Showing posts from 2010

House Project 1: Creation Of A Pantry

Our new house has a 1960's kitchen. It hasn't been updated, except for appliances and even those could use some modernization. The cabinets are original and don't have the conveniences that we were accustomed to in our former remodeled kitchen, such as slide out drawers in the lower cabinets or a luxurious and spacious corner cabinet. Even counter top space is at a premium.
BUT, we aren't quite ready to take on a kitchen remodel. We've decided to wait at least a year to overhaul the kitchen, for many reasons. I want to do it right, settle into the space, figure out how we would like things configured in the future. Ikea is opening soon in Denver and we will probably take that route when we do the remodel. I didn't want to just throw things up here willy nilly or purchase a new appliance that wouldn't work as well in the new space. We love to cook, we want our kitchen done just right, which means having a little patience and a vision.
So in the mean time, we…

The Post-Move, Settling In, Where Have I Been Post...

I've been itching to get back here and post, but then something comes up. Take for example the photos. Our new home has undergone so many transformations in the past three weeks, you wouldn't believe it. I can hardly believe it. I'm ready to start posting before and after photos, but first I had to charge the G10 battery, so I could download the photos. Before I could charge the battery, I had to find the charger, which meant digging for the bin of electronic stuff we had at our apartment.

So after that was all said and done, battery charger found, battery charged, photos downloaded I haven't taken the time to write a post. Because of course, I'm thinking that's going to mean some time playing around on picnik creating little before/after photo collages, but I download photos onto my desktop computer which is in the family room and currently occupied by my husband and brother (not exactly conducive to writing). I am on a laptop in my bed, comfy and cozy, retrea…

Reverb10: Photo That Best Captures Me!

Who am I, who do I strive to be?A photo based reflection by TraceyClark (yes two separate links, click them both).

Of course I had to be difficult and find two photos. The first one was the one I knew I was looking for, but the second one I needed to share as well. It's all a part of my journey and reflection.
January 2010, an alley in London... So, here I am standing in a random alley in London. Turns out it's not so random, but rather a place I was drawn to and had a "dream come true moment" captured by two fabulous friends. Those girlfriends were kind enough to indulge me in traipsing around the streets of London, until we found this exact alley. We spent hours walking London that day, the sun was starting to set, my toes were cold and my feet were tired, but we carried on. The building straight down the narrow driveway is the home of Coldplay's recording studio. The place I was standing I convinced myself was a spot that Chris Martin would turn around the corn…

2010 in One Word: Opportunity

Prompt: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word.

Circumstances that make it possible to do something is opportunity.

January started off with an amazing opportunity to take a trip to London with friends. That trip became a source of inspiration for many things that unfolded through out the rest of the year. One of the major things that was inspired by my trip to London, was selling our home. Three days back in the States and the seed was planted, I discussed with J my desire to move and it all unfolded. Selling and buying a home became one big series of opportunities. I would be kidding myself if I didn't admit, the home selling process was also an opportunity to know true exhaustion. With out testing the limits of my spirit, I'd never know what was possible.

In my personal life, this past year I really invited and embraced the opportunity to network and build relationships that took me beyond my small circle and comfort zone. Culminating that openness was a trip to Sa…

An Unpaid Account From 10 Years Ago, Say What? Say What?

Sometimes the beauty of having a blog is that it's a wonderful opportunity to share stories about a simple interaction that goes south really fast. Today is a day that I must share one of those stories. I have no interest in blabbing the particular name of the company that I interacted with. I'm really not one of those gripe to get my way bloggers. I understand why some have to take that approach out of frustration. I'm not frustrated. I admit I was angry at first, but now I'm having a good laugh.
We closed on our house yesterday, but aren't moving in quite yet. I forgot to set up trash service so I called today to have our weekly trash service set up to start next week. After pressing a series of buttons, I was finally connected with a live account representative. We talked through why I was calling. She asked my name, my husband's name. Mentioned she didn't have us on record. I told her we had an account with them 10 years ago, but oh well. No big deal. T…

How Much Is Enough? I'm A Retailers Nightmare...

