Category Archives: Kids at home

Week in review

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Last week –

Monday Hannah and I went to NIA, we did school, Grace worked and I took Hannah to dance. Grace and I sat at Solid Grounds and made some art. Joel was busy making a gun, painting it, filing it, going to get parts, going to the gun range, etc. That took up a lot of his leave time.

Tuesday was Poe-tea and we actually had 2 other kids show up. When they heard March was sushi and Japanese themed food, they were like – I’m there! Yes, we bribe with food and it works.

The poet was e. e. cummings and we found out some interesting things about him. Cummings was a pacifist who (before being drafted) worked in France on an ambulance line – he and a friend used to send letters home trying to outwit the French censors. He wrote a poem a day from age 8-22, a feat for sure. He favored dynamic use of language over grammar and punctuation and saw poems as visual objects on a page, not just words. We listened to this poem, read by the author, which was interesting. It was slower than I would have thought and (the parentheses) make it hard to figure out where to pause or stop or start. I wondered if he was hiding things like he did in his letters back home during the war, take out the parenthese and find his deepest secret, but read only the parenthese and it’s like an echo. Our poetry to write was shape poems.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
By e. e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Our poem to make for the day was shape poems, I didn’t get a picture of the other kids stuff, but it was good.

Wednesday was park day, no one showed up, so we walked Jack around and let him play with some other dogs for a bit.

Jack was tired.

Thursday was my wood art co-op. It was just using sharpies to draw on some wood pieces from Home Depot, they turned out really well. I added magnets to some of them so they could hang on the fridge.

Friday we went to the Parker library for Creativity club. Joel joined us and drew for a bit before heading to the post office and to hang with a friend.

It started snowing in the evening and it really stacked up. We had about 7 inches or so, enough to make Jack able to walk around and lick the snow without having to put his head down. We ended the night with Joel cleaning his guns and packing up and watching an old Sherlock Holmes.

Saturday we got out early to the airport to drop Joel, the roads were very clear for having some much snow the previous night. There were 68 car crashes on Friday evening, we saw a few left over cars this morning, but when it snows if you can wait for the plows – it makes a big difference.

Once the girls woke up and were ready we headed downtown to the Ice climbing fest. Jack loved the slingshot balls, every time someone missed and a ball bounced back he was running like crazy to get it. We also did an ice maze, tree throwing, arm wrestling and looked in the tiny house and at the climbers. They weren’t climbing the ice while we were there, just the plywood and cubes, trying to get a fast time. It would have been interesting to see the vertical ice climb, but my toes were frozen – so we didn’t stay any longer.

Sunday we went to church, went to see Ralph Breaks the Internet (cute movie), put together Grace’s vanity and went to Olive Garden for dinner.

My week – NIA, school, hanging at Solid Grounds, ballet/dance, jazz guitar date night, TDO (Fika in Parker), river samples, youth group, Teen science cafe (botanist), board game co-op, TDO (calligraphy at Smiley library), missions banquet at church, weekend….Leadville ski-joring? Dairy block Mardi Gras parade? so many good options…

Dinners this week -Olive Garden, make your own pizza, ravioli with goat cheese/beet salad, crockpot chicken and dumplings, braciole over egg noodles, church missions banquet, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with corn on cob, grilling stuff. For some reason we have a very Italian menu this week….

Beef Braciole

(Note you can stuff it with whatever you want, so I’m ditching the prosciutto and adding spinach, pine nuts and golden raisins)
6 thin slices boneless top round (about 2 pounds)
12 cloves garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, plus more for garnish
1 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese, plus more for serving if desired
2 tablespoons seasoned dry breadcrumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 thin slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
2 cup beef broth
1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cut top round slices in half widthwise so that you have 12 equal pieces. Place beef between two pieces of plastic wrap. Gently pound to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness.

Mince 4 cloves of garlic; slice the remaining 8 cloves.
Combine minced garlic, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Place a prosciutto slice over the filling then sprinkle filling evenly over all beef slices.

Roll the beef into a cylinder, tucking in the sides to hold in the filling as you roll. Secure with toothpicks.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Place the beef rolls, seam side down in the pot and brown seam side first to seal it. Cook, turning the meat occasionally until each roll is nicely browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

Add the wine and the sliced garlic. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add beef broth, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Place beef rolls back in the pot and bring back to a simmer.

