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Showing posts from August, 2010

Mom Spot: Time Saving Tip Tuesday

Here's a time saving tip that hits close to home. I struggle everyday with letting my family get drinks for themselves. I am weaning myself off of getting drinks for kids every time they ask for one. The hardest part? Teaching them to use the same cup all... day... long. Who knew it would be so hard?

A tip from Real Simple:

Have a designated place for cups to be re-used
How can something so simple be so difficult? I many never know the answer. Check out Real Simple for more time saving tips! What I do know? This is a brilliant and time saving idea. If kids (and spouse) know where to put a cup that can be used again, hopefully it will save time in less dish washing!! I love it. Where do you keep cups that should be used again?

C'est la Vie: Things You Shouldn't Say

I took my son to see the Denver Bronco's practice about a week and a half ago (practices are closed now). When we entered the practice area there was a man with a coaxing smile telling us there was a raffle going on that day. I naively walked over to the table where there was a Bronco's helmet signed by one of the players (if I remembered his name I would tell you... yes, I'm that good).

Naturally, my son wanted to sign up. I let him. Rather, I did it for him since I can't actually write more than this name. They told us we would receive a phone call if we were the winners. I turned to my son and said, "Okay! I put your name in the drawing. They will call on Tuesday if you win the helmet!" Add this to the list of things you should never say or do with your five-year-old son.

For days he asked me, "When are the Broncos going to call??" I tried to explain to him that, first of all, the "Broncos" would not be calling. And in fact, chances are…

Mom Spot: Times Are A Changin'

As Bob Dylan would say, the times are a changin'. If you've been following Mom In Progress for any length of time you've probably noticed that I post three times a day... it's insane by almost any standard. It was a pace I kept up because, frankly, I couldn't decide what I loved talking about most: my motherhood experiences, things I love in Colorado, or topics of faith and encouragement. So I did all three.

Starting this week, I'm cutting down on posts. Again, if you're new around here, you may not notice a difference. If you are a long time reader, it's going to feel sparse. Look for a couple of Colorado posts 2-3 times a week - I'll still post them mid-day. Look for my personal thoughts on motherhood/parenthood/spousehood about the same amount and posted in the evening. In the morning, I hope you'll still find an encouraging word or an idea to get you excited.

New this fall, you'll find some guest bloggers and more giveaways!! Woo-hoo!

Fo…

Picture Week #15

The best "looks hard, but is super simple" cake I've ever made!
Thank you my dear readers for taking a trip in pictures this week! I'll be back with more fun posts next week!

Happy Friday!

Picture Week #14

One more flower... the brilliant poppy

Mom Spot: Picture Week #13

Riding a gondola, in a lock, on Cherry Creek, in Denver. Piqued your interest??  Check out Venice on the Creek

Picture Week #12

Some particularly awesome clouds

Picture Week #11

Old School - propane is for wimps - Grilling

Mom Spot: Picture Week #10

Picture Week #9

Late spring/ early summer tulip

Picture Week #8

Lovely lilacs

Mom Spot: Picture Week #7

Today is "flower day"

Picture Week #6

The mama and baby ducklings who came for a visit!

Picture Week #5

For YouTube fans... the double rainbow in my own backyard

Mom Spot: Picture Week #4

The simple, but fantastic beauty of nature

Picture Week #3

Gorgeous view from Kelly Dahl campgrounds in the National Forest.

Picture Week #2

Mom Spot: Picture Week

To say I'm busy lately is a gross understatement. I've been thinking about what to do with the blog this week and have settled on sharing some of my favorite pictures of the summer. Here's the first one to start your week:

Berries and Sunshine in the Backyard

Colorado Fishing Lakes

If you are thinking about taking the kids fishing as the weather get cooler (it will eventually get cooler even though it's steaming now!), I found a great website for Colorado Fishing Lakes. You can search lakes by county and find lots of other information about fishing in Colorado. I searched in Arapahoe County to see what lakes I could find and discovered plenty! Just a note, when you find a lake you'd like to try, be sure to check the map for major cross streets so you have an idea of where you are going. Not all of the locations are accurate.

A few other sites to try:

Wildernet

Fish Explorer
Picture found at Colorado Fish Explorer website
Fishing is another great way to spend time together as a family in the beauty of creation! Do you have a favorite spot to take your kids?

