Monday, December 31, 2007
AAh, January 07', take me back to my postpartum fog. F-O-G! I spent the majority of the month adjusting to life with my two darling daughters. Interestingly enough Sj tested her boundaries and independence more and more daily, while GL seemed to be my new appendage. What a stark contrast. Obviously, one year later has left me in a place of happy reflection, happy to be one year out, and happy to see so many beautiful moments between the girls.
I feel content in saying, maturity brings different phases in my personal relationships, which was really brought to the forefront for me this year. Having clarity to see relationships for exactly what they are AND.....on top of that clarity to leave it be. Allowing myself to accept that I can not always change or control the deficits or growth some of my relationships endured. I may always be a phone call away for a friend who lives a car ride away, but hardly ever a stop by and let's hang out. Or on the other hand, it may be worth a plane trip to see my smiling face, to spend time with me. You know what, I am fine with both scenarios and all that fall smack dab in between. I feel grateful my most important relationship, that with J, has lasted another year, and I wouldn't want to take back any of the 16 years he's been by my side.
I spent part of 2007 dabbling in things that spark my interest and curiosity, what a great way to nurture myself. I began building cakes. It's so much fun, stressing out on construction techniques, flavors, knowing my imagination is the limit to the final product.
And most importantly, I changed my mind about running. Running is all mental,your body will do what your brain tells it to, whether it be stop or go. You tell yourself you can or you can't. Well, I told my former I am not a runner self, that I can run, and I did. I just haven't run in quite sometime. I miss my Saturday morning running buddies and our weekly therapy sessions, quite terribly actually!
And then there was this little thing called my blog. It all started when my local newspaper was looking for a local mom to blog on their website. I never heard back from the editor. I started EatPlayLove instead, her lack of response didn't stop me. I don't think I am of newspaper caliber anyway. Now, I can give you the code to make a link open on a separate page, I can tell you two handfuls of ways to change your text with simple code. HTML is not so much a mystery anymore. Although, there is still so much to learn, which is something I embrace not cringe over!
My travels took me to beautiful Colorado Mountain towns and to the beaches of California. I am so proud I embraced the magic of Disney and had a wonderful time. I smile knowing my feet graced the sand of the Pacific just a few weeks ago. The sound of waves crashing is beautiful to me. Simply beautiful. I feel sad that we did not have the opportunity to visit our families on the east coast, but we will return soon. I can't wait to get Sj on a subway, eating a slice of pizza walking down the street, and cruising the halls of MOMA.
I do have to end with all the hard work we put into our house this year. Owning an older home is always an adventure. We successfully remodeled our bathroom upstairs, I just fixed our second bath's broken toilet two days ago, Sj has a huge and wonderful new sandbox, and I even rewired some new light fixtures. I love the challenge, appreciate the money saved, and savor every moment my four year old daughter sits by my side handing me tools, as mom is busy working on a Mr.Fix-It project.
Goodbye 2007. I am so happy to be here now writing, knowing that someone other than my mom, my best friend, or my husband may read this blog. Let's laugh a little bit in 2008, I promise to keep the topics light and the potential to smile very high. See you next year, wink-wink!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
In a nutshell, open enrollment is a program that allows parents to enroll their children in a school of their choice, not just enroll in your neighborhood school. To be quite honest, I haven't spent any time at my neighborhood school, but I do know the population and it's transient nature. I truly feel like Sj would do fine at our neighborhood school, but I know she could be exposed to many unique learning experiences at another BVSD school.
How could I say no to a Waldorf Inspired School or a Montessori School or a Math & Music Focus School? Yes, many options, almost too many.
So, where does this leave me? Visiting a boatload of schools. Most of the schools are offering open houses and/or tours before the first round of open enrollment closes. The magical date for that is January 18th.
Having worked and volunteered in a few BVSD schools in years past, I know where I want to start my visits. Kindergarten is so varied from school to school. Some offer half days, some offer 2 full days with Friday half day, and some offer full day for a fee. I feel like Sj being on the younger side to start school, would do best with a half day program. But hours are the least of my worries, ultimately the quality of the school and their programs will draw me in. If it's a full day program, we'll just have to hope for the best. BVSD offers so many amazing opportunities for even the youngest learners, I feel so lucky to be giving her a diverse range of learning experiences.
I know Sj needs an opportunity to learn through arts. She has such passion for drawing, painting, singing, dancing. I can't imagine pushing all that aside, just so she can read, write, and perform well on tests.
I suppose I must have faith in this whole "lottery" open enrollment process. I pick four schools and fate steps in. This one is definitely to be continued.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Baked Apple Pancake, yes dessert for breakfast. The recipe used three eggs, so the protein helped me convince myself that I wasn't totally overindulging at 8 am. The recipe came from my favorite baking book, Mom's Big Book of Baking by Lauren Chattman. I first discovered this book at the library a few years ago and when I had a hard time letting it go back to the library, I decided I needed to purchase it for my cookbook collection. There are countless recipes in it that are no fail crowd pleasers every single time.
