Sunday, July 31, 2011

About a Washer and a Dryer

Note: This post is not about laundry, though I sure do love doing it. 

So, back on July 3rd, when we had a pretty good inkling that all would be well with the purchase of our home here in Colorado, I decided to order a washer and dryer.  I love my Kenmore set that is in the Pella house, but it is already 6 years old, so we decided to leave it with the house for future buyers/renters and buy a new set here.

I attempted to order the set online, but whatever was supposed to happen didn’t happen, and I found myself on the phone trying to find out if the order had gone through.  No, ma’am, it hasn’t, but if you would like, I can assist you.

Pulling up the website again, I told the gal what I thought were the washer and dryer I wanted to order (simply a newer model of what we’ve had – no real bells or whistles), I received the order confirmation, the prices were the same, and that was that.

Fast forward to yesterday.

Yesterday the washer and dryer showed up.  I was painting, so I showed the delivery men where the units should go and I left them to their work.  They called me down to the laundry room to take a peek and I almost passed out.  Umm, THOSE were NOT the washer and dryer I ordered.  But, I didn’t say anything, because I couldn’t be positive, and they were sure that these were the units I ordered per the list, etc., so there you go.  I signed their paper and they went on their way.

So tonight I was a bit curious because the last thing I want is for Sears to call me back and tell me they delivered the wrong set.  That, and, well, it seemed like I should know what I ordered and how foolish would I look telling them I ordered one thing and received another but not actually know what I ordered?  Ha.

About 10 minutes ago I pulled up the order, clicked on the product links, and lo and behold, there were pictures of the EXACT washer and dryer delivered to my home.  I must have surely gotten a number wrong when telling the order clerk, or she might have swapped a number around or two, but sure enough, there they are and they match the online product description perfectly.

While this experience could have been a bit of trouble in some ways, it all turned out for the good. 

  1. I actually ended up ordering a REALLY NICE set (washer and dryer)  and get this – they were something crazy like 45% off the regular price the day I ordered them.  (Which is why the price didn’t clue me in because they were the same price as the set I thought I’d ordered.)  Today that set is only ~20% off.  Ha!
  2. We were very, VERY fortunate that the units fit into the space allotted.  There really isn’t an inch to spare.  In any direction.  You see, Adam specifically measured the space for the washer and dryer during the home inspection, and I specifically ordered (or so I thought) a pair that I knew would fit nicely.  These units are a tad bigger.  But, whew, they fit!
  3. They are Kenmore products!  YAY!  I’m very happy for that!  I wanted another set of Kenmores as I’d had good fortune with my set in Pella.

Regardless of the positives, though, there is one downside.  This washer requires HE detergent.  Boo hiss.  I am looking at making my own for the fraction of the cost.  The only real difference I can determine is that HE is low suds, and therefore I should be able to make my own low suds for much cheaper.

I will say that this was a good lesson for me that the next time I order products over the phone, when I receive the email order summary, I should (and will in the future) make sure that what I think I am ordering is what actually was entered as the order.  This time it all turned out for the best, but what would have happened if some metallic blue monstrosities would have shown up?  I shudder to think.  Ha!  Also, it will keep me from wondering for ~30 hours if what I received was what I ordered.  (Way too tired last night to get online and look.)

Have a good night!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunshine and Rain Clouds

Do you have those days where there is so much good and some bad that the day has a mixed-sort-of-feeling to it and at the end of the day you’re feeling more perplexed than not about the whole thing?  Or, maybe you were expecting it to be a great day, and so the not-so-good really brought you down…

That’s how I’m feeling tonight.

I hemmed and hawed over whether to post this, but settled for writing to get things off my chest.  Don’t worry… there’s lots of good in here too.

A good thing: We closed on the house on Tuesday and took possession yesterday.  What a surreal feeling to walk into a big, empty house with the kids last night… I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around the fact that It. Is. Ours.

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Today I took off work because I wanted to paint.  For now, I am only painting our bedroom and the girls’ room.  One thing I didn’t remember about the house… Every. Room. Is. The. Same. Color.  EVERY ROOM.  Not even a joke.  Tan.  Tan, tan, tan.  That WILL be changing.  Ha!

