Friday, August 31, 2007

Up, Up, Bump, Bump

We went 4-wheeling with Matt's Uncle Markle last weekend. He took us up over the tree line (I think we were at 12,000 ft). What an amazing view! What a bumpy ride! We've been off roading with Uncle Markle a few times now. If you ask Jack what we do with Great Uncle Markle, he says, "Big bumps!"




Thursday, August 30, 2007

Doesn't do me any good...

but maybe you can use it. This is a link to a $1 off coupon for Horizon Organic Milk. It isn't valid in Colorado, Maine, Missouri or North Dakota. Wonder why?

Maine Thank You Gift

I wanted to send my mother-in-law a thank you gift for hosting us on our trip to Maine. When I found these shell bags by toymaker Kathy Kruse, I knew I had found the perfect gift. They arrived yesterday, and I packaged them up along with the book Flotsam (awesome, wordless book).

I got the shell bags at Blueberry Forest Toys. They have handcrafted and wooden toys (just my style!) AND you can get 10% off your purchase through Aug 31st (tomorrow) with coupon code RC88.

Edited to add that Blueberry Forest has offered blog readers 10% off through Sept 30th with coupon code BG22. I might do a little Christmas shopping...

Crunchy Pudding

I love to cook and bake for my family. I am always on the lookout for good, new recipes. Unfortunately, I do have one standout fault in the kitchen - I am a bit overzealous in my attempts to make recipes healthier - even the pretty darn healthy ones! I substitute whole grain flours (wheat, spelt, brown rice, whatever), I add ground flax seed, I decrease the sugar, I add veggies, I substitute yogurt for sour cream, I basically do whatever I can think of to make the recipe healthier. Now this may sound like a good thing, and, in theory, it is. Occasionally it actually works. Most of the time it doesn't. If I get lucky the food remains edible.


The other day I was making a recipe from The Garden of Vegan for chocolate pudding using silken tofu, cocoa, sugar, etc. Pretty easy recipe. Pretty good recipe. Pretty healthy recipe. But then I had to go and try to make it healthier. Every recipe is healthier with the addition of veggies, right? What veggie goes pretty well with chocolate? Zucchini! (a secondary motive being to use up the plethora of zucchini from my garden) So I shredded some zucchini and mixed it in. I threw in some coconut to disguise the zucchini texture and put it in the fridge to chill. I knew that it wasn't something I'd serve at a dinner party, but I hoped that the kids would eat it.


Matt's uncle Markle was visiting us the next evening. We had a great meal (with grilled zucchini!), and the kids were restless. Matt pulled out the "pudding" for the kids, and somehow we all ended up with a bowl. There were a few bites, a few reviews, and lots of laughing. Markle's comment was, "It isn't that it is bad... I've just never tasted pudding with this texture... crunchy..."

Despite the complaining, both Matt and his uncle ate a bowl full. Kate wouldn't touch it. That girl can spot a zucchini a mile away. Only one person asked for more...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Preschool - Here We Come!


We had preschool orientation this morning. We biked there despite the looking-a-lot-like-rain weather. Kate attended a different preschool last year, and Jack has never attended preschool. I wasn't sure what their reactions would be to a new place. No reason to worry. They both loved the school's playroom and playground. Both kids got to meet their teachers, see their classrooms, and play with a few kids from their class. I chatted with many parents including a cool mom that I briefly met last year. Her son and Kate will be in the same class so I'm glad we'll have more excuses to talk (but she'll never compare to Ashlee *wink*).

Kate attends school 3 mornings/week, and Jack goes just once. At least once a week Kate will eat lunch at preschool. I am going to pack her lunch, so I wanted to get her a lunch bag that is reusable and, preferably, not plastic or princess. I also had concerns about lead given the lead in lunchboxes controversy from awhile back and the recent toy recalls due to lead paint. I already have splash mats that I love from Mimi the Sardine which uses environmentally friendly fabric for their products, so I was pretty sure I wanted lunch bags from them as well.

As I was doing a search for a coupon code for my purchase, I came across the site Nubius Organics (it actually looks really familiar to me, but I don't think I've ever purchased anything there). With the coupon code RHRD25 you get 20% off everything. The lunch bags (I had to get one for Jack also!) arrived today. Can't wait to use them!

The only problem remaining... what am I going to do with one morning a week on my own?!?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Well Seasoned

Lately Kate has been very into how the human body works. She is intrigued at the idea of bones under the skin and can even name a few. She also loves to hold her neck and feel the food go down her throat as she swallows. Maybe she is destined to be a medical professional like both her parents, both her grandmothers, and her paternal grandfather?

