December 29, 2008


Downtown, originally uploaded by mama_marfa.

On the way to the Nutcracker, we passed a window with these trees made of recycled magazines! I am going to try to make one!

The Nutcracker was lovely. Not a word, but the story was conveyed so artistically. I wished I'd brought a sketch pad.

Yesterday, after church, Rob with the help of 3 other friends, moved the piano into our home! When my Grandma Greene passed away (almost 7 years ago), we got her Kawai. I have many fond memories of her playing the piano and singing during the holidays. In the meantime, Hannah and Olivia have been using the keyboard I got about 20 years ago, which is fine, but the piano sounds so much better. And Hannah sits with better posture...the bench and piano go so nicely together!

December 24, 2008

Wishing you all joy...

I wish you and your families a joyous time together! We are happy to spend time with those we love. We'll celebrate the Lord's Nativity in 2 weeks in church.

(click to see larger)

December 22, 2008

Husband Meme

1. He’s sitting in front of the TV: what is on the screen?
Usually PBS, Sunday nights, Nature, last night it was about Yellowstone, we're planning to go there this summer for vacation!
2. You’re out to eat. What kind of dressing does he get on his salad? It's always ranch for him and our kiddos, for me? I get bleu cheese.
3. What is one food he doesn’t like? Olives, green peppers, uncooked onions.
4. You go out to the bar. What does he order? You would never find him at a bar!
5. Where did he go to high school? The local public high school in the town in Indiana where he lived.
6. What size shoe does he wear? 9
7. If he were to collect anything, what would it be? Car parts! You know that song by Johnny Cash One Piece at a Time, well, that kinda reminds me of him, our garage is full of his CJ, tools, his welder, and various scraps of steel.
8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? One PACKED with meat and cheese, just like Emily wrote! Of course I'd add a slice of tomato and lettuce.
9. What would the Husband eat every day if he could? Sticky rice, maybe.
10. What is his favorite cereal? Total.
11. What would he never wear? Pink or purple...anything.
12. What is his favorite sports team? Nothing...unless you could watching his two ninjas in class!
13. Who is his best friend? Male: Maybe his dad. Female: Me.
14. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn’t do? Pick on him...I'm always asking when he's going to get a decent haircut. I love him just the way he is...even with long hair.
15. How many states has he lived in? Just 3 - Indiana, Ohio, Georgia.
16. What is his heritage? Swiss and German.
17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind? Carrot cake.
18. Did he play sports in high school? He was a runner, so track and field, but for fun, he likes to play football and soccer!
19. What could he spend hours doing? Working on his CJ Jeep, hiking, watching Rambo on DVD, polishing his guns.
20. What does he wear everyday? A baseball cap, jeans and a flannel shirt...almost everyday.

We've got some sick folks here. Olivia has been throwing up. Rob feels horrible and isn't going to work today. I pray they get better soon and that the rest of us stay healthy!

December 19, 2008

St. Nicholas

Girls in their pajamas! Chinese even alone!!!Yesterday we decorated our tree...
Today we remember St. Nicholas. The girls were delighted to find little bags with coins in their shoes. It was my last day of working at school for 2 whole weeks. After work, I took them to meet up with Jamie (a few years ago she crocheted us some snowflake ornaments), Fiona and Myra at Krohn's conservatory. Hannah spent her money on a tropical plant there...The girls are both ready for bed. We are now reading On the Banks of Plum fascinating that they lived in a dugout. This week, we got a surprise package from Sylvia in the mail with 2 crosses! Hannah and Olivia love them.Don't these look great?
Click HERE for the simple recipe! Now, I wonder what I could use in place of the arrowroot biscuits (looks like there an Australian speciality, but I did get some when my girls were little, to teeth on...hmmm)? I got the recipe from this blog: many scrumptious looking recipes.

December 15, 2008

How often do your children wear seatbelts?

All the time, right? Most of us would like to say that. I do. Today, we drove past a large yellow school bus full of children as we headed home from piano lessons. Hannah asked me, "Do those kids wear seatbelts?" Isn't it sad that most busses, ones that transport very young children who can't control their own bodies, if there were an accident, don't have seatbelts? What's the best solution here? I don't know. We're homeschooling, so it doesn't directly affect us, though, thankfully. Just my thoughts...Rob took a photo of us while waiting for a horse-drawn carriage ride...
Afterwards, we pet them on their soft noses.

