Thursday, July 28, 2011

easy summer dinner

Cook up some rice. We like to use our rice cooker.

Open a can of black beans and add a few seasonings to your liking.

Slice up mini bell peppers and roast them with some olive oil in the oven under the broiler.

Grate some sharp cheddar.

Put it all together and eat with a spoon!


What is your favorite easy summer dinner?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

library books

You may remember how we're reading for chickens. We only have a few more spaces to color in to enter our card for six chances to win chickens to be donated to a needy family. The great thing is though that whether we "win" the chickens or not, a needy family somewhere in the world is getting a flock of chickens to feed themselves and help feed their neighbors and help themselves earn a living all because some kids in Colorado Springs, CO, USA read some books and some awesome librarians had the idea to make this one of the prizes!

I finally took my proof of residence to the library the other day so I could have a real library card with a 100 item limit as opposed to a one time three item limit! Yippee!!

(When I had tried to take it before I accidentally took a piece of mail with only Adrian's name on it. Oops.)

So I finally picked out books for David to check out for the first time. It seems we ended up with a chicken theme which was unintentional and completely unrelated to reading for chickens.

Honestly, book selection went like this:

I keep a list of books that I hear about on blogs or wherever on a page of our wiki. Then I have a handy dandy list for checking out of the library.

So, when all three kids (we were there with my nephews) were occupied with the duplo building table in the kids section nicely located right by the board books, I looked up a book suggestion on my phone and began looking for it on the shelf.

Didn't find it but no big deal because I can request it from another location or if it's not in the system at all, interlibrary loan it.

In the space of these few seconds my mama attention was once again needed so the rest of the book selection process involved glancing at books all in the same basket pretty much and picking up ones that looked decent.

Turned out pretty well in fact.

Busy chickens is cute, How Kind is sweet, Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger was a big hit with it's textured pages (I really liked the velcro-ish hedgehog) and my favorite is Chicky Chicky Chook Chook. If I was still a music teacher, an activity based upon it would definitely make it's way into our Kindergarten curriculum.

Then my brother and I made it to the adult section and were able to pick out some books for ourselves.

My current library books for me include:

So here is what I am wondering from you more experienced moms and organized moms and just great idea folks in general . . .

I am used to keeping up with my own library books but I am wondering how it works with kids' library books. How do you avoid scrambling around the house the day their due looking under every couch cushion and in every room, diaper bag, etc. for library books to be returned?

I look forward to hearing your tips! Kelly

Friday, July 22, 2011

mismatched patterns

I have read (although now that I want to link I cannot find where - probably a link from pinterest somehow) that mismatched patterns are the trend in fashion right now.

While I don't consider myself to be one who really keeps up with such things, now that I saw it, I'm wondering, do I dare pair these two pieces together?

(after ironing of course!)

Would you?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


"Breakfast is a notoriously difficult meal to serve with a flourish. "

Monday, July 18, 2011

Colorado Springs Streets - A-Z {Academy} part two

It has been quite a while since I did my first post of Colorado Springs Streets A-Z starting with Academy part one.

I am finally following up with part two of one of the major thoroughfares in Colorado Springs, Academy Blvd.

My sister-in-law and I went on a jaunt one day piling all three boys in her mom's van and drove the section of Academy from Briargate Blvd. to Dublin.

Don't these boys all look happy to be together? You may notice the long sleeves they are sporting. These photos were taken on May 2nd and you may notice snow in some of the photos as well!

First up on this part of the tour, The Egg and I.

It looks like it could be a fun place to go for breakfast. We have not yet tried it out yet making the Donut Mill in Woodland Park a priority over it so far.

Have you been there? Is it good? Is it a chain? I had never heard of it before but it looks like it could be a chain.

Any other good breakfast places you would recommend around town?

Next, Old Navy and Carters. I have been to another Old Navy in town but not this one yet. I heard somewhere that this one might have more selection. Do you think so?

I like Carter's for clothes, especially pjs but only if there's a major sale. Still it's really nice to have a freestanding one in town since you don't always want to have to go into the mall.

Even though I don't at all consider myself a coffee addict, it's always good to know where the Starbucks are.

Speaking of Starbucks, what's your drink of choice? I've discovered I prefer iced coffees to frappucinos during the warmer months (less expensive, less calories and more refreshing) and I am on a cinnamon dulce latte kick in the cold months and boy was I glad when I could get it with whipped cream again after being off dairy for a while! Soy milk in the latte is good but no such thing as soy whip at Starbucks.

I really miss the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate they had a few winters ago. I know some of them still have it but it is not the same without the topping.

Penzey's Spices was something that I thought was unique to Dallas/Fort worth for some reason so I was happy to see them here. They have great spices, spice blends and they seem to be a really neat company. We've also enjoyed some GREAT recipes from their catalog including rhubbarb cobbler and strawberry shortcake. YUM!

