How JuiceCleansingHealthyChicks Invaded My Pizza Craze

Of all the things I frequently clean…chocolaty chins, boogery noses, muddy paws, stained shirts, smelly shoes, funky bathrooms, car seat crunchies, sticky spills and much, much more…I realized I had forgotten something important.

“Just because you can’t see the mess, doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

It’s a wise saying that I most often repeat to my son following a bedroom pick-up session, but this time the mantra was meant for me…I had been closing the closet doors (metaphorically) on my own stockpile of junk that had been accumulating for, well, my entire life up to this point.

Being a strong advocate for self-care despite motherhood, I was surprised that I had overlooked this one, major part of the body that I had, well, NEVER cleaned. Sounds pretty gross, huh? How dirty had it gotten in all these years of neglect?

Well, I can guess – based on the surprise I have waiting for me behind the refrigerator and stove when I finally get around to cleaning there,

What might I find? Toxins.

Now, how am I going to know for sure that I got those cleared out? Hmmm, not quite sure about this one, but supposedly – according to an online source – I’m going to feel it. The accompanying picture of a joyful lady leaping through the air, trailing some sort of parachute, wispy thing behind her is apparently all the evidence I should need, wink. Not convinced…yet.

Normally, I steer clear of the fad health kicks and stick with what works for me: mostly healthful foods in moderation and enjoyable exercise. So, when my #JuiceCleansingHealthyChick friend was drooling at the sight of the tattered pizza remnants that I was enjoying at a recent get together, I thought she was nuts.

Really? Just juice and for how many days?

But then, the very next weekend and one more piece of pizza, I encounter yet another #JuiceCleansingHealthyChick. So, as I delighted in another round of greasy toxins in the presence of a half-starved juicer, I started to wonder…just a coincidence?

So I asked my hungry friend few questions – I mean, just incase I were to decide to dabble in this juice cleaning craziness ~ pizza guilt.

Here’s what I learned: Apparently, smoothies of spinach, carrots, celery, parsley and water are quite good when you’re STARVING!

The placebo effect.

I didn’t say it out loud…but I was thinking it. I mean, there are a lot of ways to stay healthy without removing the enjoyment of crunching and chewing for several, painful drawn-out days.

And yet I find myself researching the topic. Ugh, those healthy chicks invaded my pizza craze!

So here I am. Juice cleansing…and it’s just about as painful as I had imagined. Cooking delicious foods for my children doesn’t help one bit – I say as the aroma of freshly baked brownies fill the room.

Will I survive this? I’m going to try! (And I’m stashing a healthy portion of that chocolaty goodness away for my post-juice cleanse retoxification!)

Simple Decorating Tips From a Not-So-Professional Home Decorator

No, I’m not trying to scare off readers with the title of this article – I just want to be real clear in case my advice doesn’t work out so well and moms everywhere come looking for me, yikes. So, now that you’ve been warned, feel free to read on!

Summertime…these long, lovely days pose ample opportunity for several quick but beautiful alterations to your home’s appearance. Take advantage of the warm weather, leisure time and all the extra help you have now that your kiddos are out of school. Reality: you’ll have to squeeze it in between playdates and laundry AND convince your kiddos it’s fun, but they will likely enjoy seeing the results and knowing that they were part of the process – they might even learn something along the way…like that mommy gets really frustrated with paint handprints even when done artfully on the wall ~ but it does make for a sweet memory, right?

A quick way to liven up a room is by adding some color. Many decorators suggest combining colors opposite each other on the color wheel. I use a variety of greens in our home and have accents in red, rusty reds and oranges. I throw in a teal here and there to bring it all together. Sounds funky, right? Done the right way, I think almost any scheme can be successful. Just remember – it has to be what YOU like, so do it your way and don’t be afraid to break the rules because there are no rules, just guidelines to help you along the way.

Choose your colors
I suggest starting with one color you love. For me, this would be a shade of green. Find your color the wheel. Take a look at the colors next to your choice – these “next to” colors will always accompany nicely because they coordinate and match. Sounds easy, but here’s the tricky thing…if all your colors coordinate perfectly, you may be loosing some of the possible effect. Most rooms will have a better overall look if there is an opposite color splash – to keep it interesting.

