WHOLE HEART by Passion Music Review + Giveaway #PassionWholeHeart #FlyBy

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope everyone has a fun day celebrating love, whether it be with your spouse, family, friends or significant other.

I thought posting a review and giveaway for the WHOLE HEART album by Passion Music would be appropriate for today given the cover art and theme!  WHOLE HEART is the new live album that was recorded at the Passion Conference 2018 in Atlanta, GA.  This album features some well-known Christian artists:

01. Whole Heart (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
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02. Almighty God (feat. Sean Curran)
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03. God, You’re So Good (feat. Kristian Stanfill & Melodie Malone)
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04. Reckless Love (feat. Melodie Malone)
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05. Heaven (feat. Sean Curran)
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06. More Like Jesus (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
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07. Hallelujah, Our God Reigns (feat. Brett Younker)
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08. Ghost (feat. Crowder)
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09. Ever Almighty (feat. Melodie Malone)
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10. Great Are You Lord (feat. Matt Redman)
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11. All My Hope (feat. Crowder & Tauren Wells)

I was able to listen to the album in its entirety, and really enjoyed the “live” aspect of the album.  It makes for an immersive music experience.  Kristian Stanfill is one of my favorite worship leaders; his songs are powerful and heart-felt.  I also really like Matt Redman’s rendition of “Great Are You Lord” on this album.

You can listen to Passion music at http://capcmg.me/PassionSpotify 

Starting on February 23, you can buy the digital album release here: http://capcmg.me/PassionWholeHeart 

Enter my giveaway to receive the WHOLE HEART album CD!

 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Korean Winter Olympics Viewing Party

D can be kind of obsessive about the Olympics.  He memorizes medal counts and has been vigilantly tracking how many medals Russia has had taken away.  To celebrate the start of each Olympics, we try to have the food of the host country.  For example, see our celebration for London 2012Sochi 2014 was a little more difficult!

Korea was a fun challenge.  We were having our small group over on Friday night, so I made it into a Korean potluck and viewing party.  Two of our friends are Korean American, so we felt the pressure to keep it real–ha!

Our main dish was an attempt at bibimbap.  I just went to Zion Market and bought a bunch of bulgogi meat ($4.99/lb).  I cooked it in a wok and then kept it warm in a crockpot, which worked really well.  I added a little of the juice so it would not dry out.  Other guests brought the various toppings, including carrots, spinach, lettuce, and zucchini.  D fried up some eggs right before for the final touch.  We also topped it off with sesame oil and gochujang.

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Yum!  We also had homemade japchae (noodles) and pa jeon (scallion pancakes) from Trader Joe’s.  The pa jeon passed the test of our Korean American friends, in case you were wondering!

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We went simple with our viewing setup.  I really like Soohorang, the white tiger mascot this year!

I also set up a seaweed tasting bar with a new snack I found at ShiftCon called Sea Snax.

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I like the Onion Chomperz and the Lime flavored Sea Snax!

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Getting in the spirit!  Let’s go, U*S*A*!!

 

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An Efficient Way to Wash: LG TwinWash System

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

I find it amazing how much laundry our family must do every week.  I am looking forward to the day when my kids do their own laundry.  My mom gave me that responsibility between fifth and sixth grade, and I plan to do the same with our own kids.  For my daughter, that will be happening this year!

Recently, I gave my daughter a quick lesson on how to use our laundry machine and dryer.  One of the questions she asked was what to do with the knob that adjusts for load size.  I told her to just keep it at large or oversize.  In an effort to be energy efficient, we only do full loads of laundry in our house.

We inherited our washer and dryer with the house when we bought it in 2009 and it was several years old at that time.  I am sure we will be in the market for a new set in the near future!  There have been a lot of recent technological improvements to washers and dryers.  LG is at the forefront of such improvements.  For example, LG’s TwinWash system features a TurboWash 2.0 feature that saves up to 30 minutes on larger loads.  That in itself may be worth the investment!

The TwinWash system also allows you to wash smaller loads when necessary with the LG SideKick pedestal washer.  I can imagine that would be really handy when you just need to do a mini load.  For example, when my daughter or son has a basketball or soccer tournament, I just want to wash their uniform between games.  With LG’s TwinWash system, that would be easy to do without wasting energy!

