Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tell About It Tuesday: My Favorite iPhone Apps

I got an iPhone for my birthday last May and have discovered several apps that I can't live without so I thought I'd share them with you.

1. Camera+ ($1.99)
I use this app instead of my phone's built in camera 90% of the time, but especially when I want great photos. It's worth every penny.

2. Pedometer Pro (Free version or $2.99 for the upgraded version)
I discovered this app last fall when I was in St Louis for a few days. I wanted to get out and walk but I had NO idea how to navigate my aunt's neighborhood or how to estimate mileage. Pedometer Pro to the rescue! It has a GPS feature that literally guided me through her neighborhood and the mileage is surprisingly accurate. I walk almost daily so I upgraded to the $2.99 version because it keeps track of my mileage history and will generate and send a report to my computer of all my monthly stats in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. The only downside is the GPS feature which, if accidentally left on, will drain your battery lickety split! Otherwise I give it two thumbs up.

3. Fandango (Free)

4. Pandora (Free)

5. Arkansas Razorback Football Bytes ($.99)
Between ESPN, ESPN3, and CBS I was able to watch almost every Arkansas Razorback football game last fall. There were a couple of weekends that I was traveling and this app was a lifesaver because it allowed me to stream audio coverage of the games. The audio streaming is my favorite feature but it also refreshed periodically and updates the score on game day and keeps track of stats, the season schedule, the team roster, SEC standings, and has links to news stories about the Hogs. It's an AWESOME app for Razorback football fans!

6. Around Me (Free)
Love this app when I'm in an unfamiliar place and want to find a coffee shop or restaurant or retail store.

7. Cash Cow ($.99)(Or the free lite version)
A game I'm hopelessly addicted to.

8. Words With Friends (Free or $.99 for the ad-free version)
My user name is Lifeat7000Feet. And I'm not very good (right Angie? right Betsy?) so the rest of you can probably beat me too!

9. Fruit Ninja ($.99)(Or the free lite version)
Just a fun, mindless game.

10. This one just makes me laugh. It's hilarious. And free.

I'm sorry but I'm not a fan of Angry Birds, Cute the Rope, My Fitness Pal, or Kindle but I'd love to know what YOUR favorite apps are!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Goodbye, Weekend

Ugh. The Sunday night blues are starting to hit me and I'm already dreading sending everyone off to school and work tomorrow. I like it best when we're all together at home. Sigh.

We've had a good weekend. Today was a really restful day for which I was thankful! Here's some listy stuff on my mind right now.

1. Sarah had a speech meet yesterday in Woodland Park and was gone for FOURTEEN HOURS. She had to leave the house at 5:30AM (yuck!) and she didn't get home until after 8PM. However, she won FIRST PLACE in her event and we are so, so proud of her! She got a trophy and everything!

2. I'm feeling good about the upcoming week. It's not too full (at this point) and that is such a nice feeling going into Monday. Can you believe that we're only a few days from February? January flew by entirely too fast.

3. We tried a new burger place tonight and it was pretty good! The french fries were really thin (and really good!) but oh my gosh, they were super salty. I am sooooooo thirsty right now.

4. John and I helped one of our kids make a big decision last week. I'm not quite ready to talk about it on the blog but it was absolutely THE best decision for this particular child. That being said, it was also a decision that puts me squarely in the driver's seat of the crazy train for the foreseeable future. I'm okay with it, I'm just trying to wrap my mind around all that it's going to involve. :) More details soon, I promise.

5. I can't decide who I want to cheer for in the Super Bowl next weekend. I LOVE the Giants and had half of their offensive line on my fantasy football roster this year. But I LOVE the Patriots (and I really love Tom Brady) too. I think it would be awesome if Brady could get another Super Bowl ring! And it would be equally awesome for the Giants to win. I almost wish one of those two teams had lost their championship game so that I wouldn't be so conflicted! Which team are YOU rooting for?

6. Speaking of football, I really didn't know what to do with myself this afternoon without any games to watch. To pacify myself I went hiking with two friends from church. Hiking with those two is quickly becoming a Sunday afternoon tradition...and one of my favorite parts of Sundays!

7. The rainbow cupcakes that Abbey and her friends made on Friday turned out REALLY great! They had a blast making, decorating, and eating them! Here's a (not-so-great) picture of ours before the frostingpalooza began. There is a recipe link in the post below this one.

