Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tweet Tweet Come Out Please Wherever You Are...

Twitter found me, no wait I found Twitter. I would love to follow you, if you also Twitter and I haven't followed you yet. Please leave me a comment or message with your link. My google email connected me with the majority of you, but if not, please share.

If you'd like to follow me, you can find me babbling in 140 characters or less, right here.

Or you can just share you're link so we can create a chorus of tweets!

Insert Head Under Pillow, Now!

Quite often I dodge the weather conversation with those that haven't spent much time in Colorado. The majority of the time the question arises, don't you get so much snow, how do you handle all the snow? You see, it's sort of a fallacy that Colorado is a year round winter wonderland.

Snow sometimes in June, like the day before my wedding, yes. Snow of mass proportions two years ago when I had a newborn and needed to get to the doctor, yes. Snow on Christmas Day this year, no.

Now don't get me wrong, the snow that falls in the Rocky Mountains keeps the rivers flowing from the Continental Divide all the way to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively. But I live on the Front Range. Nestled close to the Foothills, not in the mountains. Our weather is desirably milder and we even boast over 300 days of sunshine a year.

But last night, was a miserable night. We had the most intense winds that I recall in quite sometime. Or like ever. Our location to the mountains creates intense wind when there is dramatic temperature change, fronts, and all that meteorological lingo I can't quite recall. In my terms, the windows were flexing, the lawn chairs were flying, tree branches were reaching their rubber-like capacity. Eventually they are going to snap. So I barely slept in fear that a limb from our ginormous Cottonwood Tree was going to break and land on the roof above my head. Our bedroom is in the back and we have lost a couple hundred pound limb before during a bad ice storm. It did some damage, but more importantly left a mental scar.

Wind arrives, fear sets in. I should be calm and settled knowing how difficult it was to actually remove a Cottonwood Tree over the summer from our front yard. The darn thing didn't want down. The roots of a Cottonwood are deep, the strength and beauty of the tree is admiring, but I still fear mother nature when she unleashes her wrath in the form of wind.

Those lovely news weather forecasters, predicting more wind tonight. 11pm to 11am, high wind advisory for my town. Gulp.

Head under pillow, I am off.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snippets From a Lazy Holiday

If you could peek inside my house right now you'd find, half of a lovely egg and potato frittata sitting on the stovetop, ready for a nibble by any passerby. Sj and J playing Wii boxing, it's hilarious and may even warrant a little video footage. GL fresh out of the bath running laps around the house, naked of course. There's a Christmas Tree bag full of unwrapped gifts in our downstairs (the one we don't use) bathtub. It looks like a body bag. Some laundry is haphazardly strewn about near the washing machine, calling out in it's own way, wash me. All the ingredients for the Peppermint Cookies are sitting on my kitchen counter, as I am on the cusp of baking. It's our job to provide dessert tonight and I have decided to make Peppermint Cookie ice cream sandwiches. Yum.

My hair is in pigtails and I am still wearing 50% of my pajamas. Time to get a move on. Celebrating awaits us.

Hope your holidays will be lazy and lovely. A big smile and hug to all my lovely friends around this world!

Monday, December 22, 2008

FAT MINT COOKIES (The Best Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Ever)

(update, December 2014, I've renamed these cookies FAT MINT cookies because well, they blow any skinny door to door sold chocolate peppermint cookie out of the water)

This weekend, I donned my festive apron. It has a European Holiday feel, complete with some faux fur trim and decorative ribbons. Only the best for holiday baking. I scoured recipes far and near, looked over all the recipes everyone shared with me (thank you!!!). I made my specialty list, ran out to the grocery store, then settled in for a baking marathon. Surprisingly it didn't take all day, within a few hours I had seven dozen cookies made and a bit of a stomach ache from overindulging.

When honing in on what exactly I wanted to make I couldn't let go of the fact that I really have a thing for chocolate and peppermint. Well, peanut butter and chocolate isn't so bad either, but chocolate and peppermint is HOLIDAY to me. I found a few recipes, but actually tweaked them to my liking and came up with this recipe. When baking if you pull them out of the oven right after cracking on top, they will set up nicely. The taste is like candy canes with fudge, but the cookies have a delightful brownie texture. Soft and chewy. 