A not so good thing: I was not nearly as prepared to paint today as I should have been.  This is entirely my fault for not planning ahead.  I don’t much of an excuse (although I can give a few – really busy at work and working overtime, completely wiped at night and thus not spending time planning, etc.), and I should not have been at all surprised that I had to make three trips to the store today.  Those three trips meant that I did less painting.  I had six coats total to do, and I only got three done.  Boo hiss.  So, tomorrow will be a test in painting while children run amuck.  I am bringing snacks and movies and toys and anything else I can think of to keep them out of my paint. 

Heaven, help me.

Master bedroom beforehand (see that lovely tan???):

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The color I picked for the master bedroom.  Oh, yes, I did.

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The master bedroom in progress – more to finish in here tomorrow:

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The girls’ room beforehand (again, with the tan):

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The paint I picked for the girls’ room:

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Okay – an aside.  I must talk about this paint color.  Let me say that simply, this is The. Most. Perfect. Color. Pink. Ever.  EVER.  I *love* this color.  I have been seeing this color on the walls of Pottery Barn rooms in the catalog for a number of years, and I finally succumbed to it.  Thank God that when I asked Julia what color she wanted her room to be, she gleefully shouted, PINK!  You, my dear, shall have it.  If you are wondering what this color is, it is Benjamin Moore Pink Cloud 887 for Pottery Barn.  I am in LOVE.

Here is the girls’ room in-progress.  Slight concern – because I had forgotten / didn’t remember / didn’t even know that this room was tan, I am wondering if I should have  primed before painting… I guess worst case is that I’ll have to buy another gallon and slap on a third coat, which is no worse than having to prime.  But still.  This definitely gets a second coat tomorrow and we’ll see if I feel it needs a third.  I mean, seriously, if I’m going to pick the perfect color ever, it better look perfect when I’m finished.  Ha!

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Hopefully I’ll have more pictures for you tomorrow!

Other rooms I’m considering subjecting my Passion for Painting to include: 3rd bedroom, guest bedroom, a living room wall.  We’ll see what happens.  It won’t be happening this weekend, I can guarantee that.

Let’s move on, shall we?

So, you might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned Adam yet in this post, and that’s because Adam is currently in the Midwest (Ralston, near Omaha, right now).  Adam drove back to Pella, IA, on Wednesday to meet the movers who were going to pack and move all of our remaining items to Arvada.

From what I heard yesterday, it seems like the packing part went well.  They even told Adam that they thought they’d be fully loaded by 1 pm today.

Apparently that was wishful thinking.

At around 9:30 AM this morning, I received a text from Adam stating that they didn’t bring a large enough van and they weren’t going to be able to pack and bring all of our items to Arvada.  Upon further discussion, apparently they weren’t able to fit almost half of our stuff into the load, and we’re not entirely sure what will be arriving here in Arvada between 8 am and 10 am Monday morning.  Am I annoyed?  Only a lot.  There are other things concerning this as well that I won’t discuss here, but suffice to say, I wrote a nice but firm email to our relocation assistant about this.  We don’t yet know when the rest will make it. 

Add to that, because I never considered the possibility of this happening (I mean, come ON, this is the THIRD TIME we’ve done this – this is the first time that they estimated the size of the moving vehicle incorrectly), I never told Adam what were absolute Must Brings with him.  So, now I’m not even sure if I will have my steam vac to clean the apartment carpets.  Small, tiny, itty bitty problem in the scheme of life?  Yes. Can I borrow one or rent one?  Yes.   But, with my stress and annoyance level as late, this surely didn’t help today.

However, we will have SOME stuff here this coming Monday and Please God Please God Please God let that include our king-sized bed.  Please.  PLEASE.  Thank you.


