The Colorado adventure

Spot the Elf, Worship dance

After some school and dropping Jack at puppy daycare we headed up to Lafayette. Every year local businesses there have a spot the elf month. You get a book and go to the store, use the clue to spot the elf, then get your booklet stamped. Once again the Antique/flea market was the hardest (because it’s so big.)

Pet store.

Bank.

Antique store.

Some stuff in one antique store.

Cool restored mural.

Chocolate shop.

Jewelry store.

Antique/Flea market, I found Santa, Anna and Elsa and Elvis.

Lunch at the cheese shop.

We got home, did a bit more school, went to the coffee shop, made dinner and went to watch the Worship dance performance, it was wonderful.

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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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Weekend

#famouswomen

Henrietta Lacks 1920-1951

Lab-grown human cells are invaluable to medical researchers. They allow scientists to better understand complex cells and theorize about diseases. The first “immortal” cell of its kind was created in 1951 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, its donor remaining unknown for years. But we now know that those cells belonged to Henrietta Lacks.

From southern Virginia, Henrietta was a black tobacco farmer who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 30. Without her knowing, her tumor was sampled and sent to scientists at Johns Hopkins. Much to the scientists’ surprise, her cells never died. Henrietta’s immortal cells were integral in developing the polio vaccine, and were used for cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization.

For decades, the donor of these cells, which were code-named HeLa, remained anonymous. In the 1970s, Henrietta’s name was revealed and the origins of HeLa, a code for the first two letters in Henrietta and Lacks, became clear. While Henrietta Lacks may no longer be with us, her contribution to science is long lasting.

Saturday was busy. Bethany was in, Grace and Hannah had a lunch date Jack was supposed to decorate a cookie at Petsmart but then….we had to go to urgent care for me. I was dizzy but also when I would stand up my arms and legs would shake. This was worrying, I was hoping I wasn’t allergic to my new blood thinner. Turns out it (along with my other meds) was pushing my BP too low. I was 80/42 and apparently when you are that low your body shakes to get the blood flowing. I made it out of there while the sun was still shining, so we walked at the park.

#famouswomen

Edmonia Lewis 1843-1907

Little is known about the early life of mid-19th century sculptor Edmonia Lewis, but she was reportedly born on July 14, 1843–although that is up for debate as well. Lewis is considered the first woman sculptor of African American and Native American heritage.

She began her education in 1859 at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she was said to have been quite artistic, particularly in drawing. During her undergraduate years, she changed her name to Mary Edmonia, which she had been using anyway to sign her sculptures. While at Oberlin, Lewis was wrongly accused of theft and attempted murder. Though she was eventually acquitted, she was prohibited from graduating.
When she moved to Boston, she was mentored by sculptor Edward Brackett and began to develop her own artistic style. Her dual ancestry proved to be a source of much inspiration for her, as her early sculptures were medallions with portraits of white abolitionists and Civil War heroes.

“Forever Free” (1867), one of her best-known works, drew from the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1876, Lewis completed what is considered by many to be the pinnacle of her career: “The Death of Cleopatra”. This sculpture went against artistic traditions of the time by portraying a realistic illustration of the event, instead of using a sentimental manner.

Notes from church:

-When we sow seeds of generosity we reap the benefit of a generous life.
-Don’t slip into fearful thinking with a scarcity mindset.
-The antidote to fear – practice gratitude.
-The opposite of gratefulness is envy.


Goings on this week – no school, NIA!, blood draw, DMNS teen movie night, Riize volunteer, orthodontist, Walk2Connect, Thanksgiving, Union station Crawford hotel stay, Union station lighting, Christkindl market, Larimer square market, Englewood market, church, last day of Harriet hikes, working at church.

