Showing posts from 2013

2014: Nurture

nur•ture |ˈnərCHər|

care for and encourage the growth and development or encourage the development of...cherish (a hope, belief, or ambition)

I love the idea of focusing on a word to shape experiences in the new year ahead. My word for 2014 is NURTURE, it came to me fairly easy and hit home hard. I was most drawn to nurture because it feels limitless and open. There are so many aspects of my life to nurture: self, family, my blog, friendships, our home, my marriage.

Unfortunately, I feel like a great expanse of time has passed when I have failed at nurturing many of the components of my life. I experienced a moment of clarity when I set my intentions in my new purple notebook, for the new year ahead. I cannot change the past, but rather recognize and work towards better nurturing more aspects of my life starting this very moment onward. I know I'm capable of digging deeper from within and truly living my life more fully and with gratitude.

The photo above was t…

A Gem With Perfect Timing

We met for the first time at the bus stop. It was the Fall of seventh grade and there she magically appeared one morning. Her jeans were rolled, her collar was turned up, but she was bold enough to be wearing blue eyeliner and mascara. I was intrigued. She was edgy. She taught me how to steam open a report card envelope, bleach and razor up an old pair of Levi's, apply makeup and remove it before I went back home. She perfected the art of a side french braid to copy cat her brave hair cut, which was buzzed off on the left side and long on the right. She listened to punk rock on cassette tape. She had traveled all over the country and just moved to town from the West. She was home alone quite frequently and that fact alone made her place more appealing to hang out than mine.

We often could be found exploring our limited suburban neighborhood on foot together. She gave me a new found sense of freedom. There was a Chinese Restaurant merely a block away that I had driven by countless …

December Whole Foods Market Gift Card Winners!

I chose two winners this time around, even though there were 28 total comments, I did not count the ones where it was just an email address after their comment (they simply forgot). Leaving a total number of comment entries at 25! Comments 2 and 8 were the random numbers picked! I will be in touch via email for your address, the gift cards will be shipped directly from my sponsor.

Thank you to everyone that entered. Please check back next month for my new giveaway sponsored by Whole Foods Market!

Comment #2:

Comment #8:

A (new) Year of Possibilities

I walked around and around the display of journals before noticing another wooden shelf with neatly stacked notebooks in various sizes. I was attracted to the medium sized lined journals with a soft cover, it was a two pack in shades of purple that were calling my name. They were just the right thickness, giving me some hope that I could actually fill one early in the New Year. I laughed to myself when I realized how much effort I put into choosing a journal.

Confession, I've never filled an entire journal from cover to cover before. 

It's always been a goal of mine to fill a notebook, maybe even feel some tension as my thoughts spill onto the last few pages wondering if my thoughts will be longer than my notebook. Deep down I know it will happen, someday. Maybe that day will come in 2014.

I bought the two pack of notebooks so I could write down my intentions for the New Year. I'm not quite sure if resolution is the proper word to describe what I'm feeling, but none th…

Entertaining Guests, Invited To A Gathering? Charcuterie Board In A Flash With A Whole Foods Market Giveaway!

Sometimes it's just not possible to cook a dish for every gathering we are invited to. Potluck at school, work gathering on a Friday afternoon, holiday open house, drinks and dessert, and a hat party are just a few invitations we've received in the past month. Every time we've been asked to bring along a dish to share. My thoughts immediately go to chips and salsa, but then you realize you don't want to be that person.

Luckily we've honed in on what we like to bring to a gathering that seems to make everyone happy and we also get a ton of compliments with a Charcuterie Board. Our board always contains specialty meats, cheese like grass fed cheddar or goat cheese we roll in nuts, bread, mixed nuts, nut thin crackers, sometimes a spread, olives and pickles to round things out! If we have time we candy the nuts to have a sweet component to all the savory offerings. The Charcuterie Board makes me happy because it fits everyone's palate and even those with dietary r…

Listen To Ben Harper

I pulled my rental turquoise Mini Cooper up to the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara and hopped out to pick up my ticket from will call. I felt so lucky to be inside this sold out show, I had booked my travel arrangements to California before I even had my hands on a ticket in. I can't quite put my finger on what it was, but as I was about to go into the show I stopped. I swiftly turned around and walked back to will call and asked if there were any released tickets. The woman said, actually we do have some released tickets.

"I've got AA dead center. That's front row," she said from behind the mahogany counter pointing at the screen.

Her words may have come out in slow motion or my heart may have been pounding so hard that everything else around me stopped, it took about a millisecond for my brain to say yes, for the endorphins to start rushing, and then finally my mouth caught up with everything that had just overcome my body.