The girls seem to be handling all of the hubbub going on around them okay, but Julia has become increasingly defiant and downright naughty over the last few days, and I hope it’s a side-effect of Adam being gone mixed in with a whole lot of change.  Tonight I took the girls swimming (we all needed it after a long, hot, and sweaty day), and she openly defied me multiple times, the last time being that she pushed Raven in the pool which caused Raven to bounce off (with her abdomen, thank God, and not her head) the side of the pool.  I was so disappointed with Julia’s behavior, so I told her we were going inside.  She threw a tantrum that would make a 2-year-old proud, and she worked herself up so badly that a.) she peed herself on the concrete, and b.) she threw up.  Good night, almighty, child.  She then proceeded to scream and cry all the way back to the apartment.  I’m at a loss as to what to do here other than stick to the consequences I suggest (which I did tonight and holy moly, did she ever hate it).  I know she’s not upset at me as much as she is upset at her situation because she will be screaming and fussing about  and come to me immediately for comfort.  It’s almost comical.

What else can I tell you about…?  My Paypal account being “reviewed” because we’ve moved twice in six months?  Or… my inability to find a waste management services that does trash AND recycling? My inability to pack anything (I don’t know what my problem is here)?

But then… I have managed to get so many other things taken care of such as address changes.  And then there was that great bird that I got in the mail from one of my besties and I can’t wait for her to see my front entry decorating that I came up with today all because of that bird.

But, that was kind of the “last straw” for my evening.  Good day?  Yes, so much good in our lives and so much wonderfulness going on that I really can’t complain.  But, bad day too?  Yes.  All of those little things add up overtime and while life is Good, in a manner of speaking, there have been a lot of little nits of late that keep piling up on top of me and I can’t seem to shake them.  (For those wondering, yes, I have been reading my Bible and praying and trying to find ways to alleviate this “burden” that is one me – I keep holding out hope.)  So… life really IS good… and I keep telling myself that… but, occasionally you just have to sigh and throw a tiny pity party and write about it on the internet, right?  Ha.

Have a good night,


ps.  I’m not joking.  Best Pink Paint Color EVER.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Thanks much to my husband for his blog post about his Cherry Wheat at the Yak & Yeti and the fact that he posted a link to this video, and hence, I have had this song stuck in my head for close to a week.

You’re welcome.

How many tails does the Coors’ lion have?

Wait, back up a minute, Coors has a lion on its logo? 


Yup, well at least it used to and it has 2 tails, in case you were wondering.  I had a free hour today so I went on the free Miller-Coors brewery tour and this entry will walk you through some of the highlights.

Erin and I had done the Coors tour a few years ago and I did the tour about a month ago when I was job hunting.  I wasn’t sure they would permit my entry because I just did it a month ago, but they did.

1front kettle The first thing you do is park your vehicle and walk to the bus stop.  After getting on the bus, it does a short 5 minute tour of Golden, Colorado before dropping you off at the front entrance. (see pic of kettle and huge Coors can)2front lobby

The lobby is actually more like a “hall of fame” museum that contains multimedia and photos.  They take your picture (so they can sell you copies later) and then check your ID for your tasting wristband.  What is new from years ago is the tour is not guided anymore and you have a playback fob that you carry instead. (just press the button of the number you see on the signs and hold it up to your ear….pretty simple)

3mash filter This is a Mash filter, we learned about them in brewery school.  I was shocked on how BIG these things were.  I should probably preface that the Coors plant has been the largest “single-site” brewery in the world for many years. (Modelo Group is building a larger one in Mexico soon.) Essentially after the malt has been converted to sugar, it is put into one of these and squeezed to extract all the wort and it leaves behind the spent grains.4kettles

Here is a pic of some of the 50 or so kettles and cereal cookers….all copper.  This is my favorite view in the whole brewery, quite spectacular.

5mission control

Here is the control room which I’m pretty sure is a few times larger than mission control in Houston.  For how big this brewery is, you don’t see many employees (well except all the tour guide staff that is stationed throughout to help lost people or attend to their guests for any reason)10quality display

Next you get to walk past the quality lab.  They have a “really old microscope” in a display case.  This thing is way nicer than the one I have in my brewery…I wonder how expensive the new ones are that they are using?


Here’s their hydrometers for measuring the specific gravity of the wort/beer.  Again, they said these were “old”….I’ll take them, they are very similar to the ones I’m using right now at the Yak.