I suppose it was all the chatter and hoopla surrounding the day after Thanksgiving that sent me into heavy reflection. The notorious Black Friday didn't fill me with any urge or desire to run out to my local big box store in the wee hours of the morning fighting crowds, waiting in line to save some money. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good sale. But, the stuff that I am wanting to spend money on right now wasn't exactly Black Friday hot items.
Here's what I'm hot for, a new sofa, a pantry cabinet, a hutch with great storage, french doors for my family room, a teepee for the backyard. Are we sensing a theme here? I'm still head over heels in new house mode, we close on Monday and move next weekend. I'm dreaming of nesting, dreaming of unpacking boxes of my possessions, some of which have been stored since this summer. I packed 5 huge boxes of the girls toys in July before staging my house, they are going to be so excited to see all their stuff again! In j…

It's Not Starting Over, It's Returning Home...

It's hard for me to believe, but we've been back in Boulder for three weeks already! One morning I was brushing my teeth, about to head out to meet a friend when this thought entered my mind:It's not starting over, it's returning home. When we first decided to move back to Boulder, part of the process for me was thinking about leaving the place we considered home for eight years. Did I really want to give up all we created just for the location? I would think to myself, are we REALLY doing this? Then BAM! It happened in a flash, house on market, house sold, move cities.
Since the move, I have felt incredibly grounded and content. It's so wonderful to be back in the place that lured us to Colorado 16 years ago. There has been so much change around town, but it's delicately balanced by so many things that are the same. That familiarity has made me realize that our decision to move back to Boulder (or "town" as I casually say) was one of the best decisio…

The Carrot Seed Recreated in One Drawing

Yesterday my 3 year old was busy drawing at the kitchen table. She holds up the picture and begins to explain what she drew. I loved it, so I thought I would share it, deconstructed a little to better see the components of it. As always, you can click on the photo to enlarge it.

The original drawing.
Planting of the seeds, complete with sign.
Then, one day a carrot came up
just as the little boy had known it would.
The end.

Wordless Wednesday: My Backyard Makes Me Happy

(click to enlarge, much prettier that way)

Nintendo, San Francisco, and Ten Memorable Women...

Last month I was invited by Nintendo to participate in an advisory group panel at the Nintendo offices in San Francisco. It was almost one year ago I was asked to be a Nintendo Brand Ambassador. I jumped at both opportunities with out hesitation, as Nintendo is a brand I've always been fond of for over two decades. A couple of nights in San Francisco sounded like a nice getaway from being entrenched in all things house (selling and buying). I knew four of us from Colorado would be traveling out together, so that eased my comfort level with being thrown into a new situation solo. Unfortunately my seat mate Julie was stuck next to me on the flight out, so even though she pulled out her laptop to get some writing done mid-flight I basically gabbed her ear off the entire way. Please accept my apology for that Julie, but our conversation helped me suppress all the neurotic thoughts and fears I had while flying. Before I knew it, a dense fog was out my window cascading over the mountain…

Welcome To Our First Home of Eight Years

Finally I'm ready to share our home of eight years, these photos were used for our real estate listing. I enjoy looking at them because it reminds me of all the things that made me happy about our first house (plus it looks so sparkly and well kept). We went under contract after 31 days on the market, I've never felt so lucky in my entire life! I came across photos from when we moved in and I have to admit, we really did leave a special touch on the place. I love this house and I always will. I actually cried at closing, sitting at the table with a group of people around us! I had no idea it would be that emotional for me. I really liked the woman that purchased the home, I can tell she loved the place already which made it easier for me to say goodbye.
The house was a split level built in 1959. Most of the homes in the neighborhood were brick ranches, so I loved how our two story stood out. We painted all the soffit and gutters before putting the house on the market, they we…

Packing Lunch Again... Post Move!

