Category Archives: information

The week so far


Monday – the dentist went well for all (except for Hannah, one surface cavity that will be filled on Friday.) It rained all the way to Sweet Cooie’s so the art camp was inside. Today was cubism, we decided to work on one canvas (Bethany just sat and ate ice cream.)

It was still raining, so I cancelled park day and we went to Pho for lunch. We stopped by the library where the librarian was nice enough to waive some fines…..very nice. I ran some errands after we got home, looks like the wild turkeys are moving in from Lone Tree….

We potted some plants in some of the whale planters that Gwen gave Grace.

Tuesday was nice and pretty, perfect for the MOA, lunch and shopping on Broadway. The MOA has a temporary (well, all their exhibits are temporary, but this one is very short) exhibit by the design and build teams from the Summer.

Lunch was Cafe’ 180, I had an adult grilled cheese, spinach salad and potato soup.

I could not believe that Hannah ate her entire turkey wrap – it was huge.

We walked down the shops on Broadway, first going into the book store.

Hannah had picked out a science book and Grace got a cook book. Hannah wanted this other book, a cheesy mystery (literally, it’s about pizza), and I said no – then the lady behind the counter said it was buy 2 get 1 free for all the books. Hannah grinned and ran back to grab the book. I like that ReNew is now individual art shops selling crafts, art and more (even if I can’t afford anything there now.)

We looked in the Army surplus store (Hannah wants to dress up as a soldier) but we didn’t find anything used. We got a few small items at the bead shop, then we headed home right as some rain started up.

Back at home I made banana bread and peasant bread for the stew, the stew was….interesting. One ingredient was coffee and I think I added too much of that.

Today we’re heading out in a bit to watch some $1 movies at the theater. I cleaned up three cabinets in the kitchen (and found my canning jars) and finished up 2 books.


NBTS – school room


This one has definitely changed! The kids all got laptops last year and since we were no longer rooted to desktops we started to migrate from the basement school room to the kitchen table, couch, coffee shop, museum, library, just about anywhere that has wifi.

Because a lot of their school work is on-line the laptops afford us the freedom to not be in the house. I do, however, like having things in a place where I know where they are. I hate spending time looking for paper, pencils, scissors, glue, markers, etc. So, the basement still has desks and still has bookcases. See this?

This is my stash of paper clips, tape, pencils and thumbtacks, etc. I swear to cow, if someone touches my stash to make paperclip chains or puts back pencils unsharpened – I am going to scream. See this?

It’s an electric pencil sharpener, I asked for it for my birthday one year (yes, that’s right, for my birthday) – this means that pencils should always be sharp – heaven help the person that puts that pencil back in the holder with no tip! See this?

This is a whiteboard that is supposed to be used for things other than drawing whales and kitties on it, but for now I’ll leave it. Also, we have too much art.

I have art on the walls leading down to the basement, in the basement window wells, and I rotate art in my bathrooms – one day I will host my own art sale.

If we are headed out I have a scrapbook 12X12 case that is filled with random stuff like pencils, math manipulatives, rulers, glue, markers, paper, etc that I can just grab and go. We do have actual books, not everything is on-line, so those are stored in a cubby that goes under their desk (though this year I might just put them in a cubby by the couch.) We often road-school too, so that might look like listening to an audio book about something we’re studying, doing paper work that can be done off-line or reading while driving to a far off hiking spot.

I have an art supply/craft cabinet out in the garage that holds all art related stuff, this makes it easier to do art or art co-ops since I know what I have and where it’s at. Though I do get a little lazy after some co-ops and just throw the stuff back in the cabinet (and have to sort it out later.) Note to self – I don’t need any more markers, glue sticks, construction paper or cotton balls right now.

Books for reading (school to library books) are on the coffee table.

During the Summer (when we visit more than just our library) I have bins for Denver/Arapahoe/Jeffco so the books get back to the right home, but during the school year we usually just check out from our library (or if we go to events and check out books, I know that we’ll be going to another event and just return the books then.)

So, our school room could be anywhere. Before we would often do school outside or at other places, we would just do the on-line work at home before heading out. But now we can snuggle with cats at the Cat cafe, sip chai at the coffee shop, work in a nook at the library before an event, even sit in the museum and do school. I love that.

