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Showing posts from June, 2010

Vacation Blues

By the time you get home from vacation, you need another vacation. Moms, you know what I mean. Even if it was a wonderfully relaxing time, the hauling stuff and navigating sibling rivalry wears you down. If the security lines at the airport or seats the size of a flotation device aren't enough, the sheer number of times you have to find a bathroom for an "emergency" or the marker that goes MIA mid-flight will do you in.

On our trip we attended a family reunion and visited grandparents and great-grandparents. You'll be sure to hear more about this in the days ahead. We also spent a lot of time just hanging out around the pool. Lesson learned: kids still like the little things of life.

It's going to take me a few days to recover from our delightful vacation. I'll be working on some fun new posts for a new month. Happy July!

Make a Difference Africa Bags in Colorado

It's hard to imagine that just a few years ago we were all toting our groceries and lunches around in disposable bags. Now, not only are reusable bags popular in environmentally conscious circles, but they are stylish and philanthropic as well.

Here's a company based in Colorado that works with tribes in Malawi, Africa: Africa Bags. You can find local retailers on their website or SHOP online. They have a wonderful story of how they are able to send 100% of profits back to Malawi and help some of the poorest people in the world sustain themselves.

Fireworks around Colorado

Like most states, it would be nearly impossible to name all of the fireworks displays that will erupt on Sunday. I'm sending you to a few sites I found. For years, we never saw the fireworks because we were more worried about getting kids to bed on time. Those of you who fall into that category, I understand. That's why you will find in this list activities that will be happening during the daylight hours too.


Fireworks photo by Liz Noffsinger at Free Digital Photo
Here's the listing from TheDenverChannel.com: Where I Can See Fireworks In Colorado.

KKTV ran a  list of events around the state: 4th of July Events in Colorado and so did MetroMix Denver (this one you can search by what area of the state you'd like to see).

Fun Summer Treats for Kids (and Moms)

Frozen juice pops and freshly-squeezed lemonade are only the beginning of fun summer treats! Our family tradition has become home-made ice cream on the 4th of July and s'mores at our backyard camp outs (as documented in Not Planning Pays Off). But that's still not knock-your-speedo-off kind of stuff. So I did some searching and I found just a few great recipes and ideas for fun summer treats. To make this list the treat had to be 1) exceptionally yummy and 2) super fun and/or easy to make. Here's what I found:

Fruit Leathers at the Progressive Pioneer's "The Friday Make and Do"
Brownie Pizza (I've seen this idea with cookie, but not brownie - yum!)
MYO (Make Your Own) Ice Cream Sandwiches - I'm linking you to a peanut butter recipe at Sunset.com, but there you'll find your inspiration to make whatever flavor combinations you love. Think coffee ice cream in brownie squares or cherry vanilla ice cream in sugar cookies!
MYO Frozen Yogurt (It's as s…

Littleton Historical Museum: Live Music!

For all my tweets, (or twits, or twitterers... whatever) you may remember my sharing the news of live music at Littleton Historical Museum last week. The band was a fabulous Steel Drum ensemble with a wonderful female vocalist who brought not only a cover of an old Police song, but did some classic tunes made famous by The Little Mermaid movie. Needless to say, young and old were pleased with the performance.


Bring your blankets and lawn chairs, dinner and drinks, and get there early for a spot to the front lawn of the museum every Wednesday through July. Shows start at 7pm and the word is out! Don't just arrive early for a spot to sit, but to find a parking spot. As a courtesy, they ask you not to park in the library parking lot across the street.

Our impression was that this is definitely an event for all ages. Elderly couples made an impromptu dance floor, kids rolled around in the grass, babies slept in strollers, and friends gathered around extravagant dinner spreads (think g…

C'est la Vie: Poolside Play

Life in Colorado has helped me to forget how much I always wanted to have a pool in the backyard. When you live in places where summers are dreadfully hot and humid, a pool becomes near necessity. Colorado is largely neither of the two - we don't even have A/C in our house! (Do I hear a collective gasp from the East Coasters??)

