Anderson Farms – Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch

Anderson Farms Fall Festival:
Children 3 & Under: FREE
Monday – Thursday: $10
Friday – Sunday: $13
*We received three tickets in exchange for a review.

3 of us at the Corn Maze 2015 TCP

We had a fantastic time at Anderson Farms yesterday! We opted to head out on Sunday, as that day looked like it would give us the best weather that weekend. As an added bonus, a certain Sportsball team was also playing on Sunday, so we knew the crowds would be minimal. (We were right!)

It ended up being the PERFECT day to go!

The weather was finally acting like fall, as we donned our long pants and boots. The chill in the air was just perfect to put us in the mood for exploring a corn maze and hunting for pumpkins! (September was absolutely GLORIOUS this year in Colorado, but it has not been very fall-like at all!)

We’ve been to Anderson Farms in the past, so I knew we’d have a great time. Pre-kid, we’d played there with other 20-somethings. Post-kid, we’d had a great time as a family. It’s a great place for people on all ends of the spectrum to have fun!

Here is a taste of what we experienced:

Ready to go? Maps? Check! ID Bracelets? Check! Ready to go!

Maps? Check! ID Bracelets? Check! Ready to go? Check!

We rocked it old-school. This WAS our GPS.

We rocked it old-school. This WAS our GPS.

We're lost! Just kidding. Momma's from Iowa. It's impossible to get truly lost in a cornfield.

We’re lost! Just kidding. Momma’s from Iowa. It’s impossible to get truly lost in a cornfield.

Maybe we go this way?

Maybe we go this way?

Maybe we go that way?

Maybe we go that way?

Let's go the other way!

Let’s go the other way!

After we had our fill of the corn maze, we hopped on a hayride and rode out to the pumpkin patch!

After we had our fill of the corn maze, we hopped on a hayride and rode out to the pumpkin patch!

We found these three gems in various parts of the field and gathered them together to make our final decision.

We found these three gems in various parts of the field and gathered them together to make our final decision.

Claire wanted the Ghost Pumpkin. Daddy wanted the Frankenstein Pumpkin, and I loved the little nibbly one. (The green one is deceptive HEAVY.)

Claire wanted the Ghost Pumpkin. Daddy wanted the Frankenstein Pumpkin, and I loved the little nibbly one. (The green one is deceptively HEAVY.)

Claire kept them safe for the ride back

Claire kept them safe for the ride back

Child Labor Laws are lax here, too! (This is our kind of place!)

Child Labor Laws are lax here, too! (This is our kind of place!)

Here's how they do the pricing. Not too shabby! (We had two larges and a small.)

Here’s how they do the pricing. Not too shabby! (We had two larges and a small.)


So, what are you waiting for, Colorado? I think fall may actually be here for a bit (before it changes its mind again). Go! Anderson Farms is a great way to get a taste of the fun parts of fall. Enjoy!


And now for something more light-hearted. My husband has coined the phrase, “hoof-covers.” This makes me laugh every time I hear it. “CLAIRE! PUT ON YOUR HOOF-COVERS NOW, PLEASE!”

They are his generic term for appropriate footwear, especially when dealing with Claire.

How did this come about? Because the poor guy was tired of rattling off every possible type of shoe, before landing on the one Claire deemed appropriate. “Hoof-covers” indicates that he really doesn’t care WHAT goes on her feet, as long as they’re covered when we leave the house.

She’s very literal.
I have no idea where she gets it.
No, really. I thought I put it up where she couldn’t reach it.


Regardless of the Party on Your Voting Card

Political-y post ahead. Enter at your own risk.

On social issues, I lean so far LEFT that people assume I’m a Democrat. I’m not. On financial issues, I *usually* lean so far RIGHT that people think I’m a Republican. I’m not. In fact, I’m registered “Independent,” or as Colorado likes to label me, “Unaffiliated.”

Wait. What? How can I be both or neither?

How can I justify voting for a candidate in a School Board Election knowing that if that person were running for any other office, there’s no way I could give my support? Because it’s a School Board Election. The power of the office is limited to that. Those candidates’ views on how to financially run a school district align with my views.

How can I justify voting against a candidate that is supported by a union? Because it’s a School Board Election, and although I feel unions have had their place in time and history, this isn’t now. (When you’ve had lies screamed at your face, and feared for your safety at a public meeting, just because you happen to disagree with union members, you tend to see a group of people a little bit differently than what you thought they were.)

Am I conflicted? Nope. My decisions are clear. I know all my friends won’t agree with me on every issue. THANK GOODNESS for that. How boring would that be?