I offered to cook dinner tonight. J has been doing the majority, umm more like 95%, of the cooking this week. I was listening to Sirius Radio the other night and the topic of conversation turned to the Lighter Sesame Chicken featured in this months issue of Everyday Food. Believe it or not, this meal whips up quicker than calling your favorite Chinese delivery. And, better yet, you know what quality ingredients are in the meal. Fabulous and speedy, my kind of dinner. I might even give the recipe a try with tofu, for a little vege variation.To make the dinner an even better success, Sj and GL, devoured their meals, quietly with no poking, coaxing, or prodding. Two Thumbs up!
Yes, Sj and I actually baked cookies today. I morphed the recipe from two sources. Gosh are these cookies addictive. I used a combination of cashews and almonds, because that's what I had on hand. The recipe calls for adding confectioner's sugar on top at the end, but I decided to not do that, it allows the flavor from the nuts in the cookie dough to shine through. They are pretty much all gone, which I think speaks for itself when it comes to baking.
January 1st is when I need to tow the line in the caloric intake right, I better get my cravings out of the way now!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Beyond those little things that can leave me hung up in conversation, I always embrace the changing of the calendar year. Looking back, I like to reflect upon where I was one year ago, and most often be grateful for the place I have arrived today. We can only hope that new place will offer up one year wiser to go with the change in my age. Sometimes age and wisdom are not synonymous, but if I am on the right path, they will be.
I have already given passing thoughts to what I am hoping for the New Year. I am honing in a possible New Year's Resolution, with every new idea. I feel change is a wonderful thing, but often jumping into something too big leaves me disappointed by mid-January. My theory is to go small, resolve on a steady and sure path with general notions.
Here are a few of those ideas I've been dancing around in my head for the last week or so:
I want to return to running, I say this with a foot of snow on the ground. Yesterday I saw those hard-core, I've run for 5 years straight types, hoofing it through the snow. I suppose I could find an indoor track or treadmill to run on a few times a week until it gets nice out.
As always, I question my potential as a mother and caretaker of our home. I want to do better, to be more content in my surroundings, and have this all come to fruition with more effort my daily life. We'll see if it makes the January 1, cut.
Being more content at home, I strive to plan out our weekly meals. It just makes more sense, we toy with the notion here and there through out the year, but have a hard time sticking to it. I believe being less stressed at 5pm on weekdays, would be a happy change.
The big one, is budgeting. Can our family budget and stick to it? How courageous do we have to be to look our finances in the face and make a change? My gut instinct tells me this must be at the top of the list. Maybe I won't be pulling out my hair at the end of the month, every damn month.
Date night...gee what a concept. Put my hubby and I at the top of the list, once a month. I don't even need date night, I could use date day, just a few hours, out with my man being adults. I can already imagine not having our children's behavior or needs dominating us. Just us. Maybe I need a sitter or just some friends to pull a swap with monthly.
I am ending with my crafty aspirations. I am a lifelong learner in the craft department. I hope to spend more time using my creativity to make other's happy. More knitting, more scrapping, more using the items that fill my office cabinets. It can be done and I am just the woman to do it. Balance, my dear.
The official New Year's list, will come on January 1st. In the mean time my brain will keep on racing, finding the right goals to set and work on, so I can find myself happier next December.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
So, where do we choose to eat in Boulder when we have the kids in tow?
Considering the aforementioned circumstances, our dining hours are generally breakfast or lunch. I don't care to do the restaurant hustle and bustle during peak hours with cranky, I just want to go to bed kids.
Breakfast Boulder style can most easily be found at Turley's at 28th & Pearl. Although the service can differ tremendously on any given visit. I love the alternative natural meat options and the notion that I am putting healthier prepared foods into my body.
With that said, Lucile's at 14th between Spruce & Pine is the let's go out and have a 2,000 calorie breakfast kind of place. I have a weakness for their biscuits and typically leave there having over done it. I most enjoy their alternative to the meat laden Benedict, the Eggs Jennifer with spinach and tomato! Although, I would recommend ordering a half size portion of Hank's eggs, it's delicious. Service is prompt and they know how to turn a crowd out of their beautiful yellow Victorian. You may want to bring along your newspaper and a cup of coffee, so you aren't disappointed when they tell you it's an hour wait.
Now for LUNCH, we have a few favorites, which always leave my belly content. Zolo Grill, at 28th & Arapahoe, is a wonderful alternative to traditional Mexican food in Boulder. It is more reminiscent of Santa Fe Mexican to me. Dining there always takes your palate on a little adventure from sweet to spicy, but always wonderfully balanced. We enjoy their guacamole, duck tacos, and the pulled pork sandwich. The restaurant runs a bit on the noisy side, so my children do just fabulously there.
Another nationally recognized Boulder gem is The Kitchen, at 11th & Pearl. We always seem to have our girls with us when we visit The Kitchen, but I would love to escape for a dining experience there with out them! They don't have a kids menu, but they are always wonderful about creating something a bit more 4 year old kid friendly. Their food has never disappointed, as well as their service. Their menu changes on a regular basis, which leaves the Foodie in me just thrilled. On the walls you will find the daily ingredients, hand written on chalk boards, ranging from organic meats to local produce. If you haven't been to The Kitchen yet, you must give it a try!!
An easy in and out, quick let's grab some lunch kind of place is Salvaggio's Italian Deli. There are three locations, my favorite is the original location is at 26th & Pearl, but there are also locations at 14th & Pearl on the mall and on the Hill. Hands down it is my favorite Deli in Colorado. They have fabulous freshly baked bread and Boar's Head Meats. I can't stand a Deli that tries to offer up cheap meat at a premium price. Even if you see a line spilling around the corner, it's worth the wait. I always get the Turkey American, but have the good fortune of sharing my hubby's sandwich, he's always trying something new. Don't forget a chocolate chip cookie, it makes the meal complete.