Downtown trolley ride...lots of awesome FREE things going on if you look around. There is an elaborate train display at the Duke Energy building. To get in, we went through some beautiful brass revolving doors.We also watched ice skaters. It's $2.50 to skate and $2.50 for rentals.
Rob made sushi this weekend. It was scrumptious. It's rather inexpensive to make, too.

Friday we celebrate St. Nicholas day. We talked about how Santa Claus derived from his name, but the fictional stories made up are not true. I've decided to give the girls a little bag with a few dollar coins in it and take them shopping.

December 12, 2008

Love being busy...

Here are some of the cards I've written...some are handmade, some have a family photo (we didn't get enough of them for everyone), and some are manufactured, but I try to write something personal in each one!

Every morning, we do the Pledge of Allegiance before we begin our homeschooling. I am proud to say we all know it by heart.
I adore these fabric covered boxes from designed Sandi Henderson: She has some great tutorials on there, I'm going to make those ruffled pillows (on the right side bar down a bit) one of these days!

I love turquoise (it's my fav color) and the vibrant red in the center. I just won it in the giveaway on one of my newest friend's blog:
Yippee!!! She's an awesome card maker!
We're hoping to go to Lowe's tomorrow with the girls to make that (they're FREE, at every Lowe's at 10am):
I'm taking one college course at a time right now. I've earned a Bachelor's degree (in fine arts, I focused on painting, which I don't do enough lately) and because I'm working in a pre-school right now, I qualify for a scholarship that pays 80% of my tuiton and book fees! I'm working on getting my CDA (child development associate) certificate. Last night I had to do a presentation in my class and it went really well! I did a 20 page Powerpoint and activity in which the students had to match up the correct countries to the objects I had laid out on the tables (I had my matroshka dolls, a hat from Peru, a Chinese lantern, a German beerstein, a piece of Polish pottery, Japanese chopsticks, a bell from Italy, a dreamcatcher, a teacup and saucer that was made in England, a sari from India). My class is Diversity in Early Childhood, so I was focusing on the beautiful cultural items from different countries, a reason assimilation isn't ideal, we need to preserve our various heritages. If we were all the same, wouldn't life be boring?

December 8, 2008


Gingerbread (vegan):
1/3 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup molasses
2/3 cup water
6 cups flour (I used half whole wheat flour, half white. I used 5 cups flour, then added more as needed, like for rolling out the dough)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon
Blend ingredients well. Roll to 1/4 inch thick (I like them thick and a little soft, rather than thin and hard) and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
We made a house out of cardboard to decorate... The girls each did one...using pumpkin seeds, markers and old candy! We never eat the gingerbread houses, so I thought why do we have to make it all out of edibles?
Yesterday we went to the Festival of Lights. It was sure chilly, but beautiful!
Olivia opened the curtains to check the snowfall...
Lusy was so happy to see the snow, greeted Thumper and Twinkle, then ran around like a crazy dog, eating up balls of snow with joy!

December 5, 2008


We made a paper chain for each day in December up until January 7th, when we celebrate the Lord's Nativity. December 25th (we call it "American Christmas") has a white paper link, so we know that's a special day, too. We have quite a bit of family that celebrates then.

Progresso soup is on sale this week at our local IGA (3 for $4, regularly it's $2.49 per can). So we stocked up on them. Their lentil soup is great...and vegan, I added chopped carrots and spinach to make it healthier and served it with bread. Yum!
Not sisters, nor mother and daughter, but could very well pass for sister and niece!

Hannah playing "Merrily we roll along, " on the piano. I told the teacher our difficulties and she will let us pay for 1 student, but both of them take lessons, for the present. I
think bartering is a great idea and will have to propose that to her!

