I know I’ve been scarce lately. I did a couple weeks of Air Force Reserve work in mid-May, and now we’re wrapping up the boys’ baseball seasons and their school years. I have several great places in the community to write about, and I’m looking forward to all the great places we’ll be visiting this summer, including the long-awaited trip to the Denver Mint next week!

But today, we remember. 

I grew up not far from Washington, D.C. I visited several times with my family, and also took at least three school field trips up there to see numerous attractions. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall is the most emotional place I’ve visited in Washington, D.C. I’ve been there several times, with the first time probably in the mid-80s not long after it was dedicated. I think it was a middle school field trip. My feelings about this are in part because my father served in the conflict, but mostly because of how bitter it is. The pain and suffering emotion is palpable, not just from the starkness of the black marble, but from the other visitors who you will never see smiling or laughing. It’s raw silence.

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22. December 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 23: Denver Chriskindl Market · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,
The Denver Christkindl Market is an annual tradition.

The Denver Christkindl Market is an annual tradition.

I feel sort of guilty posting about this event when today is the last day for the season. However, hopefully folks will Google this event in future years and can read about our family’s experience.

The Denver Christkindl Market is an annual holiday tradition in downtown Denver, put on by the German American Chamber of Commerce of Colorado. It’s conveniently located on the 16th Street Mall at Skyline Park, not far from the 16th & Stout Streets commuter rail station. There are many other things to do in the vicinity, such as visiting the Tattered Cover bookstore or going ice skating at the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. More »

07. June 2013 · Comments Off on Happy Birthday Howie! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Happy Birthday Howie!

Happy Birthday Howie!

I’m over a month late, but better late than never!

Happy 13th birthday to our dear Howie. He’s still going strong, ironically, his latest medical ailment was an infected hot spot on his tail, of all things (that’s for another post).

I was in the middle of Operation EAT WHAT WE HAVE, so I made a butter cake from scratch and used homemade frosting and some of the tubed blue icing to write the words. I didn’t have much blue icing left. Feel free to compare my cake with Harry Potter’s:

My cake.

My cake…

...versus Hagrid's cake for Harry!

…versus Hagrid’s cake for Harry!


14. February 2013 · Comments Off on Happy Valentine’s Day · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

We had a fun day today. I got to spend time with each of the boys at their schools. Then we went out to dinner at one of the very few restaurants that the four of us can agree on. Unfortunately, when you order sushi while everyone else ordered off the Chinese food menu, I had to get my dinner to go. That’s okay…it was all yummy!

Dave got me a charm for the Pandora bracelet I got for Christmas.

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day too.

Enjoy some pictures from today. More »

01. January 2013 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 35.5: LEGOLAND Florida · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
Timmy's trying to be a Minifigure here. We love our funny guy!

Timmy’s trying to be a Minifigure here. We love our funny guy!

I can’t believe I forgot to post about Legoland! <Facepalm!>

We surprised the boys with a brief trip the day after Christmas, on our drive home from spending the holiday with Dave’s family in Tampa. Instead of writing a bunch of dialogue about it here, I will drop the Google+ photo album here and you can enjoy the captions. Enjoy!

18. December 2012 · Comments Off on A Holiday Post to Let You Know I’m Not Dead…. · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

This has been an insane holiday season!  But let me just toss up some You Tube videos showing off the kids. These were all taken with our new camera…with the telephoto lens zoomed in as far as it would go.

I promise I have so much more to write about this week, bear with me, thanks!

The first four are from the boys’ piano recital last Friday night.  The first two are Timmy, the second two are of Jacob.

And this is Jacob this morning reciting a poem he wrote himself at the school’s “Peppermint Parade”, in which each student from four of the classes recited a poem about winter, Christmas, or any other theme from this time of year. I apologize for the zoom sounds in the first 15 seconds or so…I had a hard time seeing whether the image was zoomed in or not.  I need to learn to adjust that manually so you can’t hear the motor.




I’m only putting text here because otherwise those colorful “Share This” buttons cover up the controls for the Peppermint Parade video.

08. October 2012 · Comments Off on Happy Halloween: A Decorating Idea · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,


I love my ghosts! Last year my ghost door hanging and my 10 hanging ghosts got moldy from one too many humid Florida Octobers. So I trashed them rather then packaging them up with all of our costumes for a year.

This year I decided to make another batch of ghosts…and I figured I’d share this fun and easy homemade Halloween craft with you! And you get to recycle/repurpose plastic grocery bags, so win win for reducing waste!