9bubbling wall


Next you walk past a stainless steel wall with a viewing window.  This isn’t really beer, but does a good job of mimicking it by bubbling air behind the glass window.

8beer bottles in ice

I’m not sure “why” but in this room they give you a 1oz taster of Coors Banquet or Coors Light.  I think they do this to get the saliva working up your desire for more beer in the tasting room.

12mountain murals One of the things I liked about the brewery, besides its meticulously clean hallways and floors was all the murals on the walls.  These were pretty simple, but it added a lot to what would normally be boring industrial walls.


I can’t remember who’s wife (probably Adolf’s), but she insisted that the brewery not look so industrial, so she had them put in a flower greenhouse on the property which has at least a couple full-time staff who keep fresh flowers all over the brewery, lab, tasting room, etc.

13tasting room literature


When you get in the tasting room, you return your talking handheld fob and stand in line for free beer (seriously, how much work do I have to do to get free beer around here?!?!)  To entertain the people standing in line they have old advertisements, posters, paintings and other things to read. 

14painting of original brewery I really liked this print of a painting that shows the original brewery with the ponds (still there by the way) and the cool rocky cliffs behind the brewery (keep in mind the height, I’ll show you another pic later)

15beer menu


I kept this pic bigger hoping you could read it…maybe not.  You get 3 free samples if you are willing to stand back in line again to get them.  I just had the Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat and the Batch 19 (pre-prohibition lager).


Just a view of the tastin17tasting room2g room patrons.  Very few places to sit, mostly standing room around little bar tables.  The room is quite large and easily fits 100+ people.  When I got my 2nd beer I overheard the bartender tell the two guys ahead me “See you guys tomorrow!”  So I asked if you could go two days in a row, just being curious…..turns out these two guys show up EVERY DAY for their 3 beers after work.   So much for being worried about not visiting in a month….they were more likely to say, “why did you wait so long to come back again?”19gift shop

It probably didn’t take Coors long to figure out that if they gave people free beer and placed the gift shop after the tasting room that buzzed people would be more likely to make ridiculous impulse purchases.  (to quote Guinness: “Brilliant!”)

21rock hill behind brewery

When you are heading back to the bus pickup point you can see the hill just behind the newer buildings (barely) and the ponds (which are now part of their water treatment facility, or something).

20the mines m

If you look really close you can make out an “M” on near the top of this mound (viewable from the east side of the pond).  Golden is home to the School of Mines and this “M” represents the school.  I’m not sure who copied who but I have always been partial to this one. (Go UW-P!)



So tonight I added Adam as an author/admin to our family blog.  In doing so, I somehow managed to delete myself, and bang, just like that, I no longer had access to my own blog.  Ha!

Thankfully Adam had admin access and was able to add me back in… whew!

Welcome to our new author on the blog, Adam!  He’s written a few posts to date (his Siebel/Germany posts), and hopefully he’ll add more flavor.  *smiles*