There are not many brick and mortar scrapbooking stores left and I love that Archivers is still around. I have really enjoyed the times I've been to their store. Back in '06 I went to a crop night at their Denver store with my friend Emily and some of her friends. We had such a great time. If anyone is up for doing a crop night there here in the Springs, let me know.

sidenote: There is also a great scrapbook blowout store by the Arc Thrift Store (but that is not on Academy so not officially part of this tour). :)

Lillian's is only open one weekend a month. Don't ask me how they manage to pay rent on that but apparently it works for them. I was able to go for the first time during our family reunion with my mom, aunts and cousins. It is a cute store - clothes, purses, jewelry, accessories - a little Sam Moon-esque for those of you from Dallas/Houston but not as cheap and on a much smaller scale. The owner said that a lot of people tell her it reminds them of a store in Texas or the South.

I had been to Wahoo's Fish Taco once before on that same '06 trip to visit my friend Emily. They're pretty good for someone who doesn't like fish. :)

Actually they of course have other things as well. We actually ended our outing by having lunch with the boys here.

This was my yummy plate and David greatly enjoyed the big bowl of black beans in the background.

I have not yet been to Gatherings although I hear it is a neat little shop. My mom got one of my stocking stuffers there last year. I am hoping it is a little bit like Samplehouse (for you DFW folks). We'll see. Anyone want to go?

We used to have Noodles and Co. in Dallas and I really do like them. One of my splurges when I was single and didn't feel like cooking was to go and get their mac and cheese with chicken and broccoli added (you know, for a health touch).

What do you know about Broadway Deli?

I haven't yet been.

Fun sign.

I don't shop at Family Christian Stores super often but it is nice to know where a Christian bookstore. I must admit that the times I've briefly walked through the bookstore at Focus on the Family on my way to the Whit's End play area, I have been drooling. I'll have to make a little visit sans baby sometime as I don't think browsing book aisles slowly is particularly his cup of tea right now. Better yet maybe I'll have to see if any of the rest of my family want to go and we can take turns watching the kids and browsing the bookstore.

Qdoba might be my second favorite big burrito place after Freebirds.

Pei Wei, one of my favorites for a long time. I have to say that my appreciation of them has grown quite a bit stronger since having a little one. They are AWESOME at having kids in their restaurant. They bring the high chair to you and I've had them go out of their way to bring a cup for David when I forgot his, tell me not to worry about it when I've been down on my hands and knees trying to pick up rice off the floor, etc. Plus, with dairy free eating for David, they are one of the easiest places for me to order for my little guy. Yea Pei Wei!!

This is not the very best photo but may I remind you that it was snowing off and on and we were in the car with three kiddos?

I don't know that I will ever venture into the Bead Gallery but if my Aunt Carol or cousin Becca want to come and visit (hint hint) I would be happy to take them there as they are both makers of exquisite jewelry that I get compliments on whenever I wear it.

I would be interested to know if Black Jack Pizza is any good. Anyone know?

The main thing I was looking forward to trying out in this photo is La Tartine French Bistro Cafe. I had actually gotten a photo of it last time too. (I guess I was backtracking some, oops.)

My mom and I actually got to check it out last month. Thank you for all of you who have been praying for her. She is undergoing chemo right now and that has it's ups and downs but it is sooo wonderful to be able to go to lunch with my mom and for her to feel like it more days than not!

She and I ended up ordering the same thing! It was good!

Here is David enjoying his fruit plate and nummy dairy free bread (they were great about checking for us).

I give them a thumbs up and would definitely go there again. I would like to try breakfast there sometime as the omelette menu looked yummy and I would definitely like to try the creme brulee!

I haven't been to Natural Grocers yet. Anyone have an opinion?

I want to like Steinmart more than I do. Now and then I've gotten something really cute there but usually I don't find anything. I discovered this past time that aside from a very few layette type things there were no boy clothes only girls! Come on, Steinmart, where's the boy love?

In Texas I tended to prefer Marshall's over Ross. Here though, Ross is winning me over.

First there is the super nice older man who stands at the door and always talks to David and even welcomed me to Colorado Springs when I first went and mentioned in conversation that we'd just moved here.
Then they have those giant poles that stick up from their baskets to keep you from taking them out of the store. Well, that basket addition can occupy David for quite a while, shaking it, looking way up at it, etc. and that buys Mama some time to shop.

Plus, I got a super cute outfit for him for $3.50. Here he is wearing it with his Uncle Edmund and the "Super David" cape that his Sweetie made him.

It is probably good for my wallet that I no longer live 5 minutes from Michael's like I did in Texas. The $1 ribbon bin is awfully tempting to me.

I would really like to try out the Lemongrass Vietnamese Bistro. Does anyone know if it's good?

I ran into Chef Sugar's this day while Mandy generously stayed in the car with the boys. We hadn't eaten lunch yet and weren't prepared to feed everyone sugar instead. It smelled HEAVENLY.

Adrian and I went back on my birthday to get some birthday cupcakes and I have to say that they didn't really live up to my expectations.

Has anyone else been? Have you had a good experience? Should I give them another try? Maybe try something else?

