Dinosaur Rock – Lebanon County PA

Today was beautiful. The morning air started out cool and crisp and the sun peeked out occasionally from behind rain-free clouds. After some yard sales, we went off to visit Dinosaur Rock. There is a gravel parking lot across the main road from the trail entrance. The road tends to have cars flying up and down, please use caution when crossing. There are no bathrooms.

The trail from the road to the dinosaur rocks isn’t long at all and could be a quick stop on your travels for the day. It is very sad that the rocks have been defaced with graffiti, but looking past that, it truly is amazing to see.

Since we enjoy the hiking part, we ventured beyond the rocks and onto a trail. I’m not sure the trail is intentional, but it seemed as though it had been traveled before, so we gave it a try. It hasn’t been recently traveled, as apparent by the number of spiders I walked into. After a while, I used my walking stick to clear the path of webs for me.

Under the canopy of trees, we didn’t require sunglasses and were able to take in the view. It is easy to get lost gazing among the trees, but the constant heartbeat of the neighboring turnpike kept us grounded in reality.

The trail became quite narrow in some places and very muddy in areas that once appeared to be streams. One such area, did have a tiny flow of water. There were many downed trees, some more recently fallen than others. We climbed over and under until we ran into a nest of trees that wouldn’t have been easy to navigate. At that point we turned around.

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Henry David Thoreau – Walden

Recently I have been reading Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. It is definitely an interesting read. At moments I feel Thoreau is a little self-important and in others I feel he is brilliant. The book recounts his experience on Walden pond, living in a tiny cabin which he built himself. It was an experience he lived for two years. I have yet to read his other works, but most of them are free on amazon and that is why I am sharing this post. If you own a kindle or other device, or even just a computer, you can download a Free Kindle Apps to read some great works for free! Here are some I wanted to share with my readers…

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Money Rocks County Park – Narvon PA

Yesterday, after weeks of not hiking due to health issues, I told the family we were going on a trip. I didn’t have a particular destination in mind, but was ready to be outdoors and hiking. After some driving, we decided to revisit Money Rocks County Park. It had been probably 7 or 8 months since we last went. As the name implies, the trail is rocky! Wear good hiking shoes and take along a walking stick. There are no bathrooms, but there is a nice parking lot (a short drive away is Shady Maple, which has nice bathrooms and plenty of food!). For those that Geocache, there are three caches in this park, we found two yesterday.

There are two marked trails, Overlook Trail and Cockscomb Trail. We explored the Overlook Trail this visit. Like I said it is a very rocky trail, but beautiful! The times we have gone it hasn’t been crowded. There are many beautiful spots to take pictures. One amazing location is the line of boulders. There is a guide rail in one section, but beyond that there are no safety features, so please use extreme caution, especially if taking children. I don’t recommend taking younger children. Sadly, some of the beautiful boulders have been painted with graffiti.

Getting across the boulders to the other side of the trail wasn’t easy! We went behind the boulders instead of over them, but we still found this portion of the trail very challenging. The hike out to the boulders was definitely worth it.

This was the first time I had Bruce, my gnome walking stick, with me and it worked great having it, especially on this rocky trail. My husband used his walking stick when we were doing steep declines.

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It’s a storm!

Tonight we are experiencing some impressive thunderstorms. Took this picture of the amazing sky.

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BH Carvings – Hand Carved Walking Sticks, Canes, Flutes, Necklaces and more!

As most of my readers know, I LOVE hand-made things. Especially when it is made from wood! Today I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce. Bruce makes beautiful hand craved pieces and sells them out front of his home south of Lancaster, PA.

My husband and I started hiking last year and for months we have been looking for the perfect walking stick. We often need something for balance or in my case, something to have between me and a snake :) so we traveled to see Bruce’s works of art. Bruce and I have been emailing back and forth. I asked him if he took special requests, but because of his health he doesn’t, which I totally understand. But being a very generous, kind person, Bruce emailed me back and told me that he would try to turn the staff he was working on into a gnome. Today I received an email with a picture and I knew the second I saw he was wearing green, it was meant to be my walking stick!

BH Carvings - Bruce Gnome - Mysimplewalk.com

In honor of his creator, I have decided to name the gnome, Bruce.