Monday, July 18, 2011

Nook Review

I had to post this after receiving a Nook Review from a dear friend of mine today...
I figured it was about time I posted about my Nook experience since posting in December that I had bought one with a bonus from work.  I've been reading on my Nook for seven months now, and my general synopsis -- it was worth every dollar.  I love it.  :)
Now for some explicit description of what I love... and don't love... about it.
(Chrissy, forgive me for stealing your format... ha!)
The Good:
1.  I agree with Chrissy here... the Nook is extremely portable.  It fits beautifully into my purse and I've been known to whip it out and read pretty much anywhere.
2.  Again with the agreement... it's light-weight and makes long-book reading a breeze.  No more 1200 pages of Diana Gabaldon making me wonder if I need carpal tunnel surgery.  Lately I've been reading some 500-pagers and I'm thankful that I have the Nook to assist in that.
3.  The Nook has an abundant amount of space.  I am amazed often by how many books I can fit onto my Nook.
4.  This is where I diverge from Chrissy's review.  I find downloading books from B&N extremely quick and easy.  Also, I love how the Nook acts like an external hard-drive and how easy it is to plug it into my laptop and either a.) charge it or b.) put books from my hard-drive right onto my Nook.  I hesitated buying one for so long partly because I didn't want to have to learn yet another new piece of technology... but I find this thing a snap.
5.  I think the battery-life is pretty darn amazing, myself.  I have yet to have the Nook "die" on me before I'm able to recharge it.  I found about two months ago that if I turn off the wireless/disable it while I'm reading, my Nook can last a good week to two weeks before it needs recharging (I should also note that I never shut off my Nook... I just let it go to sleep after I'm done reading).  And, the Nook almost always lasts 1 - 4 hours after the notice pops up saying that the battery is getting low. 
6.  Regarding selection, I have had no problem finding a plethora of books for my Nook.  One of the reasons I bought the Nook -- it took a large variety of formats... including PDF... ha, ha, who doesn't LOVE bringing her knitting patterns right along with her in digital format?  Because of the PDF format capabilities, I am able to load all sorts of things onto my Nook that I might not otherwise be able to view on an e-reader (read: Kindle).  (And with the program Calibre, I'm able to convert non-Nook formats to PDF or EPUB and my problem is eliminated that way.)  And, while I buy a few books through B&N, I don't buy them all.  Is the library cheaper?  For sure.  But for a recovering book-buying addict, the Nook has proved to be a good thing for me.
7.  I love not every losing my place in a book.  Ever.  It has always remembered the last page I was on, allowing me to pop between books.  Be gone, dastardly bookmark!  Ha!
The Bad:
1.  I should have listened when a friend who owns a Kindle suggested that I buy a protective cover for my Nook.  I should have listened.  I should have listened, because my Nook takes a beating -- between my purse and the kids, my Nook has been squished, dropped, scratched, and otherwise.  And while my Nook has never locked up and has no issues that way, I have about four vertical and four horizontal lines of pixel that have gone out.  It hasn't hindered my reading abilities yet, and it's not noticeable across the text, but it's a reminder that I need to take better care of my technology.
2.  I don't really need it.  Between my iPhone, which has Nook on it, my laptop, which again has Nook on it, and the fact that there is a plethora of libraries around me, I don't need the Nook.  But, in some respects it was free (unexpected bonus paid for it), and add to that, I own the non-backlit version, so I justify owning it by not reading books on my backlit phone and PC and say that it's better for my eyes.
3.  Did I mention yet that it's yet another piece of technology?  This really bothers me.  Yet another reason why I waited so long.  Thankfully it's one that doesn't need a lot of "work" or "maintenance" to keep it up.
4.  Granted, I've never had anything else to compare it to, but I feel like the paging buttons need some work.  I feel like they are slightly too sensitive for the location and button design.  I also think the touch screen needs some work -- it's obvious to me that the "home key" only works with enough light -- the home key isn't truly a touch screen.  The touch screen itself works well when it comes up, but especially at night when I'm reading, if I don't shine my book light directly on the little "n" before I cover it with my finger, it is hard to get the touch screen to activate.
Other notes:
I'm reckless.  I take that sucker in the bathtub.  Heh.  That being said, they do make a water-proof cover for it so you CAN take it in the bath, hot tub, pool, etc.
As mentioned above, my Nook has never locked up.
All in all, I'm really happy with my purchase.  I was *really* worried about buyer's remorse for the first couple of weeks that I had it and almost took it back.  But, after about a month, I decided I really enjoyed having it and I wouldn't wish it away.  Do I miss real books?  Not really.  My kids' books are still "real" and we look at those every day, and reference types of books or books where I want a lot of color pictures -- for example, my new obsession with wanting to raise chickens -- I simply buy the real book to put on my shelf.  We won't be ridding ourselves of a bookshelf any time soon.  But, for quickie reads like fiction, it's a great investment for me.
ps.  I have Harry Potter.  Just sayin'.  *grin*

