November 21, 2014

It's still fall...but feels like winter

 We met up with a friend to go sledding.
 This is our favorite park to go sledding...
 She almost hit that tree!!!
 Lusy (our dog) came and had a great time, too. 
 Olivia trying to "snowboard" on a sled down the hill...she has great balance!
 Time for a break...chamomile and lavender tea or hot cocoa?
Have a great weekend!

November 17, 2014

Snow cake

Sprinkled with coconut on top...to look like snow:
 This is what I've been reading lately, while the girls are doing their homeschooling lessons.  We have also been playing a lot of chess and checkers (and making up variations, like "giveaway" where you must take an opponents piece if you are able to jump them, but want to get rid of all your pieces first).
Lusy loves the snow...jumping and running around, burying her face in the snow. 
Usually, we dig out from a huge mound of snow, but this morning, we didn't have that much snow, so we packed the snow into plastic containers to make "snow bricks." Olivia's snow fort is like a 3 sided square.  In the middle, you can see the chicken run (they are in the coop today) and what is left of our tomato plants! 
 
 Hannah is making a circle fort, thinking about making an igloo...

November 12, 2014

Keeping warm

Since the weather has gotten colder, we haven't been spending as much time outside.  Rob brought home an old metal brake drum and he dug a hole to make a safe little fire ring.

 Perfect for marshmallow roasting.
 While the girls were in dance class I went to Crabtree & Evelyn at the mall, because I had gotten a 25% off coupon in the mail.  In the winter, their hand therapy is the most moisturizing (and great smelling) to me.  My favorite scent is either "Rosewater," "Summer Hill" or "La Source."  I was introduced to their Jojoba oil soaps as a child, my grandmother always seemed to have them in her bathroom.  I think they make nice little gifts.
Another favorite shop of mine is Anthropologie, where I saw this pack of paper placemats!  Wouldn't that make a fun gift?  My sister's birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. 
I think it might be a fun gift for her, as she has 2 young boys (one is 5 and the other is almost 3)...something they could do together at brekkie.  
I'm going to make some for us using large paper...and then we can recycle that paper by making another fire in the backyard or in the woodstove inside our home.

November 5, 2014

Gluten-free brownies...

I made these gluten-free brownies twice already.  I basically followed the recipe on the back of the bag of coconut flour, but I only had 3 eggs, not 6 as they suggested:
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
Preheat oven to 350'F.  Melt butter in saucepan and add cocoa, let cool a bit, then add beaten eggs, sugar and vanilla and coconut flour.  My batter was a bit lumpy, next time I'll mix it until smoother.  Baked in 8x8 or 9 inch round ban for 30 minutes.
We brought some to my parent's house to share and topped it with caramel ice cream.
Bokeh.  I love this effect that I found here: http://cavalars.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/canon-50mm-bokeh-cardboar/
My friend Joscie made a simple tutorial here:   http://www.cutchens.com/2009/12/how-to-make-a-high-tech-bokeh-shaper/

The rest of the photos are taken with our new (used) camera that we bought from a friend.  It's a Canon DSLR and we bought a Tamron 28-300 lens that takes nice pictures close-up and had a great zoom, too.
This is the last dahlia (and a bit of basil that has flowered) from our garden, the rest were all hit by the frost this weekend.
 I love that I can choose where to focus. 
Foreground vs. background!
We now only have 2 chickens.  Pepper died. 
They are moulting now and look pathetic.
 Nutmeg's favorite place to look for bugs is under the logs.
 And they are not laying eggs...hopefully in 2 months or so they will resume, although Cinnamon is now 2 and a half and Nutmeg is 3 and a half.  They are getting old.

November 2, 2014

Little ones

My tiny nephew, Nicholas, was just baptized.  Here he is in this photo taken by Ksenia Milonow, on the far left in his Godmother's arms before he went into the font.
Kisses for beautiful Sofia...who sleeps most of the time now.  Last month she had a surgery for a jejunostomy feeding tube.  Please keep her in your prayers.

October 22, 2014

Bunk beds!!!

Olivia said "Every time I got to throw a penny in a fountain, I wished for bunk beds."  Sunday afternoon, we came home from church to see that someone in our neighborhood had set up a bunk bed in their front yard, for sale $75.
Rob measured to see if it would fit...we thought with the angle of the ceiling in the room, it wouldn't fit, but they did!  There are some happy girls sleeping in it right now. 

October 15, 2014

Fall colors

The leaves on the trees are really beautiful colors now. 
 Green, yellow, orange and red leaves and gourds.
We went to the Chicago Botanic Garden on Monday:  http://www.chicagobotanic.org/
Sunday after church, we went to a friend's house and met their 4 kittens who are 6 weeks old.  Olivia really wanted to take one home.
 The girls did really well at an Irish dance competition (called a "feis" pronounced "fesh") on Saturday.  Here they are with Margarita, who we call Rita for short.  It was really nice she could come with us, she enjoyed watching the really little ones dance...they must've been about 3 or 4 years old.  So cute.  It was her first feis, and she said, "It was Irish dancing heaven."
Lots of blue.  Did you know that royal blue is the national color of Ireland? The modern Irish coat of arms (and the standard of the President of Ireland) is a golden harp with silver strings on a royal blue background.
 Hannah and her friend, Katya after church.  We celebrated the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, so almost everyone wore something blue to church!