But when I go "home" to Pennsylvania, the pool is the highlight for both the kids and for myself. Rousing water games, whirlpools, diving for rings, and floating on tubes are only half the fun. Water up the nose is inevitable for kids, but it doesn't seem to phase them.



Does summmer = pool to you? Share a favorite childhood swimming memory?

Greeley Stampede

The Greeley Stampede opens tomorrow for it's 88th year of rodeo excitement! You'll find all kinds of western fun including music, art, demolition derby, fireworks on the 4th, and plenty of activities for kids. I went once when we lived in that part of Colorado and it was super fun. I had no kids at the time, so I can't speak to the children's activities - if you've been, please tell us!

 There is a Kid's Rodeo with 17 events that is sure to please. You can click HERE for a full list of events. And country music fans won't want to miss Keith Urban this Saturday night and Gloriana with Stealing Angels of the 4th of July.

Mom Spot: Not Alone

I was recently with a friend who has an almost two-year-old and another on the way. Her little guy fell asleep while we were chatting and she looked at me and asked, "Is it wrong that I love him more when he's sleeping?"

I laughed out loud! Because every mom I know has felt exactly that way. When your kids are infants and they have a tendency to cry and cry and cry, you love the silence that comes when they are sleeping. When your kids are toddlers and they've learned to say "no" while running around trashing the place, you love the peace that comes from limp, still bodies. When your kids are school-aged and they've learned that they can talk back and have an opinion about everything, you love bedtime and come to celebrate it like a daily holiday.

So, you're not alone. Kids are hard work and although you may not actually love them more when they are asleep, I'm willing to say that God made sleep for a reason. For kids and moms, it's a needed…

Summer Reading List

If you're a mom like me, I've already signed both kids up for a couple of summer reading programs. These are great ways to keep kids reading all summer long. But again, if you're like me, you find it hard to find books to grab right off the shelf while kids are hanging on your legs, talking too loudly, and attempting to tear pages out of books at the library.

Here are some of the great suggestions via Facebook and Twitter:

Marley and Me by John Grogan
"Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson
Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis
Reckless Faith by Beth Guckenberger  
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
"Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon
Vanishing Act by Jodi Picoult

On my personal list are:
Everyone is Beautiful and The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Daily, Texas series by Lisa Wingate
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
5…

Make a Difference: Great American Bake Sale

Share Our Strength sponsors the Great American Bake Sale to end childhood hunger in our country. It's as simple as deciding to do something that matters while doing something you love.

I can't think of anything kids enjoy more than working in the kitchen with mom or dad and having a bake sale! (I can't tell you how often my kids ask to have a lemonade stand during the summer - this is a close equivalent.) This act of service is truly American and unites you not only with your friends and neighbors right here in Colorado, but across the nation.

To get started, you'll first want to sign up online. If you're not up for doing a bake sale right now, go ahead and check out the National Bakery Week link. Starting June 28, bakeries around the country will be giving back too!

Has anyone participated in the Great American Bake Sale before? Please share!

Crunchy Green Domestic Goddess

A fellow Mile High Mama blogger and Coloradan, Amy is the Crunchy Green Domestic Goddess. She blogs about topics from politics to pregnancy as only a mother can. You will not only enjoy her writing, but you'll walk away feeling informed and educated.


Her recent post about household chemicals sparked my interest. This is a topic I've been struggling with for years. The safety of our children from candy to toys seems to be overlooked so easily. I refuse to let my children eat things made in certain countries and won't let them even look at play jewelry or plastic toys that line the shelves of a certain mega-mart. This is easy since I also refuse to shop there.

This is a hot topic as you'll see by the comments (if you didn't know already). You can click HERE to read the whole thing. Leave a comment here if you'd like to chime in on the topic for Mom In Progress readers!

