Archive for the ‘Mystery Mondays’ Category

Mystery Monday: Funny Campfire Story

Molly Turner’s Dead

Grey Cat
An old man was walking home by the light of the moon when he was a bunch of black cats in the road. He looked to see what they were doing and saw that there were nine black cats carrying a little dead cat on a stretcher. A bit unnerved, he continued on.

Just then, one of the cats called out to the old man: “Old man! Please tell Aunt Dee that Molly Turner’s dead!”

The old man didn’t answer, he just walked a bit faster. He wanted to get far away from the nine cats and back to his own little house.

Just then, another of the cats cried out, “Old man! Please tell Aunt Dee that Molly Turner’s dead!”

He started walking even faster, wanting to leave the cats behind, when he heard all the cats yell, “Old man! Please tell Aunt Dee that Molly Turner’s dead!”

The old man broke into a run, and ran and ran until he was safe inside his own house. He didn’t want to tell his wife what had him all worried and why he kept looking out the windows, expecting to see nine black cats carrying a little dead cat on a stretcher.

Finally, his wife demanded that he tell her what was bothering him. “Well, wife,” he said, “I guess I’ll tell you something I didn’t plan on saying.”

When he said that, his old grey cat got up from the run by the fire and sat down right at his feet, looking up at him.

“Well, what is it?” His wife asked. “I know there’s something bothering you!”

He said, “When I was walking home tonight, I saw the most unusual sight. There were a bunch of black cats in the road. When I went over and looked, there were nine black cats carrying a little dead cat on a stretcher.  And then the cats told me three times to tell Aunt Dee that Molly Turner’s dead.”

When he said that, the old grey cat jumped up and said, “Is she? By God, I must go to the burying,” and out the door she flew.


This story and 14 others will be published in “Scary & Silly Campfire Stories: Volume 3” You can find volumes 1 and 2 available now for Kindle and Nook.

Mystery Monday: Foil Hat, Solar Eclipse, & a Mountain

People all over the world enjoyed the “Ring of Fire” eclipse yesterday, including me! ESP Boss & I were hurrying home from the Overland Expo in time to watch the eclipse with my mom.

And while we missed the exact peak of the event, AND were too far south to fully experience the “ring of fire” the whole thing was incredibly dramatic.

Tin Foil Hat

Because how can you watch an eclipse without a foil hat?


Watching the eclipse

Notice the hat hair, sun burned nose, and grimy tee? It was all worth it! (And I love how my camera made shadows across my face; totally real-life.)

We had been given special glasses to watch the eclipse with while we were at the Expo. The most dramatic part: seeing a partially eclipsed sun set behind Mary’s Mesa.


I don't have the right filter for my camera so I created this image to show what it looked like.

It’s always been on my list to see a total solar eclipse. I think this might be even better!

Readers Weigh In:

  • Did you get to see the eclipse at all? What did you think?


BS Club Camping Trip

I live in a little subdivision. Little houses on little streets. And on my street, there are EIGHT single ladies. Three years ago, we banded together to form the “BS Club” (a play on words for the name of our subdivision.)

Once a month, we gather at someone’s house for dinner, talking, and plenty of vodka-laced punch. Then, being the responsible adults that we are, we walk home.

In May, however, we broke from tradition and took our dinner club show on the road. We spend a weekend at Lolomai Campground.

Here are a few pics of the trip. And expect to see future posts with a couple of tips and some fabulous recipes!


Mystery Monday: Kindle eBooks

Tax season is OVER for a whole ‘nother year. Yay! I swear, I think this season was the longest I’ve faced yet (and I’ve been doing taxes for nine years now.)

Way back in February, I was able to finally get some eBooks up for Amazon’s Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle yet, don’t worry, you can read any of these in one of Amazon’s many apps. But I still think you should get a Kindle

Campfire Story Books

Scary & Silly Campfire Stories: Fifteen Tales For Shivers and Giggles

Campfire Stories Vol 1
Are you looking for a great story to tell around the campfire? Well then this is the book for you. In “Silly & Scary Campfire Stories: Fifteen Tales For Shivers and Giggles” you’ll not only get spooky campfire stories but a you’ll also get seven stories that are happy, funny, or just plain silly.

Scary & Silly Campfire Stories: Fifteen Spooky and Silly Tales

Stories Vol 2

Volume 2 of the Scary & Silly Campfire Stories series. In this volume, there are seven spooky stories and eight sill stories. Also includes a special bonus article: “7 Tips For Telling Scary Stories”

Camping Cookbooks

Easy Camping Recipes from The Outdoor Princess: 33 Simple Camping Recipes

Are you looking for the best recipes for camping? Then “Easy Camping Recipes from The Outdoor Princess” has exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll find easy camping recipes that anyone can make. There are over 30 recipes covering main dishes, snacks & sides, breakfast camping recipes, drinks and of course, camping dessert recipes!

