Sunday, December 11, 2022

A Merry Christmas Season!

I hope all who celebrate are enjoying a very Merry Christmas Season!  This is our Christmas tree for 2022. It is a true labor of love to decorate it every year as most of my ornaments are keepsakes that bring back memories from our children and vacations and other events.  I also have another small tree in my kitchen/family room that is full of ornaments made by my grandchildren. Each year it takes a little more effort for us to decorate for Christmas--the bins holding it all are not getting any lighter--but once it is finished we are so happy to have it completed and to be able to enjoy it all.  I'm sure you feel the same.

For the Thanksgiving holiday this year, we traveled north to Steamboat Springs where we rented a house for a few days. The scenery we pass as we drive up into the Rocky Mountains is always breathtakingly beautiful! I will have more photos to share of our drive in a future post.  We've always visited Steamboat in early autumn and this was the first time in late autumn when it was snowing on Rabbit Ears Pass, which made it interesting.

I cooked our traditional Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time and we brought it with us in coolers. It worked out well and we had a relaxed and casual dinner.  The house was cozy and had beautiful views as well as a hot tub that we all enjoyed.  We even enjoyed Strawberry Park Hot Springs on a mountaintop one day--a fun experience with snow all around.

As soon as we returned home many Christmas activities began! Our community always hosts a wonderful "Holiday Happenings" event with horse-drawn carriage rides and a visit from Santa Claus and hot chocolate and cookies. Our oldest granddaughter is in her school choir and we joined the choir on a chilly evening to go Christmas caroling. 

Our oldest grandson plays the viola and his Middle School orchestra performed a very harmonic performance for Christmas, which we all enjoyed very much.

Another exciting event for us every year for us is the delivery of our traditional Baccala--salted cod fish--which I prepare two ways as one of our traditional Christmas Eve Italian-American "Feast of the Seven Fishes" dinners. It has been my husband's favorite fish since childhood.  If you'd like to see a recipe for one way I prepare it called Baccala Fiorentina you can see it here in an older blog post.  We order it from Frank and Sal Italian Market on Staten Island, New York, as it is difficult to find it in the Denver area.

There are many lights and decorations everywhere to enjoy in all of Denver's botanic gardens, zoo, and Denver Civic Center.  It is a beautiful Christmas Season here and I hope you are also enjoying all the beauty where you live.

I have lots of baking ahead this week as I make treats for family, neighbors, and friends, and we have some more grandchildren events ahead and parties to attend to look forward to--will show all in my next blog post!

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Colorado Mines Museum of Earth Science Part 2

In my last blog post--click here-- I showed part one of the Mines Museum of Earth Science located at the Colorado School of Mines  On the upper floor of the museum is a vast collection of rocks and minerals and other fascinating Earth Science related materials. On the lower level, located inside a large safe display is one of two Goodwill Moon Rocks collected during the Apollo Moon Mission. (All the photos in this blog post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)

The full moon rock display of the largest moon rock.

In 1974, President Nixon gave each state and 160 countries a set of two “Goodwill” moon rocks collected during the Apollo 17 mission. 

More information from the display.

Another display had this small portion of a moon rock from the Taurus Littrow Valley, along with a small flag of the State of Colorado that accompanied the astronauts to the moon!

The full display of this moon rock

Further info about the rock from the display.

Colorado has a rich history of space exploration, with 21 astronauts either born or having attended college in Colorado. The state is home to one of the largest aerospace industries in the country, boasting 300 aerospace-related companies


Inside another safe is the Miss Colorado Crown containing over 600 gemstones and 21 diamonds. 

The Miss Colorado competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state of Colorado in the Miss America pageant. Colorado has won the Miss America crown on three occasions.

Please click on the photo to enlarge it

The tiara was worn by Miss Colorado for the first time in July 1973.

The crown features a variety of gems, including aquamarine, the state gemstone. White zicrons at the top of the crown represent the snow and ice of the Rocky Mountains, while dark blue sapphires below symbolize water. Twenty-one diamonds in the centers of Columbine flowers feature amethyst petals, the leaves around them made from dark green tourmalines and light green peridots. At the base of the crown, lightly golden and orange citrine and topaz resemble wheat.

More info about the crown from its display.

Most of the museum's collections of gemstones and minerals are on display on the upper level, but there was this interesting map of the USA with the most common minerals found in each state.