Alrighty. It's almost time for Downton Abbey--our current favorite show--so I must say goodnight and sign off. Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Life::: the random and rambling edition

I am so glad it's Friday! I have big plans for today that include laundry, cleaning, and preparing for a little after-school soiree for some cute fourth grade girls. Yesterday I bought the stuff for them to make these cute cupcakes and we have some fun crafts planned as well. I'm looking forward to a fun afternoon with giggly girls.

It's been a very full week but it's been full of some fun things! We had a couple of fabulous weather days so of course I managed to squeeze in a couple of hikes, including one of my favorites--the Manitou Incline! I didn't take any pictures this time, but I wore my trax and didn't even need them. All the ice that was there earlier this month had completely melted and I was thankful! [Local friends, that link is to a YouTube video I found about the Incline and it's super interesting. It's long, but worth it. And Part II is worth watching as well.]

It's also been full of necessary things. I've had some appointments and some meetings and some work stuff and some volunteer obligations. And of course there's always carpool and laundry and dinner and those kinds of "daily" things.

I would LOVE a slow weekend. But I'm not too hopeful about that at this point. Sigh.

Here's a few random phone pics from the week that I took for one reason or another, along with my rambling commentary. Random and rambling. That's how I roll.
Abbey is almost finished with Phase I of her orthodontic treatment. She gets her expander taken out next month and her brackets taken off as well. Not sure how long before Phase II begins. She chose purple and black bands this time and you'll learn why a few pics down.
SCORE! I found this cake mix in the deep recesses of my pantry a couple of weeks ago and finally made it last night. Trader Joe's vanilla cake is something I stock up on whenever I'm in  St Louis or Santa Fe (or anywhere else we travel that has TJs!)  Can't remember where this one came from but who cares? Because rumor has it that Trader Joe's is FINALLY coming to Colorado. Yay. No more mailing my loot home because there's no room in my carry-on luggage!
 I think these TOMS are so cute. Abbey got them for Christmas but the size/style was goofed up, so one month and two trips to Denver later we finally ended up with the right pair. She loves them. I bought a pair for myself in October but didn't love them and ended up returning them (for boots) because I was afraid my feet would freeze all winter long (and they would have). Abbey's are wool so I think she's okay. And NOW do you see why she chose black/purple bands for her braces? Evidently she wanted her teeth to match her toes. That girl.
This was my dinner plate one night this week. Spaghetti and meatballs is a go-to dinner around here. It's quick, easy, and delicious especially when paired with greek salad. I found this gluten-free pasta that I really like so now I'm able to enjoy pasta dishes again. Oh, and my best tip for making meatballs is to wear gloves!
I just thought this picture was funny. Jack-the-Beagle sleeping on the floor BESIDE his bed. Why? Why? Why? I will never understand that dog.

That's all, folks. Happy Weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Hiking is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. I love love LOVE it. It feeds my soul.

John and I were out hiking a few days after Christmas and he looked over at me and said, "Mer, when I married you twenty-some-odd years ago, I never really pictured the two of us out hiking together". It's true. I have come a long way. Living in this beautiful, temperate place without too many snakes or mosquitos or humidity has certainly helped grow my appreciation of the outdoors!

We've had some really gorgeous days this month and I'm trying to milk them for all they're worth so I've been hiking every time I get a chance. If I'm honest it's partly because I got new hiking shoes for Christmas and I love wearing them! I came home from a hike with friends in early January that involved some rock climbing and when I saw a gash in the smooth leather of my new shoes it made me smile with pride. I don't want my hiking shoes to look perfect. I want them to bear evidence of every single mile of rugged terrain they've traversed.

Here are a few pics that I've taken with my phone while out...
 There is no blue quite like the blue sky in Colorado!
LOVED finding this tree still decorated in early January! LOVE that someone thought to brighten the trail with festive decorations too! So fun. And I also LOVE these two girls 

Most of the trails around here are still pretty snowpacked and icy requiring me to wear trax (those things are AWESOME!)

Don't those scenery photos just make your heart sing? I LOVE WHERE WE LIVE! I don't ever take for granted the fact that we live in a place of stunning beauty. I feel happy and deeply thankful when I'm driving along the front range and see the mountains on my west and know that I've explored so much of that terrain. If God ever moves us away from Colorado, I will leave knowing that I made the most of my time here and got to experience as much of the beauty of the land as I possibly could. It's so much a part of ME!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Current Books: I'm feeling some shame that month after month I have to admit I'm not reading much of anything. I'm definitely experiencing a dry spell. Two books on my to-read list are Beautiful Outlaw and Odd Girl Out. Maybe next month I will have finished one of them. Cross your fingers. 

