The Colorado adventure


Today Bethany turned 21. That is hard to believe, but there it is. Grace had to work in the morning and then I took her to River watch to do her site test (we passed.) Then we packed up in the car, picked up Meskiel and headed to The Bronze Empire. Bethany wanted to do hot pot for dinner and it was really neat. We each had a burner for our soup, we ordered food to share, cooked our own soup and ate it decked out in the sauces we wanted.

Bethany had some apple sake.

It’s amazing how full you can get on soup. Back at home we had rum cake and chai cupcakes and she opened a few cards and gifts. That rum cake was so good (I realize now I didn’t get a picture of it.) Bethany and Meskiel went to Rock Bottom so she could have another birthday drink (M drove.) Tomorrow she is going to get her new license. Normally I have a b-day photo shoot, so I might get some new pics of her next week before she leaves to go back to Mesa.

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Monday, Tuesday

It’s back to school, but not really back. This week is for kids who are behind to get caught up, so if you are up to date or don’t want to redo any assignments, then it’s a slack week. Both Grace and Hannah are exempt from their English finals, sometimes the teachers let kids who have an ‘A’ skip the final, not always, but sometimes. Grace did have two assignments to do in Chemistry and Forensics and Hannah had a History paper, but other than a few things here and there, the week is pretty clear.

I went by the library and then took Jack to the dog park, he had fun but I had to wash his feet when we got home.

Bethany and Hannah went to Main Event and Grace spent some time painting. Tuesday I had a newbie chat (of course no one showed up), I did not feel good, My head hurt, my stomach hurt and my knees hurt. When we got home Jack was ready to go for a walk, so I sucked up and took him to the park.

Grace spent the afternoon making rum cake and chai cupcakes for Bethany’s b-day tomorrow. Hannah had a CSI Police Explorer meeting and is hoping to get her uniform by next month.

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Friday and a slow weekend

Friday we went to the Thunderbirds show at the library. I can’t believe we haven’t seen this guy with his birds before now. We’ve seen his trick dogs and his trick hogs and now his trick birds. They weren’t always so good for him. One flew off into the audience, one flew on top of a speaker and one knocked over the perch as he landed on it (not really his fault though.) Cockatoo skating here, working a puzzle here, macaws flying here.

We went to The Feedery at Grow and Gather for lunch. It just opened, it has a cafe, coffee shop and small market. It was pretty good.

Saturday we went to try out Slim Chickens, something that we saw in TX, it won’t change your life but the fried mushrooms were the bomb. I liked that they have 4 dipping sauce and gravy and that you can flavor the wings or tenders with 10 sauces. They also had really good mason jar desserts.

Jack thought we were going to the store for sample Saturday, turns out he got a bath.

Sunday we went to church then got out for a walk along the Platte.

New week- school, newbie/co-op chat, Police explorers, RW site test, Bethany turns 21, stock show parade, dog-sitting, work at church, jazz at Bemis, church.

Dinners this week- bacon, potato, corn chowder with peasant bread, butter chicken with fry bread and sweet potatoes, crockpot Tex-Mex chicken stew, B-day dinner (hot pot), orange beef with fried rice and broccoli, shrimp scampi over angel-hair pasta, garlic beef with stuffed collard greens and sweet potato hash.

Sesame-Orange Beef and Veggie Stir-Fry

3 oranges
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
1/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
2 tablespoons low-sugar marmalade
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
cooking spray
3/4 pound beef shoulder tender, cut into bite-size strips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 carrot, julienned into 2-inch pieces
6 green onions, bias-sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

-Remove 1 tablespoon zest and 1/4 cup juice from 1 orange. Peel and section remaining 2 oranges.
-Bring water and brown rice to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes.
-Stir together zest, orange juice, broth, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, marmalade, sesame oil, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in cornstarch.
-Coat a wok or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add vegetable oil and carrot to the wok; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add green onions and bell pepper; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry for 30 seconds more.
-Return beef to the wok. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add to the wok. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbling. Add orange sections; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
-Divide rice among 4 plates; top with beef mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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In 2020 I resolve to pray more, walk, hike, plan field trips, take time for myself, learn something new, go on date nights with my hubby, volunteer, teach my kids, let my kids do things without me, keep my house tidy (but not exasperatingly clean), take more pictures, make some art, dance with joy and have 0 hospital stays.

We put up all the Christmas stuff this morning, I cleaned up a bit more, changed the mantle, swept and cleared the table and banister. Hannah made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and then she, Malia and Grace went to Main Event to bowl. When they got home Grace went with us to our New Year’s hike at Phillip Miller park in Castle Rock.

Then back home to listen to jazz, read and book dinner.

