Big horn sheep jackpot

We don’t go to Waterton canyon for the views, though they are nice.

If you see us there in October, we are there to see the big horn sheep.

This year the males rutted early, which was too bad because the sound of their horns crashing into each other reverberates through the canyon.

The herds seemed to already have their alpha males and doting females with some babies thrown in there.

We were watching this herd when a male suddenly decided he wanted that female. You never saw my kids jump so quick to get out of the way, and it’s a good thing they did because he only had one thing on his mind. He raced past us and then stood looking all forlorn as the girl sheep scrambled up the hill.

Better luck next time. Right around the next bend was another herd.

They were grazing, but when we came back….there was a lot of chasing going on.

Walking back to the trail head the earlier herd had come down to the road, this guy was all tuckered out.

This baby was curious, he looked at us, then started walking toward us.

We backed up since he was being watched by the male and a mother, and we’re pretty sure they wouldn’t have let him wander too much further. He must have really liked us though, as we started back down the path we looked back a few times and saw him following us, but eventually we didn’t see him anymore. That was an amazing 4 mile hike, I’m so glad we got to see the sheep. I was worried that we wouldn’t see any of them because of all the trucks going back and forth for construction further up the canyon. So, we lucked out seeing 2 herds. It’s funny because at the Sheep fest in Georgetown you never see any sheep, I guess that’s because they all like to wander into Waterton canyon instead.

The vet

Maisy had to go to the vet today. She got a shot and we were told she is a ‘senior’ and ‘fat’. We always hear that she is fat, the last time we went the vet asked if she was pregnant. That said the vet feeds her a piece of cheese when she gives Maisy a shot, so who is encouraging eating? Other than being middle aged and fat, she was deemed fine.

As a treat we took her to the river for a walk.

Hannah was there too, but she couldn’t get Maisy to sit still for a picture.

It was a nice quiet walk with the river bubbling in the background and the trees dropping leaves.

Back at home we made dinner, dropped Bethany at youth group and had a visit from the lady who is taking care of the animals. She will be coming over to feed/clean up after the cat, sprinkle a few flakes for Cutie and watch Maisy at her house while we’re gone. Zoe could care less who feeds her, but she does care that her litter box is cleaned…often. Maisy will be in the company of 3 pugs and has to learn how to go in and out of a doggie door. I just said make sure there is water inside and out, that way if she is stuck in one place or the other it won’t matter – Maisy might be able to figure out a dog door, but she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, so who knows.

I’m looking forward to our hike tomorrow, for one thing it’s flat and for another we might get to see some big horn sheep.


Triangle proofs are going to kill me. You’ll find me on the floor with ASA, SSA, AAA and ‘given’, ‘definition of bisector’ and more proof reasons strangling me. I love math, I treat Geometry like a rabid dog, I poke it with a stick and then run. But, here we go again, deep breath, I only have to teach this 2 more times in the future. See, not all homeschool Moms love every subject they teach and I try really, really hard to not impart that to my kids and to let them know that there is a reason for these things we do (even if I really can’t find one.) So, we tramp on through the muck of proofs (why are they congruent, because ISS – I Said So!)

After lunch we headed down to the Botanic gardens so Bethany could go to the Chihuly exhibit with some teen friends. Grace, Hannah and I went to the park and hung out. Grace climbed a tree to read her book and Hannah put out her hat and started drumming. Unfortunately the only occupants of the park at that time were homeless people, so Hannah didn’t make any money. I told her so, but she insisted on trying anyway. We picked up Bethany and drove home, I made dinner and we spent the night in. Tomorrow I have to take Maisy to the vet to get a shot update so she can stay with the lady who is taking care of her when we go on vacation. Maisy is going to be so confused when we drop her at that house. She won’t remember her visit there and she has to learn how to use a dog door to get in and out of the house….we’ll see how that goes.


20 is a long time. You can grow a really big tree in 20 years. You can celebrate a 20th wedding anniversary (Platinum, sounds like a credit card type, there isn’t a ‘theme’ for 23….I vote for Reese’s.)

And a bouncing baby boy can grow up in 20 years.

He can go from playing soccer to hockey to Civil Air Patrol to graduating high school to getting a pilot’s license to becoming an EMT to working on an ambulance to….well, who knows what’s next?

Joel wanted a really low key day, so we did school as usual, went to dance and then came home with his cake.

