Monday, June 29, 2009

Santa Fe Trip

Gosh, this summer is flying by! We have been so busy even with nothing special planned. We've been busy meeting friends at parks, the pool and for fun day trips. This past Saturday some of my friends and I took our kids up to Santa Fe for the day.

We decided to take the kids on the Railrunner, our commuter train. Here are a few of them watching out the window on our way up to Santa Fe. It was 4 moms with 9 children 8 years old and younger. I think everyone near us on the train thought we were a bit crazy. Haha, maybe we were. The train ride would have been wonderful except that I found out that I haven't outgrown the motion sickness I had as a kid. Man, I was feeling pretty blech. But, I made it. I think it will be awhile before I willingly take a train again.

Once there, we walked to a restaurant for lunch. We ate at the Cowgirl BBQ. It was delicious, the kids all liked it and the Mangorita (a mango margarita concoction) I had with lunch hit the spot. We even were complimented on how well-behaved our kids were. After lunch, we walked to the new New Mexico History Museum. My friend scored some free tickets and was so generous to share with us. I thought the museum was well done, but not very kid-friendly. There weren't any hands-on areas for the kids which was really too bad. I think it's somewhere we will have to go back to during the week when it isn't so crowded to explore some more. The thing my boys were most excited about was the R2D2 mailbox there on the plaza. They remembered it from when we went to the Art Museum a year or so ago. They had to have their picture taken with it. Such goofballs!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Two Book Recommendations

Here are two books that really need to be returned to the library. It's easy to tell which books that I especially enjoy, because I have such a hard time taking them back. So, even though I've already read them, I just keep renewing them. Then I feel bad because I want other people to have a chance to read them too, so I eventually, with much sadness, drop them in the book return. Thanks Amanda for recommending them to me!

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule - The tag line on this book is "How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections." I loved it! I read the book cover to cover, which is not something I usually do for crafty type books. But, this book is more than just instructions for different crafts, it's more of an idea book on making your life one that encourages creativity in every area for all the members of the family. It was definitely inspirational. I think this is one that I'll want to purchase for our home library. I know that in August she'll have a new book out called Handmade Home. I can't wait. Her blog is pretty inspirational, too - SouleMama.

Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber - This book was fascinating. It follows the author's own pregnancy month by month, her birth and her daughter's time breastfeeding. Interwoven into the story are discussions on the environmental toxins that can affect pregnancy and infant development. I can't decide if I would have wanted to read this book prior to having children. I think I would have, because knowledge is a good thing. I know that had I read this book first, I probably would have made some different decisions throughout my pregnancies. I think the hard part is that so many of the toxins that are affecting our children are things completely out of our individual control. The topics that she discusses are all things that I've thought about and wondered about, but never knew where to get real information. It's heavy on the science, but totally accessible for the science illiterate (me). And since the science is in the context of the story of her pregnancy, it kept my attention more than other non-fiction books.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Little Monkey Girl

I know I've posted pics before of the kids climbing the tree in our backyard. But they usually would only climb the first couple of branches and stop to hang out. Not today. My sweet little girl decided that today she would climb to the top. Can you find her?

This was particularly appealing to her because her two older brothers had never attempted the climb to the top before. She would be the first. She loves to "one-up" them when she gets the chance.

So, while she scared me a little (ok maybe more than a little), I completely admire her determination. I started to say fearlessness, but I don't think that she's fearless. I think that she just doesn't let fear get in her way when she's decided that something is worth pursuing. While I'm proud of her accomplishment, I think I'll encourage her to stay closer to the ground at least for another couple of weeks. That's when the new health insurance kicks in. ;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Awhile ago, I bought a fun melt and pour sampler kit from Brambleberry. I used most of it already, but still had some hemp soap and white soap left along with lots of fragrances to use. We were out of all of our homemade soap, so I thought today would be a good day to make some new fun soaps.

Melt and pour soaps are insanely easy. I don't even know why I put off using what I had left until now. Just melt the soap, add in the fragrance or essential oil you want, add color if you want and pour into a mold. My playgroup mama friends taught me how to do this a couple of years ago when we all got together to make Christmas gifts for our families. We made soap, lotion bars, bath salts, lip balms. It was so much fun!

I decided to use a lavender fragrance that I had in my sampler pack from Brambleberry. It seemed like a good choice for summer. Since the hemp soap already had a greenish tint, I decided not to add any color this time. I have a silicone mold made by Wilton that I love to use as a soap mold. The soaps come out so easily from the silicone. I've also found silicone ice cube trays that I've used for smaller fun shapes too. I couldn't find my spray bottle for rubbing alcohol to spray the soaps after pouring them into the molds. That helps to get rid of the bubbles. These ones aren't gifts, they're just for us. I didn't bother searching too hard.

Here they are out of the molds. I can't wait to try the hemp soap. I promised the kids we could use the white soap for some fun fish and summer shapes. I'm going to let them help with those and I'm sure it will involve some fun colors.

The next step is to try cold process soap. I've been nervous about trying it. But, the more I've read, the more I want to give it a go. Here's a great website for recipes and instructions for soaps and lotions -

Proof that Fairies are REAL!

The kids had a mission last night - to prove whether or not fairies are real. They figured out a way to set up a trap of sorts. Of course they didn't ask us grown ups. What do we know about fairies? I had an old bookshelf on the back patio that was destined for the trash. They put a ring of sandy dirt around some flower petals on the two shelves left. Their hope was that the fairies would have to walk through the sand to get to the flowers and leave footprints in the sand.

Lots of excitement this morning when all over the sand were tiny little footprints. They couldn't believe that they had in one night proved that fairies were indeed real! They made me come out and take pictures and asked me to post it on my blog. They decided that fairies must wear shoes based on the footprints. Also, somehow they came to the conclusion that fairies only come out at night and in the summer. I think maybe the fairies were trying to get out of the rain that we had early this morning.

Monday, June 08, 2009

It's My Birthday!

Last week I celebrated my birthday and had such an incredible day. I usually don't care about my birthday that much. The only thing I insist on every year is that Brad buy me a Mud Pie from Baskin Robbins. There have been a few years that he got a little mixed up and got me a cake by mistake. But, the cake isn't nearly as good as the pie. This year he got it right and even had them write "Happy Birthday" on it. That alone would have made my day, but I had so many surprises. I think what made the surprises so special was that they were so unexpected. I got gift cards to Target, Starbucks and even a fancy restaurant for a date with my husband complete with babysitting. I got a whole box of new clothes from my sis and a beautiful pair of earrings from my parents. We got an unexpected invitation to dinner at a friend's house that night. So fun! I really do have such incredible friends and family. I feel very loved. 

But here's the best birthday present - Brad has a JOB!!!! And we don't have to move! You should have heard the sigh of relief from the kids and I once the decision was made to accept the offer. Six months of being unemployed. Wow. It has been a tough six months. I'm so proud of him. Through it all he continually kept working so hard on finding a position. Every day he worked at it. He had so many interviews and prospects. And so many disappointments when other jobs fell through. In the end, he was a top candidate for two positions, one here and one across the country. He chose to accept the offer here even though the other job offered a lot of tempting benefits. And I'm so glad!