Cover and cook on low heat, turning occasionally until beef is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours. Alternately, cook covered in a 325-degree oven for 1 1/2-2 hours or in a slow cooker for 3-4 hours on high.

To thicken (if needed) place pot back on the stove if cooked in the oven. Remove some of the hot cooking liquid to a bowl. Add the flour and stir until smooth to create a slurry. Slowly add it to the hot cooking liquid, bring to a slow simmer and cook until thickened.

 

Owls, TNO, Weekend

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The owls are back at the park. Can’t wait to see the babies.

I went to TNO on Friday (Pho) and had one friend meet me there who is neither a homeschooler nor a Mom, but we had fun. Hannah made me some friends to take with me, just in case no one showed up, sad, but there it is.

Jack got some pics at Red rocks.

Saturday we drove to the Springs to check out Pub Dog, an indoor and outdoor restaurant where you can have your dog with you. They served their food in dog bowls which I thought was cute.

Then we went by the Ice Cream Lab, I had a French toast taco, probably should have shared it.

Jack was out on the way home.

And playful at home.

Sunday we had brunch at Pappadeux and then took Jack by the dog park.

He wanted to go to Zoey’s, but they were closed.

I cleaned up some more, kind of Marie Kondo style, purging and finding homes for things that aren’t used all of the time or just don’t spark joy. I listened to a podcast of 2 women who read a self-help book and then live it for 2 weeks, they were not a fan of week 2 living the Kondo life. I agree, it’s stupid to put everything away, I use pots and pans 2-3 times a day, I don’t want to have to drag them out every single time I use them. But, things like blenders and espresso machines that don’t get used every day – those can reside in a cabinet.

What I’m up to this week – NIA, school, driving practice, Grace at work, Hannah at dance/ballet, hanging at Solid Grounds, teen poe-tea, LAPOMPE at Union station, park day, youth group, wood art co-op, creativity club (Parker), Arvada Winterfest (maybe), church

Dinners this week – baked potato bar, tacos, pot roast, chicken and eggplant parmesan, chicken and sweet potato buddha bowl, grilled cheese and soup.

Buddha Bowl

3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 large red onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups baby spinach
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Bring chicken broth and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Spread sweet potato and red onion onto a baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over mixture and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
Bake in the preheated oven until sweet potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir 2 cloves garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 6 minutes per side. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
Whisk 1 garlic clove, lime juice, almond butter, soy sauce, and honey together in a bowl. Whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil and sesame oil into mixture until dressing is smooth.
Divide quinoa among bowls; top with chicken, sweet potato mixture, spinach, and avocado. Sprinkle cilantro and sesame seeds over the top and drizzle dressing over each bowl.

Walking, Mansion, Valentine’s Day, Kindness Krewe, Taco Bell

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Wednesday we got out to Montbello again and walked with a bigger group (it was nice outside.)

We got lapped by the old people, I blame Jack. Anytime there was a pile of snow, he had his face in it. We had lunch at Shake Shack, which means Jack had a puppy ice cream.

We left him at home and went to the HR mansion to meet some friends, tour around, eat some treats and belt out ‘Sweet Caroline’ when the DJ played it.

Back at home I caught the exact moment when Jack chaed the squirrel. James went to pick up Joel from the airport, I took Hannah to youth group and we waited for Joel to get home.

Thursday we loaded up flowers and cards and went over to Quincy senior housing and handed out Valentines and walked around with Jack so people could pet him. We played 2 rounds of Wheel of Fortune with some of the residents, then headed home to do school.

Jack was not happy about having a bow put on him.

Joel was busy putting a gun together.

Jack’s first Valentine’s day.

We went to Taco Bell, of course, for dinner.

We left the girls at home and Joel went with us to Englewood Grand for a nightcap.

Sweet!

Chinese New Year, Broken shovels farm

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Since Bethany didn’t have a car….she came with us to the Far East center Chinese New Year fest.

Jack thought it was very loud, he didn’t mind the drums and cymbals from far away, but he had his limit on how close he would get. It was a good show, Hannah got a stuffed pig and green tea kit-kats, we ate banh mi sandwiches and had a good time. I wasn’t the slightest bit hungry for dinner, but it was make your own pizza, so I eventually did.

