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Showing posts from April, 2010

C'est la Vie: Mom's Rule... In Theory

Another month has come to a close, and I can't help but look ahead to May! It's going to be a whirlwind of school events and, of course, Mother's Day. It's the one day a year set aside just for us, moms! In honor of that (and since I have a sneaking feeling it's going to blow by faster than a baby crawling for a rogue Cheerio), I'm dedicating the entire month of May to ideas for moms.

I'll be writing about places you can plan to take fun trips with the kids this summer, easy and low-cost craft ideas, classes to take - just for you!, mom's night out suggestions, and every Wednesday I'll highlight service opportunities that are close to the heart of a mother.

Toward the end of May, I'll be offering some very specific ideas about how to show our gratitude this Memorial Day. Part of our job as moms is to be sure our children understand that our American values and freedom come at a price.

So I'll be seeing you next week - enjoy your weekend!

Bolder Boulder

Memorial Day weekend holds picnics, hikes, family reunions, and ... the Bolder Boulder! This race is much more than a race, it's a festival of Colorado culture and oddities! The 10K road race winds through the city on it's way to Fulsom Field. The website has some very cool pictures of what the race would have looked like closer to the turn of the century (1900's that is). If you're curious about the current route, here's a course map.

Click HERE to register for this year's event 'cause "Sea level is for sissies."

Mom Spot: Hummingbirds

Yikes! I'm getting a late start this morning. But on the upside, I did find time to read the Grow section of the Denver Post and found a great article about attracting hummingbirds. I'm a big fan of birds, gardening, and nature in general. I might fall something short of a tree hugger, but I do want my kids to be in nature, care for the environment, and experience the joy of being outdoors.

If you followed me on Facebook last year, you may remember our experience with a couple of house wrens making their nest on our back patio. We watched the nest being built, the eggs being laid, and the baby birds emerging from their safe haven. We even stood in awe as the fledged from the nest and took flight. It was awesome!

My love for birds probably started with my Nana who had bird feeders and special flowers to attract different birds. We would watch out her kitchen window and sometimes even use binoculars to see the birds in the trees at the back of their sprawling property. But hummi…

C'est la Vie: Book Beguiled

It is hard to find time to read when you are a mom. Most of the time, I don't even bother opening a book because I know how long it will take me to finish it! I read blogs and magazines instead. (Okay, I'm only half serious about the opening of books.) Now this is not a hard and fast rule since I have dear friends (you know who you are... Krista) who manage to be a chronic reader in spite of her young children. And I too have my moments.

Bookworm from Free Digital Photos Last year it was the Twilight series. Couldn't put it down, stayed up all hours of the night, let the kids run rampant around the house, and skipped meals if necessary. A few other books have had this same effect on me by such authors as Nicholas Sparks and Francine Rivers. This week it's a book by Karen Kingsbury. I hesitate to tell you which one it is because she has so many best-sellers and my guess is that any one you pick would be a great read.

Here's my only note: she is an intensely Christian…

Made In Colorado

Mother's Day is less than two weeks away and let's face it, you need to get mom something good. Or if you are a mom of young children or have a husband who is gift-giving challenged, you need to give some tips before it's too late!

Artwork at the Willow Artisan Market For my Colorado Connection today I decided I would offer some gift ideas for goods made right here in Colorado. It should go without saying that this list is just a sampling of ideas. If you have some favorite things you'd like to share, please leave a comment!

Made In Colorado Blog - listing of a variety of products flying under our radar
Rockmount Ranch Wear - for the cowgirl in all of us
Hammond's Candies - yummy treats just for mom, made the old-fashioned way
Willow Artisan Market - downtown Littleton - lots of local artists

Mom Spot: MomLife

Stumbled over another blog that I think is great! It's connected with Family Life ministries and this is what I love: it compiles the ideas of mom's from every stage of life and puts their ideas in one place. The blog site is called MomLife and at the link you'll find everything from Prom Dress shopping to talk about Being Pregnant. Fun stuff! The Prom Dress blog is even from a mom who talks about King of Prussia mall - I used to shop there all the time as a girl! That alone pulled on my heart strings. But knowing that all moms share the same struggles and joys? Now that is encouraging.

Prom Dress picture from MomLife Blog

C'est la Vie: Teachers Need to Be Appreciated

If you have children in school, you've probably noticed that it is a week for appreciating teachers! Maybe your school has something planned or you took a collection to buy a teacher gift. If you have not heard that it's Teacher Appreciation Week, well, you still have time to show your thankfulness in some form.

Teachers really do have a tough job. In some ways, being a teacher is a lot like being a mom - it can be long hours and thankless work. Tonight I was able to help our church put together Teacher Appreciation bags for teachers at the schools in our neighborhood. It was a simple assortment of snacks, but so much better than nothing at all. We included notes of encouragement and thanks and even my kids wrote a few lines or drew a picture! (I saw one note that simply said, "You are cool!" with a smiley face.)