The week and dinners


The week – church, dentist, Sweet Cooie’s art camp, SAME cafe’, park day, NIA, MOA, Cafe’ 180, Broadway shops, pick up fused glass, $1 movies, Boondock’s, youth group, Creativity club, a friend’s b-day party, for the weekend maybe a trip to the Longmont museum and something else in that area.

Dinners – roasted turkey, fish tacos, mulligan beef stew with peasant bread, chicken and pasta with stuffed mushrooms, sausage gumbo with johnny cake, lemon thyme chicken with root veggies.

Mulligan beef stew

4 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for the pan
3 lb. beef stew meat (such as chuck), trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
kosher salt
2 onions, chopped
4 medium carrots (about 12 oz.), sliced 1/4″ thick
2 poblano chiles, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 1″ piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 c. dry red wine
1 1/2 tsp. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. coffee
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. honey
Chopped parsley and rolls or bread, for serving


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry with paper towels, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then cook in batches until browned all over, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.
Wipe out the pan and heat remaining 2 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots, poblanos, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cumin, and coriander and cook, stirring once or twice, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 1 cup wine to the empty pan and scrape all the browned bits off the bottom; transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the adobo sauce and remaining wine to the slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, and fish sauce. Nestle the beef in the sauce and cook on high until the liquids are steaming and the dish is fragrant, about 45 minutes.
Stir in the soy sauce and honey and cook on low until the beef is tender, 5 to 6 hours. Discard the bay leaf and season with additional salt if necessary. Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with rolls, if desired.


Fish tacos 

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 small red onion (finely chopped)
1 jalapeño (thinly sliced)
1/4 small pineapple (cut into 1/4″ pieces)
4 medium tomatillos (husks removed and halved)
1 1/4 lb. skinless white fish fillets (such as tilapia, cod or halibut)
3/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves
8 corn tortillas


In a bowl, combine lime juice, red onion, jalapeño, pineapple, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Heat grill to medium-high, then grill tomatillos until charred and beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Season skinless white fish fillets with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and grill until lightly charred and opaque throughout, 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the fish.
Cut the tomatillos into 1/2-inch pieces and fold them into the pineapple mixture along with cilantro.
Fill charred corn tortillas with the fish and top with the salsa.

NBTS – School year 2017-18 – Curriculum


I don’t know if there is a NBTS blog hop this year, but I like to do this every year to see how things change.

Grace is using K12 through Destination Career Academy of Colorado on the Agriculture path. Hannah is using K12 part-time through Colorado Digital Academy (meaning we are homeschoolers, she gets LA, Math and Science and I supplement the rest.) We have been using K12 through various on-line schools for 12 years. I have graduated two kids this way, it’s flexible, demanding, academic, structured and it works for us. But, K12 is not the only thing I use. No matter what courses they are taking through K12, we always have things that we do on our own. Some of these things are rabbit trails, things that occupy a portion of a week or month that involves delving deeper into a subject or studying something for the sake of learning more about it. The trail might come off of a lesson or it might be something that the girls are interested in the moment.

Grace has worship dance, River Watch sampling and testing once a month, art/crafts and library events in addition to school. Hannah has worship dance, French, music, art/crafts, library events and will start volunteering at Freedom service dogs soon. In addition to that we have park days, field trips, co-ops and hang-outs with our homeschool group. We also volunteer at church, hike as a family, swim and go to festivals and museums on our own. I have NIA, Holy Yoga, arts/crafts, library events and TNO for myself.

Some things we use besides K12

French (or any language) – Duolingo

History/science and more related crafts – Ellen McHenry’s basement

History – Big History Project

Lots of free MOOC classes (I take some too) – Coursera

More MOOC classes – EdX

Writing/Reading – Read Write Think

Science – Tree of Life

Science (this link goes to medicine, but in the upper left corner is a place to jump to Light, Nat. History and Astronomy) – Huntington

Bible – Biblegateway

Federal – Fed Resources for Education

Math – Kahn Academy

PBS (chock full of lots of stuff for all ages, grades and courses) – PBS learning media and PBS kids

BBC (some of the words are British, but this site is full of great stuff) – BBC Education


This week so far


I picked up Maisy from the vet this morning, which threw off my whole day. I missed NIA, but made it to coffee with the NIA ladies at Panera (where I got to vent about how much money the dog cost us and about how they didn’t call me on Sunday to tell me that one more night would be $400 more on Monday…) Maisy looks pathetic with the cone of shame on, she only has to wear it when crated, otherwise we can watch her to make sure she’s not picking at her stitches.

