Category Archives: Family Fun

Motherly musings on Family fun!

Zagreb – Ancient Modern City

Zagreb, a city of ancient buildings whose windows proclaim more modern pursuits, such as HM, Pandora, Guess: ATMs located on the sides of buildings whose structure might be 400 years old. New buildings squeezed between old, although the definition of new here might mean the building is only 100 years old. A city of steep streets leading to hidden alleyways with more architectural treasures.

           

             

 

I loved the feel and energy of Zagreb. While it is a bustling city, there are parks and trees all over. It’s a city that invites you to stay a while, to explore its secrets and meet its people.

 

We strolled through the open market, full of homegrown fruits and vegetables, fresh caught fish, and homemade crafts, such as crochet tablecloths and scarves, tatted lace blouses, and so much more.

Bartering for tomatoes

YUM! homegrown & fresh

All of the outside stalls have the same umbrella pattern, it was explained to us that each city has its own pattern. These umbrellas proudly displayed Zagreb’s pattern.

Zagreb’s Pattern

The indoor market offered fresh fish, meats and more. The delicious scent of homemade bread drew us in, the homemade olive oil encouraged us to eat a bit more than we should.

Indoor Market

Leaving the market, we headed up the hill towards Zagreb’s Cathedral. Croats are primarily Roman Catholic and there are many beautiful churches and shrines to visit. The Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia, majestically towering over trees and buildings

Tallest building in Croatia

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Gothic in style, breathtakingly beautiful.

 

Entryway

Entrance Statues

Window at the altar

There are many different styles of tile on the floor. The patterns represent different cities.  I don’t know if I took a picture of Zagreb’s pattern or not.

Outside in the cathedral’s square is a gold stature of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by Archangels at the base.

Entombed at the altar in a glass coffin is the body of Cardinal Stepinac. I felt it was disrespectful to take pictures inside the cathedral without prior permission, so I limited myself to the few you see here. You can learn more about this beautiful church here.

We also visited  the Church of St. Catherine, although it was not open for visitors.

There are numerous cafes and coffee shops, most offer outdoor seating with an open invitation to sit and visit for a bit. No rush here.

Art Cafe

This particular cafe feature art by local artists.

 

After a bit of refreshment we continued our journey through the city of Zagreb…

 

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Croatia – Vrlo Lijepo!

Croatia – Day 1

Recently, I was blessed with the chance to visit Croatia. I am so glad I did!
Croatia is a beautiful country, a country of contrast and a country of friendly, helpful people.

       

Leaving Denver on a non-stop to Frankfurt, I was grateful it was a Lufthansa overnight flight, I could sleep.  The crew was great and the flight smooth. I was also lucky in my seat mate. He was a friendly but not overly talkative gentleman. We knew some of the same people in Denver which helped to pass the time. From Frankfurt, I flew Croatia Airlines to Zagreb. Another friendly crew and easy quick flight.

I met my daughter in Zagreb and off we went to our AirBnB. I can highly recommend our apartment here. Great location and walking distance to City Center. Our host was lovely and helpful.

After setting our luggage down, we set out to explore a bit before crashing from jet lag. Zagreb’s City Center is awesome, filled with open cafes, comfortable seating and every type of food you can imagine.  We opted for sparkling water, fresh caught fish and homemade bread with olive oil. Our meal was ukusno, delicious. We dined on Bogovićeva street, coming across Davor Preis’ sculpture of the Sun during our after dinner stroll. Preis’ has installed a scale model of the solar system throughout Zagreb.

 

 

The rest of our evening was spent walking through the City Center enjoying the sights and sounds. We returned to our apartment early to sleep off our jet lag, tomorrow we’re off to Plitvices Lakes National Park! I can’t wait!

 

Next: Plitvices Lake National Park

 

 

 

 

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Winter Dog Walking

Winter Dog Walking

Root Beer!

The holiday season is traditionally a time for gatherings with family and friends, this year was no exception in my home, (MB). My brother and sister-in-law provided our Thanksgiving meal at their home leaving me free to do something new on the Friday after.

Root Beer has always been a family favorite, to the point where some family members feel they can name the root beer brand with just a taste. In addition, we had a week-end guest who loved root beer.

The perfect combination to put together a root beer tasting party!

My criteria for root beer to make the cut was simple. It had to be in a glass bottle. While some would be old favorites, A&W, Dad’s, IBC; the rest would be unknown to me. I couldn’t be sure what my connoisseur had tried, so I simply picked up every brand I found.

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A couple of the root beers came from the traditional grocery stores, in addition, I stopped in at  our local ice cream and sweets shop for lesser know brands, Scrumptious, (if you ever have a chance to try their home-made ice cream, DO!), I explained what I was doing so along with the brands they had in the cooler, they found a new arrival in back. He also had 2 different types of root beer candy for my centerpiece. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf!  World Market had a good selection of lesser known brands too.

