Friday, May 28, 2010

Birthday Cake


Nothing says "4 Year old Little Girl" like a princess cake. I am glad Grace decided she wanted "Ariel in the pink dress" instead of "Ariel as a mermaid". I am not sure how I would have done cake flippers!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Working on my Domestic Goddess Badge

I looked at the to-do list I made last week and am happy to say I can cross off almost everything on it. It only took me 2 weeks. I think I either need smaller lists or more time. Here is what I have been up to:

-I have made 2 loaves of banana oat bread, 1 batch of blackberry strawberry freezer jam, 1 loaf of gluten free bread.

-From 12 juiced grapefruit I made grapefruit curd and a pan of grapefruit bars.

-My garden is almost completely done, including a upgrade in size. I am growing tomatoes, onions, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, herbs, lettuce, spinach, green beans, snap peas, cucumbers, and kohlrabi.

-I hung herbs to dry

-I have folded massive amounts of laundry...with more yet to do. All washed with my homemade laundry soap.

-I recovered the "green monster" which is another post entirely.

-I added a sitting area in my bedroom, where I am currently sitting, so that my laptop has a home other than the kitchen table.

- I got a new dining room table and chairs from my neighbor who is moving. This thing is little but opens up with 5 leaves and can seat 12. And it was free.

- I have made 2 batches of regular yogurt and one batch of dairy free.

Notice I don't say anything about cleaning because I am fairly sure cleaning is a complete waste of time. It doesn't stay done. My kids couldn't care less. I hate doing it. So if you stop by my house I am happy to sit and chat with you over some Divine bread and jam, but you will have to be ok with the sand box sand on my floor and the dishes in the sink.

So have I earned my "Domestic Goddess" badge yet?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Showers

Showers. I never really thought this made the list of "things that must be planned". That was before I had 3 children 4 and under and I husband who travels.

Tonight I successfully (so I thought) had just put all the babes to bed. I left the door to the big girls room open and told them to come and get me if the baby woke up crying.

Into the bathroom I went. I peeled of my clothes, dirty in a way they can only get from gardening with a 4 year old. I turned on the water, hot as I could stand, kicked a doll, rubber duck and shovel out of the way and let the steam relax my cares a way. I had just started the aroma therapy of shampooing my hair when I hear the bathroom door open. My stomach sinks in a way that can be rescued by the smell of expensive soap. "Mommy, Annabelle is crying".

What to do? Do I quickly rinse out my hair and go to the baby or stay and finish my much needed shower? I consider the following: my hairy legs, fuzzy pits and left over gardening-with-manour stench. At this point a shower is a requirement if I intend to ever leave the house.

"Can you just help her find her binky?" I optimistically plead with my eldest. Elie exits the bathroom on her baby soothing mission, thrilled to be out of bed and in charge. I rinse the hair and lather the leg. "Mommy, the binky is already in her mouth". Explicative, thought not vocalized because it would be repeated by one of the small children and my parenting skills would be called into question if my children walked around sounding like sailors.

"Elie do you mind patting her bottom?" Elie looks at me dubiously but isn't going to argue, after all, she is out of bed when she should be sleeping. I shave the first leg as quickly as I can and pretend I don't hear the wailing that has increased in volume. Elie returns. "Mommy it is just making her madder"

I quickly calculate the tasks that remain for me to accomplish to call this a successful shower and decide to press on. "Thanks for trying, hon, go on back to bed, I will get her in a second". I shave the second leg as quickly as I can while still maintaining skin integrity. Next for the pits, in there current condition they would make an woman of the amazon proud. Final rinse and I am out of the shower in under 2 minutes.

Towel. Not a dry one in sight. The only towel available is the one I used to dry off all 3 girls just half an hour ago. It is cold and clammy. The nice dry towels are down stairs in the massive pile of clean-but-not-folded clothing. Do I make a dash for a dry towel? The front window is open and I can hear the neighbor mowing his lawn. No one wants to end the day with a glimpse of my bright white hinny. I use the wet towel.

I throw on my pajamas, getting them slightly damp from my sub-par drying job and lack of adequate supplies. "Always be prepared" I would make a terrible boy scout and not just for the obvious reasons of being female and much to old. I just don't look that great in khaki and green and I am never prepared as can be seen by my lack of towel planning.