C'est la Vie: Travel Mercies and Sanity Savers

Tomorrow is another big trip. As of late, my husband has been doing the traveling with the kids and I which I must say, makes life so much easier! I love the idea of big families, but there is something pretty awesome about the tag-team strategy that works when you have two kids and two adults.

But I'm going to be outnumbered on the plane... and in the airport... and on the shuttle. It's just me and them while getting a meal at the airport, maneuvering bathroom stalls (those airplane bathrooms are NOT made for two people even if one of them is little - I don't know what these "mile high club" people are thinking), schleping through security and fenagling a suitcase at baggage claim.

Drinks will be spilled, feelings will be hurt, expectations will go unmet... all in the name of air travel. Not that it can't happen when traveling on wheels. We've done that too and it can be just as much torture, uh, I mean fun. If you've traveled with kids, you know wha…

National Parks of Colorado

Our country's national parks are a gift and a treasure to our great land. Colorado is blessed to have designated lands as well as several historic trails on the map. It's almost impossible to name them all! (Okay, not impossible. But it would require a motivation that I just don't have.) Here is a LINK to a map of all of them, including Rocky Mountain National Park which is near and dear to my heart.

When I first moved to Colorado, nothing was familiar. I had only been to Colorado once or twice and was missing "home." Rocky Mountain changed all of that. Nearly every weekend, my husband and I would steal away to the Rockies and walk the trails, eat in Estes Park, and enjoy the views all along the Thompson Canyon. Those are the days when I fell in love with Colorado. All thanks to the national park.
Rocky Mountain National Park On our itinerary for this summer is a trip to the Great Sand Dunes in the southern part of the state. This will look quite the opposite of th…

Mom Spot: Time Saving Tip Tuesday

I have travel on the mind since we are in the midst of doing so much of it. Several years ago, when we were still in the diapers and stroller stage, my husband pleaded with me to make a check list for vacations. It wasn't because he needed it, but because I became increasingly neurotic the closer we got to our date of departure. I was always wondering, "What am I forgetting??"

This check list (which has evolved with our family) has become a great time AND sanity saver. Now, when we get to about two weeks before a trip, I print out the list and begin checking off things that need to be done before we leave home. At two weeks before departure, I can do things like put our mail and newspaper on hold and make arrangements for who will care for the pet or water the lawn in the summer (or check to make sure pipes aren't freezing if it's winter). Several days before the trip I can start making sure the refrigerator is cleaned out, stock up on snacks and activities for t…

Father's Day Follow-up

For those who read my week-long list of suggestions for dads of all kinds, you'll remember that there was one day devoted to sports. Although my man loves music and athletics, I opted for a fun game that we could enjoy as a family.


His gift was Ladderball. If you haven't heard of it yet, expect to, well, now. And, expect to hear more in the future as this bocce ball meets horseshoes meets knitting... just kidding, kind of. The object of the game is to throw your "bolo" (two balls connected with a rope)
and wrap it around one of three "rungs" of the "ladder."
The kids and I have been playing even while Daddy was at work today!
Each "rung" has a different point value, 1, 2, or 3. The first to 21 wins. My hubby and I even decided that we would supplement the scoring by giving extra point for throwing all three of your bolos on one rung OR extra points for one on each rung (you get three bolos per round).

This is a safe alternative to horsesho…

Grand County Blues Festival

I accidentally showed up during this Grand County tradition last year and it was great music, great atmosphere, and great views of course. The Grand County Blues Festival is packed with music and extremely kid friendly being centrally located at Hideaway Park.

If you've never spent time in Winter Park in the off-season, be ready for great things. This town has much to offer beyond winter sports. Besides the Grand County Blues Festival, you'll find lots of activities for families (think biking - rent them there, hiking, alpine sliding, and more). Check out an entire list of activities and links to kid friendly restaurants HERE.

