My Yes Day

Last week, Lil O and I enjoyed her Yes Day.  Alas, yesterday was my Yes Day and I savored every moment of it.

Here's a recap.....

After a walk with Jedi in the early morning, I did some work on Upcycled Education's cycling team with my sidekick, a big mug of Earl Grey tea in this sweet mug Lil O painted for me.  Does anyone else love Earl Grey with a hint of honey and cream?  Ahhh, delightful.

Our big outing for my Yes Day: a mom-daughter-puppy mountain bike ride.  Lil O is sometimes not 100% jazzed about mountain biking especially long distances.  Actually, up until I took a two-day mountain bike clinic with the Yeti Betis this summer, I wasn't thrilled myself.  But, on a Yes Day there is no complaining or saying "no" thus, off we went to bike.  I chose a trail with a distance and terrain that was very doable for kids and sweet puppies.

And just look at this scenery?  Come on.  Mother Nature is out-doing herself.

Jedi sometimes would follow us or sometimes lead.  He was very tired after our two-hour ride.  Let's just say the rest of the day, Jedi napped.  Maybe that's his idea of a great Yes Day.

Mr. UpCyclist always comes home nice and dirty from a ride.  Now, it was our turn.  Did I mention he was out-of-town for my Yes Day?  He missed all the fun.  By the way, you know I am thumb challenged.  Look at my hand below.  Is that a hand or a drumstick from a chicken?  I may never be a hand model.

There aren't many chains stores or restaurants in Breckenridge, but there is a 7-11 right outside of town.  Lil O loves their slurpees and boy, did she earn one.  I really can't do a slurpee.  Three sips and I'm done.  This adorable straw we paid an extra 99 cents for, however, might change my mind.

After a quick stop at home to feed Jedi and grab lunch, we headed over to the Sunday Market.  Would you believe this was our first time this year at the market?  We've been here for almost seven weeks.  Oh, and PS - I've decided I don't need to go back to the Sunday Market with Jedi.  I proceeded to spend most of my time at the market yanking him away from all the fun foods they sell there.  Not Yes Day or dog-friendly at all.

On the walk home, as we walk everywhere in Breckenridge, it poured.  I am talking full, intense down pour.  Apparently, Mother Nature is making up for her early summer drought that helped fuel all those Colorado wildfires.  It proceeded to rain for the rest of my Yes Day.  No problem, I've got plans.

Plan #1:  Let's read (or nap, in Jedi's case).  Lil O is finishing a Junie B. Jones book.  Me?  I'm catching up with the rest of the literate world and reading the Hunger Games trilogy. Lovin' it.

Plan #2:  After an afternoon of reading and checking in on the Olympics, Lil O and I head out for a dinner date at the Briar Rose, a local steakhouse.  Lil O can't believe you need a reservation most nights to dine there.  And as she exclaimed, "They make the best Shirley Temples!"  I swear every older person in the place gave me that all-knowing-sweet-smile-look when they saw us dining together sans anyone else.  Lil O made a great date.  I wish I could have taped our conversation.

The food at the Briar Rose is sooooo tasty both for adults and kids.  I felt a little silly snapping a photo of our meal, but that's the sacrifice I make for this sweet blog.  Ha!

Plan #3:  This is a little known public fact about me.  I adore anything John Denver.  Yep, you heard me.  John Denver.  I. love. his. music.  And, I'm proud.  If I could only have a handful of CDs in my collection, JD's greatest hits would be one of them.  When I lived in Aspen after college, I used to wait on John Denver at the restaurant where I worked.  He was always so cheerful in his one-piece, white ski suit.  I was totally bummed - picture crying - when he passed away in a plane crash in 1997.

To culminate my Yes Day, Lil O and I went to a John Denver tribute concert in town and had front row seats by luck.  The concert was a benefit for this amazing organization, Domus Pacis (House of Peace) which provides free vacation housing in Breckenridge (and surrounding areas) to families who have a loved one battling cancer.