I rush damply into the baby's room. She is now red faced and hiccuping. I scoop her up, whispering how sorry I am she had to wait a totally of 3 minutes for my attention. The volume of wailing decreases slightly with my apologies. I try sitting in the rocking chair which sets off her internal altimeter resulting in an increase of volume. I stand up and walk the floor I have walked so many times before, amazed the carpet isn't frayed from overuse.

She calms. Her little body relaxes in degrees. Her heavy eyes start to close and her binky starts to bob rhythmical. I slowly lower myself into the chair. I rock and pat her bottom. She goes limp as her eyes close all the way and the binky ceases its metronomic rhythm. Her face is relaxed, cherubic. Her tiny frame molds itself in my arms. She smells so good, the undefinable smell of clean baby skin. Her small fist opens. I lay her in the crib.

My aromatherapy wasn't soap and shampoo, but clean baby skin. The heat wasn't from steaming water, but a small warm body with milky breath. My damp pajamas will dry, my hair won't fall out from lack of conditioning. Hot showers are over rated.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer Events

Downtown Denver Arts Festival
Date: Friday, May 28 - Monday, May 31, 2010
Location: Denver Pavilions, Downtown Denver
Cost: Free admission.
What: The Downtown Denver Arts Festival celebrates its 12th year of featuring Colorado artists over Memorial Day weekend.

Capitol Hill People's Fair
Date: Saturday, June 5 - Sunday, June 6, 2010
Location: Civic Center Park, Denver
Cost: Free admission.
What: The largest of all summer festivals in Denver, the People's Fair began in 1971, sponsored by the Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods. The festival features arts and crafts, live music, and food and drink vendors.

Colorado Renaissance Festival
Date: Weekends from June 11 - August 1, 2010
Location: Larkspur, CO (30 min. south of Denver)
Cost: $17.95 for adults, $8 for children 5-12.
What: Huzzah! Travel back in time to the Renaissance with medieval entertainment, crafts and food. Costumes are optional for children and adults.

Denver Greek Festival
Date: Friday, June 18 - Sunday, June 20, 2010
Location: 4610 E. Alameda Ave.
Cost: Admission prices TBA.
What: The Denver Greek Festival, held in the parking lot of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Alameda, features gyros, dancing and crafts.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival
Date: Saturday, July 3 - Monday, July 5, 2010
Location: Cherry Creek North, Denver
Cost: Free admission.
What: The fine arts festival comes to Cherry Creek every Fourth of July weekend. Cherry Creek also features arts and crafts activities for kids.

Denver Black Arts Festival
Date: Friday, July 9 - Sunday, July 11, 2010
Location: City Park West, Denver
Cost: Free admission (but $1 gate donation welcomed.)
What: "Arts Purpose" is the theme of the 24th-annual Black Arts Festival, which features drum and drill team competitions, parades, music and art exhibits.

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival
Date: Saturday, July 24 - Sunday, July 25, 2010
Location: Sloan's Lake Park, Denver
Cost: Free admission.
What: Wooden dragon boats race across Sloan's Lake in the 2010 festival honoring Asian culture. Live music and Asian food are also featured in the festival honoring a Chinese poet.

Golden Fine Arts Festival
Date: Saturday, August 21 - Sunday, August 22, 2010
Location: 11th St. and Arapahoe St., Golden
Cost: Free admission.
What: Visit the arts festival from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. both days in historic Golden. Don't miss the free horse-drawn carriage rides for children and adults alike.

Taste of Colorado
Date: Friday, Sept. 3 - Monday Sept. 6, 2010
Location: Civic Center Park
Cost: Free admission. Food tickets are $5 for a strip of eight.
What: Food lovers converge on the Mile High City's annual event at Civic Center Park. Denver's finest restaurants offer bite-size samples of their wares at the festival.

Barnes & Noble storytime: Friday and Saturday at 10am

Free Denver Concerts in the Park
On Sunday nights from June through early August, head for the al fresco jazz club at City Park Bandstand and Pavilion. The City Park Jazz line-up for 2010 ranges from the Latin rhythms of the Manuel Lopez Trio to the soulful tunes of blues and jazz singer Hazel Miller to the big band sound of Tuxedo Junction. Concerts take place rain or shine, from 6 to 8pm.

On Thursday evenings in July, the coolest place to be is at Confluence Park, where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte River. This year's free Confluence Concerts feature blues, jazz and zydeco bands, with food and drink on site to accompany the laid-back setting.