It was decorated with the logo from a show he watches, he loved it. We ordered pizza and ate the cake before the pizza arrived. I love Maisy’s forlorn look as she peers into the kitchen from outside.

We sat and talked for a bit, then he retired to his room to meet with some friend’s on-line and we watched Cupcake wars.

My Mom asked me if having a 20 year old son made me feel old. I said, probably not as old as having a 20 year old grandson makes you feel – touche’! No, it doesn’t make me feel old, but it does seem that time has passed more quickly since we’ve been in Denver than when we were in Houston. But, that is just how the perception of time goes when you get older. When we moved here Joel was 10, that seems like more than 10 years ago.

So, Happy Birthday son, I hope you have another great year.

{Giant} everything

We went to the GIANT pumpkin weigh in at Old Colorado City today.

There was also a giant farmer’s market, giant sidewalk sale, giant happy hour, but no Jolly green giant.

The kids played games and won prizes while I looked over the gourd bin. There were bumpy gourds, curved gourds and everything in-between.

Hannah won $5 to a store and she bought a Hello kitty stuffed animal, she also won a Hello kitty badge and another stuffed animal at the kids area. Grace won a chocolate bar and a stuffed bear, Bethany won a chocolate bar too (which she was hoping for.)

We looked at the giant pumpkin and gourd entries and then went down to the market.

We sampled all kinds of things at the market, then had hot dogs and brats for lunch.

We went around the other side of the market, then back up the street looking in all the shops along the way.

When we left we drove by Garden of the gods, just for a few pictures.

And here are some pumpkin recipes:

Pumpkin ravioli
(using wonton wrappers, though you could make the pumpkin filling with ricotta instead of Parmesan and place it over cooked pasta instead.)

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chopped parsley


1. Combine pumpkin, Parmesan, salt, and black pepper.

2. Spoon about 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into center of each wonton wrapper.

3. Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle, pinching edges to seal.

4. Place ravioli into a large saucepan of boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt; cook 7 minutes, and drain in a colander.

5. Place 1/2 cup broth and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in pan; bring to a boil. Add ravioli, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Pumpkin white chip macadamia cookies

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup solid pack pumpkin
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups white chocolate chips
2/3 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped, toasted


1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until creamy.

3. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla until well mixed; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts.

4. Drop by rounded Tbs. onto greased baking sheet; flatten slightly with back of spoon or greased bottom of glass dipped in sugar.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 11-14 minutes.

6. Cool for 2 minutes, remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Fun Friday

The girls slept in since they were up late, then we got ready for the Constitution lecture at the library. It wasn’t all about the Constitution, instead it was stories of our country from the beginnings to the Revolutionary war. We heard about the Pilgrims and Puritans, about brave men who fought across a wintry landscape to bring guns and cannons to those fighting the British. We heard about miracles like the wind that blew the British ships back down the East river so that Washington could move his troops across the river and the fog that rolled in protecting the fleeing men from the view of the British. We heard about Patriots young and old, especially one old guy who took out some Red coats and then survived a gun blast to the head and 14 sticks with bayonets. The kids were engrossed in the stories and we could have listened to them longer, but the lecture was only an hour.

We met James in Golden and had lunch at D’Deli. This time I got the sandwich of the day, the Calamity Jane, it was really good with peach chutney and 3 kinds of meat and other things on it. Hannah and Grace got a half sandwich instead of the kids size and both of them ate it all up. We walked with James along the river and crossed the bridge, then walked back up the other side. We said bye to him and then headed to North Table mountain for a hike.

We haven’t been on this trail up the mesa, it was a very sharp mile incline to the top, but the views were nice.

Grace and Hannah flopped down about halfway up, but I told them that each step was one step closer to the top.

Finally, we made it.

The top has a climbing section called Sea cliffs, which looks just like the cliffs by the sea.

No one was in a mood to climb any more though, so we headed back down.

I’ve been waiting for a cool day to do this hike since there isn’t any shade on the trail, today was perfect, in the 60′s with a slight breeze. I do want to go up there again and walk more on the top of the mesa, we’ll do that another time.

I made pork chile stew for dinner and then we went to Freddy’s for dessert. Tomorrow we get to go to the giant pumpkin fest, but James has to work. :(

Whales spotted in Denver

We have had whales in Denver, this area used to be an ocean, but the whales we saw today were in the museum. When I saw that a whale exhibit was coming to Denver, you know I made sure that it would turn into a co-op so that we could see it with our homeschool group.

