Elf Yo’ Self

Elfie is the newest member to many families these days. He makes all kinds of raucous in the home with crazy antics and surprising pranks. Elfie can be a great gauge for your kids (or husband) to measure how close they will be to the naughty or nice list this year. While Elfie is busy getting into trouble, the little critters are having so much fun keeping up with him or her that they are staying out of it. Let’s see what Elfie is up to lately…


 

elf-dog

Elfie is tired of walking. Being mischievous is a lot of work. Elfie has borrowed a beautiful Barbie saddle that’s placed on top of Charlie, the family dog. Elfie lures Charlie with treats on the end of a pole in order to lead him around. Elfie doesn’t have to walk so far and Charlie enjoys his snacks so it’s a mutual agreement.


 

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Elfie says goodbye to Charlie because he has to hide 12 candy canes he stole from the Christmas tree before the humans wake up. He can’t wait to see their faces when they read the note he wrote telling them of his maniacal plan. They will never find them all! He is too good of a hider; he won first place in hide and seek at the North Pole Elves Convention.



 

elf-snow

Elfie is sad. It hasn’t snowed at all here this Christmas. He misses the snow and all the things you could play in it. He has an idea. He pulls down flour, marshmallows, sprinkles and all kinds of finds from the baking shelf and spreads them all over the counters. Elfie brings a little white Christmas to the family with flour snow angels and marshmallow snowmen. It’s starting to feel more like home here every minute.


 

elf-paper

The humans need a bit of help decorating. They only have ONE tree up. At the workshop Santa has a tree every 20 square feet and garland covering every wall. Elfie finds their wrapping paper. This will do. He starts with wrapping the cabinet doors. It looks pretty festive but it still isn’t enough. He then wraps the table. Much better. Might as well finish it off by wrapping the couch. Perfect. The humans will be so pleased with the redecorations.

 


elf-bath

It’s almost time for the family to wake. Better hurry. It’s time for Elfie to take a bath so he’s presentable to them. He has bits of paper stuck to his back and streaks of flour in his hair. He rushes to the sink and fills it with cotton ball bubbles. Ah yes. This is the life. He grabs an American Girl robe and a washcloth to wrap his hair. Now to relax after a full morning at work.

 

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Quick Rental Fixer Uppers

Keeping your rental unit looking its best can be tricky. You want it to look great but also don’t want to spend a lot because it’s purpose is to bring you income and not the other way around. Fortunately, there are some low cost ways to ensure your rental looks modern and well groomed before your next potential renter tours their future abode.


 

The first place renters are going to see is the front door area such as the foyer or entryway. This area should be a large focus since it is what creates the first impression. Tile that matches the kitchen or vinyl is a clean refreshment to this area that will tie it together. The kitchen is also a main interest of buyers. You will want the cabinetry to be appealing. If they need a little love then an easy way to do this is to wipe on a little liquid scratch if they are in fairly good condition. If they are in need of loads of love, then cover them in contact paper or paneling. Once accomplished and they still don’t meet your satisfaction, replace the knobs with some cool trendy ones to finish the motif.


 

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The sink and faucet fixtures should be in good repair. Unable to replace them right now? Paint them. Yes, I said it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on your to paint your sink and fixtures, and not the terrible paint jobs like the painted tub in your college efficiency. I was a non-believer until my own mother, who is craftier in ways I will never be, painted her sink a dark gray and it was stunning. No one could even tell that she didn’t buy it like that.


 

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Light fixtures and ceiling fans are a cheap investment that can update a space. Choose fixtures that are all matching colors and finishes to be consistent throughout the rooms. Are your switch plates ugly? New switch plates and plugs can also achieve a fresh and subtle look. New trim can liven up your borders. Especially if you current trim is cracked or worn, it can make a house seem outdated and unkempt. Off white Mini-blinds are so boring. Change them out with wood blinds, curtains, or shades to go from disgust to upper crust in minutes.

There are plenty of ways to make an old space look new. All you have to do is think outside the toolbox.

 

 MelissaBarnett.com

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Hacks to Paint Like a Pro

Painting your house or rooms can be exciting to renovate a space but at times the actual act of doing it is a chore. I honestly dread it. The best part is picking out a color. I like to bribe friends and family to help with the rest because it’s not my strong suit. In order to prevent having to bribe and beg and your fear of painting, here are a few hacks to keep your paint rolling smoothly.