Free Lunchtime Concerts in Downtown Denver
Summer Fridays in Downtown Denver mean free lunchtime concerts in Skyline Park, just off the 16th Street Mall on Arapahoe Street. Stretch out on the lawn with a blanket and a take-out lunch for an Audio Picnic featuring the likes of Bonnie and the Clydes, Coles Whalen, the Epilogues and more. Lunchtime concerts take place in July and August, from noon to 1:15pm.

Free Colorado Symphony Orchestra Performances
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra also puts on free summer concerts in Denver. A highlight is the Independence Eve celebration on July 3 at the Civic Center, when the orchestra will play some of America's favorite patriotic songs to accompany a stupendous fireworks display.

Free Summer Kids Movies
Regal West Village
14225 West Colfax Avenue
Lakewood ,CO 80401
303-278-1943

10am Tues and Weds
06/08/2010-06/09/2010 Charlotte's Web (G)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PG)
06/15/2010-06/16/2010 Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (G)
Astro Boy (PG)
06/22/2010-06/23/2010 Doogal (G)
Monsters Vs. Aliens (PG)
06/29/2010-06/30/2010 Tale of Despereaux (G)
Planet 51 (PG)
07/06/2010-07/07/2010 Wallace and Gromit (G)
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (PG)
07/13/2010-07/14/2010 Kit Kittredge: American Girl (G)
Shorts (PG)
07/20/2010-07/21/2010 March Of The Penguins (G)
Where The Wild Things Are (PG)
07/27/2010-07/28/2010 ARCTIC TALE (G)
Kung Fu Panda (PG)
08/03/2010-08/04/2010 Clifford's Big Movie (G)
The Spy Next Door (PG)
08/10/2010-08/11/2010 All Dogs Go To Heaven 2 (G)
Surf's Up (PG)

Summer Entertainment at Clement Park
Fri, June 11: 9:30-10:15am Istari – World Percussion
Thurs, June 17: 7-8:30pm Bill George & Flywheel – Eclectic Classic Rock
Thurs, June 24: 7-8:30pm Above Ground – Rock/Funk/Blues
Thurs, July 1: 7-8:30pm Dakota Blonde – Folk
Sat, July 17: 6-9pm Denver Municipal Band Wind Festival “Cannon Concert”
Fri, July 23: 9:30-10:15am Mr. Shine – Concerts for kids & families
Thurs, July 29: 7-8:30pm Pairadeux – Rock Duo/Cover Band
Thurs, August 5: 7-8:30pm Foothills Staff – Open Mic Night
Thurs, August 12: 7-8:30pm Papa Juke – Juke Music/Blues
Fri, August 13: 9:00am Foothills Talent Showcase Performance by Foothills’ Summer
Camp Kids

A PARIS STREET MARKET
at Aspen Grove

An open-air, vintage, antique and artisan market. Find antiques, architectural pieces, unusual artifacts, eclectic home and garden accessories, retro collectibles, vintage clothing, jewelry and more! Shop over 120 exhibitors from throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Located at Aspen Grove in Littleton, Colorado. The Market is held the first Saturday of every month, May - October. 8 am - 3 pm, rain or shine! Visit http://www.aparisstreetmarket.com/ for more information.

2010 Market Dates:

May 1st
June 5th
July 3rd
August 7th
September 4th
October 2nd

Family Film Festival
June 16th - July 18th (Every Wednesday Evening)
ASPEN GROVE FAMILY FILM FESTIVAL
We have a great lineup of fantastic family movies for this summer's Family Film Festival. Join us every Wednesday evening from June 16th to August 11th for a fun filled night under the stars. Our outdoor theatre opens early at 5:00 pm so you can come early to reserve your spot in front of the big screen. During this time you can grab dinner at one of our restaurants, play games with our emcee, visit vendor and sponsor booths, win prizes and enjoy the other fun activities like our jumpy castle! Movies will start at dusk.

June 16th - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - PG
June 23rd - The Blind Side - PG-13
June 30th - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - PG
July 7th - Ghostbusters - PG
July 14th - Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - PG
July 21st - night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - PG
July 28th - The Fantastic Mr. Fox - PG
August 4th - Shorts - PG
August 11th - Avatar - PG-13

Family Festival & Fireworks
Date: 7/4/2010 3:00 PM - 9:00 PM Cost: Free admission Location: Belleview Park, Cornerstone Park & Progress Park
(near the corner of Windermere and Belleview)
Field games, activities, and live entertainment from 3 - 9 pm.
The grand finale is Fireworks at 9:30 pm.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Laundry anyone?