From 1/11-4/25 receive up to $500 off a LG laundry solution for your home!

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ShiftCon Inspired Me To Make A Shift

Last week I had the privilege of attending ShiftCon 2018.  I volunteered during the conference in exchange for an Influencer ticket, and the experience was definitely worth it.  The conference itself took place Thursday morning to Saturday evening at Hotel Irvine.

I have passed by this hotel countless times, but had never been inside.  After spending three days here, it was starting to feel like my second home.  Attending this conference was so convenient since it is less than 15 minutes away.  However, other attendees came from Canada and the east coast, so it was a real getaway for them.

I am grateful to have been able to take off two days of work to attend, as well as have my parents watch the kids while I was away.  It felt good to have some individual time and just soak in a lot of information.  It would have been nice if I knew someone else there, as I was completely out of my comfort zone.  I am not good at small talk like D is, but I managed to make some connections.  Volunteering actually helped me in meeting people.

My first job was to hand out the swag bags on Thursday morning.  I was actually supposed to help stuff the swag bags earlier in the week, but they were already done by the time I arrived.  This was a fun job because who isn’t happy to receive swag?  I plan to do reviews of some of the products we received, so be on the lookout for that.

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Inspired to Live Greener

There were so many inspiring speakers during the mealtimes.  One highlight was Ed Begley Jr who gave a keynote address entitled “Heal the Planet”.

After listening to his speech, I concluded that he is a great example of a Hollywood actor who is also a true environmentalist.  It seems that these days, many celebrities tout environmentalist causes mainly for the attention it can provide.  This is not the case with Mr. Begley, who has been living “green” before it was trendy.  He was very encouraging in urging all of us to start small, by doing things such as changing to LED light bulbs.  He also is a confessed cheapskate, which resonated with me–ha!  Although there is some truth to the Whole Foods = Whole Paycheck joke, being green can actually save you a lot of money too.  This is something I always knew in the back of my head, but now I am intrigued and inspired.  I hope to share some of the tips I find in my journey to living greener in future blog posts as well!

Inspired to Eat Healthier

The food that was served at the meals was also inspiring.  In a room full of people with dietary restrictions, it was quite impressive that the food still tasted delicious.  The organizer of the event said that the kitchen staff felt quite challenged by all of the high standards that ShiftCon had regarding the food.  The food was organic, local wherever possible, humanely raised, non-GMO, gluten-free, you name it!  Part of me was wondering where are the dinner rolls, but I realized that I needed to “shift” that expectation too.

Loved these centerpieces!

Loved the presentation!

Inspired, I made this rice/quinoa/ground turkey bowl for dinner the other night with the help of Revolution Foods.  Surprisingly, n ate everything, including the quinoa and spinach.  This was proof to me that our family can eat healthier, and that I need to branch out more in our food choices.

This was a glimpse of the Expo time, where several brands introduced their products to the influencers.  I volunteered a little bit during this time too.

Inspired to Learn

I recently hung a children’s poster by our kids’ desks that says “Try Something Challenging Today”.  I really like this motto, as too often I become complacent because it is easier or I feel like I am too busy with other things.  Going to ShiftCon helped me realize some ways in which I can challenge myself.  During the speeches and workshops, I realized how much I have to learn about the environment, our health, the chemicals that surround us everyday and how they all interact.  (There was one workshop on curing children’s nut allergies that was really eye-opening!)  I loved hearing from brands that have challenged the way their products have traditionally been produced and have found a better way.  I was also impressed by the pro-bloggers and influencers who have built their own businesses and have used blogging as a platform for their message to the world.  I left challenged to continue to develop this blog, to overcome the learning curve and to not become discouraged by roadblocks.

Before I attended this conference, I was not really sure it would be for me.  I do not do yoga/meditation, nor am I vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free.  When another attendee mentioned thoracic chakra and tapping, I had no idea what she was talking about.  However, there was so much that did speak to me directly: the importance of living green for our own health, our children’s lives, and for the planet.

Thank you, ShiftCon, for letting me be a part of your community even though I have a long way to go in living green, and for inspiring me to take the next steps on my green journey.