Blend appropriately
With green, I choose to blend olive and a bit of blue-green or teal. Then I look directly across the color wheel for some splash inspirations. With the shades of green I’ve chosen, I prefer a rusty red or the red-orange. This color pairs well with reds and oranges, so I shop with that in mind.

Don’t skip the neutrals
Neutral colors can be thought of as a clean slate – something to work with, not around. I like to have most of my wall space in a neutral shade and vary the shades for depth – then, I can add color as I please. An example of using neutrals includes the ability to add a dramatic paint accent – applied to a small portion of the room – over a fireplace, on a dividing wall or any space providing simple paint boundaries in a small area (too big and it won’t be an accent.) Talk with a paint store consultant for suggestions on the best shade of paint for you needs.

I prefer neutral furniture as well as walls…some dark, some light. That way, I can switch up my color craze as the times and trends change and won’t have to spend a fortune on staying in “the now” with our large purchases. Throw pillows are more affordable than loveseats and couches.

However, we have inherited a good amount of furniture, and I’ve discovered that if you wait long enough, the style might come back around, wink.

Grab a Magazine
Nope, not time for a break yet. We’re going to use some examples to formulate a plan. Sometimes I think I know what I want to do but then I see it in a magazine – or see something better – and realize I was all wrong. So, find some looks you like and use that as a framework for what you’ll do with your colors.

Use what you already own
Now that you have your colors and a guideline for the type of look you’re going for, shop at home…where everything is FREE! Some of my ideas…

~ fabric or an old quilt to be reworked into a pillow or table runner

~ old photos in storage to make a collage…scan and print in sepia or black and white

~ a large, odd item that might work with the new look

~ glass vase to be filled with wine corks, rocks, flower petals, colorful candy

~ things to be painted: planters, storage containers, rugs, frames, wall hangings

After shopping at home, shop at your neighbor’s homes #yardsales. Don’t forget to check out off-retail shops, and then, if you see something you love in the mall, you’ll have the extra cash to get it. I love a designer look but not the price tag.

Add foliage
Everything looks better with a touch of green…and I’m not just saying this because it’s my primary decorating color of choice. I’m certainly not an expert on Fung Shui, or any decorating theories for that matter, but I do like the way the Fung Shui system of aesthetics pulls a mix of nature indoors.

For extreme simplification: add plants to your decor. To prove I’m not certified: use fake ones too – honestly, we’re moms, and keeping our children, spouse, and a pet(s) alive is a lot of work – we can’t expect to have a house full of living plants, beautiful yard, garden and potted flowers too, whew. So, absolutely, add a lovely, fake plant of your choice…and if you mix it in with living ones, people might not even notice. It’s a great way to brighten a dark corner or add flair to an otherwise plain overhead space.

Transition the look
I love to see a home with an assortment of color usage. Each room can have it’s own, individual look…but it helps to transition. The way I do this: I choose “across from” colors as my main choices – when the rooms are visible from one to the other. I then select “next to” colors from the wheel to transition. The transition colors are the colors I choose to be in sight when standing in one room, looking into the next.

The “reds” room in our home has red-orange visible from the “greens” room. So, when a visitor comes to the front door, they can peer in and see the “greens” transition into the “reds” room with the help of the red-orange accents (curtains and throw pillows.) The deep red color splash atop the fireplace mantle is not visible until entering the “reds” room. A teal potted plant is also used as a transition item – it sits atop a half-wall between our “greens” room and our “reds” room. The teal planter is visible from both rooms and moves one from the “reds” into the “greens” nicely.

With all that being said, hard to believe there are no rules, right? Just remember that you and your family have to like it and that’s what matters most. Enjoy the time decorating together…and laughing when it doesn’t work out quite right.

photo: better living publishing

Horsing Around ~ Beaver Creek Rodeo

When my children first caught word that we were headed to Beaver Creek to check out the Rodeo at Tracer Creek, they were, well, disappointed. My first thought: we’re in need of a little lesson on gratefulness…however, as I listened, I realized they had a bit of a point…how could we possibly just sit in the stands when an amazing Beaver Creek mountain adventure is just steps away? (Noelle was set on skiing – even packed her Obermeyer gear – which I later unpacked!)