Oh boy, moving has put a real speed bump in my bento inspiration! Most mornings we are trying to get something nourishing out the door in a flash and a few days it was even in a brown bag! The majority of my bento supplies are in storage, so we are down to the absolute basics. Two laptop lunches and a couple Japanese bentos are all I have in my 1000sqft apartment. In a month we'll be settled into our real home and I'm already devising ways to organize my bentos in the new kitchen!
Whole wheat tortilla gently melted in the toaster oven, cukes, baby carrots, pirate's booty, and some raspberries.

Munchkin Masquerade with a Haunted House Chaser...

Quick update: I'm writing from an apartment that we moved into following closing. I will write about everything once we close on our home at the end of the month. I feel a bit superstitious writing about the entire process of selling and buying before it's a real done deal! As you may imagine packing and moving the contents of a home we settled very comfortably into over eight years was a ton of work, then multiply that by a three and that's really how much work it was. We still have one more move ahead of us, but at least 2/3 of our belongings are in storage and I don't have to repack them, they just need to be hauled.

Now onto more fun things, we spent our first Halloween in Boulder! Pearl St Mall had a great event called Munchkin Masquerade, where some businesses even provided great "green treats". Some of the loot I was delighted to let my girls dig into after the event were bags of trail mix, organic fruit leather, organic fair trade chocolates, and pret…

If we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we must work together...

Keeper of The World's Broccoli...

Thanks to Connie, instead of packing boxes, I'm creating little movies.

Nature's Cupcakes, For Lunch?

Left over pasta from last night's dinner with some made on the spot vinaigrette (honey, olive oil, rice vinegar, some salt and pepper). Shredded mozzarella, carrots, and grapes. I hollowed out the core of a local colorado organic apple, filled it with peanut butter, and put some sprinkles on top to make it look like a cupcake! Lastly, for a treat a couple of mini burgers from Japan.

More Bunnies Bento

Bunny, moon, and circle sandwich (good ol' organic peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat). Broccoli, red peppers, snap peas, orange peppers (left over from dinner stir fry mix), grapes, bunny crackers, and some japanese biscuits/crackers for a treat.
I haven't been doing much lunch packing lately, as we are packing our home to move in a couple of weeks. Hot lunch has been my go to when I haven't been to the store or I just run out of time in the morning. I am fortunate enough to have a great hot lunch option at my daughter's school, her district is a part of the School Food Project. They've eliminated all processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, have bulk organic white milk (just pour into cups), a harvest bar, and a vegetarian option every day.

Sometimes I like to pretend that everything is just fine...

With those words I will see all of you on the flip side. The flip side of not knowing where I will be living in just two short weeks. The flip side of saying goodbye to my home of 8 years. The flipside of having most of our possessions in some concrete storage space. The flipside of now having a po box as my address. The flipside of this process sucking worse than I ever would have imagined.
Right now even though I like to pretend, I can't.
See you on the flipside, when that will be I truly don't know.
I've decided to close comments, you can find me on twitter or email me!

I Think You're The Most Beautiful Girl In The Whole World...

Today I sat in on a classroom birthday celebration for Sj. They have a very special ritual where the birthday child walks around the sun for each year of their life. The sun is a candle, placed on a orange wooden cut out, with twelve rays representing each month of the year. All of the students sing a song counting up the numbers for each year as she circled the sun. After each year the birthday child tells a short story about that year of their life. I first told the story of her birth (the very edited quick and painless version), years one and two. She filled in the rest.
After the traveling around the sun ceremony we passed out a fruit snack to her classmates. Then Sj's teacher asked each student to give her a compliment. I was a part of the circle, so I sat and listened to the students go in order. Lots of girls said you're a great friend, the boys said she was awesome with cheddar cheese on top, many of them were very grateful for their fruit snack. The compliments began …

Honoring the feeling that the house, just wasn't right...

The chaos that has become our housing situation has simply taken over our lives. I would love to write about what I made for dinner or about a hike I took on Sunday, but I can't because we are all house, all the time. Yesterday we returned to a house that we were going to write on for a second time. We did our homework and knew the problems that came with this particular house. We've spoken to contracting companies, studied structural engineer write ups and drawings, and tried to read through air quality testing results.
But most importantly, I didn't feel it.
J and I showed up to the home for our fourth time. I walked around out back admiring the flagstone patio and identifying the plants that were growing around the property. I peeked in the windows of the almost perfect oversized garage in the backyard. We went inside in search of evidence of things we now knew were in the home, but they were all hidden. Property disclosures are an amazing thing people. I do feel lucky …

Six Layer Rainbow Cake with Mario!

