The Colorado adventure

Last day

This morning we did laundry, finished up school, ran errands, got the van we’re driving (we’re not putting the miles on our van), had lunch, went water sampling and testing and I went to the hematologist.

Upstream.

Left/right bank.

Downstream.

The hematologist said I am going to be on blood thinners for a very long time since the DVT I had was unprovoked, meaning they don’t know what caused it, so it’s just better to stay on the thinners. He answered some questions and we had a good chat. Back at home we decided to open some presents, we’re opening some in Houston, but the majority were opened tonight. Socks, books, a teapot, rat stuff, stuffed things, maple syrup, a jazz record, sticky notes, lotion and stickers were among the items. Jack kept looking around for his present, so we wrapped his ball and gave it to him. Then I put his ball in a bag and he spent 10 minutes trying to get it out.

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Tea

We finished up school in the morning, I went to NIA, dropped Jack at grooming and then the girls and I went to Capital Tea for Holiday high tea. I don’t know how we drank so much tea last year, I made it through 2 pots (Blueberry fizz and Apple cider.) We had soup, tarts, sandwiches, scones, mousse, cookies, chocolate and cake. It was all good.

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Elf

It’s what we’ve been waiting all month for – our annual Elf party. I had it at the library (because I had 49 people say they were coming.) Did 49 people come, no, we had 15.

Henry dressed up as Santa.

I met James downtown and we went to Union Station to hear LAPOMPE and have drinks at Cooper lounge.

Then we had dinner at Tupelo Honey.

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Fox theater, Shibori, Reindeer games, Jingle on the range

Wednesday was the annual Cleo Parker Robinson dancers at the Fox theater.

Lunch was hummus, tabbouleh and dolmathes.

James painted the front door and I found a wreath, it really makes the door pop and the white (versus the old faded green) is so much brighter.

Jack walked with me at the Audubon trail.

Thursday I went to the library to do an adult craft, Shibori dyeing. It’s kind of like tie-dye but it’s only blue and white.

Then I took Jack on a walk around Berkeley lake.

Here is my washed and dried Shibori bandanna and towel.

And Grace’s octopus she painted to practice for another painting on her vest.

Friday it was school, HS skate, Reindeer games in Castle Rock and Jingle on the Range at our church (worship, games and cookies.) I found Buddy.

At church.

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Camp Christmas

After some school we went to the Stanley Market for our Camp Christmas field trip. What is Camp Christmas? It’s 10,000 square feet of trees, lights, santas, selfie spots, traditions, drinks, information, games and songs. We traveled through Christmas celebrated in different ways from Ancient Rome to Art Deco and lots of places in between.

Santa bar.

Entry.

Rome.

Candy tree.

We also went to Cherry Hills lights that night, free and it was very good.

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Weekend

Saturday was the Women’s Christmas tea at church. The food and conversation was great. We listened to The Tale of Three Trees, I can’t even hear that story without crying. The takeaway was that the first and second trees wanted to hold treasure and be a great ship, but they ended up doing mundane things for their whole lives with one miraculous day where they held the Saviour. The third tree spent its whole life being tried and seasoned for a special task. If your life is hard, you are being seasoned to be stronger. If the world sees your life and admires you or if your life is just a footnote to the world, when you live for Jesus with your whole heart – He is honored and glorified.

We went to The Lost Cajun for an early dinner and then the girls and I went to the Lakewood lights.

I don’t know why I fall for the ‘roasted chestnuts’ every year. It sounds like a good idea, but they are just gross.

Sunday we went to church, grocery shopped, James painted the front door and we went for a walk.

Dinners – Beef stew (moved from yesterday), crockpot chicken stroganoff, spaghetti and meatballs with eggplant parmesan, pineapple peach chicken with stuffed mushrooms and parmesan couscous, adobo sirloin with black beans and cilantro lime rice, crockpot pot roast, chicken tacos.