Materials required:

  • One package of Gerber white flatfold diapers. I’ve included a picture of the package label below. Don’t get “prefolds”; they won’t work. You could also buy a cheap white sheet set and cut the fabric into approximately 2′ x 2′ squares.
  • Transparent monofilament, such as inexpensive fishing line. This will make the ghosts appear to float.
  • Stuffing for the heads of the ghosts: I used plastic grocery bags, preferably white ones like Walmart.
  • Twist ties or pipe cleaners

It’s all pretty straightforward: wad up 2-3 plastic grocery bags and cinch them in a diaper with a twist tie or pipe cleaner. Then thread a needle with some monofilament (about 1 yard per ghost) to make a hanging loop through the top of the head.  Simply hang them outside on your favorite tree or under your favorite eave…and let them blow in the wind!

This is the packaging to the diapers I picked up at Walmart.

We have fishing gear, so I didn’t have to travel far to find some monofilament…

Thread the monofilament through the very top of the ghost.


If I could do this, so can you!

This was an idea that was making the rounds on Pinterest just before Easter. Dave had a couple of VERY old ties in the closet so I thought it’d be fun. In this case, you want to start with RAW eggs, they will boil with the silk for 20 minutes and will cook then.

Since I didn’t know about the need for RAW eggs, I only had 6 raw eggs left in the house by the time I thought to do this. And one of the eggs had too many cracks so I didn’t use it.

I did this project immediately after our Kool Aid eggs on the Saturday afternoon before Easter, so the kids were done dealing with eggs and I was left to try this out on my own.  This is a more labor intensive project, although I could think of much much fancier Easter egg art that would take even more work!

These are the three ties Dave said I could sacrifice for this project. Thanks Dave!

Make sure the ties you choose are 100% silk. This doesn't work otherwise...

Break out the scissors! You want to cut the tie up the back seam to separate the silk from the backing.

The steps I had for this project suggested cutting up a white pillowcase to cover each of the eggs, but I read another blog that suggested just saving that pillowcase and use the muslin backing instead.

Open up the tie, cut off a chunk and make sure it's big enough to wrap around the egg...like a pouch.

I used dental floss to tie off the top, and used rubber bands to help keep the silk in contact with the egg as much as possible.

I loosely wrapped each pouch in a piece of the muslin, then set them carefully in a large pot.

Cover with water at least an inch higher then the eggs, bring to a boil -- not simmer -- BOIL for 20 minutes. When finished, move the eggs to an ice bath to stop the cooking and cool them enough to unwrap.

This is the ice bath, but by the time I took this picture, most of the ice had melted.

My finished eggs. This isn't as great as they could have been...I learned a lot from this experience. For starters, deeply-colored ties work best. Recommend you raid the neckties at your local thrift shop for the best choices and cheapest options. Secondly, I need to work harder at getting the silk to touch the egg surface better.

10. April 2012 · Comments Off on Dyeing Easter Eggs — Two Ways! Part 1: Kool Aid Eggs · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

This year I let GeekMom.com and Pinterest drive our Easter egg efforts.  As I’d said over the weekend, we enjoyed coloring our eggs with Kool Aid and a couple of Dave’s old silk ties.  And I had promised some details.

Here we go!

Kool Aid Eggs

This is really easy.  Add a packet of non-sugared Kool Aid to a mug with 2/3 c. of water — it doesn’t matter what temperature.  Stir and just add eggs!

In the case of the Kool Aid, the kids did most of the work. It was quite nice!  Pardon my crazy-cluttery kitchen!

We chose a variety of flavors to give us rainbow colors.

15 minutes on the timer!

VERY bright!

I want to speak about these eggs in particular. This is what you get with the "grape" flavored Kool Aid. Brown with blue speckles peeking out.

Good morning friends and Happy Easter!

(I started this post this morning, but I’ve been fighting with my photo software all morning, then went to church.  I’m now about to head out to visit friends for the afternoon so I will just publish what I have here and go into more detail later).

It goes without saying that as the kids get older, the whole Easter egg hunt experiences becomes quicker and quicker.  The boys did their entire hunt while I was brushing my teeth, so I don’t have many pictures at all.  But here are some pictures of our weekend so far.

We colored eggs with both Kool Aid and Dave’s old silk ties. I’ll write more details about how we did them later.

Dipping eggs in Kool-Aid-based dye. Smells, well...FRUITY!

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