Category Archives: Kids at home

Days are flying

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Tuesday I ran some errands, got the kids to take a picture (I should have turned the flash on.) Bethany was leaving today to go back to Grand Junction and I realized that I missed the opportunity to get a family pic with everyone (since James was at work already), so I just did the best I could.

I took Grace and Hannah to see the new Spiderman movie – it was pretty good, I think they made a good call casting Spiderman. Stuff is starting to show up for school, but don’t worry – we have plenty of Summer left. I can’t believe how early in August (last week) the public school kids went back to school, way too early. My Cuba book came in, yes it took me since last October to finish it. Part of that was Shutterfly’s fault. My pics were all on Google photos and for months the upload feature in SF from GP was not working, then when it did I still had to arrange the photos, add text, choose backgrounds and stickers. So, it just took a while. I do love Grace’s picture on the front – it’s pretty much screams Cuba.

Wednesday I took James to work, we stopped and had affogato before heading to NREL.

It was a gorgeous morning, so Jack and I stopped at Red Rocks on the way home.

This is my Boop eating a flower.

I dropped Jack at daycare (and finally got his picture from last weeks camp) and headed to the doc.

I had a chiropractor appointment (thought I’d try it as I wait on the neurology appointment.) He didn’t actually crack my neck, just moved it around, stretched it and used the activator – doesn’t feel any different, my face is still numb, still have dizziness, hand tingling, vision stuff, so….I ran some errands then came home for lunch. The girls and I had a co-op, game day, at Enchanted Grounds.

I didn’t know that they let you demo the games they sell there, so after 2 rounds of Tsuro I checked out the House of Danger (based on the Choose your own adventure book.) It was awesome!

I bought it and another game. We played House of Danger for 2 hours at the store and another hour at home. The only problem is that it’s just like the book, so you have to keep the cards in order because sometimes you have to go back to a card to choose another option. It was TNO night (a night early because we leave for GJ tomorrow), but no one showed up. After I ate I met James at Adelitas for a drink and dessert. Jack was in play mode when we got home (because when the girls watch him they let him sleep instead of keeping him awake.) It took him about 20 minutes to calm down and go to sleep, but once he’s out – he’s out.

Week

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It’s not fair, the older I get, the faster time flies. Jack was being a nut this morning.

Tuesday we had a co-op at the Chatfield botanic gardens, we went there to see the earth work art by Patrick Dougherty. This is the 5th installation of his that we’ve seen (and only 1 of those 4 are still around.) They are ephemeral pieces, so they don’t last forever.

Invasion of the Japanese beetles, I think they are pretty.

Around the farm and the small butterfly garden.

It was getting hot when we left, so glad we went in the morning. I had to run in at the doc and get some blood work done, I was supposed to have an MRi to check out my brain (headaches), but I volunteered the info that I have metal coils in my spleen and since the info wasn’t in my chart, they said no. Turns out I was supposed to get a card from the hospital that says that I have the correct kind of metal that can go through an MRI, but I never got it. It took the docs till Friday to get the info and (more on this later) by then they just told me to go to the ER.

Wednesday I had a newbie chat with some homeschoolers, Jack went to daycare and Grace retook her driving test (and passed!)

She made herself a celebratory lemon chiffon cake.

The Boop was tired.

My headache was getting worse, I call this piece ‘Fiery pain in my brain.’

This one reminds me of a very hot day here.

Jack thinks it’s fun when Joel plays with him.

Some more fluid art.

I really need to get a blowtorch to bring out the cells better.

Friday I went to the doc with 2 new worrying symptoms – face numbness (like when you go the dentist and they give you a shot) on the left side of my face and hand tingling on the right side. My face wasn’t drooping, it just felt numb. Well, given those symptoms, head pain of 8, vision problems, fatigue and dizziness, the doc said to go to the ER and get an MRI there (because if she had just ordered one it would have been next week.) So, I drove home and Bethany drove me to the ER, James took an Uber there, Bethany went home and Joel came up. I was there for 7 hours, 5 IV pokes before the 5th one was good, a CT scan and MRI, some IV meds and EKG. They came up with nothing on the scans, so I was referred to a neurologist. But at least I left the place with a prescription and enough meds to knock the pain down to a 3/4.

Looking much better on Sunday.

Hannah met a friend at the mall, so Jack got to go through Nordstroms. He sat quietly by my seat in the mall until it was time to go.

James was at work, so when I went to pick him up we had a date night in Golden. First stop, Golden Moon Speakeasy where I had 2 excellent drinks (and my new favorite – root beer and absinthe.)

Then we walked over to Tributary, a new food hall. I think they need one more dinner type food place (they had pizza and a raw seafood bar), but overall they have some good options for breakfast/lunch.

The Buffalo Rose was playing live music, so we went over there to listen. I had never been in the old one before, but the new digs they have are awesome. I love the pieces of history they saved/exposed and the open air bar is very cool (it has a sliding roof.)

This is the week that we follow Bethany back to GJ for school. Joel and company leave on the day we get back. They have: gone to the shooting range, fixed up a motorcycle, gone hiking/camping, ran errands, slept in, played video games, played with Jack and eaten some good food. I guess I missed my chance at a family picture because as I write this Bethany is about to head out (early because she has some job training to do before school starts), James is at work, so I could get a ‘just the kids pic’….

Week so far

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Tuesday we had a real girls day. We had Kneader’s for breakfast, then Bethany had to go do something for work. In the afternoon we all went to get manicures (except for Bethany who got a pedicure.) Then back home for dinner, then the girls watched Jack so James and I could go listen to LAPOMPE at Union Station. Technically we can take Jack there, but we haven’t yet.

Wednesday was the Senses exhibit at the DMNS. The girls had already seen it at teen night, but I hadn’t. We had about 80 people show up for the field trip. The exhibit had some good information, some hands on stuff, a good show and a room that made me dizzy.

Jack was at doggie daycare all day, so he was tired. We had movie night with popcorn and candy watching the Basil Rathbone Hound of the Baskervilles – that is until Plex cut out about halfway through. Then we started watching Dressed to Kill (also Rathbone), but didn’t finish it.

Thursday was park day, we’ve never been to Majestic view park or nature center, it was okay. There are no bathrooms, lots of ants and not much shade at the park. But it does have a nice view. We wore Jack out playing ‘Jack in the middle’ and made some chalk art/sayings.

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.