Boulder is the best place to dine out with your kids. You can eat wonderful food in a casual setting. Don't relegate yourself to the typical chain, blah experience, try something locally owned!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Today, we made Colorado proud. It snowed for hours. A white blanket of pure fluff graced the brown grass, making everything appropriately picturesque. The newscasters were rambling off the odds of it actually snowing on Christmas Day and sure enough the odds were against us.
Our family was delighted with the fresh powder. We bundled up after our belly warming early dinner of pot roast and veggies. Little Miss GL giggled with delight when I put the scarf around her neck during our walk when the wind picked up. Sj and I raced down our block at the end of our walk to make snow angels.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Wrapping paper or gift bags? both? I always wrap Christmas gifts, the girls each have their own paper from Santa, although sometimes he needs to borrow ours.
Tree--Real or Artificial? Always real until this year. Pre-lit with adorable pine cones, totally lured me to the other side. And the parched trees of Colorado dropping needles by the second, drives me bonkers.
When do you put your Christmas tree up? Depends on the year. This year, umm, the other day. Last year, the day after Thanksgiving. Our tree tradition, no tradition. We'll see next year, now that we have a re-usable tree, fancy that.
When do you take the tree down? Gosh Don't say take it down already, I just got it up! I'll be over it by next weekend, just before January 1st.
Like egg nog? Horizon Organic Low Fat, yummy...
Do you have a nativity scene? No.
Favorite gift received as a child? Probably my collection of Strawberry Shortcake Dolls or Cabbage Patch Dolls, the super hard to find, knock the person over in front of you-run to grab as quick as you can, Cabbage Patch.
Hardest person to buy for? I don't have a terribly hard person to buy for. I like a challenge.
Easiest person to buy for? My 4 year old, hands down. Everywhere I went, I could have picked her up something, easily. I had to restrain myself on many outtings.
Worst Christmas gift? Probably items from the dollar store or random clearance items.
Mail or email a Christmas Card? Photo card every year from Costco, although I was really bummed by the quality this year, next year I am going to try Shutterfly.
Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Polar Express.
When do you start shopping for Christmas? End of November, on-line.
Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, to Good Will, not to someone I knew.
Favorite food to eat on Christmas? Green Olive & Pimento Cream Cheese Stuffed Celery, Cookies, generally anything that would be considered indulging.
Clear or colored tree lights? Clear, although in the past we have put blue lights on our tree out front, they match our snowman's scarf. I know, I am a dork.
Favorite Christmas Song? Sleigh Ride. A few years ago, I heard Ben Harper on Muzak in the Gap singing a Christmas Song, but I can't remember what song it was, it would be my favorite.
Travel during Christmas or Stay home? We've stayed home for 9 years now. Traveling to the Northeast in December is about as much fun as visiting Arizona in August. Missing our family is the bummer.
Can you name Santa's reindeer? Maybe, in a pinch. J did to win a free Starbucks Soy Latte, just a few weeks ago by naming all the reindeer. Lucky him.
Angel or Star on Tree top? It's an angel sitting on a what resembles a snowball, although Sj calls it our Tree Fairy. Must be the sparkles.
Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning. We did allow Sj to open a Christmas Book on the Eve.
annoying wonderful thing about this time of year? We get to spend the week together between Christmas and New Years and J doesn't have to work. His office shuts down. That's what I always look forward to. Who wants to dwell on annoying things! Oh, yeah and the after Christmas bargains, I love a good bargain!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Unfortunately it was not worth the wait for little miss GL, she had no idea what she was in for. An old man with a big scratchy beard, not exactly the mesmerizing Teletubbies. Although, Sj was ready to throw in the towel half way through, she made it. It was worth it for her. She took a few moments to recite her well versed list to him. I hope he doesn't disappoint her.
But, it's not so much like that for me anymore. I've grown to have gift patience. Gosh, it really is no fun having tidbits of information about a gift before it's even opened. Now, I relish the moment, and linger in the surprise.
I will even go so far as to say,I enjoy buying gifts more than receiving gifts. I love when I happen upon something unexpected that I know is going to bring a smile. Well, then sometimes I second guess if my perception of the wonderful gift will be as happily received. But, it was well intended, a notion that I think is lost in the majority of today's gift giving. It seems like today everyone is so stressed about shopping, something they have to do, not want to do. Is it really that hard to take a moment and think about what the person you are buying for would adore? I don't think it is, but I do know a few tough cookies.
Now, there's the whole gift card trend. I know they are very practical. Yes, gift cards allow the recipient to purchase whatever they desire, but it takes a bit of the magic out of gift giving. Everytime I put on a piece of jewelry or heck, even pick up my diaper bag that J purchased me, I can be taken back to the special occasion, that is if my memory is serving me well. I hardly give a second thought to items I purchase with gift cards or cash that was given me. It's strange really.
It feels special when someone takes the time, to look around, to hone in on an item they think I will cherish. On the other end of the spectrum, a pile of random gifts, that seem thoughtless, bugs me to no end. I've received things and thought to myself, does this person know me?