It reminded me first of all, that teachers do deserve to be thanked not just one week, but all year long. This small service project also reminded me that o…

C'est la Vie: Pulling Weeds

It's not even May and the weeds have started. From now until September, I'll be out in the garden pulling up the weeds to keep them from over-taking my beautiful vegetables. It may not be my favorite chore, but I find it to be a great time to think, pray, and just breath. And it reminds me of the old analogy of weed pulling that we have to do in our own lives.

If we take the time for self-reflection and allow ourselves some honest evaluation, we will undoubtedly find "weeds." The weeds are those things that are not beneficial or even becoming of us! It might be a phrase we like to use or a habit we've acquired. It could be a "friend" that we need to separate ourselves from or a television show we need to pull the plug on. And just like in the garden, it makes your life so much more fruitful when you take a little time to keep the weeds from taking over.

What do you think? Done any weeding of either variety lately?

Clementine Art

One of my goals with the Colorado connection each day is to find fun and interesting things all over the state. It will always be something that resonates with me as a mother, so my hope is that you all will find it useful too. Today's posting is particularly fun because it's a hard to find item. Clementine Art is based in Boulder, Colorado but all of the products can be purchased online. Their philosophy is to be both all-natural and "green," so their art supplies for children are both people and planet-friendly. Click HERE to read their story.You'll also want to check out the BLOG where you'll a post from April 23 on making home-made soaps (I'm thinking Mother's Day!).

And as always, we'd love to know what products you use and love. Are they all-natural or environmentally-friendly? Do you make your own? Share, share, share!

Mom Spot: Beauty Shop Rebuttal

After I wrote my post last night I felt the need to clarify. There's a difference between showing your kids how much you love them and making your kids the center of the universe. Finding the balance between the two can be, to reiterate my circus imagery from last night, a tight rope routine. Yes, we want to love our children, but not to the point that they get everything they want exactly when they want it.

If my daughter wanted to play beauty shop everyday for an hour, naturally I need to say "no" sometimes. Why? Because she can't always think that she is the most important person in the universe! Sometimes saying "no" is the best thing we can do for our kids. They need to learn that they are loved, but that there are also boundaries. I once heard that you should spend around 15-30 minutes a day giving your child your undivided attention in play. (I wish I could cite the source, but I just can't remember). If they have a siblings to play with, you'…

C'est la Vie: Beauty Shoppe a la Zoe

I embraced my daughter's day-off of school today. I'll confess that when my work load feels like more than I can handle, a school-free day can send me reeling. My thoughts range from "what an inconvenience" to "how can I occupy the kids and still get work done." Pathetic.

Today I decided to make the most of the day and have some girl time. It actually feels a bit irresponsible, but I'm still hoping the rest of the week will find windows of opportunity for catching up. We went out for "coffee," did a little shopping, played games together, and topped off the day with "beauty shop." Now, if you have all boys, I pray this will never be a part of your day off with them. Seriously... that would be, let's just say... disturbing. But if you have girls, beauty shop is one of the best parts of being a mom.

You do her hair and make-up. She does your hair and make-up. If you are really brave, you take photos. I am not brave. You can safely …

Farmer's Markets 101

Although I wouldn't call my farmer's market experience 'extensive', I certainly love the ones I've patronized. Many times, you are not only finding great local produce, but you can find unique gifts and businesses of all varieties. Click HERE for a listing of state-wide farmer's markets in Colorado. There is also a list HERE of Tri-County farmer's markets (Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties, I think???)

photo by Simon Howden at Free Digital Photos Here are just a few tips from my own experience. Please post if you have other practical suggestions for those who are new to Farmer's Market shopping.

Arriving early, especially in the heat of summer, is a good way to go. However, you may find that vendors will make a deal if you wait until the end of the day. Be sure to bring your own bags and some kind of wagon if you'll be purchasing larger quantities or something like melons. In a world where we used plastic to pay for almost every purchase, I th…

Mom Spot: Three Parties in Three Days

I cut my blogging week short last week (not sure if anyone noticed but me...). I take full responsibility, but have to admit that a birthday party was in part to blame. Our weekend has been a string of parties that have been both fun and exhausting! Sometimes I just have to laugh about the things we must do as moms. Don't get me wrong, I'm always thrilled to celebrate life with friends and the joy kids have at birthday parties is fairly spectacular. But I'm sure you've gotten to Monday morning before and thought, "I could really use a couple of days off." I'm there.

You'll never get a badge, medal, or award for doing all of those mom things. You might not even get a thank you from your kids without a little prompting. But that's being a mom. So if you did the birthday party brigade this weekend or some other act of motherly love, let me remind you that you are a great mom. All we can do is our best. And to be totally honest with you, if you were t…

Mom Spot: Weekend!!

Don't say no one ever warned you: "It's dangerous to search for 'romantic ideas' online." You just can't be sure of what you will see. But I did find a cute website that seems to be useful and tame (as tame as romance should be). Looking for a fun and inexpensive date idea for this weekend? Check out Romance Struck. If you didn't have a date in mind for this weekend, take a few minutes checking out the thoughts there and you might change your mind.

