Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Catching Up

Wow! September is already half over!

I've been pretty slack in tending to this blog in the last month. I'll need to devote some time in the next couple of weeks to writing in more detail about our end-of-summer activities.

Aside from a brief mention, I never wrote anything about The Boy's scout camp in late July / early August.

The scout group had to deal with miserable weather for the first half of their week (lightening, hail, downpours...) but everything turned out great in the end. When we visited the camp for "family night" , we noticed that The Boy, who is usually very shy and quiet, seemed to have really blossomed during his week at camp. He's already excited about next year!

As the end of summer break neared, we couldn't get away for several days in a row for a "proper vacation". We planned a couple of back-to-back day trips instead. On the first day, we headed into the mountains visiting places along the Lariat Loop like Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater and Buffalo Bill's Museum and Grave.

The following day, we piled into the car again. Driving just a few minutes east of town puts you right smack in the middle of nothing but prairie. That's where you'll find the Aurora Reservoir.  The Arapahoe County Fairgrounds are also nearby. We took advantage of a coupon offer - car admission, 2 hours pedal boat rental and lunch for four for $30.

Aside from the pedal boats, there were row boats, kayaks and canoes for rent, hiking trails, picnic tables, a playground and even some sand and a swim area. It was as close to the beach as we could manage on short notice but no one minded. Spending time out on the water was incredibly relaxing.

School started on August 18th. It was a little more difficult this year getting into the school routine again. The Girl started her first year in middle school and The Boy is a freshman in high school so there were a lot of big changes and adjustments for both of them.

The Girl had her 11th birthday last week. It was a small, quiet family celebration (my favorite kind) and as always, I made her birthday cake. She's is really into Pokemon now so she wanted a Pokemon cake. She also wanted it to be a Tres Leches cake. I made this recipe for Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It's REALLY good. Not too sweet.

To decorate, I "drew" a Pokemon ("Charmander") on her cake using an image I found on Google as a template and guide. Colored shredded coconut and a smidgen of additional icing were used to "color in" the drawing.

The "garden" looks a little shabbier than it did a month ago, but it is still producing beautiful tomatoes!

I've been using them as I need them and freezing the rest whole until I have enough to can. I've heard freezing makes the tomatoes easier to peel (just thaw and slip the skins off) so I plan to experiment with that this year. If it doesn't work, I'll just toss it all into the KitchenAid strainer attachment and let IT do the work. Side note: If you think you will ever need to grind your own meat, the KitchenAid strainer with the additional grinder attachment is worth it. The grinder works great for making my own ground pork.

The pole beans rebounded after their dismal summer. I might get enough out of these plants to actually manage a side dish before fall!

The last hail storm in August pretty much decimated the large zucchini plants. But beneath the prickly, punctured, shriveled leaves, I noticed some new growth and several tiny zucchini!

Our days start an hour earlier now (The Boy has to catch the school bus at 6:30 in the morning!) and while having that extra hour is wonderful, I feel like I haven't quite gotten my own routine worked out yet. I still feel incredibly rushed...perhaps because of my too long "to-do list".

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Unknown said...

Hi -

I just discovered your website, looking for a crochet pattern for a water bottle bag. But your site has so much more! And I live in Lakewood - We moved to Denver from San Diego in 1978, and I love it here. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing more of your blog.

Take care


Trish said...

Susan, Thanks for stopping by! We love the Lakewood area! It's funny, we've been here seven years and still find loads of new things to get into! We LOVE Colorado!

Unknown said...

Hi Trish -

I'm enjoying visiting with you. There are still some places I haven't yet seen, but here are some places I love...

Rocky Mountain National Park - Especially Old Fall River Road
Lake Isabel, southwest of Pueblo
Boreas Pass, near Como (northeast of Fairplay) to Breckenridge, and Guanella Pass (Georgetown to Grant).

Utah has a lot of beautiful parks, too - Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, Cedar Breaks, and others. I haven't visited the last two, but someday I'd like to take a camping trip for a week or so and see all of them.

In Arizona, the Navajo reservation has Canyon d'Chelly at Chinle, and the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado. The trading post is like walking back in time. And Monument Valley.

I'll be happy to give you more information about any or all of these if you'd like (the most scenic routes to get there, etc.)

Have a wonderful day -