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Book Review: Be The Hands And Feet

 

Before reading Be the Hands and Feet, I had heard about Nick Vujicic, but I did not know much about him.  Nick (after reading this book, you would feel comfortable calling him by his first name too, because he comes across as so personable!) was born without arms and legs.  However, he has not let his physical body limit him in any way.  He is an evangelist, motivational speaker, author, and the director of Life Without Limbs.   He travels around the world and has spoken to and touched the hearts of millions of people.  After reading his stories, and all that he has struggled through and accomplished, one would definitely call Nick “amazing”.  But, I bet that if you said that to him directly, he would quickly point to God as being the One who has allowed him to live such an amazing life.

This book is centered on a quote that is on the first page of the book: “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!” –Nick Vujicic.  This is so true.  We might think we have limitations that prevent us from sharing the Gospel with others, but God can empower anyone.  Nick’s unbridled love for God and others, as demonstrated throughout the stories in this book, is truly inspirational.  He lives in Southern California with his family now, so I am definitely going to be on the lookout for opportunities to hear him speak in person.

I was curious to learn more about Nick after reading this book, and discovered that he and his wife have twin girls that were born just last month (in addition to their older two sons)!  This was not mentioned in the book (probably due to the timing), but what an awesome blessing!

https://www.facebook.com/KanaeVujicic/posts/209695082925884

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Our 16 Hour Day @ Disney CA Adventure

I had been holding onto a Disney gift certificate that I won from last year, waiting for a good opportunity to use it.  I was waiting for Disney to announce their “deal” for Southern California residents that usually happens in the beginning of the year.  Meanwhile, D has been wanting to go to Disney California Adventure for a while so he could check it off the kids’ list.  k went when she was two years old, and n had never been before.  How sad that we live so close, yet hardly get to go since it is so expensive!  So, at last, Saturday was the day!

How is it possible that we spent sixteen hours, door to door at Disney California Adventure?  Well, I will tell you!  Since it was supposed to open at 8 a.m., we left a little after 7 a.m. to make sure we had enough time to park, go through security, and take the tram.  At least we did not have to buy tickets there since I had purchased them online the day before.

 

In the morning, when you first arrive, everyone is in a good mood and excited for the day.  Even the tram ride seems fun!

I am glad we had a cast member take this picture.  It is our only family shot of the whole day!

In the morning, we attempted to follow a touring plan that I had found online.

  • First, we grabbed our Fast Pass tickets for Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Then we rode Soarin’ Around the World.  The kids kind of knew what to expect since we did a similar ride last summer in Vancouver.

  • Next we grabbed our Fast Passes for the 9:45 showing of World of Color.
  • Then we went on ToyStory Mania!  After that we obtained Fast Passes for Radiator Springs Racers.

  • Then we rode the Guardians of the Galaxy, fka Tower of Terror.  After riding that one, I declared that “Once was enough for me!”, but D really liked it.  I think we had not really adequately prepared n and he was a little shell-shocked.

It does not look like we were having as much fun as everyone else–ha!

  • We went on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.  This was my first time seeing Cars Land, and it was pretty impressive!

  • Next we did Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.  I like the “dance” that the cars all do at the end.

I like noticing all of the Disney details, like the tire topiaries…

…and the Radiator Springs trash can.

  • We had a mid-morning snack at Cozy Cone Motel.

Bacon Mac & Cheese in a Bread Cone.  The bread was not that great; the concept was better than the execution.

  • We watched It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Finally it was time for our Fast Passes at Radiator Springs Racers.  This was my favorite ride of the day!  Definitely get a Fast Pass for this one, though.

The 3 + 3 rider configuration is a little awkward since you basically always end up sitting with single riders.  The cars are spacious though, so our personal bubbles stayed intact.

  • I really wanted to make the noon showing of Frozen at the Hyperion Theater.  I had to make a quick stop to grab more Fast Passes for Radiator Springs at night along the way.  We ended up power-walking and they almost shut the doors on D after the kids and I were already seated.  Luckily, they let him in and we were reunited.  The show was done really well and lasted longer than I thought–about an hour!  This was a good resting time for us.  It brought back memories of the theater production we saw onboard the Disney Wonder.
  • We ate lunch at Pacific Wharf Cafe.

