Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Porcupines can climb trees

We learned this by watching a porcupine nimbly climb a tree at the Pueblo Zoo. PZ is a nice change from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo; it's flat and as Sage says, "they have lots of animals that Cheyenne Mountain Zoo does not have". Some of our favorite were three amazing lions, the red pandas, porcupines, kangaroos, and some really cute goats that were head-butting each other off a perch. Use the buy-one-get-one coupon in the Gold-C book.



After visiting the zoo, we rode our bikes through Rock Canyon on the Front Range Trail. The trails are paved and flat, and the scenery is something I would never have expected. You can find the trailhead using directions to the Nature and Raptor Center in Pueblo, and just go a little further down the road following the signs that say "Coyote's Den on the River". It costs $3.00 for parking because it is part of the Pueblo Reservoir park system.

Party like no one is watching



We are ready for New Year's Eve with our cool, hand-made party hats. I found a good party hat template and we used card stock to make the bases. The girls added foam stickers and other embellishments to make them more festive.



Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

First


Last night was the first night of Hannukah. To celebrate, we made homemade potato pancakes, which are also known as latkes. The girls were very excited to make them from scratch, and we used a recipe from one of their favorite holiday stories, Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat, by Naomi Howland. We ate them with applesauce and sour cream, which sounds weird but tastes delicious!



Yesterday was also the first day of winter and the winter solstice. I'm looking forward to the days getting longer. The sun goes down early on the north slope!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Life in a small mountain town; December










The snow has been cleared of the ice and the skating season has officially begun!!

If it was easy, everyone would do it

The 53 Runner’s Commandments
by Joe Kelly

1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. During group training runs, don’t let anyone run alone.
5. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
6. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who’s missing.
7. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
8. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
9. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
10. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
11. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.
12. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
13. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
14. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
15. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
16. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
17. Talk like a runner. “Singlets” are worn on warm days. “Tank tops” are worn to the beach.
18. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
19. Don’t always run alone.
20. Don’t always run with people.
21. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
22. No matter how slow you run it is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
23. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.
24. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.
25. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
26. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.
27. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.
28. If you say, “Let’s run this race together,” then you must stay with that person no matter how slow.
29. Think twice before agreeing to run with someone during a race.
30. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
31. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.
32. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
33. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
34. Don’t try to outrun dogs.
35. Don’t trust runners who show up at races claiming to be tired, out of share, or not feeling well.
36. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.
37. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
38. Never run alongside very old or very young racers. They get all of the applause.
39. Without goals, training has no purpose.
40. During training runs, let the slowest runner in the group set the pace.
41. The first year in a new age group offers the best opportunity for trophies.
42. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
43. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
44. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
45. “Winning” means different things to different people.
46. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
47. Runners who never fail are runners who never try anything great.
48. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.
49. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
50. Never apologize for doing the best you can.
51. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
52. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
53. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crafty Kids



Today was the big holiday craft day at my daughters' school. It was the 2nd annual event, and was a big success. Students got to make freezer-paper stencil shirts (thank you Maya*Made), glass bead necklaces, notepads with Amy Butler paper covers, cinamon dough sachets, hot cocoa or spice tea mix in mason jars, holiday cards for the Troops, paper chains, hand-stamped gift bags and tags, and wooden tie-tack pins. For $5, every child got to go home with many unique and beautiful hand-made gifts for family and friends.
I supervised the t-shirt activity, so that is all the pictures I have right now; I'll try and post a few more pictures of my children's creations later.

A big shout-out and thanks to Kelli and Kelly - the ideas and energy behind the event!








Rock On!


Cleaning is more fun with Bose noise-cancelling headphones.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Whatever it Takes

The Harlem Children's Zone is an amazing organization that has a "whatever it takes" attitude about helping children to succeed. They have an extensive range of programs, from social services to charter schools. I first heard about HCZ on This American Life. HCZ President and CEO, Geoffrey Canada, has written a book, Whatever It Takes. I haven't read it yet but it is on my "hold" list at the library. It is also an organization worthy of a holiday donation. If you are interested in learning more, check out the links or watch the interview with Geoffrey Canada tonight on The Colbert Report (12/08/08).

