Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Palm leaves wave
people yell praises to the King.
Hosanna!

The King will deliver us,
protect us,
free us.

But they only thought of earthly bounds,
they did not seek for their soul
and soon their praises
will turn to insults
hurled from broken hearts
because they didn’t see the soul saving grace
that would come from

Christ alone.

-L

Saturday James had to work at the office for a bit, I was reading, we watched some TV, went for a quick walk with Jack, tried to get treats at Petsmart but they aren’t doing treat Saturday right now. I could have cleaned something, but I didn’t.

Sunday I watched church on-line and James and Bethany took off for GJ. Mesa had said that kids could stay, but they changed their mind and said that everyone has to move out. So, they went to clean out her dorm, pack up and bring stuff back here. She’ll finish the year (like everyone else) on-line. The girls and I drove to Loveland to check out Boyd lake SP, they have a nice swim beach that seems like the buoys are pretty far out. They want to come back to swim in the Summer, but I’d rather check out Union reservoir in Boulder because they have a dog beach area.

We went by the cheese shop on the way home because they are hurting for business. If they close (after 40 years) before we get through this whole Covid 19 thing – I blame everyone. Grace and I finished our chalk on the driveway, Hannah’s spot was covered up by the car, so maybe she’ll get to it tomorrow.

We watched Buddy vs. Duff and talked to James before heading to bed.

To do this week – school, Spanish class, RiNo art walk, playing in the river, Citizen science project, hike, Zoom youth group, hike, looking at books at Bean Fosters, art, hike, drive, Easter! Citizen Science projects here. 

Dinners this week – Green chile sausage with elote corn, Hawaiian chicken with pineapple almond rice, Italian sausage with farfalle, butternut squash and spinach lasagna, garlic shrimp with corn on the cob, grilling stuff

Butternut squash and spinach lasagna

6 Cups cubed Butternut squash (about 1 medium squash)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
6 tablespoons butter
3 cloves minced or grated garlic
12 leaves fresh sage
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded gouda or fontina cheese
2 cups whole milk ricotta
2 cups shredded provolone
20 oz thawed and drained, or 4 cups fresh baby spinach frozen spinach
1 box no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
1 oz torn thinly sliced prosciutto (can omit)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. On a baking sheet, toss together the butternut squash, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the butter, garlic, sage, and rosemary, in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until the butter begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the sage and rosemary from the skillet. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly add the milk and broth, whisking until combined. Stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the gouda or fontina cheese and the spinach. Stir until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, mash the roasted butternut squash until mostly smooth. Stir in the ricotta. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 of the cheese sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 3-4 lasagna sheets. Spread with 1/2 the butternut squash mixture, and then another 1/4 of the cheese sauce, and a handful of provolone. Repeat the layering until all the squash and sauce have been used…don’t stress about making it perfect. Arrange the prosciutto on top, if using. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until the top has bubbled up and browned a bit. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday

Week 1 day 5 of pandemic schooling – Practical math quizzes, Environmental science unit test, Chemistry quiz, Algebra quiz, Engineering unit test, History reading, British Lit reading, Law and Order unit questions. James found Swiffer wet and dry pads at Home Depot – yay! Joel is coming home sometime today, he’s out of the Army and escaped NY before they clamped down on travel. We’re going on a food truck hunt for lunch, mac and cheese and funnel cakes. I made a sourdough starter, but it blew up overnight, I poured out some, but I think it’s messed up now. Just heard the dryer click off.

We found the Mac and Cheese truck (and the truck making funnel cakes right next to it) – yes, free! They are doing free meals every Friday, very nice of them.

How’s it going? Anyone ready to do this in the Fall? If you just screamed, you might be quarantine schooling.

Quarantine schooling: no friends, no field trips, learning is on-line or worksheets, no co-ops, no book clubs, no creativity club, no kindness krewe meetings, no dance in groups, no sports in groups, no band, no tours, no walking in groups, no ‘non-essential’ stores open. If you are blessed enough to have a computer and Internet (yeah, not everyone in the US does) you have access to the world, if not you are stuck with TV and the books you managed to check out of the library before it closed.

That is not ‘home schooling.’ This thing we’re doing – it’s new. None of us have ever done it.

I’ve been homeschooling for 23 years, (which only makes me an expert on my own children – not yours) I’ve been quarantine schooling for a week. It sucks because before this my kids had 2-3 hours of ‘school’ a day and then 1-3 activities almost every day. Theater shows, field trips, youth group, Police Explorers, co-ops, library events, art club, museum outings, after hours teen events, festivals, etc. (No, that’s not ‘normal homeschooling’ that’s our version, some people stay home more – we don’t.)