I'll take it.

When I join in th…

Connecticut Becomes First State To Require GMO Labeling

The citizens of Connecticut had their voices heard yesterday when Governor Malloy signed a bill legislating the labeling of GMO foods (Public Act No. 13-183)! There is a part of me that believed I may never see the day when people won over the powerful corporations that have a strong hold over our government. I am hopeful.

Press release from the Governor's Office

Happy Thanksgiving Giveaway Winner!

While my time isn't as equally divided to be as present as I once was here at Eat Play Love, there is nothing that makes me happier that I still have people stop by to read my words. One never knows what I may be rambling on about, but alas you come anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving, today I am truly grateful for Eat Play Love and all the incredibly people that have been woven into my life as a result. My heart is full.

Congrats to Melissa, you have won the giveaway. I'll be in touch for your address.

melissaNovember 25, 2013 at 7:47 AM Like Gretchen, we started brining years ago with Alton's recipe. Love it! Melissius at gmail dot com

Learn To Brine A Turkey {video} and a Whole Foods Market $50 Gift Card Giveaway!

Thanksgiving is upon us! Who doesn't love a holiday full of gratitude, sitting around the table enjoying the company of the ones we love, and indulging? While some may succumb to the pressure to create a perfect meal, we tend to stick with our favorites and keep it simple, which takes the pressure off. Thanksgiving is also one of those holidays that is steeped in tradition. My tradition is hunting down 3 boxes of Bell's Poultry Seasoning (accept no substitutes) which is added to the dressing, aka stuffing. We don't actually use 3 boxes, but I always need a backup, and a backup for our backup.

About 10 years ago, Josh brined a turkey for the first time. The turkey turned out wonderfully moist, we were super impressed that we could taste subtle hints of flavors used in the brine.  Since then, there has been no turning back, a dried out flavorless turkey became a thing of the past. A brined turkey quickly became a part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

If you want to wow your gu…

Halloween Giveaway Winners From Whole Foods Market!

Announcing the Whole Foods Market Halloween Package winners! There were 23 comments, but one was mine identifying the unknown commenter that emailed me to let me know their comment went through as unknown! 
I pulled winners from 22 comments (not counting mine) and they were #1, #6, #12!

Comment #1, Connie Weiss!
Comment #6, The SoapDish!
Comment #12, Momandsons!
Winners please contact me with your address at eatplaylove (at) gmail (dot) com! If I don't hear from you within 24 hours, I will pull a new winner.

Stay tuned for a new giveaway from Whole Foods Market next month...

Mom Approved Whole Foods Market Halloween Giveaway!

Halloween is just one week away and once again we find ourselves facing the candy dilemma head on. We love Halloween, we love joining the girls trick or treating, having conversations with our neighbors, and watching the girls joyfully sort through their loot at night's end. What we don't love is deviating from our normal diets just for the sake of American tradition. The majority of chocolate gets to stay, candy that dreadfully sticks in your teeth must go. Candy that is full of artificial coloring and flavoring typically gets cast aside as well. Luckily for us, we find in our neighborhood the girls receive all sorts of non-traditional Halloween goodies. 
This year, I'm looking forward to handing out some Mom approved Halloween loot. I am partnering with Whole Foods and passing out some fun treats this Halloween. Some of our personal favorites are small snack sized bags of treats like Annie's Halloween Bunny Grahams, Snyder's pretzels, or Justin's peanut butt…

Filled With Possibility, The Makerie Summer Series: In The Home

The Makerie is a weekend creative retreat that was started by Ali DeJohn and is hosted in one of the most picturesque parts of Boulder, Chautauqua Park. From my interactions with Ali, she's a woman that dreams big, and actually turns those dreams into reality for others to experience. It's amazing to watch grace spilling from a person, that's truly how I would best describe Ali. Ali has mastered the art of detail and those details just compliment one's Makerie experience so profoundly.

This summer, The Makerie was offered in a series, all of which had different focuses in a one day gathering instead of the weekend long retreat. Creative classes were taught by artists complimented by lovingly prepared food from the farm by Chef Katie of EAT Catering. The Makerie session I attended was called In The Home and was hosted at The Lyons Farmette. I actually won a ticket from Whole Foods Market in Boulder, a Makerie sponsor, which made me feel like the luckiest person on earth…

Fun With Wacky Apple Flat Fruit!

Now that we are packing two lunches everyday, about once a week I get creative and surprise the girls with something out of the ordinary in their lunches. I love using small little cookie cutters of letters and shapes to create fun things out of flat fruit! We all know how nice it is to have fruit in our pantry to add to lunches when we haven't gotten to the market, that's why I love Wacky Apple!

