Category Archives: outdoors

The week

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Monday morning I had a long appointment at the cardiologist, EKG, Echo and face to face and it was all good. The meds are at the right dose, my heart is around 50% (it was 30% and 50-75% is normal, no one uses 100% – so why don’t they make 75% the top? Who knows.) Anyway, the doc said she’ll check me out again in 6 months and maybe knock off some of the meds. This really shows that it must have been a virus that infected the heart, besides the fact that everything else came out negative, the meds would not have worked this fast if it was something else. So, good news. Grace had her last work day at CC, it was nice for her just working 2 hours every Monday. I think they start back in August, and hopefully they’ll keep her in mind. Hannah went to ballet/dance and James and I sat outside at Solid Grounds.

The weather was perfect and not too windy so I was able to finish my art. I might redo the words, but everything else is done.

This is Jack ‘hiding.’

Tuesday I took Jack to the dog park, but he was not feeling well. He did end up chasing a ball that a guy was throwing, but he didn’t chase any other dogs. I think he had a tummy bug from daycare (or maybe from drinking the water at Rifle falls.)

I was trying to wear him out so I could go to TNO and the girls wouldn’t have too much trouble watching him. TNO was a day late because tacos – at Adelita’s. I was so glad that Stacy showed up (and James.) We had a good time and good tacos. James and I headed over to Phil’s for a drink because they were donating profits to an organization that helps out senior and low income homeowners. So, by drinking – we were helping! (And we’re going to be actually helping when the event happens later.)

There was a gun threat in the area on Tuesday and schools were closed on Wednesday which made our Fox theater field trip get canceled. So, we went to Cafe 180 for lunch.

Jack.

Thursday we went to Creativity club and 2 other families showed up, so it was nice to chat.

Jack found a nice spot in the sun.

Friday was gorgeous, I had planned a marshmallow roast park day, 3 other families showed up and we got to see the baby owls. I only got good pics of Floof, Flight was on the ground (he believed he could fly…)

Grace’s art.

 

Grand Junction

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We left Friday afternoon (after the Forensic pathology lecture, which was very interesting) for GJ.

It was a long drive and we got in late, Jack was wired up and wanted to play, but we eventually got him to sleep.

The girls stayed in Bethany’s dorm (she doesn’t have a roommate.)The next morning we dropped Jack at daycare and James and I had breakfast at a cafe while the girls slept in.

Main street.

We had lunch with the girls and Zack at Texas Roadhouse, then went to walk around the mall. We split up, the girls went back to the dorm and James and I went to Fruita to walk around. We managed to get there when everything on Main street was closed.

We took the scenic route back to the college.

We went to dinner at Pho, then walked around Barnes and Noble. The girls were going to see MacBeth, but it was sold out, so they ended up going to the movies while James and I went for a nightcap.

Sunday morning we had breakfast and walked around the college, said goodbye to Bethany and headed out.

We stopped at Rifle Falls SP because we were close to it.

There were caves, some big enough to walk in, behind the falls.

Stuff – Heart Echo/EKG/MRI/cardiologist appointment, school, Grace work, friend time, ballet, worship dance, TNO, EG Hammertime benefit drinks, Holi @ Fox theater, youth group event, Creativity club, hike, Pop tart party EG, Resurrection day!

Dinners – BBQ pork sandwiches, taco Tuesday, peanut coconut curry chicken (had to move it from last week), quinoa bowl, sweet potato and chorizo lasagna, grilling stuff.

The sunny days before the storm

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The weather was so nice and since James was working from home and Bethany was still here from the weekend (no class today) we had a picnic lunch at Fly’n B – of course we checked out the baby owls, Jack got dirty and Grace saw a muskrat.

James and I took Jack to the patio of Solid Grounds while Hannah was at dance. I did some art, read my book, James read his book and Jack sat.

Tuesday we did some school while Jack slept.

He had fun chasing a squirrel and barking at it.

We left him in the crate and went to St. John’s for some Bach by violin.

Lunch was SAME cafe.

Grace’s stickers came in the mail – cute!

This was the verse on Biblegateway for today –

Hebrew 1:3 Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words! [ The Son Is Higher than Angels ] After he finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took his honored place high in the heavens right alongside God, far higher than any angel in rank and rule. Did God ever say to an angel, “You’re my Son; today I celebrate you” or “I’m his Father, he’s my Son”? When he presents his honored Son to the world, he says, “All angels must worship him.”

No matter if you read the Bible straight through, in year, one book at a time, just verses at a time – there will be things that pop out when you see them. I must have read these verses before, but when I read them this morning I found a deeper level to them. “The Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature.” I love that! Since we are made in God’s image and Christ lives in us we too should mirror God and are stamped with His nature. Lofty goals and a good reminder.