Sunday I took the girls to a Valentine cuddle at the farm, it wasn’t so much a cuddle as a pet – the pigs were very pokey.

We got out to Petsmart with Jack, he was happy.

Then we chilled back at the house and had orange chicken for dinner.

Our week – NIA, school, Grace working, ballet/dance (Hannah), blood draw, St. John’s music at noon, dropping Valentines at Lambuth shelter, Holy Yoga, Joel comes in on leave, Walk2Connect (Montbello), Highlands Ranch mansion Valentine event, youth group, Kindness Krewe (Valentines at senior center), Taco Bell night (Valentine’s day), HS skate, TNO (Pho at Southglenn), don’t know about the weekend yet.

Dinners -rice/beans and cornbread, blue cheese stuffed pork chops and stuffed mushrooms, keema aloo and injera, Taco Bell (Valentine’s day), creamy chicken soup, waffles/eggs/sausage, fettuccine shrimp alfredo.

Keema Aloo

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 extra-large Spanish onion, chopped
2 tablespoons water (optional)
2 pounds lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1 serrano chile pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen green peas
1 teaspoon garam masala

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion in the hot oil until soft and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. If browned bits of onion are stuck to the bottom of the pan, stir water into onion and stir to loosen the browned bits.
Mix ground beef, garlic, ginger, serrano chile, and cilantro into pan; cook and stir until beef is browned and crumbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir coriander, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, and turmeric into the beef; cook and stir until flavors blend, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and potatoes, cover pot, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Mix green peas into dish and cook until sauce has slightly thickened and flavors have blended, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala over the dish, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Dance, party, computers, mall, Coney island, snow

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Friday –

Time for the Winter Wonderland dance. I dropped off the girls and… they had fun! I was sure I’d pick them up early, but they stayed from 6 to 9:30pm.

Saturday it was go to the mall (and I put pics of Jack all over the Microsoft store computers.)

And got some late b-day pics of Bethany (the mall has great backdrops.)

Then it was off to drop the girls at the MCA for an 80’s party.

I took the opportunity to run by the Courthouse to take pics of the lights.

Sunday we went to church and decided to take a drive to Coney island for hot dogs.

When we got home, Jack was bored.

Goings on, school, work for Grace, river samples, teen poe-tea, ice carvings, youth group, teen science cafe, driving practice, Paint mines, doc, blood draw, Platte hike, Chocolate affair, church, zoo (maybe)

Dinners -Italian sausage and potatoes, chicken pot pie, hamburger patties with mushrooms and onions, beef and barley stew, aloo phujia, chicken with tabbouleh.

Aloo Phujia

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tomatoes, chopped
1lb cubed pork

Lightly brown onion in oil in a medium size skillet.
Stir in salt, cayenne, turmeric and cumin. Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add tomatoes and pork, cover pan and cook until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.

Snow dog on Monday.

Doc, Incredibles 2, Night at the Museums, church, Mom date

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I went to the vascular surgeon on Friday. He said he wants to go in with an angiogram and use a stent to open the artery and close off the aneurysm. So, I’ll be scheduling that soon.

Saturday morning Grace, Hannah and I went to the library for a cereal bar movie, the Incredibles 2. I saw some of it on the cruise, but not the whole thing. It was pretty funny. Bethany was in town and went with her friend to a tea shop in the Springs. I went shopping, the girls went out for dinner and to the mall while James and I went to Night at the Museums. I had high hopes for doing the Botanic gardens too, but the small amount of walking we did at 2 museums did me in. We did the Clyfford Still museum first.

Then we went to the Kirkland museum, I’m going to have to come back to show the girls and to see the rest of it.

Sunday I went to church – Bad theology leads to bad practices. I do things for God because I am accepted, not to be accepted. Being precedes doing. I am a representative of Jesus, I am acting on behalf of Jesus, I am living for the honor of Jesus.

He is not “part” of my life, He “is” my life.

Colossians 3 1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. 3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life.

A short library run.

