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Instalunch

Six months ago, in a desperate search for new toys for Ben and no time to shop or any clue what to shop for, I signed up with Citrus Lane and for the next 6 months received a box of goodies–small toys, a book, baby-related products (lotions, sunscreen, etc.)–every month. It was hit or miss. Some months we got a great toy and a book that was ignored, or the other way around. I decided not to renew my 6 month subscription. But then…in the last box…came THIS:

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THAT, internet, that is a Goodbyn lunchbox. I have been wanting one of these for..for…oh,  I don’t know how long. A long time. Just look at that thing! Little compartments of lunchtime mystery and fun. Hmmm. That description doesn’t make it sound that good, does it? Mystery should not be a word associated with lunch.

Anywhooooo….

This lunchbox (yeah, it’s for the kid, but whatever, he doesn’t pack a lunch and he could never eat that much anyway) came at just the right time. It was like a lunchbox from The Universe in answer to my lunchtime boredom. I’d recently tried a week or so of mason jar lunches and found them difficult to shake the dressing around on and just…too much chewing and not enough protein (I have to eat a lot of protein these days; a growing human is largely made of protein and you are what your mama eats, I guess).

I’ve had this thing for a couple of weeks now and have gotten into a lovely routine of making myself a lunch in the evening, after Ben goes to bed and before the kitchen is totally picked up. I’ve had a variety of things and finally got around to snapping a photo today before I inhaled it all at noontime. I’ll try to post some lunch ideas here regularly.

What I Ate for Lunch Today: Salami and cheese and almond crackers, cherries and grapes and strawberries, two hard boiled eggs, almonds and dried figs and dark chocolate, and a nectarine.
What I Ate for Lunch Today: Salami and cheese and almond crackers, cherries and grapes and strawberries, two hard boiled eggs, almonds and dried figs and dark chocolate, and a nectarine. I feel like the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Lots of other stuff to catch you up on (down to 5 chickens, Ben turned 17 months old today…so…can I stop counting in months yet?, and we went to the Estes Park wool market again–the last trip was a very popular post). I’ll try and get back here soon!

 

Featured

Name the Chickens

I introduced the flock a few posts ago. But then we got three more birds. Two of the new ones (the Rhode Island Red and the Dominique) still need names. Please help. I’m out of ideas. Post your suggestions in the comments section!

 

Ofeibea is the Black Australorp on the left. The Rhode Island Red on the right needs a name.
Ofeibea is the Black Australorp on the left. The Rhode Island Red on the right needs a name.
Tina is the Golden Laced Wyandotte on the left and Elfaba is the
Tina is the Golden Laced Wyandotte on the left and Elfaba is the Sussex on the left.

 

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Another of the new chickens, a Dominique. She’s the youngest bird and won’t lay until June or so. She’s pretty skittish and gets picked on by all the others. Right now, we call her “the freakazoid chicken,” and that won’t due. Once she gets bigger, I think she’ll rise in the ranks.

 

The poodle chicken, Ophelia, wasn’t available for pictures. I’m still working to get a good one of her. She has a lot of personality for being the smallest.

 

So, names for the Rhode Island Red and the Dominique–go!

 

My (in)Famous Family

On July 5th, Ben and his best buddy Gus made the local paper because the wore red, white, and blue and sat on the curb to watch the 4th of July parade together and looked absolutely adorable (if I do say so myself). I don’t have a link to the origional article anymore, but here’s the photo:

Photo courtesy of the Coloradoan
Photo courtesy of the Coloradoan

We have no idea who the little girl is. She just plunked herself down on the curb next to them and they all had a lovely time together while us mamas talked and got caught up on life. After this came out, my dad photocopied or scanned the photo onto a blank sheet of paper and entertained himself for days writing captions for what Ben and Gus were saying to each other. Now its your turn!

Not to be outdone by my child, I too have made the paper. Here I am, looking not at all pregnant (thanks, photographer Erin Hooley for the awesome angle and timing!) stuffing backpacks for middle-school kids who need a few supplies to start off the school year. It was a way to give back a little to my community, reflect and be thankful that 1) I don’t have a school-aged kid yet and 2) if I did, I could afford back-to-school supplies. Not everyone can. And 3) be honored to work for a place (Colorado State University) that encourages volunteerism and giving.

Photo courtesy of the Coloradoan/Erin Hooley
Photo courtesy of the Coloradoan/Erin Hooley

I bet your community has a back to school program for kids in need. Google it and find out how to give. Then, grab an extra box of pens, highlighters, or even a calculator or jump drive while you’re out getting stuff for your littler person and donate today! Every kid deserves to start the school year off on the right foot.

 

 

Categories Uncategorized

Milestones and Other Things

Our baby is now 18 months old and slipping toward being less a baby and more a toddler/big boy. It is awesome to watch and hear. There are so many new words and concepts: bus, big, owie (knees & toes are especially prone to these and he’ll kiss it better himself, thankyouverymuch), being sorry, poop, toots, ice cream, ho-pa (=hippo). He’s still into everything being “mine.” Our favorite example is from a few weeks ago at school where, upon drop-off, he found a plastic cucumber and stood in the middle of the room declaring it “MINE!” No one paid him any attention.

