort was bought several years ago by the country/western singer George Strait and a group of investors and they have been making improvements to the resort ever since.  The 18 hole golf course has recently been renovated by architect Tripp Davis and Associates and features an amazing panoramic view of the rolling Texas hills that surround the golf course.

I’m honestly not much of a golfer, but I do enjoy riding in the cart and taking in the beauty of the surroundings. I also enjoy photography so this seemed the perfect opportunity to practice my amateur photography skills while Dear Husband practiced his amateur golfing skills.

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As you tour the golf course, you get an amazing view of not only some of the highest hills of the area, but also some of the beautiful homes surrounding the golf course.

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The 18 hole golf course offers a spectacular venue and is filled with auspicious live oak trees, rolling terrain and abundant with water features.  This serene Hill Country Resort offers both a photographers and a golfers delight!

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As always, when it’s time to pack up and return to our busy lives in the city, I’m thankful for the opportunity to have spent some relaxed time in the serene beauty of the Texas Hill Country!

Until Next Time – xxoo- Gerri


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Gratitude for the Beauty of Nature

After an amazing week in Colorado enjoying the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains, I would be remiss in not expressing my gratitude for the beauty of the world that we are surrounded by.

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Nature is truly one of our greatest gifts and patiently waits upon us to step outside and experience all that she has to offer us.  Spending time in nature often reduces anxiety and stress.  Sharing gratitude for nature cam replace those feelings of anxiety with calm, peace, and serenity.  Perhaps some of us should try this technique for relieving stress!

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The amazing thing is that you don’t have to venture to the glorious peaks of the Rocky Mountains to enjoy the beauty of nature.  Natures beauty can be enjoyed by simply opening the door and stepping outside.  Take a deep breath.  Stop for a moment and listen to the sounds of nature.  What do you hear? Hopefully the wind rustling the leaves on the trees.  Maybe birds chirping.  Enjoying nature can provide some very positive effects for us.  Taking a moment to express gratitude for nature benefits our bodies and our minds.

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Whenever the world gets me down. I retreat to a green space to nurture myself back to the peaceful place where I long for my mind to stay.  Being outside not only offers me peace and serenity from a hectic world, it restores my zest for life.  After a time outside,  I’m renewed and ready to move on and face whatever challenges lie ahead.

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I can’t always get out of the city, but I am fortunate to live in an area where I take a walk, go to a park, or simply retreat to my own backyard where I can spend time relaxing and enjoy watching the tall pines swaying in the breeze.

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If the world is getting you down today, try to take some time and step outside for a moment to express your gratitude for the wonders of nature!

I promise you will feel so much better! xxoo Gerri

                   “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand                                 everything better.” – Albert Einstein


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Estes Park Beauty

After being home in Cypress for two weeks, I am still reveling in the delight and memory of our Rocky Mountain getaway.  Today I am sharing photos with you from the town of Estes Park.

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Estes Park is nestled at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park and is surrounded by the most auspicious views everywhere you turn.  Mountain Peaks rising around you range in height from 8500 feet to 14,000 feet.  Mix this backdrop with the beauty of changing fall colors and you have a recipe for beauty that is hard to beat.  The town hosts numerous cabins, condos and hotels all sharing amazing views of the glorious Rocky Mountains.

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Estes Park offers an abundance of shops, galleries, boutiques and restaurants to enjoy during your visit.  Main Street has a small town atmosphere where you can enjoy the beauty of the Riverwalk while browsing the many shops and local artists galleries. You can even throw a line in and try your hand at fly fishing.

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One of our favorite dining spots while visiting Estes Park was Ed’s Cantina and Grill. Although we had a bit of a wait ( they do take reservations ) the food did not disappoint. The menu is diverse and flavorful with plenty of fresh ingredients featuring items such as Squash Stuffed Poblano Chile and Bison Tacos. My personal favorites included the Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas and the Veggie Taco Salad. The diversity of the menu satisfied both the vegans and carnivores traveling in our group.

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When you step outside the backdoor of Ed’s Cantina, you are greeted by the surprising beauty of the riverwalk that meanders through the town.   Here you can enjoy a stroll or simply sit and take in the peaceful beauty of the river.  Many restaurants offer outdoor seating to take in the glory while you dine.

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I have been fortunate to visit the wonders of Colorado a few times.  Each time it has left me in a state of awe and wonder at it’s incredible beauty.  There is so much more to see and experience in this great state that I look forward to hopefully many more trips!

Hope you are enjoying the beauty that surrounds you                                     where ever you may be today!

xxoo  Gerri

 


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Rocky Mountain High!

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As an elementary art teacher, I rarely have the opportunity to travel in the fall. But when our dear friend’s daughter announced her wedding would be in Estes Park, Colorado, my husband and I jumped at the chance to share their special day and to visit beautiful Colorado in the fall!