Three Month Checkup

Today marks three months since the girls and I moved to Colorado.  Considering that Adam's living arrangements were in flux, to say the least, at that point in time, we'll just say that our family has now lived here for three months.  So, I thought I'd do a quick health assessment of our family and situation and report to you all.
Adam -- After a month of pounding the pavement (or rather, rolling on the pavement for about 300 - 500 miles a week), he procured a brewing job at the Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery in Arvada.  Adam has been working hard, brewing about once a week (or every other week), and learning all sorts of things about the brewpub business that he wouldn't have learned at a big brewery.  (Knowledge for the future, maybe?)  He's been a busy bee since early June and has been working hard for his paycheck.  He recently brewed a wheat and is releasing "infusions" weekly... last week was strawberry and this week is cherry.  You can follow his blog here
Besides his jobby (job & hobby), Adam has been busy making contacts in the brewing world and in Denver in general.  Nightly I get to hear about his daily experiences, the new people that he meets, and the friends he is making.  Suffice to say, Adam has been adjusting to the new community very well and seems to be thriving.
Julia -- Be it a new classroom setting or her age, Julia is becoming more confident in her surroundings, but she is also becoming more defiant, and is quick to tell us when she gets her way.  (Ack, why do kids learn to say "no" when you tell them to go to time out?  Boo hiss.)  While it's been a new learning experience with her and her attitude, other areas of her life are amazing and a blessing to watch blossom.  She loves to sing and dance, and regularly she delights me with a new song that she's learned.  Tonight I finally figured out what song "three dollars" comes from -- it's apparently from "Part of your World" from "The Little Mermaid".  Coulda fooled me, and I need to pull up the lyrics to figure out what she's really trying to say there.  Heh. 
In the pool (since we have a free one at our apartment complex -- we go often!), she is becoming more confident and is willingly letting me teach her how to swim (it's not going great, but I can get her to try to swim out to me from a good four feet away or so... it involves a lot of pushing herself off the side or steps and then a lot of flailing while she sinks underneath the water until I pull her up, but she's always giggling and ready for more when I do.  Some weeks back Daddy was able to get her to jump off the side and every since then, she's been a fool for the water. 
We still have issues with the letters "L" and "R" (though when she tries hard, she can get them), she still has picky eating tendencies (payback for me as a kid, I guess), and Ariel is still The Bomb in our house.  I would say though that Julia has been adjusting well to her new surroundings, and I only hope that continues to prove true as we move to a new house in a few weeks and the girls start a new daycare yet again a few weeks after that... *sigh*... change.
Raven -- She seems to be changing daily, and it's hard to capture anymore what her new words are (there are SO many) and how quickly she's becoming a small kid and not a baby anymore.  Lately she's been saying 3 - 5 new words a day, and while she often drops the consonant at the beginning ("rock" is "ock" and "bug" is "ug"), she knows so much and is really showing that by saying new words.  She is also becoming an Ariel fan and wants badly to have Ariel pajamas and swimsuit like her big sister, carries around her Ariel doll a bunch, and even says the world "Ariel" - I daresay, she says it almost better than Julia.
And, not to jinx it or otherwise make a big deal about it, but Raven has grown increasingly interested in the potty and began a potty chart at daycare today (again with the UGH regarding moving to a new house and new daycare... pending setbacks, I tell you what).  She will sit on the potty whenever you mention it to her and often she will suggest it herself, and occasionally she'll even do something on it... awesome!
Raven is the love of daycare, and daily her papers come home with reports about how much they love Raven, how cuddly she is, how they wish they had a whole classroom of kids like her... heart breaking right now.  Add to that, she was voted by the teachers (as told me by the owner) as having the Best Ponytail in School (Daddy wins the prize here, because daily she gets a whalespout and it does nothing but garner smiles).  All of the teachers and aides know her name and she walks down the hall with a big smile and waving "hi" and "bye" to everyone.  Too. Cute.
Raven is a little stinker at home like her big sister, though, and she also has become defiant when being asked to perform simple tasks.  It is on her terms or no terms.  It's hard to know who has the louder scream - J or R. 
And, Raven LOVES the pool too... maybe a little too much.  It has become increasingly difficult to take both kids to the pool by myself, as Raven's whole goal is seemingly to drown herself.  At least, the way she flings herself off the stairs, flings herself off the side, flings herself off her parents... that one is going to be a waterbug.
Erin... that'd be me -- I am almost three months into my new position at Raytheon, and while somedays it feels old hat, there is a lot of work to be done on my part to really and truly be a human factors engineer -- if it ever happens.  There has been some frustration as late on my part, and it's nothing I want to talk about here, but suffice to say that I am learning how to deal with my new surroundings and I hope that my transition smooths out sooner rather than later.
In the evenings I enjoy spending time with the girls and cooking dinner and readying things for the next day.  While in my past few places we've lived I've been right there to go out and find something to do with myself to get out of the house occasionally, right now I can hardly be budged to go out and do something for myself, because it means that I won't be home and with my family.  Although, I realize that I need something extracurricular that I can spend my time on that doesn't involve small child screams, dirty dishes, and a small apartment.  Soon we'll have our new house and I have plans for things there and I'm guessing that'll keep me busy for a while... but Adam suggested today that it might be a good idea to find a group of people with whom I can form a common bond or friendship.
Otherwise, this last weekend I finally pulled out my desire to cook and bake that I've been squashing since moving here because of our lack of large kitchen, etc.  It couldn't be contained any longer.
And, last night I finally dusted off my sewing machine and took in Adam's Munich shorts, and today I started a dress for Raven's 2-year pictures (I plan to make a few dresses; not sure which one I'll like best for her pictures).
House(s) -- Our house is still for sale in Pella, as many of you know, and it will be for one more month.  At that point we'll pull it off the market and are planning to rent it, if we are able to make that happen.  Thankfully Adam has a connection in Pella, and it sounds like we'll have a property manager who we can trust (this time around).  And, as many know, the basement flooded at least twice in June, and so right now the basement is barren of carpet and we are having a professional waterproofing company come in and fixing the basement to prevent the flooding in the future.
We close on our house here next Tuesday, the 26th, and we take possession on the 29th.  I am taking a day of PTO and will spend my day surrounded in beautiful paint -- I can't wait!  Adam is driving back to Iowa late next week to be there when the movers come to move our household goods, and we should finally have the remainder of our possessions by August 5th. 
It will be interesting to see where our family is and how we're doing in another three months.  By then, I'll be 33, Raven will be 2, Julia will almost be 4, and we'll be well into fall.  We're looking forward to seeing what is ahead of us in the near future as we continue our journey along this new path in our lives here in Colorado.
Hugs and love,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Best Pizza in Town...

