Category Archives: hike

Weekend – Park hill tour, NBTS 15th anniversary party, 25th church anniversary


Friday we got home about 2pm, started laundry, then Grace and I went to see her friend who was in the hospital. Hospitals suck, so Grace wanted to go and hang out – I think she wanted the adults to leave the room (but we didn’t.) James made spaghetti for dinner, we watched some TV and went to bed.

Saturday James and I went to the library for a walking tour. The girls did not want to go walking, so they stayed home and hung out with friends. When we got to the library I had three different librarians (from three different Denver libraries) recognize me and they asked where the girls were. Yes, we go to a lot of library events. Our walking tour started at the Pauline Robinson library, she was Denver’s first black librarian, brought books from black authors into the library and was responsible for integrating Lakeside (amusement park.) Walking in this area you can see that it is starting to come back.

There was a strip mall fire that pretty much brought down the neighborhood that was already in decline (a food desert area.) So, when funds starting coming in from the city to add buildings and services, the community was asked what do you want? There is a new rec center, a boys and girls club, a new elementary school and a mental/physical health building that offers garden space (and farmers market), hydroponics (plants and fish), mental and physical health facilities, a pre-school and an alternative school for troubled kids.

I walked with a coordinator of the facility and told her that our HS group wanted to: tour the facility and host a Preschool Valentine party. I’m excited for both of those things. We continued up the street, walking in the road for the most part since this area was designed during the 40’s-50’s when Hollywood curbs were in and pedestrians were out.

This intersection in Park Hill was across from a park (which had a gazebo ordered from a Sears catalog, paid for and put together by local Girl scouts.)

The area had no access to grocery stores, markets, clothing stores, you name it. So a market district was introduced, some people thought this would be the end of Park Hill (1920’s), but obviously it was not. There is a book store co-op that was started by local Moms back in the 70’s at the end of the block that is still going strong. Here and there on the street and in alleys are guerilla art and gardens. Bringing a little plant life and a little quirkiness to the area.

There were also lots of ‘Little Libraries’ in the area, some were registered, some were not!

Hickenlooper lives around here, we saw his house, but I didn’t take a picture. We passed some old churches and one church that now houses two different congregations.

We finally made it to the Park Hill library and sat down for a bit, drank water and had snacks and listened to the story of the library. There were 9 Carnegie libraries in Denver (Byers, Decker, Park Hill, Woodbury, Smiley – still standing) and (Denver central – now the McNichols building, Warren- now lofts, Dickinson -now houses an architecture firm and Elyria – now a private residence.) Park Hill doesn’t look like a traditional Carnegie library, but it’s there under that awful stucco.

We passed by some of the Boulevards put in by Mayor Speer during the city beautiful movement. Some of the money that was used was questionable, but hey, we see wide lanes, lots of trees and green spaces, so now we don’t care. We continued our walk through the neighborhood and noticed missing streets. Our next fact was a math one, the streets were laid out in an oblong rectangle twice as wide as it is long. Some streets are numbered but have names (Montview), some streets are 23rd on one side and 24th on the other and some just disappear completely. Also the golf course at City park was once a field full of cows, there was a lot of dairy making going on in the area when it started. We got back to the Pauline Robinson library and thanked our guides and headed back home. We weren’t home long before it was time to go to the park for our HS groups NBTS party and 15th anniversary party.

We had food and more food, cakes and doughnuts, games, coloring, tattoos, a photo booth and glow sticks.

We met two new families and had fun catching up with everyone.

Trying to get all the kids in the picture was hard….

I had to save the table art in photos.

Sunday we went to church and Hannah got to try out the new middle school room she’s in, she liked it. We went back for a lunch at the church celebrating 25 years, 15 of those in this building and the previous years in an elementary school in the area. This church started out as Highlands Ranch Christian church, then a bit later became Mountainview Community Christian church. It was the first church in Highlands Ranch that was a new church, not a plant from another part of Denver or an arm of a church located elsewhere, just the first (non-catholic) church to build in the area. We’ve had some ups and downs as a church, a major pastor shift happened some years ago and some of the church split over that, but some of us stayed and continue to get fed (sometimes literally fed) and volunteer here.

We pretty much lazed away the rest of the day, making only one outing after dinner….

The week – school, worship dance, St. John’s music at noon, Kindness Krewe, park day, NIA, youth group, CRUSH fest, HS skate, TNO, youth fest outing, ukulele class….feels like I’m missing something….

Dinners – crockpot chicken enchilada casserole, Asian lettuce wraps, pan fried tilapia with tomatoes and feta, sesame beef with fried rice, chicken creole pasta.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

16 Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves 
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1 dash Asian chile pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef and cooking oil in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and discard grease; transfer beef to a bowl. Cook and stir onion in the same skillet used for beef until slightly tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and chile pepper sauce into onions. Add water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; cook and stir until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter and pile meat mixture in the center.

