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Showing posts from June, 2008

Kitchen Appliances You Absolutely Love?

As a follow up to my Kenmore (P.O.S.- 5 year old faulty oven starting on fire) we need to buy a new oven. We actually have the option to run a gas line and just replace it with a gas range. But we will probably go for a new dishwasher, refrigerator, and oven. My other appliances are older and I know I will have new appliance envy once my new oven goes in and I am loading the old dishwasher, or opening the not-sealing-very well old Kenmore refrigerator.

With the internet world at my disposal, I am checking customer service quality issues before I buy this time.

My question is, do you have appliances (stove, dishwasher, or refrigerator) that you have purchased recently that you LOVE?

Please share the love...

Seventy Meatballs, Firemen, and a Faulty Oven

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My intrinsic need to feed people was highlighted with the falling of the Cottonwood. Simple enough, I would cook dinner for my neighbors that so graciously spent their entire Saturday watching and sweating over each limb that was removed. Instead of an event with everyone filling my house to the brim, I did what any grateful neighbor would do, I cooked six pounds of meatballs and two hundred and eighty ounces of tomatoes. Meatballs and sauce, for everyone!

Now, with the stove on all day long, on a whim I decided, I should make chocolate chip cookies as well.

Maybe I was in a cooking fog and the garlic had gone to my head?

Why not throw in some homemade cookies to compete the meal, for I had all the ingredients on hand anyway. After dinner, I gathered up everything I would need for the cookies, and simply turned on the oven to 375 to pre-heat it.

After I started creaming the butter and sugar together, I noticed a flickering of light in my oven. I found this odd, considering I had just repl…

When Things Go Awry

Long could be the tale I am just reeling to tell, but heavy are the lids on my eyes. Funny how sometimes things take a turn in just a moment and leave you contemplating all the possible scenarios that we almost encountered.

Fatefully we are all fine, but I will add a bit of a teaser, for I have pictures and a story to tell.

A story about making dinner for 4 neighbors that graciously gave up their Saturday last week to help us safely bring down the Cottonwood Tree.

A story that ends with a BIG RED FIRETRUCK arriving at my home.

Sorry ladies, but I was too shy to actually take pictures of the Firemen. The photo story will be the big headline Monday morning, bright and early.

To be continued...

Thursday Thirteen Mental Snippets

Today I am not focused, but tired. Today, I have plenty snippets floating around in my head, so here they are:

1. I successfully completed 8 boot camp sessions. Hip Hip Hooray!

2. My trainer apologized to me last week on Thursday for her comments on Tuesday. I sensed she was having some guilt.

3. I guess we aren't the only family wanting to go camping in Colorado every weekend. Our choice spots are full every weekend through Labor Day.

4. Seems as if many people are having issues with their dogs or children swallowing plum pits, as google is sending them my way. They'll be fine, trust me. Not sure if I would care if my dog swallowed a plum pit, but those dog guardians are getting some relief from this post.

5. On a related note, if your child ingests cotton from your monster Cottonwood Tree, it will reappear in their diaper! Surprise!

6. For some odd reason, I am playing the "how long can you go" game, trying to avoid grocery shopping. We are getting desperately c…

the Orange County Beach House Post-Armageddon

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Let's take a moment and envision the "closed doors" meeting at Mattel, the unearthing of a brand new Barbie. All the details are meticulously planned out, right down to the packaging. Hundreds of hours of overtime have gone into the final product. Large glossy color posters adorn the board room.

Eyebrows raise at the unveiling, side conversations begin. It's the birth of a new Orange County Barbie. The executives are in love. Simply in love.

Just for the sake of detail, let's even imagine an argument ensuing over the number of twist ties that hold the O.C. Barbie into her packaging and the sewing of her hair onto cardboard to create the perfect effect. The argument was a shot in the dark, from a real life mother and top Mattel Designer, to give all of us consumers of Barbie a voice at last. She knows what it's like, ripping into the box, can't move your hands fast enough, the scissors get caught up, all while a four year old is screaming, "I WANT IT NO…

Tuesday's Tips: The Dirty Dozen

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With the price of everything skyrocketing these days, it's hard to make healthy food choices for your family with out breaking the budget. When it comes to grocery shopping, I will not compromise quality due to price, but rather make smarter informed choices. We live the philosophy of eating less meat through out the week, instead of purchasing meats with additives and nitrates or from factory farms. I definitely sing the praises of our organic vegetable and fruit delivery service, Door to Door Organics, many times in the past. Our delivery is every other week, so I have to supplement our produce from the grocery store on the off weeks.

