I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.
- Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Vacation: Highs and Lows

We are back from Colorado. Whew, what a trip. The girls had a bad cold during the entire trip and were pretty miserable during most of the week. However, they were troopers and we made the most of it when they were not coughing or napping.  Here are the highlights.

Our final destination was Estes Park. We'd never been to this part of Colorado, but two different family friends went this summer, so we decided to jump on the bandwagon.  I'm sure glad we did.  The temperature was perfect and the scenery was wonderful.  We stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies, which is totally different than what you probably imagine when you think of staying at the Y.  Trust me, it's awesome.  The activities for kids are almost limitless, and most are free.  The girls rock climbed, played organized basketball and volleyball, attended two nature craft classes and a hiking skills class. They also created tie-dye shirts in a separate arts and craft building. 

We also took a family hike to Bible Point. It was a really tough uphill climb, especially for the girls with their cold.  Chloe and Chris made it all the way; Camee and I made it far enough.  You can just barely see her sitting down behind us in the first two pictures below. The third picture was taken by Chloe at top of Bible Point.

Never fear - we did our best to accommodate the sickies.  We let them have pizza in bed and had them rest as much as possible.

Before we got to Estes Park we explored the Broomfield and Boulder area.  We found a cool shopping center that had neat outdoor play areas for kids, including sand volleyball and giant chess and checker boards.  The girls loved it.

 We also hiked to Boulder Falls, which was an easy and beautiful hike.

I don't have many great pictures of the town of Estes Park or the YMCA, but they were both fantastic.  We really enjoyed going into town to stroll by the river, shop, and eat.  The YMCA was in the most beautiful setting in the world and very organized and family friendly.  I really can't say enough about it.  We will very likely go again next year, hopefully with some friends and family.  Let me know if you are interested in joining us!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paleo Beef Brisket

I can't pin this from the original site so I am trying to post it here so I can add to my Paleo Pintrest board.

Slow-cooker Paleo Beef Brisket
from paleoperfectly.blogspot.com/2010/12/slow-cooker-beef-brisket.html

Beef brisket, about 2-3 lbs
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup tomato sauce
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil works
2 tbsp chili powder (less if you don't want it too spicy)
2 tbsp dijon mustard (look for a good paleo one)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup crushed pineapple (with its juice)
1 tsp sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl (except for brisket and onion). Score the flat side of the brisket with a sharp knife. Place brisket in slow cooker, cover with half of the sauce. Turn the brisket over and cover with the remaining sauce. Place onions over the top. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until it falls apart. Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kitchen Re-do Part Two

We are finally finishing the kitchen remodel that we started two years ago.  I wrote about it here.  This week we had new countertops and backsplash installed.  Want to see our progress?

Where we left off in 2010
Writing our goodbyes to the Formica

Hopefully making a fun memory

You can tell who is my more cautious child!


Arrival of the granite (Absolute Black)

See my sink on the floor?

The hand belongs to the plumber installing the new dishwasher.

Today the backsplash is being grouted.  I don't know if you can tell from the first picture, but our former Formica countertops where also our backsplash.  It just curved on up and was glued to the wall.  Our contractor thought that was pretty funny (I think he meant ugly).

Hopefully by early next week the backsplash tile will be sealed and everything can go back in its place.  I'll try to take an "after" picture and post it soon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Random things abut this week

1. I made the girls' costumes for dress up day at school.  We don't know which Greek goddess they are going to be yet, but here's what they'll wear.  We've got to do some research and decide on our characters.

2.  I am obsessed with vintage Polaroids this week.  I found an old package of Polaroid 600 film that has been discontinued and is therefore pretty pricey now.  I don't know if the film is still any good, but I bought a $5 old Polaroid camera at Goodwill to try it out.  The camera is a cool display piece even if the film is bad.  Luckily, there are cool Polaroid digital images so I can make any picture a fake Polaroid.
3.  I found a cool website called Wordle.  It lets you make word clouds for free.  I'd never heard of the term word cloud, but it's like the subway art that's all the rage.   If you want to try it, check out the Wordle tips found here.  I used the website to make a birthday card for Chloe's teacher.