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In the middle of painting, but have to go pick up Snicker Doodle from the groomers? Save your wet roller in an empty Pringles can and store it in the fridge so it doesn’t dry out. It will keep it perfectly ready-to-use until you get back. If you aren’t into Pringles, Press and Seal wrap will do just as well.

 


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http://www.familyhandyman.com

If your media of choice is spray paint, put the object you are painting in an oversized cardboard box to prevent fumes and overspray from accidentally coloring your backyard or garage.

 


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Make those crusty brushes like new again by soaking them in hot vinegar for 30 minutes. It will soften the dried paint.

 

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Put Vaseline on any area that you do not want paint on. It will resist the paint and will be a lifesaver later.

 


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Dry Swiffer your walls before you start a project. It will remove the dust. After that, use tape to remove fuzzies from your roller. This will prevent you from having to pull dust balls off your walls.

 


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If you’re painting around a toilet then cover it with a trash bag. No worrying about getting paint on your toilet.

 


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Cover doorknobs and fixtures with aluminum foil for quick masking material. Foil can also be used to cover a paint tray for easy cleanup.

 


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Of course, we always forget one crucial item. When in need of drop cloths, run to your nearest dollar store and buy shower curtain liners in its place.

 


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Put a rubber band around your paint can over the opening at the top. This will serve as a way to wipe excess off your brush without leaving paint in the lid’s crevices. Next time you use your paint the lid won’t be glued to the can.

 

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https://www.prettyhandygirl.com/paintbrushes-good-bad-and-how-to-make/

Buy quality brushes. Cheap brushes will shed and leave bristles or streak marks in your beautiful paint job. Save yourself the hassle and spend the few extra dollars.

I’m feeling better about my next paint project already. Arm yourself with the right tools and helpful hints and you can paint the town, literally and metaphorically.

 

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Trick Out Your Treats

Halloween is here again, which means it’s time for fun foods and festivities. This holiday really lets your creativity shine with scary snacks and tricky treats. Everyone knows food is the crux of a great party (besides adult spirits…slow wink). To make your next fright fest a monster smash, follow these easy recipes to trick out old treats in new ways.


 

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https://www.homemadeinterest.com/mummy-dogs/

This easy snack will be a delight for the young ghouls and young at heart. A cool twist on Pigs in a Blanket is Mummy Wrap Dogs. You’ll cut your crescent rolls into strips and wrap around your hot dog in typical mummy like fashion. Bake as directed on package. Then when all cooked, add eyes with your favorite dipping sauce.


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https://www.momdot.com/how-to-make-poison-apples/

Poison apples are an advanced version of candy apples. They are beautiful black and blue sheens. These will be sure to give all the neighbors chills. Recipe to follow:

Poison Apples

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon purple gel food dye
  • 1 teaspoon black gel food dye
  • 6-8 granny smith apples

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry apples thoroughly.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and poke firmly with candy sticks.
  3. Line a second baking sheet with buttered parchment paper, and set aside.
  4. Place a candy thermometer in a medium saucepan and add sugar, water, and corn syrup.
  5. Place over medium heat; whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  6. Let the temperature rise without stirring until it reaches the hard-crack mark at 290-310F.
  7. Remove pan from heat and carefully remove thermometer, and stir in food coloring.
  8. Holding the pan at an angle to gather the syrup in one side for easy dipping, dip and swirl each apple in the syrup, let excess drain off back into the pan, and then dip, swirl and drain a second time.
  9. Place on buttered baking sheet.
  10. Repeat with remaining apples.

 


 

MB_0083_17OctB19-3-Lemonade
https://goo.gl/2Dh2ZY

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble. Now all you need is a perfect concoction to poison your guests…whoops, I mean serve your guests. You can use your favorite punch recipe, lemonade, or cocktail to make this delightfully dark drink. All you have to do is break open activated charcoal tablets and stir into your beverage until you have a black potion of your desired ebony. Bonus points because charcoal is cleansing to the system.


 

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http://onelittleproject.com/harvest-hash-chex-mix/

Back in my day, my mother would mix peanuts and candy corn and that was our Halloween treat that we would munch on for days. Now there is fancy Harvest Hash, which sounds amazing. This will be the first recipe I try this year.