Quite honestly, I find I play the produce game around my local markets. I suggest if you jump around from grocery store to grocery store, like I do, take a look online at their sale flyers and hone in on the best deals that way.

Another great resource is The Environmental Working Group's Food News. They have tested over a five year period pro…

Please Don't Crash Into My House

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Over the past few years, we noticed the health of a Cottonwood in our front yard deteriorating. First, some of the limbs lost it's leaves and didn't grow back the next season. Then bark would just appear in large chunks after big storms. Soon enough the base of the tree was shrinking back, it was visibly noticeable how the bark was eroding away from the bottom of the tree.

We had tree guys come out and yes, confirmed the tree was diseased. On top of it, the disease could be passed along to other trees, more notably the ginormous cotton blowing healthy female in our backyard. Which even though is a thorn in our side, we do not want to cut down. In passing conversation, when my neighbor saw me having estimates about removing this particular tree, he said he wanted to cut it down. Finally, we moved forward with cutting down the Cottonwood.

We had no idea at the time, but the removal of the Cottonwood turned into a true neighborly affair. We are friendly with our neighbors, the ho…

will she, Knock The Ball Out Of The Park?

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Baseball and summer go together like hand in a glove, they are just meant to be. I spent the majority of my summer vacations at the ball fields watching my three brothers play baseball, from a toddler well into elementary school. And eventually one summer, I had my big break. For more details, read this.

So this year, at the ripe age of four and a half, we decided to indoctrinate Sj into the world of organized sports, but even more importantly T-Ball. I gave soccer a thought, a passing thought mind you. I enjoy soccer, but where I grew up, soccer is a fall sport. Playing soccer over baseball in the summer would almost be considered sacrilegious in my family.

Our local T-Ball league is only six weeks long. Every week on our way to practice, Sj comments on how she's going to knock the ball out of the park. That's my girl. Funny enough she's a righty, but she bats lefty and my eyes just open in amazement every time she gives the ball a good solid whack. The biggest exciteme…

Her Very Own Goo's

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There's nothing more magical then watching my 18 month old daughter's personality blossom everyday. At this age, it seems to be leaps and bounds from one moment to the next. GL's at an age where she already knows what she wants to wear and has a serious obsession with shoes.

Typically she loves to trot around wearing Sj's shoes, anything from flip flops to her Crocs. So, on a whim, I decided to pull out Sj's first pair of Crocs, which I knew would be big on her, but a bit easier for her to handle. Of course she got the hang of them right away (they are about 2-3 sizes too big).

She'll even tell you, in her own special way "Goo's" and "Crocs" and she always wants her shoes on inside.

With GL being the second child and more importantly our second daughter, she has the luxury of wearing all of her sister's hand me downs. Now trust me seconds from Sj are wonderful and plentiful. She is even wearing hand me down sandals this summer.

On a …

it's White, it's Fluffy, and it's J U N E...

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During our romantic phase of house hunting, my husband and I both agreed on a few things. We wanted an older home with some character and a decent yard with mature trees. Of course there was a laundry list of other things, but those first two sum up how we came to settle in our house. 

Now one could argue, five and a half years out, that around here character has certainly come to mean, cracks in the walls, random wear and tear, and all sorts of surprises when things need to be replaced. Fifty years later, things are done much differently. For example, gas water heaters for crawl spaces were phased out a decade ago. Gulp. So glad ours wasn't one of the reasons why they were recalled off the market, apparently they were very volatile. We were fortunate enough to just have a slow leak, due to rust. Very typical for water heaters.

Let's talk about mature trees. Or more importantly very mature Cottonwood Trees. This particular tree of ours, is quite large. It shades pretty darn clos…

and then IT happened...