Mom Spot: Living Green Tip

Looking  for eco-friendly kitchen products and accessories? Here are a few sites to check out:

Pristine Planet

Green and More

Gaiam

Earth Easy

Make a Difference: Black Stallion Literacy Program

Although it's hard to pin down our very favorite summer activity, one would have to be our afternoon with the Black Stallion Literacy Project. I was unfamiliar with the program until it was brought to the HoneyBear Tree Preschool at our church and my children attended with other children from the community. The Black Stallion Literacy Project (BSLP) is a program that is well represented around the front range in Colorado, but extends across the country from it's roots in Florida.

Born of a family heritage in 1999, BSLP has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of children across the nation. The purpose and goal of the organization is clear on their website:


"The Black Stallion Literacy Foundation is an innovative partnership of educators, businesses, volunteers, education foundations, and staff members focused on promoting literacy through the winning combination of live horses and books by Walter Farley. The program is based on the classic books of Walter Farley an…

Mom Spot: LifeNut

Meet Gretchen and her clan. If you've ever been on bed rest, you'll sympathize with her latest posts as she struggles through the last days of giving birth to child number eight.

If you've never been on bed rest, could I encourage you to encourage her?!? You'll love her writing style - she was actually the author of the post I linked you to last week from 5 Minutes for Parenting.

Have a wonderful day, my mommy friends!

C'est la Vie: How Busy Is Too Busy?

There are a few things I just won't do. But honestly, only a few. You can call it a greatest strength or a greatest weakness. Some of you who are wired like I am think it's a strength until you are about ready to rip your hair out because you haven't had a moment to sit down and breath since last April. Those of you who are not of the same mind as myself, are finding yourself becoming exhausted just thinking about taking on more than your usual work week.

I say that with no judgment. Everyone is different. Most days I wish I only wanted to do one thing. I wish that I was someone who woke up, got kids ready for the day, and went to one job that I was absolutely thrilled to do. Then I'd come home, make a delicious dinner and kick back in my sweats. It's just not how I'm wired.

But I have wise friends who help to keep me in check. How much can I/you take on before we just aren't doing anything very well? How many activities can we balance before everything com…

Denver B Cycle

Maybe I'm just excited about life this week, but this is another idea that makes me want to go out and do something! Denver B Cycle is a new bike sharing program in the city. Sounds like a date night to me! Here's the details from Denver.org:

Bike sharing is a new way of getting around. Pick up a bike at any conveniently located bike sharing stations and drop it off when you're done. It's simple, clean and affordable. Bikes stations are located in convenient spots downtown near hotels, on the 16th Street Mall, by museums, at the Colorado Convention Center, in parks and at shopping centers. Other stations are located in nearby trendy neighborhoods like LoHi, LoDo, Highlands, Cherry Creek North, the Golden Triangle Museum District, and Old South Pearl Street. It's catching on. Bike sharing programs can now be found in Europe from Oslo to Rome. Bike sharing has changed the face of Europe and has become an integrated part of its public transportation infrast…

Mom Spot: Time Saving Tip Tuesday

I found a great website that has great time saving tips for moms! One I'm listing here is very simple:


Have a staple shopping list
You will want to check out Family Education and the staple shopping list found there. When you access some of the resources there, they request you enter your email address. Take a moment and look at the list of newsletters below the fill-in box. You may want to un-check some or all of them so your inbox isn't full of emails from them.
I can testify that staples are sometimes the things I most easily forget - mostly because I assume I always have them on hand! Take ketchup for example. It often doesn't make it on my shopping list, but eventually I run out right in the middle of a recipe that calls for it. Having a staple shopping list with you all the time helps you to do a mental check of those items AND helps you to notice them more readily especially if they are on sale (it never hurts to stock up!). Happy shopping!

C'est la Vie: Who Is The Real Pet Owner??

Some of you know about the great dog debacle that is now a black smudge on all childhood memories for our children. On a fairly regular basis I hear my daughter whine about how she misses the dog that lived with us for thirty days. At about day 12 I was ready to have a complete mental breakdown, but forced myself to give it a solid month before making a decision. The dog had to go. That was two years ago.

Shortly after, there was no avoiding the desire of our children to have a pet. Truly, it was our oldest who had her mind set on caring for an animal in our home. She promised and crossed her heart that she would do everything. After doing a bit of research, we decided on a rabbit. We found a breeder and purchased all of the necessary equipment for bringing this little critter into the family. It was a fairly smooth transition and it's been over a year since "Buttercup Muffin Hallock" joined the Hallock crew.

During that time, we've come to realize that there are thr…

Moonlight In The Mountains

This sounds so incredibly fun! Dinner on a train? I'd call this a top notch pick for anniversary or spouse's birthday. This particular experience runs for about one more month. The festivities occur on the Georgetown Loop and cost $44 per person. The train hosts a variety of other fun events for couples and families including Pumpkin Festival and Holiday Lights trains.