So, take a deep breath and feel better. You’ve got this, we’ve got this, we’re all in this together. This is not a race, we might all be quarantine schooling through the end of the year. If you need help, ask for it. If you have resources, share them. If you see advice…..well, there are a million ways to quarantine school (just like there are a million ways to homeschool) so do what works for your kids and leave the rest.

 

 

Week 1 day…4

Week 1 day…4? of pandemic schooling – without outings, library events, co-ops and field trips, I have lost track of days. Homeschooling is not a race, it’s like a roller coaster. We have the slow chugging up the hill days, then a whoosh of learning or activity, then a steady pace before chugging up the hill again. This week has been chugging. I wonder when the library will be open again…in other news Jack put a blueberry in his mouth, then spat it out on the floor and pushed it around with his nose.

I took Jack on a walk near Daniels park just as it started snowing. The elevation is a bit higher than our house, so the morning drizzle encased everything in ice, it was pretty.

I made this bread to go with our beef stew, I’ve had this recipe book for 27 years, I guess it’s time to try making more of the bread than just the 3 I usually make from it.

In other news, Joel made it out of the Army and New York and is coming home sometimes tomorrow.

April fools

Joke’s on us.

Week 1 day 3 of pandemic school musings – I created a new schedule for us: wake up, shower, put clothes on, eat food, take care of animals, do sit down school, eat food, get outside, learn one new thing, clean up your messes, make some art, read something, don’t watch too much TV, eat food, sleep, There are no times next to them and they don’t have to be done in that order (it’s pretty much what we always do, minus the afternoon activities.) Hannah is wondering if watching Psych counts as extra credit for Law and Order class. I’m also thinking that Animal Crossing might be worth computer/technology credit….I really, really want the golden curry from Thai Bistro, I wonder if they do takeout? It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so that’s nice.

What’s cooking Wednesday! Today Grace is continuing our Depression era baking and making a mock apple pie with Ritz crackers. Apparently people couldn’t afford a few apples, but a box of Ritz crackers was easy to come by.

Mock apple pie

Filling:
1 (14.1 oz.) package refrigerated pie dough
30-36 ritz crackers
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Topping (optional):
25 ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, cubed
Frozen whipped topping or whipped cream, garnish

Preheat oven to 400º F.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together water, sugar and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and cinnamon, and let cool 5 minutes.
Unroll pie dough and place in a standard pie pan, then fill with ritz crackers. Pour slightly cooled syrup mixture over crackers.
Optional: place second sheet of pie dough over filling, and seal and crimp edges. OR: whisk together crushed crackers, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly topping forms, then sprinkle over pie filling.
Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350º F and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy.

It was good and it did have the taste and texture of apple pie, which is weird.

River

Nut.

Grace and I went to the river to grab samples. It was a pretty day.

The water was pretty warm (for March) 63F, we might even go back next week when it’s 70 outside and wade around.

 

Poems

I wrote the following poem on Ash Wednesday, not knowing about the solitude that was coming. In light of the social distancing and stay at home orders, the almost certain medical and economic collapse coming, it is a reminder that light is coming.

Rest in the ash,
in the waiting.
Rest and refill,
for the wanting time.
Sift through the ash
and brokenness
becomes whole.
The gray night
dawns shimmering gold.
Fill up on the Word,
fill your soul.
Praise through the pain,
praise in the joy.
Like a tree planted
by running streams,
goodness flows in.
Rest and refill.
Then go –
Share the pain,
share the joy,
take from your cup
and fill others up.
Rest, then go.
Like a fire spread
a burning flame
and praise His name.

-Liese

Today I wrote a new poem, one that kind of says that it’s going to be okay, eventually.

hope lies hidden
like a bud under black dirt
waiting for its time
to burst forth
and lean into the golden sun.

faith, too, is unseen
lying in fractured hearts
held together with grace
waiting to be used
to stand firm
like a seawall against the churning tide.

love gathers hope and faith
enfolding them with comforting arms
gathering them close
reminding them that strength is found
in the quiet places
in the sound of laughter
with faces turned to the sky.

Looking up for hope
turning in for faith
flowing out with love.

-L

Week 1, day 1

This is actually week one of pandemic schooling. Last week was Spring Break and the week before that was just lazy school, we still had activities and a co-op. Day one of pandemic schooling and James working from home. Our Internet hates when an extra laptop is on-line, so it keeps cutting out – which is great for on-line school! Jack thinks that since Daddy is home, it’s time to play ball! Hannah and Grace aren’t awake yet! Usually when Jack gets to be annoying, we just pick up and library school or coffee shop school or mall school – well, that’s not happening. I think we might be park schooling today and for the foreseeable future. I bet we finish the school year early, which means…absolutely nothing (other than ‘core’ courses are done) since we homeschool year round.