  • 1 12 oz Box Chex Cereal, flavor of your choice
  • 1 7oz bag of Bugle Chips
  • 4 cups Pretzels
  • 3/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Candy Corn
  • 1 cup Candy Corn Pumpkins
  • 1 8oz bag of Reese’s Pieces

In a large bowl you will mix 1 box chex cereal, 1 bag of Bugles, and 4 cups of pretzels. Melt ¾ cup butter mixed well with ¾ cup brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp vanilla extract. Pour this sauce over your cereal mixture. Combine well then spread over cookie sheets lined with parchment paper to bake for 45 min on 275 degrees. Once baked and cooled you can add 1 cup candy corn, 1 cup candy corn pumpkins, and 1 bag of Reese’s Pieces. Mix well and enjoy some harvest time.

You are now ready to make a graveyard smash.

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Feng Shui Your Day

Our homes are a place where we go to relax, unwind, and get away from the world for a bit. We want it to be as welcoming and warm as possible to ourselves and family. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice to balance the energies in your house. Rearranging your home is a perfect way to have a refreshed space and attitude. Maybe your annoying Aunt Linda will have a better attitude during visits after she sees this transformation.


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Kitchen: The kitchen is a place for gatherings. It is the most important room in the house according to Feng Shui. Use a warm accent color to promote socialization during meals and parties. If possible hone as much natural light in the kitchen. If no natural lighting is available then layer various light fixtures to encourage positive energy. Free your kitchen counters of cumbersome gadgets or dirty dishes for a simplistic open flow.


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Living Room: The living room is a communal room for family and friends. Again, you should optimize the natural light and any large windows. Hang sheer airy curtains instead of heavy ones to accomplish this. Live plants, mirrors, and fresh cut flowers encourage liveliness in the room. Neutral colors should be present to allow coziness with pieces of red for color to bring wealth and add interesting pops of color.


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Bedroom: Choose calming colors for the walls like blue, green, and chocolate brown. Keep electronic stimulation out of the bedroom. Leave televisions, computers, and gaming systems in the family room. This promotes relaxation without distractions. Remove any storage you may have cluttered under your bed in order to provide positive energy flow and deeper sleep.


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Bathroom: A bathroom should be clean and clutter free at all times to create positive energy. This is especially true for mirrors to prevent distortion. Soothing artwork is advised for a spa like feel. Display quality soaps, thick towels, and candles to increase luxury and beauty. A bathroom is meant for cleansing as well as indulgence.

These are just a few starting pointers to start the process of how to Feng Shui your day with positive energies.

 

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Kick Summer to the Curb

The end of summer marks the beginning of a new season, which means a whole new look for our homes. It is time to break out the pumpkins and haystacks. The outside of our houses is an important presentation to our visitors and passersby. It is a welcoming entry way into our personal lives. Today we will find ways to shout out our seasonal pride by sprucing up our street curb credit.

 


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New Heights. The key to a successful porch makeover is to create different heights with your décor. Create a layering effect with chairs, planters, stacked pumpkins and wheat stalks. Place planters on chairs to reach greater heights or strategically place candle holders along your porch. This will visually make leading lines toward your door as the focus point of your home


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No Bore Door. Doors should make a statement. They are the first objects people will see and notice when approaching the home. Change up your look by choosing a bold color to paint or stain it. A beautiful blue, red or yellow can renew the vibe of your porch experience while staying in budget if decorating on the cheap side.


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Thick and Theme. Just because it’s Fall doesn’t mean you have to stick to boring oranges and reds. Choose a fun color theme that combines fall and fun such as pale blues or greens. There are various colors of gourds and squashes that aren’t orange at all. Cool tones can be used instead of warm tones with just as much charm.


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Pumpkin Patch. These are a given staple in an Autumn curb display. Paint plastic pumpkins cool colors like gold or white for a modern touch. Show your home pride by stenciling the outline of your state on your real or faux pumpkin or the number of your address for visitors to spot from the road. You can even wrap your gourds in ribbon for a fancy addition to plain pieces.


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Mums the word. There is no Autumn without mums. This beautiful flower is the cornerstone of the season. My mother is a traditionalist when it comes to decorating with mums. She buys orange and red only. The other colors are greatly underrated. There are deep fuchsias, goldenrod yellows, lavender purples and bright whites. Don’t limit your color scheme by tradition. Go wild and crazy with purple and white mums.

The curb appeal of your home will now be the talk of the neighborhood. Your modern spin on old Autumn sights will inspire others to think outside the corn stalks.