You can find a full list of train schedules and pricing HERE. If this picture (from the Georgetown Loop railroad website) doesn't entice you, I don't know what will!

C'est la Vie: For the Love of Words

I do love a good book or a well-written article. Words can do amazing things not just for the communication of information, but also for the enjoyment of life. Right now I'm in the middle of a book that is just a fun, quick, entertaining read: Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate. I picked it off the stacks in my local library and it's been a relaxing way to end my days.

I've mentioned before that I'm also reading through the Chronicles of Narnia. Prince Caspian is off the a great start and is a very different kind of story-telling. C.S. Lewis uses the language and images of his time and it makes my brain work a bit harder. That may sound pathetic to those of you who are strong intellectuals reading, but I have mommy-brain and I'm guessing most of you reading do to. It's nothing to be ashamed of. We just need to give our vocabulary a good workout every now and then!

Aside from reading literature of various kinds, I am also one who takes communication of other sorts…

Mom Spot: Get Organized for School

I know, I know. I have back-to-school topics coming out of my ears. Can't be helped. If you're a momma who isn't there yet can I just tell you to enjoy the ease of life not consumed by school supplies, paperwork, and fund-raisers?

What? What's that? You're too busy changing diapers and chasing toddlers to even begin thinking about school? I hear you. I was there about 30 seconds ago.... That's what it feels like anyway.

I found a clever little website called Organized Home that I am way into. One of the most recent posts is all about getting ready for back to school. I had to share it. Even if it's something you've already thought of, it never hurts to have someone remind you. We are four days away from 2nd grade. Will someone remind me that I'm not getting old??

C'est la Vie: The Best Things are Small

If you live in Littleton, you no doubt know about Western Welcome Week. My husband commented tonight that it is a bizarre name, but I think it speaks to the down-home charm of our town and the celebration of life in the west. And of course, by the time we left this evening's festivities he was boasting to our daughter that, "We live in the best city in the country." I concur.

Small towns, small packages, small cars... small is IN. It's why, as I sit back and reflect on a great family night out at Geneva Park (complete with an orchestral concert and canoe rides), I am thankful for where we live. The city has it's own energy and commodities that small towns will never have, and that's fine with me. We are close enough to enjoy all of the perks of the city while still feeling like we know our community. And community and culture is what Western Welcome Week is all about.

Speaking of other small things, our kids' favorite part of the night was panning for gol…

Make a Difference: Volunteers In Public Schools

The whole idea of posting each Wednesday about a way that you can make a difference is to make it abundantly clear that no matter who you are or what your resources, there is always a way to give. You can give back in your community or around the world. It can be as simple as visiting an elderly neighbor and raking leaves or as complex as starting a new organization or traveling as a missionary to another country.

We can all do something. Because I have school on the brain, I'm highlighting the need for volunteers in public schools. If you have a child in the public school system, you should seriously consider giving of your time in some capacity. Maybe it's fundraising, helping in the front office, or tutoring after school. In Littleton Public Schools, the district program is called VIPS (Volunteers In Public Schools) and encompasses all grade levels and all types of volunteers.

If you want to help, rest assured (that with the proper documentation) someone will find a place t…

Mom Spot: 5 Minutes for Parenting

The first thing I did when I found this blog site was laugh at the name. "5 Minutes for Parenting? More like every five minutes for parenting," I giggled to myself. But I love this site and you will too.


You get great, positive perspectives on a range of parenting issues that will make you feel good about having taken 5 minutes (a better guess as to how they came up with their name) for yourself to read thoughts and ideas from other moms to help you be the best mom you can be.

Here's a post from Sunday about following your gut and giving your child a voice. It's entitled Honoring Their Instincts. Enjoy.

Denver Bronco's Training Camp and Kids' Page

You don't have to bleed blue and orange to enjoy the Denver Broncos. I'm not exactly a sports fan, but I think there is plenty of fun to be had by taking kids to sporting events and helping them to learn from the experience.

The Denver Broncos first pre-season home game is on August 21 at 7pm. You can find the full schedule on their website. Training camp is going on now! The next practice is Wednesday, August 11 8:45 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. You can find more details HERE. Add this to your list of free stuff to do with the kids before summer is over!


And while you are checking out all things Bronco, be sure to look at the Kids Page, games, and Broncos Bunch memberships.
I feel like this should go without saying, but I need to say it. Professional athletes are not gods. They are not to be worshiped. They are not to be viewed as the standard of success.