Will my friends “disown” me for voting a way they wouldn’t agree? No, because if they did, by definition, they’re not truly friends. Are my friends willing to put down their red or blue glasses and look at issues like an Independent would? Some of them are, and for that I’m grateful, too.

I won’t flood your feed with political propaganda regarding other elections. I just won’t. This fight about equal funding for charter schools is a local one, and it’s near and dear to my heart, so you’ll see more about that. (I’ll try to keep it to a minimum, though.)

At the end of the day, I judge things by how *I* am, not by how they are. I’m big enough to admit that out loud. I’m in the midst of a fight to maintain equal funding for my child’s public school…for YOUR child’s public school, regardless of the party on your voter card.

On Monday, September 21st, I will be attending a Charter Forum with the Candidates. The live-stream is here: Save this and check back if you can’t attend in person.

Also, here is the link to an “unedited letter” I wrote. Another version of this letter went out to all the parents at our school, and it’s below. Be informed!

Parent Letter Sept 2015

No More Hedeghog’s Poopy Laundry

You know what? I’m tired of doing a Hedgehog’s Poopy Laundry. (That has to be one of the strangest sentences I’ve ever typed out loud.)

I’ve made an Executive Decision to switch to shredded paper bedding. The fleece we’ve used for the last 2.5 years works really well, but you have to launder it. (I’ll let you figure out who the YOU is in that sentence.) I accept all my duties as a Hedgie Momma, but I didn’t change poopy diapers for this long, so I have reached my limit. I have no problem justifying movin’ on to a different way, Lord Henry Quillington Rasmussen. You’re on notice, Royalty or not.

Plus, my husband found a quill in his sock. Again. The hard way. He’s on board with whatever I decide.

So, no more quills in the washer and dryer.
No more fleece bedding.
No more poopy laundry.
We’ve switched to shredded paper bedding, which will require more bags going in the trash (maybe?), but use less water & energy. So there. :)

New Nest for LHQR

Henry seems to be adjusting just fine with his new nest.


New bedding LHQR

Funny side note: I had no idea how much bedding to buy. It was on sale at the pet store: buy 2 big packs, get 1 pack free. I wasn’t sure if I’d need more than one pack, but I was going to start with that until I saw the deal. Three bags for the price of two? Sure! Why not? Well! To cover the entire bottom of Henry’s cage, I used a smidgen of ONE bag. I’ll see how often I need to change it, but odds are, I may have just purchased a year’s supply. Ha!

Anderson Farms Coupon

andersonmaze4x6The corn maze at Anderson Farms is one of our favorite activities to do when the days shorten and we slip closer to fall. This year, we’ve been invited to check it out in exchange for a review, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are some discount tickets if you’d like to check it out for yourself!


When Claire was a toddler, she’d bring me bouquets of Dandelions. I’d put them in shot glass vases. Now, I use a shot glass to measure out hippy-dippy Household Cleaner. There’s a story of metamorphosis here, but I’ll leave it untold.


She just wants to be a cat

This is Claire’s outfit today. (I ♥ almost-10-yr-olds!)

The School Dress Code doesn’t cite “cat ears” specifically, but there is a “too distracting” loophole.

We’ll see if this passes inspection.
She’s such a rebel.


Edited to add an update! She had them on at Pick-Up! She got to wear them all day. “It’s just a headband, Mom. I don’t know why you were concerned…” she said with a wink. 😉

DIY Fresh Spray

DIY Fresh Spray YLEO

I made another potion. (I’m not a witch! They put this nose on me! …she turned me into a newt! …I got better.)

😉 (All hail the Monty Python fans in the crowd.)

You know that air freshener/deodorizer that probably got its name from a FrEsh BREEZE?

Well! I just made something like it, from scratch.

Yes, really!

I’ve labeled my version “Fresh,” as you can see in the picture above, and that’s exactly how it smells. (“Wonderful” wouldn’t fit on my label.) I also labeled the cap for the bottle as a reminder that I should store the bottle without the sprayer in it. Since this concoction has citrus in it, leaving the plastic sprayer to sit in it can make it all wonky, so plan accordingly.

I got the recipe for “Kitchen Deodorizing Spray” from my Essential Oils Desk Reference, and I altered it to fit the size of the bottle I wanted to use. The recipe says it’s for more than just kitchens, and the description of its uses sounds a lot like that other stuff I used to use.