Laundry is the bane of my existence. Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but seriously, I spend more time on our wardrobes than I care to admit on a blog. With 5 people (one who is Addilyn who goes through at least 2 outfits a day) 2 kittens and 2 dogs (yes, I know they don't wear clothing, but they do get it dirty) laundry take a bit of my time.

I try to be "green". This isn't a political statement, it is the same respect and care issue that every thing else is. God gave me a home and children which I do my best to care for, He has also in trusted us with the care of the earth He created as our home. I will teach my children to do there best to care for everything God has given them.

This brings me to the actual act of doing laundry and being a good steward of the other thing God has put in my trust, money. I wash on cold, unless it is a load of whites and then I use warm. Much of the energy cost in doing laundry is heating the water and clothing will last longer if not always washed on hot. I use my clothing line. This is also better for the life of the clothes and cuts energy and cost. And my kids like to help and it makes my whites really bright. Now, I am making my own laundry soap. Notice I didn't say detergent, and here is why:

-Detergent is a petroleum based product, soap is natural
-Sensitive skin. Detergents (like Tide or even Free and Clear) come with all kinds of extra chemicals and fragrance. My soap doesn't so it doesn't cause reactions. Eczema anyone?
-Detergents can build up in your clothing, soap is clean washing
- Less waste, no big boxes and no factory making my soap.
- Ok, my big reason is it is soooo much cheaper and when you do a couple of loads a day, this matters.

You want to try it, I know you do. It is easy. It works well. It's "green". Come on. Everyone is doing it. Ok, maybe not everyone. Maybe only your slightly nutty, crunchy friend Gretchen who does odd things like making her own yogurt and cloth diapering her children. Here is the recipe for those brave enough.

1/2 bar of grated soap (Ivory or Fels Naptha)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda (not baking soda)

I found all my ingredients at King Soopers. All you have to use is 1 T. per load or 2 T. if a really big load thats really dirty. You can also add a scoop of Oxy clean. Go to Arm and Hammer's web site and print a $1 off coupon. This doesn't make bubbles so it works for your front loader. The only reason detergent bubbles is because they put additives in it to make suds because we for some reason believe we need bubbles to make things clean.

What about stain fighting and clothes softening? Use a drop or two of Original Dawn on stains, you will be amazed. It is great on those random grease spots. Throw a little white vinegar in your Downy ball for cloth softener. No, you won't smell like pickles. The sent drys out. Has your family been sick lately? Disinfect everything with a 10 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract in your vinegar, it is stronger than bleach when it comes to antiviral and antibacterial.

Go, be green, feel good about your laundry. Ok, maybe not "good", who really feel good about laundry?!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family Picture

Taken on Mothers Day in front of Matt's folks house in Pueblo. I doubt we will be able to get a picture of everyone looking in the same direction for a least a couple of years.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

6 Months old- big people food

6 months, time to try eatting big people food! She has been grabbing things off my plate for a little while now



None of the girls have been big fans of the baby food thing, we only use it to get them used to moving food around in their mouths. Soon it is on to table food!
Addilyn thought it was a lot of fun to feed her sister!



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hair Cuts

The Before Picture
I live in a house full of women (and Matt) and a certain amount of drama is expected. Some drama is unavoidable, more is to come I am sure. When possible, I try to limit it with good planing and general avoidance. This bring us to hair (ok, not by a direct path, but stay with me here). Eliana's hair in particular. My eldest is most drama prone when it comes to any amount of discomfort. Minor colds are accompanied by massive amounts of whining, groaning and general drama. Getting her hair done each morning is ugly, on a good day, and I am not talking about my styling ability's, which are admittedly lacking.

After being fed up for quite some time, I told Eliana she either take some responsibility for her own head by brushing her hair morning and evening, or I was going to cut it off. She agreed and never followed through, despite many reminders. Matt didn't want her hair cut either, so he too tried to encourage her to take care of it, to no avail.
Yesterday I was done. I took Eliana to get her hair cut. Addilyn needed to trim the mullet action she had going on, so I took her along too. I told the stylist what I wanted. She looked at me like I was asking her to light my kids head on fire. She pleaded with me to leave the length and just add some layers. I reluctantly agreed. Sigh. Oh well. Both girls now have hair cuts.






