My mom adventures in Fort Collins


Beauty = Bling, but not really

I have shared many parenting woes, some highs, some lows. I have divulged stories of baking and sewing, crafting and cooking. Well, now I would like to share with you the trick to calling upon your inner goddess.

Glitter. Rhinestones. Shimmer. Metallic. Sparkle. Crystal. Feathers. Flowers. Tassles. Ribbons. Beads. In a word: Bling.

I’m not kidding, every time I so much as put a necklace on and a little lip balm, my kids are all wide-eyed and complimentary. “Mom, you look so beautiful!”

And I say, “Why, thank you.”

Then, they say, “I love your (necklace, earrings, belt, shoes, shirt, sweater, scarf, bracelet, etc.).”

And I say, “Why, thank you.” It’s easy to take a compliment coming from a five-year-old. There is nothing insincere about a five-year-old. (Because, believe me, there are plenty of times when she questions my wardrobe choices.)

I have talked about beauty before, and instilling confidence in young girls. I read this blog post recently, and I liked it. The author’s point, if you don’t have time to click over, is that she’s started telling her daughters that she thinks she’s beautiful because she wants them to grow up to become women who can remember their mother thinking she was beautiful. She knows that someday their bodies will change, their breasts will sag, their lines will evolve from taut to tired. And through that change, she wants them to remember that their mother loved herself through it all.

I want that, too!

I want to love myself in front of my kids, not berate myself. I find that when I say something innocently after some silly accident or mistake, I might call myself a “dummy” or something like it, Scout is quick to come to my defense: “No, you’re not mom!” I won’t always have a defender. I won’t always have someone who wants me to see the best in myself, not the worst.

So, I am thankful that I have girls who recognize beauty. Now, it’s up to me to expand their definition of beauty. What do you think? What ways that you instill self-confidence and self-love in your children?

This is a photo of Cory and me from ages ago, and I got rave reviews on this dress from my girls: not sure if you can tell, but there are rhinestones sewn into this dress!

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Quick thought: Expanding families
November 11, 2012, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Family | Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday, I went with the girls to a birthday party. It was a fun birthday party, but this post isn’t about that. One of the attendees at the party was a member of a family with 6 kids.

Wow. Six kids is a lot, right?

I stop and think about large families, and I have a few rambling thoughts: How fun! How chaotic! How do you give attention to each child? What a lifestyle! I bet holidays are a blast! Wait, how do you afford holidays?

I don’t entertain thoughts of myself having 6 kids. Nope. I have at times thought about having another child, making our family 5 instead of 4. But…

Each and every time that I get wistful for another baby, something comes along to knock me out of that thought-process. Like a puking kid.

So, today, as I go to sleep (I hope) with my stomach-bug kiddo and I’ve cleaned up two messes from the dog we’re sitting (not that my dog isn’t capable of his own messes, I’m very forgiving of this!), I will say, “Yep, two kids is plenty.”

The sicky in question… in happier times

I’m guessing that it was true baby fever, a little vomit wouldn’t stop me, right? Thoughts?



Make me over: Finding a girl’s hair cut I’ll love for a price I won’t hate

As a parent of young girls, I do struggle with the phenomenon of “Getting Older Younger.” (And no, I definitely didn’t coin that phrase. Check out a previous post of mine here.) For me, though, there is a certain playfulness that I do not want to diminish. Afterall, it is fun to be pampered. Kids catch on to this fact pretty quick.

A blissed out Ruby in the shampoo sink at Trios Aveda Salon

We are a household of Fancy Nancy fans. (If you do not know about the book series by Jane O’Connor, get to this link now.) I will credit (blame?) my older daughter for the love of all things fancy, but we have all enjoyed reading these books and expanding our vocabularies. Posh. Elegant. Regal. We love that stuff. Thus, we love lacquered nails, accessories, scented lotions and the occasional primping ritual.

I struggle with indulging some requests that seem beyond a) their paygrade, and b) their ages. At 5 and nearly 3, we have yet to even talk about body odor or armpit hair. We still work really hard to remove eye boogers every morning before we walk out of the door. Our hygiene discussions are non-verbal dances that center around the thrust of a hairbrush in their general direction. We are still naive, innocent and easily impressed.