They nibble on the fruit before eating their sandwiches or play around with the shapes until after they are finished. The flat fruit is fun to do many things with and a bonus, the girls find it a sweet treat to replace a processed sugar dessert!

Thank you Wacky Apple for the box full of goodies to make my girls bentos wonderful! My favorite part of Wacky Apple is that it comes from Colorado and is Organic! Non organic apples carry the highest pesticide loads, so we try to buy organic apples as much as possible.

This is 10 {with Audio}

Click on the play button to listen to my read through of this post:
A full week of birthday celebrations finally came to a close as the sun set last night. I'm not quite sure why, but 10 feels like such a momentous birthday to me. I wanted 10 to feel special and different. I wanted 10 to stand out in life's timeline. Sj is now officially double digits, she's got one year to raise both hands, fingers fully splayed out, and tell the world, she's 10.

Turning 10 also means there's a deeper understanding of how life works and sometimes it's an opportunity to grow emotionally, as well as chronologically. We sat down for lunch at Zoe Ma Ma, sipping a pipping hot bowl of chicken noodle soup, while the girls devoured some potstickers. They finished them quickly and decided they wanted steamed buns, so we handed Sj some cash and sent her off to order more. Even in the tiniest moments of independence, I find myself smiling as I carefully observe Sj growing leaps and boun…

Hacking Senior Citizens' iPads 101

This story may make you laugh or make you cry, unfortunately it saddens me. My father has owned an iPad for a couple of years now. He's not very tech savvy and is of the persuasion that if you tap hard enough on the glass, the iPad will respond appropriately. Sometime last Spring I backed up his iPad to my computer because it had never been backed up before. I made the mistake of not logging out of my iTunes account first before backing up his iPad. Hindsight is 20/20. If you ever back up someone else's iDevice onto your computer, simply log out of your iTunes account first and the odds are good this won't happen to you. Or simply don't be nice and offer to back up someone's iDevice at all.

A few months later, when updating applications I was prompted to enter in my father's apple ID password on my iPhone. I found that very strange, but quickly realized applications that we both shared became corrupted. Now don't ever say to an Apple employee the word corru…

Be Yourself {with Audio}

(Please note, I am experimenting with embedding an audio read through of my blog posts. See player below, if you would like to hear me read it through)

Wednesday is typically the day of the week when I sit down on the couch after dinner, but within moments find myself swinging my feet up and propping a pillow behind my head. I reach down and grab the wool throw, taking extra care to cover my feet. Wednesdays are for melding into the down wrapped sofa cushions and letting go of all the things I should be doing. A pipping hot cup of tea was placed on the table in front of me turned in just the right way, be yourself was staring back at me. A simple message hanging off the tea bag string.

Be Yourself.

In my mind I see a woman sitting on the ground with her knees up close to her chest and her arms thrown around her legs. There's a rounded wall of smooth grey rocks built up around her, not so high that she can't see over, but definitely high enough to protect her. Her head occasiona…

Post Boulder Flood Reflections: Resilience Is Not Wavering

On Monday, I can easily recall rain through out the day. No sunshine, grey skies.

Tuesday, I woke up to clouds in the sky and maybe some light rain. Josh left very early for a 2 week business trip, his flight was delayed but he arrived in Los Angeles just fine. I waved goodbye to my daughter as she pulled out of the parking lot in a school bus for a 4 day Outdoor Education trip. A day of intermittent rain would follow.

Wednesday, after 5pm I was walking out to my car in the parking lot when the driving rain caught me off guard. Still raining? Then, wow it's still. raining.

It wouldn't be until later in the evening, on Wednesday September 11th, that my anxiety levels around the rain started to rise. Flash flood warnings started hitting twitter, I turned to my ipad for the police radio app to get some insight from fire and emergency crews. Boulder Valley cancelled school for Thursday. Unlike a huge snowstorm about to hit the area that comes with days of warnings, this 1,000 year…

Boulder, Colorado Flood Video

From my neighborhood on Friday September 13:

Present Presence

Being conscious of the problem is the first step to fighting this.

Article, Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone


So, What Do You Do?

Just shortly beyond introduction, small talk always heads in one direction. Our brain synapses are mental arrows pointing like lights leading jets to their final resting destination. The one place we most frequently land is the safe zone, career talk.

So, What do you do? 