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tree Hugger



Thank you Mother Earth and thank you Pikes Peak National Forest for our wonderful, amazing 14-foot Christmas tree. You can get yours too for just $10 through the Pikes Peak Ranger District tree cutting program. By removing smaller trees you are contributing to the overall health of the forest and reducing fire danger.






Saturday, December 6, 2008

Eco Countertops, Part I



It might not be an ideal time to be buying new countertops, but it is a great time to shop around and gather information about what you might want when you do have some funds to remodel your kitchen. Complete Kitchens is featuring some really attractive and eco-friendly countertops. Many have between 50-75% post-consumer recycled materials, and others contain sustainable woods, such as bamboo.

One type of countertop that falls within the eco-friendly is
Squak Mountain Stone, carried by Complete Kitchens at Coutura Design Inspirations in Colorado Springs. Squak Mountain Stone is a fibrous-cement material comprised of approximately 45% post-consumer materials, including recycled paper, recycled glass, coal fly-ash and cement. In some pieces you can even see lettering on the paper (eclectic!). The maaterial is hand-cast into slabs and tiles as an alternative to natural or quarried stone. The look of the manufactured surface resembles soapstone or limestones. It is stain-resistant once a sealant is added and it is very durable. They recommend not cutting directly on the surface because it will dull your knives.

Photos courtesy of www.squakmountainstone.com



Friday, December 5, 2008

Free Stuff! Free Stuff

I've featured AGiveAwayaDay on my blog, and I just did a quick (okay, maybe I got sucked in a little bit) search on Google for "giveaway blog December 2008". Wow - did you know you can win all kinds of really cool stuff through blogs? Many small online retailers and crafters are generous enough to donate items through these blogs (to generate more visitors to their online shops), and all you have to do usually is post a quick comment about the item(s) you like, and then you are entered to win. I figure sooner or later I will win something. So much fun!

Not that I want any competition in entering these contests, but to get you started, here are two that I found today that I really like, Bloggy Giveaways and Tip Junkie.

Tip Junkie is having a 12 Days of Junkie where there will be 2 winners announced each day for the next 12 days! It's to help promote the women who are selling their products in the Mom-preneur Shop-a-thon. Money is tight this holiday season, so spend wisely and shop smartly at these amazing shops. And you might win something too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chain Gang


No-staple, no-glue paper chains. We are making these at our house. You can find very detailed directions at World Preschool Mom's Blog. We are making ours from as much recycled-reusable paper as possible. Holiday catalogues work nicely. Have fun!



Photo courtesy World Preschool Mom's Blog.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Meals on Two Wheels

Meals-on-Wheels is a great program, delivering much-needed meals for homebound individuals in local communities across the nation. One particular program caught my eye, Meals on Two Wheels, part of the Meals on Wheels and More (MOWAM) program of Austin, Texas. Volunteer cylists can provide the important service of delivering food to homebound individuals, while getting a workout and minimizing their carbon footprint. How cool is that?! If I lived in Austin, I would definitely check this out. You can read a complete article about this program in the December issue of Bicycling magazine, and read more about Austin's MOWAM/MOTW program at this link http://www.mealsonwheelsandmore.org/volunteer/bike

Thankful

A few days late, but still thankful for so many things - a great family, a roof over my head, lots of food in the pantry, good health, and much more. Yesterday, while Tyler and I were moving several thousand pounds of wood from the old CKD warehouse to the new warehouse, I also realized how thankful I am for a husband and partner who is not afraid to work really, really hard. This guy is amazing!!

Here's a truckload of cabinet trim that Tyler and I loaded on Saturday.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Fabulous New Crayons




This is a really nice green-friendly tutorial on how to turn yucky old crayons into delightful new ones. http://mycraftevolution.blogspot.com/2008/11/crayon-tutorial.html

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pledge Handmade

As we head into the season of buying and giving, I hope you will strongly consider buying handmade gifts. Handmade purchases are generally better for the environment, provide better gifts, and celebrate the creativity of people across the world. You can read more about "why buy handmade" and take the Handmade Pledge, which states, "I pledge to buy handmade this holiday season, and request that others do the same for me."