4.  I visited the Redemption House Wednesday.  It's a home in Denton for unwed pregnant women who need a second chance to get their lives in order.  The two girls living there really touched my heart.  Our church collected diapers and wipes and I went along to drop them off.  I want to get more involved, but the distance is a bit problematic.  We'll see what happens.

5.  I bought a silicone muffin pan to bake these Paleo egg muffins for Chris.  He loves them and they are convenient to send to work, but do NOT try to make them in a regular pan, even with liners.  Cleaning up after baking in this 100 % silicone pan is 1000 times easier.  I got it on sale for $12.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our Trip to the Big Apple

It has taken me a while to get the fortitude to relive this trip.  It was fun, but also had its share of stress.  Anyway, I'll get started.

We flew to NYC, but actually spent most of our time in Greenwich, CT.  Chris had to be there for the week for business, so we were tag-alongs.  The weather was such a nice change from the 110 degree heat we left behind, so we spent our first couple of days enjoying local parks and just hanging out.  On the third day we made our way to Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, CT.  It was small but really cute.  The girls had a great time, and so did I.  There were sand castles to build, minnows to catch, ice cream to eat, and a pier to walk.  Oh, and birds -- big birds with with big poop that landed all over yours truly.  Good times.

catching minnows with the locals

The next day I gathered all my courage and took the girls on the train into NYC by myself.  We went straight to Grand Central Station and then walked to FAO Schwartz (after going the wrong way twice).  The city was hot, muggy, and crowded (when is it not?) and the walk was really, really long.  But, it's New York, and that's what we wanted to see.

on the train

After FAO we went just a bit further to Central Park, grabbed some pizza, and had a nice rest in the park.  We didn't have much energy left, and had to save what we could for the walk back to the train station, so we shelled out big bucks for a short tour of the park on a bicycle cab, also known as a pedicab.  Our tour guide had a thick Italian accent that the girls couldn't really understand, so I translated as much as I could for them.

The fountain from Friends

After the tour we caught an earlier train than we expected and were pretty tuckered out for the rest of the day.  There is something exhausting about walking in that city traffic!

On our final day Chris went with us to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk.   It was a nice aquarium, as was their downtown retail area.  However, the girls and I were still pretty tired from NYC, and Chris and I were a little stressed about getting back to NYC in Friday afternoon traffic, so we weren't as into it as we could have/should have been. 

petting sting rays

Turns out, our worries about traffic were justified.  It was a nightmare getting into the city.  However, we made it and even arrived early.   Too bad our flight was delayed by about six hours due to weather.  We ended up getting home around 3am on Saturday morning and were just completely exhausted.  Did I mention that school started the following Monday? 

I hope I don't sound too whiny about the trip.  I'm grateful that we went and for the cooler weather that we experienced.  I just had major culture shock during our entire trip and was worn out by NYC.  The rest was really great.  Well, except for the gross dinner we had at this restaurant where I was the victim of an exploding ketchup bottle.  Cool pic, though.  :)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ozona Trip

Last week the girls and I went on a road trip with my mom to her hometown of Ozona, Texas.  We visited with my grandma and house-sat, dog-sat, and chicken-sat for my aunt and uncle. 
Camee and Hunter
Getting the chickens back to bed

We took one day to drive out to Balmorhea State Park, which features a spring-fed swimming pool where you can swim with endangered species of fish.  The water was so, so cold, but we had fun.
You can tell from Chloe's expression how she felt about the chilly temperature of the water!

We spent the rest of the time with the girls' great-grandmother.  We worked puzzles, played bingo, went to DQ for hamburgers, and visited the grave of their great-grandfather.  Chloe was very impressed to learn that he fought in WWII.

I love the pace of life in Ozona.  The days feel so much longer because you never have to fight any traffic.  Everything is a within a three minute drive, and there is not much to do, so you get to spend lots of time just relaxing.  Love it!