Friday, December 31, 2010

A Breath Of Fresh Air

A year ago, I was invited to a Glade event, where I received their Sense & Spray automatic air freshener. I loved it. So when they asked me to review their new product, I was keen. The other freshener does its job in the downstairs bathroom. But my two smelly boys need something in their bathroom.

Insert the new Glade Sense & Spray air freshener.



With a much cooler style, and new scents, it is both stylish & inconspicuous anywhere in your home. I must warn you though, the Hawaiian Breezes may cause you to dream of warmer locals. :)

*I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. And I honestly do like this product!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrate With Disney!


Meeting Mickey & Minnie at a "meet & greet" before the show.

Disney On Ice: Let's Celebrate features familiar faces, and takes you to far away places. How else can you go to Carnaval with Mickey, Japan's spring festival with Minnie, and end up in jumpin' New Orleans with them both?!

While Princesses do not get my boys excited, they were certainly enthralled with Jack Skellington & his friends from Halloweentown hosting a party for the villains. Jack stole the show (hint to Disney- we want more Jack!) Other characters that my kids loved were the gang from Toy Story, Pinocchio, & Stitch.



We had some issues with obstructed view (tall people with kids who squirmed and sat on their knees), but were able to get that fixed for the 2nd act. If you have small(ish) kids, definitely opt for seats on an angle vs. floor seats..

The show runs at Pepsi Center until Sunday, December 12. Tickets are still available (contact TicketHorse at www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce, by calling 1.866.461.6556, or the Pepsi Center Box Office.), and start at $15. Parking will cost you $10.



If you want a case of Disney Fever, or you just want to be entertained, Mickey is waiting for you!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Disney Celebration



Let's Celebrate!, the current Disney On Ice show is just a week away. It's not too late to get your family some tickets! My two boys, (ages 3 & 5) loved the last show. Bright colors, familiar characters & tunes make it enjoyable for everyone.

Come celebrate your Un-birthday with the Mad Hatter, take your princesses & princes to the Royal Ball, and have a Halloween haunt with Disney villains.

Your ticket info again:
Tickets prices are
$75 (Front Row)
$42 (VIP)
$26
$20
$15
*Service charges and handling fees may apply

Tickets are on sale through TicketHorse at www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce, by calling 1.866.461.6556 and at the Pepsi Center Box Office.

**Here's what I can offer you:
Purchase a 4-pack of tickets for only $44 for weekday performances or receive $4 off weekend tickets
For either offer enter the code FFA4 at: www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce or call 1-866-461-6556

Weekday = Thurs 7pm, & Fri 11am performances. Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required for 4-pack; additional tickets
above 4 can be purchased at $11 each**

Please share with me who your favorite Disney character is. For me, it's Mulan. Feisty warrior trying to find her place. Who is yours?

Disclosure: Feld Entertainment, Inc. generously provided me with 4 tickets for my family to attend Disney on Ice in exchange for this post.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seeing Santa



Friday night, to get into the holiday spirit, we went to the Denver Zoo to check out Zoo Lights. Since we have been a few times in the past, we know to bundle up. I had hoped we would be able to see Santa, since the boys missed out on that last year. Lucky for us, the line wasn't very long at all.



Once Elijah & Miles were done sharing with Santa what they wanted, we started to move on to allow the next kid in line to speak to the Man in Red. Elijah turned back and asked Santa, "Are you God's helper?" Santa, paused and smiled, answering "yes, I am. Sometimes I'm even considered a Saint."

Elijah shared with him, "I know that Christmas isn't about getting, it's about giving".

Santa smiled bigger, saying, "yes, that's why I give presents."

Geoff & I were left feeling pretty proud of our little boy. :)

Kidecals

Before Elijah started Kindergarten, I knew he was going to bringing more stuff to school. And I didn't want anything to get lost. Because I'm cheap and didn't want to have to keep replacing his stuff. A friend clued Geoff into a local business that offered personalized name labels. He encouraged me to share the info with the Mile High Mamas, but before I could, they knew about it too.

Kidecals is a Boulder company offering fun name labels, wall decals, or if you really need it, allergy-alerting stickers.

I was pleased with the colorful design options, and of course you can get something custom made to your liking.