To help you get started in your handmade purchases, check out all the great sales on Etsy for Black Friday - Cyber Monday

Etsy :: ButtonBoutique ::Tic Tac Toe to Go Magnetic Button Travel Game


Tic Tac Toe to Go Magnetic Button Travel Game

This is so cute and what a great stocking stuffer! Lots of other great stocking stuffers too.




Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Giveaway A Day!: Bags By Tracy GIVEAWAY!

A Giveaway A Day!: Bags By Tracy GIVEAWAY!

I love this bag! Especially the owl print and the multi-colored Sparrow print.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm the featured Give-Away of the Day


http://agiveawayaday.blogspot.com/2008/11/upcycled-chalkboard-giveaway.html
Visit and post a comment to enter and win a really cool upcycled chalkboard.















The Encyclopedia of Immaturity


Klutz - The Encyclopedia of Immaturity

This looks like fun - adding it to the possible gift list for my oldest - I can already hear her laughing as she reads it. The website has some videos that most 8-11 year olds can appreciate.

If you go to their website you can sign up for their mailing list and get a 25% discount on a purchase. https://klutz.emktg.info/email/insider/registration.page


Life in a Small Mountain Town

According to my daughters, "It's a peaceful day for ducks".








Thursday, November 20, 2008

Modish: The November November Giveaway!! (part two!)


Modish: The November November Giveaway!! (part two!)
Enter by Wednesday, December 3. It would be so fun to win this!

Handmade Gifts

Last year, with input from parents, my daughters' school decided to have a gift-making workshop instead of bringing in a commercial vendor to host a "Santa's Gift Shop". No one really liked the Santa shop because the prices were high and the items sold were poorly made and manufactured in China. Yes, I know it's the thought that counts, but many kids were sad and frustrated because they felt the need to buy gifts but didn't have the money to please everyone. So a group of moms approached the Principal about allowing students the opportunity to make presents. The first annual gift-making workshop was a success - for a minimal charge of $5.00, children had the opportunity to make and bring home several nice gifts: fleece scarf, bookmark, magnetic frame, candle-holder, and soup mix. Everyone, even the parent volunteers, enjoyed the day and the kids were excited to have so many gifts to give to friends and family.


I just got back from a planning meeting for this year's event (Dec. 10), and it is going to be even better. The kids will have the chance to make and give mini notebooks with a cover, spiced tea mix, glass bead necklaces, stencil t-shirts, paper chains, gift bags and tags, and tie tacks and decorative pins. I am lucky to be friends with such creative people and to have my kids attend a school where this type of activity is valued.


Here's a picture of the circles that a friend has been punching out for the last few weeks in anticipation of making the tie-tacks and pins. Look for more pictures on December 10.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tie one on


These are so cute and not very expensive. I might ask Santa to put these in my daughters' Christmas stockings.


Click

I need a new camera since our "daily use" camera was stolen out of our car. I found this handy guide through the NYTimes. It is an interactive gadget-guide for cameras, camcorders, smart phones, and TVs led by the NYT's personal technology columnist, David Pogue. You can check it out here: http://nytimes.com/interactive/2008/11/18/technology/personaltechspecial/20081118-pogue-o-matic.html?th&emc=th

Tricky


Here's Della at 7:05, exactly 5 minutes after eating her breakfast, trying to fool me into thinking I did not actually feed her.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chocolate Anyone!



I discovered today that our dog Della has an eating disorder. I went out today to clean up the dog yard. It's been awhile. It's really dry where we live so the poop kind of just petrifies, so I don't feel so bad that I don't get out very often to clean up even though I should.

Today I found all kinds of suprises - wrappers from the following: Nestle chocolate chips, Godiva chocolate-covered cashews, Ghiradelli cocoa powder, M&M mini baking pieces, white chocolate bark for candy making, a chewy chocolate chip granola bar, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix, and Sunspire chocolate-peanut candies. This dog has good taste and a sweet-tooth. I thought chocolate was poisonous for dogs, but apparently not.

What amazes me is her understanding to hide all the evidence. She's figured out that if she leaves wrappers and boxes in the living room, she is quickly scolded. But since we are too lame to clean her yard regularly, no problem. One smart pup.

I guess I'll be closing the pantry door from now on.