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From the moment we headed north on Highway 25 from Denver to Estes Park, the astounding beauty of Colorado  began to fill my soul with a peace and serenity that is often difficult to find.  The beauty of the fall colors mixed with the Rocky Mountain backdrop was everything and more that I had hoped to see.

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Our friends recently bought an amazing cabin ( really it’s a beautiful home ) just at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park.  The views from their back porch are simply stunning!

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The first morning after our arrival we were awoken by the sound of bugling by the “Great Prince” elk as he kept his “harem” together.   Imagine walking onto your back porch to find some 50 odd elk passing by about 50 feet away.

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My husband took this photo of a “Great Prince” elk in town.  October is rutting season for elks.  The male elk ( or as we like to call him the “Great Prince” ) gathers as many female elks as possible into his “harem”.  The “Great Prince” is clearly in command and does not easily welcome any “competitors” near his “harem.”

Before the wedding, we had a day to explore Rocky Mountain National Park! The only word I know to describe the views is breathtaking!  I have had the good fortune to visit this incredible place before and I promise it never disappoints.

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Travel Tip:  October is an incredible time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. The air is crisp and the birch trees are turning a beautiful yellow gold.  It’s hard to miss the harems of elk as they travel into town and inhabit the local golf course.  The crowds of summer have begun to thin, but there are still many visitors to the park on the weekend.  We arrived on a Tuesday and were able to take advantage of the park before the many weekend visitors.  The weather was cold the day of our arrival, so pack you jacket,  but warmed up to a very pleasant 70 degrees over

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 Many happy travels to you!  Gerri xxoo


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How to Build a Raised Bed for Your Garden – part 2

 

I am so excited that we have completed our garden and I wanted to share with you the final steps!  This really has been a relatively simple project.   This is really easy for me to say since my husband did most of the work.  However, the time involved in this project was only a few hours.  This could have been done in a day.  We broke it into to two separate afternoons simply for our own convenience.

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Step 2 really just includes laying the ground cover, adding the soil, and the exciting part is adding the plants!

For our ground cover, we chose Vigoro Weed Block Fabric from Home Depot.  We simply covered the ground with this fabric and stapled it to the sides of the cedar boards.

Then came the mulch.  We used an inexpensive mix of topsoil and composted manure to layer the ground.  For our top layer of soil we used 6 bags of Kellogg Raised Bed and Potting Mix.                                                                                                                                                                                                      image

The best part was adding the plants.  After some research about the best place to purchase vegetable plants, we headed off to a lovely little nursery near us called Plants for all Seasons.  I seriously could spend all day in this place wandering around and exploring the wide variety of goodies for your garden.  As usual, my husband attempted to keep me on task.

One of the main things we wanted in our garden are tomatoes.  We decided on Celebrity Tomatoes because they are the best selling tomato.  We also purchased summer squash, basil, rosemary, and oregano.  We wanted to plant some seeds as well, so we purchased Kentucky Wonder Green Beans, and cucumbers.

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We actually finished planting a couple of weeks ago, but as to frequently happens, life gets busy and keeps me away from posting. I am amazed how much the plants have grown and the seedlings that we planted are already popping up!

I will definitely keep you posted on the progress of our little garden.  Hopefully, we will be slicing up fresh tomatoes and cooking summer squash for dinner in no time!

                                                                                                        xxoo Gerri


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Something About Nature

Do you ever have one of those days where you  just feel out of sync with the world?  Maybe you’re feeling overly stressed, anxious or depressed.    To improve your outlook on life try stepping away from your troubles for a while and spend some time communing with nature.  Even a brief amount of time spent in the great outdoors can improve your outlook on life.  A few minutes enjoying a quick walk outside can help fight off feelings of stress, anxiety, depression and a myriad of other health disorders.  A quick break taking in nature’s beauty can lift your mood and even improve self-esteem.

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Many studies suggest that even a short amount of time spent outdoors can improve your outlook on life and assist in fighting off feelings of stress, anxiety, depression and a myriad of other health disorders.  Nature has a healing effect on our minds.  Spending time in nature can assist us to battle mental fatigue and other stress related disorders.   Communing with nature improves our cognitive function which restores the mind’s ability to focus allowing us to think more clearly.  Time spent on a nature walk  provides peace of mind giving us a happier, healthier outlook on life.

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Why does nature offer such a calming effect?  Nature offers a pleasing environment that reverses the effects that create anxiety.  Exposure to nature can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.  This allows our bodies to relax and our minds to return to a more positive mood.

So if your feeling blue today try getting up off that sofa, putting down that T.V. remote, or pushing away from the keyboard.  Step outside, breathe the fresh air and gaze upon the natural beauty of flower and tree.  Take a few minutes to survey the beauty of nature and see if it helps to lighten your mood!

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“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”  – Frank Lloyd Wright

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