Monday, March 30, 2009

art is long, life is short

Hey Everyone!! Today's blog post comes to you from Don, who will now be joining me here in blogland every now and again...

Daddy Blogs:

Do you ever wonder where the artist gets their inspiration? Who are their muses? What makes 'em "tick" or "tock?"
Me too! As an artist, I can only tell you that it all comes from the soul and the heart. If your soul isn't into it, then the heart won't be either.

I figured that out when I saw my first Escher print at a gallery in the mall...I was 10 years old. His self portrait in the sphere put me directly into his world - some of his feelings - and I thought to myself, 'Why can't I do the same thing with my art?' You know, show others a different world through MY eyes, take them on a journey of the soul through the "windows" in MY head.

Now that I'm grown, I look back to that 10 year old boy and ask him, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I answer myself, "I want to be an artist." That is all I have ever wanted to do - make art and live a happy, simple life.

Well, back in the real world, bills need to be paid, kids need to be fed, wife needs lovin' (..oh, wait, back on track)... Why can't I make that boy's dream come true? All things are possible, right? But, how?

And that's when my wonderful wife said, "Why don't your sell wooden toys? I mean, you love making toys for the kids, why not make other kids happy, too?"... Great googa mooga! I love my wife!!!! Yes, I can do that!
I was watching my son play with a castle set I made for him, when it occurred to me that he wasn't just playing "castle land" as he kept calling it (4 year olds are awesome!). He was also playing "jump the dragon" and "chase the king" and "flying queen" ... that's when I realized that the simpler the toy, the greater the imagination! Which means the more his head was working, thinking and GROWING!

I quote Albert Einstein, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." And ol' Albert is right! If you can't imagine your way through a problem, you'll never KNOW your way - period. You'll just be stuck in a dead-end drab life that you hate and that's not who I am.

I imagine a bright, colorful, and wonderous lovely life. A life worth not just living, but enjoying and making up as I go. A happy-go-lucky utopia.

Besides Einstein, I could quote an anonymous Roman, "Ars longa, vita brevis." Art is long, life is short. Or a bunch of others basically saying the same thing - create beauty to live in a beautiful world.
Since I have found new inspiration through my children, I've decided to live out my fairy tale dreams of that 10 year old. Now I make art, live simple and have a happy home, which makes this big kid a happy man.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

bye bye spring snow!

Well, we got dumped on!

But now, it is almost all melted and our yard is full of mud.. whoo hooo, we love mud! (Well, the kids do, I'm not so keen about cleaning it up).

We spent a good long time outside after the snow stopped and the sun came out.

It was so much fun. Usually Boop is on my back when we head outside in cold weather, but now that she is walking, she totally got to go for it!

Such a pretty little girl...

And the boys made a snowman that wasn't so picture worthy, more of a mud/snow man.

But, they did have a full on snow ball fight!

Now it is warming up again.. so we are doing a little spring cleaning, which I'm sure will take a couple of weeks. Anyone else getting the Spring cleaning bug?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Yowza folks! I said we could expect some snow after way too much amazing weather.. it is, after all, Colorado.. but ooo-vay MAN.. snow, snow and more snow..

We are having ourselves a little snow day here, watching it come down. It doesn't look like it will ever stop.

Seriously.. these pictures were taken in the early afternoon and it is now 6pm and has not let up. I expect to see a good foot on the ground when we wake up in the morning...

Time for some tea, some cuddles and a good book, I think!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

my new addiction

Ok, I don't usually get into product reviews and endorsements, but MAN! I just had to make sure you all know about this awesome, super duper yummy ice cream!

Don and I have decided to officially evict sugar out of our household. Which is so great and I am amazed that he is totally on board and we are loving being sugar free. The only problem is I absolutely love LOVE ice cream! We have an ice cream maker and have made our own, but when you want in NOW.. well, then there is a problem.

We have made some pretty easy and simple sorbets by blending up frozen fruit in the food processor.. that will often do in a pinch. But, sometimes you just need some ooy-gooy creaminess...

That happened to me yesterday.. I wanted chocolate, creamy ice cream. So I went down to the natural food store to look around and see if they had anything chocolaty without sugar in it.

That is when I found Coconut Bliss. It has no sugar in it at all! They use agave nectar to sweeten it and the coconut milk helps to make it sweet also. It is vegan, gluten free and low glycemic. YAY!

And it is SOOOOO good. I mean really, really good. Way better than regular ice cream! I am so in love. This could be a problem!

But, I am happy to have found a healthier alternative to my one true addiction!

And, I think you should run on down to Whole Foods or your local natural food store and get you some!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

time for some fishing

Well, I dare say spring is here. I'm sure we will get at least one more snow, but for now we have so been enjoying the sun warming us as much as possible.

Don has been chomping at the bit to go fishing, so we headed up to a nearby lake to spend the day.

The road to get in was closed still, so we had to hike it. Chubbas was a trooper and did it on his own..

Stopping to pose for some pictures and act like a goof..

