Cell cookies


I went to NIA class and had a good time. We’re almost done with the Dragon routine and we’re moving into a routine that has a lot of Indian music in it (think Bollywood.) When I got home we did some school, then went to the park (alone again.) Hannah practiced her ukulele and Grace drew and we read one chapter of the Helen Keller bio. When we got home it was time to make cell cookies. We do this every few years because who couldn’t use a refresher on parts of a cell that you can eat?

Hannah wanted to try Wed night youth group, so I took her and stayed for the women’s group. They just started on a book about fervent prayer last week, so I didn’t miss much. Our talk was about how the enemy distracts us and how we need to focus our prayers to provide stability in the world. It also hooked back into the sermon from Sunday, if the world says you are (fill in the blank) what does God say about it. Hannah had a good time and wants to go back, so we will.




Bethany had to work a different shift today, so she kept the girls busy playing games and watching TV until I said that we needed to do some school. We were going to the arcade today, but the girls didn’t feel like it. It was also Talk Like a Pirate Day, but Krispy Kreme wasn’t doing anything and all Long John’s was offering was a deep fried twinkie, so we didn’t dress or talk like a pirate at all. After lunch I ran errands while Grace made a cake. Her youth pastor and his girlfriend were coming over for dinner, I switched the tamale pie to tonight (because it sounded nicer than spaghetti.) I came back home and cleaned the house, it took 3 swiffer pads to sweep the front room, kitchen and living room. I started making dinner while listening to some jazz. Timothy and Sara arrived right one time, we had dinner and great conversation, then we ate cake. Timothy can play the ukulele, which surprised Hannah (he was very good!) He works at a Christian radio station (so we talked about when James worked for KSBJ.) He likes the old Veggietales and lots of old Christian rock bands, though he kept saying ‘when I was a kid’ which wasn’t that long ago. Here’s Grace’s melted ice cream cone cake. She saw a cake pop recipe too made with mini cones that looked cute.

Fish hatchery


I wish that homeschoolers would show up to stuff. I went to the trouble of making a field trip at the Leadville fish hatchery, invited 300 people from 2 groups and no one came. I know it’s a 2 hour drive, but we took our time, stopped at Officer’s gulch to see the leaves and stopped in historic Leadville for a snack and to walk around.

We had a picnic at the hatchery and looked at the huge trout in the outdoor pond.

A chipmunk eating and running around.

The fish runs.

The hatchery is the second oldest in the country (Federal fish hatchery.) The building was built in 1889.

Our tour guide started us in this room. So, right now they are raising only Greenback cutthroat trout (a native species to Colorado that in endangered.) They hand squeeze the eggs from females (they are under anesthesia) to mix with milt (male fish sperm.) The male fish sperm only last 23 seconds – so they don’t add it until they are super ready. It also explains why these fish aren’t reproducing well in the wild, imagine a whole host of factors – getting the right riffle to lay eggs in, the right oxygen mix and water temperature and then finding a male who can come fertilize the eggs within that short time span. It works much better in the hatchery.

The next room was more a history of fish hatcheries, fish trains, the old wooden pipes they used (and used until recently when PVC was laid in the middle of the wooden pipe to transport water.) They used to hand fertilize back then too, and make fish food from grating liver and wild game.

They had fish hatching tables back then too, but they were a bit more complicated and you had to do the math.

A water level marker.

Then we got to go back into the part of the hatchery were the fish were growing from fry to adults. Unless you have a tour guide you can’t go see this part. Baby fry.

A fish run full of 5 ” trout.

The bins of fry are on one side, the Moms and Dads are on the other, separated in the runs.

They crossed a Greenback and a Rainbow trout and got some albino trout.

This multi-filtration system is filtering out iron and nitrogen as well as mixing the water to form more oxygen.

Scanning one of the fish. All of these fish are chipped and you can trace the fry to a certain Mom or Dad. The chips will be used when they are released to check on them at a later date – hopefully finding fish without a chip means that they bred in the wild.

The hatchery also raises boreal toads to send to Laramie, WY. These toads are endangered too.

After the tour we got to see one section of the old water pipes made from wood (the metal rings are to hold the wood in place when the water pressure builds up.) The 1890 pipes were replaced in the 40’s with new wood and though it now contains PVC inside the wood is still good.

Our last thing to do was to go feed the fish in the pond, they were hungry!

We stopped a few times on the way home to take pictures.

Weekend – festival, ukulele, church, Fall drive


Saturday was a disjointed day. Grace went with the youth group to the Summerset festival and spent all day there. The rest of us went to lunch together, then Hannah and I headed out to the Aurora history museum for a free ukulele lesson while James walked and Bethany wrote. When we got back home we didn’t have long to wait until Grace was ready to be picked up. We did a pizza night and made our own pizzas and watched back to back Father Brown’s.

Sunday Grace went to her friend’s church, Hannah went to her class and I went to church. We started a new series called ‘Hello my name is’ talking about who we are in Christ as opposed to who we say we are on a daily basis. This came out better as a poem (of course.)

My Name

My name is despair,

I am hurt

but in Christ I am healed.

I am weak

But my name is strength.

I feel worthless

But Jesus calls me priceless.

My name is lost




and forsaken

but He gives me a new name,

saves me,

befriends me,

gives me rest,

refreshes me

and cherishes me

I am heartbroken,

But God mends me from the inside out.







The girls wanted to stay home instead of going on a Fall drive, so James and I headed to Old Colorado City to fuel up on French onion soup at La Baguette before continuing on our drive from 24 to 285.

It was sunny, then cloudy, then sunny again. As we were driving we could see the storm on the other side passing by. We were far enough back that we never encountered it.

The aspen as changing color and we found lots of nice picture spots.