Dinners this week – something on Pearl st mall, make your own pizza, chicken tikka masala with rice and snap peas, chili and cornbread, Thanksgiving (smoked turkey, brown rice chutney, sweet potato salad, honey chili brussel sprouts, Italian sausage cornbread stuffing, pumpkin and pecan pies), dinner at Union station, leftovers.
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Sweet Potato Salad

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt + optional pepper
3 tbsp oil, or spray
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can black beans
1 cup can corn
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Toss sweet potatoes and onions with 1 1/2 tbsp oil (or spray), sprinkle with salt and optional pepper, and place in one layer on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in a non-preheated oven on the center rack, then turn the oven to 450 F. Bake 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Add all remaining ingredients to a large bowl, then toss with the sweet potatoes. Serve hot or cold
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Cilantro Mint Chutney Recipe

½ cup yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 bunch cilantro, tender stems ok
1 cup mint leaves, packed ( 2 x .75 ounce packages)
1 medium jalapeno, sliced
2 teaspoons sliced ginger
1 garlic clove
¼–1/2 teaspoon kosher salt,
½ teaspoon sugar (or an alternative like honey, palm sugar, etc)
optional: 1 tablespoon water, or just enough to get blender going – you may not need this

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and lemon.
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Brown rice chutney

1/4 C baby spinach
1 C cauliflower florets
2 C brown rice (cooked)
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 C apricot preserves
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 small package sliced almonds

Cook rice, roast cauliflower. Add all ingredients in dish and stir. Add above cilantro mint chutney and serve warm.

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Fun Friday and the weekend

Friday Hannah did a quick minerals lab and then we headed to the Springs to see Humpback Whales at the AF Planetarium.

We went to the Penny arcade and I broke Galaga! I was just playing and hit my own ship as it was coming down, it froze a bee on the screen and it wouldn’t advance past this. There are 2 more Galaga machines at the arcade, but one of them has a sticky fire button and the other has a sticky joystick.  I hope it’s not really broken, just needing to be turned off and on.

Saturday we had a nice coffee with the girls and then went to Zoey’s pet parade. There were a lot of pit bulls there because Zoey was a pit bull, but there were a handful of other breeds (but only one Jack.)

Jack was honed in on the pet photographer – she had a ball.

We all walked up the street to the park for pictures, then back down Main st.

Businesses take corners and make pumpkin art.

Sunday after church we went to the Dairy block for the Fall Flannel Fest.  We talked to Joel and he said he had gotten his b-day package. He turned 25 today, hard to believe.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting, baby, child, outdoor and closeup

Image may contain: Joel Carberry, hat

The week – Denver Police dept. tour, school, DMNS Hallow-teen night, H2O in Keystone for Grace, Police Explorers, youth group, hike, Petsmart Boo, Littleman pumpkin carving, church, Trunk or Treat, James gone to Vegas.

Dinners this week – Tex-Mex beef and rice skillet, teen nite (whatever the DMNS offers), chipotle chicken sausage sandwiches, Italian chicken and acorn squash, chilli and corn bread, butternut squash and peasant bread, Saturday night is up for grabs.

Tex-Mex Beef and Rice Skillet

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 medium red bell pepper, diced SAVE $
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 can (10 oz) Old El Paso™ enchilada sauce
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ original taco seasoning mix
3 cups cooked white rice
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef 6 to 8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until brown. Drain, and wipe out skillet. Add oil to skillet, and heat over medium-high heat. Add, bell pepper and corn. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender.

Stir in beef, enchilada sauce and taco seasoning mix. Heat to simmering; stir in rice. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until rice is heated through. Top with cheese and cilantro.

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Last week

A friend told me that she hadn’t been seeing pictures in posts, so hopefully that is working now. It seems there was something with Google photos that turned off sharing, so every photo I linked to wasn’t showing up. This is a quick hodgepodge of 10/5-13.

Over the weekend we went to a performance of Shakespeare in the parking lot, Midsummer’s Night Dream. It was abridged, but they packed a lot of the story into 45 minutes.

Sunday we went to The Lazy Dog and Jack was waiting on his food. He never eats the peas and carrots, but this time he spit come of them outside the bowl.

Hannah was working on her flower art on coffee.

I found pumpkin rolls on sale for 50 cents!

Dinners – pork tenderloin and stuffed mushrooms, sweet potato and black bean street tacos, sloppy joes, crockpot chicken and dumplings, burgers with butternut squash, ?