Broccoli cheese soup and potato soup in a Boudin bread bowl and took it easy after our somewhat rushed morning.

  • We rode The Little Mermaid.
  • We went on Silly Symphony Swings.  This was n’s first time on a ride like this, and he liked it!
  • We watched Turtle Talk with Crush.
  • We waited in line for Monsters, Inc., but there were technical difficulties they stopped the ride and we left.

I know they are trying to make the park less California-specific, but I hope they keep this waterfall!

Both Grizzly River Run and California Screamin’ were closed that day.  We knew that beforehand, though, so it was not a major disappointment.  Check online before you go!

  • We went on Goofy’s Sky School.
  • We ate a corn dog from Corn Dog Castle.  Tip: ask to have the corndog by itself (it comes with apple slices or chips) and save $2!

  • We did a little window-shopping in Downtown Disney and ate at Earl of Sandwich.

  • We stopped by Starbucks for an Americano (mostly for D) and a Vanilla Steamer for k and n.  It is crazy how crowded all of the Starbucks locations are at Disneyland!
  • Cars Land takes on a whole new aura at night!

  • We used our second Fast Passes for Radiator Springs so we could ride it at night.  Our car ended up on the alternate track, so that was fun.

  • We rode on Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train just because we had time to kill before World of Color.
  • We went on Soarin’ Around the World One more time even though we did not have a Fast Pass.  The wait was about 35 minutes, which was our longest line of the day–not bad!
  • We queued up for World of Color around 8:45 even though the show was not set to start until 9:45.  I am not sure why there was not an earlier showing that night. At this point, D was wishing that he had brought a warmer jacket.  n was able to stay up and actually did not fall asleep.  We were able to find seats at the front of the first elevated section along the pier.

World of Color has been around for a while now, but this was our first time watching it.  The lights/water/fire effects were quite impressive, but I think Fantasmic! is still my favorite.

Of course, no amateur iphone pictures could do the show justice.  It is something that you just have to experience for yourself.  The show ended around 10:15.  By the time we left the park, took the tram, found our car and arrived home it was just after 11 p.m.  It was an exhausting, but fun day.  Now I need to plan our upcoming day at Disneyland!

 

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My Fantastic Glasstic Water Bottle + Giveaway

I received a Glasstic Water Bottle for free for review, but all opinions are my own.

Finding the perfect water bottle can be difficult.  In fact, I was just recently cleaning out my cupboards, and I found that I had over forty of them–no joke, k counted them!  We donated or threw out the vast majority of our water bottles because they were faulty in some way.  Some were not leak-proof, some were too wide, some were too heavy, some were too flimsy, etc.  Ironically, a few days later, I received a Glasstic water bottle in the mail to test out.  Well, I am happy to report that this one is a keeper and is now my favorite water bottle!

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The Glasstic water bottles are unique because they feature an inner glass wall and a protective outer shell made of plastic.  Get it, Glass + Plastic = Glasstic?  It has a lock to prevent spills, and the seal on the water bottle is truly leak-proof.  I once had a water bottle leak in my purse and ruin my camera, so I know the pain of a leaky water bottle.

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I like the size of this water bottle.  It fits nicely in our car cupholder.  The handle is also convenient.

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I brought it along to the gym and it fit perfectly in the elliptical machine cup holder.

One of my New Year resolutions is always to drink more water.  I have a feeling that my Glasstic water bottle will help me achieve my goal!

I am pleased to offer a giveaway for one of my readers to win a Glasstic water bottle in the color of your choice!

 

 

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Put On Your Gloves: Enter the Ring Review

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

D and I have been married for 13 years now.  We have been a couple for over 20 years…that is half of my lifetime, which is strange to think about.  Over the years, we have learned a lot about each other.  Yet, conflicts still arise and we still need God’s grace in our lives and relationship with each other everyday.