I made vegetable soup for dinner and after some TV we all went to bed early.

The week – fish hatchery tour, Hyperspace arcade, talk like a pirate day, park day, cell cookies, trying to burn wood using Archimedes heat ray parabola, Creativity club, youth group, Hudson co-op, NIA, ukulele lesson, school.

Dinners – teriyaki chicken with snap peas and pad thai noodles, spaghetti and meatballs, tamale pie, lemon basil chicken with summer squash, pesto stuffed pork chops with asparagus, chili with green chile cornbread.

Tamale pie

cooking spray
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced poblano peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper
(If you want it to be even better ditch the boxed cornbread and make mine from scratch – recipe below.)
2 (8.5 ounce) boxes dry corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy®)
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk, divided
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
8 ounces frozen corn, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
Cook and stir ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until meat starts to brown and release juices, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in poblano peppers, salt, salsa, oregano, and chipotle powder; cook and stir until seasoned beef is crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
Mix one package of corn muffin mix in a large bowl with 1 egg and 1/3 cup of milk. Whisk to combine. In a separate large bowl, mix the second package of corn muffin mix with 1 egg, 1/3 cup of milk and half the Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
Spread the prepared corn muffin mixture without cheese into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle corn over the muffin mix, followed by remaining half of the cheeses, then the beef mixture.
Spoon the corn muffin mix with cheese on top of the beef and carefully spread over the top with a fork, leaving about half an inch from the edges of the pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.

Johnny cake cornbread (you can use this in place of the boxed stuff – obviously don’t bake it as directed, use it as the above recipe calls for.)

1/2 C sugar
1/2 C oil
1 egg
1 C Sour milk (add a few drops of vinegar to the milk to sour it, or don’t; it really doesn’t matter)
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 C + 2 T flour
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 t baking powder

Cream sugar, oil and egg. Dissolve soda in milk. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mix with milk. Stir until just mixed. Pour into an 8X8 pan (I use an iron skillet) and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes on until it tests done (knife in the middle comes out clean.)

Pesto Stuffed Pork Chops

3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chilled basil pesto
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
4 bone-in pork loin chops, 1 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Mix feta cheese, basil pesto, and pine nuts in a bowl. Use the tip of a sharp boning or paring knife to cut a 3-inch slit in the side of each pork chop, 2 inches deep and 1/4-inch away from the bone, to make a pocket for stuffing. Stuff pork chops with pesto filling and secure with toothpicks.
Mix black pepper, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme in a small bowl; rub both sides of each chop with the spice mix. Place chops into a shallow baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven until chops are browned and stuffing is hot, about 40 minutes. An instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing should read 145 degrees F. Brush chops with balsamic vinegar and bake until vinegar forms a glaze, another 5 minutes.


CRUSH fest


Grace did an Agi Science lab and paper, a quiz in Geometry and something else….Hannah worked on her English paper, I did the dishes, let the dog out and looked over some stuff, then we headed downtown. We had lunch at SAME cafe’ – where the food is always good and good for you.

Then we went to the CRUSH fest. It’s a street art/graffiti festival with people coming in from lots of states to participate. It gives the RiNo area a facelift (and the alleyways), but it did make some of our favorite backgrounds disappear. But, there is lots of new art to check out, so….

(RTD group)

(Wiley Big Yoga)


(@detour303 @patrickkanemcgregor)

(@detour303 @patrickkanemcgregor)



(Denver Rock Drill)

(Denver Rock Drill)


It’s running through this weekend, though not all of the art will be finished by then (I think, we saw a lot of blank walls today.) But, even if you don’t make it by there for a while, the art will be there for a longer time. But, if you go now you could see the artists in action.

Plus the backgrounds make for great photo ops, of people and LPS.

(Big Yoga @ Wiley)

(Big Yoga @ Wiley)

(Big Yoga @ Wiley)

(Big Yoga @ Wiley)

(@detour303 @patrickkanemcgregor)

Grace made pumpkin cupcakes for youth group and we got to see some pics of Joel’s troop doing mass casualty exercises.




I went to NIA this morning and by a happy surprise it was free day (sometimes I know about the free days, sometimes not.) I was late though, I haven’t been to the Wed class in a while and they moved it from ER to SR, but I only missed the warm up song. I got home and the girls were watching TV (while the teacher’s away….) Hannah did a math lesson and English writing section. Grace was trying to do Geometry, but the Internet was bring wonky. So, I read another chapter of Helen Keller and we went by Chipotle to use our library BOGO coupon. It was park day, but no one showed up. The girls at their lunch, then walked around. Hannah and I practiced some songs on the ukulele, then I took a walk.

We packed up early and headed to the library, where I shouldn’t have gotten any of these books because I still have a few to read and 4 holds coming in…..but I got them anyway.

Our math stuff came in, here is a video showing off our new manipulatives.



After doing some school like this lesson about converse, inverse, conditional, biconditional and more statements and this lesson on single cell organisms, reading about the life of Helen Keller and reading about the Revolutionary war, we headed over to St. John’s for music at noon.

We liked the trumpet playing more than the organ playing.

Hannah tried to look like this carved face outside the church.


We saw some FB pics of what Joel’s troop had been up to that morning, practicing evacs over rough terrain.

Then we headed over to Civic center park to hand out bananas and water for Kindness Krewe. No one else showed up, so we didn’t feed too many people, water is heavy to carry and we only had 24 bottle and 20 bananas.

We didn’t even make one whole block before we were out of both. From there we went to LM’s because it was close and I needed to get some paper gift cards made into plastic ones. We dropped Grace at Gwen’s house to hang out for a bit, I made dinner, Hannah posed with Maisy and we watched a Father Brown.