Our pedicures are done at home. We do spend a few minutes dunking our toes in a warm soapy bath, but it’s really just an excuse to get us to slow down for a minute. We have done more than a few home-grown hair cuts in a barstool in front of the TV. I allow the occasional swipe of my lip balm, but other than that our beauty ritual involves detangler and toothpaste. Even the play make-up kit was banned after pink lip gloss mysteriously became embedded into our carpet.

But at the end of the summer, one thing was clear: Scout wanted her hair cut significantly–about 4 inches–and I would not be responsible for such a haircut. First, we went to my old standby–Cool Cuts 4 Kids. This is a national chain, and it has the bells and whistles (cars to sit in, videos to watch, a waiting area with assorted toys, etc.). However, I’ve never been overly impressed with their stylists. If I wanted a great referral on where to pierce my eyebrow, or directions on how to pretend to like my job, these gals would be my Go To. But for a decent haircut, not so much. I wound up having to take Scout to a different salon to fix the botch-job we got at Cool Cuts 4 Kids. I considered writing them a letter or talking to a manager–but what were they going to do? They’d offer me a coupon to come back to Cool Cuts 4 Kids, and frankly I’d been burned by them way too many times. What can I say? I kept coming back because I’m a sucker for their Thomas the Train table. Well, no more! I will not be enticed by miniature fire engines to sit in! I want a real hair cut!

For our most recent endeavor, I opted to just bring the kids to the salon that I go to. When I get my haircut, which is embarrassingly infrequently, I go to a decent hair stylist at a nice Aveda salon in town called Trios. My stylist is Lindsey and she’s great, but because she’s great, she costs more money than I was interested in paying for my budding beauty queens. I was delighted to learn that because this salon has a variety of  stylists (some just beginning their careers), I could get an appointment with a trainee or a Level 1 and a kids’ haircut would be $20. Yep, $20. Now, Cool Cuts 4 Kids without a coupon is something like $18 and they don’t even shampoo the kids’ hair. (That’s extra.) So, for $20, I’m like, “Sign ’em up!”

Scout getting the royal treatment from Ali

What we received from our Level 1 stylist Ali was just phenomenal. She spent 45 minutes with each of my children, and she was a class act. She was patient, kind, and treated each of my kids with respect. They weren’t just kids getting haircuts, they were clients who had come to enjoy her services. I am in love with this idea: Pay real money for a real haircut! Not pay real money for a hokey environment and come home to re-trim my kids’ hair.

All finished! My glammed up little girl!

This is it. I’m sold. Trios Aveda Salon is located at Horsetooth and Shields and their number is 970-266-8746.



A Love Letter to the Lincoln Center

A little backstory: We moved to Fort Collins in 2010, and  the Lincoln Center was under renovation. Thus, it took me a while to realize what a phenomenal venue it is. Last March, I took the girls to a “Princess Ball” that was held in one of the ballrooms. We had the chance to explore–it was gorgeous, convenient, clean,  Ever after, the girls would refer to the Lincoln Center in any visual drive-by as “the place where we went to the Princess Party.” So, to summarize, I’m slow to the uptake, but it’s truly a gem of a venue for the Fort Collins community.

My little turkeys with Snow White back at the “Princess Ball” in March 2012

Flash forward to tonight: My little mommy blog had garnered a hit from a company that solicits bloggers and asks them to promote their event in return for comped tickets. I said yes, and I got to bring my kids and my hubby to the Fresh Beat Band Live. (Full disclosure: We don’t have cable, so we’d only seen the show a few times on our streaming Netflix.) Nonetheless, the girls were enthralled with the live show tonight. And when I say “enthralled,” I mean that they both were dancing, grooving, screaming (at the prompts, I mean they’re preschoolers), and all out having a fabulous time the entire time the Fresh Beat Band was on stage.