Aren't you glad you don't have to buy me anything for Christmas.
So, no more sneaking any peaks for me. I just hope, there are a few cute things under the tree for me, that I know were purchased with meaningful intentions. No pressure, hubby. You always do a wonderful job.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
My new mantras are "Don't touch that!" or "Wash your hands!" and even "Get your hands away from your mouth, NOW!"......
It doesn't seem to be helping.
Other than all things viral that come with winter, I do love the chill in the air. Seeing my breath in the morning when I am outside getting the paper, it's fun in moderation. Sj and I always play around in the car as it warms up, with our dragon appearing breath. Then after a few weeks, yep I'm over it.
So sun, come back soon, grace us with your rays. Warm up the playgrounds, melt the snow, and allow me to get over my winter-induced germ phobias!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Here's my latest case study. Publishers, take a number. While comparing email lists to rosters during my volunteer duties as MOMs Club secretary, I found it quite interesting the choice of email addresses. In the past, I have felt the pressure to create a unique email address, one that would be representative of me, but user friendly. I hold three email accounts, one linked to all things blog, one personal account I've used for years, and a hotmail account I've kept around for even longer. The history keeps me logging back into hotmail, it reminds me of the old broken in college sweatshirt, I still dare to put on after all these years.
But now, drum roll please, the moment you've been waiting for. My aah-ha moment, is over a third of the mom's on our roster use email accounts that are clearly tied to their husbands. For the most part, their email addresses are comprised of their name and their husbands initials with theirs. Now, the question I ask, is do they share this account with their hubbies? Or was it created with both in them in mind and then, they took over and never really gave thought to changing it. It is very intriguing to me.
It almost affects the things I would write in an email if I knew it wasn't a personal account, if it was a hubby-read account.
My husband and I shared an email account in 1998 when we took our honeymoon trip to Europe, just for the sake of convenience when using internet cafes. Easy in, easy out, one account. That account has now been deemed cyberspace fodder, for I would have no idea how to get back into it, nor would I want to.
Maybe i'm a bit too territorial over my email accounts. My hubby can read away any time he wishes, but it's all mine. My own underwear, my own debit card, my own car, my own email account. It all seems to fit, just right for me. I can't imagine getting his bicycle related emails and I am darn sure he wouldn't be thrilled by the hourly Babystyle promos, I can't seem to escape.
Now for those of you that share, please enlighten me. For I am rather curious....
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Pressure, unusual pressure, to be Betty Crocker. Or even worse, to emulate Martha Stewart, with out a team of professionals to have my back. I am hosting a cookie swap. It's a pretty basic cookie swap in the spectrum of over-regulated and policed traditions. If you have a moment, google cookie swap and see how completely insane some women get about their cookie swaps.
Here's the guideline:
- There are 11 total participants, so bring 10 individual bags of cookies to give out with the recipe for each.
- Package 4-6 homemade cookies in each bag.
- Bring an additional 1 dozen cookies to share, so we can sample them at the swap.
- Leave with a boatload of delicious cookies!
We didn't even discuss what type of cookies people were bringing. In my opinion, if we had duplicates, we could eat both and see which one we liked better. Turns out, there weren't any duplicates and I can say there wasn't a cookie I didn't like. How democratic of me. But seriously, ten different varieties of treats, of which I didn't have to bake in entirety. Delicious and my kind of night.
So for my personal choices, I picked recipes from Martha. I found other recipes that I am going to try out, but the batches weren't big enough. I thought I would save those recipes for a personal baking session with my darling, Sj or shall we call her Little Martha. Ha! It makes perfect sense to pick some fabulous recipes for Santa's Cookies, doesn't (s)he deserve it?
In fear of breaking some sort of publishing rights, I am going to put the links for the recipes, with my personal opinions on how they turned out.
The Lime Meltaways were very unique as far as holiday cookies go. They seem like a perfect treat to make for a barbecue mid-summer, the quantity of fresh lime zest alone is what drew me into the recipe. I have to admit, they were rather fragile and other people's opinions on the site, encouraged me to hand dip the confectioner's sugar on at the end, rather than toss them in a bag. For me, they were fabulous, almost like a palate cleanser in between all the fudge and other treats.
The second choice was the Oatmeal Toffee which also lured me with the ingredients. I didn't want to drive all over town seeking out the typical Martha unique items, I went for available at my local market, but not totally traditional. The cookies were alright, nothing to write home about. I did like the dried cherries and the toffee, but we had to use Heath Bars, because our market didn't stock the Hershey toffee bits, how not convenient for me. If you are bored with chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, switch it up with these.
The last important recipe I must share is for the Sangria I made. What's the holidays without a little festive fruity drink? This recipe is so simple for Sangria, I highly recommend it. I switched it up in two ways, shame on me, the folks at Cooks Illustrated would be disappointed I didn't follow their overly-tested methods to-a-"t". I used Grand Marnier and I warmed the orange juice and the sugar on the stove top, to guarantee the sugar would melt and not just sit on the bottom of the pitcher. It worked like a charm.
Host a cookie swap, but keep in mind a more light hearted spirit. We have enough pressure on us this time of year, leave the list of rules and regulations for more important things. Happy baking and better yet happy eating!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sometimes I get a good laugh thinking of the jobs I got paid to do over the years. Gosh, have I worked an odd job or two, and typically for longer than a few weeks.