Here are the labels I ordered for the boys' water bottles




I've hidden our phone number, it doesn't need to be public



I'm thrilled with this product. The stickers are washable, and easily removed. I totally recommend them! And you should "like" them on Facebook. Hilary (the owner) advertises discounts on there!

*Disclaimer*- I paid for these labels myself. I really liked the product, and thought you'd want to know about them too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let's Celebrate!

Disney On Ice is back!

We had a wonderful time with their show 100 Years Of Magic in March, and if you missed it, here's your chance to see the new show.




The show runs Thursday, December 9 through Sunday, December 12, at Pepsi Center. Here is your ticket info:


Tickets prices are:
$75 (Front Row)
$42 (VIP)
$26
$20
$15
*Service charges and handling fees may apply

Tickets are on sale through TicketHorse at www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce, by calling 1.866.461.6556 and at the Pepsi Center Box Office.

**Here's what I can offer you:
Purchase a 4-pack of tickets for only $44 for weekday performances or receive $4 off weekend tickets
For either offer enter the code FFA4 at: www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce or call 1-866-461-6556

Weekday = Thurs 7pm, & Fri 11am performances. Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required for 4-pack; additional tickets
above 4 can be purchased at $11 each**

Disclosure: Feld Entertainment, Inc. generously provided me with 4 tickets for my family to attend Disney on Ice in exchange for this post.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Water Bottle

After two years of using our stainless steel water bottles, we decided to get some for the boys. The trigger was our car trip up to Canada. I wanted them to be able to have water when they needed it. I got them each one from Target, which I regretted. Not that they were not any good, but I was not able to purchase a drinking nozzle for them. They still served their purpose, until I left them at my brother's house, along with mine & Geoff's. Before leaving Calgary, I decided we needed new ones, we couldn't wait for them to arrive. We hit up a camping store in the mall, and upon Geoff's recommendation, we bought 4 new Nathan Hydration stainless steel bottles for everyone.


Nathan's stainless steel bottles for kids. Photo courtesy of Nathan Sports

This was going to work out great for Elijah, who would be bringing a water bottle to school. Except it didn't work out so great. Day one of school, he lost the straw inside. Okay, he has backup. After two weeks, the nozzle broke off the lid.

You've got to be kidding me.

See the missing knob on the right side?


See the plastic knob wedged in the hole?

I went online to Nathan's website to discover they don't sell replacement lids. And I wasn't thrilled about spending another $15 on a new bottle. I contacted them through their website. No response. A month later, sent another email. No response. Then I sent them a curt tweet. A week later, I hear from them, on twitter.

They said it sounds to them like it was a product fail, and they are sending us a new lid. Finally. Now I don't have to steer people away from them.

As I've mentioned before, I'm pretty brand loyal. If a product is good, I will hype it to everyone I meet. But if you or your customer service disappoint, I'll be sure to tell people too.

So Nathan is back on my good side. :)

Seriously. Nathan Hydration water bottles are good, and it is unfortunate that Elijah got one with a bad lid. He has been using the lid from Miles' bottle, since Miles doesn't really need one for school. I'll be much happier once the new lid arrives.

***Update*** Nathan sent us a whole new water bottle for Elijah. Thank you Nathan!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kids Rock



The third weekend is October has meant it's time for the Denver Marathon. When it was announced that this year would be the inaugural Rock N Roll Denver Marathon, I was excited. Geoff participated in a Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego (2005) and liked the feel of it. I knew if my friend Cristina was looking for another relay partner, I'd volunteer myself.

We asked Elijah if he'd like to run in the Kids Rock race, the day prior to the marathon. He seemed keen, and we put off signing him up. This worked to our advantage because Mile High Mamas offered free entry for the first 50 kids to use their code. Sweet!

Friday afternoon we drove downtown to pick up our race packets, and check out the fitness expo. My kids will go anywhere when people are handing out free snacks. Even better, my kids will return said snacks if they have too much sugar in them (that's you Yakult.)

Elijah woke this morning with a croup-sounding cough, but had no other complaints. We decided to let him eat his breakfast and chill out before we would see if he would be up for running. He wanted to go, so we grabbed everything we needed and headed downtown.


