Happy Reformation Day!

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”
― Martin Luther

luther
(Source)

But seriously, without Martin Luther tacking his theses to the door that day, we’d have no Protestant reformation. The Bible would have taken longer to get into the people’s hands (I’m sure that it would have happened anyway, but his translation of the Bible into German set the stage for the common people to be able to read the scriptures themselves.) We’d still be talking Latin in church. We’d be held to tradition instead of what is Biblical. We’d think that it’s by good works rather than grace that we are able to attain salvation.

Did you know that he wrote hymns? Here is just one of them (and just the first verse.)

A mighty fortress is our God

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevaling.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

The Reformation didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen without struggle and pain, it happened through perseverance and sacrifice.

“The heart overflows with gladness, and leaps and dances for the joy it has found in God. In this experience the Holy Spirit is active, and has taught us in the flash of a moment the deep secret of joy. You will have as much joy and laughter in life as you have faith in God.”
― Martin Luther

So, thank you Martin Luther for having the boldness to speak up and defend scripture.

“One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ.”
― Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty

A schoolish day

Bethany did the rest of her math unit today. Why so much math? She was just doing everything else and put it off. But, now she’s through horrible triangle proofs. We did find some sites that really helped, here is one, here is another. She also finished up a musical presentation, I really like Moovly. Enjoy listening to and learning about Skillet.

Let’s see….tomorrow we have lunch out, laundry to do, school to finish and I’m listing out things that need to get packed.

Swim and P – club

Tuesday we met up with some of our HS group and went swimming at Apex pool. It was nice because there were so few people there, as opposed to last time when it was packed. The kids swam for a few hours and then we headed home. We stayed home in the evening even though Hannah was begging to go to the Mall and swim and eat out. I told her – tomorrow.

We did school in the morning and went to the library for Presentation club. Hannah talked about Djembes and Grace talked about the Bahamas, we also heard about a trip to Seattle. I’m not sure what is happening with P -club, we have fewer and fewer people coming. I am hoping that the one is December is better attended since it’s about the Holidays and that usually gets people to come.

Tonight it’s Cici’s for dinner, then dropping Bethany at youth group while we go to the mall.

Joy dare

A gift humbling, honoring and happy. At dance today we prayed with fervor, we stepped into scripture and let it cover us. Speaking out loud in prayer is a humbling gift. Speaking words from the heart, making fears known, asking for help, those are things that should humble you. A gift of honor was that we got to worship with dance. We took steps and gave them to Jesus, we sang with our feet and praised with our bodies. A gift that made me happy was this time, this small piece of day that is mine to learn and sing and dance.

{Festivals}

Sunday morning we made it to church for the early service. The youth group had been bugging Bethany to come to church early (the youth meet at 9), since we normally go to the later service I wasn’t sure we’d be able to get there on time, but we did. Our worship leader was speaking this morning and we had a visiting band leading worship. Daniel was speaking on worship and how, no matter what style of worship you like, it’s not about you. Which we all know, but we still come to church wanting hymns or rock or easy listening music to engage us in worship. I know that I don’t mind the hymns the new band threw in, but that’s because they were backed by an electric guitar. I don’t mind the rock, I don’t really like easy listening, but sometimes it’s okay. But then, like Daniel said, it’s not about what I want to hear, it’s about using worship to become closer to God. I know that soothing worship can make one feel engaged, spiritual and close to God, but I also know that I was reduced to a sobbing mess at a Skillet concert a few years ago and that is heavy metal Christian rock – and I had an experience then.

Our church was having a Fall fest in the afternoon, so we went to that.

It was pretty hot outside for late October, so after getting candy we went inside to play games.

Grace was determined to win a cake at the cake walk, and though it took her about 5 walks, she won!

Hannah got her face painted and played games until she had a bucket full of candy, I made sure there wasn’t anything with peanuts in there as she went around. We decided to leave there and go straight to Littleman’s for their festival, even though we were a bit early.

At LM’s they put up a new sign pointing out all the shops.

We had enough time waiting in line to think about what kind of ice cream we wanted.

We had PB & J, passion fruit X 2, coffee and raspberry love.

Bethany was gypsied out for the costume contest, Grace and Hannah just wanted to carve pumpkins.

Grace made a cat and Hannah made a dog.

We knew who was going to be the grand winner of the pumpkins, this guy with his carved skeleton boat, it even had a skeleton walking the plank when he was done.

In the end, none of the girls won any prizes, but they did get to take their pumpkin home – so that is a prize…I guess.