December 1, 2008


Hannah looked very pretty in church Sunday. She asked that I french braid her hair, which you can't see in this photo, but you can see her outfit. As soon as we come inside, we usually take off our shoes and socks...she was wearing pretty knee socks, too. I love 'em, too...have a few pairs.If you get junk mail, recycle the envelopes into this sweet album, by Kristina! That quote says "Happiness - is not so much in having as in sharing." Isn't that perfect for the upcoming holidays?

We got out Scrabble Junior and had a great game this's definitely more Olivia's style. I think Hannah is ready for Scrabble though. They are different and both fun, however.

Piano lessons this afternoon...I'll take a few photos. I'm not sure we'll be able to continue. It's $20 per child per half hour class. What is the going rate? Unless we find something more affordable this we will probably just do this month and then, that's it. I'm sad, but it's really not within our budget, especially with our energy bill expected to go up (we usually pay $80/month, but in the winter, it will be about $200 and we JUST turned on the heat in November).

My husband fixed their car (these 3 old friends were headed back home to Maine after a trip to Indiana for Thanksgiving)...their wheel bearings went out. And we were glad to have them stay for a bit. The girls really loved showing them their toys and were delighted they sat down to play with them!

November 27, 2008


Pray for Rob...his shoulder is hurting pretty badly. We watched the DVD of Frosty today, while Rob sat with a bag of ice on his shoulder.

Yesterday was a wonderful day spent with family, friends and a gourmet dinner, finished by quite a few great desserts...I should mention my brother-in-law's tiramisu and my husband's sweet apple pie, totally made from scratch. Yum! I'll share photos when I get them off the NEW memory card...having some trouble with it!

For those of you like us, who don't have cable or satellite and use "bunny ears" (Rob hooked up a piece of solder from his welder that made reception REALLY good for PBS, we love watching Nature together on Sunday evenings), you'll want to check this out:

November 24, 2008


We got my grandma's piano, but when we left Ft. Stewart, we had it directly shipped to my parent's house, because we didn't want in storage while we hunted for a house. So, over 2 years later, it's still there. Today, Hannah and Olivia started piano lessons, so hopefully, we'll move it into our home soon! They are both SO excited about playing piano, they both wanted to go first!
I recently watched Expelled, a movie by Ben Stein, about those who believe there was intelligent design (i.e. the Creator, God) being fired from their jobs for suggesting such things, while those who think that we were all created from a cell that was hit by lightening (i.e. the Big Bang) are thought to be more sound. Most schools are teaching children that we all evolved from something puny, no scientific evidence, just lots of theories, even Darwin admitted that nature is too complex and beautiful to have happened without intelligent design. So, whether your children are going to school (make sure you are involved and know what they are teaching) or homeschooling...this is something that will spark great discussions! What makes more sense to them? Ask them how a seed knows which plant they should be when they grow up? Yesterday, Hannah and Olivia went to a princess party...

Later, they expressed interest in playing Scrabble, which was really fun, but we didn't finish the game! That's one of my favorites. We've also been playing lots of Chinese Checkers.

November 21, 2008


I just read through each and every comment...10 from the "Snow" post. I really enjoy them! So, thank you to everyone who comments! When we get a nice snowfall, I will take lots of photos to share! So far, most of it melts when it hits the earth.

Olivia read the Little Red Hen this week. For one lesson, she had to "retell" the story, which she did with this sweet drawing she made! We love the flexible schedule homeschooling give us...we also really like being directly involved in what our children are learning! I'm not the best teacher, but anyone can do it....really! We have been baking lots of bread lately.

If anyone wants to join in on the raw milk, check out the Double O Farm! This is where I've been getting it.

I wanted to share this layout, designed by Chris (a friend through the scrapbooking world): Can you find my little picture there? Hint, it's a tiny version of this:Be sure to check Chris's awesome blog out, she just posted some pretty Christmas tags that you can download FREE and print out! P.S. AMR stands for!

November 17, 2008


It's not a lot, but yes, we've had some big beautiful snowflakes falling around here!!!
Hannah is standing beside our rain barrel. Rob put a piece from the gutter to make it go straight into the barrel and a screen on top so leaves and bugs are filtered out! We watered our garden all summer with 2 of these 60 gallon barrels!