Adobo Sirloin

1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers to taste
4 (8 ounce) beef sirloin steaks
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Stir in chipotle peppers, and season to taste with adobo sauce.
Pierce the meat on both sides with a sharp knife, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in a glass dish. Pour lime and chipotle sauce over meat, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat grill for high heat.
Lightly brush grill grate with oil. Place steaks on the grill, and discard marinade. Grill steaks for 6 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.

Our week – blood draw (yuck), school, Jack at day camp, Spot the elf in Lafayette, cheese shop lunch, HS group newbie chat, worship dance performance (just watching this year), Camp Christmas field trip, Cherry Hills lights, Fox theater field trip, youth group, Shibori at the library, HS skate, Reindeer games in CR, Jingle on the range a church, Santa pics at Petsmart, carriage rides at Southglenn, church, White elephant TDO.

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Friday

I took James to work and Jack and I stopped on the way home to walk. The ice crystals were very pretty.

We did some school then headed over to the K12 office for a Winter social, making gingerbread houses and other holiday fun.

We headed back home to catch the Highlands Ranch hometown holiday tree lighting. Our tree looks like a Charlie Brown tree, just bigger.

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Union Station and the weekend

#famouswomen #famousmamas

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815—1902) was a leader in the women’s suffrage and abolitionist movements, all while raising her seven children. She worked with Susan B. Anthony to establish the National Woman Suffrage Association, successfully helping to get women the right to vote via the 19th Amendment. In addition to writing articles and giving speeches on the topic of universal suffrage, Stanton supported education for girls, and her own daughters went to college at Vassar and Columbia.

NANCY EDISON
The youngest of Nancy Edison’s seven kids was Thomas Alva Edison. Although some stories about his mother’s virtues were most likely exaggerated, we do know that rather than give up on his education, Nancy Edison decided to homeschool her son after his teacher deemed him “addled” (i.e. mentally ill or incompetent). Edison, who may just have been dyslexic in a time before that learning disorder was studied or understood, said of her: “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

ALBERTA KING
The mother of Martin Luther King, Jr., Alberta Williams King (1904—1974) played the organ and founded the choir at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, and she was also involved with women’s groups, the NAACP, and the YWCA. She set about to raise her three children with a healthy sense of self-respect and taught them that the segregation they saw every day was simply “a social condition rather than a natural order,” as MLK Jr. wrote in his autobiography. “She made it clear that she opposed this system and that I must never allow it to make me feel inferior. … At this time Mother had no idea that the little boy in her arms would years later be involved in a struggle against the system she was speaking of.” In 1974, six years after her son was assassinated in Memphis, Alberta King was shot and killed at her organ at her church.

INDIRA GANDHI
As India’s first female Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi (1917—1984) worked to institute democracy and create jobs to combat food shortages—she was responsible for India’s green revolution, which made the country self-sufficient and no longer reliant on imported grains. “Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances,” she famously stated. She also entrusted a sense of duty in her two sons, Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi, who both grew up to become politicians; Rajiv became Prime Minister of India after his mother was assassinated in 1984.

LOU XIAOYING
Lou Xioaying was a poor, uneducated woman who supported herself by scavenging through the trash in Jinhua, China, but starting in 1972, she adopted or rescued 30 babies she found in the trash. The chaos of the Cultural Revolution (and later China’s one-child policy), and extreme poverty, especially in rural areas, meant that some parents dumped their unwanted babies in the garbage. “These children need love and care. They are all precious human lives,” Xioaying, who had one biological daughter at the time she began rescuing infants, told the press in 2012. “I do not understand how people can leave such a vulnerable baby on the streets.”

James had the grand idea to stay at the Crawford hotel in Union Station the day after Thanksgiving. We ran some morning errands, then drove downtown. We checked into our rooms and then had lunch. It was pretty busy inside and pretty cold outside.

The girls went to the Christkindl market and James and I went on a Harriet hike/Allen True mural scavenger hunt. First up, the murals outside of the Mountain States Telegraph and Telephone building.

Then we backtracked to the Renaissance hotel, formerly the Colorado National Bank, for the ‘Indian’ series.