This Starbucks is a little further down the street and as far as we can tell, except for possibly some places downtown, this seems to be the coffee shop that stays open the latest around town.
There are a lot of very early closing and weird hours coffee shops around here.

South Jersey Subs could be good. Anyone know? I haven't checked it out yet.

And finally, for Academy part two (told you this was a REALLY long street) the Sunflower Market and Willowstone Antique Marketplace.

The Sunflower Market kind of reminds me of Sprouts and they seem to have great produce and they for sure have yummy salt water taffy in a zillion flavors.

Willowstone Antique Marketplace is new in town and the first time I went there, with my mom, I found a set of four great dining room chairs for $50! Then, we were given a dining room table and 6 chairs for free (!) from the youth minister and his wife at my parents' church and they are very, very close in style! My plan is to paint them all white and recover the seats (any advice would be appreciated) and we'll have a very "us" table and chairs!

God provides.

So there you have my second installment of Colorado Springs Streets A-Z. I hope you're enjoying getting to know my city along with me.


Friday, July 15, 2011

a train, 4 surprises and some photos

I debated what to title this post because a post title that includes words like "announcing", "expecting" or "pregnant" can certainly get the rumor mills going. I will satisfy curiosity from the start and say that I am not expecting.

Kelly's Korner, a blog you may have heard of or read and that I have linked to before, is hosting a link-up for people to tell how they told their husband and families that they were pregnant.

I didn't ever tell the story on my blog of how we announced we were expecting David so I thought I would share now.

Adrian and I found out that we were expecting David over a weekend in August, right before school started back. There was no announcing to Adrian as there was no way I could have kept it a secret from him that I was taking a pregnancy test. We found out together.

As for our families though . . . having only been married a little over ten months, I thought we might just have the surprise factor on our side and I had SUCH a good time surprising everyone.

As I said, we found out we were expecting in August.

My parents' anniversary is in August and my parents had also just moved to Colorado that summer.

I called my dad up and asked him if we could please come and visit and see their new home and could we keep it a surprise from mom? He told my mom that he had a surprise for her that he would be picking up and she just thought it was something for their anniversary since it was that week.

My sweet brother and sil who knew we were coming in town and trying to surprise her helped out by taking her to dinner along with my sister-in-law's mom to get her mind off the surprise to come while my dad came to pick us up at the airport.

It was crazy because while we were at Dallas Love Field waiting to board our Southwest flight, my mom called Adrian's phone from my dad's phone! He thought it was my dad of course and so answered and was surprised when it was my mom and was trying to talk loudly and get off the phone quickly to keep her from hearing the gate agent announcing boarding for Denver! She thankfully didn't hear.

My dad picked us up and we made it to my parents' home in Colorado Springs. My brother, sil, her mom and my nephew were all there as well since they had just returned from dinner. When we walked in the door, my mom was super happy surprised/shocked and teared up and we were all so excited and happy.

We said that we should take a photo to commemorate so we lined everyone up in front of the fireplace. Adrian was taking the pictures and said, "Say cheese" and snapped the picture above.

Then one of them said, "say surprise" so they did this "surprised pose" and Adrian took another picture.

Then Adrian said we should take one more and he said, "Say Kelly's pregnant" and this is the photo we got!

I love it! They were all looking at me. It was so much fun!

The part of the story this photo doesn't show though is that my brother and sister-in-law were newly expecting as well but they hadn't told anyone yet. They were extremely generous and didn't tell anyone anything at that point and let us have our time in the limelight and then announced about a week later. It was soo much fun to share that and we took photos documenting our pregnancies that Christmas. We even shared the same due date although in the end our boys decided to come 15 days apart.

We had more surprises to come though. My mom took us to Trinidad, CO, a couple hours away, where Amtrak provides service and we intended to hide in the train station so as not to be seen.

When we got there though this was what we found in place of a station.

Too small to hide inside plus I think it was locked.

So as this train rounded the bend we tried to look non-chalant and hide the best we could.

We said good-bye to my mom who if you couldn't tell was excited about that new grandbaby in my belly.

We got on the train and made our way to the observation car where we found what we were looking for. There was a seat next to a lady but you could tell she didn't really want anyone to sit there. She had set her purse and sweater on the bench beside her and Adrian simply picked up her things and shoved his way onto the bench.

She looked up in shock and surprise and then her face changed as she realized that the cad settling in beside her was her SON!

That was a fun surprise!

My mother-in-law and brother-in-law were traveling by train from Pittsburgh to New Mexico to visit family and we had been planning to fly into Albuquerque and meet up with them. That was a great plan but when we found out we were expecting and decided to go to Colorado to share the news we began looking for an alternate way to get to New Mexico and this plan worked out beautifully.

We surprised them by being on the train and then we did the same picture taking telling them we were pregnant. I love this series Adrian captured.

We had so much fun sharing our news with our families and it all seems so long ago now that I have this sweet little guy around all day long to hang out with.

photo taken by Adrian when we were out to dinner for his birthday

If you'd like to see how I shared on the blog, you can check out this post.