"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Helicopters and Trucks

Our little girl loves aircrafts, sirens, trains, and any vehicle, really. When our city held its summer celebration, complete with helicopter landing and emergency vehicles on display, our baby was in heaven:

I love it when people from 'other worlds' make themselves available to the citizens. It helps a much-needed humanization take place, I think. Plus, it's always super interesting to learn about a variety of disciplines. The cherry on top is that this is a great toddler activity. I think we'll try it again next year, too. (Forget the kid, I might just go on my own. Maybe they'll let me honk the horn.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Salad from a Box

We've been enjoying all sorts of scrumptious salads from our little box of dirt:

I love growing deliciousness. This year we're trying brussels sprouts for the first time, so we'll see how that goes. Gross! Why brussels sprouts? you may ask. Because they are completely scrumptious when shredded and baked with olive oil and light seasonings, that's why. And, because neither Kirk nor I grew up on them, so we don't have scarred childhoods. Maybe you should set aside your kid-self's horrifying memories and take a second look at this delicious vegetable in your more mature years...just a friendly suggestion.

Are any of you trying new things in your gardens this year? Do tell.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shakespeare and the Park

Our city hosts free concerts and performances twice a week at an outdoor stage throughout the summer. We've certainly been taking advantage of the shows, and rode our bikes to the park and enjoyed a picnic while watching a Grassroots Shakespeare performance of Henry IV:

Loved it! The cast was playful and had a lovely raw and unfinished flavor to their performance. Casual and cultural...just perfect for our little family. Have you seen this troupe or play before? If so, what did you think?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Present for Mammaw

To celebrate the joys of grandmahood, I gave Kirk's mom an album of our baby's first year. It was full of some really good pictures that she probably hadn't seen and that I have been trying for a while to find a good way to share. I ended up using Close To My Heart's digital scrapbooking program, which was a great way to manage the thousands (I kid you not!) of photos I had taken of our babbling, drooling pride and joy.

I have been so excited to give the album to Kirk's mama that I couldn't sleep sometimes! Do you ever get that way when you have a surprise for someone you know is perfect for them? (Plus, I knew she'd have to love it, because when it's her only grandchild, she has no other choice!) The longer I worked on it, the more excited I got. So, with no further ado, the present for Grandma (or "Mammaw," if you're a 2-year-old):

Instead of bore you with individual shots of each page, you can have some more artistic shots instead. For the wrapping paper, I carefully opened a paper grocery sack along the seams, and crinkled then flattened it out several times. I love reusing stuff. Cheap, I know, but there's no denying it's awesome. I taped the paper together with decorative tape, tied it with some twine, and added a handmade card. Perfect packaging in seconds!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


My work's summer party was as equally fun as Kirk's, partly because it was during a work day and partly because it wasn't too far of a drive for us. It was the perfect mix of food and activities, although Peppity-Pepster's favorite activity by far was putting the tickets in the ticket machine. Simples minds, simple pleasures and that sort of thing, I guess.

The bouncy house was great, too, until some fool let their children in with huge popsicles which immediately melted and spilled sticky gunk all over. Sorry, wee one, but you cannot jump in the orange-staining syrup that is quickly absorbing every foot disease known to childkind. So, with some public threats (and anything just shy of crawling through the offending puddles ourselves to retrieve our jumping bean of an offspring) we finally got our hopping child out just in the nick of time. Believe me, though, there were some close calls, and other children did not fare as well in the syrup mine field as our kid. Lucky for us, there was an abundance of distractions to move on to, like ridiculously tickling face painting.

Thank goodness for distractions, it's my main parental weapon of choice, so to speak. What's your best parenting trick?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Work Party

Kirk and I are both lucky enough to have jobs that host a summer party for the employees, and Kirk's work party took us the local theme park. I'm afraid to say that parenthood has altered our perspective on theme parks whether or not we approve of such things. There was nary a rollercoaster in our itinerary.