Then finally to the Brown Palace hotel for the last set of murals (there are more locations with them, I just wanted to do 3.)

It was almost time for the tree  and building lighting when we got back to the hotel. We listened to the bell ringers (Here), then went outside to hear some songs (Here.)

It was really cold (and my back hurt from standing), so we went back inside to warm up. When the actual lighting was going to occur Bethay, James and I went back out. The girls and Jack watched from their window. See the countdown here. 

James and I had a nightcap in the bar and the girls ordered dinner to the room.

Saturday –

#famouswomen #famousdenverite

Sarah Breedlove 1867-1919

Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, on a cotton plantation near Delta, Louisiana. Her parents, Owen and Minerva, were recently freed slaves, and Sarah, who was their fifth child, was the first in her family to be free-born. Minerva Breedlove died in 1874 and Owen passed away the following year, both due to unknown causes, leaving Sarah an orphan at the age of seven. After her parents’ passing, Sarah was sent to live with her sister, Louvinia, and her brother-in-law. The three moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1877, where Sarah picked cotton and was likely employed doing household work, although no documentation exists verifying her employment at the time.

At age 14, to escape both her oppressive working environment and the frequent mistreatment she endured at the hands of her brother-in-law, Sarah married a man named Moses McWilliams. On June 6, 1885, Sarah gave birth to a daughter, A’Lelia. When Moses died two years later, Sarah and A’Lelia moved to St. Louis, where Sarah’s brothers had established themselves as barbers. There, Sarah found work as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a day — enough to send her daughter to the city’s public schools. She also attended public night school whenever she could.

While in St. Louis, Breedlove met her second husband Charles J. Walker, who worked in advertising and would later help promote her hair care business.
During the 1890s, Sarah Breedlove developed a scalp disorder that caused
her to lose much of her hair, and she began to experiment with both home remedies and store-bought hair care treatments in an attempt to improve her condition. In 1905, Breedlove was hired as a commission agent by Annie Turnbo Malone — a successful, black, hair-care product entrepreneur — and she moved to Denver, Colorado. While there, Breedlove’s husband Charles helped her create advertisements for a hair care treatment for African Americans that she was perfecting. Her husband also encouraged her to use the more recognizable name “Madam C.J. Walker,” by which she was thereafter known.

In 1907 Walker and her husband traveled around the South and Southeast promoting her products and giving lecture demonstrations of her “Walker Method” — involving her own formula for pomade, brushing and the use of heated combs.As profits continued to grow, in 1908 Walker opened a factory and a beauty school in Pittsburgh, and by 1910, when Walker transferred her business operations to Indianapolis, the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company had become wildly successful, with profits that were the modern-day equivalent of several million dollars.

A relentless innovator, Walker organized clubs and conventions for her representatives, which recognized not only successful sales, but also philanthropic and educational efforts among African Americans. In 1913, Walker and Charles divorced, and she traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean promoting her business and recruiting others to teach her hair care methods. While her mother traveled, A’Lelia Walker helped facilitate the purchase of property in Harlem, New York, recognizing that the area would be an important base for future business operations. ​

Walker quickly immersed herself in the social and political culture of the ​Harlem Renaissance​. She founded philanthropies that included educational scholarships and donations to homes for the elderly, the ​National Association for the Advancement of Colored People​, and the National Conference on Lynching, among other organizations focused on improving the lives of African Americans. ​She also donated the largest amount of money by an African American toward the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913.

We had breakfast in the room and the girls went to Snooze. We watched some TV, then checked out and went to the skating rink. Family pictures!

The skating rink was closed because they were having a performance, so we watched that, then went to the market. This was my Harriet hike.

We had leftovers at home and chilled the rest of the day.