I kid you not, this may just be the best damn cookie I have ever baked. EVER. Please enjoy, pass it along, it's fabulous. 
Denise's FAT MINT Cookies

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped Andes Thins: Creme de Menthe Candies OR 1 Lindt Dark Chocolate Mint bar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixer beat together the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, 2-5 minutes. Fluffy is key. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl. Add in the vanilla and mint (if you don't have mint just use all vanilla, but the mint extract makes a nice touch). On a low speed beat in the flour mixture about a 1/2 cup at a time. Gently mix in with a wooden spoon chocolate chips and Andes candies. 

On an ungreased cookie sheet, drop a tablespoon of the batter about 2 inches apart. Bake until just cracked on top, about 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake! Let set on the cookie sheet for five minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely. 

Enjoy! Beware, you may over indulge on these. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

What Happened When I Sent My 5 Year Old To The Shaun White Drawing School...

It's a beautiful thing that a young man like Shaun White has become a household name. Snowboarding and skateboarding are so mainstream, I don't bat an eye when my mother says did you see Shaun White win the Gold Medal in the Halfpipe? My mind instantly races to think, did my mom just say Halfpipe and Shaun White in the same sentence??? Not to mention the obvious "Gold Medal- Snowboarding-Olympics". Crazy! When I was younger and very much intrigued by boys that rode skateboards, they always got the thumbs down. Skateboarders were nonchalantly categorized into the group of kids that were up to no good. If the grown men that I grew up with had anything to take away from their youth, it would be skateboarding is not a crime.
Early Fall, we decided to purchase our new skiing/snowboarding gear for the upcoming season. While perusing the clothes for my five year old on the Burton website, I came across The White Collection. Oh, very cute stuff. Collaboratively designed by Burton and Shaun White. The twenty two year old, single gold medal toting playboy, now designing jackets for women. Seems like a perfect fit, if you aren't a thirty something, mother of two. But you know, I was once hip, I thought I can rock the White Collection. My new Lady Windsor's Finest Jacket came in a big brown box along with some very hip snowboarding clothing for my daughter. Both of us, lucky ducks.
Then I proceeded to hang my new jacket in the closet for over a month. I busted it out on the first chilly night of the season. When I arrived at my destination, I noticed something in an inside pocket of my jacket. That something which caught my eye, was "The Complete Guide To Drawing A Dog Farting". I thought, does that say drawing a dog farting??? Sure enough it did. See what I get for buying a jacket designed by a twenty two year old...

So what does any good mother do with such a piece of literature? Throw it away, make others laugh, or get the best chuckle of all, pass it along to my five year old. Yes, indeed pass it along to my five year old, who enjoys all sorts of potty talk these days. Just say the word poop and her face lights up.

I must admit, she's got her parents artistic talent. Thanks Shaun White and Burton, we had one damn good laugh. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scattered Holiday Update...And a Plea For Recipes

Currently I am home. It's frigid outside, so going out isn't really an option. Well except for school drop off and pick up. After the big Birthday weekend, reality hit me like a brick. As of this morning, little things have yet to be done. Like Christmas cards. If I was on the ball, I would have spent hours picking out cards, but not this year. It's Costco cards all the way. They have some cute selections and better yet, they'll be ready tomorrow! Considering we took the photos of the girls last week, I am not really sure what my excuse is. Other than I am a slacker.

The biggest thing to do right now, is to cocoon myself into baking mode. It's festive around here, but not festive enough. Not with out the smell of something, anything baking. I need sweet treats to get me through the day, the kind where I can just reach my hand in as I walk through the kitchen and give myself a little pick me up. Maybe the type of sweet treat I can sneak when two pairs of little eyes aren't watching my every move or asking me what the smell is on my breath!

So what's baking in your kitchen this holiday season? Any sweet treat recipes? Anything yummy in your crockpot that would save the day? Please share!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Jaunt to Australia...

This weekend, I found my way to Authorblog in Melbourne, Australia. Stop by and see what I divulged in my interview!

Time to get some sleep, I am jet lagged.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Synergy, Law of Attraction, Or Just Birthday Luck...

This morning I headed out to breakfast with one of my oldest friends. We have a birthday breakfast thing, with out our kids. Just the two of us and good food, oh and plenty of conversation. But it was such a great time I am thinking twice a year is a travesty, that maybe we need to have the birthday outing every month.