Last night as we were tucking into bed, Jack asked for more water. I told him that he couldn't have more because it would make him pee out his diaper. Kate then asked how water makes pee. Was it splashing in the bathtub that made pee? I explained that we drink liquids like water and milk, our body uses the fluid that it needs and then our kidneys take out all the extra fluid and make pee. Kate was fascinated and, as usual when I explain something a bit complicated, she asked me to "Say that again." So I gave my simple explanation again adding that kidneys also filter out salt and other chemicals from the body.

"Kidneys take out salt?" Kate asked and then quickly added, "and pepper?"

Monday, August 27, 2007

C3


Carbon Conscious Consumer (C3) is a national climate campaign sponsored by the Center for a New American Dream that challenges individuals to establish climate-friendly daily habits and inspire their friends to do the same. Every month they have a new action that they ask for your to pledge. August's action is to downshift your driving and go car free one day a week.

Coincidentally, I made a pledge to myself at the beginning of this summer to drive our car as infrequently as possible. Matt gave me a cruiser bicycle as a Mother's Day gift, and we have a Chariot that doubles as a bike trailer and stroller. The kids and I have been faithful about biking whenever we can. To the library, the park, the grocery store, playgroup, to the ice cream shop, etc. We even biked to preschool last spring and will start again in a few weeks.

So take the challenge with me!

Carbon Conscious Consumer Logo

If you are interested in a bike trailer, I noticed that REI has the Chariots and accessories on sale for 20% off through Labor Day.

And thanks to magreen at the Green Parenting Blog for introducing me to C3!

Maine Trip - Part III: Favorite Pics

It has been a month since we left on our trip to Maine, and I am just now getting to this! We took over 350 pictures on our trip. It seemed that every time I turned my head, there was a picture just asking to be taken. These are my favorites. If you are so inclined to see more pictures of our trip, they are on my Flickr account.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bestest of Friends

A little late, but I still want to participate in the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas photo theme "Friendship".

Here are the bestest of friends I know. They are excited because they are about to go off roading in Great Uncle Markle's Jeep.


Go Visit the Crunchy Domestic Goddess

My friend Amy is giving away a cute doll sling over on her blog Crunchy Domestic Goddess. It will be too small for my kids, but if I win I am going to give it to a little someone else. (Can't tell you who because the mommy reads my blog!) Go register to win!

I have lots of blogging I want to do - my crunchy veggie pudding disaster, our bumpy trip up above the tree line, preschool prep, etc - but I am pretty busy being a single mom up in the mountains for a few more days.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Better Than the Perfect Picture

Although I am not, nor do I want to be, a "photographer," I do take a lot of pictures and would like to eventually be better. I am always trying to get a great shot of the kids that I can add to our ever growing picture wall.

Yesterday afternoon I took Kate and Jack for a quick walk out our back door (we are up in the mountains for a few days). Since it was a sponatenous trip, I never thought to grab my camera. Of course, there were perfect pictures everywhere I turned. Dipping toes in the stream, smelling wild flowers, walking through tall native grass, falling in fields of daisies. Perfect moment after perfect moment. Perfect lighting. Perfect subjects. I kept framing photos in my mind and lamenting that I didn't bring my camera.

Then Kate called to me to come play. I quickly let go of my thoughts of the perfect picture and ran through the long grass holding hands with my children. It was a good reminder that sometimes it is better to stop and smell the flowers with the kids rather than just photograph them doing the smelling.

(I just wish someone was taking pictures of us...)

Friday, August 24, 2007

3 1/2: Friend or Enemy


Happy Half Birthday, Kate! Today she is officially 3 1/2.


I happen to be reading a book right now called Your Three-Year-Old Friend or Enemy. While it is a bit dated (copyright 1985) and doesn't have any solutions, it does have great information about the behavior and development to expect. I feel so assured that a lot of what we are experiencing is normal. A couple excerpts that have stood out...


"Warm, friendly, appealing, affectionate and confiding, creative and delightful he can be at times. It may be hard for you to imagine that, only minutes before, you and he may have been locked in immortal combat about whether he would or would not eat his lunch."


"His arbitrary demands to have his own way about all routines may extend to mealtimes. He may not like the type or quantity of food served and may also object to the way it is served. For example, he wants his sandwich cut in two. But if you cut it vertically, it turns out that he wanted it cut horizontally. If you then cut is horizontally, that makes four pieces and he wanted only two pieces."


Was the author spying on our house today? Does it sound familiar to anyone else?


