Category Archives: outdoors



At church the sermon was about I am alive in Christ. I have a disjointed poem in my notes, but it might take me awhile to assemble it correctly. B&W day 7.

We chilled at home, took a nap, the girls walked to Starbucks, then James and I took Maisy for a walk by the Platte.

We saw some beavers on the way back, first time I have seen them actually at the beaver dam. I had dinner in the crockpot, so we made some rice and peas to go with the roast and found a Father Brown on TV.

Last of the sunset.

Then James and I went to Green Russell for jazz and drinks off the new drink menu, they were good and jazz there is always good.

A bit of jazz here. 

The week – NIA, school, worship dance, hiking, co-op (spooky cupcakes), Bible study, youth groups, buskering on the mall, kitten therapy at the cat cafe (ie doing school at the Denver cat co., though they have 11 kittens right now, so…) sugar skulls at the library, don’t know about Sat. yet, church, working at church and Trunk or treat at church. My weather app keeps making snow appear and disappear on Thurs/Fri so we’ll see what happens there.


Fun Friday – a play and Daniel’s park


But first, it’s Joel’s birthday today! He got our package, but we missed his call, so he’s calling tomorrow. I can’t believe that I’ve been a Mom for 23 years now. I don’t have a newer pic, so I’ll just post this one.

A friend got our HS group into a student matinee at a local high school. It was free, it was Shakespeare and even though Grace is reading Macbeth, who doesn’t need to see a play by Shakespeare? If you haven’t seen a good one, you might think, meh, there are better things I could do with two hours. This play was great! It was pretty much pure Shakespeare and spot on acting, line delivery, sets, etc. Puck was the best character (of course) and there was even a brief dog encounter on stage.

After the play we were starving (it was 1:30pm) so we drove to Daniel’s park for a picnic. The bison were out. B&W day 5.

The views.

We had time to chill at home. We were going to a worship night at church, but the girls had friends over and I wasn’t feeling great, so they played and I watched it on FB. The live feed didn’t mess up once, which was a great change. James has to work from home in the morning, then we’re going to LM’s. Bethany got stuck with a double shift on Sat and an early shift on Sunday, so she’s going to be tired this weekend.

Snow! St. John’s, Marshmallow park day, Creativity club


It snowed on Monday, which was cool, but it knocked the power out at dance, which was not cool.

So, we did some school, Bethany went to work (she’s usually off on Mondays) and James was working from home (he had a doc appointment.) I didn’t mind missing dance too much, my knees were hurting (weather I guess) and I had a headache, so it was nice to stay home.

Tuesday we went to St. John’s for music at noon, it was the Denver East High school choir and they were so good, the videos don’t do them justice, they were just amazing singers.

The girls were almost crying – they said it was the best concert there…ever.

We looked at the SAME cafe menu and decided to eat at Cafe’ 180 instead (too much kale at SAME.)

Then we headed over to the park for a marshmallow park day, 4 other families showed up – which begs the question – was it the day/time/or marshmallows that made people come? I’ve heard it was the time (it was later in the day) and that marshmallows didn’t hurt.

Back at home the girls and I ended up watching two episodes of The Good Doctor, we have a new favorite TV show.

Wednesday I went to NIA where we grooved to some Latin music, then I ran by the library and got a new book list.

Back at home we did some school, ate lunch and headed over to Solid Grounds for Creativity club.

There were 4 families, 8 kids and 4 adults and there wasn’t a table big enough for all of us, so we split up among 3 tables. Moms got to chat and craft and the kids were busy coloring/drawing/painting/reading. Tonight there is no youth group (Fall break for this school district) or women’s group, but the women are meeting to watch War Room, so that should be nice. Also, I bought Zoe this hat – just to tick her off.



Saturday we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then headed to Rock Ledge for the Fall fest. CB had Christmas stuff out.

There were a bazillion people there, we got the last pieces of pie and the very last cider. The girls decided to turn in their tickets for soda as the candy scramble and hay maze were a bit juvenile.

We had a lazy day back at home, made pizzas for dinner and the girls went to see the new My Little Pony movie while James and I watched Father Brown.

Sunday we went to church where Phil gave a great message on being included. A dirty sinner, saved by Grace, changed and wanting to be part of a family, included, wanting to be part of the body of Christ and wanting others to join in.

Word, Life, Light.
The beginning of all things,
to this, His family.
Where He longs to be
a part of your life.
part of a community
but, more than that –
He wants family.
So bring your messy life
your hurt and strife
your questions too,
we are here for you.
There are no lost causes
no pain too great
we long to invest –
it is never too late
to come to the family,
come meet with Jesus.
His arms wait to hold,
to comfort and change,
for the lonely, to heal
to belong to a family
included –
and do life for real.