Grace has been counting down the days to this exhibit since co-ops started.

I’m so glad we got to go to CA before this and see real whales.

The exhibit was a mix of skeletons, some hands-on stations like diving with a sperm whale, the sound booth where you could hear whale sounds, make a dolphin booth where you could fine tune your dolphin to ride the waves better, movies about whale riders (Maori people), pictures of whales and more. There was a giant blue whale heart you could climb through, it’s big. We were happy to see some Vaquita models, but in the stranding and extinction part of the exhibit they didn’t mention the over-fishing and net traps that have the Vaquita down to 98 porpoises.

They had a section of the exhibit about the Maori people of New Zealand and their affection for the whales that they used for food and for tool making. You can learn more about the Maori people here.

They had wonderful artifacts like:
A tabua (carved whale tooth),


waseisei (whale tooth necklace),


hoeroa (bone staff)


and more.

The docents they had there had very little knowledge of whales, the museum should have placed Grace in there instead. After talking to one of the docents, my friend had questions about what he said. No he didn’t pronounce Narwhal correctly, no those bones at the end of the whales are not support for ‘flippers’ (Grace told her that it is the vestigial ‘foot’ of the whale.) He didn’t have a clue. Where did the oil from the Sperm whale come from? The spermaceti in the melon. I could go on, I know they are just volunteers, but really, read the handouts. In the stranding section we saw a euthanasia device used on Sperm whales, that was a little sad, but those whales are so huge that when they strand they are too heavy to move and most likely have internal damage to their organs which collapse when they don’t have water to buoy them. The larger sperm whale (male) skeleton was one of the many stranded Sperm whales in Auckland. The whale was given to the Chief as a gift and was named Tu Hononga. There was also a picture of a Sperm whale grave (59 of them) in Poverty bay on Okitu beach. There was a small section about ambergris, that’s like….whale vomit, but it doesn’t come out of their mouth…now every time we go to a beach I’m going to need to bring a match and a needle so we can test every piece of brown rock that looks like ambergris (cool fact, it was used as a spice in the Middle East and was used in perfumes.) Even though Grace learned nothing new about whales, it was a great exhibit.

We wandered around the museum and got to see the new Discovery area, it’s really meant for little kids, but that doesn’t mean that older kids can’t have some fun there too. We went home with 2 extra kids, then traded those 2 for 2 more that were spending the night at our house. It was a crazy evening.

Sugar skulls

The girls had been looking forward to this co-op, every year I hear, ‘Can we make a sugar skull?’ So, when there was a co-op for sugar skulls, I signed them up. We headed to CHAC in the arts district and got to look around at all of the Day of the Dead art before the class. This cow skull is painted with henna, which made it not only pretty, but also smell like lavender.

There were skull paintings, sculptures and altars in the building.

Don’t blink.

We heard a bit about Day of the Dead and then started painting the skulls.

What Day of the Dead is not:

Mexican Halloween. Indigenous people have celebrated the Day of the Dead since 1800 B.C.

It is not:

Morbid. There are no images of dead people, ghosts, witches or the devil.

It is not:

A cult. It is a Catholic ritual intermixed with folk culture. Going to Mass is an essential aspect of this celebration.

It is not:

Ancestor worship. Altars or ofrendas are not for worshiping, but for offering love and remembering departed family members. Kind of like leaving flowers on a grave when you visit.

It is not:

Sad. It’s a day of happiness to remember loved ones. But people assume an introspective attitude in the cemetery. Kind of like having a memorial service to remember the life of a loved one and the happy times.

It is not:

Glorification of death. The holiday honors dead relatives, not death itself. Celebrants use the opportunity to reflect upon their lives, heritage and the cycle of life and death.

After the co-op we went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2, that was a good movie. I think it’s as good as the first one. It was sad at parts, but the story and animation were great, I hope they make a third one.