(The book also has a great list in the back of toys for 3 yr olds. I want to get the 2yr old and 4 yr old versions of this book)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Skin Deep

My friend Jennifer was visiting us a few weeks ago and introduced me to the Envrionmental Working Group's website Skin Deep that rates sunscreens and other cosmetics. I was really surprised to see the results of the sunscreen ratings. The top rated sunscreen is called Keys Soap, but it isn't waterproof which won't work for our family. (Their website also claims that they are a sunscreen for "sun avoiders" not people who want to be out in the sun - which would be us). The next best rated is Badger, a brand that I have heard of but never tried. Of course, most places are sold out of Badger sunscreen due to the report. I plan to try it once it is back in stock. I was happy to see that my current favorite brand of sunscreen California Baby also rated pretty high, however two other sunscreens that we use Kiss My Face and JASON didn't rate as well.


I can't wait to have the time to check out some other product ratings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Race Update

Just over 2 weeks to the Race for the Cure. I went out Monday and ran the course. Since starting my official running program in July, my goal has gone from finishing the race to running the whole race to running it in sub 10min miles to running it in sub 9min miles, and now, after running the course, it is back to just finishing... Ugh! I can run the 5K on flat no problem, but the hills in the Garden of the Gods are hard! I have a few excuses. I did run it at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, it was HOT, and I wasn't fueled very well. I still didn't think it would be that difficult.

Last night my Moms in Motion running team met with an occcupational therapist Scott who specializes in sports medicine at Edge Rehab and Wellness. It was really interesting to meet with someone who knows so much about staying healthy in sports. The great thing about this place is not only do they do traditional physical therapy, but they also specialize in personalized wellness programs. I want Matt to meet with Scott to prepare for ski season.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oceans Alive


Thought I’d share an email that my sister Kari sent me a few weeks ago…

“So I've been thinking a lot lately about...fish. I watched a documentary about tuna fishing techniques a few months ago and since then I've really stepped up my eco-guilt complexes about primarily tuna, and well, eating fish in general. I want to know more about how I'm impacting both my health and the environment when eating seafood. Anyway, I found this great website...
Oceans Alive

Unfortunately, I went on my Google-adventure hoping to convince myself that it would be okay for me to eat tuna again. Didn't happen. But, glad to know there are some better options out there.”

In light of Kari’s tuna guilt, I'm posting a recipe I found on Allrecipes that we tried for lunch yesterday. As for being a kid-friendly recipe - Kate wouldn’t try it at all, and Jack pretty much ate the bread around the mock tuna. But I thought it was really good as a sandwich filling (although I would never mistaken it for real tuna). I can't wait to make myself a "tuna" melt with the leftovers.

Here's the original Mock Tuna Recipe

I changed it around a bit. Chopped the chickpeas in the food processor and substituted half the mayo for non-fat plain yogurt. I also left out the green peppers since I did't have any.

Monday, August 20, 2007

He Lives!

I was soooo wrong about Mr. Caterpillar! He was just sleeping. After a few good shakes from Kate, he started crawling all over. Now the silly little thing is going to eat us out of house and home. We've fed him every bloom on my SIX geranium plants. I swear that caterpillar is getting bigger before my eyes! And Kate has named him "Mary Kathleen" (Kate's real name).

(I was going to post the news this morning, but I've been without internet all day!)

Pet Bug

Last night as Kate and I were dead-heading our geraniums, we found a little green caterpillar. Kate was thrilled with her new pet. Carried him around, showed him to all the neighbors, and would not put him down (I have to admit that the caterpillar did seem awfully happy on her hand!). I finally convinced her that the caterpillar needed a home, so we gathered some grass and geranium flowers in a canning jar. Reminiscent of my childhood, we punched some holes in the lid of the jar and put the caterpillar in his new home. Mr. Caterpillar slept on Kate's nightstand last night, but, alas, when I checked early this morning he wasn't moving. It seems he has gone to the great, green geranium plant in the sky. He ate all the geranium flowers so maybe there weren't enough holes for oxygen? Kate currently thinks he is sleeping. I'm going to try to convince her to let the caterpillar go sleep in the garden... before he turns brown.

In the meantime, I've ordered this for our next pet bug.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Loop Hole for Trader Joe's?

When my friend Ashlee and I were in Santa Fe in July, we made a big (BIG!) shopping trip to Trader Joe's where Ashlee accosted the manager about why there was no Trader Joe's store in Colorado. She was told that it would be a long time before Trader Joe's makes an appearance anywhere in Colorado. The official story is that they have to have a distribution center within so many miles of a store, but I've heard that the real problem is Colorado's liquor laws that prohibit alcohol sales in grocery stores. I figured that we'd just have to do a girls' weekend to Santa Fe at least twice a year to stock up. But then today I read this article. It doesn't mention Trader Joe's specifically, but maybe with this info Trader Joe's will put in just one store in Colorado.

