Monday, August 26, 2013

The Trumpet Player

Sam, Danya and the Treehouse Sanctum posse had a great show on Friday night! They came ready to rock in their rock/indie/folk/Americana sort of way.

They busted out some of my favorites and brought in a few new ones, like "The Cup Song", "I Think We're Alone Now," and a brand new one that Sam wrote.

And to help him play that new song, he brought in a musician all the way from Alamosa.

Big D.

Sam sent my dad this new song last week via email and he learned to play it by ear. They practiced it right before the show.

And they NAILED IT.

I cannot tell you how happy this made me.

Really, really happy.
Since he is now a part of the band, I am hoping the powers-that-be in Alamosa will see this as a new work-release program. I am sure it will go over well since musicians have such great reputations for staying out of trouble.

But stranger things have happened.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Tapas Cooking Class

Last night's cooking class was off the hook. These girls came with aprons in hand, ready to bust out some serious food.

And the end result? Five new recipes masterfully created and inhaled.

It was a total success and a fabulous way to break in a brand new kitchen!

Just look at them. They brought their gastronomical game faces.

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus?



Cheese and bacon stuffed Brussels sprouts?




Baked ricotta? Watermelon, feta and mint salad?


Baked peaches with maple cream sauce?

Um, a picture couldn't do it justice.

A happy Gourmet Girl to Go?


Nicely done, ladies. You nailed it.
Oh, and I think you could be apron models. That's a totally legit profession.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Treehouse Sanctum and A Special Guest

Hey hey, party people!

I know I have already posted about Herb and his ability to represent. But I have more words to share.


(Actually, it is kind of a shocking since this summer is now known as The Summer I Had Nothing To Do But Sit In My Funk.)

(But, I digress.)

Treehouse Sanctum will be playing at Paris on the Platte this Friday night. They have played there multiple times and I have now decided it is my favorite venue. It is casual, fun, relaxed, with good parking and no cover charge. And they have great food.

So, you're invited.

And as an added bonus: my dad will be in attendance.

He is in town this weekend (which, you know, completely boggles the mind. Thank you, Correctional System.) and will be joining in on the festivities with Treehouse Sanctum.

I can't even handle the anticipation.

Can't. Even. Handle.

So, here are the details:

Who: Treehouse Sanctum and other musical geniuses
When: Friday, August 23
Where: Paris on the Platte
Time: 8:00

Be there.

Or be somewhere else.

But hopefully there.


Hey there, people of the internet!

Do you know what day it is?


And in honor of that, I bring you Herb the Camel, all the way from Tunisia:

He's not very happy but he seems to be rockin' the striped saddle blanket.

Way to go, Herb.

Happy Hump day to you. You've got this.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brussels Sprouts, Skinny Pants and A God Who Loves

Hello. I am still here. My trip is still to come and I am more than ready to stick my toes into the ocean. Toes and oceans goes together like peanut butter and everything else. I am very excited.

In the meantime, I have been cooking and baking like a crazy woman. My oven seems to be on more than it isn't and I have found myself eating watermelon for more than one dinner. Is there anything better than cold, sweet watermelon? Nope, not in August there isn't. Unless it is cold peach cobbler, which, you know, awesome.

I had a cooking class last week with some fabulous girls who I love and adore. We focused our menu on the wonderful world of carbohydrates and made my version of crack bread (look on Pinterest for is everywhere!), baked four cheese mac and cheese with bacon, and homemade salted caramel sauce with ice cream. That meal is sitting nicely on my hips but it was worth every bite. And they did a fabulous job putting it all together!

Tomorrow, I have another cooking class and this one is all about tapas, or, if you are not from Spain, appetizers. But "tapas" just sounds more international and sophisticated, which is what I am approximately .9% of the time. On the menu: prosciutto wrapped asparagus, baked ricotta, stuffed Brussels sprouts and a watermelon and feta salad. For dessert, baked peaches with streusel and maple cream sauce.

And everyone said "amen!"

I am really excited about this class because it is cooking with fresh ingredients that are in season. And the recipe I put together for the stuffed Brussels sprouts may show up on this year's Thanksgiving menu. Who knew a Brussels sprout could be the bearer of herbed cream cheese and bacon? That is something I am already very thankful for.

In other non-gastronomical news, I have now become a fan of the skinny pant.


I know, it's like the world is spinning the other direction (which, wouldn't that throw everyone off!). But it is hard to avoid this trend. "Skinny" is everywhere! And even though this girl is approximately 46,902 treadmill miles away from being skinny, I realized that if I am going to have anything to wear this summer other than yoga pants and my pajamas, I had better embrace them. As a result, I have them in almost every color. Miracles, people. They are happening.

And finally, I heard the most amazing sermon at church on Sunday. I mean, it was life-changing. It was about loneliness and how we were never created to be alone (Genesis 2). And in a world of social connectedness, humans have never been lonelier. One of the things the pastor challenged me on was my desire to only show the good stuff: the happy photos, the beautifully filtered photos, the photos where I look as skinny and pretty as possible. And yet I never show the photos where my hair is gnarly or when I have a zit on my chin or if the dress I am wearing resembles a blimp. As a result, we all think that everyone else has it together and we are the only ones that do not.