This morning I woke at 6:30 and began to construct a cake. Well, not just any cake, but a six layer rainbow cake. I made enough batter for two cakes, simply put 1.5 cups of batter into a smaller bowl, colored it individually, and baked (for less time, win win). Technically the layers were not full size, but the cake was still grandiose.

My now 7 year old requested sky blue icing and while I was at it, I decided to add some clouds by keeping some homemade frosting aside before coloring it blue. The cake was fun and whimsical so we added Mario. My favorite part about this particular cake was that the rainbow cake on the inside was a surprise!

This is how it looks now. Apparently it was a hit!

I Couldn't Tell You What Is In My Daughter's Lunch Today...

Even though I could have posted a photo of a bento I packed a few weeks ago, I have decided to refrain. The title of this post isn't a joke, my husband packed lunch for our daughter this morning. Truth be told, I didn't even open her Laptop Lunch to see what was in there.
We sold our house this month and will be moving in a month. Let's just say life has become a little bit hectic and overwhelming as we are still with out a home to move into. To top off the chaos my one year old refrigerator decided to frost over in the freezer affecting the air circulation to the refrigerator. A light bulb went off in the morning when the milk in glass bottles I pulled out of the refrigerator was warm to the touch. Glass in the refrigerator is never warm to the touch.
Anyway, life does go on, but my bento packing is on hold. I am off to San Francisco for a few days and when I return my collection will have grown and I am hoping so will my inspiration.

The Deal Breaker...

I believe it's the French Silk Pie that's digesting in my stomach, which is allowing me a moment to just relax. I'm lazing in my bed, the girls are asleep, and my husband is off schmoozing at a preview screening of this year's completed film. There are so many things I should be doing, but most simply put, I'm not...
In this moment I realize I naively decided to put a for sale sign up in my yard just last month. We decided it was time and of course told ourselves, it will all work out. I know in my heart it will, but in this very moment things are a bit up in the air for us. Our home sale is going through in October, but the house we were under contract on fell through.
Today we walked...
It's very odd to say, we walked on a house that we had mentally moved ourselves into. I was eyeing a new sofa for the living room, we had dinner in the neighborhood brewpup, the girls and I would drive by daily after school pickup, friends came and checked out the house with us,…

Like Father, Like Daughter....

If I'm packing one lunch, it just makes sense to pack another. I guess I got into a groove packing three lunches for a short stint. I didn't mind it at all. Even got my wheels turning a bit about something that has potential for the future. Today J is eating exactly the same lunch that Sj is. Like father, like daughter or is it vice versa?

This morning, Sj requested tuna in her lunch. I only purchase 365 Brand (whole foods private label) Tongol Tuna, if you click here you can read about their testing methods and the level of mercury found in the specific type of tuna. Tongol Tuna is not white meat tuna, but "chunk light" and a tuna that is typically found to have lower levels of mercury by nature because of it's size. I put sliced cheddar on the bread first to avoid it from becoming soggy. Grapes, strawberries, broccoli, tomato, and booty. For a special treat, I gave her a pack of Annie's organic bunny fruit snacks. The yellow container has balsamic vinaigret…

Tuesday Tips: Fast and Free Way To Watermark Photos With Picnik (and other fun easy photo editing)

Have you ever clicked onto a blog post and found the author using a photo you took? Photos get picked up by google images, people search on a subject, and simply (borrow) a photo many times with out ever giving credit to the owner of the image.
An easy way to avoid that is to watermark your photo. Some people may pass on using a watermarked image, but at very least you are still being given credit where credit is due. I always try to link back to where I found an image, unless it's one of those silly photo memes where I just do a general google image link back.
If you aren't into photo editing, I have a very simple way to watermark a photo. I use Picnik. I use the premium version of Picnik (1 month, 3 month, or yearly subscription), but the majority of Picnik features are free. How I watermark this photo, is free.
Upload an image to Picnik (click on any photo to enlarge):

Click on the CREATE Tab:

Click on TEXT, add text to the text box, upper left corner, click on a font of choi…

Easy How To Watermark Photos For Free!