If you like John Denver, you would have been proud of the John Adams Band.  They played two long sets and kept JD's music authentic and alive.  It felt like a huge sing-along to an almost sold-out crowd.  The band recently played at Red Rocks with a full orchestra.  I need to see that.  Red Rocks, full orchestra, John Denver.  Sounds like heaven to me.  We had to quickly leave at the end of the concert as Lil O was sooooo sleepy at 10pm.

Remember what Lil O looked like the day after her Yes Day.  Well, things look pretty much the same after my Yes Day with the exception of some new hair bling, which you can't really see in the right-hand photo.  PS - Will you remind me to delete these photos before Lil O is a teenager?  I don't think she will appreciate all these sleeping shots on the World Wide Web.

And what do I look like after my Yes Day?  Happy, refueled and thankful.  Oh, and bundled up.  It was 45 degrees on my morning walk with Jedi this morning.

When's your Yes Day?


Fancy Hands {for Tech Tuesday}

Technically, it is not Tuesday.  But, since being in Colorado all summer, everyday feels like a Saturday or Sunday.  Tuesday never seems to roll around.  Plus, "Fancy Hands for Tech Friday" lacked alliteration.

Thus, today I declare Tech Tuesday.  Cue drum roll and spotlight, please.

Fancy Hands image

Fancy Hands is on my wish list of smart services to try.  How fantastic that I could hire a personal assistant and ask them to do random tasks for me from afar.  Sister or Lori, if you are reading, I think Fancy Hands could be your new BFF.  You both are very busy gals.

The price structure is based on how many requests you make of your new assistant each month.  If you use Basecamp, which you know I adore from this post here, you can use your existing Basecamp account to assign tasks to Fancy Hands.  For you non-Basecamp users, you can make assistant requests via your phone, email or by using the web.  Could it be any easier? 

Fancy Hands Pricing

All the assistants are US-based and from what I can tell, most of the requests involve scheduling, light research, simple problem-solving, and sending flowers to your mom on her birthday so you look like a rock star for remembering kind-of-stuff.  Fancy Hands has examples of real requests, like the ones below, to get you in the requesting mood.  Helpful, no?

Fancy Hands examples

Fancy Upcyclists, get fancy with Fancy Hands. I'd love to hear your fanciful thoughts about them.



Yes Day with Lil O

Yes Day!

As some of you saw on Facebook, Lil O and I enjoyed a Yes Day yesterday.  It was her Yes Day, so I had to be agreeable to everything she said and wanted to do.  Thankfully the day was completely enjoyable for both of us with only one meltdown (details below).  The idea of a Yes Day came from this very sweet book, Yes Day!

Lil O's Yes Day all started with a 7am wake up and watching two episodes of Cake Boss on her iPad.  She is in love with Cake Boss lately and some show about picking out wedding dresses.  Is this foreshadowing?  Help me.

After polishing off a giant plate of ham and eggs - her favorite - we walked into town.  Did I mention we are still in Colorado?  Oh, the joys of summer!

Graciously, Lil O worked in the dog park for her puppy brother, Jedi.  Here Jedi is with three new dog friends at the dog park.  The dogs in Colorado are so great together.  They just play and run and mouth wrestle and play and run and mouth wrestle.  Jedi is usually tired after 30-60 minutes of this frolicking.

The huge highlight of Lil O's Yes Day was painting pottery.  Sure, we can do this at home in Maryland, but we save it for our visits to Colorado as we like the local pottery painting studio in town.  I painted a plate (as our condo needs more fun serving platter options) and Lil O painted an owl bank.  Isn't it great that puppy Jedi can come into the pottery place, too?  I swear he slept the entire time by our feet.  Sweet puppy....

After a busy morning in town at the dog park and painting pottery, we came back to our condo to have lunch and watch more Cake Boss episodes.  In this photo, Lil O is on her second Simply Fruit roll-up of the day.  Got to love a Yes Day.....

After lunch, we played games in the condo and then went back into town to go shopping.  I told Lil O she could pick out one item to buy for her Yes Day.  That is when the meltdown occurred.  She was sooooooo overwhelmed with her choices that she cried in town.  "There is just so much that I want."  Poor girl.  I tried to help her narrow the choices.