We've stayed at the Iron Horse Resort in the off-season which is a great location just outside of town. It's ski-in/ski-out from Mary Jane so hiking is right out your back door. For families that want to be in the heart of Winter Park, try Winter Park Mountain Lodge (mountain views for prices around $90/night!). If you're looking for a deal, …

Summertime Is Here

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.


~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Trip Highlights and Lowlights

It's been a blast sharing our families adventures with you! I'm feeling bad that perhaps I made this trip sound TOO good. I mean, come on. We were traveling with three kids and a pregnant woman (not me, my sister-in-law)... there was bound to be some drama. So here are the TOP FIVE trip highlights and low-lights. Some were captured on film, others were not, for better or worse.

See you back here next week when it's back to business as usual (at least for a few days...)!

Trip Highlights
#5: The ferry ride! (See Our Brief Maritime Adventure)
#4: Driving from Seattle to the Peninsula (See Welcome to Sequim)
#3: My early morning walk with my sweet daughter - you can't plan moments like these.

#2: Eating fresh crab alongside shrimp that my brother-in-law caught himself! Yum!
#1: The Hoh Rainforest! It may be years before I see something that tops this. (See Welcome to the Hoh Rainforest)

Trip Lowlights
#5: Layover at the Salt Lake City airport. It wasn't the SLC thing tha…

Seattle's Sunny (not really) Shores

I'll never forget the first time I flew into the SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma) airport. Apparently, I hadn't looked at a map because I was shocked at how beautifully the city towered over the water. It looked like there were mountains and water in every direction. Sunshine, not so much. But as everyone who has lived in or visited Seattle knows, what the area lacks in vitamin D it makes up for in chlorophyll.  The landscape is thoroughly enjoyable and bursting with color. The city itself is well cared for and has features for tourists that you just don't find anywhere (think buses that take to the water and the obvious, of course, like the Space Needle).

A trip to Pike Place Market should always be on your itinerary. Yes, the fish do fly. But perhaps more importantly, you can find all kinds of other local goods for purchase too. If you're staying for a few days, pick up a dazzling bouquet of flowers at prices that will make your jaw drop.  Or browse through the selection of l…

Remembering the Trip

Today is it. The last day of all the wonderful places that have captured my heart. Although I do sincerely hope that you were inspired by photographs and felt informed by the words, more than anything I hope you are ignited to share your vacation stories! Some of the best trips we've taken were those that were recommended by friends to places that we never would have thought to go. Would you share with us your favorite family vacation? Just leave a comment.

And even if blogging isn't for you, I would encourage you to find a simple or even unique way to save your families precious memories. It's one of those things moms are good for and if kids don't appreciate it now, ask them in thirty years. I bet they will be thankful then. In that vein, do you have a favorite way to capture memories? I'd love to hear about that too!

Souvenirs are always a great way to remember your trip. I picked up some free "souvenirs" on the beach - a beautiful assortment of stones…

Camano Island State Park

Camano Island will probably forever lie in the proverbial shadow of Whidbey Island. Of people who I've talked to who know the Puget Sound, almost all have spent time on Whidbey. Camano Island is home to several communities, antique shops and flea markets, Camano Island Coffee Roasters (stop in for a complimentary cup), Camaloch Golf Course, brand new Rotary Park, and the state park among other highlights. The Camano/Whidbey website will give you even more details. If you want to hide away from crowds and get a feel for country-island life, stay in Camano!

We spent some time at the state park, and here's what we did:


When you are on the rocky beach, you can look one way and see the beautiful forested hillside and grassy fields complete with picnic tables,










look the other way and you see the Puget Sound, Whidbey Island, and on a clear day, the Olympic Mountains. We watched this fishing boat pulling up traps with their catch of the day.








You may find surprises at low tide...










but th…

Crabs: How to Kill Them and Eat Them

I'm a big talker. There are things that, although I'm sure I could do, I never will do because there is always someone else around to do it. Case in point: killing the crabs. If I absolutely had to be the one to kill the critters so that we could eat their yummy, sweet legs, I would do it (or I would have just bought them already cooked...). But thanks to my brother-in-law, Dan, I was spared for another time. He did the dirty work. ) I should really have him give a chance to tell you about it!