 

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Cooler Weather Makes Cooler Chores

The temperature is dropping and so is the need to stay indoors from the heat. Now is the time to get up and be as productive as the attention span allows. In preparation for the cooler times ahead there are a few items on the to-do list for the apartment or home that can be easily crossed off in a matter of minutes.


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Air out your mattress. Our mattresses collect bacteria and skin cells over the years. Every so often it is good to give it a sunbath for its protection and ours. Setting it out in the sun for a few hours will kill potential bacteria and mold. This can make your mattress firmer and less liable to sink in the center. It will also give it some fresh air so that it will smell like new…maybe. Now that it’s not blazing warm out, it will be easier to maneuver your bulky bed to the outdoors and inside with ease.


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Waterproof your shoes. Just because shoes are canvas doesn’t mean they have to hide in the back of the closet for colder seasons. Make your canvas shoes waterproof by using Neverwet for fabric. This is an easy and cost efficient way to use your favorite shoes all year round. Don’t want to drive to Target (Let’s face it, the only place to shop)? Then you can take an unscented candle from home to rub over the canvas of the shoes, heat with a hair dryer and you can then wear your tennis another season.


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Optimize the nice weather. Open windows and doors and throw open the sashes. Now that the heat is beat you can now enjoy the afternoon breeze before it turns again. This will keep energy costs down if you turn off your AC or heat as well as refresh your space.


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Make a cool tunes playlist. Nothing prepares the soul for a season change like a heart felt playlist that will set the right tone. Use it for the commute to work, while cleaning house and for a background for relaxing book reading. You know in the movies when a person is driving through the color changing trees with the car windows down and the perfect melodic yet inspiring song comes on? Be that person.


Flower Pots Begonias Potted Flowers Garden

Outdoor home maintenance. There is not a more perfect time than to do all the outer housework that you have been meaning to get to. No more excuses. It is no longer “too hot” or “too rainy” or “It’s such a nice day out how could I possibly waste it on house chores.” Now everyday is a nice day at least for a few months. So get out there and clean gutters, freshen paint, put perennials in those terra cotta pots. You’ll be proud of yourself after.


These aren’t all the items you need to accomplish this season but it will give a running start. Make your minutes count in the lovely weather because you don’t know how long it will last in Oklahoma.

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OKC’s Most Chill Treats

It is a typical summer day in Oklahoma. Over 90 degrees and the sun feels like it’s specifically hovering over you alone. Your air conditioner is acting like it has an upper respiratory issue by the way it’s wheezing and you may have a sun burn just by even thinking about stepping on your porch. It’s so hot out that your taste buds are sweating. Well sweat no more because we have a set of the coolest treats that melt in your mouth and chill your core.


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Raspado’s Hawaiian is a snow cone that will satisfy the sweet and sour side of you. These treats are all natural fruit flavors with over 40 options. This cup of heaven comes complete with actual chunks of fruit, chamoy syrup, and a tamarind candy covered straw, which are scientifically considered all the flavors of a flawless summer. If milkshakes are more of your taste style then order an obispos, which is shaved ice in choices of mango, strawberry, pineapple, and banana topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a creamy dream.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-2-Trailer Trash Treatz

This one is a little off the beaten path, but if you’re a snow cone connoisseur then this will be just another glorious adventure that you can add to your Yelp review collection. Trailer Trash Treatz will surpass its name and your expectations.

Pick from almost 50 flavors of snow and order it “trashy” for an extra sweet surprise. Dig to the center of the cone to discover ice cream and a slice of cheesecake. Three, yes three, of America’s favorite desserts in one cup. With two locations in Yukon and Choctaw, this small chain is changing the way people think about cones of snow.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-3 Organic Squeeze

Now you’re staring at your kids in envy with their trashy feasts and candied fruit cups. A dreaded four letter word is holding you back from tearing into one like a rabid polar bear…diet. Organic Squeeze has got your back. You can indulge without the guilt. They have made from scratch Squeeze Pops crafted with the finest organic ingredients. Enjoy unique flavors such as Orange Ginger Pineapple or Berry Cream made with Himalayan salt. Kids can also enjoy a healthy snack because when they complete the “no soda challenge” for one week they get a free Squeeze Pop. Double the yum for the price of one.