Bethany said the costume contest was rigged so that the little kids won, and she was right, except for the grand prize winner (the claw machine) everyone else was under the age of 5.

But, I do have to say that they were super cute: a robot, a Michael Jackson, a mountain man toddler with his pack dog, a stop sign toddler and 3 little boys dressed as Army men complete with little cardboard stands to kneel on.

While all of this was going on there were bands playing. I’ve never seen a band play with a chicken on their cello; yep, these two girls were playing blues and the chicken was just sitting on that cymbal on top of the cello eating and chilling.

It was very unique. We left with our pumpkins and more candy, another awesome festival and great time there.

The week – dance, swimming, P-club, youth group, packing, dropping off Maisy, flying to Miami…cruise!

Saturday

We got to NJ by 10:30am and like I predicted, it was a ghost town. There was a dark sitting area in front of triage and we had to be buzzed in. We got vitals on Grace, did some tests and talked to the doc. Her tests were good and her lungs were good and all that is good….but, I know that she doesn’t do well in humidity and we’re going to be in an enclosed area (the plane), so I need her to be as close to 100% well as we can get. I have a standing order for Prednisone, but the doc needs to approve it, so he did. We also got another steroid to take after the Advair, since she’s at the highest dose of that. We got refills on Albuterol and Fluticisone too. I have an arsenal of drugs at my disposal right now.

After lunch we headed back home and the kids played while James and I took a nap. Then we went by Walmart to see if they had any waterproof containers. We have to take our passports with us when we go swimming in the Bahamas and we don’t want to leave our stuff on the beach. So, we’re putting our stuff into a watertight container and putting it in James’s water backpack for swimming. Problem solved.

A friend had asked if Bethany and girls would come over to her house to babysit/play in the evening. I love this, it means that we both get a date night. So, we dropped them off at her house and we went to Punch Bowl Social. I had seen it a few times, but it wasn’t until I saw the menu that I got intrigued. It’s a restaurant/bar/gaming place. So, you can eat, then go bowl or play video games, pool , shuffleboard and more. For appetizers we had: Deviled Eggs -chicken eggs, bacon jam, tartar sauce, mustard, espelette, baby arugula and Strawberry Melted Leek Quesadilla – strawberries, melted leeks, queso oaxaca, queso cotija, salsa adobo. James wasn’t sure about the strawberries and leeks going together, but they did. It was smokey and creamy and wonderful. We could have had more eggs too, they were very good and I don’t even know what some of the stuff in them was! For dinner I had the Shrimp Couscous Salad – moroccan couscous, grape tomatoes, almonds, torn herbs, cucumbers, anise, red onion, pineapple dressing, sheeps feta, local greens. It was good, but I couldn’t really taste the anise or pineapple and I wish it would have had more couscous on it. James had the PBS Burger – blackened beef patty, smoked gouda, tender belly bacon, southern mustard sauce, tobacco onions, potato bun, fries. I didn’t get a taste, but it looked good. The fries were a bit salty….For dessert we had a dirty chai cake, which would have been better served warm and a pumpkin spice latte – which was the best PSL I’ve had this season. The place was really busy, so the only games we played were the video games. Plus, we had to be home in time to meet the girls being dropped off, so we didn’t want to stay too long. We will definitely be going back to PBS for some of their other great food and some more of those quesadillas.

Fun Friday {bowling}

The cyberschool coalition hosts a bowling get together once a year. I figure it’s a free chance to bowl and meet up with other virtual homeschoolers, so we always go.

We had our own lane and things went well until the second game.

All the kids were using bumpers and when Bethany didn’t want to roll, Hannah did it for her. This made Grace mad because she thought it was cheating, either play your game or don’t. Also, Hannah won the first round. But, I came back strong and beat everyone in the 2nd round. Still, no one was happy about either game.

The girls had a friend sleep over, which I wouldn’t have let happen except I knew that we were headed to the doc tomorrow. Grace caught a cold last week and is neither better nor worse, but it’s hovering in her upper lung. We’ve been doubling up on meds and I’m running out of some of them, so we’re taking her into triage at NJ in the morning. It won’t be busy on a Sat. and besides the next appointment they had at our NJ office wasn’t until Feb.! I need her better before the trip next weekend, and I’d rather not have her be on a billion meds while we’re gone. So, here’s to bumping up meds for another week.

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.

Tuesday

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

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

Preparation

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

Directions:

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),

tooth
(Source)

waseisei (whale tooth necklace),

neckalce
(Source)

hoeroa (bone staff)

staff
(Source)

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.