Then a bunch of Moms met up at Whole Foods, kind of like a TNO. It was fun, especially when I said my meds, then (because I’m wrong) my nurse friend supplied the actual name. I think this should be a party game!
Carvadodol? Carvedilol (LOL!)
Furrysomething? Furosemide (sounds like furious.)
Spurlactony? Spironolactone (I don’t have any comment for that one)
Demexathisasodone? Dexamethasone (Meth?! I swear, it’s only 2 I can stop after that.) 
Lisinopril – I can say that one.

Our week – school, kidsitting (G), dance (H), fireplace guy, poet-tea, 3-D jewelry @ library, Jazz nite Englewood Grand, TDO (papermaking), youth group, blood draw(s), doc scheduling, Creativity club, Davinci machines co-op, Ladies night @ Festive cup, Bad art date night with my Schnooke, church.

Dinners this week (I’m cooking again) – Turkey burgers, pizza and soups, Taco Tuesday!, basil chicken in coconut curry sauce, butternut mac, Ladies night (so I don’t know what everyone else is having), beef stroganoff (for the girls, that’s my date night.)

I am omitting salt from my recipes, but you can add it to taste.

Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

6-8 boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
1 teaspoon oil
2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 and 1/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 large red onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon COLD water
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Remove the skin from the chicken using your fingers and a serrated knife. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil (or you can use nonstick spray).
When the oil is hot, add chicken thighs. Don’t put them too close together, you want to avoid steaming.
Cook for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom. Then flip the chicken over to brown the other side for about 1-2 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a plate.
Meanwhile, in a crock pot combine coconut milk, basil, 2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, yellow curry, and chili powder (to taste). Stir to combine.
Add the chopped red onions, and garlic.
Add the browned chicken and stir to combine.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate or cutting board. Let cool for a couple minutes.
Add the ginger to the slow cooker.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon COLD water. Stir until it’s not lumpy. Add this to the crock pot and stir.
Shred chicken.Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir. Return the lid and cook for another 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cilantro.
Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, or naan.

Slow Cooker Vegan Butternut Squash Mac

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium white onion, quartered
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup nutritional yeast (I am omitting this)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard
2 cups vegetable stock
1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked according to package
fresh parsley, for garnish

Cut off both ends of the butternut squash and poke all over with a fork. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.
Peel the skin off of the squash. The skin should peel right off! Once peeled, slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and cut into 1-inch cubes. You should have about 5 cups.
In a slow cooker, combine the squash, onion, cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, rosemary, nutmeg, olive oil, mustard, salt, and vegetable stock. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, until the vegetables are soft enough to be easily mashed with a fork.
Transfer the squash mixture to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and puree for 5 minutes, until there are no chunks and the sauce develops a creamy texture.
Pour the sauce over the macaroni and stir well.
Serve garnished with parsley.

Rest of the week/end

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flew by for having ‘nothing’ to do. I made Grace do probably too much extra school on Thursday, we’re doubling up so we’re not behind when we come back from our trip. I have a list, I check it off, but I know that we have a lot of extra stuff next week that is eating up time, most things are in the afternoon, but still. I took the girls to the dentist and Jack patiently waited for them to be done. He was so good he got a puppuccino afterwards.

We bought him a new toy and it only took him an hour to chew through it and another 30 min to get the ball out and chew through it – so we took it back and got an  ‘extreme’ chew bone and a new ball.

And a Halloween shirt.

Friday I took Jack for a walk at Genesee, but it started raining on us, so we left.

Hannah finished some big and baby customs.

Saturday we went to a pumpkin festival in Golden.

The girls wore their new pumpkin shirts.

Then they picked pumpkins.

We had D’Deli for lunch and I forgot to bring Jack’s food, so he ate bread.

Gwen picked up Grace and they went to a concert, Bethany drove in and played games with Hannah, then we had Anthony’s for dinner. Sunday we all work up late, James made breakfast, we went to the mall, the girls headed home and we picked up Grace from her sleepover. We said bye to Bethany and James and I took Jack to a new dog park. It was nippy out, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow morning (we’ll see…)

Tonight we’re huddled at home with chili and cornbread.

This week –  school, kid sitting, St. John’s music at noon, J. Buck art at Robischon gallery, MOA diorama at Union, MCA art, Cottonwood farms (depending on weather), Denver puppet theater, youth group, Creativity club (Parker), teen nite at museum, cleaning, packing, dropping Jack for boarding, leaving on a jet plane.