Current Playlist: A worship mix.

Current Color: Red.

Current Drink: I have seven caffeine-free months under my belt so that really limits my choices. I mostly drink Good Earth tea, water, and occasionally Zevia caffeine-free cola. 

Current Food: I've been enjoying some amazing blackberries from Costco lately. I'm also hooked on goat cheese--on (gluten-free) crackers, on salads, and just by itself. 

Current Favorite Favorite: Downton Abbey! It's sooooooo good, y'all. Also, I rediscovered my dutch oven. It was actually my grandmother's and my mom gave it to me a few years ago. I've been using it a LOT lately and I love it!

Current Wishlist: A black and white chevron scarf. I have a very clear picture in my mind of what I want and of what I don't. Sadly, I can't find one like the one in my mind's eye. Oh, and I also really like these touch screen gloves.

Current Needs: New dishwasher. Joy.

Current Triumph: I'm caught up on laundry! That's a biggie! 

Current Annoyances: The crazy wind we've had this week. Lying. Passive-agressiveness.

Current Indulgence: A 10-15 minute nap in the afternoons. I get up super early most days and lately I've needed that little power nap to get me through the evenings!

Current Mood: Quiet.

Current Blessing: Getting to spend time with one of my best friends from high school. She was in Denver last weekend visiting her in-laws and we met for a day of shopping (hello, IKEA!) and got to catch up a little since our (short) visit last summer. I wish she lived closer so we could do that more. Love you, Jennifer. :)

Current Outfit: Jeans, UGGS, long-sleeved tee, down vest, and scarf. 

Current Excitement: It's supposed to be nice outside today so I'm hiking with some friends. Plus, it's Thursday--one day closer to the weekend...and football! Hooray!

Current Link: A few actually...
25 Ways to Wear a Scarf (really cool YouTube video)(it's worth the 4.5 minutes!)
A Letter from my 90-Year-Old Self (A post on my husband's blog)
A movie that I watched this week and LOVED!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Newsy schtuff

Today is the kids last day of break. School resumes tomorrow and my guess is that this week is gonna be long and hard. We have a fun outing planned for later today--our  way of saying good-bye to a fabulous winter break.

Can you believe we're almost one-third of the way through January? I'm super thankful for some pretty mild weather so far this year. We were in the 60s for a couple of day last week and it was glorious! I was able to get out and hike and I had to keep reminding myself it was January and not April. Of course, it snowed a couple of days later, but thankfully just an inch or so. I am very anxious for spring to arrive and to stay!

We had some friends over on Saturday night for appetizers and soup. It's always risky to try a new recipe when you're having guests but I took the risk on a pot of soup and was not disappointed! Of course I wasn't too worried since it was Paula Deen's recipe for Poblano Chicken Chowder and Paula doesn't usually steer me wrong. Y'all, it was REALLY, REALLY good and probably my new favorite winter soup! It makes a ton though. I was feeding a crowd so I did not adjust the recipe but when I make it for my family, I will probably halve the recipe.
Side note: the group of friends we had over was the same group that we had over last January when Jack-the-beagle had his unfortunate incident. We try not to let (bad) history repeat itself so Jack saw the vet on Saturday morning for his "massage therapy" and I'm happy to report the party was incident free!

Moving on...to football!

I was SUPER DUPER HAPPY that the Razorbacks won the Cotton Bowl! Bunco happened to fall on the same night as the game so I got a sub for Bunco (because I'm a football fanatic) in order to stay home and watch the game without distractions. We only have one television hooked up to cable and one of our nameless children was throwing a holy fit about having to miss the series finale of Wizards of Waverly Place because of the Cotton Bowl so we watched the first half at home, then kept the peace and moved our viewing vigil to a sports bar down the road and watched the second half over hot wings and brats. About half of my Bunco group came and joined us for the last quarter--it was really FUN! Poor John was at a table surrounded by six women. Not sure if he loved it or was overwhelmed by us all!