... And the total cost is $4.50.

Before cooking:


Okay, so it tastes good but parts still need work. Cheese needs more salt or to age longer. But... Not a bad attempt!

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mozzarella Day!

It's mozzarella day here at the apartment. The toys have been sorted and picked up, I'm on my 6th load of laundry, the apartment is cleaned and vacuumed... So it's time to cook!

Last weekend I went to a cheese making class I had bought on Groupon, and to say the least it wad horrible. I knew LOTS more than the teacher and worse, I found myself correcting her and answering other people's questions. I had two beers and left halfway through.

But. But. It sparked my cheese-making tendencies, and after our meal of bread, crackers, sausage, and an awesome selection if cheeses last night, I decided today was the day.

Adam bought me the necessary ingredients throughout the week.

My ingredients and tools.

Pour one gallon milk in heavy pot on stove. Turn on low (don't want to scald). At 55 degrees F, add 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid (which has been dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water).

At 90 degrees, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of rennet. At 100 degrees, remove from heat and watch your pot begin to curdle.

Wait 3 - 5 minutes and then scoop curds into a microwave safe bowl. Press to remove as much whey as possible.

Microwave on high for two minutes and knead like bread.

Pretty soon you have a beautiful ball of mozzarella for ~$3.75. We added a little salt. You can add herbs and sun-dried tomatoes and whatever you want to get some tasty cheese. We'll use this for homemade pizza... Off to make the dough and sauce!


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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Learning Respect & Building Confidence

At Goddard School, the girls’ current daycare, we were offered to enroll kids ages 3 – 5 in a 4 week Tang Soo Do class which would be held at the school and it would be free.  The brochure suggested that more than learning defense moves, the kids would be learning respect and building confidence.