Pre-race photo

We made our way to Civic Center Park, and found where we needed to wait for the Kindergarten division to start. I was nervous, because we had only 30 minutes from us parking to find the race start. I didn't need to worry, when we got there at 9:20 for his 9:45 start, they were only finishing the 3rd graders. We still had 2nd & 1st to go through. Elijah made friends with another Kindie waiting to race, and eventually it was time for him to warm up with all the Kindergarteners. Miles & I found a spot to watch the half mile race, and waited anxiously for him to start. Daddy waited near the start line to encourage Elijah and then joined us once Elijah got going.


The start line


The home stretch


The finish line

It was exciting to cheer for my boy, and he worked hard. He was thrilled to receive his first medal, and fill up his goodie bag before joining us at the end of the corrals. Geoff said Elijah was sure to ask them if the stuff had sugar in it before taking it. :) That's my boy!

At the end of the corrals, his fans were there to greet him, Daddy, Mommy, Miles, Cristina & Eric.

It certainly was a good day for running. My kid rocks!


Elijah shows off his medal

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Flies By

Realized yesterday that I hadn't blogged in weeks. And it's not because I've been crazy busy, rather that life has been calm and relatively uneventful.

Miles & the bully update: haven't seen the kid go near Miles since Miles stood up to him. I did scour Elijah's school directory, and discovered the boy is in Kindergarten. Thanks to everyone who gave support and comments on the issue.

Miles & speech therapy: If you could pray for it to move along a little quicker, that would be great. Right now he's only seeing the speech therapist twice a month, but obviously that is not going to cut it. His teacher Ms. Kim said I should expect to hear from the Child Find people around mid-November, to discuss the evaluations. We're continuing to help him as best we can at home.

We're off to Nick's Garden Center today for a preschool field trip. Elijah has no school today so he's crashing the field trip. Also on today's agenda is to make some progress on Elijah's costume.

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of losing Dad. I listened to 60s music and Motown. I still really miss him.

Now you are up to date.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Battles On The Playground

I really didn't think that bullying was going to become an issue. Naive on my part, I'm sure. But to be able to witness it, and fight the urge to jump in to my kids defense has been hard.

We haven't even really talked about it, or played through scenarios on how to handle it.

When Miles & I come to school to pick Elijah up, we always stay and play a little on the playground. There are two play structures, one for small kids and one for bigger kids. They are separated by a blacktop, so I can't watch both areas at the same time. Which is okay, both boys want to be on the bigger play structure.

On Monday, an older boy, probably first grade, maybe second grade, saw Miles playing and confronted him. He mocked Miles' t-shirt, called him a baby and laughed saying he wears diapers. Miles defended himself, but ultimately ran to Elijah to tell him what the boy said. Elijah proceeded to get in the kid's face and say, "my brother is not a baby, he's 3. He doesn't wear diapers". The kid blew him off, and I told Miles just ignore him, play somewhere else.

Wednesday afternoon, it was a repeat of Monday. He saw Miles, mocked his clothes, and called him a baby. This time, Miles gave him the evil eye and said "I hate you. You're a meanie" The kid didn't have a response, but he looked in Miles' direction, Miles reminded him, I hate you. The boy retorted with "don't call me a meanie. If I see you on this playground again and you say you hate me and I'm a meanie, I'm gonna tell your mom".

The kid was called away, and I told Miles, if you don't want to be near that kid, just move away, play somewhere else.

I can't wrap my mind around why this boy is going out of his way to pick on Miles. I'm trying to walk the line between letting my kids fight their own battles, and being a helicopter mom.

I open it up to you dear readers, any advice you can give, any similar experiences, please share it with me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

School Days Part Two

Now that we are a month into the school year, I thought it was time to give you an update.

Elijah loves Kindergarten. He has had a few homework assignments, which he felt were not long enough. Slow down kid! You have years ahead to be saddled with too much homework. He's made a few friends in his class, Bram & Cassie. I think last Friday was his best day ever, it was picture day, he got to buy popcorn and he was chosen to take home the class teddy bear, Bubba. In turn, we had to do something fun with Bubba and write about it in the Bubba book. We went to Color Me Mine and painted.


Miles, Bubba & Elijah

Miles has since changed his "school is a little bit dumb" attitude, and isn't complaining anymore. He is thrilled when he gets chosen to be the line leader, and loves playground time. He will be working with the class speech therapist to correct his pronunciation, and I'm waiting to hear back from the school district about how we can make sure he's seeing her more regularly. Right now, he only sees her twice a month.

With all the work & art they are bringing home I'm going to need another office box to store them in. I'm curious what other parents do with all the school work brought home. Do you save it? Do you scrapbook it? Let me know.

