I found my first rock in July/August of 2020. It was simple, gold and had a sweet saying on it. On the back it said keep or rehide, post pic on Facebook – Great Falls Rocks. SO a week went by and I finally went on the site it talked about and then I got hooked.
Such a simple thing made me smile, I thought – I could do the same thing and that one rock could possibly create thousands of smiles. Because that one rock has lead to me (and my kiddos) creating over 100 rocks, and those hopefully have lead to more people creating these rocks to make even more smiles.
Painting rocks has created more adventures! We have seriously gone to more places just because of painting rocks – so we can hide them. Or we see that rocks have been hidden in certain places, so we go to that park to see if we can find them, and if we do, we will hide ours.
Some of the posts that have been done when people find the rocks, “My baby found this rock today, he loved it so he took it home” “So excited to find our first rock at Gibson Park” “Just found this Gem – THANK YOU!” This rock community is so full of fun, inspiration, and kind words!
We aren’t artists, we found some paint pens and some acrylic spray and now the kids and I have fun snowy day art projects when we are bored! They are also a fun cheap gift for kids to be able to give artwork to their teachers/grandparents/friends that they are proud of! And they are so excited when they find them!
So I wanted to thank everyone who painted rocks that we have gotten to find! I hope one day we can all get together and paint!
Wednesday is a thoughtful tactician who applies creativity and rationality in everything she does professionally. She is able to analyze data quickly, gather compelling support materials, and write strategic proposals under tight deadlines. Wednesday has the ingenuity to expand her writing and research responsibilities as her expertise develops.
Position: Grant Writer
Best Qualities: Thirst for knowledge, sharp mental acuity, deadpan wit, persuasive communicator, exposes problematic societal norms with powerful monologues
Favorite Quote: “I’m not perky.”
Wednesday would have a low-profile, but influential role as grant writer who packs a lot of punch and isn’t afraid to prove her power.
Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings)
Dearest Sam, of course he makes the list. Could you ever hire a truer hero? He can face great foes with courage. Sam has well-developed people skills and can build robust social relationships. He is receptive to change and new ideas. He has a knack for engaging others within the work we support with enthusiasm and generosity.
Position: Executive Assistant
Best Qualities: Loyalty, dependable companion, repeatedly saves us all from disaster
Favorite Quote: “How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”
Lastly, he would bring “a few good taters” to the team potluck.
Darth Vader (Star Wars)
Who doesn’t love an epic villain? Lord Vader would offer any nonprofit organization solid direction amid adversity. He is a fearsome leader who would always deliver the fundraising results that are expected of him. Vader is dedicated and strong-willed, with references stating he is consistently hard-working.
Position: Fundraising and Development Director
Best Qualities: Sales background, experience training fundraising staff and volunteer leaders, telepathy, the Dark Side/Force, provides rides on the Death Star
Favorite Quote: “Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.”
He would evaluate and plan fundraising campaigns that no prospective funder or donor would be safe from.
Clifford (Clifford the Big Red Dog)
Clifford is charming, selfless, and easily has insights to what speaks to people’s hearts. It is difficult to describe this quality on a resume, but Clifford easily relates to others’ emotions, helping minimize conflict. He would promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of his work.
Position: Community Outreach Coordinator
Best Qualities: Unusual size, gentleness, loves unconditionally, grows referral sources, gathers wonderful client success stories and feedback
Favorite Quote: “Share your smile with the world. It is a symbol of friendship and peace.”
Clifford grew up to be the Big Red Dog because his owner, Emily, loved him so much. Now, he always wants to help people and makes new friends (and nonprofit partners!) wherever he goes.
Chef (South Park)
When interviewed, Chef was clearly full of passion and charisma. He has experience with all levels of government and wants to eliminate inequality by dismantling existing systems of discrimination. Chef would take on multiple responsibilities with competence and good cheer. He also has the ability to convey complex concepts clearly, both orally and in written format.
Position: Advocacy and Policy Director
Best Qualities: Cheerful, background in community legal aid, shares wisdom via soulful or jaunty singing, bakes delicious treats to share with colleagues
Favorite Quote: “Well then don’t buy into this fad, Kyle. Be who you are. Not what’s cool.”
Chef has the capacity for insightful communication and is inspired by the opportunity to take action for meaningful work, knowing that efforts contribute to something bigger than himself.
Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins)
Hiring some who is always polite and proper is no hardship. Mary Poppins is happiest when she can help someone learn something new. Mary Poppins is generous, compassionate, and sensible. She may come across as bossy, but only because she cares so deeply. Basically, she is practically perfect in every way.
Position: Educational Director
Best Qualities: Experience working with children, makes menial tasks more bearable through song, magical abilities (including umbrella transportation and speaking with animals)
Favorite Quote: “Anything can happen if you let it.”
Efficient as she is elegant, she would help plan amazing educational events and delight participants.
Which fictional character would you add to this list?