My first taste of, cash in hand, came when I was a babysitter starting from about the age of 12. That path stuck with me for a number of years and when I moved to Colorado, it even grew into the profession I once called nanny. I never really cared about giving up Friday nights when I was a teenager, I looked forward to spending my hard earned cash at the mall on a Saturday night instead. Now, I wish I could find a good solid babysitter, to look after my girls, while I enjoyed some free time, or a Friday night out with my hubby.
My college years proved to be the most unique employment opportunities. My odd jobs paid my rent and in some cases even paid my schooling through work-study programs.
When J and I lived in Saranac Lake, years ago, I worked two jobs. One, at a gas station. I was fortunate enough to leave that job for a work study as a library assistant, back in the days of card catalogs.
After the big move out west, that's when I landed my full time nanny job. I took babysitting to the next level. The family I worked for is still a part of my life, so that's the wonderful side of being a nanny. But there are more random jobs I worked, sometimes in conjunction with my nanny job or when I was a full time student at University of Colorado at Boulder.
A second part time job while nannying, cashier at Ideal Market.
The job my husband is most proud of me having is my work study position at the Boulder Public Library. I was a rear-projectionist, which is a fancy term for a person who switches out the reels of film while they are playing, yes mid-movie. Not much fun, sitting in a dark closet for hours.
My two other work study jobs were more typical. Administrative Assistant in the School of Education and Cashier at the Theater and Dance Box office. Both of them had there perks, like opening the ticket office on Saturday mornings to buy tickets to concerts.
While working at the T&D box office, I had the opportunity to meet a woman Sophie, the manager of an Urban Outfitters that was opening in town. She liked me, hired me, and I had the fun experience of opening a store, from the sawdust on the floor to stacked and stocked shelves ready to go. I hate retail.
Then, there was the stint as a housecleaner, while going to school. I worked with a crazy Hungarian woman, who loved cleaning the bathrooms and paid cash, at the end of the day. Ten bucks an hour cash was as good as gold to me at that stage in my life, to top it off, I never cleaned a toilet.
I also worked as a prep-cook, cashier, waitress, dishwasher, and pretty much everything except main cook at a tiny little Burrito place called Alexanders.
Ultimately, my employment path lead to bigger and more professional ventures. I landed a few part time jobs in education leading up to my big first contract. I was even a substitute teacher for a semester, which can be an eternity in that world.
Then I called a school named Monterey home for a few years, until I was blessed with a pregnancy, which got me out of working for a real unorganized and clueless leader.
They say everything happens for a reason and it sure did in that case. Thank you SJ.
Lastly, a brief stint as a Body Shop @ Home consultant. If you have an at home business in a sales field, bless your heart. I just wasn't cut out for it.
Now, I stay at home with my children. I wouldn't trade it for the world..although a magical paycheck in the mail would be a beautiful thing. The jobs I failed to mention were purely coincidental or emotionally supressed, one or the other.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
It's funny, I can sit and joke about holiday stress, when I don't even have a Christmas Tree up in my home. Yep, it's December 15th, and nope, no tree. I've introduced a new obstacle in acquiring a tree, I've decided we need to go artificial. The fake trees, with the pine cones, are just so cute. I won't even go into where the trees are made and how they've been know to contain lead. Yes, better to buy American Fake Trees, but for that you have to order on line, and for that you need foresight. Not after-the-fact, Christmas is in 10 days, buy American.
After giving the whole tree thing some thought, I realized, we haven't had a beautiful fresh tree in years, it's totally hit or miss. And then there's the needles, they get everywhere, and our last few trees, haven't sipped a drop of water. Just last year, I went to bed one night to a fresh green tree and the next morning it looked as if it had been plucked out of the Sahara, brown, droopy, and very sad. Most years, my tree sits on the side of my house until about July, even thought we have tree recycling about 1/2 mile away. I'm about the convenience, I'll enjoy my friends real trees. Even my mood about the tree has turned lackadaisical.
See, no holiday stress.
I'm hosting a cookie swap in a few days, in which I need to cook about 10 dozen cookies, aah, no problem. Don't be surprised if I don't get to a post on Tuesday, for i'll be in the midst of a kitchen frenzy. I know the women coming by that night aren't coming to check to see how clean my floors are or if I Windexed my windows recently. They are coming by to take a load off, isn't that what we all need this time of year?
I believe in my heart of hearts, that right now, is a wonderful time to slow down. To reflect, to gather those around you that warm you from the inside. Let someone else buy the perfect present or wait in line for days at the post office, if that's what keeps them in the holiday groove. I feel grateful, my friends want some time to laugh with me, I am thrilled to partake in some holiday food indulgences, I am thrilled our family we be laying low at home, and I am thrilled that I don't need to play into the stress.
Tradition is what you make it, give yourself a break, make it a tradition.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Even in this moment, I question the brilliantness of my thoughts. Are they brilliant because I am half asleep or would they make a good post?
Maybe i'll slip a mini-golf pencil in my pillow case, for an emergency moment of clarity. If I can follow through with random jottings in the middle of the night, I may just be onto something.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Now, I am going to humor you with an email I received a few years ago. I saved it because it makes me smile and it's so darn true. If you were a girl of the 70's enjoy.
YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL IN THE 70'S IF...