As we strolled into the South Side Walnut Cafe this morning in Boulder, we didn't find a wait and were seated promptly. Luck was on our side. I ordered the Eggs Marcos with bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar, a side of rye toast and fruit. You can't really go wrong with that combination. They serve a wonderful local Chai Tea at the cafe as well, Bhakti Chai, made right here in Boulder. Oh wait, lets not be modest, it may be the best Chai I've ever had, or pretty darn close to it. If you're a chai fanatic, check it out.

Then the magic just kept on happening.

Our waitress comes over singing Happy Birthday to me. To my embarrassment, thank you very much. But she placed this gorgeous piece of cake in front of me. Today's "Birthday Cake of the Day" flavor, just happened to be Chai. I thought to myself, is this for real because I felt like I was dreaming. The cake was beautiful, divine, and quite possibly a slice of heaven. As I am eating my meal simultaneously with cake, a Coldplay song came over the speakers.

Splendid. Ear to ear smiles. Aging, it's not that bad after all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

then Santa patted the velvet bench, wanting me to join him...

Almost Wordless Wednesday, Not exactly what I had in mind for our trip to see Santa. Although GL wouldn't have it any other way (note look of terror on her face). Next year, right? Wait, that's what I said last year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Tips: What's Your Holiday Message?

Now while some of my views may differ from this video, I would say the overarching theme speaks loud and clearly to me. It was posted by Domestic Accident and I think it's brilliant. 

$450 Billion Dollars spent on Christmas in the United States. Gasp!

It's funny to think if I agree with the message then how do I always wind up getting caught up in the commercialism? Right now I can tell you I am fighting it! Gloves on and out of my wallet. I'm stepping away from my credit cards.It's just so hard to have discipline to not just go for it.  

We did very simple and thoughtful gifts for the grandparents and the girls are getting a short list. By the way, if I only want a Wii, that's not being selfish is it? Just Kidding. I'm really not getting a  Wii. I am content with my new boots for my anniversary, birthday, and Christmas present. Content as a clam. 

Spread your love, give someone something unexpected like your time, or a home cooked meal. Try baking cookies, bag them up, and hand them out to strangers. Strangers, I said it. You may just make someone smile. Isn't that what we all want, to spread the sunshine? (Oh and give the corporate banks a big, HA-HA!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is A Nice New Wii

Dear Santa (cough, cough Nintendo), 

 Your elves have been working overtime this holiday season. Especially in the marketing department. I can only imagine the team of geniuses in that department, the ones that devised the plan to hire four women to tour around the country hosting "Wii Fit Enthusiast" Parties. 

Your elves took over a Denver house, dressed in black Lyra and green t-shirts, filled the kitchen with catered food, and best of all set up a few televisions complete with Wii's and Wii Fits. All of us that were invited, played with much laughter and a raised heart rate. Seriously. I think while boxing I broke a sweat. Then I was even sore the next day. From playing a Wii Fit. Wow!
Honestly,  I was uncomfortable trying out the Wii Fit for the first time with a group of women that I had met moments before. But I just went for it, weighed myself, BMI right there in front of the crowd, let it all go. Really, I haven't played many video games in the last decade and I have never participated in a full body video interactive experience. I joked many times that my hands were pissed off, for they wanted in on the action. But with the Wii Fit, it was all about balance and full body integration. 
The night was capped off with a special announcement. All guests would be receiving a Wii Fit to go with our Wii Fit Black Lyra outfits, green Wii Fit yoga mat, and a cute black Wii Fit bag to carry it all in. I felt so darn special, giddy really. 
Now my only problem, I don't own a Wii

So Santa, if you read through my archives you can see I have been a very nice girl this year. All I want for Christmas is a nice new Wii. Or maybe a surprise birthday gift (hint, it's this week), if Santa has already purchased my gifts.I want to get passed the awkwardness I felt that night and build balance, improve my posture, and get Fit, Wii Fit. They are so cool. I am sure I don't have to actually say it, as so many people already know. Keep the elves touring around the country, they really know how to spread the cheer and put a smile on everyone's face!

Denise aka EatPlayLove

(Thank you to Greeblemonkey for the invite, photos,  and the gentle nudge to join Twitter, for now I am following almost all those wonderful women in that photo)

(For the record, I have a deep rooted love for Nintendo, just read this. Boy could I take it to the next level!)

wii fit photo credit

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happily Breaking Some Rules

Oh the bloggy awards. I see them as a friend stopping by with a muffin and a chai just because. Or like a little pat on the back. Now I will be the first to admit that most awards have rules of what to do and how to give the award, yada yada yada. 