Our new baby just passed the half-way mark. This Thursday will mark 22 weeks. We’re just calling this one “new baby”** since we don’t and likely won’t know gender before the birth. I can feel new baby nearly every day, at least once or twice, which is a lovely and reassuring thing. Its been an uneventful pregnancy and I keep remarking that I feel better than last time, but it could just be that I haven’t quite hit the really uncomfortable stage yet and I may eat those words along with everything else in sight. Haha! Just kidding. Kind of.

**Still soliciting suggestions for boy names. Have a girl name locked down, but we’ll be in trouble if its another boy and may continue calling him “new baby” until he’s 5.

Here we all are at a recent wedding of two lovely friends–congrats Mike and Shayna! Thanks to Heidi for capturing the moment!

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We’ve been on the road a lot, collectively, lately. Ted went to Maryland, I went to Reno and then to San Diego and then we all went to Lake Tahoe and next week we’ll all go to San Diego. Its not even over after that. I’m wearing down the wheels on my suitcase.

Lake Tahoe was fun, though. Ben enjoyed playing on the beaches and in the water. He loved to throw rocks into the water and say, “Plop!” each time. We rode the gondola to the top of Heavenly and had lunch and ice cream in the cool mountain air. Perhaps best of all, we took a boat ride to a secluded beach on Echo Lake with friends and had a fun morning of swimming and playing (while battling biting flies and mosquitoes, but that’s not a huge part of the memory for me now). Ben is an awesome traveler and seems to transition pretty well between hotel living and home. Hopefully the trend continues for the trips to come.

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Atop the Heavenly overlook platform.
Atop the Heavenly overlook platform.

 

After-lunch ice cream treat!
After-lunch ice cream treat!

 

Playing in the water. I couldn't resist sharing the butt crack shot.
Playing in the lake. I couldn’t resist sharing the butt crack shot.

 

On the Echo Lake boat with new buddies.
On the Echo Lake boat with new buddies.

 

Things are good on the home front as well. We gave away one chicken (Ophelia the silkie, aka, the “poodle” chicken) because she was hopelessly broody. The remaining girls are doing chicken stuff–laying eggs, clucking away, begging for scraps. The eggs keep coming so I’m guessing they are happy enough. I’m starting to shop around for a coop-builder to construct a new coop before winter. The one we have now is cheap, flimsy, and way too drafty for a Colorado winter. More importantly, we can’t get in and out of it easily because its more “chicken-height” than “adult height” and if we’re going to stick with this chicken thing, we need a coop that’s easier to maintain. I’m formulating my “wish list” just like you might for house-hunting…now to find a builder!

The garden is growing like mad. I had to sacrifice a few kohlrabi to aphids (note to self, never grow a cole crop again. Aphids are gross and totally not worth the effort or space), we couldn’t eat enough lettuce to keep up (another note to self–next year, donate a row to a family in need), and there is at least one bunny (very small and hopelessly adorable) who has been nibbling on the peas and the carrots in the bed closest to his hidey-hole (the woodpile, I think). Knock on wood We’ve had a wet spring and summer–the sprinkler system has really only been needed for a few weeks–and everything is huge and beautiful, the neighbors are jealous, and I am rather thrilled with myself. I’ve been drenched in a couple of hail storms, racing out to cover everything, but that’s been totally worth it. Even the pathetic raspberries, planted by the home’s previous owners in the shade of several aspens, are producing a few berries, which I collect to augment my breakfast each morning when I go out to release the cranky hens into their run for the day. Look, here is the first zucchini! Oh the joy of the first zucchini! It can only be matched by the dread of seeing the last zucchini. Seriously, I have frozen zucchini from last year still. I only planted one plant this year, and it will be too much, I’m sure.

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I can’t think of a good way to wrap this up so I’ll just say, “bye for now.”

 

 

New Digs

Two things happened.

1. The neighbors complained about the chickens. Not in a mean way. I think they said, “So, this is a temporary location, right?” Fair enough. We were in blatant violation of the city regulations which require chicken coops to be 15-feet from the property line. We knew it. They knew it. Ted assured them we’d move them.

2. The chickens kept getting out. Not all of them, all at once. Just one here and there. For two nights in a row, the Black Australorp (“Ofeibea”) would come up and peck on the sliding glass door at 7:45pm as if to say, “We are ready for bed. Please come and shut the door now.” It was stressing me out. Bad enough that the neighbors didn’t like the coop next to the fence, worse to find a chicken sitting on their patio chair or something like that.

So, we moved them. You’ll recall they were located on the side of the house, pictured here:

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Now they are on the back fence, next to the garden. Its turning into the “ag sector” of the yard.

Gardens  are just outside the frame, to the left.
Gardens are just outside the frame, to the left.

 

A few adjustments are still needed for the current location–that sprinkler head needs to be adjusted so that it doesn’t spray them and we need to replace the lattice with a proper gate. The coop and nest boxes are all covered up because the day and night prior it had snowed 5 inches and was in the teens overnight. One warm and sunny day took care of the snow. This location is very sunny, which I think they will like. We may need to cover part of the run with a shade in the summer, but I’ll wait to see how things look once the trees have leafed out. This new run has taller fencing and more sturdy t-posts and welded wire fencing. This area also has a dirt/mulch substrate that the chickens love so much more than their hard-packed, mostly gravel substrate at the first site.

Best of all, I can watch them pecking and scratching (and escaping! The first night, I got up to lock them in the coop and saw Tina standing on the coop roof!) from several rooms in the house.

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