Quilting for a Cause

Time to organize your craft area?  How about a reason to finish that sewing project you started and never finished?

I first learned about Firehouse Quilts while visiting the Denver Firefighter’s Museum downtown.  This non-profit organization does wonderful things for women and children, and they offer several volunteer opportunities including tasks for those who don’t sew.  Check their website for specific volunteer/donation information: http://www.firehousequilts.org/

Mission Statement
Firehouse Quilts volunteers make snuggle quilts and donate them to Colorado fire departments, local ambulance services, low-income hospitals, victim advocate offices & full sized quilts to Women’s Crisis Center in Douglas County to be given to children & their mothers in time of crisis.

I started working on this quilt several years ago when I was first learning (and I haven’t improved much since then).  It went unfinished until recently – partly due to the arrival of our second child – but also because I wasn’t sure what to do with the wild piece of art it had become.  The fabric I chose included odds and ends I had on hand, which made for a funky look.  It didn’t match any room in our home, so I figured I’d move on to another project and finish that one later.  When I saw that Firehouse Quilters use fun, kid-friendly fabrics in an array of designs and colors, I knew what I was going to do with it.  So, I made the finishing touches and completed my masterpiece. 

The best part of all this was not finding a good home for a crazy quilt, but seeing that my children understood that our quilt would go to help someone else in their time of need.  I think they were able to relate well with the feeling of wanting a cozy blankie to cuddle when dealing with a frightening situation.  I hope this experience will  help grow their compassion toward others and empower them to make a difference.

Two of the Scariest Things…EVER

My daughter is generally, wildly fearless – if you’ve met her, you know what I mean…but there are two images that can bring her to tears – nightmares if she watches the scene in the movie.  Her brother tortures her by Googling these images (and sometimes it is a bit funny, like now, with her alternating tears and giggles).  So, we decided to share them on our blog :)

Worst Images Ever (by a 3 yr old)

1. Large Marge (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure)

2. The Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
…just this cartoon and this specific grimace.

Steamboat Springs Ski & Stay

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I’d like to add something to the saying, “Wherever you go, there you are,”…before you go, think location.

I have had some wonderful opportunities to review Colorado ski resorts this year and all were absolutely amazing!  Each of the accommodations have been fabulous, and I would recommend all of them to my friends, but I have developed a true appreciation for not only the ski-in/ski-out luxury, but the difference that location can make.

Bear Claw Condominiums
Bear Claw has an ideal location, on the main mountain of Steamboat Springs Resort, just below the Christie Peak Express mid station. This means that you can walk out your back door, gear up and ski on down to the base – no gondola rides, chair lifts or navigating the runs to find your way back to the epicenter of it all – you’re staying right there!  This was particularly convenient for us because our kiddos were taking lessons at Steamboat’s Kid’s Vacation Center (KVC) at the Gondola Square.  The KVC entrance was just down the slope from our condo; so we were able to ski-in for lunch, back out to check on the kids and onto the lift – without feeling like our ski time was ticking away.

Other aspects of Bear Claw Condos that I loved (random order):

  • Parking garage with free shuttle service – it’s so nice to not worry about parking!
  • Full kitchen amenities, including pantries stocked with supplies – we didn’t have to run out for syrup, coffee or sweetener (just some of the things we tend to forget, ha)…it’s nice to avoid the markup on food prices in ski towns.
  • TVs in every room – this is a favorite on behalf of my kids – they can’t get enough of movies in bed, and that’s exactly why we don’t have this offering at our house.
  • Sauna in our condo – clothing optional, no creepers – I like it.
  • Beautiful, heated outdoor pool (mountain view) and two, toasty hot tubs – loved the seating along the edge of the pool – relaxing option.
  • Ski-in/ski-out – need I say more?
  • KVC at the bottom of the hill – check on the kids and still have time to ski.
  • Après ski appetizers, complements of local Steamboat restaurants – in the Bear Claw lounge at 4:30 every day.

Excellent Customer Service
Staff at Bear Claw was extremely helpful and professional. Our daughter, being an affable critic, provided the ultimate test in customer care – she decided to throw a monumental fit over who pushes the elevator button, and while busy stomping and screaming, the elevator doors closed in her face and the rest of the family rode down to the parking garage – belly laughing the whole way.  It really isn’t our family culture to laugh at another’s misfortune, but the natural consequences of this one was just way too funny!  So, dad sprinted up the stairs as I rode the elevator back to the lobby to find a gracious concierge consoling her and patiently waiting for us to make our way back to claim our daughter.

Kid’s Vacation Center (KVC)
Steamboat Resort offers a variety of ski and snowboard classes as well as care for kids as young as six months, so it’s a great destination for families with kids of all ages.  The Kid’s Vacation center underwent a recent expansion including a 40% increase in space – an approximately 3,000 extra sq. ft. addition to accommodate families.  The facility is beautiful and very kid-friendly with a fun, western theme.  Check-in has been streamlined with eight new additional kiosks to help the process flow quickly.

Our three-year-old participated in the Maverick’s class which included two one-hour ski lessons in small group sizes.  Lunch was included and no lift ticket is necessary, as the class is held on the magic carpet area of the slope – super cute to watch the little ones as they do their best to steer down the hill.  My daughter’s items were well labeled at check-in, and I received a pick-up card with her name for the end of the day.

Our seven-year-old received snowboarding lessons in the Rough Riders class – available to children in 1st grade through age fifteen.  His class included lunch and had a well-marked meeting/pick-up location at the top of the magic carpet.  He had a great time expanding his snowboarding skills to toe-side techniques and spinning 360’s (not part of the lesson but he did see his instructor do this “super cool” trick.)

Both kids greatly enjoyed their lessons and time with new friends.  Learn more about the different types of lessons offered at Steamboat at http://steamboat.com/plan-vacation/family.aspx.

Get your kids excited for their experience on the slopes at Steamboat with Snow Monsters, Steamboat’s Kid’s Only Website http://steamboat.snowmonsters.com/.

Learn more about Bear Claw Condominiums at http://bear-claw.com/.

Our trip to Steamboat Springs was an epic ski adventure!  My appreciation and thanks to Bear Claw and KVC for hosting us, loving our children and making our stay one to remember.  We look forward to a return adventure!

Sweet Smelling Deals

A favorite of mine – Bath & Body Works 75% off clearance ends today…but the clearing of clearance items begins tomorrow!  You may not find your favorite scent, but you will find yummy lotions, body sprays, and other items for under $3 (an assortment of lip glosses are $2).  If they hang around long enough, discounts drop to 90% off.  Stock up and smell good all year long :)

Capri Sun Pencil Box – Reduce Waste

I love coming up with new, fun ways to recycle, and while some of my zany ideas don’t work out – sewing lace on boy clothing is not always a good look – this was a successful one.  It was great quality time together, and my kids enjoyed creating something they can use.  This project may help your kids stay organized, maybe, but  it’ll definitely look cool.

We transformed an empty Capri Sun Juice Box (the big cardboard box) into a pencil/crayon holder.  Here are the supplies you’ll need:

Capri Sun Juice Box
2 Drinking Cups (we had green plastic ones)
Packaging Tape
Glue (optional)
Kitchen Scissors for Cutting

Start by tracing (or letting the kids trace) the cup circles on the top of the box, you’ll cut just smaller than the circles so the cups can sit in the holes and be supported by the edges of the box (cutting takes some muscle – the cardboard is thick).  Kids can place the cups in the holes and secure edges with a little glue.  Finally, close the box using the packaging tape and let your kids put their crayons and colored pencils into the cups. 

Wondering what to do with all those Capri Sun juice packages?  TerraCycle does great things with them – check it out at http://www.terracycle.net/.  Schools and other organizations collect them too – TerraCycle pays $.02 per pouch. 

365 Days for SMART Goals

It’s that time of year again – when many of us make New Year’s Resolutions, setting our minds on something achieving new, different, or better than last year.  It’s easy to stay motivated for the first few weeks, then, other priorities start to find their way to the top of the to-do list and the resolution is eventually set aside. 

A helpful tip that I like  for accomplishing these types of goals is to keep the end in sight by monitoring progress along the way.  A simple technique I use is S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Begin with a specific, measurable goal and determine a clear end date.  Then, map out some short-term goals for along the way to help you stay on track and record your progress.  It’s important that your short-term goals be attainable and positive so that you don’t become discouraged – it will feel great to achieve small goals along the way — be sure to celebrate when you do!  I find it helpful to have a daily visual reminder – an encouraging photo, note on a mirror, or even a positive thought or scripture in my mind – something that will be used daily (maybe I should write it down, ha).  Remember to remain optimistic and state your goals using positive words…

Long-Term Goal:  (positive words here)    Will be achieved by:  (specific date)

Short-Term Goal #1                                            I will accomplish by:
Short-Term Goal #2                                            I will accomplish by:
Short-Term Goal #3                                            I will accomplish by:

One of my goals for 2011 is to do something nice for someone else each day – it can be as simple as a kind smile or letting someone in when traffic is congested, but my hope is to be able to spread kindness and make it a permanent way of life.  I will set some short-term goals that include more significant acts, and hopefully, at the end of 365 days I will have helped in the viral spread of pure kindness!  I joined the FB group “365 Acts of Kindness” last year after hearing about it on K-Love — the group’s mission serves as a daily reminder to me.

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