Monday, September 13, 2010

If It's Not Scottish...



We had such a wonderful time at the Robbie Burns Supper in January, we were keen on further embracing our Scottish roots and attending more Scottish events. After all, when Geoff & I were married, he wore a kilt. So he got decked out in his Armstrong tartan, I donned my Armstrong scarf and we drove up to Estes Park to check out the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival.

There are many celtic festivals held over the summer, but we seemed to miss them. This one happen to fall on a free weekend for us, so we jumped at the chance to go. You can buy your tickets in advance, and if you do, you will save some money. We did not, but we only needed to pay for three tickets (plus parking).

It's a pretty organized event, and has been going on for 30+ years. Aside from the clan tents, there are also scheduled events like jousting, caber tossing, dog agility. We saw none of those. What we did do was start at the Armstrong booth, have Elijah & Miles pick up passports, and let them run from booth to booth collecting stamps from the different clans. They thought this was awesome. We stopped extra long at Clan Cummins to see the Kellys, who represent their clan at all the festivals.


The passports & stamps

When we needed to dine, we visited the row of food stalls. The selections included fish & chips, haggis, bangers, deep fried Mars bar (which I wish I had tried) and meatballs on a stick. What I wanted was a hamburger, but those were nowhere to be found. I ended up picking a brisket sandwich that came with potato salad & beans. It was the shortest line, and it moved quickly.

There were a few tents that sold wares, and I resisted spending my dough there. At one tent though I discovered what tartan my family was permitted to wear. The Torrances (while I'm still unclear what clan/sept/family we belong to) wear the Edinburgh District tartan. So now I know that. :)

In the end we decided that the kids are still a little too young & wild to spend the day exploring a festival like this. And for the price we paid, it probably wasn't worthwhile. We would have liked to see more, but it will have to wait for the future. We may have better luck at Tartan Day, which is celebrated in April, in Olde Town Arvada.

Now I just need to get my little Scots an Armstrong button, or a tam.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Days



We've entered into a new phase of parenthood, having two kids in school. Now it's only a few days a week, a few hours a week, but it's a start. The start, to more than a decade of schooling for them.

Miles has only been 2 days, and he has already declared that "school is a little bit stupid". While we have had no breakdowns during the checking in and out of preschool, when he is away from there, he expresses his desire not to go back. I guess that means I need to have a conversation with his teacher.

Elijah started Kindergarten, and he seems to really like Mr. Candelarie. But his start to school hasn't been uneventful, I got a call from the school nurse on his 3rd day of school. He's fine, and it added a humorous anecdote to Mr. Candelarie's memoirs (so he told me).

Meanwhile, I spent my free time on Monday going to the gym and taking my sweet time strolling down the aisles of Target in quiet. Reading as many labels as I wanted, not having to visit the toy section, and just moving along at a slow pace. It was lovely!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where I Am

I didn't mean for 20 days to go by without blogging. I just haven't been able to narrow down what I wanted to say.

In the time I've been MIA, we had a lovely drama-free trip to Canada. People who had never met Miles finally got to. This trip was too short, unless you count the long hours my loving husband drove there & back. I assure you, that portion of the trip was not too short. And Montana is beautiful!

Ask Elijah what was his favorite part about the trip to Alberta?

"the day I got to eat 2 donuts!" (a visit to Tim Horton's with Gramma)



I promise to get back to blogging again soon. Once school gets going and I get two hours of freedom from Wingus & Dingus.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Five Long Years

If you needed evidence of how long it's been since I visited the Motherland (a.k.a. The Great White North, Canadia, Canada) here's what Elijah (the 5 year old) looked like:

Monday, August 02, 2010

Expectations

It was brought to my attention on the weekend, that I may have unrealistic expectations about our trip to Canada. Silly me, I thought it would be a trip without guilt. But Geoff assured me, having been away for 5 years, that it's likely to come up.

Really? I hoped that the fact that I came would placate these people.

So now I'm stressed. And that's stupid. What good does it serve me to be stressed about people being pissed at me? I can't change how people will feel.

In any case, I'm pushing that aside and looking forward to seeing my family. If they wanna pay for me to travel there more frequently, maybe we can start a fund.

I just really wanted my grandparents to meet Miles. And I want to visit my dad's grave. Though the thought of it makes me want to cry.