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It’s been a rough sweltering day, right? A little time out is in order. Sneak away to Revolución for an adult snow day that will make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland for a minute. This boozy beverage is named a Cannonball and for good reason. It will blow away all your problems. A frozen margarita topped with a sangria snowball. Those red and greens are like Christmas in July.

Now go treat yourself.

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NEVER LEAVE YOUR BACKYARD AGAIN

When your barbecue just isn’t bringing the guests to your shindig, you need to up your entertainment game. Some good old fashion competition should rile up your audience. Here is some backyard business that everyone can get on board with. Now let’s get the ball rolling…


MB_0045_17JulyB5-1yardzee

Yard-zee is an oversized version of the classic dice game your grandparents used to make you play when you were young and they’d beat you every time. You’ll have a blast wrestling a large bucket to “shake” your dice in and chasing your steroidal cubes all over the lawn. When tired of all that winning, you can switch to Farkle, another household favorite with a questionable name. Now that you’re an adult, you can beat your children, nieces, and nephews. Maybe let them win just once to show good sportsmanship…Nahhhh.


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Corn Hole is a personal favorite at my house. There is nothing like getting a group of family together for a tournament. The rules are fairly simple; just toss your corn bag across the yard in attempt to make it into the hole. Don’t judge. It’s harder than it sounds. Make sure everyone is playing by the same set of rules with a unbiased score keeper in order to prevent major family rifts that end with not talking to Aunt Sally for months. Then when all is said and done the winner is named Corn King or Queen. Okay, so its not a fetching title but your family won’t forget who won the year of 2017. Boo-yah.


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To put a twist on the traditional “Potato Sack Race” and “Three-legged Race,” go to a local thrift store and buy four to six of the largest sets of jeans or pants you can find. Each person will slip inside a pant leg in teams to work together to hop across the finish line. Kids and adults alike will not be able to stop laughing by how silly this game is. Goofy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. The videos will go viral on YouTube.


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The sun is going down, but no one is ready to end the fun. After all, now that it’s evening it is the perfect summer temperature. That’s when you break out the Glow in the Dark Bowling. Take small bottles for children or two-liter bottles for adults then fill with water and place glow sticks in them. Grab your favorite basketball or soccer ball and you have a rager of an evening. A great way to end the night and you’ll gain brownie points with your Grandpa who’s in a professional bowler’s league. The summer fun has just begun.

 

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The OKC Bucket List: Outdoor Escapades and Eats

 

Having trouble beating the summer bummers? These entertaining activities will keep you from losing your mind and your tan line. Oklahoma is a thriving community in the summer season so relax and let the fun divert all your cares.

 


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1. Reach Great Heights. On the Wheeler District’s Ferris Wheel you can get an amazing view of the river and downtown. The Wheel was bought on Ebay and originally stood on California’s Santa Monica Pier. The district often has food trucks and festivals for your dining pleasure. Only $6 per ride makes for an affordable memory. We recommend going at night for a romantic evening gaze of a sparkling skyline, still flowing waters and an Oklahoma sunset. Ahhhh.


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2. Get Insomnia. The one time it may benefit you to get insomnia is to go to Insomnia Cookies. They have a variety of desserts including cookies, brownies and ice cream. If your blood sugar is especially low then you’ll want to indulge in a Deluxe Cookiewich to satisfy the craving. The best part about this fine establishment is that they are open until 3am, not to mention that they deliver. So you can feel good about not being able to sleep.


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3. Embark on a Ride. Spokies is Oklahoma City’s only bike sharing system. You can glide through traffic without having to worry about pesky parking. On your ride, you’ll be able to tour Downtown, Midtown and historic neighborhoods from its eight locations around town. For a small fee, you can ride for 30 minutes or get a pass that allows hourly use. Embark wanted to provide eco-friendly and affordable transit to those in need of fun and fast transportation.


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4. Sport About. The Boathouse District contains an exciting day for the family. Riversport Adventures is hours of thrills with water rafting, zip lines, rope courses, tubing, kayaking and slides. This will not disappoint the adventure seekers in your group. You can choose from a day or season pass or even a single experience for the more serene adventurer.


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5. Reconnect with Nature. Do you miss the forests but are stuck in the city? Martin Nature Center is where you should be. Tucked away in Oklahoma City is this amazing reserve. Several trails will take you over a river, past prairie dogs, and up to a bird observation center. It is the perfect place to trick yourself into thinking that you’re hiking a National State Park. Looking is free. Try not to take home a prairie dog though.


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