We had to stay home to let Maisy out now and then. I did take Hannah to the pond so she could try to catch a fish, but no dice. I said I’d take her in the morning because they seem to jump around more when it’s cooler. I didn’t plan to buy any food this week since we leave on Sunday, so we’re using up what we have for dinners this week – Navy beans and sausage, teriyaki pork roast, yogurt-curry chicken with lentils, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, buddha bowls with random stuff I find in the pantry, leftovers, Sun – dinner on the flight to Paris. It’s also a lazy week because of Maisy. In the afternoon I took the girls to Krispy Kreme to get their free doughnuts for A’s, yummy.

Tuesday morning I took Hannah to the pond again, but I swear the fish knew she had a net, so they stayed in the middle. Next time she wants to bring some bread to tempt them closer to shore. Maisy was a bit perkier today and ate a bit more.

I was checking on camping spots for our road trip, trying to figure out of it’s better to go toward Reno or go down to the corner of Utah and then end up in the middle-ish of CA. I think, after much debating and going back and forth, we’ll be going across UT and NV and taking the same way back (but stopping in different places to camp.) Free camping takes a lot of planning and the spot I want to San Francisco takes reservations exactly 30 days out, which I can’t make since we’ll be somewhere in the Med that day, so I’m leaving it for a friend to do. We went to the library for Creativity club and one other family joined us there, it was a nice break from planning. I was in a doodle-y mood, Grace colored and drew and Hannah was looking at something on her phone.

Back at home I finished up a couple of books, I have a few more to finish before the trip and then I think I’m going to check out some new ones on my Nook to save room in my luggage.

Today is park day and we’re headed to Aurora for a city park day. It should be fun, there will be water play, a bounce house, snacks and crafts. Tomorrow we were all hiking, but Bethany has to work and we can’t leave Maisy in the crate for too long, so we’re just going to go on a shorter, closer hike. Friday and Saturday it’s cleaning, laundry, picking up things at the store and packing time – then it’s off to the airport early Sunday morning.



James and I went to coffee, then walked around the lake.

When we got home Maisy was not feeling well. She had an appointment on Monday, but was not eating or drinking and she threw up, so I took her to the emergency vet. They said she was in shock because of some ping pong sized balls of infection in her uterus. They got her stable and by 5pm had done surgery to remove the uterus and infection. It was not cheap, but they said that if the surgery was done she would probably be back to normal soon. While she was there I took Grace out for pre-birthday pics. It was so hot and sunny, we’d have gotten better pics in the shade, but these aren’t bad.

She made her cake when we got home. Butter pecan cake with brown buttercream icing, caramel glaze and gold flakes.

We went to Pieology for her birthday dinner.

Then picked up Gwen and came back home to get B and C to go to the MOA fest.

Back at home Grace opened presents, we ate cake, then the kids got ready for a sleep-over and the rest of us went to bed.

We got the word that Maisy did fine during surgery, woke up and was a bit perkier than she was in the morning.



Wednesday I went to NIA (after ditching for a really long time) while the girls swam with their friends. After lunch we went to a friend’s house to watch Hidden Figures, that was a really good movie. The study guide that goes with it is here – it goes over the Cold War, Space race, segregation, math, science, women in science and more. If you haven’t seen the movie, it tells the story of the black women at NASA who were the ‘computers’, their dreams, footage from the time, the power of believing in yourself despite the views of society and character traits like perseverance, determination, honesty, manners and empathy. We didn’t do much the rest of the day, Grace got picked up for a sleepover, Bethany went for a run, James and I watched some TV when he got home.

Thursday I went to NIA, Bethany took Alex, Grace and Gwen to see Wonder Woman while I took Hannah to see Beauty and the Beast.

Bethany took her crew out to lunch, so I took Hannah to lunch at the mall. Grace came home with dyed hair and I had some time to read before dinner.

I am working on a road trip to CA with Grace and Hannah. James has to work and Bethany decided that she’d rather work (since she’s about to get 10 unpaid days off for our Europe trip.) It’s hard work planning a free camping trip, but I think I’ve got all the spots laid out (except for one that, even though it’s free, has to be reserved by phone.) Our main goal is the Charlie Chaplin festival in Niles (the original Hollywood.) Then seeing some of San Francisco, the Marine mammal center, seeing redwoods and swimming in the ocean and perhaps dropping in on some friends on the way home.