Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good Finds in Colorado

We just got back from a fun trip to Colorado to visit our daughter and son-in-law. We always have the best time with them! They are wonderful hosts and do everything they can to make our stay enjoyable. We can’t wait to visit them again.
While we were in Colorado we drove to the town of Boulder. I love shopping  and dining on Pearl Street. One of our good finds was the store Patagonia that carries the GoLite brand. Jerry found two UV protection long sleeve shirts that are going to be perfect for his motorcycle trip to Sturgis. I found some running shorts, a great hat for running and what I am most excited about…a bag I can use for my camera and lenses.                                                             

I have been looking for something to carry my camera and lenses in. I have the big bulky black bag that came with my camera. I have never used it. I tried using a big old purse that I had but because of the weight the straps eventually broke. The GoLite bag that I found has great zipper pockets and pouches that work for my lenses. The straps are wide so they are comfortable on my shoulders. The really great news…all of this stuff was 50% off! (You can also get this deal if you go to their website)                                                                                                       Mine is blue.

We also visited the wine-tasting room for Bookcliffe Winery.  For a reasonable price we got to taste 5 wines. My favorite is their Ensemble which is a blend of red wines. My son-in-law liked their Lucky Twenty which is a blend of white wines. Very refreshing on a summer evening!  We also took a little tour of their back room and got a quick lesson on their wine production operation.

Another day took us to the town of Longmont. We stopped at the Farmers’ Market and got some wonderful bread, cheese, granola, cherries and a sundried tomato spread. (We had a delicious supper that night!) It was pretty hot so we stopped at a fun Brewhouse to sample some beer and quench our thirst. Stopping at the Lefthand Brewing Company for a mere $4.00 we got to sample four beers. (Does this sound like we just drank on our vaca?  We didn’t!) My favorite was their Black Jack. It’s a dark, dark beer. Now I’m not usually a beer drinker and never liked dark beer but this was good!! I think it’s the addition of dark chocolate that does it!


After all this beer we decided we needed to get some food. My son-in-law suggested we try the Pump House. It's an old firestation that has been converted into a restaurant and brewery. We found a table on the patio (complete with misters which felt oh, so good!) that faced the street. We had fun people-watching as we ate. The food was delicious! I can’t wait to go back there and try a different menu item.                    
The last good find I’m going to tell you about is in Fort Collins. The city has a fun garden kind of hidden off the beaten path. The Gardens on Spring Creek is the community’s botanic garden. My daughter and I found it and had fun walking around even though it was VERY hot! We saw some artists leaving with their canvases and paints. (I’m sure it is a great place to paint when it isn’t so hot.) My favorite part of the garden was the children’s garden. They had the biggest sunflower flowers I have ever seen. There was a huge metal watering can and lots of pint-sized watering cans for the kids to use. Lots of themed gardens for the little ones to explore.

We had so much fun! Colorado is a beautiful state with lots to explore. I am thinking I'll have
 to write another post on the nature side. Have you ever been to Colorado? Do you have any good finds to share?

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(All of the opinions shared above are my own. I was not compensated for anything I wrote.)
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

I used to refer to my feet as "old lady feet" because my arches are flat and most of the time I am wearing sensible shoes with orthodics. However, this summer I decided I wanted a more "youthful" look so I started wearing flip flops. (As I look around it seems like almost everyone is wearing some sort of flip flop.)

I bought a few pairs. Two of them have rubber soles that are a little thicker than the cheaper flip flops. One pair is a Doctor Sholes and one pair is . It doesn't seem to matter which pair I wear but if I wear them too long it causes my knee to hurt. Needless to say I've been rethinking my need to have youthful looking feet.

Although our feet were designed to walk barefoot on natural surfaces (grass, sand or gravel), they are not meant to endure concrete, asphalt or hard surfaces that many of us walk on today. These surfaces are hard on our feet. Flip Flops are not designed (because of their thin sole) to absorb the shock of walking on these hard surfaces.

Flip Flop's lack of arch support can cause another common foot injury: plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched. People with flatter arches are more prone to such overuse injuries because they need more support for their muscles and ligaments. (this is me!)

Other injuries can result from flip flop's lack of protection. This means toes can be badly injured if someone steps on them, or drops something on your foot. Blisters can occur between your toes where you grip the flip flop strap. And now, some doctors are warning of a new danger - skin cancer, as the sun suddenly hits an area that's usually well-covered. People often forget to put sunscreen on their feet. Skin cancer on the feet can be really dangerous because the spots are easier to miss, especially if they're between the toes.

Diabetics, who often have poor circulation and feeling in their feet, should be especially careful if they are wearing flip flops. If they get blisters they are more prone to infections and non-healing sores. Those with balance issues may find it hard to feel secure when wearing rubbery flip-flops. For those people that are heavy or obese, wearing those flip flops can add strain to feet that are already stressed with carrying extra weight.

Now there is a little upside to wearing flip flops I think. Don't they just make you feel good and put you in a good mood? They remind us of happy summer days and being carefree. It's hard to be in a bad mood when you're wearing flip-flops.