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Sunday, Monday, New Year’s Eve

Sunday we went to church – A growing, vibrant spiritual life is one that says ‘Yes’ to God more often than it says ‘No.’

Then Hannah went to pick up her 2 brown dumbo rats. They are named Linguine and Mousse.

We spent the day cleaning up and watching TV. Hannah spent the day trying to get her rats to eat out of her hand.

Monday we dropped Jack at daycare and went on a date to Stanley marketplace. First up, lunch at Comida.

Then, Camp Christmas.

New Year’s Eve was spent cleaning and tidying up.

We took a drive to Castle Rock and walked around Festival park while Jack shoveled in the snow.

I was pretty worn out after that. We relaxed and watched some movies until the 10pm coverage of the NYC ball drop. James and I didn’t stay awake after that, but the girls made it till midnight and tasted with apple spritzers.

I’m most proud of the fact that in 2019 (November 1-December 31) I walked 101.16 miles, walking every day in those two months except 1 and every walk ws outside (except 1.) I walked 48.6 miles in December. I’m mad I didn’t beat my November miles (53.5), but oh well. I walked so much I wore out my knee shot from November. I can’t get another until February. I’m going to ask for an ortho referral to see if I can get a Hyaluronic acid injection (rooster comb.) I have heard it can last up to 2 years and that would be amazing. So, I’m still walking, but it’s going to be painful for a bit (but I spent 10 years in daily pain, so I can handle a month or two.)


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Amarillo by nightfall, Colorado by day

We stopped at my Mom’s on the way out to drop off some stuff, pick up some stuff and say goodbye. We headed out and stopped at Buc-ee’s, that place was packed!

There was a lot of fog and we had to keep behind people so we knew where the road was. We got to our hotel and ordered room service and watched some TV before conking out.

The next morning we made a pit stop at Cadillac ranch, we were so close that we had to.

The drive was fine until we hit the Colorado border.

And that’s when the fun began. Snow coming down, blizzard like winds, people going too fast. We were 10 minutes behind every wreck all the way home. From cars sliding off the road to 2 flipped cars to a jeep that slid into come barrels on a bridge and ended up on top of a cement barrier.

We unloaded, got dinner started, let Jack play outside and watched some old movies for a bit. It’s nice to vacation, but it’s always nice to come home.

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Wow, we had really great weather the whole trip, I’m so glad that we were able to do the dolphin tour and do walks on the beach because today dawned foggy and windy. We went to ride the ferry and it was really foggy on the Galveston side, but blue skies and sun on the bolivar side.

Bolivar lighthouse.

We dropped at puppy daycare and went to lunch at Pappasitos, oh they are so good.

We picked up Jack after lunch and drove to Molina’s to get pralines, these are so good.

Driving back it was very foggy.

We finished the puzzle! Three pieces were kind of smooshy because Jack tried to eat them, but we managed to push them in.

We had dinner then packed up as much as we could. Tomorrow it’s back to driving, heading to Amarillo.

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We opened up presents before heading to brunch at the San Luis. We didn’t get Jack anything, so I put his ball in a bag and he had fun ripping it open. Some of the presents from then and when we got home. Grace got Hannah a police hat signed by the Greenwood Village police, James got cup of Jack coffee, I got Frida earrings, lotion, a bracelet, Bethany got a purse, earrings, cash. It was fun going round the room.

Brunch at the San Luis was so cool, lots of food, decorated trees, a gingerbread lighthouse, live music and endless mimosas.

I helped Hannah make latkes and we pulled out the gingerbread dough and made our own shapes (we forgot a cookie cutter.)

There were afternoon movies, hard work on the puzzle, a 5D shark movie and beach walks.

Hannah found a snail on the flowers outside.

My Mom, Tony and the girls went to the Pleasure pier to play around for a bit.

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Christmas Eve

We had breakfast then went to the Strand to walk around and look at the shops.

Getting shakes and candy at La Kings is kind of a tradition.

I found the perfect mural for taking some family photos.

We went back home and Kevin and James went to the store, the girls watched TV and did the puzzle with my Mom and Jack and I went to one of the island cemeteries.

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First ball of the day.

Today was dolphin boat tour day! Jack wore his life jacket and when he realized he wasn’t going to swim, he was not as nervous.

That’s the Elissa.

It was very windy in the front of the boat, but we wanted to have a good seat to spot the dolphins.

Pelican island and Sea wolf park.

Back at the house we worked on a puzzle and my Mom and Kevin showed up (we rented the downstairs unit of the house for them.) Duke and Jack got along fine.

Back to the beach. We were only a few blocks from the beach and the Pleasure pier, so that was nice.

Sunset before going to Fish Tales to eat dinner.

The good news was we wore out both of the dogs.

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