This may be an emotional trip.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

All Aboard!


Genevieve & D.C. of Choo Choo Soul

Elitch Gardens offers some great entertainment with their Summer Concert Series, there is something for everybody. Acts like Third Eye Blind, Emily Osment and preschooler favorite Choo Choo Soul. My boys were thrilled at the idea of going to see Choo Choo Soul, and I didn't even tell them about the ride attractions!

We took the light rail to Elitch Gardens, since it has its own stop. We've never been to EG, but we've passed it many times taking the light rail downtown. The kids' eyes were like saucers when they saw this park. The first ride we had to do was the ferris wheel. It gave great views of the park, and downtown Denver. We then headed over to Startoon Studios, where the lines were considerably less, and the rides were sized perfectly for the 5 & 3 yr old. Elijah loved the Cactus Coaster, he was the first one to give the ride operator the thumbs up to go another round. He ended up going around 4 times, the smile was so huge on his face.



Miles said his favorite was the Matinee Marina, a boat with a bell that went around in a circle.



When we finished all the rides there, we made our way to Elitch Arena to see the show. The arena offers plenty of seats and plenty of dancing room for the kiddos. Choo Choo Soul provided much more energy than the show on Playhouse Disney, it's clear these guys enjoy what they do. The catchy music, D.C.'s rad dancing moves along with interacting with the audience made the show a lot of fun. Parents and kids of all ages were enjoying themselves. Following the show there was the opportunity to meet and greet Genevieve & D.C. Sadly we couldn't stay for this, much to Elijah's dismay. He really wanted to talk to D.C., but Miles was falling asleep- too much excitement for him.


D.C. dancing with the kids at the show

The show was a success. Heck, even Geoff got into it. There need to be more role models like Genevieve & D.C., teaching kids about eating vegetables, and dressing appropriately. Glad to hear Disney has ordered more episodes of Choo Choo Soul. And they may even allow you to submit videos of your kids dancing to be on the show. How cool is that?


*Thanks to Elitch Gardens for giving us free admittance to the park to enjoy the concert. My kids can't wait to go back!*

Monday, July 19, 2010

Better Photographer

I'd love to be a better photographer, so for fun, I'm entering a picture on a fellow MHM (Mile High Mamas) website, Greeblemonkey. One of my favorites from our hike around Lily Lake.



Wildflowers, Lily Lake, RMNP

I don't even care if I win, I'd just like to be a finalist. To know that other shutterbugs think I have a good eye.

Monday, July 12, 2010

When Armstrongs Camp

Normally I'd be moaning to you about how it rained the whole time, and we had a rough time camping.

Not so this time!

Nana & Grampy joined us for a wonderful 3 days camp in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was nervous we'd have a hard time getting a site in Longs Peak Campground, since it only has 26 tent sites. But arriving on a Monday, we nearly had our pick of the sites. We settled in the inner sites, sites 15 and 16 (but for fantastic views try to secure sites 1-4). The weather couldn't have been better, and the food and company were great.

The highlight for me was the lovely hike around Lily Lake.


Lily Lake, with Longs Peak in the background
The views from up high and me figuring out macro photos for wildflowers make me eager to go back. The highlight for the boys was having Nana & Grampy to play with as well as daily conversations with Mr. Bill. He was the camp host, and with him set up across the road from us, the boys could say hello to him several times a day.

The future plan is for us to all tackle Longs Peak, one of the famous 14ers in Colorado. For now, we just enjoyed it from afar.

A trip in Estes Park provided me with an awesome souvenir, trail tags. You can obtain them from Brownfield's Trading Post (on Elkhorn Ave), and the different colored border signify the length of hike you completed. This will be something I hope the boys enjoy earning. I got them the trail tag for the hike we did at Sprague Lake earlier this year.

With so much more of the National Park to explore, I hope get back real soon.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Great Outdoors

We enjoyed a lovely camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, and I plant o write about it this week.

For reals. Until then, look at how pretty it was!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Road Not Taken

Roller coasters aren't fun for me. The emotional one I've been on the last few days, left me much like a real roller coaster does, in tears.

Knowing the time left on our visa has been ticking down, I've scoured the internet for months, sending job leads to Geoff. Job leads in Canada, in places I'd want to live. Then a job opening in Edmonton came up. The job sounded right, so he applied. And they said please come interview.