In the newly published book, Enter The Ring, D.A. & Elicia Horton, a husband and wife, write about how it is important to fight together for a “gospel-saturated marriage”.  D.A. Horton serves as a Pastor at Reach Fellowship, a church plant in North Long Beach.  I like how the Hortons are remarkably candid in sharing their relationship struggles, both past and present.  They do not claim to have the perfect marriage, but God’s work in their lives is plainly evident.  The book alternates between D.A. and Elicia’s voices, so the reader receives both a husband and a wife’s perspective.  Enter the Ring addresses practical topics such as communication, finances, and home life, all in a Biblical context with plenty of verses to back up their advice.  I would recommend this book to any couple, whether newly engaged or married for fifty years.  We all need to fight for our marriages in a world that is so eager to tell us it is easier to just give up.

 

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Pleasantly Surprised In Sedona

When I entered our Sedona hotel in the GPS from Slide Rock State Park, it said it was less than ten miles away, but that it would take about fifty minutes!  We thought “that can’t be right!”, but soon enough we found ourselves in a one way lane of crawling traffic.  We thought “there must be an accident”, but it turned out that it was just everyone trying to get away to Sedona on Friday afternoon of the New Year weekend.  We heard from some lifelong locals that the traffic in the past week had been the worst they had ever seen.  It seems that Sedona is experiencing some growing pains.

We had booked a night with the last of D’s Marriott points at the Courtyard by Marriott in Sedona.  This was one of the nicest Courtyards we have stayed at!

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I loved this room!  It felt so fresh and modern.  It made me want to put a mural in our house. 🙂

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This was the view from our balcony.

It was a good thing that we stayed here last.  If we had started out with this hotel, we would have been sorely disappointed by the others!

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This was the view from the rooftop lounge.

We ate dinner at Gerardo’s Italian Kitchen.

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This was basically our only “real” restaurant meal since that fateful night in Holbrook.  D and I shared the Liguria Pizza, which had White Sauce, Thinly Sliced Rosemary Potatoes/Crispy Prosciutto di Parma/Fossil Creek Goat Cheese/Mozzarella Cheese/Topped With Baby Arugula tossed in Lemon Oil.  Yes, it was delicious as it looks! k ordered kids’ pasta with Alfredo sauce and n ordered a kids’ pepperoni pizza and they shared.  The restaurant was pretty busy and the atmosphere was cozy.

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On our way out, wed tried a few of these Italian “cookies”, which were kind of like fried wonton strips dusted with powdered sugar.  Interesting.

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Back at the hotel room, the kids watched some television through our Hulu account.

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D took a dip in the heated pool.  Yes, he’s crazy.

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We awoke to a lovely sunrise.

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We took a little drive to downtown Sedona since we did not want to deal with the masses the day before.

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The shops on the main street were not open yet, but they looked cute.  It seemed like the Red Rocks provided a scenic backdrop wherever we went.  If Santa Fe was a bit of a disappointment, Sedona surpassed our expectations.

We saw a turquoise McDonald’s and had to do a double-take.

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For breakfast we stopped at Sedonuts.  Isn’t their logo ingenious?

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A sweet way to end our trip.  And no, we did not eat them all in one sitting.

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We Made it to Sedona: Slide Rock State Park

The ride from Santa Fe to Sedona was uneventful.  Our initial stop was Slide Rock State Park.  I had not really read up on this place, but I am glad we took the time to explore this gem.

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This was the view from the parking lot.  The entrance fee was $10, which is quite reasonable.  During the warmer months it is $20.  The park ranger kind of laughed when we asked for a map.  There is pretty much one main trail that leads to “Slide Rock”.

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The trail was about .5 miles long.  There were some historical artifacts along the way.

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This is the water “slide” that makes this park so popular.  It looks a lot more dangerous that I had pictured in my head!

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The park ranger said the water temperature was 37 degrees that day.

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Someone was crazy enough to jump in!

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He did not stay in for long!

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Does going down this slide not look super dangerous?  Apparently it is a really popular activity in the spring.  I wonder how many injuries occur??  I am kind of glad we visited in the winter because I know D would have been tempted to try it if it had been warmer.

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The area is so picturesque, though!

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Hey…we have a photobomber!

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Love the reflection in this picture.

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Slide Rock State Park is definitely worth a stop on your way to Sedona!

 

 

 

 

 

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