The recipe calls for:
* 2 drops Rosemary
* 4 drops Lemon
* 2 drops Eucalyptus Globulus
* 4 drops Lavender
* a quart of distilled water

I didn’t use quite a quart, so I changed the number of drops of Essential Oils.

The result?

Ahhhh-mazing! Once again, I’ve found a potion that is so easy to make and yet very effective. The notes with this recipe say that it not only covers up the odors, it cleans and deodorizes the air. You can also use it to disinfect the surfaces you wipe down.

Steamboat Springs!

It’s been almost 4-years since we’ve been to Steamboat Springs! We thought it was well-past time to return! Originally, we were going to spend the night at our favorite hotel and then use Steamboat Springs as a spring-board for a longer trip out west to go camping for Labor Day weekend. The more we researched, however, the more we realized we weren’t alone in our planning.

Rather than give up on the idea of escaping if only for a short break, we kept the reservations at our favorite hotel in Steamboat and will go camping out west during a Fall Break that not everyone has. 😉

Yet again, Steamboat did not disappoint.

We broke the shorty out early and headed for the hills! (Okay, truth be told, I filled out all the requisite Excused Absence Forms for early dismissal, and she’s getting tall! …and they were mountains, not hills!)

We drove through some rain, but not enough to damper our excitement.

At one point in the drive, we were right at cloud level!

At one point in the drive, we were right at cloud level!

At another point, the highway completely disappeared and we were driving on what can only be described as a good ol’ mud road. The construction sign earlier said, “Rough Road,” and we’re thinking the usage of the word “Road” was rather liberal. THIS sign along that 6-mile stretch made us laugh out loud!

Lanes? There are lanes?

Uneven Lanes? Really? Also, there are lanes?

You should see Sue. We didn’t get any mud on the windows, but that’s about it.

Muddy Sue

Muddy Sue

We checked into the Rabbit Ears Motel, our favorite place to stay in Steamboat. (Pro-tip: They have river view rooms with a balcony AND discount tickets to the hot springs literally across the street! Listening to the river as we fell asleep was just an added bonus!) We went to our favorite restaurant, Mahogany’s, and it was still as fantastic as we remember. After dinner, we went back to the hot springs and soaked and played for over two hours before going to bed. What a fantastic night!

Rabbit Ears Motel Labor Day 2015

The next day, hiking was on the agenda before we pointed our muddy car in the direction of home.

We opted to do Fish Creek Falls. The first part of the hike was listed as “easy,” because it was a trail that was only 1/4 of a mile and very accessible down to a gorgeous waterfall. You could cross the bridge and do a “moderate” trail on to the next waterfall up, with an even more strenuous part you could do after that up to the lake, if you chose.

First Bridge

First Bridge

Fish Creek Falls from the First Bridge

Fish Creek Falls from the First Bridge

We compromised and did the moderate trail to the second bridge. Poor Daddy insisted that the “moderate” trail we had just done was “easy,” and he wanted to go even farther to the lake, but after weighing the importance of hiking in peace while NOT carrying a body (or two), he opted to be happy with the second bridge and cute little waterfall & stream to explore.


Roots. You gotta give your kid roots & wings.

Still, that part of the hike was not for the faint of heart. Claire and I managed with no problems, but it was a challenge. (That part of the hike was 2.5 miles in one way, with a 2000 ft elevation gain. As always, “down” was my favorite part.) Ha.

The "easy" trail.

The “easy” trail.

We took some fun pictures along the way and had a great time. We’d opted to do this in the morning before lunch, because lunch at the bottom is a great reward, in and of itself, and the risk of storms is that much greater in the afternoon.

Claire and JoAnn Labor Day 2015

The Second Bridge

The Second Bridge

We hiked for about 3 hours, and as predicted, lunch tasted fantastic after we’d survived the adventure. 😀

Food always tastes better outside. True story.

After lunch, we headed home. We opted to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park on the way and exchange Claire’s paper pass for a plastic one. This year, 4th Graders and their families get a FREE National Park Pass. (We even used the paper version at Fish Creek Falls to pay the day-fee of $5. National Park Passes were accepted at this location and after a bit of educational convincing, the park ranger let us use it. It was the first pass, of what I’m sure are MANY, he’d ever seen, so he was skeptical but willing to play along.) We had no problems whatsoever at the gate at Rocky Mountain. They were ready for us and gave us all the info. (If you have a 4th Grader, don’t pass up this deal! It’s fantastic.)

Claire's FREE Park Pass is good for a whole year, thru August 2016!

Claire’s FREE Park Pass is good for a whole year, thru August 2016!