Lil O finally settled, after 10 minutes of tears, on this bow and arrow set.  I was pretty psyched as it reminds me of Kat from the Hunger Games.  Lil O said it reminds her of Merida from Brave.  We both left our favorite toy store, Peak-a-boo Toys, happy.  Her Yes Day was back on track.

I know this next pic looks a little disgusting.  It is Lil O's favorite meal in Breckenridge (or any town for that matter) - Udon noodles with Chicken.  I should add a side note that I was asked to pick out ALL the vegetables that came in the soup.  Lil O only wanted one measly water chestnut to try.  She went to town on this dish and didn't leave a single piece of chicken or noodle.

This was my fortune from the meal. I hope it applies to Lil O, too.  You know I adore her.

As the Yes Day wound down, we shared milkshakes and watched an old Jennifer Lopez movie, Maid in Manhattan.  Since Mr. UpCyclist is away, we are embracing a different chick flick each night until the Olympics begin.  If you have any kid-friendly recommendations that are on Netflix, please let me know.  The pickings look slim, in my opinion.

Our last activity of the night at 9pm was playing a few rounds of Lil O's favorite new game (Thanks, Mom and Sebastian!).  I must say, I really like this game, Sleeping Queens, too.  And it was invented by a little girl and her family.  Neat, huh?

And just in case, you want to see what the day after a Yes Day looks like, her is our little beauty.  Continued sweet dreams, munchkin......

PS - Wake up soon, though. We are going hiking with Robin and Jedi today.

My Yes Day is next week!  Yippee!


Upcycled Tees {with Crafterhours}

You might have remembered my collaboration with Susan from Crafterhours last year to upcycle some old tees.  If you missed that post, feel free to enjoy it here.  Well, my love for this project and style has not decreased.  If anything, I've been purposely choosing boxy, men's tees to refashion.

Case in point.  This one from the Firecracker 50 - a mountain bike race in Colorado (photo below).  No, I didn't compete in the race, but I did volunteer for the event and calf marked.  Please don't make me get into the specifics of calf marking.  Just ask one of your triathlon pals or sporty friends, K?

Upcycled Tee

Anywho, I love, love, love this simple tee refashion and Susan just published a tutorial that is no-sew.  Yep.  You don't even have to sew or own a sewing machine to make these bad boys.  Plus, how cute are you going to look this summer?

Adorable, I tell ya.


PS - If you don't have a good, boxy men's tee, sneak one out of your brother, boyfriend, husband or dad's drawer.  Aim for the bottom of their stack; those are the ones they won't miss ;)

Canicross: New to me

(Lil O and our canicross instructor ride while Pup Jedi pulls and Mr. U gleefully runs)

We stumbled upon a Canicross class near our place in Colorado.  Puppy Jedi really should be over the age of one to "pull," but we decided to harness him up for a quick ride to see if he (and we) liked it.  We do!  All of us - human and pup.  Now, Lil O (and I) want a Diggler to ride.  And we think we found a new sport for all seasons (skijoring, bikejoring and canicross).

Too fun,


Puppy Jedi Scare

Puppy Jedi has been having one heck of a great and crazy summer.  Colorado is about as dog-friendly as they come.  On most given days, Jedi meets at least 5-50 dogs (no lie on the 50 part!) and he plays with groups of dogs weekly at the local dog park and in the town river.

Jedi sleeping

Jedi learned to swim two weeks ago.  Lil O and I were hooting and hollering!  Mr. UpCyclist missed it.  Sorry, love.  This past week, we went on an off-leash hike with two of Jedi's dog friends, Max and Casey.  In Denver, Jedi got to explore the off-leash dog park that is one of those "roaming" dog parks - which means dogs literally can run, explore and just be on 20 plus acres.  Or maybe 50 acres.  Let's just say the park was huge and all for dogs (Memphis has the same type of roaming dog park, too).  Incredible.

Maryland needs roaming dog parks.

We did have a huge scare with Jedi and had to rush him to the local vet.  Jedi consumed pot.  Yes, you heard me.  Pot.  Mary Jane. Weed.  Call it what you will, but the vet thinks he did.  I was flabbergasted.  It is not like we have pot in our house.  Come on.  Where did he get into it?

