Category Archives: River watch

Spring break


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.

Fika, River Watch, Teen cafe’, board games


Tuesday after school the girls walked to Starbucks and I went to Fika to have some adult time. No one showed up though. It made me very sad, I think people think they are saying, ‘I don’t have time’ but really what they are saying is, ‘It’s not my priority to spend time with you.’ So, I had my coffee and read some of my book, then headed home to oversee Hannah making dinner. It was spinach ravioli (frozen) with red and white sauces, garlic bread toast and a spinach/beet/goat cheese salad with fig sauce.

It was really good.

Wednesday morning was cold, but Grace, Jack and I got out to sample.

As close to upstream as I could get (I didn’t bring waders.)

The water was 2 C.

Right bank.


Left bank.

Some cool ice.

A kingfisher.

I was so cold all day, even when curled up with Jack.

I took Grace and a friend to the Teen science cafe, the speaker was a botanist and Grace came away super excited. She said the botanist was very passionate about her job, plants, trees, and learning about them. They came away with some pressed plants that they picked out from her stash.

Thursday we had a board game co-op at a game shop. We brought Denver Scene (which is like Monopoly) so the game lasted us over 2 hours, even then we weren’t really done. Some of the cards you draw are funny.

Tomorrow is the start of my birthday month and I’m excited to have some cool things to share with people.



But first, we had our site testing at Riverwatch. We had to lug our stuff there (because they are testing us to see if their numbers match our numbers.) I don’t think I waited long enough on DO because I had to match my own number and got a B, but everything else was an A (so matching their numbers to a degree.)

It was snowing like crazy, huge flakes, puffy, blowing. We went in to eat lunch and when we came out – bam, no more snow. We were headed to the zoo, so it was fine that it stopped snowing. There were only a few people there (free day), so that was nice. Most of the animals were indoors, enjoy!

Cleaning and river sampling


I spent the morning cleaning out kitchen cabinets. We needed to make room for Grace’s blender, a shelf fell down and had to be taken out and there was just general messiness. I got everything done before anyone woke up, so that was nice. Grace and I went out to grab some water samples, to test. I had 1 packet left for the DO, so we won’t be able to do January before we go to the site test, I was hoping to show up with everything for the month, but we’ll just have to come back and drop them off.


Right/left banks

Extra pics.

We finished up, then I took Jack to the dog park. He ran around and when he wanted to rest, he stood under one of the wolves and the other dogs left him alone.

Then he patiently waited for a puppuccino.

River sampling, The Meg, Jack watched TV


It was a nice day for river sampling.



Right bank/left bank (I didn’t wade in.)

Dangerous icicle.

I spilled the DO sample on the paper, but it makes it look likeĀ  a ‘real lab.’

Note, we need another potassium chloride bottle.

I prepped dinner, took Hannah to get her hair cut and then she and I went to see The Meg. It’s about a megalodon shark that comes up through a layer of what should be the bottom of the ocean – but it’s not – and a sub increases the water temperature allowing the giant shark to pierce through the layer and bad things happen. Hannah got jump scared a bunch of times, so it was worth it.

We took Jack to the vet because he twisted his ankle.

Dinner was really good.

I dropped Hannah at youth group and James and I watched a documentary on squirrels. Jack started watching it too, he even dropped his ball and sat there staring at the TV. Then he barked at it, went under the table to see if the squirrel was coming out that side, then sat back down again. He’ll watch Scooby-Doo and movies if there are dogs in them, but I guess if there are squirrels he’ll watch that too.



Saturday we went river sampling, since we were running out of September.


Right bank.


Left bank.

Deer and racoon prints.

A katydid that landed on the sample jar.

From above, the dam and gulch have pushed the Platte all the way over to the right bank (when looking upstream.)

Grace and I took Jack to the Chatfield off leash dog park where he got very dirty.

I gave him a bath and then it was time to go to the Not Back to School Party. A little later than in previous years, but the weather was nice, the company was wonderful and the cake was good.

We had dinner at Lincoln Station Pizza. Their stromboli was very good, better than the pizza in my opinion.

Grace made a clay narwhal, this was her first attempt, she is looking to see how to get a clip on it to make a pendant.

Sunday we picked up Hannah from church, the retreat was nice, she made some new friends and they had a big bonfire and s’mores. We lazed the day, went to the store, watched some TV and turned in early.

Slow week – school, doctor, kid sitting, worship dance, teen poe-ty, jazz and drinks, dentist, youth group, JASON lecture, testing unknown water samples, dog park, pumpkin fest, concert (Grace), church.

River sampling and apple picking


After school Grace and I went to grab some water samples. She didn’t have to do metals, so it was a quick trip to grab the samples (but still took time to do our own tests.)

It was cloudy, so hard to see upstream.

Right bank.


Left bank.

Bethany got home just in time to go pick apples with us.

We got done just as it started to rain. I made crock-pot apple butter, it was easy to make and tastes really good.

The girls had a pj night.