I was unable to find A&W in glass bottles but it wouldn’t be a true root beer tasting without that fan favorite, so I settled for the plastic bottle. Barq’s was the only root beer that I could not find anywhere. In total, I ended up with 12 different brands of root beer.

barqs

I then began searching for small root beer mugs, something in the shot glass range. I found them at Party City. These I put in the freezer, root beer must be served in a frosted mug, right?

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The actual tasting would be done in 3 flights of 4 each. I covered the labels, this would be a blind taste test.

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Next, I put together a score sheet, covering 4 aspects, Effervescence, Sweetness, Zest, & Bouquet, along with their overall score for each one.

root-beer-criteria

We did a 4th flight with the favorites from the previous flights to determine our winner.

I started the party with 2 songs about Root Beer to set the mood.

George Jones – Root Beer video by hankgwe

Who knew the Beach Boys sang about root beer? video by fatgator46

I made a point of opening the bottles out of sight of my testers. The A&W plastic bottle would be a dead give-away along with the possibility they might see and recognize a bottle cap.

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Tasters were allowed to take as much time as they needed with each root beer. Some made their decisions quickly, others were very deliberate.

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Comments from the tasters varied on every one.

“Strong Maple flavor”

“This one tastes like black licorice.”

“Definitely cinnamon”

“This one is so bland, now that I’ve tasted the others.”

The five root beers chosen for the final flight based on tester scores; although unknown to the tasters at the time; were: A&W, Dad’s, Dang!, IBC & Bulldog. One taster preferred  Virgil’s over the rest but the others felt its anise flavoring was too strong, so Virgil’s did not make the cut.

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Who’s #1 on our list? A&W was the hands down winner.

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The Root Beers we tasted in addition to the above, were:

ZuberFizz, Sky Valley, Boylan, Olde Brooklyn, Rocky Mountain, Abita,

zuberrb sky-valley rcky-mt-root-beer rb-oldbrooklynrb-2 boylan abita

We had so much fun with this, we may try a cream soda taste test next!

What’s your favorite root beer? and why?

Here’s to a sweet life!

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ghoulishly Delightful

Let it Glow! Glow in the Gardens; Denver Botanic Gardens opened this week and what a fangtastic concept it turned out to be.

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Upon our arrival, a cauldron of goblins enveloped the doors, phantoms weaving their way around for 3 blocks or more, “Run” their low-rumbling howls seemed to say. “Parking’s a nightmare! Drift away!”

Heeding their cries, these sylphs drove on, “after treats and spirits,” we gasped,  “we’ll face the specter head on”

Magically full, we crept back once more, now no gremlins blocked the portal of our haunted stroll.

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Witch way should we go? Head for the demon, after all, demons are a ghoul’s best friend. (insert groan here). Follow the flow?

Demon

No, that way’s blocked by a hundred souls or more. Progress was hauntingly slow, petrify a right towards a boo-tiful pumpkin carriage from fairy tale lore.

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Bat’s better, as we creep further into the darkness, luminaries lightening our path. Shadow figures surround us, spooky elves with their blood-curdling screams or little monsters expressing their wraith.

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Cascading water casting a spell, luring us with its siren song.

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Murky pools, ponds of doom, if you dare enter their gloom.

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Mysterious orbs beckon us in, what lies beyond… is entering this labyrinth a grave mistake?

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Scaredy-cats! What hides on the other side?

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Hocus Pocus! He comes into focus. Dark Knight of Fire! Is it Arthur pulling his sword from the stone, so that he may sit on his underworld throne?

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Or does our blazing rogue prepare for a fight?

Disguise’s a Dragon, hell-hound poor knight …

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Disillusion of mystical ladies appears, supernatural enchanters are these dears.

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What is she raven about? A myth, a fable, an unearthly lout?

Boil and bubble, do we got trouble?  Rabid-ly we carrion.

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Hex, om-ino-us is a glimmer light, phantom that!

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Our ghostess of a hostess bids us farewell, as we grimly depart from our tour of ruin.

 

Have a devilishly Happy Halloween!

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🎃 MaryBeth & Sherry 😈

 

 

 

 

 

Olde Town

We found the perfect fall day to visit one of our old haunts.

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Olde Town Arvada is about to experience a big changes due to the light rail station.  The increase in foot traffic will be great for the businesses. Parking has always been an issue in Olde Town, so the city has opened a new lot near the movie theaters and offers a shuttle to bring you downtown.

downtown-arvada-parking-map

We stopped first at a newer pub, Homegrown. They have a nice patio right on main street, it’s a bit noisy with traffic in the afternoon, so we were seated inside near a window.  The decor is somewhat industrial with a touch of antlers.  It was quite comfortable, the servers were friendly and efficient.

homegrown homegrown-ski-lift antlers

If you want to try a truly delicious appetizer, have the brussel sprouts. They were amazing. We ate every bite, down to the last crumb. Then it was time for a stroll to see what had changed in Olde Town, turns out, quite a bit.

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There were a few of the long-time businesses, such as the Arvada Tavern. We’ve eaten here a few times, it’s always good. They did have a Rockabilly group upstairs once in a while, not sure if they still do.  As always the Rheinlander Bakery smelled delicious, they are celebrating their 53rd year. We hurried on by as our taste buds were yearning to go inside, but our waistlines said no!