Terrific Tuesday

This morning we had a lecture on Shakespeare, it was my co-op, brought to us by Active minds. We really freaked out the old people though. See, Active minds usually has talks in retirement homes, sometimes libraries, book stores and a few churches. And, Active minds is aimed at getting old people to be active in their minds by attending lectures on all kinds of things – but nowhere does it say that kids can’t come to these lectures. So, when I see a lecture that I think will fit in with school, we go. I happened to set this one up as a co-op because I thought others would appreciate the topic. We had 13 in our group, 3 adults and 10 kids. We outnumbered the old people attending, maybe that’s why they wondered why we were there. After the lecture we got many ‘your children were so good!’ speeches, because they were – which, I guess, is hard for people to realize (that some kids CAN listen to a lecture.) One lady asked why the kids weren’t in school, I told her we were homeschoolers and this was part of school. She was confused, why were we there? To learn about Shakespeare….I thought that was why everyone had come. Another lady whispered that she had never seen children at any of the Active minds lectures…never, and she had been to numerous lectures. Don’t worry old people, we aren’t invading your lectures, most of them have no interest for us, but the ones that do….watch out – we’ll come and listen…and takes notes….and ask questions! Anyway, we found out some cool stuff about the Bard like: He wrote 154 sonnets, 2 narrative poems and 37 plays. The increase of GDP by 400% in England caused a middle class who had enough money to make ends meet and afford entertainment. Before that, royals and the wealthy were the only ones who could enjoy a good show. The masses demanded new stuff all the time, no one wanted to go to the theater and see the same play! Standing room admission was a penny and you could get as close to the actors as you wanted…which led to people hurling insults and vegetables at the actors (which begs the bigger question, who brings tomatoes to a play?) Shakespeare’s fame grew in the 1700′s, but in the 1800′s it really took off and people began using Shakespeare to inspire their own plays and poems, but don’t worry about plagiarism, after all Will himself found inspiration in everything from Plutarch, to Roman dramas to History books of England to the Bible and more. And finally, Shakespeare introduced over 3,000 words and phrases into the English language such as: lackluster, in a pickle, it’s a foregone conclusion, it’s all Greek to me, vanished into thin air, don’t stand on ceremony, green-eyed jealousy and too much of a good thing.

We had lunch at a park near the church and then headed up to Boulder. I took 93 even though I knew they had a section of road closed, just look at that view.

A few families were meeting at Celestial for the tour, then heading to the farm. We went on the tea tour again, maybe it’s the free tea, maybe it’s the hairnets…who knows why we’ve been on the tour so many times.

We survived the mint room again and the factory floor was in full swing making boxes of tea. We got to smell the botanicals and grasses as we went to the mint room – lavender, lemon grass, alfalfa, chamomile and more. Did you know that Celestial makes one tea that has catnip in it? True story, it’s Tension tamer. Hannah thinks she’s sooo funny.

After the tour we headed to Cottonwood farms to play and pick pumpkins. If you go to Boulder, visit this farm (it’s at Arapahoe and 75th.) They don’t charge admission for their hay maze or their corn maze.

They don’t charge for petting the animals or taking pictures on the farm.

So, since you saved that money, buy some of their squashes, gourds and pumpkins and their honey and support this family farm.

The kids ran through the hay maze, I’m pretty sure that’s called cheating when you can see over the bales.

Annie was the only one who got lost in there. The corn maze was a different story, I gave up and traced my way back to the entrance.

Hannah finally came out after a while and Grace and Bella kept running back in.

We pet the donkey and goats and saw the chickens and miniature horse. Queen of the Gourds.

I wish that it had been a cooler day, that would have made the trip better. But, the kids had fun playing around and picking out a pumpkin. Annie hauled this pumpkin into the wagon all by herself.

We said bye to our friends and headed home to beat traffic (nice try, but no.)

We had time to eat dinner before leaving for drum circle. We sat outside and it wasn’t bad at first, but by 7:30 my fingers were frozen. Bob said that next month we’ll be in the tent with the heater, which is good because drums don’t sound the same when you play with gloves.

And in keeping with our devotional this week, a song about who you are in Jesus.


School went quickly this morning. There was a little less to do than normal, not quite sure why, but I liked it. Bethany had to watch this video and write about it for science.

Math went fast, triangles, line graphs and multiplication. We left early for dance because I had to stop by the shoe store to look for ballet shoes for Hannah. I am going to have to go to Penny Robinson, Payless just doesn’t have her size, she’s in this weird between size. We made it to dance early, a first for me…I’ve been late or right at 1 pm every week. I made a decision not to be rushed today and it worked out. Today we were talking about our identity in Christ, a new creation, beautiful, and looking at what God says our identity is versus what lies are out there. We hear them every day, you are stupid, not pretty, fat, lazy, hopeless, but that is not who we are. Listen to this song, close you eyes and really listen, this is who you are.

