Author Archive: ellen

rocky mountain national park

We had a nice day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park at the beginning of October. It turned out to be one of those fall days that brought some rain, some snow, some sun, and some clouds. We didn’t mind the changeable weather since days like this often mean fewer people and more wildlife out and about. I meant to bring my camera that has a zoom lens, but I forgot it and almost didn’t need it because we were lucky to see so many animals up close. These bighorn sheep were snacking right next to the road as we drove through the Big Thompson Canyon.

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As always, the scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park was beautiful. The higher elevations had just been dusted with fresh snow.

And we saw several large elk. Can you spot them in these photos?

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tea party

We had a tea party for several four-year-olds in early September. This was a really easy, but fun, party to host.

We served two kinds of (caffeine-free) tea, sparkling pink lemonade, grapes, and lemon cupcakes with vanilla frosting, sprinkles, and maraschino cherries on top. The kids enjoyed their late-morning snack time on the deck, which was also a practical location in the likely event of spilled tea or lemonade. After they were done with the tea and snacks, the kids blew bubbles and played in the yard.

halloween at the zoo

The Denver Zoo really knows how to decorate for Halloween! When we visited in early October, there were many displays of animals and dinosaurs made out of pumpkins scattered throughout the zoo. This was my favorite of the pumpkin displays.

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carrot bread

Does anyone still have carrots from their garden or CSA? This carrot bread (recipe from Erin McKenna’s cookbook Bread & Butter) was delicious.

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Between the carrots and walnuts in this bread, it feels like a pretty nutritious snack!

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halloween party for preschoolers


Here’s a brief summary of the Halloween party we had last year, for a crowd of mostly three-year-olds (with a few older and younger siblings joining as well). We had a number of activities for the kids set up around the house:

And for fun, yet relatively healthy, party snacks we had:

  • pumpkin mini muffins
  • orange and black fruit (cantaloupe and blackberries)
  • popcorn
  • nuts
  • cheese slices cut into pumpkin and ghost shapes (see below)
  • apple cider

apple pie

This easy and delicious apple pie was adapted from this recipe.

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I made my life easier by using a store-bought gluten-free crust. While pre-heating the oven to 350°F, I mixed up the filling (ingredients listed below) and spread it around the pie crust. Then I mixed up the crumble topping (ingredients listed below) and sprinkled it over the filling. I baked the pie until the crust and crumble began to brown and the apples were tender (about an hour).

Filling

  • 4 cups apple, sliced thin (I used a mixture of Granny Smith and Gala apples)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance

Crumble Topping

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 8 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

what’s the story, morning glory

Anytime I successfully grow something from seeds, it’s exciting. These morning glories are so pretty, and we ended up with one pink one amongst all the purples!

prospect mountain

I love mountains that give you options of how to get to the summit. Prospect Mountain in Lake George can be a great hike if you have the time and motivation, or a relatively quick drive if not.

IMG_3938On a sunny afternoon in mid-August, we drove up and enjoyed the beautiful view of Lake George and the mountain ranges beyond.

flaming gorge national recreation area

We headed homeward from Dinosaur National Monument by driving through Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. This whole area of the northeast corner of Utah was beautiful to drive through, and we saw a lot of deer. We stopped at Red Canyon to go for a short walk and enjoy the amazing views, which even panoramic photos do not do justice.

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dinosaur national monument

We had a great day visiting Dinosaur National Monument in July. The huge park stretches from western Colorado to eastern Utah, but we only visited the Utah side since we really wanted to focus on the dinosaur bones and petroglyphs.

Our first stop was the Quarry Exhibit Hall, shortly after it opened for the day. It was awesome to see the exposed dinosaur bones as they were discovered in the quarry, and to even touch some of the fossilized bones! There were also some nice reconstructions of dinosaur skeletons.

The landscapes outside of the Quarry Exhibit Hall were also incredible.

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The Green River flows through the park, and rafting down the river would have been a fun adventure.

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After a short drive from the Quarry Exhibit Hall, we stopped to see petroglyphs and pictographs left by the Fremont people that lived in this area about a thousand years ago. We then continued driving to see more of these ancient carvings and drawings at another location farther from the Quarry Exhibit Hall, and enjoyed a picnic in a nice shady spot near a historic homesteader’s cabin.