So, I double checked with our awesome marketing adviser to make sure she thought the kids would do well hanging out at the rodeo – because it’s hard for me to accomplish my work if the kids are grumbly in all my photos, lol! She was positive we’d all have a blast…and she was right!

Boy howdy, were the kids surprised when they realized that Beaver Creek Rodeo *was* part of the mountain adventure!

We most certainly didn’t just sit in the stadium for this one. This particular rodeo was designed with children in mind. It catered to their interests – as well as their limited attention span. In the two hours, we accomplished adorable teepee tent face painting, a calf scramble, western style dining ~ thanks to Vail Valley Restaurants, snow cones, cotton candy, spectated a bit and introduced our little girl to her newest fascination…mutton bustin’!

Going into this, I had a bit of a clue as to the difficulty of mutton bustin’ – I was introduced to the sport at an early age. The difference between our four-year-old and myself is that my one, *very brief* go at it was plenty for me!

Noelle, on the other hand, had found her newest challenge – to win that trophy!

Imagine weighing approximately 35lbs, hopping on the back of a respectfully large, wooly animal corralled inside a chute – no saddle or harness – and then having the gate thrown open to let the sheep burst out into the open arena. Oh, and it had rained that day, so these little lambs were WET!

Most lil riders last just long enough for a quick photo…and the proof – her little pink boots hanging mid-air as she made a quick landing into the soggy dirt. (The sheep are very kind and careful to step over the kids…thank ewe.) It seemed to me the trauma of it all, followed by tears meant that we could check this one off her bucket list. I was wrong.

Random mentions of sheep in the car, deep thoughts on possible strategies and a new interest in the nearest rodeo…#MissionMuttonBustin’.

So, you might find our family this summer ~ chasing that dream they call rodeo.

For details on 2011 Beaver Creek Rodeo at Traer Creek:
View my Beaver Creek Rodeo Photo Journal:

Stay tuned for further details on our summer 2011 Beaver Creek adventure!

Mud. It’s Not Just For Pie Making

Ooey gooey, messy, slimy,  shapeless wet dirt. It can be quite entertaining and a whole lot of fun, but  what is this stuff good for, really? Well, far more than I had realized! After  visiting the Marvelous Mud, Clay Around the World exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, I have a whole new appreciation for  this wonder of a natural resource.

Because our kids tend to be high energy and have less of an attention span than we’d prefer while trying to  appreciate art in a museum, we usually leave the kids behind…but I absolutely want for my children to develop a love for the arts, so, when I heard about this  summer’s mud exhibit, I was excited to take the opportunity to introduce the  kids to the museum – and to dirty, messy, lovely, artistic, timeless, Marvelous  Mud!

A studio option, the day we visited Marvelous Mud, was wheel pottery. Si and Noelle had the choice to handbuild or use the potter’s wheel – not a tough decision for my kids. They were able to create their own masterpiece on the wheel ~ with the assistance of a trained professional. They learned the basic concepts of forming and shaping pottery from clay and the method used to harden the clay in the kiln. They also explored the many types of glaze and the various appearances as the liquid solidifies during the firing process. The entire lesson was quite intriguing to both kids and they loved the fact that they got to “play in the mud.”

The most fantastic part of this experience was that the kids didn’t even realize that they were learning, hands-on, about the many uses of mud. We even took a little tour of some of the main museum displays (can be risky with my four-year-old) and the kids seemed to understand that the different types of art all had one thing in common: mud. That seemed to make the tour very interesting…for the limited time they could handle themselves, wink.

If your kids are as active as mine, I think you’ll appreciate this interactive and explorative learning opportunity…disguised as plain ol’ messy fun! Don’t miss the Marvelous Mud exhibit this summer at the Denver Art Museum!

Check out the great list of special events:

José Antonio
Mateos Suárez & Fernando Jimon Melchor: Tonalá Painting

July 16–17

Robyn Gray:
Silkscreen, Assembly

July 23–24

Gayla Lemke:
Large-scale Hand-building & Carving

July 30–31 & August 6–7

Janey Skeer:
Hand-building & Clay Stamps

August 13–14 & August 20–21

Bob Smith:
Potter’s Wheel

August 27–28

Shelley Schreiber:
Wheel-thrown, Assembled & Hand-built

September 3–4

Maynard Tischler:
Hand-building & Molds

September 10–11 & September 17–18


Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday celebrated in honor of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776. The purpose: to declare the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Each of the Thirteen Colonies partied in style on that day centuries ago, as predicted by John Adams himself in a letter to his wife. We will do it again this year give thanks on July 4th for the amazing gift of freedom our country is founded upon, and as moms, we’re going to do what we can to make it the best one ever for our families!