After dance we met Lola at the coffee shop and got to visit with her and tell her about our CA trip. The girls told her about all the cool things we saw, the whales, the tide pools and more. We talked about church, how fast kids grow up and watched the girls plunk dominoes and create a domino train. We had a long visit, then we said goodbye and went to the canal trail to get some Fall pics.

Tomorrow is a busy day!


Bethany was sleeping over at a friend’s house, so we had a lazy morning. We went to the gym after lunch and the girls went swimming, then we headed back home and watched some TV. James and I went to Tamayo for dinner, yum. We started off with bacon guacamole, a good choice. They were having a chile relleno festival, and though all the food looked good, we ended up getting 2 chile dinners. I chose the sweet one – poblano pepper stuffed with veal, tomato, onion, almond, with a cinnamon-walnut sauce, and pomegranate seeds. James got the smoky one – two pasilla chiles stuffed with chorizo, bacon, pork, mashed plantain, with a pipián sauce, and crema fresca. We also got a side of baked plantains with chipotle butter, so good. We found out they have brunch there on the weekends, so we will be going back at some point for that.

The week – dance, visit with Lola, Shakespeare lecture, Celestial tour, Cottonwood farms, drum circle, sugar skulls, youth group, movie, whale exhibit at the science museum, Constitution lecture, lunch with Daddy, hike, and giant pumpkin weigh-in at Old Colorado city. Oh, and school.

Harvest fest and Tripping the light snacktastic

Saturday was perfect for taking Grandma to the Littleton museum harvest festival.

They had the two farms set up with different activities. The 1860′s farm had a pumpkin patch, pig roast and hay ride, the 1890′s farm had a county fair atmosphere going on, with games, so we went there first.

When you played a game and won you got a paper token that you could trade in for a prize. When Hannah saw the wooden slingshot, she went around the booths finding the best game to win at, turns out that was the milk bottle game.

Grandma played a ring game and spun a wheel while guessing odd or even numbers.

I won a few extra tokens and got her a chicken paddle. (It looks like this.)


She had seen a little boy running by with one and remarked on how she had a game like that when she was a kid, which I don’t doubt. James took her by the chicken judging and Hannah found the cotton candy.

Bethany and Grace went in search of apple cider and pumpkin spice cupcakes, they decided they didn’t want to waste tickets on games when there was food to be had. We wandered around the farm, checking out their Victory garden produce.

They made a really good ginger pear jelly, I might have to try that. Hannah won her slingshot and was happy about it.

We walked by the pier and then headed inside to see the exhibits.

They have a really good exhibit about WWII going on right now. Lots of uniforms, WAC’s and WAVE’s stuff and displays about the war.

We took Grandma to lunch at the French bistro near her home. It was a nice place, a little hard to get a wheelchair into, but she liked the soup and quiche. She wasn’t ready to go back to her place, but we had to go to Duck, Duck, Dupe, so we dropped her off and she went around showing off her chickens. We had a few minutes at home and then we headed to Buntport for the show. Today’s theme was snacks. Two stories are true, one is made up..can you spot the dupe?

Story one – Back in 2012 some Canadian thieves had a great idea. There was a warehouse full of barrels of delicious maple syrup, they wanted the syrup.

So, they devised a plan. They rented a warehouse next door and before you could say ‘aboot’ they had hoses sucking syrup from barrels next door into their barrels.

Soon they had 6 million pounds of the sticky stuff and were loading up trucks full of it to go sell on the black market. Unfortunately, they were really loud thieves, plus there was a trail of syrup leading to their hideout and they were caught….sticky handed. (But not before some of the syrup made it onto the black market!)

Story two – In France the royal chef had a problem. No matter what he cooked, the King didn’t like it, the King was starving. Many chefs had come before and tried to make food the King liked, but they ended up going ‘poof’ when the King ordered them to disappear.

But, what could the chef make? He had tried pate’ and duck a l’orange, but nothing was good enough for the King. The chef was up for one more try and ordered steaks and meats and wonderful vegetables from the local grocer. But, when the grocer arrived all he had was eggs and bread. Disaster! What could one make with eggs and bread? The chef started cooking and decided to dip the bread in the egg and fry it to a golden brown.