Historically, that is indeed one of the most dreaded questions I could be asked. The root of the problem for me is that I'm engaged in a brief conversation with someone who more than likely I will never talk to again. Before the so what do you do question even arises, I can almost guarantee I have forgotten the name of the person I am conversing with, unless of course they are wearing a name tag. Percentage of chance they are wearing a nametag 15%, percentage of chance I remember their name sans nametag 15%, percentage of chance I wish I could slip away unnoticed and not hold small talk conversations 99.8%. In my ideal world we'd small talk about things we are passionate about like food, travel, or a myriad of…

My Sisterless Life

Not only am I the youngest of four, but I am the only daughter. While I wouldn't quite call my birth an oops, there's over five years in age difference between me and the youngest of the three boys. The three boys in 4 years boys, mind you. Yes, then me. Just simply assessing the birth order and gender facts of my family one may easily conclude, I was never much of a girly girl. Digest this information as you wish, but I find it's essential to where I am headed with this story.

Then in 1994, the baby girl of the family picked up and moved 1,800 miles away.

Fast forward two decades later, Josh and I have our own family. We've been graced with two daughters, two girls that spend their summer days crafting, playing together, braiding each other's hair, and even currently slumbering by choice in the same bedroom at night (it's fleeting I know, but let me have my moment). Of course there's much admiration from my youngest towards her big sister a…

Hiking In Rocky Mountain National Park, Happiness In Being

My feet slipped into the toeclips of my pedals and I set off on a short adventure down the frontage road just off of our campground. I wasn't quite sure what to expect or how long the road would continue on for. The road was heavily treed, but I passed a handful of houses, lots of laundry drying on clotheslines, and many yards full of stockpiles of construction materials, abandoned cars, and firewood. I may or may not have contemplated a few times on my ride the possibility of a junkyard dog living in one of these homesteader shacks, but with great fortune not one canine did I encounter. I arrived at the top of a hill and looked down deciding if I should descend down the curvy road, all I could focus on was the ride back up.

Down I went...

I happened upon a lovely creek with gently cascading water and a small footpath that ran along the creek caught my eye. The creek was descending through a meadow and the Rocky Mountains were a glorious backdrop. I rode home to share my excitemen…

Boulder's Best Parks: CAVE PARK [Arapahoe Ridge Park]

Even though the first time I visited "Cave Park" was about 15 years ago, it wasn't until this morning that I learned the real name of the park is Arapahoe Ridge Park. Cave Park as we so lovingly call it, is one of the most unique parks we've ever been to. In complete contrast to modern synthetic playgrounds, the focal point of Cave Park has a beautiful flagstone play structure complete with tunnels and mazes, built right into the landscape. Cave Park provides such a unique experience for kids, as it's so completely different than the usual playground experience. It's a great way for kids of all ages to develop climbing skills, comfort level with dark and tight spaces, and a real sense of independence! There's really no hand holding through the tunnels, kids must explore on their own.

There are other components of Cave Park, but they are dated. There's a shiny metal merry go round (warning, it gets dangerously hot in the sun), a very small toddler size…

Boulder's Best Parks For Kids! Foothills Community Park (w/Photos)

Boulder is known for it's Open Space and Mountain Parks, but it's a bit of a hunt to find the playgrounds that are true gems. Through a series of posts, I am going to highlight some of our favorite parks to help cut out the legwork for anyone looking to go on a playground adventure, be it a local or just a visitor passing through! 
Foothills Community Park  800 Cherry Ave Toddler friendly: Yes Big Kid Awesome: Yes Bathrooms: Yes Picnic Shelters: Yes Cycling/Scooter friendly: Yes Features, rock climbing, bouldering to slide down a big slide, neighboring community gardens
Foothills Community Park is a park complex in North Boulder, west of Broadway off of Cherry Avenue. The highlights of this post are from the playground that is featured off of 7th Avenue and can be tucked away from the Community Gardens portion of the Foothills Community Park (related, I couldn't find the playground until we went off searching on foot). 
There truly is something for everyone at this park! The…

On My Bicycle, I Just Feel Free

My legs are long and dominate my physique, but come in handy as I gracefully throw the right one over the top tube of my Surly. My feet nonchalantly slip into the toe clips on my pedals and those dominating legs get to work. There really isn't much settling in when I hop on a bicycle, I feel at home. My hands gently squeeze the brakes when I am moving too swiftly down a hill. On a rare occasion, I let myself feel what it's like to just let it rip without touching the brakes. The wind passes through my helmet, I unknowingly crack a smile maintaining tight lips, fearing bugs would ruin my triumphant moment. My right hand doesn't have to wait for a message from my legs sent through my brain to adjust the gears on a climb, it just opens up the lever and the release is immediately felt. I love climbing, which may be rather strange to admit, but for some reason I enjoy hushing up all the tiny whispers that tell me I can't do it. When I climb, I can.

