Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017

We've been studying Poland in school. 
I am in love with that country...
it has tons of lakes like Maine, 
one of the oldest and largest market squares in Europe, 
some of the smartest people in history (Nicolaus Copernicus, Madame Curie, Chopin), 
and one of the most oppressed histories in the world - 
invaded or fighting for freedom 43 times from 1600 to 1945. 
We studied Polish immigration to the United States, and the Borscht Belt, which was fascinating...
even after the war, in the US,
Jews were not welcome at most resorts,
so the Jews in New York City flocked to the Catskills resorts for summer vacations.
Many of them were Eastern European immigrants,
and borscht was a staple in their homes.
It was served in all the resorts and became synonymous with Jewish.
It's a cold beet soup with a sour cream base, green onions and cucumbers, and it is yummy.
I wish I had a white bowl to show off that gorgeous color!

Our Polish food experiments included kugel, a custard dessert made with noodles or potatoes.
I made it with noodles, a touch of cinnamon, and raisins.
It has a lightly sweet taste and is pleasant,
but I think I would prefer just the custard, without the noodles.
I like the texture of custard and the noodles mask it a bit.
I shared it with two neighbors, both of whom have lived and traveled throughout Europe, 
and they thought it was good, so what do I know?  :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017

After talking with Jed about Memorial Day this morning, 
we spent the afternoon visiting with this lovely couple from our church.

The area was new to us, so we did a little exploring after our visit and found this dude ranch -
wouldn't that be fun??

...and this dam on the Big Thompson River...

...and this bucolic scene on the other side of the river.
So much beauty!

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 25, 2017 - Part 2

The sky grew dark this evening
and then I happened to catch a glimpse of South Table Mountain from my window
and saw the sun shining brightly on the mountain
with the dark sky glowering in the background.  
I grabbed my camera and went upstairs to the balcony in the front of the house
and was shocked to find this rainbow!

After taking a few pictures
I ran to the back of the house
where there is another balcony
to see the other end of the rainbow
and was even more shocked to see how bright it was back there.
With a slight double rainbow too.

The interesting thing about this picture is
it was taken just moments after the picture above was taken
but apparently the sun had shifted in some way - 
look at the difference in the brightness of the tree and the house!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017 - Part 1

We've been doing some fun stuff this week,
and there's more fun stuff coming up next week that I'm super excited about!  
We've been reading a book about textiles, and today Jed tried his hand at weaving...

...and at dying fabric and paper with natural ingredients.
It was interesting experimenting with purple cabbage, beets, celery leaves, coffee, lilac twigs and strawberries.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017

It snowed all day today - May 18.
The Denver Post says Golden got 13.5" - you can see it here.
We didn't get anywhere near that amount of snow downtown,
but the top of Lookout Mountain, which is in Golden and less than 10 minutes from us,
is at 7,379 ft elevation, 1,700 ft higher than downtown.
This is what they got:

These pictures were posted by neighbors on the Next Door website.
It's unusual to see hummingbirds perched like that -
poor little things were probably frozen. 
Can you even imagine that this is May??

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

Brad and Jenn gave Jed this Suspend game for Christmas a couple of years ago,
and we have had the most fun playing with it.
You have to have nerves of steel to win...it always surprises me when I do. :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May 16, 2017

The sky is so interesting here.
We have a little balcony off the second floor, with this view to the right (east) from the balcony - 
South Table Mountain, blue skies, fluffy white clouds...

...then turning only 90 degrees and facing north, this was the view...

...and then, just slightly northwest, is this scary-looking sky.
All taken just a few seconds apart.

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

Bacon Cacio e Pepe - 
basically zucchini noodles with bacon and grated pecorino romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses.
This was really good, though I think I will try different cheeses next time.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Remember the movie we watched recently, courtesy of Jed's CC tutor?
We liked it so much we rented the sequel, which features a virus that turns people into zombies.

This Mother's Day card from Jed was absolutely perfect, on so many levels.
It says on the front, 
"Mom, thanks for always giving me time to hone my gaming skills."
Inside it says,
"Now I'll be able to protect us when the zombie apocalypse comes,
and deep down,
I know that's all you ever wanted."
Yes, Jed - you know me too well.  :)

Brad sent a large package that arrived a week ago,
and it's been endearing to me how excited he's been about it.
(Brad, if you're reading this, I'm sorry if that embarrassed you)
I don't know which I love more -
that he made it (I love handmade things!)
or that it's the places I've lived since he and I lived together before he went off to college,
and the mileages are to all those places from our snug little home in Asheboro, North Carolina.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May 13, 2017

My latest spiralized creation - Teriyaki Salmon Balls with Ginger-Pineapple Rice.
The salmon balls were awful, which was a big disappointment,
but what can you expect when you substitute broccoli "rice" for bread crumbs?
Later I doctored them a bit and they're tolerable when smothered in marinara sauce.  :)
The star of this show is the ginger-pineapple rice!
Ginger, garlic and scallions sauteed in a little bit of coconut oil,
then carrot "rice" and diced pineapple added - so good!
I've been eating it cold out of the fridge...no spoiling it with salmon balls.  :D

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017

Jed's stay at IdRaHaJe was only 48 hours, so I headed back to the mountains today to pick him up.
These beautiful creatures greeted my return.