And I would write a letter to Trader Joe's management to alert them, but I don't need to. I am pretty certain that Ashlee will take care of it the moment she reads this! *wink*

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Big Step

I took a big step (for me!) today and started the process of reactivating my Texas nursing license so that I can obtain a Colorado nursing license. I always thought that I wanted to be a SAHM, but I'm finding that I miss my career. My priorities will always be with my family, but I'd like to find something very flexible and very part time where I can use my brain and my skills. I have an idea, but I'm not quite ready to make it public yet. Gotta do a little more research first...

(as a side, I wanted to put some kind of nursing image up for this post so I searched Yahoo for a nurse image - Whoa! - not really the kind of images I was going for! Kinda reminds me of the time I wanted to learn about the genetics of red hair and Googled redheads! LOL)

Patagonia Sale

Patagonia is also having their big summer sale. I'm going to do some shopping when "Quiet Time" starts in our house... which isn't coming fast enough!

Natural Family Going Out of Business Sale

I got this from one of the message boards that I read. The Natural Family Boutique is going out of business and is having an amazing clearance. I got some books to add to my mommy library, some HABA (I love HABA!) jewelry and hair accessories for Kate, a tea infuser, some lavender dryer sachets (because I hate dryer sheets but still like my clothes to smell good) AND a shell collecting bag for my mother-in-law as a thank you gift for hosting us in Maine. Great deals!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Maine Trip - Part II: We keep busy with nothing to do!

We were in Maine with Matt's mom, her boyfriend, Matt's sister, her son (who is just 6 months younger than Jack), and her husband (our trip and his trip unfortunately only crossed over for about 24 hrs). The activities were pretty typical Maine island activities - sailing, swimming, exploring tide pools, picnicing, eating seafood, taking walks, etc. I did a few good trail runs.

Kate loved the ocean. She had no reservations of wading right into the water even if it was muddy or seaweedy. She was really surprised the first time she got ocean water in her mouth to discover that it was salty. Every few minutes she was in the water, she would reach down, scoop some water, touch her tongue to the water, and announce, "Yup! Still salty!"

Jack liked the water but was a little more hesitant. He did courageously get into the deep water with me to join his dad and sister on a swim platform, only to discover how cold the deeper water was. The whole swim over he kept saying, "Make it warmer, Mommy, make it warmer!

Animals!

The other day I took the kids to the zoo with my friend Ashlee and her two kids Bode and Keegan. We had a great time (albeit a hot time!) feeding the giraffes, riding the train, feeding the birds, riding the carousel, and just general playing.

That night while we were eating dinner, Matt asked the kids, "What animals did you see at the zoo today?" Jack immediately piped up, "Bode and Keegan!"

Well, yes, Jack, just like your mom occasionally thinks you and your sister are animals, I bet there are days when Ashlee thinks that her kids are animals also.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lance


Matt and I went to a fundraiser dinner the other night for an organization called Kids On Bikes. Lance Armstrong was the keynote speaker, and it was really fun to hear him speak although it was obvious that he was trying to morph his normal cancer speech into a speech about how important bikes are for kids. I wasn't much of a Tour de France fan until after I met Matt (okay, I knew NOTHING about the Tour before Matt), but after watching it for 7+ years I find it pretty exciting. And Lance is my favorite. Like any normal, wacko fan, I think that there is a *connection* between us because of all the places where our paths have (er, could have) crossed:

  • Lance is from Texas. I consider myself from Texas.
  • Lance grew up on the northern side of Dallas, like me.
  • Lance now lives in Austin where my husband lived and my mother-in-law and sister still live
  • Lance got his first bike from the same bike shop where I purchased my first mountain bike
  • I interviewed on the nursing unit in Indianapolis where he received his cancer treatment (should have, but didn't take the job. It was an evening supervisor position and I opted for the high paying insurance company job instead)
  • Lance graduated from the same high school that my kids would go to if we don't move in the next 10 years.
  • Matt's parents once won a ride with Lance for Matt at a silent auction. Matt never did the ride.

Of course, after looking at my list, I realize that I am just a wacko fan...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Maine Trip - Part I: Glorified Camping

We spent the last week on an island about an hour north of Portland, Maine. It was amazing. Matt's mom's boyfriend - did you follow all that? - has a house on this island. You can only reach it by boat, and there is no access to mainland utilities. We stayed in the boathouse (aka "The Shack") right on the water. While there was solar electricity and a flushing toilet in the main house, our accomdations had neither. We had a propane light, a kerosene light, an outhouse, and bunkbeds. I hardly noticed that we had given up so many "necessities" when I would wake up and look out over the water. What a view!

The Shack













The bunks













The view from The Shack

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Back So Soon?

I should never have started a blog the week before I went on vacation, but I had anticipated being able to blog while gone. My access to internet was limited, as was my time. BUT I'll add a bunch of posts this week about my great trip to Maine.