As everyone attempts to sharpen their kitchen skills with the extra free time we have these days, how do you decide between learning a more involved impressive recipe or sticking to comfort food? The perfect in-between recipe is Risotto: a cheesy, creamy, tender-as-pasta rice dish that’s fancy enough to impress your toughest critics (whether that be a picky eater or a culinary expert.) It isn’t too difficult, but it does take a bit of time, so it’s perfect for weekends with nowhere to go (like the many no-where-to-go weekends we’ve all had lately.)
This recipe is a conglomeration of a few recipes I’ve used over the years, namely this and this.
Here it is!
Chicken Parmesan Risotto (serves 4)
1 lb Chicken
Salt and Pepper
6-8 cups chicken stock
5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2)
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4-6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (but really just measure with your heart)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
Cut chicken into 1” cubes. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is just done, 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots to oil, and cook, stirring, until translucent.
Add rice, and cook, stirring until rice begins to make a clicking sound like glass beads, 3-4 minutes.
Add wine to rice mixture. Cook, stirring until wine is absorbed by rice.
Using a ladle, add 3/4 cup hot stock to rice. Using a wooden spoon, stir rice constantly, at a moderate speed.
When rice mixture is just thick enough to leave a clear wake behind the spoon, add another 3/4 cup stock.
Continue adding stock 3/4 cup at a time and stirring constantly until rice is mostly translucent but still opaque in the center. Rice should be al dente but not crunchy. The final mixture should be thick enough that grains of rice are suspended in liquid the consistency of heavy cream.
Remove from heat. Stir in butter, parmesan cheese, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Stir in chicken. Serve immediately, with extra parmesan and parsley for topping.
If you’re looking for side dishes to pair with this Risotto, here are a couple of dishes I love to make with Risotto, with a schedule of how to time all of these dishes to be ready at the right time.
So. You’re coming to Yosemite National Park. Let me ask you a few things first:
Is it summer?
Is it a holiday?
Is it a weekend?
Are there hazardous conditions (snow, fires, flooding, pandemics, etc.)?
Is there an event going on that made you plan your trip now instead of some other time (Firefall, Facelift, whenever Alex Honnold is doing something, etc.)?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions, read on. . .
1. Do your business outside the park.
Grocery shop outside the park, get gas before you enter the park, call your mom and tell her you love her outside the park, take screenshots on your phone of any valuable information you might need (reservations), set your GPS for directions if you need them, and then download additional maps of the area since even your GPS won’t know about road work in the park.
You have options in the park for all of thesethings if the need arises, but you’ll be better set up for success if you do all these things preemptively. That way, when you wander by the Village Store in Yosemite Valley, you can be thankful you are not one of the poor souls circling the parking lot trying to find a parking space with hungry kids in the backseat.
2. What’s cell coverage like?
You’re coming to a National Park and you want to be glued to your phone??
Just kidding. I use my cell phone all the time. Don’t hate, I’m a millennial. Here’s the scoop:
Verizon is your best bet for cell coverage, and even then it’s spotty. Yosemite Valley and a number of the high points around it have decent cell coverage for folks with Verizon. AT&T does alright. Everything else is essentially nonexistent. Then, to top it all off, if you’re coming at a busy time (i.e. weekend, summer, or park event), the cell towers get overloaded by all the visitors and become very unreliable. Your best bet is just to rely on your phone as a camera. Buy a map, and then make sure to learn how to read it before your trip (and not in an emergency).
3. I wish I could give you advice on parking. . . but there is no advice on parking.
I don’t know the exact numbers, but Yosemite Valley has like 600-800 parking spots total. On a summer weekend, there are 1,000+ cars that come into Yosemite. I think you can figure out the math. If you’re planning your trip during a busy time, and you find a parking spot, take it and then leave your car. Take advantage of the FREE buses* and pedestrian paths to get around!
In fact, you can get into Yosemite without your car! There is the Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (or YARTS) that will take you into the park from any of the gateway communities. Check them out! You have to pay to ride the bus, but you don’t have to pay to get into the park! And there’s a bus lane in the park! For a second time, you can be sitting and enjoying the views, thankful you’re not part of the mad house that is Yosemite Valley traffic in the summer.
If I haven’t convinced you of the insanity of coming in your car to Yosemite during a peak time, at least bring some snacks, entertainment, and maybe something to pee in for you and/or your passengers. You can (and should expect) to get stuck in traffic.
If you’re still determined on coming in your car, I would encourage you to get into the park before 10 am.
*During normal, non-pandemic times.
4. Don’t come in without knowing where you’re going to sleep.
Everything fills up, months (years in some cases) in advance. I’m not sure how people actually get spots in the first-come, first-serve campsites. If you insist on doing this, I would recommend bringing some donuts – not for you! For the people you’re going to bribe to share a campsite with you.
5. All of Yosemite is beautiful, you don’t need to see the ONE THING.
I’m not discouraging you from getting a permit to hike Half Dome– that’s great if you win the lottery! I’m just saying there is way more to Yosemite than that one thing you heard about from your friends or the media. When you come to Yosemite, don’t have your heart set on doing that one activity you’ve heard so much about. There really isn’t a bad view in the park, so even if you have to hike a lesser known trail, climb a different climb, or if meadow restoration is keeping you off the trail that offers you the best shot of Half Dome for your Instagram, know there is something just as spectacular at a different spot or on a different adventure.
