Category Archives: outdoors

Creativity club, Kindness Krewe, ice skating


I had a pretty lunch at Whole Foods.

We had another family come join us to make some art, I made a collage squirrel in honor of Maisy.

Bethany and I bought some flowers because we wanted to.

The next day we did school, then went to the library with 3 other families to make blankets for the pet shelter. It ended up being another way to remember Maisy (and do good) and another family there just lost their cat, so it was nice for them to.

We went by the shelter drop off the blankets, and we stopped to pet the dogs and cats, probably shouldn’t have because this one was too cute.

Then we went by the vet’s office and picked up Maisy’s paw print, it was so nice, we really didn’t expect something like that.

Maisy’s squirrels were wondering where she was.

Thursday was another free ice skating day, we had 3 families who were sick, but the good news was the whole rink was open so I got to skate (because I use a walker thingy.)

My skating technique – here. 

Being so close…..

Grace made strawberry cookies for youth group, thankfully she had enough left over dough to make some more the next day for us to eat.


Black sheep Friday, Steampunk tea, Maisy walk


Friday was the last day of school break, come Monday it’s back to work. I cleaned out the cabinets and look what I found! I’m using these!

Tonight was the MCA teen sponsored Black Sheep Friday, EZ oven bake off or cupcake decorating. Grace was all over the cupcake part. I put my trifecta of foods I can’t have right now, sigh.

We walked around the museum to see the new stuff, she saw it last time, but I hadn’t seen the new art.

Today was also the day that Corissa moved away, the girls are sad.

Saturday was lazy, we (sans Bethany) all decided to drive to the Erie library to take Grace to the Steampunk tea. It was cute, she had fun, we read, it was a nice drive.

Sunday we went to church, walked Maisy at Clement park and James and I went to Fika for coffee and so I could draw and ho could work (well, all he worked on was driving plans to see Joel in October.)

The week – NIA, school, Bethany’s b-day, ice skating, stock show field trip, newbie chat, youth groups, TDO -alcohol ink painting, River Watch yearly testing, teen nite at DMNS, hike, working at church in the little’s room.

Dinners – BBQ pork, b-day dinner (moved to Thurs since Bethany works every other night), chorizo stuffed sweet potatoes, pork chops with fried cabbage, chicken soup, sausage and barley soup, chicken tacos, red beans/okra/sausage casserole.

Sausage Barley Soup

1 pound Italian sausage 
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (48 fluid ounce) can chicken broth
1 large carrot, sliced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup uncooked pearl barley

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, onion, and garlic until the sausage is evenly brown. Season with Italian seasoning. Remove from heat, and drain.
In a slow cooker, mix the sausage mixture, chicken broth, carrot, spinach, and barley.
Cover, and cook 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Chicken tacos

4-5 chicken thighs
minced garlic to taste
1Tbsp lime juice
taco seasoning packet

Cook chicken on stove or in crockpot until falling apart. warm flour or corn tortillas and top with chicken and your choice of toppings. We like – black beans, salsa, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, avocado, shredded cheese.

New Year’s hike {Fox Run Regional park}


This park would make a nice Summer hike, it’s heavily shaded, but that’s not the reason we came here. The girls and I have seen Ute Indian trees in the Springs, Manitou and elsewhere in the area as we have hiked around. But, this park has a huge number of prayer trees, directional trees and a prophecy tree. I missed out on the lecture about the trees when the guy came to HR historical society to talk, but I made note of the park. So, we took off and hiked on our own, both to ring in the New Year and to see the trees.

Some of the goal post trees line up to Pike’s Peak (when there was fewer trees around.)

We missed our trail turn, but we did end up seeing that nice peek at Pike’s. My Alltrails app wasn’t connecting, so we decided to take the road back to the car rather than backtrack. You really have to watch the trail marker signs on the Rollercoaster trail!

My word for the year is – Effort. I will put in the effort for whatever needs to be done, but I will also consider my effort a gift and not worry about the response of others.



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.)