It was delivered to the King and….he loved it! He loved it so much that he came down to the kitchen to tell the chef how wonderful the eggy bread was. That’s when the chef saw that their King was a child!

Well. no wonder he didn’t like pate’. The King ordered that this new food become the ‘toast’ of the town and French toast was born!

Story three – Back in 1919 a New York Yankee made himself famous. No, he wasn’t Babe Ruth, he was Ping Bodie. Never heard of him? He was a player on the team with the Babe and was getting irritated with all the news reporters wanting to know about Babe, how was it playing on the same team as him, what was he like….never any questions aimed at Ping about Ping.

So, he set off to make a name for himself by having an eating contest with an ostrich. Yes, he went man to ostrich in a spaghetti eating contest. The ostrich was known for its voracious appetite, but Ping Bodie knew he could best him. And he did, after 11 plates of spaghetti Percy the ostrich passed out and Ping Bodie won.

Fame and fortune was not to come though, more people were rooting for the ostrich.

So, which is the dupe?

Story 1?

Story 2?

Story 3?

If you guessed that France never made French toast its official eggy bread by King’s decree….you’re right!

It is true that in 2012 Canadian thieves tried to steal 6 million pounds of maple syrup and they did steal some of it. The police tracked down the thieves and recovered 2/3rds of the stolen syrup.


That means that 1/3 of the stolen goods are now canned and sitting on a shelf somewhere, maybe in the US. So watch out for the cans of stolen maple syrup, if you think you have a can call the police in Quebec, they will want it back!

And, it is true that a NY Yankee player, Francito Sanguenitta Pezzolo (later changing his name to Ping Bodie to sound more American), did have an eating contest with an ostrich. He did eat 11 plates of spaghetti and he did win, but it didn’t make him famous. (By some accounts the ostrich died, by other accounts he just passed out.) And it was true that he was annoyed at the reporters who kept asking about his teammate and bunk-mate Babe Ruth. Bodie finished his career with the Yankees and went on to be an electrician in Hollywood. He dabbled in acting, but I can’t find him listed in IMDB, so if he did star in anything he was unaccredited.

Hannah put her name in to play the lightning round and she was picked! She had 3 quick stories: that the guy that invented Doritos has Doritos chips sprinkled on his grave, that Cheetos dust is used as eye shadow, or that the Pringles inventor is buried in a Pringles can coffin. Turns out number 2 is the dupe (I really thought it was #3, really, he’s buried in a giant Pringles can? Yep.) She won this duck.

Fun Friday {Sherpa house and Fall leaves}

We had to make a morning visit to the ortho to fix one of Bethany’s brackets, they weren’t open when we arrived, so we went back home and did some school. Bethany had just enough time to finish one Biology assignment. The ortho didn’t take too long, then it was back home for a Geometry test. Grace and Hannah worked on Lit and some other things. We left the house and went to Golden to meet James for lunch at Sherpa house. Their buffet and chai are so good, we’re always willing to take a lunch break there. We sat outside, it was cloudy and the temp was cool, but nice. After lunch we went back home to finish up school. Then Grace went with me to Daniel’s park to check out the scrub oak. My camera ran out of batteries after just 2 pics, I knew I should have packed more.

We walked around a bit, then headed to the store to get dinner stuff. Grace is making a dessert from a book she got titled ‘Red Velvet Cupcake Murder’, it’s a mystery book and has recipes placed here and there. She’s making Blackberry brownies.

Black berry brownies

Brownie mix
1/2 c blackberry jam
1/2 c salted butter
1 c sugar
1/3 c cream
1/2 c chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Make brownie mix according to directions. Cool on stove for 10 min. Heat jam in microwave for 30 seconds, pour over top of brownie and spread out with spatula. Place in fridge for 30 minutes. Make frosting by mixing butter, sugar and cream to a boil, then lower to medium and cook for 2 min. Add in the chocolate chips, stir, then remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour the frosting over brownie and stick back into fridge for 30 min. Serve after that.

Hannah is making lemon chicken with lemon cream pasta.

Lemon chicken

4 skinned and boned chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lb.) $
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour $
4 tablespoons butter, divided $
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided $
1/4 cup chicken broth $
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 lemon slices
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or rosemary)
Garnish: lemon slices

1. Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/4-inch thickness, using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.

2. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook half of chicken in skillet 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and done. Transfer chicken to a serving platter, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with 1 Tbsp. butter and remaining olive oil and chicken.

3. Add broth and lemon juice to skillet, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Add 8 lemon slices.

4. Remove skillet from heat; add parsley and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, and stir until butter melts. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.

Lemon cream pasta

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot. Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat oil over medium. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until tender, 4 minutes. Add cream and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, 8 minutes. Add lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour cream sauce over pasta and toss, adding enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta.

Back at home we went on a leaf walk, here are the leaves on our street.

Catching up

Some pics from the improv show Saturday.

A nice sunset.

Tuesday Hannah had an art class and made a picture of a macaw, then we drove Bethany to Parker for a teen writing class on how to write, edit and publish a book. Once again she said she wouldn’t like it, once again I scored.

Wednesday morning we made plant and animal cell cookies, it was for Bethany’s class, but we all made the cookies. Once the cells were labeled, we ate them and brought extra cookies and cell parts to the park. It’s much more fun to eat a peppermint patty nucleus than to make one out of paper or playdough.

Don’t know what the cell parts are or what they do? This site uses cards with the cell parts labeled and what their function is.

For park day we were at Fly’n B park and I fired up the grill to cook hot dogs and whatever else people wanted to throw on there. We also had a fire later for s’mores and I found the best s’more – toasted coconut marshmallow between 2 honey cinnamon nut thins….heaven. The park is full of color right now.

The pond is full of fish.

Grace found a hiding hole of a bullfrog, but no frog, we did catch some toads though. Hannah was being a ninja.

Analivia ate crabapples that I picked.

We saw 5 hawks circling through the trees (there are no hawks in this pic, just trees.)

And some children got wet, note the sign says ‘no swimming’ not ‘no wading.’

We had a great time at the park, met a new family, ate hot dogs and s’mores and pumpkin chips with pumpkin salsa, yum.

Today it rained and we stayed home and did school. Bethany had to compare some sonnets and finish up a Biology webquest. Grace was reading and doing grammar while Hannah was doing cursive, vocabulary and spelling. Bethany did a virtual lab with cancer cells, you can do the lab here.

My computer is still not working, but I’ve made a run around by using Hannah’s computer after buying a new camera cable. Tomorrow we were going to the library for some art, but if it doesn’t rain we’ll be heading to Daniel’s park instead.

computer troubles

My computer is sick, so I’m posting from my Nook…which is tedious. James is going to try to fix it tonight, but he really just wants to get me a new laptop….but he thinks a Mac would be good. I don’t know, in some things I don’t like change (I’ve had the same tiny cell phone for 8 years….)

So, Sat. we saw an improv show, James had to work all day and the girls played around the house. Sun. we took Grandma to brunch and then to our farmer’s market. She is under the impression that people are stealing her things at the home she’s at. First it was her pants (and they replaced the stolen pants with other pants, so the pants in her dresser are not hers…and she won’t wear them.) Now she says they stole a painting (which we got rid of about a year ago) and some cups (again, she brought no cups or any other dishes to this place.) She also wanted to get Joel a graduation present….he graduated 3 years ago, but maybe she meant birthday present. I think her mind is slipping, but it lasted her 98 years.

Monday was rushed, as usual. We did school, had lunch and headed to dance. This weeks devotional was about drawing near to God through Jesus. If Jesus is our high priest that cuts a covenant with us to attain salvation, then He is always ready to offer grace and mercy to us while being the sacrifice needed for atonement. God does not put barriers in the way of us getting to Him, so barriers are things that we create or the devil creates to keep us from His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Our homework was to think about things that create a barrier for us and verses we can read to help us overcome them.

I had a newbie chat set up after dance and I met a new Dad and his 10 y/o daughter. We talked about the hs group, testing, co-ops, the message board and more. I hope they can come to some events soon, we have a bunch of new families with kids in that age range. Hannah went to her friend’s house after dance and Grace went with me. We passed by the thrift store and bought a pretty cape and a ninja shirt for Hannah (she’s been on a ninja thing lately.) Then we went home, ate chicken mole for dinner and then took Bethany to a writing class at the library. She said she wasn’t going to like it, but came out of the class all excited. Score another point for Mom.

Some stuff for the week: 2 art classes at the library, how to get your book published class, park day, tennis, harvest fest and Duck, duck, dupe.