It is still a bit chilly up in the mountains.. look at the ice out there on the lake...

This right here is what totally made the day for Daddy. E totally getting into fishing! Last year he just didn't have the patience for it, but this trip he really enjoyed sitting and "waiting for the fish" with his papa! Don is SO crazy happy to be able to take Chubbas fishing now...

Boop was so in love with the water. She is such a little water baby, kept wanting to go in!

The day turned out to be really warm, it was nice to just sit and do NOTHING!

And, we didn't catch anything! Not even a little nibble. I think it's me. Don has never caught fish when I'm with him.. Guess I'm bad luck!

Ah, well.. we had such a lovely day and all of us have a bit of a sunburn to prove our day of leisure..

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the beginning of the twirly dresses

Little Miss Boop is officially, all over the place walking! For about a week now she will get up and walk across the room and is getting more and more confident everyday.

This all started when my dad was here visiting. He was the lucky one who got to witness her just doing it!

She is so cautious and careful, much different than how E was, he just wanted to GO. But not this one, she will take her time, plot her route and go slow. I kind of like that (and hope that cautiousness lasts through the teenage years!).

Now, it is time I think, to dust off my sewing machine, which has been neglected for a couple of months, so that I can sew some twirly dresses. Because all walking little girls need a HUGE collection of twirly dresses, don't you think?! Seriously, I have been waiting for this ultimate cuteness with my little girl.. and with Spring knocking at our door.. some adorable little dresses are much needed!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

food = health

I have been feeling a little sluggish lately and since we have been so busy these past few months, our good eating habits seemed to have evaporated.. So, in a commitment to feeling good, I've been wanting to do a cleanse/sugar break/diet clean up. Somehow, I managed to talk Don into joining me on a 4 week cleanse! This is huge for my meat and potatoes, give me butter or give me death husband. I guess he has been feeling a bit sluggish as well.

Well we are now in the middle of week 2. The first week was pretty intense - no dairy (yes no butter!), no wheat/bread, no sugar including natural sweeteners like honey, and only lean proteins like chicken or fish. I am so completely amazed that both Don and I totally took this on and we are both saying how great we feel! We've been eating TONS of fresh veggies and fruit.. TONS!

I am feeling super satisfied and incredibly energized. I am so reconfirmed in my belief that food is medicine and effects everything...So what have we been eating?

Each day looks something like this:

Breakfast... either oatmeal with fruit and almond milk or eggs with lots of veggies and maybe some turkey bacon.

Lunch... Usually a big, super yummy salad with tons of good stuff in it. We have been dressing our salads with olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. Oh, and don't forget the garlic! Lots of chopped up fresh garlic mixed in. If not a salad, then some homemade soup or leftovers from the night before.

Dinner... This is what was on the menu last week:
Sunday - Grilled veggies wrapped around some brown basmati rice "sushi style" with leek soup.
Monday - Albondigas, a mexican soup that is so delicious I've typed up the recipe below.
Tuesday - Vegan Stew
Wednesday - Left over Albondigas, seriously so good I could eat it everyday!
Thursday - Garlic Chicken with rice and veggies
Friday - A huge salad topped with tempeh
Saturday - Turkey burgers wrapped in cabbage leaves, served with a salad

Dessert.. yes, we have been having dessert! Without sugar and flour... crazy! Don made some sorbet with nothing but fresh fruit and a little stivia. So good. One other night, we made a little fruit tart with a hazlenut/oatmeal crust.. delicious!

This week we are adding in a few things like yogurt and a little cheese. But Don and I are feeling so much better I think we are going to keep our eating pretty much like this most of the time... I am so proud of us, especially Don. I never EVER thought I would see him eating so healthy and LOVING it!

Here is the recipe for Albondigas.. this was so good, it is now one of my favorite things:

Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Stew)
Serves 4-6


1 teaspoon olive oil
3 large garlic cloves (fine chop)
1 medium onion (diced)
Kosher salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 large carrots (1” chunks)
1-2 medium/small sweet potatoes (large dice)
¼ head red or green cabbage (cut into bite size pieces)
½ leek (slice thin)
4 green onions (sliced thin)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 zucchini (large dice)
2 yellow squash (large dice)
13 cups water (or fill the tomato can 4 times)
1 teaspoon dried cilantro (if using fresh, be careful cilantro is powerful stuff)
Dash of cayenne (to taste)
Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
Pinch of dried cilantro
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place a large stock pot (5 quart or bigger) over medium high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onions. Give a couple of stirs to coat everything with oil. Add a pinch of salt and half the cumin. Sweat (bring out moisture) for about 3-5 minutes. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, leeks, green onions and tomatoes. Let simmer 5-7 minutes. Add zucchini, squash and water. Bring to a boil then add spices. Let it roll for 10-15 minutes then reduce heat to simmer.

Prepare meatballs:
Combine all ingredients except oil in a bowl. Mix by hand until it starts to stick to your hand. Form 1 inch meatballs. On medium, heat oil in sauce pan. When hot, add meatballs and cook until golden brown on all sides. Turn the meatballs often to avoid meatballs burning and falling apart.