For all the cumulative m…

Sharing A Laptop? That Was Easy!

Kids and computers. Computers and kids. The topic seems to be popping up more frequently in our home. After the girls are in bed we sometimes watch a movie, leisurely lounging on the sofa we talk about our day and quite honestly discuss things we save for when we aren't in the company of the girls. For us, there is no set age as to when a child is ready for a tablet, computer, or cell phone. We tend to air on the conservative side, as many children we know already have their own devices, but we definitely value the role technology has in our lives and want the girls to enrich their lives with it as well. We take a bit of a balanced approach and don't limit "screen time" to a set number of minutes, but we value being active outside, gardening, reading for 20 minutes a day, writing in our journals, and being crafty in addition to allowing time on the computer. It works for us and my general rule of thumb in regards to parenting is not for me to judge others, but recogn…

Reading Food Labels, Do Americans Have The Right That Consumers Have In 64 Countries? Labeling GMO's, A Debate.

This is a great informative news segment: My favorite part of the video is when the representative of the grocery industry says consumers don't need to know if a product contains GMO's because they are safe and it's just a confusing label (as we would assume that makes them unsafe). I will follow up his statement with this, why as consumers do we need to know juice comes from concentrate? That's a label that is in place, do we assume concentrate is bad for our health?

Personally I want to know if the food I was about to eat was injected with foreign proteins in a laboratory and treated with high levels of toxic chemicals. Let's not confuse our RIGHT TO KNOW with chemical companies bottom line or their ability to buy elections and legislation. Currently our system puts corporations before people and the lack of information available to consumers leaves us feeling confused. While we believe the USDA is protecting us, it's appalling to find out that they don…

How Many? Just One, At The Bar. Dining Solo at Pizzeria Locale Boulder.

Rather foolishly I assumed Pizzeria Locale wouldn't be crowded on a Sunday evening. I had barely thrown the parking brake in the truck, when the crowd loitering on the sidewalk in front of Locale caught my eye. A beautiful sign of summer is seeing the patio door fully retracted, allowing the most magical wafts of the union of dough, sauce, and cheese from their glorious wood fired oven outside, gracing the passersby. I may have stepped off of the sidewalk to avoid kids on bicycles, a few leashed dogs, and adults chatting away, gathered along the iron railing before arriving at the front door. I immediately scanned the bar to see if there was any space available before the host could even welcome me.

Good Evening, how many? 
Just one. I'll take the pizza bar. 
Tonight I was drawn to the pizza bar seating, one piece of glass separating production from consumption, work from pleasure. Tap water filled my glass, my first Limoncello Spritz arrived shortly after, followed by the Merca…

Catamaran Resort and Spa: Our Perfect San Diego Beach Family Vacation

Everyday I recognize how incredibly fortunate we are to live in Boulder, Colorado. Just blocks away from our home are the Rocky Mountains. The sunrises and sunsets are so often breathtaking and caught during the simplest moments, such as walking out of the grocery store or weeding my garden, they often stop me in my tracks! I truly love living in Colorado, but have to be honest, I am drawn to the beach and ocean for family vacations. Trips to the beach feeds our soul as a family, it gives us so much opportunity to bond, relax, and feel carefree.

By spring's arrival, my online research into a destination for our family vacation in June was in full swing. Our thoughts were literally all over the map, we weighed out the pros and cons of foreign country beach escapes to the hurricane season of the Gulf Coast, which spanned from vacation rentals by owner to all inclusive resorts. I started to feel overwhelmed by our research, travel websites were distracting me from what we really want…

Inside My Cocoon {with audio}

(Listen to my read through)

I live in a cocoon with walls miles upon miles deep. While one's imagination may quickly wonder how it feels to live in darkness, trapped tightly inside grey, flaking, and papered walls, I implore you to understand the walls of my cocoon are translucent. My cocoon is filled with sunshine and happiness, it's filled with displays of affection and endless possibility, it's filled with the goodness I have consciously created. There is no limit to the people that make their way on the inside and I am often humbled by those that join me here. I see flowers on the foothills of the mountains, green rolling hills just simply embracing the rock filled mountains that shoot into the turquoise blue sky. From the summit,  one may be lucky enough to see a smooth sand filled coast mingling with the ocean waves, in and out. In and out. As the mind often begins to run away in splendor, do not imagine a place of perfection inside this cocoon, that simply doesn…