The "During" picture


Mullet be gone!!



The tangles, and therefor the drama, have lessened a bit, but I still may shave this kid bald until she decides her hair is her problem.

Friday, May 14, 2010

American Girl





If you are unfamiliar with American Girl, you must be old, out of touch or raising boys. When I was young there were only 3 different dolls, each from an era in American history, each with 3 books about there lives. Now I believe there are 8, and good ole' Samantha (the doll I had) from the 1920's isn't even around any more. I love the concept of teaching history from the perspective of little girls, it makes it relateable. Ok, so I totally got sucked in by the marketing.

On Wednesday, Jen and I decided to live vicariously through our respective daughters and visit the American Girl store in Park Meadows. The girls were taken by the store and Jen and I were a little shell shocked by the prices. I still have my Samantha doll and maybe I will give it to Eliana in a few years. By the time Addilyn is 6 maybe we will have save enough money for Samantha to have a friend. Annabelle might just be out of luck, or one of the girls is going to have to pay for there own college.

Many thanks to Jen, who never forgets her camera because she must like her kids more than I like mine. ;)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

I'm sure some of you have seen this before, but it is so cute I just had to post it for Mothers day. God bless all you mama's out there!

WHY GOD MADE MOMS

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.

2.. Mostly to clean the house.

3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.


How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.

2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.

3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.


What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.

2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.


Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

1. We're related.

2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's mom like me.


What kind of a little girl was your mom?

1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.

2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.

3. They say she used to be nice.


What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

1. His last name.

2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?

3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?


Why did your mom marry your dad?

1.. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot

2. She got too old to do anything else with him.

3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.


Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.

2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.

3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.


What's the difference between moms and dads?

1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.

2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them..

3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.

4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.


What does your mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time.

2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.


What would it take to make your mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.

2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.


If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.

2. I'd make my mom smarter.. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.

3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tall, Grande, Venti

It has happened. I have done another thing I said I would never do. I just can't help myself, they just look so stinkin' cute! I have started to dress my girls in matching outfits. Not EXACTLY the same outfit, just...coordinating. Here they are in overalls and pink shirts. Gosh, i have cute kids!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Brain droppings

- Annabelle has slept in her own room for the last 2 nights. It's bitter sweet. I miss kissing her sweet little head in the wee hours of the night, I miss her smell and the way she snuggles. What I really miss is my sleep, which I have had very little of for the past 6 months. I figure she can't sleep worse in her crib than she does in our room and I am hoping to avoid the 5:30 a.m wake up due to the brightness of our room. Her room stays darker longer. She may end up back in our bed, but for now we are trying this.

- Would it push me past "quirky" into "very odd" territory if I start making my own laundry detergent and yogurt? We do so much laundry and it is cheaper if I make my own soap, I also avoid all the perfumes and chemicals. Annabelle is going to be ready to eat big people food and I can't give her dairy but would love for her to eat yogurt. I am going to attempt to make coconut yogurt in the crock pot. I will let you know if I have any luck.

-Kittens are adorable. It is a shame they grow up to be cats. We will be providing 2 family with either 2 very socialized kittens or two who suffer from PTSD.

-In less than one month I will be 30. Wow. I am so old and so uncool.

- The babe needs to learn some meal time manners. She loves to blow raspberries while eating, she thinks it is hilarious. She is also a bitter, which isn't a huge deal since she is currently sans-teeth, but will one day soon get ugly.

- I was just informed that I am in charge of bring a snack for 24 MOPS kids. Tomorrow. And it has to be nut and gluten free. Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Addilyn Joy age 2 years 3 months

I like 2 year olds. When they turn 3 I consider selling them, but by age 4 I like them again. Addilyn is fun, she has a great sense of humor and often "gets" teasing before her big sis. She often looks like the above picture with her hair in her face. She is much to busy for me to pin it back and often too busy to even wear clothing. Fully potty trained for a couple of months now but still not that talker that Eliana was. You have to speak fluent 2 year old to catch most of what she says. Athletic, always in trouble for doing pull-ups on my kitchen drawers, and loves to climb. Strong willed, not sure where she gets THAT! Loves to be my helper, especially in the kitchen, and loves to care for her baby sister. Addilyn really is a joy...most of the time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Double Trouble

Meet the two newest TEMPORARY members of our family, Payton and Pixie. We are fostering these two adorable kittens until they are big enough to be adopted out. They are a HUGE hit around here.