Few laps around the field, straight into squats. Feel the burn. Then some lunges with side squats in both directions around the circle in the center of the field. Boot camp was once again a mix up of the typical in new and unusual ways. Sprints, jumping jacks, crunches, scissors, plank.

Our trainer, is very happy go lucky, but not too over the top. I would even call her mild mannered. She balances us with just the right amount of pushing. There are the occasional whistles, but only for drills. She never screams at anyone, or puts people down. She is definitely not a boot camp drill Sargent type. I was beginning to think I liked her, a lot. I even contemplated seeing if she would work me out in the gym, so I could get a routine going on the weight machines.

About 45 minutes into our hour long session, our trainer called us over for some hills. Basically we partner up with someone, while one person is running up and down the hill, the partner is doing core strengthening exercises on the …

Tuesday Tips: 3 Hidden Household Toxins

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Preface:
I have never really given too much thought to my lifestyle. I am one of those people that lives a bit off mainstream philosophies, I casually say off the beaten path, just a tad. To me, I believe in living a life that has a minimal impact on the environment and I am thrilled "Being Green" is hip these days. Just thrilled. Toxins present themselves in many forms a thousand times over through out our day. I like to give myself a fighting chance against some toxins that haven't yet been pulled from the market, making them more of hidden risks, many you may not even think of. Sadly, sometimes I feel that our government protects large corporations before it protects our health. 

Born from my lifestyle, comes Tuesday Tips. I've decided to share some of the things with you, that I don't give a second thought to, but maybe it may have never occurred to someone else, that it could be potentially toxic. I am even offering up alternatives, for the most part, they are…

From Breakfast to Dessert

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Trust me, I know how lucky I am when I say this, many mornings during the week, I receive breakfast in bed. My husband gets up with the girls, fixes breakfast, brings a tray along to me in bed. He has the opportunity to spend time with the girls before work and I am given some space before my day begins. Win, win for everyone, I would agree!

Of course yesterday, with it being Father's Day, I decided to cook up a lavish meal. I am not sure exactly how long this meal took to concoct, but it started on Saturday night with the creation of a splendid out of the ordinary simple fruit salad, compliments of The Gluten-Free Girl.

Sunday morning, I began making pancakes. I decided on banana pancakes, the girls expect their pancake fix every weekend. So pancakes were thrown into the Father's Day Breakfast in bed. Eggs benedict, with avocado, freshly made hollandaise (wow!), Diestel Ham, steamed baby spinach, on a whole wheat english muffin. Then came the breakfast potatoes, typically ano…

Just One of Those Moments

A few weeks ago, the four of us were walking out of a store together. The girls were in the double stroller, being pushed by my hubby. It had just been raining all day and if I do recall, it was sprinkling just a bit in that moment. As I picked up my pace to get to my car as quickly as possible, I turned my head to get a glimpse of...

My husband and the girls careening swiftly straight towards a huge puddle. Where he proceeded to push them through it, splashing close to knee deep water everywhere. All the while the girls were laughing and screaming with delight. And of course my husband had a huge grin.

In that moment, as in many fleeting moments, I realized how fortunate my girls are to have such a wonderful father. Because I know damn well, I would never give them such delight, delight of a simple splash in a stroller. I am way to practical for that.

So thank you hubbs, for giving our girls the taste of adventure, we adore you for it.

Happy Father's Day!

A Beautiful PBS Commercial

Considering PBS is our station of choice, I was surprised I hadn't seen this before. A beautiful commercial, now isn't that a dichotomy in our culture these days?  

Please enjoy yet another reason to fall in love with, Ben Harper. Jack Johnson is sitting in on this version.

A Glimpse Through The Window

Every time I walked away from the glass window taking a final glimpse of my daughter at her Performing Arts Camp this week, I was instantly brought back to my own childhood. My four year old, Sj, started a new camp this week. It's run by amazing artists and I secretly wish, I was being dropped off for two and a half hours to relish and bask in my own creativity. But instead, I am giving my daughter the gift of such opportunity.