Sports are just an integral part of our culture. Americans love to play sports, to watch sports, and to follow …

Mom Spot: Time Saving Tip Tuesday

From Karyn Beach, a life coach and author of a program she’s releasing next month called “Get It Together Girl: A 28-Day Guide to Practical, Not Perfect, Organization” ...

Identify your non-negotiables to protect your time. For example, Friday night is family night. Set strong boundaries around those non-negotiables.  By healingdream at Free Digital Photos I found this tidbit in a post at Divine Caroline. I can't think of a much more appropriate time to be thinking about setting boundaries than at the onset of a new school year. If you don't have kids in school, there are still plenty of great reasons to set boundaries. You marriage will be stronger and you are creating habits that will carry you into the world of school-aged children someday.  My happiest times are always when I have a handle on my schedule. My most miserable moments (and typically the times when I feel like I'm being the worst mom) are when I over-schedule myself and neglect to make time for m…

C'est la Vie: Date Night Diary

I was really excited for date night this weekend. It's been a while since my hubby and I had been out alone and we needed to get away and have some fun. Maybe my expectations were too high. It could have been that we didn't have a plan. (You know I love a plan!) Whatever the reason, things weren't the perfect night I had envisioned...
Holding Hands from Free Extras Because I have no desire to paint a dark picture of any of the events, I will leave places un-named. You can fill-in-the-blanks for yourself. The night got a late start and we headed for the newest shopping mall. It has all the bells and whistles you could hope for from fountains to lighting, boutique shops and delicious dining. We already have a few favorite spots in this particular mall, but wanted to branch out and try something different. Perhaps this was mistake number one.

We rushed to choose a movie and on a whim thought "premium seating" - complete with dining room access - sounded like the best …

Colorado State Fair

The state fair is held in Pueblo from August 27 until September 6 with events for the entire family each day! You'll want to check out all of the deals being offered for ticket sales including Dollar Day of Tuesday, August 31 where ALL tickets are only $1!

There are plenty of free attractions to enjoy including a LEGO hands-on exhibit (Sept 3-6), Dock Dogs, Rainforest Rescue, and Mutton Bustin'. The carnival is open daily (hours vary) and an unlimited ride pass is $25/day. You can also enjoy the Livestock, Horse, and Small Animal Exhibits will be on display the entire length of the fair.

This is another great Colorado family event that I can't wait to attend! Have you been in years past? Can you share with us the best time to go or the most fun activities to do while we are there?

Western Welcome Week

It's coming and it's full of fun for the whole family! It's the 82nd annual Western Welcome Week Celebration in Littleton, Colorado. Festivities begin on Wednesday, August 11 and continue for eleven days. The "festival" day - with parade and arts and crafts show - will be held Saturday, August 21.

This long-standing tradition of celebrating heritage and community is a beloved event for many Littleton residents. Most events are free, but you'll want to check the website for details. Some highlights include (click HERE for the full event schedule):

Gold panning on the Platte

Queen City Jazz Band free concert

Friends of the Library "Bag of Books" sale

Games of Old at ACC

Bully and Clyde's Wild Ride - free at Woodlawn

Grand Parade

C'est la Vie: Life... Offline

For those of us in the blog-osphere, there is a delicate balance to be achieved. How do you spend "enough, but not too much" time online? You want to have a web presence, but real-life relationships demand your time. All of this jargon is kind of silly too. What is "real life" anyway? Is it the things we do and the people we choose to interact with? More and more our relationships don't necessarily take place face-to-face and I would argue that doesn't make them any less valuable.

The whole thing is an interesting problem. Online dating has proved, in some cases, that relationships can in fact be started via the internet. For myself, I feel the online world is just an extension of existing relationships. If I didn't know you before, chances are our relationship isn't going very deep in the near future. And just as soon as I wrote that last sentence it occurred to me how many people could argue that point. Perhaps some of your most vital friendships …

Mom Spot: Gifted Resources

I love it when I find a website that compiles great resources - it's like one stop shopping! When you have a child who fits the "gifted" description, you may find yourself at a loss. There are factors to consider and if you are serviced by public schools, you may even find yourself looking for additional resources. Directories make life so much easier. Here's a great resource for gifted children.

Although I usually highlight a blog, this is a great website that I just had to put out there. If you are looking for some fun games to start prepping for back to school, or if you just need help thinking of ways to help your child continue to be challenged, this is a great place to look!