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Crema

8 cups Diced Sweet Potato
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
3 teaspoons Cumin, Divided
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Small Onion, Finely Diced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cans (15 Oz. Size) Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 Lime, Juiced
8 Corn Tortillas

FOR THE AVOCADO CREMA:
1 Avocado
1 cup Mexican Crema
1/2 cup Cilantro
2 cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a sheet pan with foil. Spread sweet potato on the sheet pan, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cumin and chili powder. Toss until evenly coated. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

While potatoes roast in the oven, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add onions and garlic, sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add black beans, remaining cumin, and lime juice. When potatoes are done, add them to the beans and mix until well combined.

Combine avocado, crema, cilantro, garlic, salt, and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Top with cilantro and cotija cheese.

Monday we did school, then went to HS skate, dogs aren’t allowed in there – but Jack is!

Tuesday was Creativity club and another family showed up.

I wasn’t able to work on my geode painting, but I was able to practice carving leaves, it’s hard to do curves.

Ball time!

Grace is making smaller pictures of some of her art, she’s hoping to stake out a corner for the next Santa Fe art walk and sell some stuff.

Coffee shop school.

Image may contain: coffee cup, coffee and food

School today – The quantum atom, correlation coefficients, Petrarch’s Sonnets, Forensics blood spatter discussion, Criminal Justice lab q’s, Astronomy lab q’s, History Greece to Rome, Earth Science plate tectonics, slope. Ted talk about prison systems. 

Thursday it snowed and I tried to take James to work, we got all the way to Golden, but the roads were so bad he didn’t want me driving back home alone – so we came back home and he worked here.

Snow in Golden.

Jack was happy to go play in the snow.

School today – Criminal Justice (jails, prisons and community corrections), Earth Science (minerals), Algebra (slope intercept form), History (Roman society), English (write an analysis), Astronomy (webquest, galaxies.)

Forensics (trace evidence, hair and fibers ), Practical math (linear regression), Chemistry (atomic structure), British Lit (role of the supernatural in Shakespeare’s plays)

And Vi Hart just because – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CruQylWSfoU&feature=youtu.be

Jack checking the perimeter for squirrels in the snow.

Bethany came in Friday and took the girls to IHOP while I was at HS skate (just chatting.) I met them at the mall and Jack waited and waited.

The girls played games and watched TV. Saturday we went to the Arvada festival of scarecrows and did lunch at Saltgrass.

After lunch and getting Bethany a new phone she went to a friend’s house, the girls watched some TV and hung out with friends. Sunday we went to church, Hannah made coffee, I finished my book, Bethany worked on her book and we went to Connections church fall fest. Grace was working the face painting booth, Hannah carved her go-to throwing up pumpkin (and won a $10 Sbux card) and Jack had fin eating things off the ground.

We chilled back at home until Bethany left to go back to Grand Junction. Grace was painting, Hannah and her friend were hanging out and I took a nap. James and I went out to dinner at Perry’s while the girls watched Jack. It was a nice date night with dinner and drinks. Back at home we watched the next Glitch and season 3 is posing interesting questions.

Oh, the weeks are flying by , this week – Fall break day, TNO, school, Shakespeare in the parking lot (Romeo and Juliet), poe-tea, Parker police explorers meeting, Doc (me blood work and x-rays), TDO, Geeks who read @ library, Paint like Alma co-op, planetarium show/Manitou (rescheduled from last week), Zoey’s pet parade, working at Riize (Hannah), church, Fall Flannel Fest, working at church (Grace)

Dinners this week (starting tomorrow)- ham/mushroom/swiss quiche, pinto beans and rice with cornbread, lemon chicken and asparagus, shepherd’s pie, sausage and spaghetti, BBQ chicken and corn on the cob.

A Scotsman’s Shepherds Pie

5 cups mashed, boiled potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) can stewed tomatoes with juice, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup peas
1 cup Irish stout beer (such as Guinness®)
1 cube beef bouillon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Stir potatoes, sour cream, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper together in a bowl until smooth.