The first day of camp, we arrived a bit early. Assessing the space, peering in through the glass at the teacher's preparing for the kids, and taking in some art that is on exhibit filled our ten minutes to spare. When the doors finally swung open, Sj ran into class, introducing herself, and quickly found a chair at the table that was full of her peers. She didn't know a child in the room, but it didn't seem to phase her. I on the other hand, was a bit timid, hoping she would make some friends and feel comfortable on her first day.

After I kissed h…

Bravo and Frasca TOP CHEFS

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Watching the Top Chef finale tonight, I was so tempted to take a little peeksy online to see who won, before the episode aired here. But I reconsidered and decided that patience in this case was a virtue. Top Chef is the only television show I watch with "shushing" regularity. There's nothing like watching a group of people that are passionate about food create meals. I suppose those who watch other contest based reality shows feel the same way, but I am just not an American Idol or Dancing With The Stars kind of girl. Food, drama, guest chef-lebrity appearances, now that's what I am all about.

Last night did not disappoint. I called out Stephanie (center in photo above) about week 2. I wish I put some cash on that in Vegas months ago. Stephanie was always the played down chef, that regularly dazzled the judges. I enjoyed Richard's take on cooking, but ultimately, I really wanted a woman to finally take the title! And Lisa, well no comment, I was still a tad bi…

Mind vs. Body

As I was jogging around the Championship Field this morning for boot camp, my blogger brain was on overdrive. I was embracing the distraction from how my body felt at 6:15 this morning. Then my thoughts turned to mental defeat. I started to contemplate how easy it is for my mind to control my motivation or typical lack of motivation.

When I signed on for Boot Camp, just like Grad School, I didn't give it too much thought. I knew in my heart I wanted to do it, I kept thinking about it, so I just signed up. Honestly if you give most people the ample opportunity to mull over working out at 6:15 in the morning, eventually their mind is going to win. Especially when, in my case, I have never really worked out regularly.

I have to admit, I just kind of laughed to myself as I rounded the field for what looked like some lovely lunges across the field. After completing my third boot camp class, I know I am physically getting a work out, but more importantly I am mentally enabling myself to…

Cursed Dots Template

To all my Blogger friends, (all others you can SKIP THIS POST)
I am starting to believe someone has put the jinx on the Dots Template. The other day, I noticed that my line spacing had changed. Typically if I post in Compose and hit return, it creates a (<*div*>) with corresponding ending ones. When I take those out in the Edit Html the spacing would return to normal.

But my entire archive had been converted to single spacing and I couldn't figure out why. Well, apparently Blogger was playing around with things. Now the problem was solved through Blogger on June 6, but only if your template was original. I've edited my template in the past to change the header. The Dots typical header is very small and sits off to the side. I like the large, across the top header. So the fix, did not fix my template.

After many heart palpitations, I have finally restored my blog to the original look, with proper spacing. Boy did things really look bleak at one point, I thought I was going t…

Ten Year Delight

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Immediate reactions to talk of a tenth wedding anniversary usually turns to what big plans my husband and I had. Alone. Just a celebration between the two of us. Honestly, some time alone is always much savored and enjoyed, but for us our anniversary wouldn't have been much of a celebration with out our girls. That's just how we are.

J left work shortly after lunch time, we loaded the girls into the car before dinner. We packed a wonderful salad, snacks, and picked up a pizza on our way up the canyon. J purchased an adorable mini cake as a surprise, which very much resembled a wedding cake from Whole Foods.

The best part about returning to a special place that is protected Open Space (reserve), is that we didn't find much change. The landscape still looks the same, with the exception of some taller native grasses. Our girls ran through the meadow where we sealed the deal. I regret not coming to this spot more often (it had been a few years), it's so wonderful.

On a whim, …

Some Rings and a Kiss

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We all know that time passes faster than we can grasp these days. Well, for me anyway. Long gone are those coveted dog days of summer. Sometimes, I wonder where does the time go? Is it passing too quickly to really relish in the beauty of the time we have?

But honestly with the passage of time, marks the milestones, the achievements, the WOW moments. Take for example today, today marks ten years that I was married to the love of my life. We sent out some invites to our closest friends, invited our families from New York and Vermont, rounded up some food, a cake, and a photographer and called it a wedding.