I had two awards come my way last month and had yet to pass them out, no better time than the sleepy weekend, to stop by give a fellow blogger a muffin and a chai a little bloggy bling. 

Now if you like to play by the rules, than click on the link that I provided from the person that passed the award onto me, I linked to their "proper" post. If you are a little non-traditional and throw caution into the wind, please pass it along as you see fit. 

Jen at Never A Dull Moment (my blogger friend that lives 5 miles away that turned into my real life friend) passed along this Superior Scribbler Award to me. Now I suggest stopping by her place if I pass this on to you, because this award comes with a linky loo thing. You can add your name to the other famous Bloggy Superior Scribblers. 

Drum Roll Please.. This award is being passed along to:

VeryBusyMomWith4- Lisa is a great read. We both love Whole Foods and Apple Computer products, among other things. Although I am a Yankee at heart, Lisa is one of my favorite Texans!

All Who Wander Are Not Lost- G has a great story to tell and an even bigger heart. I love her honesty and openness! She brings a wonderful perspective to the blogging world. 

The Young and The Relentless- Connie has a special place in her heart for Colorado, but currently she lives in Utah. She makes you feel like you've known her forever, even if she's just a bloggy friend!

The Norwindians- Kirsten who just went through a little blog switch over, seems very at home in her new place. I adore her insight into life with three kids, including twin girls. 

To The Manner Born- Toad just so happens to have a connection to me outside of the blogging world. I find his writing to be a delightful departure from my typical reads. Stop by and browse for a bit,  you'll enjoy his whit, I promise. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Looking Through the Lens, passed this award on to me. Jaina has a huge heart and when you read her blog, it shines through!
This award is going on to my three blogger friends, that were really friends of mine long before EatPlayLove was born. We all have five year old children that have grown up together and I can't imagine my life with out them, they are precious gems!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sing Happy Birthday Again, Again, Again...

Light barely filtered through the blinds as my youngest daughter climbed up into our bed. I glanced over at the clock, 6:15. Although I momentarily wished for an extra hour, I realized it could be worse.

I whispered in GL's ear, "Good Morning Birthday Girl". She giggled and whispered back, "Sing Happy Birthday Mommy". We sang Happy Birthday time and time again, our voices escalated with happiness during each new round. Big Sister, Sj, awakened to our giggles. She also climbed into bed with us. We snuggled. It's our thing, the morning snuggle. Happy Birthday continued once again.

It doesn't take long before Sj happily discovered a fresh blanket of fluffy white snow had fallen overnight. I smiled knowing the snow, which continued to fall was a wonderful reason to spend a lazy birthday at home.

A monkey birthday cake is baked (a comical monkey, wouldn't you agree), a new baby doll nursery took over the living room, the Christmas tree glowed, the girls danced under the streamers in the dining room, daddy came home for the day at lunchtime, they explored the fresh fluffy powder and put up the inflatable snowman. GL embraced the sassiness of being two by sitting on the floor eating chocolate chips directly from the bag as she proceeded to dump out a pound of confectioner's sugar onto her lap, but cheekily smiled when she said," Oh, No, Big mess Mommy"! Then she topped off the night by refusing her dinner, but demanded cake. Cake, cake, cake...Pleeeease!

We laughed and giggled. We sang Happy Birthday a few dozen more times. I can't quite escape how beautiful it is to listen to my two year old sing Happy Birthday. Once again, I remembered time sure does fly.

Happy Second Birthday my sweet GL.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the LOVE captured...

I should have included this with my post! This is from Spring of 1992, a few months into the start of it all...

Soft Brown Leather, Seventeen Years, and A Little Mariachi

Little did I know years and years ago that opening the door at a party would change my life forever. On the other side of the door was a teenage boy from a neighboring high school. Someone I had never met before. Someone I would in turn become friends with, then really close friends.

A few years after we met, we started "going out". From that moment of going out, our lives just continued on together, with out ever taking a break from our relationship. We officially consider our anniversary December 2, even though we were together before that. I suppose when a relationship blossoms out of friendship, it's really hard to pick one specific day.