The weeks leading up to the interview we talked about whether we all would travel back to Alberta to visit. I spent time looking at real estate online. I started cleaning the house, so if we had to sell, I wouldn't feel overwhelmed. Ultimately, we decided Geoff would travel alone, but we did make the trip known to someone in Edmonton. In case Geoff needed anything, I wanted him to be able to reach out to someone without blindsiding them.

The interview went well, and Geoff called to say, we need to talk about this seriously. They were offering him a very nice job, a job with security. My mind wouldn't calm down. The thought of picking up and leaving the U.S. consumed me. I talked to people about finances, selling the house, researched houses further. And all the while we prayed and talked about it.

Each day I thought we were settled one way, and then we'd swing the other way. I didn't want to commit to a decision until Geoff spoke to his bosses. I felt ill to my stomach. I did not want to make a decision of this magnitude.

The morning of his meeting, he asked me, what do you think? I told him, it's my dream to live here, to get the green card, and become a U.S. citizen. But my fear was that it wasn't God's dream for me. I had prepared myself that maybe some dreams don't get realized.

When Geoff's meeting had ended, the decision had been made. We were turning down the offer, we were going forward with the green card application, with assistance from the University. We were staying in Colorado, and praying that God would be sovereign over the green card process.

I got off the phone with Geoff and just cried. I knew I would cry at either decision. Because I had submitted to the idea of moving.

I've been pleased that the support we have gotten from family & friends has been favorable. It's made it easier to have peace. My father-in-law called it a "gutsy" move, but I sensed pride. We're not taking the easy road. I likened the decision to playing Deal Or No Deal. We could have taken the case with $750K, but we're holding out that we'll eventually get the $1M case.

And that million dollar case... that'll be holding dual citizenships, Canadian and American.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First Camp


Beautiful Colorado

We took a few days to get away and do the first camping trip of the year. We love the Reverend's Ridge Campground near Golden, in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. It's about an hour's drive from our house, and you avoid the I-70 traffic.


Campground

The downside to making reservations, is you can't bail due to foul weather. And the weather on Sunday was foul! We were able to set up camp in the breaks from rain. But it made that first day hard on everyone. The highlight was a new recipe we tried, polenta pizza. Basically, you make a polenta crust, then top with your fav toppings. Hot pizza made the cold a little better. Sadly, nothing would drag Miles out of his bad mood. He was cold, and refused to eat dinner. We tried to get some food in him, knowing the cold night would be harder on him without it.


Polenta Pizza

We all slept great, and woke to a block of ice on top of the tent. Monday's rainy clouds didn't clear until midday, and then we still had an afternoon rain shower. We took in the beauty at Panarama Point while the sun was shining. Tuesday was by far the nicest day, and naturally it was the day we planned to go home. We debated staying an extra day, but since we already have another camping trip planned this month, we figured we should leave on a high note. We did do one last hike in the area before we headed home. We all can't wait to get back out into nature, you know, once we get the smell of campfire out of everything.

Pictures of us enjoying the sunshine & camping can be found on Shutterfly.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?



Here are my green beans, beginning to sprout! So exciting!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Top Chef Tour


Top Chef Alums Ryan Scott & Richard Blais

I was ecstatic to hear that the Top Chef Tour was returning to Denver this year. Geoff and I have watched every episode, including Top Chef Masters. I was intrigued by the idea of being able to taste a dish, since that is obviously missed by just watching the show. My excitement was pushed over the edge when I secured my tickets and found out one of my favorite chefs would be there. The chefs for the Denver tour would be Ryan Scott and Richard Blais, both from season 4. Richard is one of my fav chefs from the entire series. His talent, and love of cooking came across both on the show and in person. I had to restrain myself from getting all stalker on him and repeating to him stuff he had said on the show, 3 years ago. Hey, I told you I've seen every season, I also watch the re-runs whenever they air.


Geoff & I with Ryan Scott

Me with Richard Blais

I was able to meet both chefs, and enjoy some humorous banter while they cooked a dish for us and 40 other fans. What did I learn?

1. Ryan says always let your meat rest before you cut into it. He suggests you wait as long as it takes to drink 2 beers.