The girls did their school, my lap-top was running off my phone’s hot spot because the Internet was not working on level 2 when 3 people on level 3 of the house were using it. Near noon James got a letter of ‘essentialness’ to go to work, so he left for NREL and I took Jack on a walk at Lookout Mt. He was so happy to find snow.

Back at home I read for a bit and then took a nap. I’m taking a nap every day around 3:30pm. My BP has been low lately, which might account for some of the naps. It’s very tiring to do things when you’re at 90/60. Not sure why it’s dipping so low, but it’s not an essential question to have to go to the doctor for, so I guess naps are the answer. It looks like Colorado is about 2 weeks from peaking for the Covid-19 virus, hopefully. But, I guess it doesn’t matter because unless every state peaks and starts going down, we are going to be in this for a lot longer. In other news, Joel is out of the Army and heading home after a few days of visiting a friend in New Hampshire. He was very lucky to make it out of NY before they clamped down on travel. But, I see him having a hard time getting across state lines with a NY license plate if he waits too long. His plan is to be at home for a few weeks, then go camping in the mountains (on BLM land I would guess because now most campgrounds in CO are closed due to……I guess social distancing, although camping is pretty much social distancing so I’m not sure why they are actually closing.)

Weekend

The girls did some #chalkyourwalk at Marcy park and on our driveway. It’s the first time HR has ever told people it’s okay to draw anywhere with sidewalk chalk.

Jack does not like to be second fiddle to anything, especially a book.

Grace made turtle bread!

It snowed overnight, but the snow was gone by the afternoon.

We were trying to think of a place to go hike that wasn’t too snowy, so we ended up at Peninsula park near Longmont. Great mountain views, no snow and very few people walking around (which was great for social distancing.)

Sunday was church and virtual communion, which was weird. The girls played Animal crossing, watched TV and went to Target while James and I were walking Jack at Confluence park. The park was very busy, although everyone was more than 6ft apart. I think the Mayor’s order for people to not leave Denver to recreate made the park busier than normal.

Dinners this week (starting Sunday) – grilling hamburgers, lasagna, taco Tuesday!, Italian sausage with farfalle, beef stew, Thai spicy chicken with broccoli, BBQ stuffed potatoes with (finally) those freakin’ collard greens in the freezer, Greek chicken with couscous.

Greek Chicken Marinade

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/2″ thickness
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp EACH cumin, dried basil, onion powder, sugar, salt
1/4 tsp EACH pepper, paprika

(feta and kalamata olives for topping)

Whisk together all of the Greek Marinade ingredients in a large freezer bag and add chicken. Marinate 4-8 hours..
Remove chicken from fridge and let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, drain chicken from marinade, pat dry and add to skillet.
Cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 4-6 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Top with feta and olives.

Spring Break

Ugh, Stay at home orders started being issued today (Tuesday) for Denver, Tri-County was right behind them and then the Gov. It doesn’t mean we can’t go outside, we can, but all there is to do is grocery shop (all non-essential businesses have closed) and hike. Thank goodness we live in a beautiful state with lots of hiking places. And yes, travel to get to the outdoors is allowed (so I can drive to hike, I don’t just have to walk outside my house.) So, Spring break looks like: walking outside, chalk art, reading, watching TV, cosplay, playing with pets, going to youth group via Zoom, sleeping in, etc.

Lair O the Bear.

We drove by a friend’s house to say Happy Birthday to her little girl, a bunch of other people did it too so she had a train of people driving by wishing her a happy day. We made Shoofly pie (another depression era recipe) and it was…..okay. My filling leaked out of the shell a bit, so it was a lot of topping and not much filling.

South Platte river.

What is open in Colorado.

What activities are essential and necessary.

Today the girls walked to Target and Bethany left to go back to Mesa. Most students have left, but they said that if you wanted to stay you could. Classes will be on-line, but the library will be open to students (unlike here) and tutoring/food will still be available. That could change with the new order from the Governor, so we’ll see. Joel has a few more paper hoops to jump through before officially being out of the Army, then (assuming he can leave NY under their travel restrictions) he’s headed home and then headed into the mountains for camping (yes, in the snow.)

47!

The girls made me breakfast and Bethany bought me some good toilet paper.

I dressed up and went to pick up my meds and take some selfies.

We chilled around the house and since the Turkish place I wanted to go to didn’t have take out, we opted for a Mediterranean place. The food was pretty good, we waited a bit before cake – Grace made me a butter pecan with smoky pecan Russian buttercream geode cake.

Hannah got me a hat and earrings, James got me a love canvas, everyone got me licorice, root beer and candy and a stack of Armand Gamache books.

It was all pretty good for a quarantine birthday. But, when all this is over (and assuming the Turkish restaurant is able to withstand being closed for so long and reopens) Bosphorous here I come! I also owe myself a portable record player, available at Bed, Bath and Beyond (which just closed because it’s not an ‘essential business.’)

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