It’s been a month of Harriet hikes. I walked 53.5 miles in 29 days. I missed 1 day because I was in the ER with 2 pulmonary embolisms, but started back again the next day (because the doctor said I could.) I lost 12 lbs (I also had no dairy, soda or coffee this month), walked with my dog, kids, hubby and alone. I walked 28 of those days outside, in the sun, in the snow, in the cold and only 1 day inside at the gym track. Pam got me to join Girl Trek and get my t-shirt and golden shoelaces for the goals on Harriet hikes.

Sunday was church, then lunch at Smokin Fins, Bethany went back to GJ, grocery shopping, napping and dinner.

Deep breath…our week – NIA, school, blood draw, homeschool skate, Holy yoga, doc, CFA interview, Police explorers, shibori at library, Montbello Walk2Connect, youth group, CO ballet Nutcracker, puppy day camp, David’s Repeal day release concert date night, orthodontist, working at church, school Winter social, women’s Christmas tea, Riize, Lakewood lights, church.

Dinners – lima beans and turkey brats, chimichurri chicken and rice chutney, honey plum pomegranate chicken with wild rice and snap peas, make your own brrrrr-itos, date night (sushi and dumplings for the girls), chicken with mushrooms, butternut squash and sage butter with forbidden rice, beef, barley and vegetable soup with peasant bread.

Pan-Seared Chimichurri Chicken

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) package boneless chicken breast tenders
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Chimichurri Sauce:
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
½ cup parsley, rinsed
¼ cup cilantro, rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon salt

Heat butter and olive oil in a deep skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir until golden brown, about 1 minute. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and cook until browned on each side, no longer pink in the center, and juices run clear, 3 to 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Combine olive oil, onion, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, and salt together in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Spoon chimichurri sauce over chicken tenders; serve.
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No-Knead Oatmeal-Millet Peasant Bread

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup millet
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup warm water
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal, or more as needed

Combine boiling water, oats, and millet in a large bowl. Let cool to 100 degrees F about 10 minutes.
Dissolve yeast and salt in warm water in a small bowl. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir into the oat-millet mixture. Add 2 3/4 cups flour; stir until dough forms a loose ball. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm, draft-free location until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Dust a cutting board with 1 tablespoon flour. Turn the dough out onto the board. Tuck in the edges gradually to shape dough into a boule (rustic, French-style ball) without kneading. Cover with a clean dish towel; let rise until nearly doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place a lidded Dutch oven inside. Make 3 slashes on top of the dough boule using a serrated knife. Remove hot Dutch oven from the oven carefully. Uncover; sprinkle cornmeal over the bottom and place boule inside; cover with the lid. Reduce oven heat to 450 degrees F.

Bake in the preheated oven for 28 minutes. Remove the lid and reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Continue baking until top is golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes more. Carefully lift loaf out of pan onto a work surface and gently tap bottom of loaf; if it sounds hollow, bread is done. Let cool for at least 1 hour on a wire rack.

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Christmas day

Merry CHRISTmas.

A little music video from Joel and company here. 

I made latkes and monkey bread for breakfast, James made egg potato.

While other stuff was getting ready we opened presents. Jack got 3 new balls and was super excited.

Opening presents.

Cookies.

Lunch –

We got green tea bombs, they bloom into a flower.

Some art from yesterday.

Joel made a video call to us and we talked for about an hour. He said they had a feast for lunch, not so much for dinner, he worked part of the day, made a video with friends and he did get our present a few days earlier, so that was good. We had time for a nap, then we went to the movies. The girls saw Mary Poppins and James and I sae Holmes and Watson. Both were good, in different ways (Holmes and Watson is not a family movie.) We picked up Jack and went to look at lights.

Our horrible family photo, the lens was dirty, the dog was looking away, it’s to light, but there you go – unfiltered Merry Christmas.

James and I had a Christmas nightcap at Phil’s and then bed.

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Christmas Eve

Advent day 24

James and I went to coffee, the I took Jack pictures.

Stockings hung by the fish tanks.

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Napping with my bud.

Joel’s group in Kosovo did a montage with the other groups, see it here.

We went out to Fogo de Chao for dinner, I ate way too much, but it was so good.

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