There were also collections in the lower level from all around the world. This display showed minerals from Europe

Minerals from Africa

Minerals from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, and Asia

There are also some displays of fossils in the museum.  An Ursus Spilaeus or Cave Bear skull from Romania is in the photo above.

A Mastodon tusk from Alaska, and two Mastodon teeth.

Various other fossils

A 67-pound Canyon Diablo Meteorite was found in a crater in Coconino County, Arizona.

There was a walk-through mine exhibit in the museum that contained this amazing ultraviolet mineral display.  With the flick of a switch, the minerals on the left would glow with their natural fluorescence under short and long-wave ultraviolet light.

One could spend hours reading all the displays showing mining tools, the ways minerals are incorporated into objects that are in use today, and many other aspects of earth science.  Visiting the Mines Museum of Earth Science is certainly a wonderful way to learn more about the scientific richness of our earth.

After our museum visit, our friends and my husband and I drove over to the nearby Fossil Trace Golf Course in Golden, Colorado, where we had a delicious lunch at Schnepf's Restaurant inside the clubhouse. The golf course and restaurant views are very scenic and inside are other examples of fossils found in the area.

 It was the culmination of a perfect day out together!

Wishing all who celebrate this week a very Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be taking next week off from blogging as it will be a very busy time for me. I'll be back in December,  See you then!

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Sunday, November 13, 2022

Colorado Mines Museum of Earth Science Part 1

Mines Museum, located at 1310 Maple Street, in the Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden, Colorado had its beginnings in 1874 with the collection of geologist, Arthur LakesIt includes the historic Colorado State Mineral Collection created by the Bureau of Mines in the 1890s. The museum serves as the state repository for Colorado’s mineral heritage. It showcases the most extensive public collection of minerals from Colorado, along with examples from around the USA and the world, as well as two goodwill moon rocks collected during the Apollo 17 mission.

My husband and I arranged a visit to the museum with friends in October.  It was the second time that we had visited the museum-- click here to see that post--and we knew the friends who had not been here would enjoy the visit. 

If you click on each photo x 2 it will enlarge to its fullest size for easier viewing of the labels in the displays of minerals, fossils, meteorites, and gems.

There were so many displays on two floors, so I decided to make this a two-part blog post so I can include most of my photos.

I was always a rock hound, an avid collector of rocks when I was a child and I wish I had a museum such as this one to visit when I was young, as I might have pursued geology as a career!  

 I still pick up rocks from different locations so that I can learn more about them. Colorado has a very diverse geologyso I'm constantly fascinated by all that I see as we travel around the state.

The Mines Museum is housed in a newly built building that was completed in 2003.  It also displays gold, silver, and copper in their original form, fossils, meteorites, and mining artifacts, in its well-lit clear glass display cases and shelves.

There is an entire room full of examples of gold mined from different areas in Colorado and also around the world. It was easy to see how this element created the Gold Rush frenzy in the middle 1800s both in the mountains of California and Colorado.

The Mines Museum attracts 30,000 visitors a year!

The Mines Museum has more than 2,000 items currently on display and more than 40,000 total items in its collection, so there will always be something new to see. They regularly rotate exhibits to provide fresh educational experiences and displays for their visitors to enjoy.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the display of these North Table Mountain rocks and minerals. as seen in the collage above. There was a view of North Table Mountain in the distance from the window next to the display. My husband and I hiked to the top of that mountain a few summers ago and it was like entering another world! You can see that post on this link.

The museum also has Mineral ID days where one can bring in objects from your private collection to have a geologist identify them.  Those days are posted on the website.

One of the best things about the museum is that Admission is FREE!

Regular Hours: Mon. – Sat. 9AM-4PM and Sun. 1PM-4PM


All groups of 10 or more visitors are required to schedule their visit at least 48 hours in advance. If you do not schedule your visit in advance, you may not be admitted into the museum due to current capacity limits.  See the website for more information.

The Museum also offers paid guided tours for groups of 15 people or less. For groups larger than 15 people, please email  See the website for more information.

Click on and enlarge more photos to view just a small sample of the displays  ...

Weren't they all so beautiful?

In my next post, I'll show the moon rocks, meteorites, fossils, and the sparkling Miss Colorado Crown containing over 600 gemstones and 21 diamonds that we also viewed at the museum.  I hope you'll come back to see more!

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