Then we worked in the little’s room and we had dot markers for our craft, we don’t always have dot markers….because…mess.

After lunch James and I went on our Jack Kerouac walk with Walk to Connect. It was a great way to see the city and to connect the Beat movement and writings with Denver. Want to do one of your own? Start here –

We started at Union Station,

and walked to Commons park and started with a brief overview of Jack and Neal. I like it when there are quotes sprinkled throughout the walk. Everything is changing downtown, 3 restaurants that we like closed, one opened as something new, we found a bunch of new restaurants and lots of lofts going up.

Quote​ ​#1​ ​-​ In a letter to a student in 1961, Kerouac wrote: “Dean and I were
embarked on a journey through post-Whitman America to FIND that America and
to FIND the inherent goodness in American man. It was really a story about 2
Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him.”

Quote​ ​#2​ ​-​ ​“Now I could see Denver looming ahead of me like the Promised Land,
way out there beneath the stars, across the prairie of Iowa and the plains of

Quote​ ​#3​ ​-​ ​“And there in the blue air I saw for the first time, in hints and might
visitation, far off, the great snowy-tops of the Rocky Mountains. I took a deep
breath. I had to get to Denver, at once.”

From there we walked over the train tracks, past the Denargo market (which is now apartments.)

Quote​ ​#​ ​4​ ​-​ ​“….I had a long warm conversation about our respective schemes in
life and before I knew it we were going over to the Denargo fruitmarkets outside
Denver, there was smoke, smokestacks, railyards, red brick buildings and the
distant downtown graystone buildings and here I was in Denver.”

We are hopeful that they are saving this old firehouse on 20th.

Walking past Coors field we stopped to talk about the statue out front.

This guy hired jackie Robinson and started the inclusion of blacks into baseball. We walked on to an old skid row area onto Larimer street. We stopped in at Biker Jim’s for a whiskey and soda. If you don’t know about the history of the saving of Larimer street – Dana Crawford was instrumental back in the 60’s getting investors to save the buildings rather than tear them down.

Quote​ ​#5​ ​-”He let me off at Larimer Street. I stumbled along with the most wicked
grin* of joy in the world among the old bums and beat cowboys of Larimer Street.
It was also the biggest city I’d seen since Chicago and the big city buzz made me

Quote​ ​#6​ ​- Za Za’s was “run with an uncommon dignity uncommon to any Skid
Row.” “While Dad worked on his infrequent morning customers or sat in the
battered barber chair to rest his feet, I absorbed what I could of Liberty magazine
or the Rocky Mountain News.”

Quote​ ​#​ ​7​ – “the renaissance began on a sizzling summer day in 1963, when a
group of winos came to Crawford’s rescue after her puke-green Ford convertible
died on Larimer Street. “Vapor lock,” one of them rasped from the doorway of a
building on Denver’s skid row.

We walked on to Champa and 26th and saw the location of Neal’s home (now lofts), his Dad’s barbershop where they lived before his Mom and Dad separated (it’s actually the tiny brick structure between the big house and the garage looking building on the right), the place where his brother lived  (empty lot now) next to the Puritan Pie Company (now a storage place.)

Quote​ ​#​ ​8​ – “Finally, in last month of this hectic year, Neal got a two-chair shop
near the corner of 26th and Champa streets. In this sad little shop so filled with
contention, Neal and Maude shared the last year of their pitiful marriage ​…
Although food was short, at least there was always dessert, for in the middle of
the next block was the Puritan Pie Company, and on many a Sunday the shop
shades were drawn as Neal cut an employee’s hair in exchange for a pie or two.”

Now we were headed to Five Points, an area where African Americans flourished with jazz, barber shops, hotels, and independent business. The Beatnik generation was looking for something, Jack and Neal loved to sit in on jazz in Five Points, even though they might be the only whites there. They experimented with drugs, sex and looked at other religions (both were Catholic.) They were cruising America from the East coast to the West looking at America in a different way, trying to see if it was possible to experience life and not be attached to the materialistic mode of the up and coming suburban lifestyle.

From there we were just a block away from the Blair-Caldwell library and the baseball field where pick up games have been played since the 40’s. Not too far from this point was the elementary school that Neal went to.