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add ground lamb, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and crumbly, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour off excess grease and season lamb with salt and black pepper to taste. Stir tomatoes with juice, onion, and carrot into ground lamb; simmer until vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Add peas, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until peas are warmed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Heat beer in a saucepan over medium heat; add beef bouillon. Cook and stir beer mixture until bouillon is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon butter, whisk flour into butter until thick and paste-like, about 1 minute. Stir gravy into lamb mixture and simmer until mixture is thickened, at least 5 minutes.

Set oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven’s broiler. Grease a 9×12-inch baking dish.
Pour lamb mixture into the prepared baking dish. Carefully spoon mashed potatoes over lamb mixture, covering like a crust. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese, parsley, and paprika over mashed potatoes. Broil in the preheated oven until crust is browned and cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

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Sunday

After church we went to a car show that was in the area.

The week – school, water sampling, co-op at Eco park, volunteering at GraceFull (Hannah), working at church (Grace), jazz at EG, mall school, youth group, ballet (we’re standby, fingers crossed), hike, first Friday art walk, Shakespeare in the parking lot, church.

Dinners this week – shepherd’s pie, mango chicken wraps with cauliflower risotto, chili and cornbread, mushroom and onion pan burgers with smashed potatoes, orange chicken with fried rice, beef stew with drop biscuits, sausage and pasta.

Skinny Orange Chicken

1 pound boneless chicken breast, cubed
¼ cup all-purpose flour, or as needed
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs, or as needed
⅓ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
1 orange, juiced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet.

Press chicken cubes gently into flour to coat and shake off excess flour. Dip into beaten egg and press into panko bread crumbs. Place the breaded chicken cubes in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 20 minutes.

Whisk soy sauce, honey, orange juice, cornstarch, garlic powder, and ginger together in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken cubes from the oven and place in a large bowl. Pour orange sauce over chicken and turn in the sauce to coat.

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Grand Junction

It used to seem so far to drive to the other end of the state, about 4-4.5 hours, but now it seems to whip by. Even with extra stopping for Jack (it’s not really that extra, we still stop for food/bathroom breaks for humans so…) The ‘just past Genesee’ picture.

Jack fell asleep instantly.

We stopped at Subway for lunch, they had weird pictures on their chip bags that were begging for a photo. But, I got Sun chips instead.

We enjoyed our lunch by the creek and a little bird came to the table to hang out.

More stuff we normally pass that I take a pic of, though everything looks better draped in snow.

Almost there.

Freedom!

We met up with Bethany and ate dinner at Pablos pizza. The street was closed off for a Thursday night farmers market, so after dinner we looked around and bought a few things.

We went back to the hotel and closed off the day with the (new) Willy Wonka movie. Jack was up (because of the movie) until after 10pm, so a late night for him.

Jack woke up too early on Friday morning and had a nap while we ate breakfast.

James and I dropped off Jack at the Wag resort, went to park and walked around.

The girls went shopping after breakfast, getting stuff for Bethany’s dorm. She wasn’t supposed to move in until Sat morning, but she asked and they said she could move in early. We met her at the new dorm with a trunkload of stuff. Here are the before shots, everything was just lying around. She has the end room in a pod of 4 rooms. The end rooms sleep 1 person, the 2 middle ones sleep 2 people (so 6 people total.) There is 1 bathroom/shower they all share and a common area with couch/TV.

We went to an Indian restaurant for lunch, then went to the antique store. There are 3 or 4 of them on Main street, but Robin’s Nest is the biggest and best one.

We went back to the room to swim and Bethany went back to her dorm to fix it up. We left about 6:30pm to pick her up and head over to Palisade for the peach fest. I’ve heard about the Palisade peach festival for 14 years, but we were never willing to drive 8 hours roundtrip for it. It’s only 20 min from GJ, and since it was so hot we decided to go in the evening (and it’s the main reason Jack was boarded, they don’t allow dogs.)

They were using buses to shuttle people to the festival – this was the first time my girls ever rode a school bus. Hannah was not impressed, but she was excited to get on.

Riverbend park.

