Thursday, January 30, 2020

Books Read 2020 - Running List

Adult Books
Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs
Overstory by Richard Powers
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
The Bridal Party by J G Murray
Murder in the Storybook Cottage by Ellery Adams
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
The Hunting Lodge by Lucy Foley
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The Loch Ness Papers by Paige Shelton
Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
Lost Books and Old Bones by Paige Shelton

Kids Books 
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
The Boy with the Butterfly Mind by Victoria Williamson
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Jasmine Toguchi Flamingo Keeper and Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence
The Watson's Go to Birmingham - 1963 by
Christopher Paul Curtis
The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Books Read 2019

Incomplete since I just recreated it from memory and library emails. Hopefully I'll keep a better list throughout the year (and read more) in 2020.
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (finished it NYE!)
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  • The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
  • All American Boys by Jason Reunions and Brendan Kiely
  • Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen
  • The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton
  • Seances Are For Suckers by Tamara Berry
  • Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold by Nancy Atherton
  • Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton
  • The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman 
  • The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  • Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
  • Aunt Dimity and the King's Ransom by Nancy Atherton
  • Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince by Nancy Atherton
  • IQ by Joe Ide
  • Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett
  • The Long Way To a Small and Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Death in the Orchid Garden by Ann Ripley
  • Kappy King and the Pie Caper by Amy Lillard

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Southern Colorado 2019

We started the trip at Chalk Creek Campground, between Salida and Buena Vista. The creek was about thirty feet from camp and was just a few inches below the bank; they were putting in sand bags to protect some vulnerable places on the shore line. The Arkansas was running at 4100 cfs around Salida!
 First time out for the new shelter. So nice to have a "living room" for bug/sun protection and a place to enclose drying towels/swimsuits/etc. over night.

We hit the trail in the San Isabel National Forest the next day. The out and back to Brown's Waterfall is 6 miles, about 900 feet of elevation. Challenging for the four-year-old but do-able. And there are bridges crossing the stream! And a waterfall at the end! The girls loved it all.

No hike is complete without a little drama so Willow had a crazy nosebleed about a mile after the turnaround. And about a 1/2 mile from the end the threatening clouds started making it clear something was brewing. Q jogged most of the last quarter mile with Juniper on his back as graupel rained down on us. What an exciting end as we all flung ourselves into the car!

We then cruised down to Salida for a fun afternoon at the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center. It's a perfect inexpensive alternative to the resorts if you just want to spend a couple hours playing in a nice warm non-chlorinated pool.

Buena Vista is such a great little town and I'm sure we'll be going back. Not pictured is the delightful Deerhammer Distillery or the bottle of single malt whiskey that came home with us. I missed the open hours for the local yarn shop though!

Also not pictured is our morning in the Salida downtown (accidentally coinciding with Fibark - eek). Great playgrounds, Little Red Hen Bakery and the Honey Boutique lived up to their hype, and Vino Salida was delicious. We brought home a case of Colorado wines, although the Salida Sangria didn't actually make it farther than the Alamosa KOA.

I planned the trip too late so we had to stay at the KOA instead of the Great Sand Dunes' campground. We left camp early on Monday morning and started our day at the sand dunes by 7:30a. We were almost alone at that time. The creek was high and it was fun setting up our spot for the day in solitude before it became increasingly crowded.
 There were several places with calf-deep water. Which was rather numbingly cold first thing in the morning before becoming refreshingly cool in the heat of the day.

 I think this photo looks like part of an ad campaign for our little Biolite stove. Q heated water and made us hot mid-morning dehydrated meals.  
 Did I mention how chilly the creek was? ;) Every time I mention those discomforts, Q mocks me by whining, "But I'm an indoor cat!!" Happily, I think we are raising girls who will be hardier than their mama. 
 They became Junior Rangers at the excellent visitor center. We have to go back sometime when I can get us into the Pinon Flats Campground because they're a certified Dark Sky Park and I bet the stargazing and ranger programs would be amazing. 

On to Colorado Springs for the last two nights. We arrived a couple hours before we could check in to camp. It was sunny, cool, and breezy but the girls still went wading in the remarkable fountain at America the Beautiful Park before the clouds really started rolling in.
 We scoped out indoor options to spend a couple hours while they played on the playground because it was clear that we were in for a lot of rain. It was such a happy disruption because we ended up finding the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, which is so absolutely wonderful - and free!
Juniper and Clarity saddled up in the kids area while Willow went straight to the play nest boxes and kitchen to gather plastic eggs from plush chickens and cook up a meal for them. They could have played here for hours on the horse and in the wagon, teepee, and kitchen inspired by life at Bent's Fort in the 1800s. 

Mama could have spent hours with a sketchbook in the Van Briggle exhibit. I had no idea about this history. Their work was magical. I'm such a sucker for Art Nouveau.

We checked into Cheyenne Mountain State Park in the rain. Check out the view from our camp!

We were so lucky and managed to set up the tent and shelter at our walk-in site (a couple hundred yards down the hill from our car) during a period of light rain. 

The girls love cozy tent time when the rain gets heavy and adding the waterproof wind walls and ceiling on the shelter kept us snug and dry so Q could cook a hot dinner during the storm.