Quote​ ​#10​ ​- “Down at 23rd and Welton a softball game was going on under the
floodlights which also illuminated the gas tank. A great eager crowd roared at
every play. The strange young heroes of all kinds, white, colored, Mexican, pure
Indian, were on the field, performing with heart-breaking seriousness…..Near me
sat an old Negro who apparently watch the games every night. Next to him was
an old white bum, then a Mexican family, then some girls, some boys – all
humanity, the lot. Oh, the sadness of the lights that night!” Kerouac, On the Road

Quote​ ​#11​ ​- “The school cafeteria in the basement was not used by the student
body since most of the children went to their nearby homes for lunch….But there
were a couple-dozen of us who did eat there; the city had appropriated a small
fund to supply the needy children, whose parents applied for it (Father put off
doing this for weeks); a noonday snack of milk and graham crackers.” Cassady,
The First Third

Neal was an altar boy at this church, don’t know if he ever came back to his faith during his wayward years, but he’s definitely an example of ‘saved by grace through faith, not from what I’ve done.’

We ended the walk at Sakura Square instead of My Brother’s Bar (which was closed.) Jack and Neal were all for inclusion, so this area (and Five Points) held a lot of Japanese Americans during and after WWII. It also represented the Eastern religious searching that the guys did while trekking around.

We ended our walk (5.5 miles) and headed to Pig and Sprout (one place we saw on our walk.)

They had interesting drinks and really big small plates. We ended up just getting 4 small plates instead of an entree. Everything looked and tasted really good, nice decorations inside and lots of seating. They are pretty new, so I bet they eventually fill up and get to a reservation point. Back at home we watched a Father Brown and headed to bed.

This week – snow!, worship dance, NIA, St. John’s music at noon, marshmallow roast park day, Creativity club, women’s movie night, Ft. Vasquez tour, hike, youth group, DMNS teen night, MCA teen night, Fall fest, TNO.

Dinners – Chicken tikka, pork roast hash, BBQ chicken and corn on the cob, chicken soup and grilled cheese, (Fri night kids are eating at the museum), not sure about Sat yet…maybe chili or tacos. I have a lot of chicken this week.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces 4 long skewers
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat a grill for high heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

(You can toss the whole thing into a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours or cook it on the stove, no need to grill the chicken, jut adjust the cooking time to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly in the pan.)

Shelter dogs and butterflies and food trucks and art and ice cream


We made it downtown before the dogs got there! This morning we were at the Central library with the Dumb Friends League walking, loving on, petting and holding shelter dogs. It’s called Human walking and the idea is to get people out of their cubicles downtown to walk the dogs and to get the dogs adopted. All of the dogs were puppies, all were cute, I bet all of them got adopted. The girls had fun picking out a dog to walk, I had fun just petting them.

The painted lady butterflies were everywhere – look I’m a butterfly whisperer!

After the dog time we went into the library to do some school.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

The kids section was mostly quiet for working. There was: a paper on the decline of bees, perimeter and area using coordinates, multiplying fractions, plant and animal cell stuff, working on a science project, reading History, reading some stories and….I think that’s it. On the way out we saw this laundry truck, they pull up around town and do laundry for the homeless, that is pretty cool (and they need volunteers!)

We didn’t know what we wanted to eat, but decided to go to the food truck area and find something there.

We played some games and chased butterflies too.

I bought some extra food and gave it to the girls to hand out to the homeless on the way to the bus stop. It was hard to do because they each had only one food item and there were so many people to give it to. We took the bus to the Generation Wild art piece – I wanted the girls to see it.

My girls are art – beautiful, wild, generous, colorful, amazing.

We rode back to the other end, walked to the car and drove over to LM’s for some ice cream: apple pie, pumpkin chip and s’mores.

More butterflies there too.

Then we headed home to rest before going to youth group/Bible study tonight.

Oh, and this blew out of the tree yesterday – the eggs are bad, it’s an old nest. But, I still put it back in the tree.

RW, CU, Nederland hike


We dropped samples, got our supplies and made it to CU Boulder by 9:45am. My plan was to do school in the museum’s bio lounge and check out the new exhibit and kids space.

When we first turned to park I was like – where did the parking garage go? I knew they were building a new student center, I didn’t know they were building it right on top of the garage, we haven’t been here in awhile….

We did school, looked at the new food web/ecosystem exhibit and had tea and coffee in the new discovery center.

It’s really made for little kids, but there was no one there, so we sat at the table and did school, made some art and looked around. I like that it’s brighter, it used to be so dark, they kept the puppets and tree house and added some more discovery boxes, a light table and a few other things. We would have taken a spot in the bio lounge, but every table was taken (usually not the case.) We had a few minutes to also go through the art museum’s new exhibit….art.