Our day was filled with repeated trips to the carousel and train running through the dilapidated zoo. Although, in addition our little Pep-squeak took one terrifying solo ride on the flying elephant, and we all waited long enough to take a soaking ride on the log flume ride together (once is acceptable, but twice is unheard of with a two-year-old). We took lots of sunscreen breaks, and enjoyed all the animals in the zoo, which is the most any of us have ever seen on that little train ride. It was just the right amount of time:

Staying only a few hours is contrary to the "get the most out of your money" attitude instilled in me by my dear daddy-o, but it worked out perfectly for us this year. Has your perspective changed on certain adventures since introducing children to the equation?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Word Puzzle

I've been toying around with ways to personalize our home a little more. I decided to use some scrap wood I had left over from another project and made a word puzzle out of our names:

I wanted to go for a burnt wood look, but had to improvise and ended up using ink instead. I trimmed the pieces of wood down to the same size, traced die-cut letters and painted them in with ink. I also ran ink around the edges of the wood to give the tiles a little more depth. These were super easy to attach to the wall. I used a hearty double-sided tape to adhere thumb tacks to the back corners and just pressed the tiles into the wall. Easy peasy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Family History Date

My parents have this awesome tradition where they take each one of my siblings or me out for a date every weekend. We take turns and have had a rotation schedule for years. It started as a way to give one-on-one attention to each one of us and has carried on into our adult years. For a recent date we ended up going on a family history road trip, and traced my dad's (and mine, and Pepper's) roots back to the first Danish and English immigrants.

We brought mini me along because Grandpa loves her and always lets her come on our dates with us as a standard. She helped us find graves, scrub them clean, and kept everyone happy on a long and lovely car ride. We stopped by to see my late grandpa's cousin, who I'd never met before. He shared wonderful stories about my grandpa as well as his home with us. What a sweetie!

It was great to hear stories from my dad's childhood, too, of what he remembered about his grandparents, and as he talked, we got a tour of the places he was so familiar with as a child. We saw the houses he spent his summers, the road he learned to ride a bike on, and even the houses my grandparents were born in (yep, they're still standing!).

This was a really meaningful trip. I loved tracing my roots back to real places and people, not just written names and towns. It helped me feel not only closer to my dad and his parents, but it sparked a strong pride and gratitude for my courageous ancestors who took huge risks to make their families' lives better, which I benefit from daily.

What have you done lately to reenforce your family bonds?

Thursday, July 4, 2013


The latest read for our literary gathering was Gilead:

Some of our topics of discussion included ritual, fire, the beloved, and lonliness. This is a gentle and slow read, meant to be savored thoughtfully. Love this one.

Have you read this? If so, what did you think?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bridal Veil Falls

There's a great bike trail near my house leading up the canyon. One of our favorite pit stops along the way is Bridal Veil Falls, which is finally getting a second life after a couple avalanches and a fire destroyed the tram and surrounding areas. I remember frequent visits as a child, and this place has always held a lot of nostalgia for me, so I'm happy to see it slowly being pieced back together to what I imagine it must have been like in its glory days.

We took our little pepper sprout to splash in the water at the base of the falls (which she thinks means falling in armpit-deep and walking around soggy for the rest of the evening...to each her own). We also tried to feed our fingers to the ravenous fish, followed wet dog tracks until they dried out, and raced a few joggers we met along the path.

The only downside to the area being developed is that the crowds seem to get larger each time we visit. As much as I love having my mountains to myself, I love sharing the joy of nature with other people more. So, if you can brave loitering groups and icy water from the falls, I recommend a little visit. Please come visit my mountains.

What have you been doing lately to appreciate nature?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Flip Flops

My favorite girlies and I got together to decorate some flip flops in time for the summer heat:

The girls got all sorts of creative and tied on ribbons and fabric and decorated with buttons. I just got a pair of sandals at a dollar store, and glued classic black ribbon and bows on them. Done and done.