Category Archives: information

Totem poles co-op


We got some school done, Agri science, Physical science, English, Geometry and PE. Hannah made some borax crystals overnight, her solution was a bit too super saturated we had to break the jar to get them out….note to self, don’t try to put two in one jar. Boil water, add food coloring, add borax until solution is saturated, attach a coiled up pipe cleaner (or other object for the crystals to attach to) to a string and hang that down in the solution overnight. Glass jars work best, but use one you don’t mind throwing away in case the crystals stick to the glass.

I put these pics of Zoe on FB, she is going to be a meme.

Maisy is never going to be a meme.

At the library we read some books, talked about Totem poles, then set out to make our own.

Coloring pages –

Totem is the image, animal or human, some clans totems are the animals that they will not eat or kill, other totems are crests telling the lineage of the family. Some totems are inside the house holding up the roof, some are outside with a hole for the door into the house, some are for the dead, some are for chiefs, some are planted in the yard. Most totems in the open are under 100 years old, most in museums are under 200 years old. Some totems are copied as they deteriorate so that the family can retain the crest. Totems can up raised up at a potlatch where the family hosts a feast to introduce the carving. Until the 1900’s carvers were men, hired by the family or person to carve the pole. Colors are limited, blue, yellow, black, white, green and red. Some other colors are used, but these are the primary ones.

  • Red is the color of blood, representing war or valor
  • Blue is for the skies and waters, including rivers and lakes
  • White is for the skies and spacious heavens
  • Yellow is the color of the sun, bringing light and happiness
  • Green is the earth with its hills, trees, and mountains
  • Black represents power.

Chart of Animal Totems and Meanings

Animal Totems & Meanings


Alligator – Emotional understanding, cleansing &
Spiritual Healing

Animal Totems & Meanings Badger

Badger – Bold, out-going, good communicator

Animal Totems & Meanings Bat

Bat – Death and Rebirth and Guardian of the Night

Animal Totems & Meanings Beaver

Beaver – Creative and Artistic ability, builder, resourcefulness and determination

Animals Totem & Meaning Bear

Bear – Strength, Solitude, Motherhood, Teaching and to learn Humility Meaning of Bear

Animal Totems & Meanings Bobcat

Bobcat – Independence, Clear Vision and self reliance

Animal Totems & Meanings Bumblebee

Bumblebee – Honesty, Pure Thinking, Willingness and Drive

Animal Totems & Meanings Buffalo

Buffalo – A manifestation of the Great Spirit, Knowledge, Generosity and abundance

Animal Totems & Meanings Butterfly

Butterfly – Represents transformation and the ability to accept change

Animal Totems & Meanings Cougar

Cougar – Power, leadership, humility and encourages responsibility for life

Animals Totem & Meaning Cow

Cow – Represents Motherhood, contentment, fertility and nourishment

Animal Totems & Meanings Crocodile

Crocodile – Strong will, Emotional understanding, cleansing and healing

Animal Totems & Meanings Coyote

Coyote – Helps you recognize your own mistakes, Stealth, Clowning and Humor

Animal Totems & Meanings Crow

Crow – Find balance living in present, release past beliefs, Skill and Cunning

Animal Totems & Meanings Deer

Deer – Healing, Gentleness, kindness & compassion

Animal Totems & Meanings Dolphin

Dolphin – Interpreting dreams, Change, Wisdom, Communication,

Animals Totem & Meaning Dog

Dog – Guidance, Loyalty and trust

Animal Totems & Meanings Dogfish

Dogfish – Persistence and Strength A Born Leader

Animal Totems & Meanings Dove

Dove – Love, Gentleness and Kindness

Animal Totems & Meanings Dragonfly

Dragonfly – Dreams, Illusions, Ever-changing Life

Animal Totems & Meanings Eagle

Eagle – Great Strength, courage Leadership and Prestige

Animals Totem & Meaning Elk

Elk – Bravery, agility and independence

Animal Totems & Meanings Falcon

The Falcon – Soul Healing, Speed and Movement

Animal Totems & Meanings Fox

The Fox – Cunning, Stealth and Feminine Courage

Animal Totems & Meanings Frog

Frog – Spring & New Life, Sensitivity, Communicator, Stability

Animal Totems & Meanings Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly Bear – Strength and Ferocity

Animal Totems & Meanings Halibut

The Halibut – Life protector, Strength and Stability

Animal Totems & Meanings Hawk

The Hawk – Guardianship, Strength, Far Sighted

Animals Totem & Meaning Heron

The Heron – Patience, Graceful and Easy Going

Animal Totems & Meanings Horse

Horse – Energy, Power, Message carrier, communicates with other realms

Animal Totems & Meanings Hummingbird

Hummingbird – Love, Beauty, Intelligence, Spirit Messenger and Stopper of Time

Animal Totems & Meanings Killer Whale

The Killer Whale – Seas and the Underworld, Traveler & Guardian and Symbol of Good

Animals Totem & Meaning Kingfisher

The Kingfisher – Luck, Patience, Speed and Agility

Animal Totems & Meanings Lizard

The Lizard – Awareness, Conservation, subconscious hopes and fears

Animal Totems & Meanings Moose

The Moose – Headstrong, Balance and Longevity

Animal Totems & Meanings Mouse

Mouse – Observant qualities and diligence

Animal Totems & Meanings Otter

The Otter – Feminine Power, Playful, Trusting, Inquisitive, Bright, Loyal and speedy

Animals Totem & Meaning Owl

The Owl – Wisdom, silent and swift, ability to see things normally, a creature of the night

Animal Totems & Meanings Raccoon

Raccoon – Curiosity, Creativity, Dexterity, Disguise

Animal Totems & Meanings Raven

Raven – Creation & Knowledge – Bringer of the Light

Animal Totems & Meanings Porcupine

Porcupine – Safety and Protection

Animal Totems & Meanings Salmon

Salmon – Persistence, Dependability and Renewal – A Provider

Animal Totems & Meanings Seal

The Seal – Bright, Inquisitive, Organized

Animal Totems & Meanings Shark

The Shark – Remorselessness, Survival, Adaptability

Animals Totem & Meaning Snake

The Snake – Rebirth, Resurrection, Initiation and Transformation

Animal Totems & Meanings Spider

The Spider – Creativity, weaving the web of fate

Animal Totems & Meanings Squirrel

Squirrel – Planning and Preparation

Animals Totem & Meaning Turtle

The Turtle – Self-Reliance, Tenacity, Slow Progress

Animal Totems & Meanings Weasel

The Weasel – Encourages you to develop your sense of inner hearing and to pay attention to your inner voice

Animal Totems & Meanings Whale

The Whale – Ancient Knowledge, Awareness

Animals Totem & Meaning Wolf

The Wolf – Intelligence & Leadership – Strong Sense of Family

Totem Pole Symbols – Tribal Totems

  • The totem pole symbols of the Tlingit tribe included the raven, frog, goose, sea lion, owl, salmon, beaver, codfish, skate, wolf, eagle, bear, killer-whale, shark, auk, gull, sparrow-hawk
  • The totem pole symbols of the Haida were the eagle, killer-whale, black bear, loon, woodpecker, thunderbird (mythical), hawk, wolf, dogfish, owl, otter, grizzly bear, sea lion, mountain goat
  • The totem pole symbols of the Tsimshian were the raven, codfish, starfish, eagle, halibut, beaver, whale, wolf, crane, grizzly bear, bear, killer whale, dolphin
  • The totem pole symbols of other tribes included the beaver, frog, raven, dogfish, halibut, land otter, starfish and hummingbird

Identifying Totem Pole Symbols and Images

Totem Pole People

Men and Women are represented fairly realistically. People can be depicted upright but more often in a crouching position. People are shown with erect ears and women are distinguished from men by a labret (lip ornament) in their lower lip.

Totem Pole Top Figures

The top figures often identify the tribe, clan or lineage such as the eagle or the raven

Totem Pole Land Animals

The eyes of land animals are carved as two curves enclosing a circle. Four legged animals are usually depicted in a crouching position. The bodies of most animals are facing the front.

Totem Pole Fish and Sea Mammals

The eyes of fish and some sea mammals are carved with round eyes

Totem Pole Birds

Birds are usually carved perched with their wings outstretched or folded at their sides. Their legs have large, clawed feet. Beaks horizontally protrude from the figure or carved tucked against the chest. All birds have eyebrows and have ears on the top of their heads.

Totem Pole Natural Phenomena

Images from nature including the sun, moon, stars and rainbows are also depicted

Totem Pole Wolf Symbols

The Wolf are carved with tall ears, a long sharp muzzle, elevated snout and lots of teeth

Totem Pole Eagle Symbols

The Eagle is distinguished by its short, curved beak

Totem Pole Beaver Symbols

The beaver is distinguished by its two protruding teeth and round nostrils. The beaver is often portrayed holding

Totem Pole Mountain Goat

The Mountain Goat is depicted with slender, sharp horns and cleft hoof with two toes

Totem Pole Killer Whale Symbols

The Killer Whale has two spines above the round eyes, two prominent dorsal fins, a large head and a mouth turned up at the corners. Often has spots painted on its back.

Totem Pole Shark Symbols

The Shark is depicted with gills slits as crescents and a crescent shaped mouth, turned down at the corners and filled with saw-like teeth

Totem Pole Frog Symbols

The Frog is portrayed as if seen from above.

Totem Pole Halibut Fish Symbols

The Halibut has a continuous fin and is depicted with both eyes on one side

Totem Pole Octopus Symbols

The Octopus is traditionally depicted with a bird like head, hooked bill, suction plates and tentacles

Totem Pole Bear Symbols

A realistic depiction of a bear but with large nostrils, paws, and fangs

Totem Pole Raven Symbols

The Raven is portrayed with a short, sharp, protruding beak

Totem Pole Insects

Various styles are used in Insect designs and are carved in a similar fashion to birds making their species difficult to distinguish

Back at home Grace made some cookies for youth group.

James and I dropped her off, then went to Perry’s for a drink and talked while the piano lady sang. I keep hoping the guy that was there one night is going to be back, he was so good.


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.