We strolled on down to  Arvada Bead Connection, a local favorite where the proprietor is very friendly. Sadly, he is having a going out of business sale. With the changing demographic, the rents are being raised and parking removed which doesn’t appeal to his clientele. MB made sure to scoop up several seed bead tubes for future crafting. We wished him the best and moved on.

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Fuzzy’s Tacos across the street is said to be good, we haven’t tried it yet.

There are a growing number of new coffee shops, which we are sure will appeal to early morning commuters. If you want to make your commute really good, drop into the Rheinlander. Hey, you’ll be walking to the light rail, so it’s all good!

Our next stop was Third Eye Gifts, upon entering you feel the warmth of positive energy. The proprietor has several Himalayan Salt Lamps lit and producing negative ions. The negative ones are positive! The smell of incense was not overwhelming, just an added touch.

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We asked about the singing bowls and the owner took quite a bit of time to demonstrate them and teach us how they work.  We were definitely rookies when he had us try them. I think we’ll be back to purchase one soon. This may be a new favorite shop.

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For as chilly as it was, there were still kids in the water park! Located in the center of Old Town, they offer movies here in the summer. During the day, it’s a spot for kids to play while the adults relax on the nearby benches and visit. Near the holidays, a Christmas Tree and other decorations are added. You can also take an old-fashion carriage ride through downtown. We have to admit, this is an improvement on the parking lot that used to sit here.

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Schoolhouse Kitchen & Libations is aptly named as it is in the old Arvada School.  We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this place. We happy to see them re-purposing the old buildings rather than tear them down. It helps to maintain the ambiance.

A local favorite with children of all ages is Scrumptious Ice Cream and their cement pig mascot.

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He’s a Superhero today, just a few months ago, he was a hippie, but he’s always good for a kids photo-op. The shop itself offers some unusual and delicious home-made ice cream flavors, dark cherry and bourbon flavors are favorites. Everyday they have something different. On one side of the shop is the ice cream parlor, on the other is an old-fashioned candy store with bottled soda. On a hot evening, this place is packed. Right across the street from the light rail station, they’ll be busy all year-round.

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We ran out of time to further explore, and there are so many new shops and restaurants to visit.

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Penzeys Spices and Silver Vines Winery are first on the list for our next downtown stroll. Can you imagine how wonderful Penzeys Spices must smell?

If you are in our neck of the woods, be sure to stop by Olde Town Arvada.

 

Here’s to a Happy Life!

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🍁MaryBeth & Sherry 🍂

 

 

 

 

 

How to Survive the Big M

Yep! We’re talking menopause.

While researching menopause causes, symptoms and the treatment/prevention of the aforementioned, we’ve come to certain inevitable conclusions:

There is no known prevention for menopause. We know, we know, for the most part we don’t mind the end result of menopause, but, by golly, isn’t there a way to avoid the discomfort? Nope, just like exercise, we got to go through it to get to the end result.

The-seven-dwarves-of-menopause

After thorough Internet research, here’s what we’ve learned.

 

Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause hot flashes.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause insomnia.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause joint pain.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause night sweats.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause mood swings.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause weight gain.

Okay, now that every man has groaned and uttered “Ewwww” and left this blog, let’s talk turkey.

menopause

Sorry to say menopause appears to be a fact of life for most women. And if you think about it, for their partners. They enjoy it vicariously through us. You’re welcome. Did you all honestly think we were going to go through this without you?

(Insert evil laugh here)

Okay, we are done laughing and back to this blog.

no eating

As you can see by our bullet points above, the best thing you can do is avoid eating or drinking anything and everything. Difficult, we agree, but think of your waistline!

Based on the fact that we enjoy eating and drinking, we’ve decided to put together our own list of do’s and don’ts.

How to avoid or lessen the symptoms of menopause.

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Do go through menopause with a buddy or two. This is the safest way. Keep your buddy on speed dial for emergency texts and calls.
Don’t decide for your buddy what they can and can not eat. This prevents injury to yourself and others.
Do go out with your girlfriends and laugh. This eases any and all symptoms
Do go out with your girlfriends and their significant others. The sympathetic nods amongst the significants makes them feel like part of the team. (Did we just call menopause a team sport?)

menopause
Do live near a nice cold swimming pool, lake or ocean. Do feel free to take a plunge at anytime. Do not feel free to do so naked. Alternate solution: Keep your bathtub full of cold water at all times – Do feel free to take this plunge naked.
Do take anyone who says “oh c’mon, it’s not that bad!”, to a local sauna, sit with them until they get up to leave, pull them back down and say “nope,not done yet” and “oh c’mon, it’s not that bad!”

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We sincerely hope this helps .

Read this book for more humor on Menopause .

menopause sucks

And this one for safe and natural ways to balance your hormones.

Dr

 

Here’s to a Happy Life!

MaryBeth & Sherry

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