My husband also found a walking stick that he liked. He liked it because of the unusual pattern on the bottom.

BH Carvings - walking stick - mysimplewalk.com
BH Carvings Walking Sticks

There was also another walking stick that caught my eye that said “Cabin Fever”, there was also one with a wolf, and many many others to choose from!

Bruce also makes the most beautiful flutes! They are priced individually. His walking sticks run between $15 and $20, which considering the hard work and the beautiful end result, is quite a deal and worth the drive! He also has necklaces for $5 each and letter openers, but I don’t recall the price. You can find him on the Lancaster PA craigslist by searching “BH Carvings”.

Here is just one of the necklaces that Bruce has made.

Hand carved necklace - BH Carvings - mysimplewalk.com

If you travel further down the street that Bruce lives off of there are at least 3 wonderful hiking trails so you can make a day of your trip there! One we went on not that long ago, I will work on a post with pictures of that trail. Hope you get a chance to meet Bruce and pick out your own hiking staff!

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Chemical Free Strawberries… it IS possible!

Maybe you have heard of them… The Dirty Dozen… it’s a list put out by the Environmental Working Group of the most chemically contaminated produce.

The list starts with apples, which I love, and then continues with strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap-peas, potatoes, hot peppers, and ends with kale.

A few years ago, I watched a man spray his strawberry field. He has one of those “pick yourself” places. I watched as he was dressed in what looked like an outfit to probe an alien in, covered completely from head to toe and then proceeded to spray the strawberry fields, where in just a few weeks small children, along with their parents, would pick strawberries, without any protection at all.

The same year I started my own strawberry patch. It consists of two boxes. One that is 6′ by 10′ and a smaller one that sits inside, allowing it to be two levels. Last year I had some strawberries, but this year, the crop is amazing and all without chemicals. I know I have been blessed with few issues. I do have bunnies and birds, but for the most part we have been able to share the strawberries without much issue.

What I did to start? Build large deep boxes so that all the strawberry roots where contained in the organic soil. The first year I planted the strawberries and kept them watered daily, this year I have allowed God to water them when He sees fit with rain. Half of my original strawberries were started from seed and the other half were purchased from a lady that lives about an hour from me. This year I added more plants and varieties through a friend whose daughter is doing a 4-H project. If your children have the option to do 4-H and grow a strawberry patch, the book they use is very informative! Lastly, I have a guard cat. He sits in the strawberry patch and keeps bunnies and birds away. The rest is just God growing His crop.

How do you like your strawberries?

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Governor Dick Nature Park

This weekend we found an awesome collection of hiking trails. Park at Governor Dick is 1105 acres of forest and 15 miles of trails located in Mt. Gretna PA. When you pull into the main entrance you arrive in a parking lot next to the Environmental Center.

The Environmental Center has very clean bathrooms, a guest book to sign up for their newsletter, educational posters, hands-on activities, and a really cool living bee hive where you can watch the bees at work. You can also view the trail map or purchase one for 25 cents or simply print one off before you leave home.

There are many different trails. One had some educational features along the path.


The rocks, trees, and views were amazing!

I would like to introduce you to “Not a Stick”…

Not a Stick’s tail

Definitely Not a Stick

We had a great time and can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

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Cabin Home Decoration

We don’t have our log cabin home yet, but it is our dream! Just a small log cabin in the woods, where we can live a simple life and enjoy time together. In the meantime, I have made our little bedroom into what I envision a cabin room looking like. It is coming together in pieces, but I’m thrilled with how it is looking so far.

My collection includes some pieces by very talented artists. I wanted to share with you where I found some of them…


A and C were done by an artist on Etsy. The shop is currently empty, but be sure to check back often! The frames are from Target (looking at their site, they no longer carry them)

B is a punch needle cabin that I designed and sell on Craftsy.

D is a tree made from a white cedar log and carved using a chain saw. Mike Sullivan is the artist who created it. He sells his creations outside of Cabela’s in Hamburg, PA.

E is a tree that was made from a cherry tree. It is made by a local artist, who has since stopped making these trees. I love supporting local artists and collecting trees!