My eldest in her concert-going gear (she was inspired by Marina)

Marina from the Fresh Beat Band (from freshbeatband.wikia.com)

The Fresh Beat Band Live was a hit with my kids, and, in turn, a hit with me and my husband. The Band was indeed the actual band–Kiki, Marina, Twist and Shout. They had several back up dancers who were fantastic and fun. The songs were primarily Fresh Beat Band tunes (the ubiquitous “Great Day” was their encore), though they did an audience sing-along and later sang the Beatles “Twist and Shout.” The show started around 6:00 pm, and the Lincoln Center was rather full, though not “packed.” We were back at our car at 7:34 pm, with one intermission. The Band sang, they entertained, they engaged the audience, they danced, and they were completely age-appropriate without boring the adults. My eldest daughter uttered the word “amazing” at least a dozen times. Overall, it was a perfect first concert for our two girls, ages 5 and nearly 3. We skipped the concert t-shirts and the glow sticks, so it was even more fun for me since we didn’t feel compelled to buy a bunch of shwag.

The Lincoln Center was part of the charm of the evening, and I have to say that each and every usher and staff member that we encountered was sweet, kind, great with kids and completely helpful. I can’t wait to go back! Here is a list of the upcoming events that I think would be perfect for kids (and a link to the entire list of upcoming events):

The Children’s Theatre Presents Peter Pan on November 16, 17, and 18

The Foothills Pop Band on November 25

Mountain Dance Presents the Nutcracker with a Twist On November 30, December 1, and 2

Clara and the Nutcracker on December 14 and 15

LifePointe Church Presents a Festival of Lights on December 13, 14 and 15

Black Violin on January 26

Adam Trent Magic on February 16

There are so many more opportunities, but I’ll stop there. Each of the shows mentioned above is on the low end of the price scale, anywhere from $5 to $19 per ticket. Here’s to hoping that I can take my kids on many more of these adventures in the future. It’ll be “amazing!”



Feeling Fall: Pumpkin soup
November 1, 2012, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I know that people mock the overuse of pumpkin this time of year, but not me. While not the World’s Largest Fan of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (really, who is?), I love assorted other pumpkin foods: pumpkin bars, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and, of course, pumpkin soup. A good friend gave me this recipe, and I have to say that it’s a gem. You can use pureed roasted pumpkin (from a pie pumpkin, or sugar pumpkin), or canned pumpkin–either way, it’s delicious.

The pumpkin soup, in all its tasty deliciousness

The first time I made this soup, I roasted my own pumpkins. These are pumpkins I got from Miller Farms way back in September. (Yes, I’m still talking about the produce I got from Miller Farms–I’m so going back there next year!) I tried various ways to roast it, and the easiest is the one I actually didn’t try–just fork the pumpkin several times and stick the whole thing in the oven. If you are not feeling adventurous (if throwing an entire pumpkin in the oven qualifies as “adventurous” for you, then welcome to my world), just do what I did and hack the pumpkin into a few pieces and roast it at 450 for about 25-30 minutes (whenever the flesh is tender).

I tried a variety of methods–hack the pumpkin into quarters and roast, peel and cut and boil–and it’s definitely easier to avoid peeling the skin off. Next time I’m going to roast the pumpkin whole. (Wish I’d known that trick before I roasted my hacked up pieces.)

After your pumpkin is roasted, scrape the flesh from the skin, ditch the seeds and stringy parts, and puree this in your food processor. You may now begin in earnest.

The pureed fresh pumpkin will look slightly less orange than canned pumpkin… I’m not exactly sure why, though.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons butter

1 diced medium onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups of pureed pumpkin (a little more is better than a little less)

32 oz of chicken broth (or vegetable broth, either work fine)

1 teaspoon of fresh thyme

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups of water

1/2 cup heavy cream

The finished product, with the severed heads as proof of my hard work

Directions: In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Saute the onions in the butter until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add all the remaining ingredients, except the heavy cream. Allow this to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove bay leaves, and blend the soup (using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, don’t forget to vent). Test for spice, and add the heavy cream. Remove from the heat and serve.

The pumpkin soup has a very big fan!