Featuring the recipe for “Barbeque Plums”

The Outdoor Princess Camping Cookbook: 30+ Fast & Easy Recipes for Cooking Outside

In this cookbook you’ll find everything from Breakfasts to Desserts, Sides & Snacks to Drinks, and of course a large selection of Main Dishes. As a special bonus, this ebook also includes the tips: 7 Camp Clean Up Tips, How To Camp-Cook With Unusual Ingredients, Five Ice Chest Tips, and The Perfect S’mores Technique.

33 Great Camping Recipes: Simple, Fun, Easy & Fast!

There are 33 recipes covering main dishes, snacks & sides, drinks and of course, camping dessert recipes! You know me: everything is easy & yummy. “33 Great Camping Recipes” also features the recipe Watermelon Martinis.

So, take a look, buy a book or three…

(And, as always, those are affiliate links!)

Mystery Monday: Nature Drawing

One of my favorite pastimes when I’m in camp or at the lake is to sit and sketch. I did take a lot of art in school but I’m far form a professional artist by any means. I just have always enjoyed drawing!

Sketch 1

Pencil and watercolors

Sketching is a low-cost hobby, it’s highly portable and people think you’re totally cool. When Jessica and I stopped in Jerome the last time, we literally sat on the roadside and drew buildings. I think we had three different groups of people stop by to tell us that they thought it was totally cool we were sketching and to express the wish that they had artistic ability.

Jessica Sketching

She's leaning against a traffic barrier!

And I’m here to tell you: talent has NOTHING to do with nature drawing!

Because the act of sketching is a lot like fishing: you do it to enjoy the process, not to guarantee you have dinner!

Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1. Gather your supplies

Personally, I use a Mead Academie Wirebound Sketch Book. It is spiral bound but has perforated edges, is inexpensive and the paper holds up even to water colors. And as for supplies, frankly, I think Crayola does a GREAT job. I recommend getting colored pencils and water color paints to start out with and then move on to chalk or oil pastels. You can get really brave and get water-soluble colored pencils or oil pastels.

drawing supplies

Sketchbook, pencils (colored and just grey), a pencil sharpener and a good eraser are enough to get me started.

2. Find something to draw

This can be as complex as a landscape or as simple as a flower. Spend some time really LOOKING at your subject. If you were going to just draw an outline, what would it look like? What colors are there?

3. Always use a blank sheet

It’s terrible to have a really great sketch sharing the page with something that can only be called a doodle at best. I also recommend starting as close to the middle of the page as possible as well. It’ll give you the maximum room to spread the subject matter across the page.

4. Jump in and get started

Just pick a spot and get started. The middle or the top; bottom up or from the lower right corner, it doesn’t really matter. Just get pencil to paper and start the sketch.

5. Get over yourself already!

If you ask a 5 year old if she can sing, she’ll ALWAYS say “Yes!” It doesn’t mean she’s going to be the next Taylor Swift however. But she understands that she has the ability to sing. And you have the ability to draw. Enjoy yourself and enjoy a new way to capture memories. And for all you parents out there: it will demonstrate to your kids in a powerful way that you are creative and enjoy taking the time to really LOOK at something.

Further Ideas

  • Date your sketches. I also try to include the place and who I was with.


    I was at White Horse Lake, Aug 2010.

  • Take a photo of your subject. You might want to finish the sketch later or just have a good giggle as to how your sketch looks nothing like what you were drawing!


    This was my inspiration for the flowers above.

  • You can choose what to include and what to leave out. Feel free to add details that aren’t really there or remove aspects that you don’t want to draw or find unattractive. It’s like instant Photoshop.

    This is the inspiration for the sketch at the top of the post. You'll notice I chose not to include all the foreground or even all the trees. And see the branches hanging into view in the upper lef? Yeah, I "Photoshopped" that right out!

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with techniques and drawing tools. Yes, watercolors make my paper wrinkle but I LOVE working with the paint.
  • Corral all your supplies in a tote so when the mood strikes you don’t need to go hunting for your favorite eraser.

And if you want to learn more about Jessica, head over to her blog:

This post contains affiliate links to

Mystery Mondays: Goals for 2012

Welcome to 2012! There’s a tradition in the “Royal” Family of spending some time every January 1st to write down our goals for the coming year. This year, however, those plans were derailed by needing to prep for the arrival of all new carpet in my parents’ house.

But, just because it wasn’t a formal goal setting session, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have some goals and plans for 2012.

This year, I’m trying to minimize the goals like “52 weeks of 5 blog posts a week” and substitute it for goals like “meaningful blog posts, every week” to give myself some flexibility and recognize that real life happens while I’m NOT on the computer.

Of course, I do have some goals that are pretty specific. One such is to hunt down all the posts where I’ve promised I’d work on updates and changes and actually get them done! And yes, I realize that it might be for my own piece of mind rather than because it is just absolutely necessary that every single yurt in Montana be listed on the website.