C'est la Vie: The Lunchbox Caper

I suppose calling my quest for an American made lunchbox a "caper" is a bit of an exaggeration. Wherever I shop I take a moment to look at the lunchbox selection (as the first day of school is rapidly approaching) and come up with only "Made in China" options. In the past several years, we've all heard of the toy and jewelry from China containing lead and cadmium. It's hard for me to justify putting my child's food in a potentially lethal container.

As a side note, I realize that not everything is toxic that comes from other countries. However, on principal, I strive to purchase as much local or American made products as possible. It's good for the economy. It's good for the environment. And the more of us that get on board, it will be good for our pocketbooks.

So, if you are a mom looking for an American made lunchbox too, here are a couple I found online:

Bento Box (unclear if these are American made or made in Japan... does anyone know?)

Green …

Make a Difference: Tennyson Center for Children

Some of the best responses I've received since sharing a Colorado connection daily have been for Make A Difference. Recently, I've shared the need for children to have school supplies for going back to school. In previous weeks I've also talked about Food Bank of the Rockies and Open Door Ministries to name a few.

As moms, we all have a heart for children. The hurt and disappointment, the lack of love that children face day-to-day breaks our heart... or should. Today I want to make you aware of Tennyson Center for Children at Colorado Christian Home. Click HERE to find out more about how you can make a difference in the life of a child.

Although a monetary donation is necessary for organizations, the care of an adult can make a significant impact on the life of a child. Here is a brief excerpt from their website:

"Over the years, we’ve been very fortunate to have a variety of service organizations helping out with volunteer opportunities at Tennyson Center.  Favorite…

Mom Spot: Car Seat Law

Hey Colorado Moms!! Did you know the car seat law has changed as of August 1, 2010?? Here's a great blog/article from my friend Lori at Mile High Mamas. Click HERE.

Especially if you have older children who have previously "out grown" car seats, you want to make sure that you are adhering to the new changes.

Of course, keeping our children safe is always our primary concern. How do you feel about the changes??

Born Fit

Along the path of life you meet wonderful people all the time. And if you're lucky, these wonderful people have also founded great companies or programs. Meet the ladies of Born Fit! It's a Colorado company for women of all kinds. If you love to be outside, move around, chase after kids, or just look darn cute in great athletic wear, you need to check them out.

They have both a website and a blog. At the website, you'll find awesome resources for staying fit and for encouraging your kids to be active too.

Click HERE to shop!
Click HERE to read the blog!

Mom Spot: Time Saving Tip Tuesday

Several years ago a new way to create home-made meals hit the market. You go to a commercial kitchen (maybe even with a few girlfriends), decide what you want to make and how much you need, cook it, package it, and take it home. No mess in your kitchen. No running to the grocery store for ingredients. No worrying what to make for dinner for 2 days or 2 weeks.

These hip new kitchens changed the way many of my friends thought about making dinner. I'll confess: I've never tried this method. Maybe I'm not adventurous enough or maybe a night out filled with cooking just doesn't sounds like that much fun to me. Whatever the reason, I can only say that I know plenty of moms who use it and love it and I'm sure I would too if I tried it.

Here are a couple of sites to check out if you're thinking of making it a night out in the future:
Supper Solutions
Dream Dinners
Super Suppers (old Littleton)

Have you done it? Do you love it? Tell us!

C'est la Vie: GIveaway! Angel's Healing Touch

Every mom needs a little TLC and here is your chance to get some! Thank you to Angela from Angel's Healing Touch Massage in Littleton! You'll receive a $50 gift certificate good toward a massage of your choice.

If you are a mom in the area, all you need to do is leave a comment and become a fan of her Facebook page!

Thanks to all of my faithful readers! Keep the comments coming and tell me what you'd like me to give away in the future. Contest is open until Sunday night (August 8). Tell your friends!

Olathe Sweet Corn Festival

This Friday and Saturday, August 6/7 is a one of a kind festival for Coloradans! Olathe Sweet Corn Festival celebrates the agriculture of this Colorado town and the community it supports. The $22 ticket ($19 pre-purchase) gives you entrance to the festival, concert and fireworks. Kids are only $4 at pre-purchase or gate.

You'll enjoy the classic car show, parade, and a variety of fun festival games like the corn eating contest! This sounds like good old fashioned fun and I'm not alone since the website says nearly 16,000 people attend each year. Olathe is about five hours from Denver. I've never made the trip. I'd love to hear from anyone who has been there and/or been to the festival.

If you have, share your experience!

Mom Spot: Motherhood

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us when adversity takes the place of prosperity when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."

~Washington Irving