Sesame Beef

1 pound round steak
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic, and onions in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cut steak into strips and add to bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 30 minutes.
Cook in wok or frying pan until brown, about 5 minutes. Add sesame seeds and cook for additional 2 minutes.





Saturday Bethany came home, took the girls to Chipotle for lunch, then they all walked to Target. James and I went to Castlewood canyon to hike to the dam. We started at the observation deck, then went to the Lake gulch trailhead.

It was pretty smoky from the Montana fires, not that you can tell in the pictures.

We crossed the creek and saw the dam – or what’s left of it. The dam was built in 1890 and lasted until 1933 when it broke and flooded Denver (Denver’s second worst flood.)

We went down to the creek bottom trail to get a better look.

We had to go up on the way back (since it was downhill all the way), but it wasn’t too bad. We went to Saltgrass for lunch and had some Royal crown and coke slushies that were very good. Back at home we rested and watched Ace in the Hole. I forget where I read about this movie, probably one of the books I’m reading, but it was a good movie about media, ethics and how human interest stories are made.

Image result for ace in the hole movie

Cat logic.

After dinner we took the girls to LM’s for Swinging Saturday. There was a nice sunset on the way.

We had 3 pumpkin chai ice creams and 1 oreo.

FB live video of the music and dancing here. 

Sunday we went to church (Daniel in the Lion’s den), had lunch at home and then took James to the chutes. He tubed for a bit, then spent the next 2 hours jumping in with us. The water was at 121 CFS and 57 degrees, but it was 92 out, so it felt great. Hannah was posing.

After we got home and cleaned up we Facetimed with Joel and had BBQ ribs for dinner. Joel played some music for us on his guitar and violin, talked about an upcoming PT test, drills and showed us his room (he redecorated.) One cool thing he did was he covered a whole wall in Army sheet music. After we hung up with him we watched a Blake and Father Brown, the girls had a friend come over and she stayed late (since she didn’t have school on Monday.)

The week – school, picnic, hike, Louise Penny at LT (just me), NIA, Penn and Teller, Blue man group, Park Hill walking tour, Homeschool group’s 15th anniversary party, church and our church’s 25th anniversary picnic.

Dinners this week – grill night, garlic lime chicken, pulled pork BBQ, Vegas, Vegas, breakfast for dinner, 15th anniversary party cookout, 25th church anniversary picnic.

Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken

3/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons lime juice

In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle spice mixture generously on both sides of chicken breasts.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons garlic powder and lime juice. Cook 5 minutes more, stirring frequently to coat evenly with sauce.

Day in the life {Wednesday} – hikes {Mueller SP and Secret spot}


James and I went to Starbucks for morning coffee, that was nice. When I got home I did a few things, got swimsuits and towels and lunch packed in the car while Grace did her water sample tests left over from yesterday. Hannah read her English and Science in the car on my phone, Grace said she would do her stuff when we got home. I picked up a State park pass from the library (that is so cool that they do that), so we went to Mueller SP to eat lunch and do a short hike.

We looked around the visitor center too and admired the views.

Our real hike was at a secret spot, not that long and it leads to a swimming hole.

There were a few people there jumping and diving, but Hannah and I just swam around.

Grace took pics of her LPS (and us) and put her feet in. The water was probably 56, but not too bad since it was sunny, at any rate it cools you off after the hike up and down to the spot.

When we left the cove we drove through a tremendous hail storm. I stopped on the side of the road to adjust the defrost since the temperature dropped rather quickly and I was waiting for it to lighten up. We started driving again when I realized that it wasn’t going to stop and if I wasn’t at least slowly moving forward the hail was going to pile up to slightly impassable on the road in a few minutes. We were driving through 4 inches at one point and I bet more fell when we were out of the hail band. We stopped in at a doughnut/ice cream shop and had some shakes and this huge doughnut, then we headed home.

We drove through another mini-hail storm and heavy rain near CR, which slowed traffic a bit. Back at home Grace read The Pit and the Pendulum and got a document started for her science investigation tomorrow.

Dinner tonight made my whole house smell like Sherpa House (Indian food.) So good.

Fun Friday Hike {Lower Bear Creek}


I went to NIA this morning and it was so nice. When I got home, Grace was working on English and Hannah was curled up on the couch. Seems that she threw up (but I’m not sure if it was an upset stomach or just congestion stuff she swallowed.) She worked on some science and then we headed to Old Colorado City for lunch at La Baguette. I had butternut squash ravioli, Hannah had cheese tortellini, Grace had pasta with red sauce and I had the best cup of French onion soup – ever. I don’t know what kind of cheese they used or what kind of onion, just that it was the best. For dessert we got an almond croissant that was stuffed with crushed almonds and almond paste, so good.

We were going to hike 7 bridges, but we got a late start, there was traffic coming down that way, so we ended up at Lower Bear creek. It was nice.

Back at home we finished up school, then James and I went to the Final Friday in Englewood. Phil was making drinks and serving brown sugar wings from Taste Bud Bullies and they were good.