So I say listen to your feet! If they hurt, or if your knees or hips hurt, pay attention. Buy a high quality pair and keep them for days on the beach or wearing for short periods of time. They're not for every day wear if you value the health of your feet.  

(How long do you wear your flip flops? Could you ever give them up?)
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Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Buy Quality Essential Oils

As a certified aromatherapist it is often disconcerting for me to see people selling essential oils at fairs and farmer's markets. Usually there is little labeling other than the name of the oil. Oftentimes they are sitting out in the sunlight (which breaks down the oils SO fast!). While I would NEVER suggest buying essential oils this way how can one know if the essential oils you are buying are the best you can get? Dale Grados from Attune Aroma wrote this excellent article about buying essential oils. If you are in the market for oils, you need to read this!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


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Friday, July 13, 2012

Do You Like To Doodle?

I'll admit it...I'm a doodler. In school all of my notebooks were covered in little squiggles and shapes. I still like to draw while I'm trying to pass the time. Until now it's always been on paper but here's a neat site that will let you doodle online.  It's called Scribbler Too, a drawing website that creates an interesting web around the shapes you sketch with your mouse. Draw faster or slower and adjust the controls to achieve different effects and colors. Even abstract doodles look like art!
This is a sample of a flower that I doodled up while trying out the site. It was really fun! Check it out and let us see what you come up with.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Special Cupcakes for a Special Occasion

This past weekend we celebrated my parents' 60th wedding anniversary. Isn't that wonderful?!? They have been an inspiration to all of us married couples. All of my nine siblings and their families were there. (Two of my sisters live out of state.) We had the party at a fun place called The Amaze n' Farmyard. They had a great space for us. We had room for a spread of food, a band, tables to eat at and in the other half were some Bounce-arounds for the kids.

All ten of us contributed to the food. My brother Tim smoked chicken and salmon. Others brought salads, fruit plate, veggies and dip and the list goes on and on. I brought cupcakes. Usually in the past they haven't been anything too fancy. But for this special occasion I wanted special cupcakes. My daughter Rana and I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, chocolate with peanut butter frosting topped with Reeses and these oh, so delicious Cherry Limeade Cupcakes.

They were a hit! The kids grabbed most of them but a few were left for the grown-ups. I thought you might like to give them a try. The combination of the tart lime cake and the sweet cherry frosting was just perfect!

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes  (recipe from the Cookbook Queen)

18.25 oz white cake mix
1 cup limeade concentrate, thawed
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
few drops green food coloring

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, slightly softened
10 oz jar maraschino cherries
4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine cake mix, limeade concentrate, eggs, oil, and food coloring. Beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, then scrape sides of the bowl and increase speed to medium high. Beat for two minutes. Fill liners 2/3 full with batter and bake for about 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove cupcakes to wire racks until cool.

3. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and 4 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice from the jar of cherries until semi-combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar until it is just mixed in. Increase speed to high and beat for about a minute until fluffy.

4. Frost cupcakes and top with a cherry (I also used coarse sanding sugar). Notes: If you’re going to pipe frosting on high like I did, you’ll want to double the frosting recipe. Green food color is NOT necessary, but without it, the cupcakes stayed white.

Here is a picture of her cupcakes.

Obviously she is a professional so hers are extra pretty. I'll keep practicing--especially when I see inspiration like this!!
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

This summer we have seen two couples close to us suffering difficulties with their marriages. We have also just celebrated my parents' 60th wedding anniversary. What causes some couples to find it impossible to stay together and others to find a way to make it last? I was reading Micheal Hyatt's last newsletter. In it he discusses the importance of praising your spouse in public. He says that praising your spouse in public might be one of the best investments you can make in your marriage and family. I know that for at least one of the couples this didn't happen. I also know that in my own marriage I could be doing a better job of this. I thought I'd share what Michael wrote. It may be too late for our two couples but maybe it will help you or someone you know.

This is important for at least five reasons: You get more of what you affirm. Have you ever noticed that when someone praises you, you want to repeat the behavior that caused it? This is just human nature. It can be a form of manipulation if it isn’t genuine. But it can be a powerful way to motivate others when it is authentic. Affirmation shifts your attitude toward your spouse.

Words are powerful tools. They can create, or they can destroy. They can build up, or they can tear down. I believe most people have a drive to align their actions—and their attitudes—with their words. If you start speaking well of someone, you start believing what you say. Affirmation helps strengthen your spouse’s best qualities.

 Encouragement is also a powerful force for good. All of us need positive reinforcement. This is why when we are losing weight and people notice, it gives us the strength to stick with the program. This is true in every area of life.

Affirmation wards off the temptation of adultery. When others see you are happily married, they are less likely to proposition you. It’s like a hedge that protects your marriage from would-be predators. You simply stop being a target.

I think this is pretty powerful! I'm thinking this would be good advice to share with newlyweds. I might just include this in my next wedding card. What do you think?

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday on the Fourth

Hoping you are finding a way to stay cool on this hot Fourth of July! We will be at the Lake.

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