Yesterday was that day. The day we chose years ago to celebrate our anniversary. Seventeen years later. Our December 2nd anniversary always trumped our wedding anniversary because we were together for six and a half years before tying the knot. It just didn't seem right to forget about our original anniversary.

Now quite honestly this is where I admit to my faults. I forgot it was yesterday. It would have hit me like a bag of bricks on the head when I saw the date or heard December Second! But none the less, the day and it's meaning came out over a series of emails between J and I. He casually slipped in, you know I didn't forget about today. Then my mind thinks, today, today, what is today? Damn it, December 2nd!

So we agree on dinner out. It was Mariachi night at our local favorite Mexican Restaurant. As we sat there eating dinner, being serenaded in a language I can grasp bits and pieces of, my eyes welled up. I looked across the table at my husband with our two girls and really felt the moment. I felt how incredible it is to be 34 and to have spent half of my life with my man.

To top the night, J bought me a pair of boots I've been drooling over on the Anthropologie website for a couple of months now. The same boots that were out of stock online (and no longer on the webpage). They fit like a glove and are even more glorious in person...

Now if I could have only done so well in the gift department. My past trials and tribulations trying to buy him a special gift! Sigh...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday Tips: "Made With Love Project" A Perfect Gift!!!

At the Coldplay show I recently attended, someone ahead of me in line bought a pack of bracelets. I decided to buy a pack as well. At the time, I had no idea they were made by a non-profit charity or that Chris Martin wears them. I get so many compliments on my bracelets. I wanted to suggest them as gifts to anyone in your life that likes something unique and that supports a great cause. Personally, I would buy the twenty pack and grace a few friends with them. I adore mine. They have a unique odor, which I smell through out the day. I can't quite help myself when thinking, Chris Martin smells this same smell everyday. I know I am a bit kooky, but it's a good thing.

Made With Love Project
The bracelets are made from recycled rubber by a women's cooperative in Djenne, Mali. The women are paid three times the going rate for the bracelets, thus providing them with viable means of support. The money made from the sale of the bracleets goes to L'Empire des Enfants. L'Empire des Enfants helps homeless children from the streets of Dakar, Senegal by providing them with shelter, meals, education, and training.

That's what I would call a Win-Win gift for everyone! Bracelets are 10 for $12 or 20 for $20, through the link above.

Just because I adore this song, you can see Chris Martin playing the piano with his bracelets on. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Eggs, Milk, Bread, And A Surprise For My Car...

There's a new grocery store on the block (so to speak) and it's of the natural variety. To me, it's not quite up to par with the Whole Foods standard I have come to enjoy and expect, but none the less you can find a good bargain right here in the neighborhood. For the record there is not a Whole Foods in my town and I most prefer the one in Boulder, which is about twelve miles away.

When it's a lazy Sunday afternoon and we need eggs, bread, and milk I run to the new local Sprouts Market in a heartbeat. It's nice to not have to drive on the highway to get to the grocery store for just a few things. The atmosphere is better than the traditional neighborhood markets and they do offer some great sales.

Then something strange happens and I rethink the likability of Sprouts. Like I mentioned it was a Sunday afternoon. A quick in and out to the market, for a few things. Oddly enough as I am walking out to my car about to load the groceries into my vehicle, I noticed a shiny wet spill on the back of my car. Upon closer inspection, the shiny wet spill was egg white and there was yolk and shell sitting on my bumper. Not only did my car get egged in the Sprouts Market parking lot, but more importantly, my Barack Obama HOPE sticker was egged in the parking lot. Intentionally.

Can I just say, I can almost guarantee by like 99.8% that there is no way in H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS that this would happen in a Whole Foods parking lot.

I have no ill feelings towards the market itself, but I find it rather odd. Residual anger? Maybe the bag was packed poorly, the egg was broken so they thought it would be a perfect time to deface my car. Or maybe it was kids riding around with some extra eggs, getting a thrill.

More than likely to me, it was a customer of Sprouts. Some asshole still angry that Johnny boy lost the election. Personally I still can't quite comprehend, egging a persons car. But that's me, I've been known to mature with age and that may be too much to ask for everyone. I find it odd that I choose to shop at a market with such morons. Which makes me disappointed in Sprouts. So the guy likes natural meat, but not the President Elect. Join a web group or go to the gym, don't egg other's cars! It seems like there are more proactive ways to vent. But then again that's me.

Who do you think did it or why do you think someone would do it??? I am looking for insight...