Since that was just a snack, we ended up eating some more food at Acres Restaurant. It’s small but has a rustic feel and the food all sounded great. We had tater tots and shrimp and grits.

They have monthly chef parties where they have themes, but we’ll be going back to try some of their entrees and more of their shared plates. Friendly and helpful waitstaff and great chefs at that place.



We had a great weekend. It was full of some family time – going to eat lunch in Lowry at North County and having LM ice cream at Rocket Ice Cream. We had brunch items at NC and we’ll be going back for their drinks and to try the tacos. The skillet was great, the churros were amazing, Bethany said her quinoa bowl was the best ever and Grace had stuffed French toast and since there was none left – it was also good. They have a cute space, nice patio and coastal CA/Mex Baja food.

What can I say about Rocket Ice Cream….it’s got jets that spurt out a water mist that makes it look like the rocket is taking off, also their ice cream is all LM, so it’s good.

Then we spent some time at home, reading and watching TV. Before dinner we went over to 7-11 for BYOC Slurpee day. I got a 1/2 gallon of cherry on top and mango chile on the bottom.

After dinner James and I went to the park to hear the jazz band Swing Shift. I ended up dumping the last of the Slurpee into a glass and adding Deep Eddy vodka – not bad!

Sunday I went to church, I thought we had to work, but that’s next weekend. James mowed and I read, then we asked the girls if they wanted to go on a drive with us. Nope. So James and I headed to Old Colorado City and had lunch at an Irish pub called Alchemy. There was a car show going on up and down the street, so after Irish onion soup, beer and cheese soup and undone pretzels we headed out to look.

We went over to Garden of the gods for a hike.

We went by the store on the way home, got burgers and brats to grill and watched The Hunt for Red October during dinner.

The week – co-op postings start, eclipse part at the library, park day, swimming in the chutes, water sampling, NIA, spa day, hikety-hike, corn roast fest, church and working in the 4’s rooms at church….I feel like I’m forgetting something – oh yeah, and we ‘start school’ this week.

Dinners – (starting M) – beans and sausage with foccacia bread (we didn’t have it last week), chicken maffe, beef tip stroganoff, chicken and sausage gumbo, herbed butter salmon.

Focaccia bread

1 tablespoon honey
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
5 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Dissolve honey in the warm water in a large bowl, then sprinkle yeast over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to foam. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, onions, and 5 cups of flour until the dough comes together. Knead on a well floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees F.

Place dough onto oiled baking sheet, and flatten to cover the whole sheet evenly. Use the tips of your fingers to make indentations all over the dough spaced about 1 inch apart. Drizzle the focaccia with 3 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon of kosher salt over the top. Let rise for 10 minutes
Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes until golden brown.


Chicken Maffe

4 lb chicken pieces, such as thighs, legs or breasts
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Spice Rub:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced shallot
1 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, or to taste

Peanut Sauce:
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp finely diced and seeded jalapeño pepper
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I’m using almond butter)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup coconut milk (I’m using almond milk)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Stir together the ‘Spice Rub’ ingredients and rub onto the chicken pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the chicken in batches and brown on all sides, then transfer to a platter or bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, onion, bell peppers, carrot, garlic and jalapeno to the pan, then cook about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Add the chicken broth and simmer about 20 minutes uncovered. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir in the remaining sauce ingredients, and simmer for two minutes. Return the browned chicken to the skillet and cook 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and the sauce thickens. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over rice.

You can also brown the chicken and dump everything into the crockpot for 4-6 hours.


Hike {Waterton}


Because it was a nice day. Some of the leaves are turning in the canyon.

We walked 2.6 miles, then turned around and walked back. We didn’t see any sheep this time, they must have been on the other side of the canyon.

Back at home the tile guy came to fix the girls’ bathroom. It’s so clean and white now! Apparently parts of the tile that I thought were dirty were actually missing grout, water has been seeping into the backing and then down into the laundry room – hopefully this fixes it!

TNO was tonight and there was one other Mom, so that was nice.

Hike {Shambhala Mt. Center} and swim {Cache la Poudre}


We left early so we would get to the hike by 10:30am. We got a map and started on the trail toward the stupa. There were lots of flowers, some deer hiding under the gift shop and a stream through an aspen grove.

Breaking in new shoes.

The best views were from the top of the stupa.

There is a cult like vibe going on from the people there, but if you are just hiking around it’s just bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, deer, chipmunks and grasshoppers invading your senses as well as a breeze and views.

From there we drive back to Ft. Collins and went to Legacy park to swim in the Poudre.

The flow was nice and light, the water was chilly, but not frigid and there were little toads hopping around all over.

We popped the tube first thing, I went to blow it up and the tab came right out, it was weird. This lady had the right idea, tie your tube to a tree branch and just sit in the river and read.

We left right before a storm blew in and back on the freeway I could see black sky and lightning in my rear view mirror. We made it home and I started on dinner, then we watched a Father Brown and a Dr. Blake.

Here is a crazy Maisy with her baby and Grace’s new plant named Felix.