I know, I know. Why in the world is a lunch packing blog talking about watermarking photos? Well every lunch creation we share is ours, in this day and age of accessibility to everyone's content it's nice to protect yourself by watermarking your photos.
Over at EatPlayLove, I have a shared the few easy steps on how to watermark a photo in a Tuesday Tips post! Enjoy.
Click for post here!

Hello Blogosphere, It's Me Denise...

I received an email today from a bloggy-friend asking me what in the world was up, where have I been, and more importantly am I okay?
Yes, I am doing just fine. The last few weeks have been a surreal whirlwind experience. My house went under contract this week, followed by a mad search to find a new home. The first night after the we sealed the deal, I got absolutely no sleep. My mind raced all night wondering where in the world we were going to live come October! Now the excitement has settled down a bit and we've come to realize that everything will work out just fine. Please tell me it will work out, right? We aren't under contract yet on the house we like, but we shall know by tomorrow.
To top off the fun of house showings in 45 minutes, PTA meetings, and school functions, my husband was out of town for two weeks. Luckily the technology exists now where you can electronically sign documents, so getting out counter proposals were a snap with us being in different locations. …

Food Cutters Make a Happy Bento

A cookie cutter, some Japanese cutters (great for harder vegetables), and Hello Kitty cutters that also press a cute little face into the bread. Just add a little special touch to everyone's lunch.

Feeding Friends, Because A Homemade Lunch Is Comfort Food...

Our friends have been displaced by the Four Mile Canyon fire. One of the first things that came up was that the kids needed lunch boxes, so instead of buying lunch boxes I simply offered to pack lunch for the kids until they are settled into their new living arrangements. I wouldn't have it any other way, a homemade lunch is a simple way to keep things consistent for the children while they face so much change in their lives.
Then Laptop Lunches stepped up and graciously offered to donate two Bento Kits to my friend's children. A huge thank you to them for their generosity.
So now I am packing 3 lunches in the morning! Right now it cuts into my creative side because I'm figuring things out, but I am getting more into a groove. You will see my creativity come out next week.
This is what I've packed this week:

I Left A Piece of My Heart In Four Mile Canyon...

***Please note, I live 8 miles outside of Boulder, I am not evacuated. This post is about my connection to the area.***
I should be asleep, but I can't sleep. The place I called home for 4 years is at the center of a 3,500 acre wildfire. My day has been consumed by the magnitude of the loss. A simple lunch time outing turned into a wave of emotion from the wall of smoke that formed from the canyon to the town I currently live in. I tried to wrap my brain around the exact location of fire from a distance, talking myself down from the worst case scenario, that it was Four Mile Canyon. But after a text, a search on twitter, my fears were confirmed. It was Four Mile Canyon and yes, my friends were safely evacuated. (insert expletive)....
I've seen posts of "great photos" from the fire. I know it's natural in this day in age to share media, video clips in an instant, of course the size of the fire is immense the smoke billowing. But in those great photos all I can imag…

Fruit Kabob & Turkey Baloney With Heart!

Last night I popped into Whole Foods to pick up a chicken (they put them on special on Wednesday) and while I was there I grabbed some fruit kabobs as well. So really, I didn't get all fancy this morning, I just had a kabob leftover from dinner!
Heart sandwich made with 100% whole wheat organic bread, Applegate Farms uncured turkey baloney and Cabot sharp vintage cheddar, a bit of mustard, and Sj's initials in fruit leather. Some snap peas, barbecue Pirate's Booty, left over fruit leather cut into bunnies, and a 365 brand sandwich cookie. ------------------------------------ Disclaimer all items were purchased by my family, not a free sample or paid endorsement!