The Broncos WON their playoff game last night too! I hate to admit that I had my doubts about their ability to pull it off but even more than that I hate to admit that I DIDN'T EVEN WATCH THE GAME! That wasn't necessarily by choice. John and I listened to the first half on the radio while driving to Divide, CO yesterday afternoon. Our friends, Steve and Gwen, have a beautiful retreat center there called Potter's Inn and on the first Sunday of each month they host a Sunday Evening Dinner at the Inn. The speaker last night was John Eldredge. He shared from his new book, Beautiful Outlaw, about the personality of Jesus and reading scripture with an understanding of that personality. It was very, very good. And dinner (prime rib!) was a-mazing. If you're local, check out the happenings at Potter's Inn

Alrighty. I must get up and get movin' and get this day-o-fun started! Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


I almost titled this post "First List of the New Year" but caught myself because this is January 4 and I've already made half a dozen lists since the year began. If you're listy like me you just can't help yourself!

1. On Monday I took Abbey to the orthodontist. On Tuesday I took all three of my children to the dentist. And today I'm taking Abbey back to the dentist to have a small procedure. She keeps letting me know in no small voice that having three dental appointments in three days is torture and deserves some kind of reward. I sort of agree with her but trust me, her reward will NOT be something sugary that might necessitate a fourth dental visit!

2. John went back to work today. Bah-humbug. I like it best when we're all home but I am very grateful for the time he was able to spend with us. Also thankful for his job and the dental insurance it provides! 

3. I'm having trouble remembering what day it actually is because they're all running together in my head. Ahhh...the uncomplicated days of holiday break! I'm going to be in for a rude awakening next week! We all are.

4. Only two more days until the Cotton Bowl. I've only watched one other bowl game this year. I really lose interest in post season college football unless I have a vested interest in a specific team. NFL football is another story though. I like it much better as a whole. By the way, I won THIRD place in my fantasy league this year and was pretty pleased with that finish.

5. I'm outrageously late to the Words With Friends party but I've been playing for the past week and I'm officially hooked. And officially mediocre. I'm just gonna throw it out there that one goal I have for 2012 is to beat my friend, Jen, at least once. She's won every game we've played and it's bringing out the ugly competitor in me.

6. Another lofty goal I have for 2012 is to teach my children to appreciate the non-chain restaurant. We went to Denver on Monday afternoon and when it came time to choose a place for dinner our family was divided against itself. John and I eventually used our veto power to override the kids' unoriginal chain choices and we ended up finding a fabulous Mexican dive that has the potential to become our new favorite. Score one for live! live! live!

7. Just ripped this photo from Moriah's blog! She was in town last week and we met for lunch. We've been blog friends for a LONG time and it's always fun to get to see her when she comes to Colorado to see her family. I think her kids loved the snow!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Twenty Twelve.

I love love love turning my calendar page to a new month but there is something even more exciting about hanging a brand new calendar with twelve months of blank space ahead. I am genuinely excited about what 2012 might hold for us!

I actually do make goals for each year and while I didn't openly share mine last year, I'm proud to say made significant progress towards each one. The only one that I totally flaked on was "learn to make really good buffalo wings". Shoot! That one will get bumped to 2012 along with some others that I'm not going to jinx by sharing.

We had a great time on New Year's Eve. We got together with friends and ate decadent food and played hysterical games! I LOVE to laugh with friends! I made both of these recipes over the weekend and both were a hit and too yummy not to share. Blue Cheese Bacon Dip and Stuffed MushroomsYou're welcome!

John and I started the new year off with a climb up the Manitou Incline.
We've never done this hike together so that was kinda fun. Climbing up was the easy part. Going down was HORRIBLE because most of Barr Trail looked like this--that's icepack not fluffy snow. I took my trax but left them in the car because I didn't want to carry them on the hike up. That was a stupid, stupid mistake. I fell once on the way down and it wasn't pretty! It usually takes me about 35-40 minutes to walk/jog back down but it took us 1.5 hours yesterday. Anyway, it was a fun albeit treacherous start to the new year!
Other than that, we've been eating, watching football, eating, playing games (we love Just Dance for the Wii!), eating, and I think today we're going to get out for one last hurrah before John goes back to work. We've LOVED having him home with us. It's going to be sad to send him off to work on Wednesday after twelve days of family togetherness.

I mentioned in my last post that I'd share my word from 2011.
My word was: SHIFT
It means a slight change in position, direction, or tendency.
I definitely saw a shift in priorities, relationships, finances, and parenting this year. On top of that, I picked up a part-time job that shifted the structure of my days a bit.

I also mentioned that we came up with a family slogan for the year of twenty-twelve. It's live! live! live!
John blogged about it here (and he says things much more poetically than I do) but basically, we want to live life and enjoy it to it's fullest this year. I think we're already off to a good start. Happy New Year!!!