Add cooked meatballs to stew. Return meatball pan to heat and add about ¾ of a cup of the stew broth to pan. Stir the broth around to lift the “stuck on” flavors left from cooking the meat. Poor the stew liquid back into stew pot.

Let stew simmer until vegetables are good and soft, about 30 minutes. Serve hot with fresh cilantro, corn tortillas and lime wedges.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

some new toys

Just wanted to show you some new creations that I just added to our little toy store.

I am totally loving these little wooden people for imaginary play. They are awesome!

And a few pull toys for the wee ones to pull around.

A pull train...

And a "dog"erpillar! Yup, a doggy and a caterpillar.. too cute!

I don't think I ever showed these cute little wooden cars, so here they are...

I am diggin the Jeep!

And, by the way...we are offering up a 10% discount today on all toys in honor of St. Patrick's day (including custom orders!).

i heart faces - green

I haven't played along with the I Heart Faces weekly photo contest in a few weeks and actually wasn't going to again this week. But, me and my girl were out playing in the yard this morning and I started taking some pictures of her. The theme this week is green, in honor of St. Patrick's day and this picture pretty much sums up "green" for us. It is not so much the color, but getting out and playing in nature - EVERY DAY!

Friday, March 13, 2009

we are in business!

We did it! We have so much other stuff going on that it took a little longer than we hoped. But, we finally got our little toy website up and ready! Right now it is more of a gallery than a place to actually make purchases, but that will be updated soon.

I did go ahead and set up both an Etsy store and an ArtFire store to help promote our goods and for people to buy stuff for now. And on our website you can request custom made items. Really the sky is the limit there. Don just keeps getting better and better and we have so many ideas rolling around in our brains that custom orders are what will have us keep expanding.

But, for now, I present to you.. Chubbas 'n Boop, the toy store!

We are officially "open" for business! So please stop by....tell your friends....spread the word! Oh, and buy stuff, yes please do that! :)

For those of you in Colorado Springs, we will have a booth at the 4th annual Healthy Pregnancy Fair tomorrow, March 14th from 11-2 at Baby Depot in Burlington Coat Factory- Citadel Mall. There are 36 registered vendors so it should be a great event. There will be lots of great information for all of us parenting folk, not just those of you who are expecting a wee one soon. Stop by and say hi!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

in case you are like me...

and love to look at wedding pictures...

Here is a link to the wedding I planned and coordinated a few weeks ago.

I don't talk about it too much here on my blog, but I like to do a little wedding planning. Kind of for fun and as a little extra income for our family. It is pretty consuming, so I only do a few each year.

This one, in particular, was quite the event. It was in Vail and cost more than 3 times what we normally make in a year! Wow, all the bells and whistles! This event was much more extravagant than the weddings I usually do, but the bride really liked me and chose me to work with her.

So, if you like wedding pictures, go check out the blog of the lovely ladies who did her photography. They were awesome to work with and the pictures are fabulous!

I came away from this wedding with a really clear picture of where I want to take things with my little wedding planning business.

Though the bride and groom were so sweet and the the wedding was really fun and totally stunning, this wedding taught me a big lesson in sticking to things that are inside my own values. There were many, many times that I just couldn't believe the amount of excess and crazy amount of money spent on this thing! We live such a simple life and grand weddings in Vail do not really express who we are in the world. There were moments when I had to literally force myself to work on the planning details because it just felt weird and hypocritical to be spending my time planning such an over the top event.

So, from now on, I am going to stick with working with brides that are in line with my own personal values and beliefs. For example, a few months ago I was hired by a bride and groom that are committed to having an eco-friendly wedding (with a budget that is 1/10th the total amount spent on the Vail wedding). I say YES to that!! I have been having so much fun working with this couple and can chat with them about things like cloth diapers, organic food and living simple. I feel like working with this type of client is not really work, but just an extension of me making my own little difference in the world. Very, very cool!

And, though I'm knocking it a bit, it was a really amazing day for this super nice couple. I wish them many years of love and happiness!

some art

A bad thing that happens when we get too busy around here is that art starts to take a back burner. This really truly is bad in so many ways.. creativity just seems to help.. calm, center, inspire, prepare, relax, give joy. Making art for all of us just helps us to be more.. us!

So in a commitment to slow things back down, simplify our time some more, and enjoy this time when we are all home together, we have started making art again! This also means that we are going to be starting some art group stuff again in the coming weeks. YAY!

For this little art project, we went hunting around the yard for some cool nature things to make some simple collages...

There is a whole story in this one that Chubbas did, but I missed the telling of it.. Something about a house in the woods..

And here's Don's groovy creation!

I am so looking forward to getting back into the crafting/making/artist groove...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

black and white

Here are some more of those black and white photos I took. I took all of these using the manual settings on my camera.. So many shots that day, but these are my favorites...

Please do not use any images or content without permission. You can contact me at happydelz [at] comcast [dot] net. Thanks.

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