So, what prompted John Adams to give his wife a heads up on what he believed would be the “great anniversary festival” celebrated from that time forward evermore? Well, I’m no history buff, but if you ask me, I think he knew whom to contact if he was looking for a partay – the ladies.

Let the customs begin…parades, fireworks, grilled deliciousness, friends, games and, of course, the red white and blue.

~Thank you moms of the past for laying the groundwork for such an elaborately fantastic holiday!~

Let’s do our best this year to keep the traditions rolling. But, before we get started, let’s take a moment to prepare and protect our families
(Queue the supermom anthem.)

1. First Aid Kit – essential for this caliber of celebration. We’re talking scrapes, burns, heartburn and diaper rash. Pack it all because you just
never know.

Tip: peruse the dollar store for the necessities, and you’ll probably find acute container to store it in too!

2. Sun Block – I have a reputation in my neighborhood for being a crazed SPF mamma, but skin cancer is a serious concern. Enjoy a good laugh in the face of danger? Leave it at home. Ok, not really, take up another challenge because this one isn’t to be messed with.

Tip: block with both UVA and UVB protection, at least an SPF 30, apply prior to sun exposure (it’s ok if you forget though – still apply it!) and reapply regularly. Sunglasses, hats and clothing help block harmful rays too! Bask in the shade when you can.

3. Water Bottles – You are way more likely to be harmed by lovely, sunshiny rays than you are your leaching plastic water bottle. Word is that much of the buzz on plastics causing cancer was no more than a great scare tactic – which worked wonders because I spent a pretty penny on “safe” sippy cups (and I probably will continue to because I’m a mom and one can never be too safe, right?)

Tip: Limit temperature variation when using any plastic product. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use. Oh, and don’t read email forwards that will completely freak you out.

4. Snacks – Never leave home without one. I keep them in the car, my purse and in the case of an absolute emergency – I have a small stash within, around and under the kids’ car seats (ok, so I can’t take all the credit for that one.) Snacks prevent overeating, cranky kids, grouchy parents and you’ll always be prepared for an emergency “feeding of the ducks,” moms know not to show up empty handed for that, ha.

Tip: Combine a carb and a protein for maximum caloric energy benefit. Favorite of mine: string cheese and wheat crackers (crunchy orange fishes work too – ducks like these.)

5. Camera – Commemorate your celebration! I keep a small digital camera tucked inside my purse (because I love taking photos) and bring a nicer
camera along for quality shots when the cam can’t be damaged. Santa brought my kids a toy camera that is super durable and can capture things from their point of view – it’s amazing how much less flattering a bikini can be from that angle, yikes.

Tip: Have your digital photos stored on a CD (just a few dollars to have one made) or upload to a safe online storage site. Print only those you plan to use when you are ready to use them. Label and store your photo discs in a decorative shoebox on the top shelf of your closet, and they’ll be organized when your child’s teacher assigns a five-year collage project!

6. Red, White and Blue – Don’t forget to celebrate in style, and you’re whole family can sport the look with this easy craft! Oh, and it helps
to locate stray kiddos too – no one will be confused as to which family the lost child belongs when you’re all wearing matching attire (dad is going to love this one, hee hee.)

Tip: Festive wear on a dime…

What you’ll need:
Plain white shirt
Blue spray paint
Construction Paper
Red Sharpie

Use the construction paper to create a flag,cluster of stars or other creative Fourth of July décor. Place the shape –
positive or negative stencils – onto the shirt and spray. If you choose to purchase a second color of spray paint, you can adjust your stencils (or add new ones) for shadows and depth. The red Sharpie can be used for color splashes – draw some fireworks or trace an image – be sure to add an artist’s signature to your work!

This is a fun project for kids – they can participate in every step (with a parent’s help.) Be sure to dress for a mess
because the spray paint can get wild…it doesn’t wash out, but that’s why it creates neat, cheap and easy t-shirt! ~wash and dry separately before wearing~

Happy Fourth of July!