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


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.