One of the things I’ve got planned for 2012 is to see the culmination of a year’s hard work on my part for Arizona’s Centennial Project. After all, Arizona is the 48th state in the union so that means that in our lifetime there will only be THREE more state centennials. I find that exciting to be part of history.

I also have big plans to nurture my creativity in more eBooks and videos. I’ve got quite a few projects in the beginning phases that I just can’t wait to get to.

What about you:

Do you set goals for the coming year? What are they?

Mystery Monday: Flagstaff Snowplay Guide

It’s that time of year again: Snow has come to Flagstaff, AZ. And that means that the updated 2011-2012 Flagstaff Snow Guide is now available.

Flagstaff Snow Guide Cover

As always, this is a 100% free publication. All you have to do is provide your email address so I can send you any updates that might occur over the course of the snow season.

Flagstaff is the MUST-VISIT Arizona winter destination for all things snow: sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and snow play. There are even places to cross country ski, snowshoe, and ride snowmobiles. In Arizona! (Crazy, I know!)

Your eGuide is a 32 page printable Adobe .pdf book. It is Mac and PC compatible and you can print it all, a selection of pages, or save it to your laptop computer to take with you.

Do you own a Flagstaff business? Would you like to promote it in the Snow Guide? Contact Kim at Pricing starts at just $50 for an ad that will be seen by THOUSANDS of Flagstaff winter visitors.

Download yours today!

Mystery Mondays: Horseshoe Bend Overlook

Horseshoe Bend

Last month I had the privilege of visiting Horseshoe Bend Overlook near Page, Arizona.

This was a short hike from the parking area. But don’t let the word “short” confuse you with EASY. The hike starts out from a dirt parking lot and promptly climbs STRAIGHT UP A SANDY HILL.

And this Arizona Princess really doesn’t like getting sand in my shoes! But, thankfully, my guide for the day, Andy, warned me about the sand so I was prepared with my boots and sticker gaiters.

From the top of the hill, the vistas all around are simply breath-taking. So much so I didn’t actually TAKE any photos! But, from the top of the rise you can see Echo Peaks to the west, near the confluence of the Paria River with the Colorado. The dark line of the Vermilion Cliffs lies farther west, while Navajo Mountain stands behind, to the east.

Navajo Sandstone

View of Navajo Sandstone

It’s well worth a pause just to look around and enjoy. But we were in a hurry, so it was a quick stop to catch my breath and then a rapid plunge down the far side to the overlook itself.

The overlook, from a distance.

From here, you can see the overlook and parts of the bend. Wow!

Needless to say, the views of the Colorado River below are nothing short of stunning. The water was a lovely blue-green that just invited a lazy paddle. Of course, while it looked like it was RIGHT THERE, the water is actually nearly 1,100 feet below. Yikes! I’m not usually bothered by heights, but it did make me a bit queasy.

The Outdoor Princess looking at the bend.

I spent a lot of time just sitting there and taking it all in. And sitting because the height made me a bit... Well, anxious to say the least!


The Outdoor Princess at Horseshoe Bend Overlook

That's a pretty good sized speed boat and I have an EXCELLENT zoom. It still looks tiny!

It wasn’t the best time of day for photos, but the views were just amazing. And we managed to hit the overlook in a lull between crowds of people. The hike is 1.5 miles round trip but it is up and over a pretty considerable hill. It was cool enough that I wore a sweatshirt TO the parking lot but toasty enough for me to leave it in the car.

I look forward to going back when I have more time to sit, enjoy, sketch, and get some better pictures!

After a few minutes enjoying the view, it was back in the car and back to Andy’s where he made Navajo Fry Bread. Yum!

Mystery Monday: Adding New Attractions

Remember how a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Utah was missing state parks and that Sandy was researching them? Well, when I sat down this weekend to ADD them to the database, I found a whole bunch of OTHER attractions that were done but not loaded.

Oh no!

So, over the next week or so, be on the lookout for the following:

Cabins & Yurts in Montana (79)
Rentable lookout towers in Montana (13)
Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge & related attractions (21)
Texas State Historic Parks (80)
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming (8)
Utah State Parks (137)

So, I thought I had 137 attractions to add and ended up with 338!

Guess I have my work cut out for me! But keep checking back to see these new attractions.

Mystery Monday: Where to Find Me

Not only am I “The Outdoor Princess” I’m also the head cook & chief bottle washer at offers information about outdoor recreation for 14 western states. We cover everything from camping to National Forests, State Parks to National Monuments. isn’t the only place you can find me! I have a Twitter feed: @EatStayPlay or you can look me up on Facebook:

But, I think my pride and joy is when you can find me on YouTube. So far, I have “starred” in five videos:

This weekend, I’ll be camping with ESP Boss & The Queen Mother. The plan is to do some filming for a camp cooking video. Of all the Fun Food Friday recipes, do you have one that you’d like to see on film?

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