A is a quilt design I created. There is a larger Moose, done in the same pattern for sale on Ebay.

B was created by my younger daughter. She loves to paint and draw. She has done a few paintings for me. Soon she will have her designs for sale on Ebay.

C is a Moose from TY Beanie. We picked him up in NH when we were there years and years ago.

D is a cross stitch design by …. nuts…. I don’t have the pattern and searching it has turned up nothing. I will continue to look and find the pattern. I’m guessing by now it is out of print, which is why I’m having trouble locating it online.

The quilt rack I picked up at a yard sale for a dollar or two. The two beautiful quilts were made for us by Mama D. The one hanging is Hubby’s and the one on the bed in mine.

What kinds of things do you picture in a cabin?

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Happy Mother’s Day!

I have been a mother for over 18 years now. Next month, I will be a grandmother too. My older daughter is celebrating her first mother’s day with her boyfriend, but will be spending tomorrow celebrating with me. Today my husband, younger daughter, and I went for a 2 mile walk on a local trail. We did some geocaching along the way. The weather is just beautiful today and there was a lovely breeze blowing. Here are some pictures from our day. Hope you had a beautiful mother’s day!

Mother's Day 2014 - mysimplewalk.com

Mother's Day 2014 - mysimplewalk.com

Mother's Day 2014 - mysimplewalk.com

Mother's Day 2014 - Mysimplewalk.com

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Budgeting Envelopes, Budget Planning and more!

I always thought I was pretty good at creating a budget, but really didn’t know what I was doing until after reading Dave Ramsey‘s “Total Money Makeover”. It all started when a co-worker of Hubby’s lent him the book. The next morning I woke up to find our credit cards on the counter with scissors on top of them. We never really carried a balance and just had them for “emergencies”, so I tried to talk some sense into Hubby, who just kept telling me to read the book. I said I would read the book, if he waited until after I was done to cut up the credit cards. It is now 4 months later and our lives are completely different.

Shortly after reading the book, we paid off the balances on the cards and Hubby came up with a creative way to get rid of them (I will have a video on that soon to share). We also created a very elaborate budget after someone (we don’t know who, but we honestly can’t thank them enough) sent us Dave Ramsey’s Starter Special. It came with everything we needed to start our budget, our envelopes, and the baby steps.

If you have never read one of Dave Ramsey’s book, I highly recommend “The Total Money Makeover”. If you are like us and enjoy listening in the car, we all (our younger daughter included) really enjoyed his “13-Lesson Audio CD Library”, which included some lessons from the Financial Peace University.

If nothing else the program gave us hope. Hope that one day we will be debt free (our remaining debt is all medical and the house) and be able to have our dream of a cabin in the woods. Yes we have challenges, like my Hubby’s kidney failure, but we can do it. It will take many years and hard work, but it is possible to have our dream. We can’t thank Dave Ramsey enough for that hope.

One of the best parts of Dave Ramsey’s program is the ever-so-simple envelope system. It has been around long before Dave Ramsey, but his program teachs you how to use the envelopes and how to make the system (and your money) work for you. Dave Ramsey sells cases and envelopes on his site. We use one of his cases and his envelopes and then we also have created two additional cases and envelopes to use for other things.

We have envelopes for the following things…
Family Activities
Home Improvement
Car Repairs
Household Items

Then we have “cards” where we keep track of what each dollar in our bank account is for. They include…
Debit Bills (these are bills that you pay from your bank account, we have some of these listed individually)
SWT (Sewer, water, and trash bills)
God (this is for donations and tithing)

How to make your own budgeting envelopes - mysimplewalk.com

I created a template so I can easily print out and create my own envelopes that fit into my accordion carrier. I like to print these out on colorful cardstock. Budget Envelope System Template.

Please watch my video on how to assemble the envelopes.

How to fill in the envelopes

You start by adding money. The first entry should be the date, where the money came from (for example pay check), the amount with the $ in front and then in the balance write what is in the envelope. Then you can start spending. Below is an example of what to write on the envelope when you spend money. Use the $ when adding money and the < sign when you are subtracting money from the envelope.

how to fill in the envelopes - mysimplewalk.com

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