There's a man at our church who is an incredible artist of the western landscape.
He knows I admire his work, and recently he surprised me by handing me a small portfolio
and telling me to pick something out to keep.
I was stunned.
It was a hard decision...
I love his Native American scenes, 
but there's usually guns involved, 
so I will be content with this peaceful scene.

Monday, May 08, 2017

May 8, 2017

Jed went to camp today!  
Classical Conversations rented this camp in the mountains in Bailey for a 3 day Mountain Lab School.
Yes, it's school, which is why he gets to do this during the school year.  :)
But I'm pretty sure it'll be more fun than his normal school days.

We saw this herd of deer in the woods on the camp property.
We live in town now so we don't see deer as often as we used to,
and this was a nice surprise.

The name tags were wood circles that the kids wrote their own names on.
I tried to tell Jed the wood circle he chose had a short string, but he wouldn't listen to me.
Even he had to acknowledge my superior wisdom when his neckgear turned into headgear.  :)

On my way out of the camp, after getting Jed settled in his bunkhouse, these two were right at the road.
I love that they looked at each other after watching me take their pictures for a couple of minutes,
like they were discussing what they should do about this new annoyance.  :)

Though it was quiet around the house this afternoon, I had some excitement too...
the hardest hail storm I can remember.
Seems a little early for hail, but it's water, so we'll take it.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

May 7, 2017

Jed played the piano in church this morning for the first time!
He played the only semi-Christian song he knows, which is:
Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen.
I want to laugh when I say that, because he's 13.  :)
But then again, living with his dad and me, 
he actually has seen his fair share of troubles.  :D

The gift his CC tutor gave him last weekend was this popcorn bucket,
filled with microwave popcorn, Dots, Jr Mints, and a movie.  
We popped the popcorn this evening and settled back for movie night.

Friday, May 05, 2017

May 5, 2017

One of today's fun lessons was making cranberry bread, 
to go along with the FIAR book Cranberry Thanksgiving.
The frozen cranberries had the prettiest sheen on them as they were defrosting.

Jed with his creation.
It turned out great!
If you're in the neighborhood, stop in for a piece.  :)

So this was my first attempt at a bundt cake. 
It was a trial run...I have to bake one for real tomorrow morning for a brunch. 
We will probably have to move again after that. :)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

May 4, 2017

One of my biggest regrets in homeschooling has been not following through on the fun stuff.
I was always so focused on academics that most of the time we ran out of steam and time when it came to fun.
There's a curriculum we used when Jed was younger, called Five in a Row, 
which uses classic children's literature as a foundation for lessons,
and while we always completed the lessons for the major academic subjects,
there were quite a few other things we didn't finish.
I kept a list of them over the years, and since we have a few weeks to finish out this school year,
and Jed has done enough academic work already,
(besides Latin and algebra, the kid can draw the entire world and label most of the countries from memory!)
I decided to use this time to tackle some of those fun things.
Today was art.
This book, Night of the Moonjellies, was part of the FIAR curriculum, and we both loved it.
The art lesson was to use oil pastels to duplicate the ocean scene on the cover of the book.

My older son Brad, who is an artist extraordinaire, had given me a set of oil pastels years ago,
and I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to experiment with them.
Jed doesn't love art, and he didn't want me to post his work, but I couldn't wait to post mine -
I LOVE it!!
I couldn't do the moonjellies because the white pastel crayon just blended everything, 
but there were valleys in the watercolor paper that wouldn't take the color, 
so I left them white to simulate the moonjellies, 
or what they actually look more like, whitecaps.
I didn't tackle the boat because I just wanted to experiment with the water.
It was so incredible to see the water and sky taking shape layer after layer. 
There's a ton of oil pastels on this paper.  :)
I wish I had time for a new hobby!
(click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

May 3, 2017

More of my Insprialized meals! 
This is chicken and broccoli with havarti and cheddar cheeses. 
It's the first time I've spiralized a broccoli spear...
I was surprised to see that it becomes kind of translucent, and has the texture of rice. 

This one is Chicken Banh Mi with Sriracha Greek Yogurt. 
 It's such an interesting dish...
the chicken was marinated in an Asian sauce and stir-fried, 
and the veggies on top, which are spiralized daikon radishes, carrots and cucumbers, 
were pickled in a hodge-podge of ingredients. 
Served in a pepper. :) 
(I left off the sriracha yogurt...can't handle the hot stuff.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

May 2, 2017

The sky was so incredible over South Table Mountain this evening.