I have mentioned before that Julia is our tender-hearted child.  It doesn’t take much to upset her and she can be very timid as well.  So, after a short discussion, Adam and I decided J should take the class, and at the very least, they would let us if she needed to be pulled from the class because she was too afraid to do anything.

Well, I completely under-estimated Julia (Time out, Mommy!) and Thursday night Adam and I were able to see just how much she learned in her little classes.  It was so wonderful to watch!  (Thursday night was the “graduation” ceremony.)

The kids arrived and went out to the mat to meet up with their instructors.  Julia is so excited to sit out on the mats with her other classmates.

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When the instructor said Attention!, those kids perked up and listened right away.  We watched as the teacher took them through stances, chants, and other activities related to this art.

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Then the instructors showed us that the kids had learned how to punch and kick little pads.  Here is Julia kicking the pad (you can see her one leg is a blur.)  She had the uncanny ability of looking anywhere but at the pad and still managing to kick it.  (Attention span issues, anyone?)

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After showing us their defense moves, the kids all had the opportunity to break boards.  Even if it meant the teachers helping, each and every kid broke a board with their hand or their foot.

Julia, being a slight thing weight in just over 30 lbs, had some trouble breaking the board with her hand, but she sure did try!

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Eventually they reverted to the foot (and with the instructor’s help, Julia was finally able to break her board).

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She was so proud!

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At the end of the night, Julia received her white belt and stripes.  The white belt was all Julia… the red stripes were how well Mommy did writing notes to Julia’s instructor each week… heh.

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It will be some time before we ever enroll any of our children in true “extracurricular” activities, but it was nice for Julia to be able to attend these classes during our daycare days and for us to show the things she learned with her other classmates during a special event.  It was so awesome to attend and see her do this – I was so proud of her.  This is only the second time that we’ve attended an event that was strictly for her – the first being last year’s Christmas program at church.  While we don’t want these events to become “about us” and the high we get from seeing our child do well, I will say that it was a great moment to see Julia so proud of herself, and to exhibit that respect and confidence that the instructor sought.


Sunshine and Shadows

On the way home Thursday night from Julia’s Tang Soo Do/Karate demonstration (a different post, which I’ll get to…), we watched a storm over the mountains to the West.  The lightning was fierce and I wish I had captured a picture of it.  However, that wasn’t the only thing that caught our eye – the fact that such a severe storm could occurring and yet we could still see the sun setting… amazing.

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I showed this picture to my coworker on Friday and she said that such a sight as this is a common occurrence.  Who knew.  The things we have seen and learned since coming to Colorado!

(MMJ, anyone?)



Good titles are escaping me now.  Obvs.

Yesterday, after a flurry of apartment-cleaning, an hour in the pool, and an impromptu nap for Raven, we decided to head out.  The only destination we were certain of was Oskar Blues Restaurant & Brewery in Longmont, Colorado.  The brewery itself has impressed Adam for some time and he has had a hankering for checking out the restaurant.

I had myself a Coconut Porter from Hawaii.  Yum.

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We then headed to Lyons, the original home of Oskar Blues.  No real reason why other than that Adam remembered it having a neat downtown.  While we were in Lyons, a sign informed us that we were only 19 miles away from Estes Park.  Uh, what?  Sign us up!

So, off to Estes we went, and we were greeted by beautiful views along the way.

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Not sure why as Estes is fairly touristy, but it holds a special place in our hearts and it was good fun to be back again.  Of course, both kids LOVED the super touristy shops (we went in one for sunglasses and why… for the second one?).  Julia played with every toy, tried out every drum, and of course, had to try on the hats too.

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The afternoon was wearing all of us down, whether it was a lack of naps or the beating sun, and we knew when it was time to go.

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Even though the Estes Park trip ended with some small meltdowns, it was great to go and see our favorite shops and walk the main street again, to see the beautiful downtown waterways, and generally to in the beauty that is the Rocky Mountains.

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On to Nederland!  We’re happy to say that the girls slept The. Entire. Way.  Yay for naps!