The local vet told me he either consumed it in the wild or from something - like a pot cookie.  She said she sees one dog a day who consumed pot and half the time the owners have no idea how (like us).  The day Jedi became high he did consume something near our local dumpster.  He ate the "whatever" too quickly for me to get it out of his mouth.  Perhaps, it was a baked good laced with pot.

Needless to say, he isn't allowed close to the dumpster anymore.  And I have scoured our neighborhood for pot plants.  I haven't found the source yet.

Anyway, he was fine until about 5pm that day when he was napping in a puddle of urine.  At first, Lil O and I thought, "Crazy puppy!  He peed and slept in it."  But, when he woke and couldn't sit up, was totally lethargic, wobbly and breathing deeply, we knew something was up.  Urine was running out of him and he just gazed into the distance.

I immediately called the vet who asked about his pot consumption.  At first, I thought she had lost her mind.  Where would he get pot?  But, she said all the symptoms are common for such consumption.  I was baffled and slightly offended.  However, Jedi clearly needed help as he was acting like he was on death's doorstep.

We brought Jedi to the vet with the help of a friend (in case you are wondering where Mr. UpCyclist is - he was out-of-town and had our only car).  We got to the vet in about 30 minutes and the vet remained certain he had consumed pot based on his behavior, heart rate, temperature and slight jumpiness.

Really?  I was still not a believer.  Maybe Jedi had giardia?  An infection?  Something.

The vet did some blood work which all came back in the "normal" range.  She gave him some IV fluids to get him through the night, so he wouldn't dehydrate.  She told us that he would sleep off the highness and wake up fine by morning.

Guess what?  By 1am, he was fine.  I heard him grooming himself about that time.  Probably wondering why his fur smelled like urine.  And then, I took him outside for a normal pee and poo - no wobbliness or anything.  Then, he curled up next to me and went back to sleep.

When we awoke around 7am, he was 100% his old self.  No sign of death or craziness from the day before.

Can you believe?  Our puppy was high.  I remain baffled and embarrassed.

What kind of mom am I?

Stay healthy and safe, sweet blog reader.

I still can't believe.


Critical Reflection

Just because I am lame and not posting about anything education-related, doesn't mean we all have to starve?  Thankfully, my good friend, Carey, recently started a blog about critical reflection and teaching & learning.  Would you believe Carey is an economist and has a Ph.D. in Public Policy?  Could she be any smarter?

Did I mention she cares about students and learning?  And is a fantastic writer?

You don't have to be a teacher to appreciate her blog posts so far.

See for yourself here.



Upcycled Puzzle Thank You Cards

Well, hello there.  How have you been?  Lil O and I are literally "working" at Starbucks this afternoon to take advantage of their free wifi.  We keep drinking and nibbling to earn our seats.  I must say, the summer has been lovely so far and thus, you haven't heard too much from me.  The wildfires in Colorado are slowly becoming contained and thankfully, they haven't affected our area.  We could seriously use some rain; it is soooo dry this summer.

In order to not lose you and this blog completely (I realize I might be getting close), I've including a tutorial below to make some nifty upcycled puzzle thank you cards.  I'm sure there is someone you'd like to thank or write to this summer.  Plus, this is perfect for the kiddos or if you are working at a summer camp.


Step one:  Deconstruct some boxes, so you leave just the fun, colorful faces of them.  You can tell we heart Trader Joe's.

Step two:  Write your thank you note.  Lil O's school only teaches cursive writing (yay, Montessori education).  Thus, she prefers to write mainly in cursive, though she also knows how to print.  By the way, my cursive writing is atrocious.  Lil O is always pointing that out to me.  Thanks.

Step three:  Cut up your note into pieces.  We think big chunky pieces work best.

Step four:  Mix up the pieces.

Step five:  Put the pieces in an envelope and send.  Our cards only required regular postage as they were not bulky at all.

Ta-da!  Easy, upcycled puzzle thank you cards.

Do you have any nifty upcycled thank you card ideas?  I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.

OK, Upcyclist, go enjoy the summer.  I'll write soon about our scare with puppy Jedi.  Thankfully, he is ok....