Yep, I struggle with that. I am huge fan of the filtered photo probably because I don't think the real one is good enough.

When will my tiny brain realize that the real one is the one God pursues, loves and died for?

I am working on this.

And with that nugget, I give you an unfiltered photo of my skinny pants.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Solo Trip

Due to a variety of factors, I believe I am in the midst of a one-third-life crisis. I am not sure there is such a thing but let's just pretend it is totally real and legit.

You see, I feel completely out of sorts, like I am walking around with my clothes on backwards. Do you ever feel that way? No matter how hard I have tried this summer, nothing has felt quite right.

For starters, the weather is bonkers. Apparently the weather affects me more than I realized, especially since summer is my most favorite season. It is cool and rainy and not at all what I would call normal for August. I don't want Fall to arrive without experiencing some major heat because we all know that winter lasts approximately 17 years in Colorado.

Secondly, my heart, soul and mind cannot quite sync up. One or two of them may be on the same page but it is very rare that all three match up and settle into contentment. This leaves me a bit restless, weary, and dare I say, moody.

Lastly, I am wrestling through the process of letting go of what I thought life would look like at 33 and embracing something new and foreign. But the hard part is that I don't know what the new part looks like. I have never been 33 before yet somehow there is pressure to do it beautifully. What the heck, world?

Oh, and if there were a P.S. to this list, it would be that waiting takes a lot of work. Waiting is not a passive pastime. It takes constant effort to not give into apathy, eat chocolate chips and melt into your couch.

So, now that I have brought you all into a mild state of depression, let me tell you what I have decided to do to help me through this angst-ridden, cranky state: I am taking a vacation all by myself.


Yep, that's right. In the near future, I am hopping on a plane and flying to the ocean where I will lay on the beach and pour out my heart and soul to Someone who knew how to do 33 perfectly. I have no agenda. I am packing light. I am anticipating moments of struggle and discomfort but I am prepared to face them head on, without using Netflix as my way to escape.

I am not expecting to come back a different person. I am just expecting to see things differently. 

Recently, I have had several friends who have taken solo trips and they each came back refreshed and encouraged. I see this as a chance for me to be brave. I am very rarely brave, but apparently a plane ticket and some spending money are great motivators to helping me find my courage.

When I was in graduate school, this was the verse that I clung to, knowing that my degree would take me to places far and wide. Today, I am claiming it again. 

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast."
                                    Psalm 139:9-10

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A One-Woman Singing Show

I am still recovering from Middle Child's Day and all the trauma/drama that it brings to mind. We middle children must stay together otherwise we will be forgotten entirely. It is the cross we bear.

I was going to write a post about summer and the fact that it is the middle of August and I ate watermelon for dinner last night, but I came across this video instead. I promise, you didn't miss out on much. The watermelon was fantastic and I plan on eating it again tonight.

But, this video. It made me sit back in awe and smile.

In short, this woman is UH-MAHZING!

It makes me think back to my musical theater days and realize I may have overestimated my talent.

By a lot.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Middle Child

There is a reason why I need therapy and that can be summed up in two words: Middle Child.

In honor of National Middle Child's Day, I submit the following evidence:

Nothing has changed in the 30 years since this was taken. Nothing.

Case in Point:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


It is raining outside today. The high is not supposed to hit 70 degrees. And it is August.

Take that, Global Warming.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Day with Noah

Yesterday, I took the day off of work and spent it with my favorite nephew.
That kid.
That amazing, funny, hilarious, ornery, punk kid.
He's eight years-old now, which means he officially knows more than I do. Earlier this summer, he spent a week at that the Denver Botanic Gardens and learned everything you could possibly know about dirt and plants. He even got to plant a garden himself. So, for our day together, he decided to take his aunt on a complete tour of the gardens.
It could be one of my most favorite days.
It was 189 degrees yesterday,which rarely happens in Denver. But we I came prepared, lugging a lunch bag full of ice water and cold Twix bars, two essential things for an Aunt/Nephew Day O' Fun.
From the minute we arrived, all I saw was his backside as he took me around trees and over rocks and around ponds...

...pointing out things that I never knew existed. 

And these cool things? Well, these could be my favorite. They are huge, orange trumpet-like flowers hanging out of a tree. WHO KNEW THEY EXISTED?!

Apparently, Noah and God did. And the rest of Denver and the world.

I am a big fan of lily pads.

I especially like the ones that look like large platters. I almost snagged one to eat my Twix bar off of, but that was highly discouraged.
And this beauty? Well, it was practically showing off.
I found the small signs very helpful. Apparently there are more categories than just "pretty flower things" and "other things."
The bamboo forest proved to be an excellent place for hide-and-seek. Let me just tell you, I was at a severe disadvantage, namely because I lack stealth.

We concluded our day with Little Man ice cream and a trip to the park. Somehow, this kid still had energy to run around and play on the monkey bars. I, on the other hand, laid down on a park bench and prayed for a pillow.

Overall, I learned so much. I walked so much. I sweated so much. And I loved watching this kid be the best tour guide I have ever had.

I love this kid. So, so much.