With that being said, do have a plan when coming to visit the park. Yosemite is the size of Rhode Island, so showing up with no idea what you’re getting into is a bad idea. Make a plan A, B, C, and D. You’re not going to be disappointed if you can’t hike up the side of Vernal Falls because there isn’t any parking and have to wander through the meadows (on the designated trails) and see North America’s tallest waterfall from afar. You’re not going to be upset for not getting out of the park at the time you said you wanted to be and end up seeing the alpenglow light up the Yosemite Valley walls. And if this does disappoint you, you probably wouldn’t have enjoyed your original plan anyway.
There you have it! The five biggest tips an insider could give you about your visit to Yosemite National Park. It’s a fun time as long as you’re prepared, that’s the bottom line.
HERE’s another resource for you if you have additional FAQ’s, put together by the Yosemite Park Service. If you find yourself super inspired by the park, and then you want to donate money, check out their nonprofit partner the Yosemite Conservancy (you can’t donate directly to the federal government). Inspired enough to volunteer some of your time? Check out THIS SITE with the keyword Yosemite. So inspired that you want to quit your current job/have a second career? HERE’s where you apply for Park Service jobs!
I work for a historic house museum…it is as cool as it sounds. The basic information of The Moss Mansion can be found with a general google search. It is a single family home built in the early 1900s by P.B Moss. This man helped build Billings, MT into what it is today. You could even go on a tour of the home and learn so much more. However, there are a couple things you would never know unless you spent some quality time within the home.
We do not have secret passageways…but I guarantee there is plenty of other details you have never noticed.
When you walk into the Moss Mansion it can be overwhelming. The intricate details on the walls, ceilings, floors, furniture can be a lot to take in. There is just so much to look at that people often miss the small details throughout the house. Things such as lizards carved into the doorknobs. A bathroom sink painted with gold on the bottom of it. Old man wind’s face carved into wood, tucked into the side of a china hutch. My suggestion? Keep coming back. You will always find something new!
We are completely self-funded.
People see big, huge fancy mansion, and assume a lot about money. They think the family must have left money to upkeep the estate, that we receive money from the state or city, or that we have secret stash of gold. The truth of the matter is that we are 100% self-funded. What does that mean? It means every cent of our budget comes from hard work from staff, board members and volunteers. We generate our revenue through tours, rentals, amazing events, and a handful of grants. It is never easy, but it is always fun.
A lot of our collection is never put-on display, and it is the most interesting items.
We have a whole collection of objects located on the third floor in a climate-controlled room we have named the vault. Most of these objects are original to the Moss family. Items such as clothing, photographs, schoolwork, even journals and business logs. These items are some of the most precious in our collection, because they give us a peak at the Moss family and their personalities. The Moss women were quite witty and funny, and very smart. The Moss men were trouble makers, but very kind. Everyone who knew them loved them.
The third floor is not as cool as it sounds…mostly
The third floor of the Moss Mansion has always been off limits to the public, for a multitude of reasons. People often try to bribe us to see it. When people are not allowed to see something, they always want to. The third floor is actually a little…underwhelming…it is just work and office space, where we keep all our collection items, and where we store a lot of seasonal event items. While that sounds very mundane there is a cool aspect of this floor. There is a ladder that goes into an attic space above. For a long while they were pulling stuff out of there. They found little toy boats, tiles from the roof, old screen doors. All of that has been taken out and replaced with insulation. However, what does remain is all the signatures from the Moss children. They wrote their name in chalk all over the beams of the attic. Within this attic is another ladder that leads you to the roof. Fun fact about the roof…it’s flat!
Yup…There are Ghosties, but they are friendly
The Moss has a lot of wild ghost stories associated with it. Talks of a little girl giggling on the staircase, hearing doors open and close, footsteps when no one is there. The list could go on. We have been investigated by the Montana Paranormal Society on more than one occasion, and they caught quite a few cool EVPs. They saw figures pass in the night, and more than one investigator had some great personal experiences. However, no one has ever had a bad supernatural experience in the Mansion. All have been harmless and in passing. More than once students have sworn someone got into their selfie with them. Ghosts are just like us, they are just still trying to enjoy the house. Though I would not complain if they scared people occasionally.
Bonus Secret: History is cool, and so is the staff.
When people think Historic House Museum staff their minds immediately go to older grey haired cranky cat ladies telling you to not breath on anything. Now I am not going to say we aren’t cat ladies (seriously…we have wanted a Moss cat for years) but we aren’t old, and we aren’t cranky. We are just a group of people who love our job and love the Mansion we work in. It is like our second home, and we make ourselves at home. We often prank each other, some of us lay on the floor when we need a brain break, and we have piles of snacks and drinks to get us through our workday. We dress up for every occasion, often wear slippers when in our offices, and have to walk down four flights of stairs just to use the restroom. Think all this sounds awesome? You should probably volunteer. Trust us…we are fun to hang out with.