Hannah won a tiger, we got some free stuff, ate dinner and looked around.

I had a BBQ sundae, beans, coleslaw and brisket in a cup – it was delicious.

Sunset was beautiful (I should have run back to the water, that would have been a pretty picture.)

It was lighting up the mesa on the other side too.

I really thought there would be more peach stuff at this festival – just because Palisade is the peach growing capital of the state and I hear about it all the time, but really the Lafayette peach festival is bigger and has more peach stuff and less ‘random festival’ type stuff. But, now I’ve been. We dropped the girls at the dorm (they were going to see a movie) and then went back to the hotel. Grace spent the night with Bethany, which meant that Hannah got a whole bed to herself.

Saturday morning we had a late breakfast and started to while the time away. We went to Walmart, some more stores and checked out the Cross orchard museum. I still don’t think we actually saw the museum though, we saw some outside trains, an inside model train setup and a few old cars. There wasn’t anyone around to ask about an actual museum, but we didn’t see the barn, an old house and some other stuff – so maybe next time.

The model train set was very detailed, a huge Mt. Garfield loomed over the set. We could see Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, parts of Denver, it was cool.

We went to Starbucks to play a card game, get drinks and cool off. Then, one last trip to the store/mall before having a late lunch with Zack’s parents at Old Chicago. We had a good lunch and great conversation, they live about an hour or so from GJ and have an amazing view from their house. They told us to come by some day to laze around on their pontoon boat in the lake. We dropped Bethany off at a coffee shop with Zack, went to pick up Jack and headed home. In Glenwood canyon.

I think Jack played hard and ate no food all day at the resort because he went to sleep instantly and every time I offered food he wolfed it down and had more at home.

We got home about 8:30pm and the guys were all gone. Joel and Timmy had an early morning flight and I guess Mike and Chris decided to sleep at the airport for an early morning Sunday flight. We let Jack play some ball for about 30 min and then went to bed.

Sunday I took Hannah to church and she worked in the coffee shop. Grace drove herself to church and then came home to tie-dye her shoes.

We picked up lunch and went to the park to eat, then Hannah and M hung out, I went to the library, we went to the grocery store, then we chilled the rest of the evening. Jack broke his new ball, either this ball was a bad lot or he has really gotten good at chewing in just the right spot to split the ball.

The week – co-op postings start, Clear creek tubing, Destinations picnic, roller skating co-op, kid-sitting, nbts photos, Corteo cirque show, on-line school testing/scavenger hunt/making sure OLS is set up, Rainbow falls hike, arcade, heading out to Rye for camping, Bishop castle, hiking, St. Elmo ghost town, church, coffee shop (Hannah), swimming with friends.

Dinners – This week is easy due to some evening activities that either include dinner or eating out. Tacos, picnic dinner, Hawaiian chicken with broccoli, something downtown, orange beef and fried rice, hot dogs/s’mores, make your own pizzas.

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Week

Joel is coming in.

Dog park.

Concerned Jack t the hair salon. Usually he just takes up residence under my chair and sleeps, today he was wary.

Happy Colorado day! (Aug 1), Buskerfest started.

Drummer guy here. Acrobats here. Hula hoops here.

Saturday we went to coffee, did some more cleaning, then James went to pick up the guys (4 of them) from the airport. I made gumbo for dinner and even though I fed 9 people, we had leftovers. Sunday I took Hannah to church, she worked the coffee shop (and made $11 in tips.) We started a new series on the prayer of Jabez. I Chronicles 4:10 Jabez prayed to the God of Israel: “Bless me, O bless me! Give me land, large tracts of land. And provide your personal protection—don’t let evil hurt me.” God gave him what he asked. I had a headache all day, I go for an MRI on Tuesday to see if there’s anything physically making my head hurt, eyes go wonky and making me dizzy. After church we had lunch at Panera and walked around the shops.

Jack got to play with his ball pit and we watched a Charlie Chan.

James grilled and we watched a Columbo. The guys had been out all day at Elitches, Hannah and M walked to Target and Grace and Brooke got to hang out. The week looks pretty busy.

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