I often joke with my husband that he is very fortunate he married me when he did. Young and carefree. When you could throw a wedding together for a few grand. A beautiful wedding that really cut to the core of what marriage ceremonies should be. Not a show, but a union. A coming together of two people committing to spending their life together. I was never much for the Cinderella story…

Pain and Not A Gift In Sight, Thursday 13

unfortunately I lost my first two when I was playing around with font, line spacing, and template today..Luckily my blog is resembling it's normal self, so I will take 2 things from a Thursday 13 post as a gift to the Blogging angel that just sat on my shoulder for the last hour.

I believe they were related to boot camp and much to do about 615 am boot camp class in the rain. You fill in the blanks.

I wish I never looked on Craigslist for a cute tandem. Someone else got it. It would have been the ultimate perfect gift. Ultimate. GRRRRR....

I have many ideas, but nothing for a gift for my hubby.

Tomorrow is my 10th wedding anniversary.

I want to get tattoos, not necessarily matchy-matchy tattoos. Isn't that a great anniversary gift?

Shopping with 2 kids in the rain sucks.

Not buying anything after spending hours shopping in the rain with 2 kids super duper sucks.

Seriously, what is the equivalent of a beautiful piece of jewelry for a man? Men have it sooo easy in the gift giving depart…

Wipe Me Wordless Wednesday

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Apparently this is harder than I anticipated......

Backstory

Wonderful Silent Cheer Wednesday

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Art Source, Obey Giant!

Orangutans Adore Blue Eyed Girls

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Preface:
Waking up and staying up at 5:15am to head out a bit before 6 am for bootcamp class, went better than I anticipated. I had those first class jitters and just couldn't sleep in. Let's just wait a couple of weeks and see how it easy it is to get out of bed then. For those of you inquiring minds, the class was energizing. Which means tomorrow I will be hurting. We did very basic things, but in new and exhausting ways, such as squats, jumping jacks, running up hills, sprints, side-steppy things, all of it. No bells or whistles (well the trainer had a whistle), just our bodies working us out. I actually didn't feel so out of shape, which leads me to believe the trainer was breaking us in, being gentle to us newbies.


Later this morning, I met up with a friend at the Denver Zoo. We walked the usual route, saw all of our furry, scaly, and feathered friends, then we had a very cute experience in the Primate Panorama. Unfortunately, it did not dawn on me to video this little…

Mommy Is Going To Camp

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As of recently, I have become way too familiar with the Summer Recreation Catalogs put out by my town and surrounding cities. I've been thumbing through them to find enriching activities for Sj this summer, now that pre-k is out. With the cost of everything on the rise, I had to be selective in my choices, but wanted something just right. Not too far, not too expensive, a couple days a week with her off to kindergarten this fall, I didn't want her to be too consumed with activities this summer.

Oh, the choices, the mulling over.

I found a perfect camp, just two days a week. One day the kids have music and fine art, the next it's dance and drama. Then, we'll also be subjected to our first initiation into team sports. We've succumb to T-Ball, I believe it's 6 weeks, Saturday mornings, co-ed, hilarity at it's finest. I am already charging the batteries in our video camera because I know the footage will be priceless, or at best maybe we'll get a $10,000 Am…

There's a Half Empty Pie Tin...It Must Be Summer

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Technically speaking, the first day of summer is nineteen days away. Although, I know my summer has begun when I see a half empty pie tin sitting on my kitchen counter, accompanied by a bone dry pint of ice cream. The scene reeks of my summer dinner club. Well, it's not officially a club, but it feels like a club.

I suppose you could say it all began last summer. We'd invite our friends over for dinner, they would have us over the next weekend, then sometimes it would turn into a slumber party. The kids wouldn't have it any other way. Before dinner even started, I could hear the whispers, the girls chatting away about sleeping over, my house, your house, it doesn't matter, let's have a sleep over, I want a sleep over!!!

And always, in good summer time fashion, the dessert was definitely the centerpiece of the evening. Really there's no other way to have dinner and friends. The best part about the summer dinner club, is that for the most part, it is hotter tha…