The weather was some of the best we've ever seen up there! See the elk? (Click photo to see more detail.)

The weather was some of the best we’ve ever seen up there! See the elk? (Click photo to see more detail.)

We even saw a bear as we got closer to town! I didn’t get a picture, because I was too busy yelling, “BEAR! Look, a BEAR!” to the other occupants in the car. This black bear was playing by the stream on the side of the road in one of the towns on the way home. I’m so glad we all got to see it!

After dinner at a local place we love, we headed home. It was a great adventure, and just right. This way, we got to escape for a bit and then still have what will seem like a full weekend at home.


The Unedited Letter

As a member on the Board of Directors at our school, one of the tasks I’m charged with is keeping the parents at our school informed about what is happening at the district, especially if those things can impact charter schools. Without a crystal ball, it’s hard to say for certain what will come to fruition should some things come to pass. (And even then, those crystal balls are tricksters at times. Or so I’m told.) 😉

I’m a writer. It’s what I do. The perfect way to get a message out is to write a letter. I can do that!

That said, politically, there are things I can’t say in a certain way when using district resources. Allegedly. I stand behind what I have to say and suggest that it’s NOT opinion, but rather ’emotional facts,’ but at the end of the day, which battle do you fight? Do you get the emphatic message out to a few people, or a slightly more subtle message out to everyone?

How do I play it safe AND inform our parents about just how important these issues are?

Well, guess what! This website is my own personal platform. It has been since 2007. I’ve used it to tell stories of toddlers and preschoolers and the tales of motherhood and beyond. All my adventures are chronicled here. It’s shifted and morphed to become what it is today, all under the description “The Casual Perfectionist.” It is decidedly NOT a district resource. When fighting for equitable funding for charter schools, I posted things here. This letter will fit right in between the pictures of hedgehogs and our hiking adventures.

So, here is the unedited version of a letter that will be going out to the parents at our school. It is from me, the President of the Board.

I think the edited letter still pops, but it’s missing some torches and pitchforks. (Apparently those are frowned upon in that establishment, as well. Weird.)

So, read this. The only thing I’ve redacted is the name of our school. You won’t have to read between the lines, like some other version in the works.



September 2, 2015
Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2015-16 School Year! I wanted to take this time to let you know about some things that are happening at the District level that may have an impact on our school.

As you may know, prior to 2014, of the mill levy funds, district-run schools were receiving $1400 per pupil, and charter schools were receiving $247 per pupil. This was a huge discrepancy, and I was one of the many parents who wrote to the Board of Ed and spoke during public comment on behalf of charter schools. We fought a lot of opposition regarding charter schools, and misinformation regarding charter schools still circulates throughout the district.

In June 2014, the current Board of Education heard our pleas and approved the first step in bridging the gap for charter schools with the promise they would close that funding gap in June 2015. They did just that. The budget was approved. With this extra money in our budget, we were able to give our teachers much-needed raises.

We went to bat again last year, and the final portion of the funding gap was closed with the vote on the budget in June of 2015. Now, the same people who opposed charter school funding equalization have called for a recall of the Board of Ed majority. In November, all five spots on the Board of Ed are up for grabs.

What does this mean?

Depending on how the election shakes out, the funding we were granted with the last budget could be repealed. The money we fought so hard to get could be taken away from charter schools.

Our children are public school children, and they deserve equal funding from the mill levy. The money that hangs in the balance for a charter school like ours can make a huge, positive impact on our community, and we need to do what we can to see that this equality in funding remains.

What can you do?

Educate yourselves on the candidates running for the Board of Education, and VOTE! More info can be found here: It’s unfortunate that charter schools are caught in the middle of this political battle, but regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, these issues affect us directly.

There will be a Charter Forum with the Candidates on September 21st at Collegiate Academy (8420 Sangre De Cristo Road, Littleton, CO 80127) from 6pm to 7:30pm. Mark your calendar and attend. Encourage other charter families to attend! Our voices need to be heard.

Find out how the candidates feel about charter schools. Ask them questions. Do they understand that charter schools are public schools? Do they understand what a vital role we, as charter schools, play in this district of choice? Do they understand the importance of funding ALL children in JeffCo equally?

The reality is we’ve done so much with so little for so long, and we’ll continue to provide an excellent education for your children, despite this political upheaval. If the new members of the Board of Education vote to repeal the funding for charter schools, rest assured, our budget is in good hands. We’ve always made conservative financial decisions, and that won’t change. However, our job would be that much easier with equitable funding.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us.


JoAnn E. Rasmussen
Board of Directors