 

Spring break

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Day 25 – take some time to write down your thoughts somewhere, a journal, a blog, a random piece of paper. What are you doing this week, what did you do last week, what made you happy or sad?

Monday Grace had to work, Hannah had dance and ballet and we made some art at Solid Grounds.

Jack might have had an ice cream cone.

Day 26 – Compliment someone today. We went by Fly’n B to check on the owls and Jack got muddy.

Jack also got to go to the dog park.

Day 27 – Spend some time today listening. If you are outside, close your eyes, what do you hear? If someone is talking to you, give them your full attention. Listen before you respond. We drove up to Ft. Collins today for some pizza, some ice cream and a hike. We are definitely going back to the ponds, the Poudre runs right next to it and there is shade and a beach.

Jack knows ice cream is coming.

Jack was a little tired after that…

Day 28 – it’s Thankful Thursday, what are you thankful for? We went sampling this morning, but our spot was blocked due to construction, so we sampled downstream.

Our snakes were sunning when we got home.

Later we went to the library for Creativity club and 2 other families showed up for a bit.

Day 29 – Laugh out loud today. That’s easy to do when you start off at the Denver Puppet Theater for the Brer Rabbit show.

We had lunch, then went to another co-op that was supposed to be a hike, but it turned into nature center play time and a short walk.

Day 30- find some time to volunteer. It snowed overnight, but not enough to stop us from going to church to help pack meals for Feed My Starving Children. Out table packed 18 boxes, as a church we packed over 100,000 meal kits that will feed over 250 kids for a year.

We put Jack in daycamp and drove to check out the newest Littleman spot – Constellation.

Day 31- be a good friend, (not just today.) After church we took Jack to an Art of Brunch. It’s where you walk around the art galleries looking at art and munching on the offerings of each gallery.

Slow week coming up – school, driving practice, work for Grace, ballet, worship dance, jazz at EG, NIA, making art, youth group, Colorado ballet, CU Boulder terrarium making, Springs walkabout, church, kite fest or fairy fest (depending on weather.)

Dinners – chipotle pork (didn’t make it last week), cheesy chicken and pasta, lasagna, chicken quesadillas, Irish shepherd’s pie, grilling stuff, Front Range BBQ?

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, diced
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ketchup
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups water, or as needed
1 (12 ounce) package frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon butter
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 pound Irish cheese (such as Dubliner), shredded
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place olive oil and butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion and ground beef; brown the meat, breaking it up into small crumbles as it cooks, about 10 minutes.
Stir in flour until incorporated, then mix in salt, black pepper, rosemary, paprika, cinnamon, ketchup, and garlic; cook and stir until garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in water and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring mixture to a simmer; cook and stir until thick, about 5-6 minutes.
Remove beef mixture from heat and stir in peas and carrots until combined.
Spread beef mixture into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
Place potatoes into a large pan of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return potatoes to pan.
Mash butter, cayenne pepper, cream cheese, and Irish cheese into the potatoes. Mash until combined and potatoes are smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Whisk together egg yolk and milk in a small bowl; stir into the mashed potato mixture.
Top the beef mixture in the baking dish with the mashed potatoes and spread evenly to cover.
Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling up around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.

Snow bomb cyclone, snow day, dog park

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Well, my field trip was cancelled, everything in Colorado was closed (or at least it seemed like it.) The wind was blowing like a Cat 1 hurricane, the snow was blowing, but we only got about 5 inches and not really any drifts here. More South and East though…..I’ve lived here 13 years and I25 has never been shut down South, but it was Wednesday and Thursday as they had to rescue stranded drivers and move all of the cars before the plows could get underway. It was a mess. We just stayed home the whole day, did school, let Jack out to play, read some books, watched TV and chilled. Day 13 – binge watch Blue Bloods because…snow.

Day 14 – It’s Pi day, bake a pie, eat a pie, calculate Pi. I wore my Pi shirt and made an apple pie Pi.

Jack broke his new ball.

I took him to the dog park for a bit.

Some of the wind damage in the area.

This is a tired Jack, who likes to sleep.

Day 15 – knit something for someone.

Friday morning we did school, got smoothies, went roller skating and I took Jack to his normal dog park.

Then he was dirty, so I gave him a bath.

I got some TV dinners for the girls and met James at WF for TNO. I had some spicy Indian food and a really good creme brulee. We had a nightcap at Phil’s before heading home. Bethany came home for Spring Break, hers not ours.

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.