Do you have a favorite date idea with your husband? Tell us!

C'est la Vie: More to Discover

I don't want to risk boring you with blogs to read, so tonight I'm just going to share a couple of random things I've had on my mind. You may want to check them out too:

Stella and Dot (I'm sending you to my friend Marcee's website - you'll love this jewelry!)

Just B Photos (My friend Syd does the most beautiful photography work, but you might have to name drop to get a sitting!)

Lara Bars (Tropical Fruit Tart is a taste of heaven and soooo good for you!)

Avon (I just ordered a few things because my mom signed up as a rep, and I'm shocked at the price and the quality - take a peak.)

Night, night!

Eat Local!

Organic is good, but when you are talking about overall environmental impact, eating local can make an even bigger difference. I'm sure it wouldn't take much talking to convince you that organic foods that have to travel in a truck for several hundred miles, still uses more fossil fuel resources than conventional foods harvested right down the road. Now if you can buy local and organic, all the better!

As we look at the continued concern of where our food comes from, how it is handled, processed, packaged, grown, and otherwise manipulated, you can see how there is a lot of sense in buying fresh meats, fruits, veggies, and even baked goods from a local source where you can drive by and see how your food is being treated.

Even if you are not a foodie or an environmentalist, maybe you can at least appreciate supporting local businesses. Eat Local, Colorado! is a website I discovered that connects you to local food sources, unfortunately, it's hard to tell if things are comple…

Mom Spot: Shop for your Hubby

I am currently reading a Bible study about being a "beautiful" woman. It may sound a bit surprising, but the Bible has quite a bit to say about what beauty is. So far I'm enjoying the various insights. I particularly enjoyed the segment yesterday that instructed me to go buy some new lingerie. Seriously. Not making this up. The short explanation is that we are meant to be desirable to our husbands, so what better way than to be a feast for his eyes in the bedroom? I'm guessing your husband probably wouldn't complain if you went and bought yourself something new for the weekend either. I'm just sayin'...

At any rate, if I've piqued your interest about such a Bible study it's called Beauty by the Book by Laurie Cole.

C'est la Vie: More to Read That's Not Me

I'm getting out there in the blog world looking for some more wonderful writing to keep you occupied. I've found a few hideous ones, FYI. But here are a couple more that I think are worth reading!

Dooce (not what I'm used to reading in the blog world, but it sure is interesting stuff)
Crunchy Domestic Goddess (everything you've heard about the "granola" living in Colorado, all with a mom focus... really good stuff)

Make a Difference: Habitat for Humanity

Al though I haven't done a spectacular job of making it clear, Wednesday's Colorado posting is always a service oriented idea. In fact, every Wednesday you will find a way to make a difference in your very own community! Some events have a more state-wide focus, while others are ideas that you can initiate in your family or neighborhood.

Drink coffee for Habitat of Colorado
This week we're looking at Habitat for Humanity of Colorado. There are many ways to volunteer with Habitat and their mission is a simple one:

HFHC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose purpose is to assist Colorado Habitat for Humanity affiliates in increasing production of affordable housing. To accomplish this, HFHC:
Develops sources of funds, in-kind donations, services and other resources, and distributes these equitably to affiliates; Develops, promotes, and coordinates statewide activities to increase public awareness of Habit…

Mom Spot: Music Therapy

When you just can't stand the theme song to Thomas, Wow Wow Wubzy, or whatever your child's favorite music is at present, there is a way to escape. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about the joys of the iPod, but here's a little whipped cream and cherry for your music experience: Pandora.

The fact that I haven't mentioned Pandora in previous blogs is a terrific shock since, my husband will tell you, I'm pretty sure I was one of the first people listening. (That's an absolute exaggeration, by the way, although I have been listening for years.) In short, thanks to the Music Genome Project, you can find almost any artist you can think of and create a music station that plays only music that fits that sound or genre.

There is so much more you can do with Pandora now including bookmarking songs and artists, purchasing your favorite music with links to iTunes or Amazon, sharing your picks with friends, and more recently seeing lyrics or reading biographies of the…

C'est la Vie: Not Enough Time

When I blogged yesterday about having too much to do and not enough time to do it.... well, I wasn't joking. In light of that conundrum, I'm making a list of a few blogs I think you should check out for various reasons. Hopefully next week I'll be back with more thoughts of my own. Here's two blogs to get you started tonight. I am just getting to know (and love) them myself:

The Pioneer Woman
The Casual Perfectionist
Photo by By Colourblindman1. on Pioneer Woman Photography page
Come back and tell us what you think!

Mom Spot: A Little Splurge

I've had to curb my urge to spend more than once. One of the best ideas I've heard was one I found years ago and it's simple: when you feel the urge to splurge, choose to shop for something small, practical, and useful instead of breaking the bank. For example, instead of dropping a few hundred dollars on new clothes (for the kids or yourself), head to the accessories department and buy those new socks or undies that you actually need. Or hit the housewares department and choose a few beautiful dishtowels instead of a new set of pots and pans.

So there's your encouragement for the day! You don't have to break the bank to satisfy your craving to spend. And I can testify that the more you work on curbing  impulsive spending, the easier it is to stop using shopping as a coping tool altogether. Moms, is there something you use to treat yourself without overspending? Please share!

Image by Salvatore Vuono I wish I could remember where I read that fun tip above, but here a…

C'est la Vie: The Week Ahead

Some days are actually more like planning periods. Today was one of those days. Most of the day was spent in preparation for the upcoming week. Soooo many activties and sooo few days to actually cram everything in. I'm sure we will all survive, but I'd like to do more than survive if you know what I mean. In fact, I wouldn't mind if we all enjoyed the madness. Is that too much to ask?

In the meantime, I'm going to skimp on the blog tonight and try to accomplish something to reduce my anxiety level.... or maybe I'll just watch something that will make me laugh... such tough decisions! Good night, world.

Crop Share at Grant Family Farms

What was once just a noble idea now has real possibilities for Colorado families! Crop sharing is becoming a legitimate source of fruits, vegetables, herbs and even flowers. To oversimplify, you pay a flat fee upfront for a regular delivery of the produce of your choice. Some farms, like Grant Family Farms, can provide other items such as eggs and bread. If you have not heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), now is a great time to find out!

Now when I say "the produce of your choice" I just mean that you may choose to have just vegetables delivered, but you never quite know exactly what you are going to get (lots of potatoes one week, more squash the next, and so on). Although you can still purchase shares now (click here to shop), there is a discount for purchasing earlier in the year. Be warned that once you start looking, you may not want to shop at the grocery store again! Delivery begins in June and some produce continues to be available through December. Take …

Mom Spot: Inspiration in the Most Unlikely Places

I love to watch movies, but I can get stuck in a rut. I'm a big fan of romantic comedy, but I also love a great story. Since I am a self-proclaimed foodie, I decided that Julie and Julia would be a good pick for a Saturday night without my husband. I had no idea how right I was (coincidentally, I think my husband would have more than tolerated it). I laughed out-loud and got teary-eyed more than once. I finished the move feeling absolutely inspired (and not just because I'm a blogger) and genuinely motivated to do and be something better than I am right now. Who would have thought?

It was an unlikely place to find inspiration, but there it was. The movie was a little blessing from Hollywood. It reminded me that we all have a time and a place. That it is one of life's greatest joys to have a husband who loves and supports you. That some of life's greatest accomplishments may take much longer than you expected and sometimes you are not expecting then at all. When you liv…

C'est la Vie: If Mama Ain't Happy...

Mom's for decades, maybe longer, have used this saying to show their authority to control the mood of the home. Today I was watching my son play with a friend and he was having a great time. I wasn't in a bad mood or anything, but seeing my sweet boy full of joy really made me happy. Which made me think maybe the saying should be: if kids are happy, mama's happy!

My own mother has told me how some of her most difficult times in life were when she knew one of her kids was unhappy or struggling with school or friendships. (Those pre-teen years must have been a real nightmare!) Even now, I feel sick inside when I know one of my kids is feeling ill or hurt. It's going to be a long life I guess.

So what do you think? Is nobody happy if mom's not happy? Or is mom not happy if the kids aren't happy?

Museum of Nature and Science Free Day

Giving a nod to Earth Day, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is offering a free day this Sunday. You can find a list of all the free days for the year here. Be prepared for crowds! The exhibits are certainly worth it if you don't mind taking your time. Planning ahead and deciding what your family would most like to see will be helpful also. Here's a list of all the exhibitions. Also keep in mind that the IMAX and Planetarium are not included in the free admission, but you can purchase those tickets once you arrive. You can bring your own meal or purchase one at the snack bar or cafe.

Click here to see the online Paleobotany Project
My kids particularly love the Discovery Zone and Wildlife exhibits. Be sure to come back and tell us what your family loves about the museum!

Mom Spot: Mix Work and Fun

Here's a great article from Kaboose about using the playground for your next workout. Now that the weather is getting nicer, you may be able to have kids occupied while you burn a few calories!
20-Minute Park Workout for Moms

C'est la Vie: A Little Tired

Today has been a "tired day." I'm sure you've had them too. You wake up, but never really wake up. You struggle to stay awake through the afternoon and would rather lay on the couch than do much of anything at all. You eat things you shouldn't eat and that certainly isn't helping the situation.

Why are there days like this? Why can't this day happen on a Saturday when I can make some time to shamelessly relax? I'm guessing it's mostly because as moms we run our lives at about 120 mph all the time. We get up early, we stay up late, we keep our family on schedule and (mostly) on time. Sometimes our bodies just can't keep up with all of the activities we press on ourselves.

The solution? I'm no expert, just another mom who gets tired, but here are a few quick ideas that I try to find time for:

 Take a bath (think aromatherapy and a good book or magazine)Turn down the lights, turn on some relaxing music, light some candles and breathGive yourse…

Conserve Our Resources

The Center for Resource Conservation is right here in Boulder, Colorado. With Earth Day a week away, I thought we could all use a dose of information and understanding about what we can do to make a difference. Learn about the Slow the Flow Colorado program, initiatives and incentives for homeowners to reduce energy usage, and even where to find used building materials for your next project.
A Wood Burning Stove at the Ft. Collins location
 Be sure to take time to read some of the great articles there too like Gardens Too Easy To Fail that was featured in The Denver Post.

Mom Spot: Tax Day Hooray!

If for whatever reason you have been stressed out by tax season this year, here's a bright spot: a few places are doing giveaways or discounts today in honor of tax day! The article on Yahoo Finance gives you all the details, but the big ones are free coffee at Starbucks if you bring your own cup, free slice of ice cream pizza at Maggie Moo's, and freebies at Cinnabon. Check out the article link for all the details.

That's good news for starting your day! Do you know of other great giveaways today? Tells us!

C'est la Vie: Crazy Garage Guy

There is a house in our neighborhood at which the husband is almost constantly cleaning out the garage. I wish I was exaggerating, but my best guess is that at a minimum he is cleaning out the garage once a week (more in the summer for sure). He takes everything out, vacuums, paints, scrubs, organizes. This garage is the most cared for garage ever known to mankind. And the worst part? Every time I drive by I feel guilty.

I probably should feel guilty for the way I judge him and the names I call him in my head ("crazy garage guy"), but mostly I feel guilty that a small child could get lost in the mess that is our garage. I wish I had time to sweep, scrub, and otherwise organize my garage. I wish it was painted and had beautiful cabinetry. But then I ask myself two questions: if I really had the time and money is that how I would want to spend it? And secondly (perhaps most importantly) how much do I really care about how clean my garage is?

This is what I mean. You probably h…

Earth Day is Coming!

We'll be celebrating Earth Day next Friday, April 23. In the spirit of planning ahead here at Mom In Progress, I'm giving you ample time to plan for your Earth Day celebration. You can find a complete list of events happening in Colorado (or any other state for that matter) at the Earth Day website. You may also want to consider the Earth Day 5K in Boulder on Saturday, April 24.

Francesco Marino photograph
There are also plenty of at-home activities to do with your kiddos over the next couple of weeks. Check out Kaboose, PlanetPals, and enter your email address at the EPA website and receive a green living tip everyday!

Mom Spot: Faith

The morning sky from my backyard
Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods
~ C.S. Lewis

Keep the faith today, even if your mood tells you otherwise.

C'est la Vie: A Barrage of Half Truths

Children and television: two words that immediately bring a negative connotation in circles of moms I rub shoulders with. I mean the two words in combination, not separately... just to be clear. There is no doubt that television effects children. There have been countless studies done on the subject by universities and independent organizations, I'm linking you to just two here. In particular, I've been disturbed by the commercials that my kids have repeated in recent days.

"Mom, did you know that [this toy] can fly 100 feet into the air?" You and I both know that toy is going no where near 100 feet in the air. If we even get it 20 feet in the air it's sure to end up in a tree or on the roof.

"Mom, [that gadget] can hang on the wall in the bathroom and squeeze your toothpaste out for you!" Boy, that must save at least three seconds of your life. A real deal for just $25 plus shipping and handling.

"Mom, if you shop at [this store] you'll save u…

Local Gardening

There are plenty of questions to ask when you start to think about gardening in Colorado. Specifically, you need to think about water and soil needs, when and where to plant, and when to expect blooms and harvest. If found this great resource from O'Toole's Garden Center that answers many frequently asked questions. This particular link gives you a month by month breakdown of what to do in your garden and links to common problems. Of course, you can check out their homepage for other gardening supplies and information.

Elijah Blue Fescue; one of my favorite picks for low water needs and nice accent color

Mom Spot: Switchfoot

This song goes back quite a few years, but the lyrics are always touching and convicting. Is today a day that you wish you could crawl back in bed? Are the kids already crying, fighting, or tearing the house apart? Be reminded that you have a God who loves you and you can do all things is His strength. Wishing you peace today, my friends!

C'est la Vie: Too Smart for Your Own Good

Patience is not my strong suit and lately my paper-thin patience has been crumpled and torn as my children have reached ages at which they both seem to think they know everything. I'm a little afraid this may never stop since as a child I recall talking back to my parents telling them how much I knew. Why as children do we always think our parents are so clueless? How can children be so sure of themselves at three, eight, or fifteen years old?? Is it the frontal lobe issue? Is it a missing hormone? In that area I am, in fact, clueless.

What I'm discovering right now is that my kids think they are smart. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they are unintelligent. In fact, I think quite the opposite. They are too smart for their own good. At least in the world that they live in. So it's a good thing I am here to protect them from their own clever ideas and imaginative schemes. They wouldn't survive to their next birthday if it wasn't for a discerning mothe…

Arbor Day This Friday

Did you know that Arbor Day is always celebrated on the third Friday in April in Colorado? It's a fun fact I didn't know until I was working on finding some great events to share with you about activities in Colorado for kids and families.

by Dan at Free Digital Photos Their website includes lots of great information to get you started in "celebrating" in your own special way this year. You'll even find great activities from years past to try with your family. Keep in mind the poster contest mentioned is already over, but you might consider that for next year (now that's planning ahead!).

You can become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation and will receive 10 trees with your membership. According to this website, it doesn't look like there are many specific events happening in the Denver area, so that may be something else to consider starting for next year if you are a tree-lover. And let's face it... we all should be.

Mom Spot: Gardening Goodness

You are probably going to get tired of hearing me talk about my garden over the next several months, but please hear me out. If you are thinking about planting a few things this year, now is the time to start dreaming and planting! Even some pots on the patio will bring color and flavor to your life in a new and wonderful way!

Can you find an hour this week to go to your local nursery and talk to a gardener? Do it! Let them help you to select a few plants that will compliment one another. Maybe you want to start with an herb garden. Would you rather try flowers? Discover what will bring pleasure in your life and with a little expert advice, you'll be on your way to being a gardener too!

Not only is growing something a gratifying experience for you, but it helps even very young children to understand their world and cultivate a respect for life and life-giving things. My kids especially love digging for worms and using the watering can to water the plants. Some of my favorite momen…

Children's Museum Super Science Sunday

I remember trips with my oldest child to the Children's Museum when she was just a tiny baby. Later when she was walking, we explored some of the other exhibits. There are not many places where you can take babies to explore and learn in a safe environment while also having great educational resources for older children. This is the beauty of the Children's Museum of Denver.

The number of classes, programs, and events are very impressive. Even more impressive are the range of topics these activities touch on. I'd like to highlight Super Science Sunday that happens every Sunday at 2:30pm at the museum. If you have a child with a love for science, you'll want to check out this great weekly activity. Once you see all the museum has to offer, you may want to consider a membership for your family so that you can come on off-peak days and times. If you're visiting for the first time, read through the Guest Information page to make for a smooth trip.

Do you have a favorit…

Mom Spot: You're Doing It!

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Moms, you may find yourself doing the most common tasks today: changing diapers, cooking meals, sweeping the floor, playing ball, or fixing broken toys. Have you grown to the place where you see how wonderful it all is? Do you realize what a precious gift from God all of these things are? Are you seeing the miracles all around you?

Look for them and be prepared to be amazed! Come back and share your insights with us.

C'est la Vie: Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst

This saying reminds me of a dear friend of mine who is a self-proclaimed "optimistic pessimist." Basically this boils down to the concept that she is hopeful, but at the same time fairly certain things or people won't turn out the way she hopes. (If she reads this and corrects my interpretation I will gladly write a retraction or correction.)

Today I can tell you of several instances where I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

We are having our roof replaced and the workers were scheduled to arrive between 7am and 9am. I was hopeful they would arrive early (I did, after all, set my alarm for 6:30am so that I could be dressed before workers started hammering away.), but was pretty sure they wouldn't get there until later. (FYI, it was 9am on the dot.)

Later in the day I was very hopeful for a new recipe I was trying out. They were some kind of cookie bar and I had all the ingredients I needed right there in my cupboards (I love when this happens!). I fol…

Solid Grounds Coffee Shop

Coloradans love their coffee... I can't confirm this, but I bet we rival our friends of the Pacific Northwest. Even among coffee lovers there is much debate about the best place to sit and sip. The possibilities are nearly endless and at the same time you can find your standard lattes and mochas just about anywhere.

Dino De Luca image from Free Digital Photos We find ourselves at Starbucks just like everyone else, but our true favorite is a little spot that is unrecognized by most. The Solid Grounds Coffee Shop is found in Littleton and recently expanded their operation to include several meeting rooms and additional seating complete with games for all ages. You will find a cozy fireplace for the cool early mornings or late evenings, and for the warm days of spring and summer you'll love their umbrella shaded deck. And I haven't even mentioned the quality of the food and beverage! Coffee is, of course, the main attraction.

The baristas are talented and the ingredients are t…

Mom Spot: Laugh Together

One easy way to make today better? Laugh! Earlier this week, our family decided to have a full-on joke contest and it got really silly (which was the point). Here's a couple to teach your kids today (no, we didn't make them up ourselves):

*Which is faster hot or cold? Hot, because anybody can catch a cold.

*Knock, knock. Who's there? Dwayne. Dwayne who? Dwayne the tub I'm dwonwning!

Looking for more fun? Check Yahoo Kids for more giggles and groans. Then come back and share your favorites with us!

C'est la Vie: Different Isn't Always Good

I had a different experience today. I'm not one to be afraid of change or to be uncomfortable in unusual places, but today was a landmark day. Today was the first day a teacher had to have "the talk" with me about my child's behavior. It's not a mother's shining moment, I can assure you.
I love my kids and their wonderful and unique personalities. I enjoy laughing and playing with them and discipline them when life calls for it. Are there things I would change? Probably not. Those are the quirks that make them individuals. Do I wish that they would act more civil sometimes? Absolutely.
Case in point, this face:
Oh yeah, that's the look. It says, "You think I'm a precious little angel, but just wait until you turn your back... I'm gonna tear this place to shreds." And so it was at school today. My sweet boy who I thought only acted like a maniac in the privacy of our home showed his true colors. Maybe it's that scar under his eye that ma…

Miles for Miracles

We had the joy of supporting dear friends last year during this event. I've mentioned in the last couple of weeks that there are lots of opportunities to run marathons in Colorado. If you want to combine your love for running with a love for helping children, this is the run for you. This mission of the foundation that sponsors Miles for Miracles is a noble one: Our mission is to provide assistance to Denver Metro area children and families to help improve the lives of children diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, faced with a lifetime medical condition or are involved in tragic accidents.

You can help children right here in Colorado with your support through Professionals Miracles Foundation. You can see the faces and hear the stories of some of the children who have been helped by the Foundation in years past at their website.

This year's run will be held on Saturday, May 8 at 8am. That gives you time not only to prepare for the 4k, but maybe even get a team togethe…

Mom Spot: Mom It Forward

Moms, we all want to make a difference. Be encouraged today by checking out MomItForward, a social networking community working to change the world... one mom at a time! MIF was founded by Jyl Johnson Pattee in 2008 and is looking for great moms to start networking all across the United States and beyong. Even when you don't feel like you are making a difference you can never forget that you are an influencer! In your home, in your community, in your school or workplace, and on the web! Even if you feel like you can't take on one more thing, you will get excited when you read about what is happening among other moms through MIF.
Here's an excerpt from a recent posting ~“I’m trying to reach out to the people I care about.” I quite literally wanted to scoop her up. What do you do with such amazing kindness? I probably acted cool, calm, and collected. But, what she did was HUGE! She stepped outside her comfort zone to make me feel loved. And she succeeded! Then I got to thi…

C'est la Vie: Multi-Tasking or Just Taxing Tasking

Pictures this: I'm on the treadmill with my iPod on, cellphone in hand, laptop close-by. Flash to the basement: I'm folding laundry, watching the news, responding to emails between loads. Now imagine the kitchen: I'm packing lunches while helping my daughter practice her spelling words, pouring cereal, posting a blog, writing checks for the latest fundraisers.

Even though we wonder how we would get it all done without multi-tasking, doesn't it feel taxing? ...All this tasking on top of tasking on top of tasking? Some moms thrive on it, others run from it, but I think most of us have just accepted it as a way of life. It's nights like this one when I have run my life like this all day that I wonder if it's even possible to change.

What would life be like doing one thing at a time? It's actually hard to imagine. So take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just be quiet. It may just be a few minutes, but I bet you can do a lot less tasking and a little more re…

Colorado 4-H

Last year we purchased a pet for our family. We knew a dog or cat wasn't for us, so we went a different route. Our pet is cuddly and soft. She's quiet and confined. She is low cost and low maintenance. But maybe best of all, she is the kind of pet that can be taken to the County Fair. Buttercup is her name and she is a Mini-Rex rabbit with a broken castor coat. We absolutely love her!

We have friends that are already involved in the 4-H of Colorado. The rewards for not only children but their entire family is invaluable.

4-H Mission4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.4-H VisionA world in which youth and adults learn, grow and work together as catalysts for positive change.What is perhaps most impressive about the 4-H program is that there are so many options for getting involved. You can learn more here. However, be warned, the website does not make it easy to navigate the actual enrollment process. You will…

Mom Spot: Got Clutter?

As I mentioned in my last post, moms have a lot in common. Unfortunately, clutter is also one of those things. Family Fun had a feature in their March edition that combined crafting and de-cluttering. Not only that, you are reusing household materials. Super Scoops is my favorite! You'll need a gallon jug, colored tissue paper, a can, pencil, gluestick, craft knife, paint brush and Mod Podge. There are plenty of other fun clutter reducing crafts at their website.

And what could feel better than starting your day with a little de-cluttering? Okay, what could feel better after your first cup of coffee is what I meant to do you keep your clutter under control?

PS. I couldn't help but include a couple of pictures of the clutter I found around our house this morning. One is a shining example of kid's clutter. The other is my personal nemesis - piles! I don't know if you can see in the photo, but on the top of my pile of clutter is a book titled "Less Clutter,…

C'est la Vie: Bless and Be Blessed

One of the many joys of being married to a pastor is taking the time to love people. By being married to someone who is so well-loved and respected, I am by default also loved and respected in a unique way. For reasons that I often do not understand, women and men alike want to be in my company. It is a privilege that I sometimes wish was not so, but mostly I try to live up to such lofty standards.

Recently I met with another mom who needed to talk through some life issues. Being a wife and mom is hard and it doesn't take much to get us in a place where we feel like nothing is right. Finances are tricky. Kids are finicky. Husbands are, well, men. The dishes continue to get dirty. The laundry gets piled up. Groceries must be purchased. Mix this with less time for enjoying the things we like to do, getting less exercise than we'd like and you can understand why things get ugly fast.

We've all been there. I realized years ago that this was part of my life mission: to help mom…

Wildlife Experience

The snake got your attention, right? For those of us on the south end of town, the museums are not as plentiful as for our downtown friends. Several years ago, The Wildlife Experience came to Parker and made a trip to the museum a little less painful. (Okay, I know all of the city moms are rolling their eyes. But some of us suburban girls have a hard time with city life - parking, street directions, what exit to take, yada yada yada.)

To make your trip even more affordable, The Wildlife Experience along with Denver's 7 (KMGH) has created Lucky Sevens. On the seventh of every month, admission rates are discounted to, you guessed it, prices plentiful with sevens. Children are admitted for $2.77. Adult tickets cost $7.77. If you want to include a movie with your museum pass, prices increase, but still include a $.77 punch line. On the seventh of each month you can also purchase a family membership for just $70.

When you go, you'll want to see "Globeology" - a tour aroun…

Mom Spot: Illusive Sleep

Here's a great article from Kaboodle that will give hope to every mom who didn't sleep well last night. As far as I know, this includes just about every mom in the world. I can count on one hand the number of nights in a year when I have slept "well." The good news? With a few easy tricks and techniques, we can make good sleep easier to get... okay, that might be an overstatement. Maybe I should say, it could give you some more productive sleep and at least a few more relaxing moments. ;) And even better news? It could happen as soon as tonight!

C'est la Vie: Fast, But Thankfully Not Furious

I could have added the subtitle "... at the moment". Such is the life of my nearly five year old son. Boys really are a different breed. I knew that in part just from marriage experience. But a little boy - wow! I see why so many moms think they need to medicate their young boys. I'm keep the faith though that this energy will turn into productive activity in the near future. As long as I can unleash him to the backyard, we should all be okay. Speaking of furious, I'm hopeful we have that under control. There's nothing quite as disconcerting and yet completely hilarious at the same time as a little boy screaming at the top of his lungs over the lack of "treats."

Red Rocks Easter Service

I can't believe I'm listing another Colorado tradition that I have never actually experienced! It's a little depressing. I know many, many people who have attending the Easter Service at Red Rocks and all of them have been thrilled with the experience. You will find all of the details at their website. Get there early and remember to dress warmly are the keys to a pleasant experience.

Red Rocks Amphitheater
It is a sunrise service, so prepare to be in awe of God and nature!

Mom Spot: One Liners

One of my favorite websites for pop culture news with a twist is Relevant magazine. I hope you will find this particular bit as funny as I did:

"Obesity experts say paintings of the Last Supper—the Passover dinner Jesus ate with His disciples before His crucifixion—have shown larger and larger portions of food, reflecting society's increased appetite. Perhaps the final straw will be The Last Supper a la Old Country Buffet ..."
You can find more "Wierd Slices" here.

C'est la Vie: More Hours Needed

Just a couple more hours today and I could have accomplished all that I had hoped I would... too bad for me. But you know what? I think I did all the things that really matter. I told the people I love that I love them. I kissed my daughter's boo-boo. I hugged my son when he stumbled into the kitchen with blurry eyes this morning. I helped a teenage girl finish her homework. I sent care packages to our family who live far away. I gave an elderly woman the change she was missing for her purchase at the department store. I volunteered at my daughter's elementary school. I studied the Bible with a group of amazing Christian women. It was a good Thursday even if it didn't have twenty-six hours.

Moms, take heart and be encouraged. Even if the ONLY thing you did today was hold your newborn baby. Even if you feel like the only thing you did was change diapers and wipe spit-up off your shoulder. Even if you spent all day nursing a sick husband. You did exactly what you were suppos…

Chatfield Botanic Gardens Free Day

If you have never experienced the Chatfield Botanic gardens, tomorrow is your chance to see it for free. If you are familiar with Denver Botanic Gardens, you have the right idea. However, Chatfield is a completely different experience. You feel like you are out in the country, but are only a few minutes from C-470. You can see an old homestead and stroll beautiful and serene hiking trails.
Chatfield Botanic Gardens
Naturally, if the weather is beautiful the other families out for a free day will detract from the serenity. None-the-less, if you get there early you are in for a treat. Kids can run free and you can take a deep breath.

Mom Spot: No Fools Allowed

Ahhh, April Fools Day is here. There are times when I've wondered how this holiday actually got on the American calendar. I like having fun and all, but an entire day to make fools out of others? I'm not a fan. This year I couldn't resist looking up the origins of April Fools Day so I went to a website where you cannot be fooled (she says with a snicker), Wikipedia. Here's a portion of what is recorded there:

"The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 as New Year's Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references. (1392)."

Funny how that doesn't tell you much at all. And certainly doesn't warrant a holiday! If you decide to play a prank on someone today, at least you know it has a long history. Be sure to leave a comment and tell us how you tri…