You wore a rainbow shirt that was half-sleeves, and the rainbow went
up one sleeve, across your chest, and down the other.
You made baby chocolate cakes in your Easy Bake Oven and washed them down with snow cones from your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.
You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked.
You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it.
You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels.
You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute(Admit it!).
You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island.
You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days.
You had either a "bowl cut" or "pixie," not to mention the "Dorothy Hamil" because your Mom was sick of braiding your hair. People sometimes thought you were a boy.
Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession.
You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers.
You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon.
You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits.
You spent hours in your backyard on your metal swing set with the trapeze. The swing set tipped over at least once.
You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color.
You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & the buckle).
You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Olson!
You wanted your first kiss to be at a roller rink.
Your hairstyle was described as having "wings" or "feathers" and you kept it "pretty" with the comb you kept in your back pocket.
You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, BlueberryMuffin and Huckleberry Pie.
You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, notplastic.
You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazard was your boyfriend.
Every now and then "It's a Hard Knock Life" from the movie, "Annie" will pop into your brain and you can't stop singing it the whole day.
YOU had Star Wars action figures, too!
It was a big event in your household each year when the "Wizard of Oz" would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags!
You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick God's eyes, decoupage, or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom.
You made Shrinky-Dinks and put iron-on kittens on your t-shirts!
You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker.
You couldn't wait to get the free animal poster that came when you ordered books from the Weekly Reader book club. Double score if it was a teddy bear dressed in clothing.
You learned everything you needed to know about girl issues from Judy Blume books (Are you there God, It's me, Margaret.)
You thought Olivia Newton John's song "Physical" was about aerobics.
You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs.
You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer.
You had a Big Wheel with a brake on the side, and a Sit-n-Spin.
You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat. You spent all your allowance on smurfs and stickers for your sticker album!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
|What The Holidays Mean to You|
For you, the holidays are about generosity. You give as much as you possibly can to friends, family, and charity.
You celebrate the holidays in a minimalist style. You are likely to only give one great present and decorate your house with a few special items.
During the holidays, you like to feel cozy and comfortable. You're happy to stay inside with a roaring fire and a warm drink.
You think the holidays should be comforting and relaxing. You don't like the holiday rush... you just like the simple pleasure of the holidays.
Your best holiday memories are of childhood foods and traditions. You secretly still wish you believed in Santa Claus.
Your Holiday Stress Level is Moderate
The holidays sometimes stress you out, but mostly because they wear you down.
Take it easy! You can have a fun holiday without running yourself ragged.
Although you won't find a blogroll here, I read a good handful of blogs everyday. I'm just being a bit lazy in creating the links, shame on me. Hands down, I really enjoy having a glimpse into other people's lives through their words in a blog. Never a Dull Moment is a blog I read and Jen has posted many fun links. The *What The Holidays Mean To You* & *Holiday Stress Level* links above came from her site. I've always had a weakness for multiple choice surveys, especially when they follow up with some cutesy prediction or insight into the real me. LOL. It's so much fun to do it online, there's no tallying your points and then flipping to the back of the magazine to see what your total score means. It's instant gratification.
I will warn you, they are a bit addicting. Take a moment to waste some time and get a chuckle out of a blogthing or two.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I mentioned to Sj yesterday, maybe Santa will put the presents under the floor lamp. How lame is that?
Here's the truth of the matter. J is in charge of the Christmas tree buying in our family. He's done it for years. The one year I went along, I dragged the family to eight different lots and hardware stores, looking for the perfect tree. Funny enough that year, we bought some dwarf 4ft tall tree that just wasn't our style. J knows our style. Hopefully he can get the memo that is definitely "go time" for Christmas tree buying and decorating.
Our home is not completely void of all holiday decor. We have out two Hallmark animated song-singing stuffed decorations. I pulled them out when Sj just couldn't take the holiday-less blahs anymore. We've had many chuckles over these little decorations. GL has mastered turning them on and off and typically every time she turns one on, she dances, wiggling her hips and turning her shoulders back and forth. It's just darling. The music typically puts me over the edge by the fourth repeat, but it's just for a few weeks, I can handle it.
Maybe this weekend, cookies will be baking, holiday music will be playing, and ornaments will be crashing to the floor as we get in the spirit around here! It's about time.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Although we were only away for four days and nights, I thoroughly enjoy watching Sj and now GL, playing with all their toys when we returned home. I think an hour went by when I didn't even hear any alarming noises, it was pure reacquainting play and gosh, may I even add, appreciating our things that were missed. Mr. Potato Head hasn't seen this much attention since he was fresh out of the box. Lucky guy.
Now, if I can only have such zest for all things that come with being home. For me the transition is a bit harder, no room service to clean my place daily, no walk a block away for an afternoon snack and treat, and not an ocean in sight. Could there be an upside to the sea of laundry that is just outside my office door? Hmmm, no not really. Time to settle back into reality and start planning another getaway.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Our first night in town, we were a bit wiped from the travel, and famished. It just so happens our hotel was 1/2 a block away from a pretty decent restaurant called iCugini. Being steps from the beach of course we had to indulge in some seafood. We started with an Insalata Granzeola, which had blue crab meat from atleast three crabs, Trenette pasta dish with some of the best pesto I have ever tasted, Ozzobucco, and a sampler dessert plate. I may have fallen asleep before my head hit the pillow that night, content as ever.