As for recipes, a crab boil is a favorite in the Pacific Northwest, just like it is in the southern US. But, I bet you've never grilled your shellfish! If you have, you're a step ahead of me because I just thought this was the coolest thing ever. My first experience was with grilled oysters, and apparently folks up here will grill just about anything that comes out of the water! Although not a crab recipe, I found this great post on Pacific Northwest dining and recipes on HubPage…

Snow Goose Produce

I try to make my morning post, in general, something inspirational. I like to share something that will get your day off to the right start. Although I'm taking a break from the norm this week, I will say that I find today's post inspirational. It's not  quite the same kind of inspiration as I get from gazing into the Hoh Rainforest or reading my Bible, but it's good stuff. Let me introduce Snow Goose Produce.

If you love road side stands, farmers markets, and ice cream cones the size of your head (well, almost), you've just found a reason to head north of Seattle and into the farmland of rural Washington!
Wow! 1,000 feet above sea level! This is really only funny to those of us who live a mile high.  I LOVE IT!

A true claim to fame: "immodest ice cream cones!" We saw several groups of precious old ladies come through the line. When you know you're getting on in years, why wouldn't you indulge in a 2,000 calorie treat? I love when things are old beca…

Our Brief Maritime Adventure

It was hard to say good-bye to the Olympic Peninsula, but it was so fun to take the ferry back to the "main land!" The kids were as excited about our 30 minute journey from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island as they were about any other portion of our trip. We have spent some time in Port Townsend before, but took some time to enjoy the shoreline and the Northwest Maritime Center this time. If you have any interest in boats, especially those of the wooden variety, this is your place! Such cool stuff to oogle at even if you'll never set foot on a boat. PS. Wooden Boat Festival is held in Port Townsend in September!

Yes, it was still raining as we explored the rocky shore... and treasures were found!
My little sailors
A few ferry tips: you'll want to get your hands on a local sailing schedule (can be found almost anywhere including visitor's centers, hotels, gas stations). This will tell you which ferries go where and when, much like a bus schedule. Walking on the ferry…

Welcome to LaPush!

Ah, the salty smell of the ocean. It's like home to me. It's never been my home and likely never will be, so I'm sure my home in heaven will be a cottage by the ocean. I'm putting my request in now, God.

First Beach (just so happens there is Second Beach and Third Beach... B for originality, Washington) is the beginning of a stretch of wild coast that is the longest outside of Alaska. At low tide you can walkout to the key hole in one of the rocks jutting from the crashing waves. We didn't time our trip for this experience, but did find some beautiful shells and spotted a bald eagle perching on some driftwood. The high cliffs are magnificent and the rocks that rise from the ocean like a dagger to the sky are a stark phenomena.

Besides the "Jacob's Java" stand-alone coffee bar (Yes, another Twilight Saga reference. Not making this stuff up!), there was not much to do in LaPush. Cliff diving, anyone? (That's a freebie, Bella fans.)

If you have eyes …

Welcome to Hoh Rainforst

The Hoh Rainforest is really something to phone home about...

The pictures below will show exactly why this stop was my absolute favorite of the trip. Although I am an ocean lover at heart, my heart strings were pulled by this mystical forest. It rivals any seascape in my mind. A special thanks to Dan Hallock (yes, the official driver and occasional photographer) for taking a few of these awesome pictures. If it's good, he took it.

Okay, details. It is about a 40 minute drive from Forks to the Visitor's Center in the Rainforest. The drive is really part of the experience, so don't be intimidated by another three-quarters of an hour in the car. And speaking of the car, this particular stretch of the trip deserves it's own soundtrack. Something instrumental or your absolutely favorite band will make this the time of your life!

There is a short loop trail from the parking lot that is paved and perfect when you've got small kids. There are at least two other longer tra…