Joel Swanson Zabf Dingbats revolved around their y-axis

Erika Randall Paula and Francesca P+F

We headed to Ned and ate at Kathmandu, then went to Mud lake for an easy hike and Fall pictures.

Even though they got some snow recently, the aspen are still vibrant.

We also made a quick stop on the way out at our favorite aspen location on 119.

Back at home the girls played with their friend, I read and then I started on dinner – the chicken pot pie came out great, I think it was my best one ever.

We might be the only ones at park day tomorrow, again, but Hannah will practice her ukulele, Grace will draw and I need to go through all of the stuff I got from the museum.

The do nothing day, Fun Friday, lazy weekend


The girls watched Titanic and 3 Jaws movies on Thursday. Wish it was for something, but they just wanted to watch them and I let them. Grace didn’t want any of the Jaws (just Hannah.) Hannah practiced her ukulele, Grace went to youth group and James and I went to Perry’s for a drink and they had a very good piano player there.

Friday our Hudson co-op was canceled, so we did some school at home, tried to make an Archimedes’ death ray (which really didn’t work, but probably would have started to burn the boats if we had coated the boats in gasoline and been a bit more patient) and went to Cafe’ 180 to eat lunch.

They always have such good food there.

Then we went to the Hyperspace arcade. OMG, I haven’t seen some of these games since I was a kid! I played Qbert, Burgertime, Cheyenne, Galaga, and more. I got the girls to play Joust with me, they hated it. Marble Madness got Grace’s goat, Dragon’s Lair (which I have literally not seen since I was a kid and played it at my cousin’s house) made us all mad.

I am definitely going back (without the kids…)

Saturday we went to Four Friends Kitchen for brunch. I gambled that the new DU location would be less busy than the Stapleton one and I was right.

We are going back (with Bethany) because I need to try their shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles. Their fried green tomatoes and beignets were good, my coconut grits with bourbon kale, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and pecan sage pesto was so delicious. The grits were creamy and sweet, the kale (I hate kale) tasted like bacon, the sweet potatoes and the mushrooms blended with the pesto and it was just…so….good. There is a lot of seating, fun colors on the walls and chairs, though it can be a bit loud. On the way home we stopped by 3 ponds park to walk around, Fall leaves were changing and it was a nice little walk.

It’s a connector for the Highline canal trail coming from University, so James and I will have to go back and walk that section. Back at home we read and napped, I took Hannah to her ukulele class at the library – it was fun.

Back at home we put dinner plans on hold and went over to the Dolence’s for taco night (and we brought dump cake.)

Sunday we went to church where Mark Scott (a former preacher at our church that returned back to teaching at Ozark college) was giving the sermon of I am Cherished.

I am cherished
loved beyond compare
a heart can not fathom
the love that God does bear.

I am cherished
fondly held as dear
in His secure arms that
will protect against all fear.

I am cherished 
with God’s agape love
which crossed Heaven and Earth
blessed affection from above.

I am cherished 
by the God of the universe
HIs love seeks me daily
even when I do not love Him first.

I am cherished 
as God’s love rains down
from the storehouses of Heaven
to my heart, love is found.


Then we stayed for the next service and worked in the 3-K room. We only had 4 kids, we were talking about Joshua and the battle of Jericho. The kids all made Superkids masks to go along with the armor of God they’ve been collecting through the lessons. We had sandwiches at home for lunch and basically just sat around and read/played/napped all day until dinner. After dinner we took the girls to Freddy’s, then James and I went out to Perry’s again, sadly there was no piano player.

The week – water sampling/testing, worship dance, NIA, school at CU museum, Nederland drive, educators night at the museum, park day, book art co-op, youth groups, Women’s Bible study, educator training at History museum, Hannah off to camp, date night, school (in general.)

Dinners -TV dinners (I have an educator night), shake and bake pork chops with acorn squash, chicken pot pie, sherry apple pork chops with asparagus, lasagna, and I don’t know about Sat. night…James and I have a date night, Hannah will be at camp, so maybe Bethany will take Grace out for dinner.

Chicken pot pie

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed 
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts Add all ingredients to list

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sherry apple pork chops

6 pork chops
3 large apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry sherry

In a large skillet, brown chops, about 2 minutes each side; reserve.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Arrange apple slices in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Dot with butter or margarine. Top with browned pork chops and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sherry over all, cover and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until tender and the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees F