Shawnee Mountain in PA & Chili to Warm You Up

With the end of our fall activities, we tend to keep things a bit lighter in the colder months.  Even though our boys take indoor tennis lessons during this time... I purposely left our Saturdays completely unscheduled.  The reason?  So, that this year, they could learn to ski and/or snowboard.

With a snowfall toward the end of December, we made a plan to get the boys on skis for the first time.

Ski & Snowboarding at Shawnee Mountain
We made the trip to Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania and got them set-up with ski lessons.  It was within an hour of where we live, so not a bad drive to get there.

We did manage to make one mistake when we got there.  There are a couple of different programs for ski lessons.  One is the Children's Program, which gives them 3 hour lessons which include the rentals, full day lift ticket and a snack mid-way through plus the lesson for $90.  Then, there is the Ski School, which is also $90 and includes a full day lift ticket, but the lesson is only 1 to 1 1/2 hours long.  When we got to the mountain, we didn't realize we went into the ski school instead of the Children's program until after we had dropped the boys off at their lesson.

Fortunately, after figuring this out and discussing with the managers they allowed our boys to take an additional class to get them to the full class time we had intended to sign them up for that day.  After the two classes, they came back to us with smiles and fully enjoyed skiing that day.

When we left that day, they were completely worn out!  They both asked if we could go back and try snowboarding next... so, we made a plan with some friends and called ahead to set-up the 3 hour session through the Children's Program for snowboarding.

Ski & Snowboarding at Shawnee Mountain
Ski & Snowboarding at Shawnee Mountain

They had a blast with the snowboarding lesson!  All four of the kids decided that they loved it and wanted to take more lessons.  This was a bit disappointing to My Husband since he skis and had hoped they'd choose skiing so that he would have ski buddies.  I think they will still end up wanting to learn how to ski as well, but for now.. snowboarding is going to take priority since they had so much fun, in spite of falling on their rear-ends so much.  

We are looking into scheduling another lesson for them soon.  We want to encourage them when they find something active that they really want to do.  Also, it will help make the colder months more enjoyable if we can do some winter activities like this.

After a day in the chilly mountain air, the ideal meal to come home to is chili that has cooked away in the crockpot.  I've gone back and forth over the years on whether cooking it this way is the ideal way or on the stovetop.  This time, I played around with the seasonings a bit and it was a little spicier than usual... but, everyone enjoyed it!  There were only a couple of servings left... which tells me this is a recipe worth repeating!

Chili is ready!Depending on where you are from chili may mean different things to you... I love chili that has a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage... and 2 different types of beans in it.  It's not chili for me unless it has beans in it, but you won't find me serving it over rice or spaghetti as I know other people do.

We like to add a bit of shredded cheese on top and I serve it with saltines... which might just be something I grew up with as I don't know a lot of other people who do this.

What kind of chili do you enjoy?  Do you add corn and black beans?  Do you skip the beans all together?

Spicier Chili in the Crockpot

Recipe by Patsyk
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 package/packet chili seasoning (I use McCormick's mild seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and allow to cook until softened and browned - about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and ground beef and cook until completely browned.
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder and salt to the meat mixture. Stir to combine and allow to cook a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chili seasoning and beans to the crockpot. Then, drain the meat mixture and add to the crockpot. Stir to combine and cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce heat to low and cook for another 4-6 hours.

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