Have you ever wanted to capture all the best flavors of Mexican food, but with high end ingredients? I am by no means a Mexican food snob, but sometimes I wonder what exactly is in my favorite dishes, when I am bloated a few hours later. Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have taken Mexican food to the next level with their Santa Monica restaurant, Border Grill. I pride myself on finding Border Grill a few years back, after seeing a special on Mary Sue & Susan on the Food Network. I can still recall the first time I had one of their tamales, it's like no other tamale I have ever eaten. It is so moist, you almost need a spoon to eat it. I can't tell you how many tamales i've choked down in the past few years, chasing that beautiful Border Grill experience, never to find a close comparison. Once again, it did not disappoint. We took the girls there and the waiters were just so wonderful with our children, a bonus for families who like to dine on decent food with their kids. We even found Border Grill to go meals at Whole Foods, so hopefully, if I get lucky eventually their food will make it's way to Colorado.
You could say, pizza is pizza, it's all basically the same, right? In my humble opinion, I think that's absurd, not all pizza is the same, not even close. Many people consider it a waste of calories, while others subsist on it a few days a week. But I have to say, oh my divine food goodness. Pizzeria Mozza in the heart of Los Angeles, has catapulted the world of pizza to a level beyond comparison. The Mozza Caprese was no less than divine, the cheese is artisan made in house, and was like no other cheese I have ever tasted. We also ordered fried squash blossoms, Brushetta with butternut squash applewood smoked bacon & dandelion greens, Insalata mista with gorgeous micro greens, and two pizzas the Margherita and a freshly made sausage pie. I have to admit, I never-ever eat sausage on pizza, but boy am I glad I did here, it was splendid. We topped off the meal with Gelati- egg nog, Pistachio, olive oil flavors and some biscotti. The Gelati did not disappoint and actually surpassed my expectations. If you wish to indulge in Pizzeria Mozza, make a reservation, we arrived shortly before noon, which was opening, to a line of people out front. We luckily were seated in the first round. I would have waited hours for such a meal.
Oh Los Angeles, it's only been a day and I am longing for more wonderful culinary experiences. I am amazed that a city that has thousands of starving size zero women is chock full of what I would consider to be America's best restaurants. Is that what we call irony? I end with one piece of advice, eat your heart out, indulge your senses, and bring stretchy pants.
Friday, December 7, 2007
By this morning, the girls had already settled into the reality of freeway travel in California. GL magically closed her eyes moments after our Cadillac hit the 10. We really did luck out in our forty mile drive to Anaheim, the home of Disneyland. I think we made it there in under 40 minutes. In Los Angeles, that is of urban-legend proportions.
Finally, as we entered the park complex, we told Sj, the name of the street we turned on. I can't remember the exact name, it was Disneyland Parkway or something of the sort. She was a bit giddy and shy about what we were doing. I think the first thing that entered her mind, was oodles of pirates walking around, scaring the crap out of her. Our conversation quickly turned to the Princesses and it was all over from that moment on.
We had one day park hopper tickets and a reservation to have lunch with the Princesses, so we didn't have to spend our day trying to hunt them down. We decided to start our day at California Adventure, where Ariel's Grotto is, the lunch restaurant. Chalk that up to yet another brilliant Disney idea, offer the chance to meet and greet the Princesses over a lunch setting, charge an exorbitant amount of money for mediocre food, and make the magic happen. Even though the food was cafeteria-ish, both J and I agreed what we paid was worth every single penny.
We were first in line for the 11:30 lunch rotation, so Sj was the first little girl to meet Ariel. Talk about the stars aligning. During the lunch, Jasmine, Cinderella, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty stopped by our table for a photo-op and some chit-chat. They were gorgeous.
After lunch, when Sj came back down to earth, we wandered over to Disneyland. The day was so mellow, much mellower than I could have anticipated. I think the time of year and the weather forecast really gave us the opportunity to experience Disney in what I would consider optimal conditions! I really do loathe large crowds, I just get nervous and stressed beyond belief.
We took the opportunity to ride most of the rides for Sj's age, multiple times. She really became a huge fan of the rides, her first roller coaster experience turned out to be a huge hit. She demanded J take her on right after we stepped off. She was screaming, "I want to go again, Can I go again, Let's go again!!!" I felt so proud because I love roller coasters, loops, drops, fast speeds, I can't get enough. In that moment, I flashed forward to my perfect amusement park partner, my little Sj, our daredevil.
Shortly after the sun went down, our energy levels dropped as well. We had taken in all the magic we could handle. I can't wait to go back, I know it will be a stop every time our family visits the Los Angeles area. Here's the proof the girls had a great time:
Thursday, December 6, 2007
We made our way down to the beach, to set the girls free in the largest sandbox of all. GL, made the cutest little footprints in the sand. Her little toes pranced so gracefully when her feet first met the cold, wet sand. Sj, was instantly ready to create some castles, get dirty and wet. Unfortunately, our fun was shortened by a little wave that knocked her off her feet. Wet 4 year olds on a chilly December day is not very fun. Hotel bath to the rescue!