There are so many great easy trails in the park and besides the deer we saw birds, lizards, and insects. The girls were enthralled and we have to come back and stay here sometime with the intention of doing some of the longer hikes.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! So much fun. So many hills.
The Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun is a weird place. But the views are remarkable.

Final quick hike near Manitou Springs before we toured the Cave of the Winds (and forgot to take pictures). The yucca and prickly pear were in bloom!

It's fun to visit some "local" sites and know we can easily go back and explore more.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fold-up Fabric Snack Bowl Tutorial

Snack bowl in use
All folded up
We're very lucky and Willow's kindergarten class has "creek walk" once a week. They walk a little over half a mile each way and spend the entire afternoon playing on the banks of the creek with sticks and rocks and sand.

A few weeks ago the snack schedule changed and popcorn day started falling on creek day. I was sad to see the coffee filters that got used and thrown away each week but kids are too small to control a handful of popcorn on a cloth napkin. I approached the teacher about making some sort of popcorn bags and she offered a bunch of extra cloth napkins that had been made for her classroom for the project. With the hard work already done, I was able to convert twenty napkins into twenty cloth snack bowls in just a couple hours.

I think they're kind of adorable and might make some for our family for summer outings when I just bring big communal bags of nuts, dried fruit, carrots, etc.

10"x10" Napkin

The napkins I was given started out 10" x 10".

Fold them in half and mark two points at each side - one 3" toward center on the fold and one 1 1/2" down the edge from the fold side.

Starting at the edge on the fold, stitch to the 1 1/2" mark then stitch a diagonal line down to the 3" mark on the fold to make a triangle.

1st darts sewn (fold is toward the top)
V shape spread flat
After both sides have been
stitched, pull the corners that were both on top together and the ones on the bottom together.
This folds the napkin in half the other way but it will make a gentle V due to the first darts.

Mark and stitch triangles at the center of the other sides just like you did the first.

There are now darts sewn in the center of each side of the original napkin. You're done!

When it's unfolded, there's a sturdy little bowl for dry snacks but it folds up almost as flat as the original napkin.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Spring Starts Sale May 15 & Preorders

Welcome! I'm trying to sell some of my excess starts this year to help pay for my seed starting/gardening addiction. 

All starts are in 4" pots with organic seed starting mix

All varieties are heirloom (except the Lambada Bee Balm) and seeds were purchased from high quality suppliers (most from Baker Creek). 

Email me at to reserve plants and I will update this listing if any varieties sell out. 

Pick-up and sales of remaining starts will be on May 15 from 10a-2p at 930 Kendall Street in Lakewood, CO. (Pickup can also be arranged at other times.)

Tomatoes - $4/plant
The tomato plants all have several sets of true leaves.

A Grappoli d'Inverno - excellent drying tomato, my kids also eat them by the handful straight from the vine

Amish Paste - late producer with huge meaty red fruit

Brazilian Beauty - red-black cherry tomatoes

Homestead - steady producer of medium sized red slicing tomatoes with good flavor

Riesentraube - small red tomatoes that grow in bunches resembling grape clusters

Roma - oblong red fruits are meaty and ideal for canning and simmering into sauce

Siletz - bred in the Pacific Northwest, this tomato produces relatively early and tolerates cooler temperatures  SOLD OUT

Snow Fairy - good yields of small round red fruit on a short stocky plant, great for containers - it only grows to be about a foot tall!, 

Yellow-out Red-in - read about them here, I've never tried "keeping" them but what fun to try

Peppers - $3/plant
The pepper plants currently have 2-3 sets of true leaves (probably many more by pick-up time in 3 weeks.)

California Wonder 300 TMR - the standard green bell pepper type, excellent producer

Lipstick - sweet red pepper with an elongated shape that has also produced lots of fruit for me

Arroz Con Pollo - read more about these unusual peppers here

Other Vegetables - $3/plant
Vegetables currently have 2-3 sets of true leaves (probably many more by pick-up time in three weeks).

Black Beauty Eggplant - large round dark purple fruit, they've been excellent producers for me

Tomatillo Purple - purple instead of the usual green, these are also supposed to be a bit sweeter than the standard tomatillos

Ground Cherries - unusual small berries, read more about them here, My preschooler loves harvesting these and snacking on them when they ripen

Herbs and Flowers - $2/plant
Basil and marigolds currently have 2-3 sets of true leaves (probably many more by pick-up time in three weeks). 

Lavender and rosemary are currently a couple inches tall. These slow growing perennials would be best as windowsill or patio plants before planting out next spring.

English Lavender - fragrant perennial plant with silver green foliage and purple stalks of flowers, culinary and ornamental uses

Rosemary - a common culinary herb, attractive perennial shrub with small light blue flowers

Italian Large Leaf Basil - annual herb that produces heavily if flower stalks are pinched off as they begin to form, delicious in pesto, tomato sauce, and so much more.

Lemon Drop Marigolds - a small bushy plant covered in lots of cheery yellow flowers, has a long bloom season, this dwarf variety does well in containers too

Lambada Bee Balm - flowering perennial that attracts pollinators