2. Every time you say "blaised carrots", Richard gets $6 from the copyright.

3. If you are looking to add the umami (the 5th taste) effect to your food, add some worchestershire sauce.



Here is the dish they prepared:


Leg of lamb with a lima bean ragoƻt, a tomato, raisin, date chutney, some goat yogurt foam, topped with sea beans and pearl onions

It was a fun event, and I would totally go again. I'm interested to see what lies ahead when Top Chef returns for season 7 next week.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Moving Along

Don't really have anything concrete to write about, but felt I should touch base with y'all.

Summer feels like it has arrived in Colorado. Elijah will complete preschool in two weeks. He is eager to start kindergarten, as much as Miles is eager to start preschool. It's no wonder they don't just live for today, their mother is constantly looking ahead!

We were lucky enough to check out the Children's Museum last week (write up on Mile High Mamas). They have a new exhibit on bubbles, and with free passes I got on Twitter, we can go back a few times this summer and play again.

The boys got a new sandbox in the backyard, which has been a huge blessing to me (and them too). It allows me to find some quiet time, and it allows them to get creative.

I have started my gardening projects for the summer, another tomato plant and some green beans.
Lola 2


My beginner garden box


Now you are up to date. Hoping to sneak in a quick camping trip before the bigger one with the inlaws at the end of June.

Now get outside and don't forget the sunscreen!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Insecurity

Rather than take the summer off, my bible study opted to do a book club by our favorite bible study teacher Beth Moore. The book is called So Long Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend To Us.


Image from Amazon.com

I'm sure you can figure out what it is about. For a group of women to get together and hopefully find some healing would be a powerful thing. Of course I have insecurities. Heck, my insecurities have insecurities. The thought of facing these things head on scares me. I hate to allow myself to feel vulnerable (another insecurity?), but I hope by summer's end that I will have made some progress. I don't want to live this way, I can't imagine anyone does.

I will let you know how it goes, and whether the book is worth your time. I wouldn't steer you wrong. :) But keep me, and the other ladies in your prayers.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Scum

Ok, I'm almost embarrassed to write this, but my shower is a scummy place. I put off cleaning it for longer than I will admit publicly. And then I worried I would never be able to clean it.

Walking through Target, I decided I better get some rubber gloves to tackle it with some heavy duty cleaner. Then I saw something that caught my attention: Soap Scum Eraser.



"Huh", I amuse to myself. Would it really work? Well, it's from a reputable company (3M/Scotch-Brite). I grabbed the rubber gloves too, as a back up in case this product did not work.

I could not believe that
a) it worked amazingly and
b) it did not require much muscle power.

Seriously. A task I was dreading, took less then 10 minutes to clean. And now when I touch the shower walls, I feel smooth tile, not built up scum.

* I'd like to add I did not receive anything for writing this glowing review of this product. I paid for it myself, and it was worth every penny!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sprague Lake, RMNP


Sprague Lake & the Rocky Mountains

It's almost embarrassing that we have lived in Colorado for six years, and had never been to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Until Wednesday.

Taking advantage of free admittance to the National Parks, we heading up there right after Elijah got out of preschool. It took us two hours to drive up there, and the sights don't get really good until you get past Lyons. The winding road that leads into Estes Park has been driven before. It's a wonder we never got past the town to see the majesty that lies just a few miles later.

The elk were out in Estes Park, which encouraged me that we'd see some in RMNP, and we did. We stopped at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, right outside the park to get our bearings. The man working in there offered the suggestion we go to Sprague Lake, an easy short hike for our little guys. We took him up on that, and found our way there. We settled at the picnic benches to eat out lunch, while the scrub jays hovered, watching to see if we'd leave them any crumbs (no dice birdies!)

The wind was chilly, so we let Miles finish his lunch in the car, out of the wind. We then bundled the boys in the hats & gloves Daddy brought. Compasses in hand the kids were raring to start the 1/2 mile hike around Sprague Lake.


the hikers

Given that it is still early in the season, the path had parts covered in snow. This did not deter or slow down the boys, eager to explore. There were other families out there too. This place offered a lot of great views to photograph.

For Geoff, the highlight was seeing the boys so excited to hike around the lake. For me, it was seeing a beaver in the lake. That was right after I told Elijah there were no beavers (oops). For the boys, it was a stop at the Rock Shop in Estes Park to build a collection.

The outing really fired all of us up to go camping. Bring on the food on the campfire!


Elijah thought this picture was funny- Elk Butts