Sj loves traveling and hotels and I am sure GL will follow in her footsteps. The girls had so much fun exploring every inch of our suite. New drawers to open, a couch that pulls out, some out of the ordinary pillows, all a recipe for fun, fun, and more fun. I highly recommend a stay at the Georgian Hotel, if you are ever in need of a place in Santa Monica. The staff was wonderful with the girls, the room service is from a great neighboring restaurant, and well the location just speaks for itself.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Can I just twinkle my nose and arrive at my destination? Realistically no, but before I know it, the car will be loaded and we'll be singing songs, driving out east to our beloved Denver International Airport.
I'll be back soon, with my restaurant and shopping reviews of Santa Monica. And, in case you are wondering I have managed to keep my big mouth shut about DisneyLand, it's still a secret, I think this deserves some sort of reward, it's a miracle!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
But, back to the there should be something in this for me. I envision a gift for me, for the greater good of our family, the You've Made It Another Year, gift. If I were to choose, that gift would be a single night's stay in a hotel, alone. Well, not just a hotel, a nice hotel with beautiful linens, a spa, tons of channels on cable, and room service complete with a top notch pastry chef. Really, is that too much to ask? Gosh, I'd probably even be home in the morning before the family was out of pajamas.
Instead, I'm going to settle, (snicker, snicker) for a long weekend away with my family. All of us in tow, headed to the beach. May I even add, I will be staying in a suite, with an ocean view, not a partial view, a full right out my window, gorgeous ocean view. When you live in Colorado, an ocean view is priceless. I will eat food glorious food, that I have not grocery shopped for, or cooked, and I will not do a damn dish. And, I will be thrilled to have my family by my side.
So, I'm taking this show on the road. I've never blogged on the road before. Join me for an adventure, Southern California Style...
Monday, December 3, 2007
The tradition began, when I decorated our house with streamers and balloons the night before Sj's birthday, while she was sleeping. When she woke up in the morning, she found the downstairs decked out in streamer glory! I have to admit, typically the eve of a birthday is spent putting together toys, or preparing a cake, so choose your level of decorating wisely! We always have a little chat before bed, discussing if the Streamer Fairy would remember her again this year! Yippee, she did! As soon as the sun was up, I think Sj's anticipation was that of Santa proportions. The Streamer Fairy may be in contention with Santa, I love it!
It's funny how the Streamer Fairy has turned out to be a big thing in our house. Who would have thought something so simple would have such a big impact? It has even caught on with some of Sj's school friends. Sj's preschool teacher approached me for all the details. Sj mentioned the Streamer Fairy during her show and tell around her birthday and a couple of her friend's were just so curious. One mom mentioned how her son could not stop talking about the Streamer Fairy, and was wondering why she hadn't been by his place yet. His mom convinced him the S.F. would appear this year, he just had to be patient. See, we are spreading the magic.
It's the eve of GL's First Birthday, so the streamer fairy is already getting mentally prepared. Here's the big list of supplies, streamers, balloons, tape, scissors, and creativity! I like to twist two colors around each other from our dining room light to the walls, like a beautiful sunburst. We always decorate with plain hanging streamers the entry way through the kitchen, it feels so festive to walk through streamers.
Unfortunately the Streamer Fairy didn't come on my birthday last year, which Sj took note of. Hopefully the Streamer Fairy's love will help out in that department this year.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
This morning, I was given the opportunity to stay in bed until 8 am. Shortly after 8, a frittata, toast, a clementine, and a chai all on a tray, was presented to me in bed. It was even topped off with a kiss. I thought that was strange considering I haven't been the most fun to be around the past few days. I've been a bit more zombie like. I enjoyed my breakfast while watching Nigella Lawson prepared some 5,000 calorie Christmas Feast.
As the morning progressed, I was sitting on the floor knitting, helping GL eat some toast, SJ was painting, and the hubby was reading the newspaper. J casually said to me, "Happy Anniversary."
My eyes glanced at the newspaper, December 2nd, sure enough our anniversary. That's why I received the kiss, I thought. I then returned the gesture with a, "Happy Anniversary-Darling!"
It's not our wedding anniversary, it's our original anniversary. Our 16 years later anniversary. Which means we've spent basically half of our lives together. Umm, yes from the sounds of it, I have no Hallmark card to celebrate the day, no rushed out and bought a gift to recognize the momentous occasion. I think a better gift is to turn my frown upside down and have a nice remaining half of the weekend.
Just a few moments ago, I asked the hubby, that was doing a load of laundry, "So, where are my gifts?" He replied, " Where are mine?" I told him his was the Nano, because originally he wanted to buy me one, but instead we decided that he was the one who really wanted it. A couple of weeks later, watching him play poker on it every night for long periods of time, I realized he really-really wanted the Nano.
I am not even going to end with a moan, what's another trinket right? Although, this place could use some floral cheer. I've really been given the best gifts of all, sixteen years with a man that has put up with me through it all and two beautiful daughters, topped off by a life I love in Colorado. Now that's love, Hallmark doesn't have a thing on us.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
This is Ariel and I love her. Ariel loves the sea , sebastian, and flounder.
I'm adding the hair. It's red and I love how it's long and flowing. She's under the sea because her hair gets soft and beautiful.
It's the loveliest picture I ever maded. And I didn't know I made Ariel, and now I did, so I love it. We didn't know it was going to turn out so beautiful. It's not very scary, it's beautiful. It's like unusual princess, I love it. So, I love it.