November 14, 2008


Join the giveaway on Wayfaring Wanderer's blog...what a great way to open up discussion on ways to recycle, reduce and reuse. I dislike wasting things. My girls have been saving everything - e.g. we went to the library for storytime and they brought home the little Dixie cup that held pretzels in it, to use in their sandbox!

What am I doing?
  • I bring cloth bags (or reuse Trader Joe's paper sacks) to the store
  • We've been recycling here, but now give it to my parents, they get PAID per pound of recyclables!!!
  • I use cloth napkins (thanks, Dad! He gave us a set of 16, I think, for a Christmas gift 2 years ago)
  • We don't throw good stuff away, we give it to Goodwill if we don't need it
  • Instead of using cleaning chemicals, I use vinegar and water for most things!
  • I try to buy stuff as local as I can, at least American-grown or made
5 things I could do:
  • Compost, I need to make a bin, any suggestions?
  • Bake 2 things in the oven to waste less gas later (I just baked a pizza and delicata squash at the same time a few days ago)
  • Drive less, walk or ride my bike MORE
  • Use reusable sanitary napkins (I have been wanting to do this for a long time)
  • Next baby, go cloth!

I still make ATCs (artist trading cards, just 2.5 x 3.5 inches):

Anyone want to trade?

November 10, 2008


We went to my parent's house to rake leaves. What fun and a great workout!
Mom gave me this geranium on the day Hannah was born...this summer I took a cutting of it, planted it in soil and it was doing well, new buds and blossoms. Then a frost, I should've taken it indoors a few weeks earlier. It may make it...

November 7, 2008


Drawing has always been one of my favorite things to do. When I learned how to write, slowly it became something I enjoyed just to see what different kinds of fonts I could come up of course, I have a fetish with pens! My parents gave me a lovely Cross fountain pen and the next year Rob gave me this cool Minka fountain of course later, I married him!

We're going to take Lusy for a walk's only 6pm, but it's almost dark outside.
I'm glad we have freedom of speech in America! Here's a blog I've been following for a while now: Very prolific!

November 6, 2008


Well, I am a happy person, so no one is going to change that! However, I do know of someone who is guilty of fraud, who is going to be the leader of America in a few months...and he will get absolutely no respect from me. I truly fear he is possibly the anti-Christ.

I think we're going to move to Alaska. At least there we'll have a governor who is honest. We've always dreamt of Alaska, we both love salmon, snow, nature and animals abound. There are a myriad of Orthodox churches there, too.

November 3, 2008


To make a pie crust, I take 1/2 cup of butter out of fridge and put it right in my food processor, add a cup of flour and mix well, then add a tablespoon or two of water until it is the right consistency.

Roll dough into balls and place in mini-muffin pan, then use wooden tart-shaper to make them into pie crusts! My 24 mini-muffin pan and tart-shaper are both from The Pampered Chef. Oh, and all this month, stoneware is on sale!!!

1 cup baked squash (I used butternut, but you can use pumpkin, too)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
I would've added nutmeg, but I didn't have any left...
you could also use allspice!

Puree, then pour into unbaked mini-pie crusts.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit.

October 31, 2008


I went to Archiver's this week, intending to splurge and get myself the Bind-it-all, which is $59, but use my 30% off coupon, so it'd be more like $40, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I remembered how nicely my Crop-o-dile made holes through thick stuff. So, I got some of the wire and bound this book I've been working on for quite a while...
Then I made a little one with Olivia...
She's writing her name really well and learning some new short words! We're doing the Book It Pizza Hut reading program...I did it 20 years ago!
* It is a reward system, you read to your child and then when they are older, they read to themselves and get a FREE pizza.
After working at the preschool today, I came home and helped the girls finish up their homeschooling lessons. Then, I got Pippi on the Run, at the library, made in 1977....a wildly fun and imaginative film. My parents came by and brought food (we ate a delicious barley dish, tomatoes, cucumbers and falafel for dinner). Mom made chocolate covered popcorn with almonds to enjoy while we watched the movie! Dad made us tea to enjoy.
We ended the day with Chapter 17 of Little House on the Prairie, in which Pa went to town and brought back glass for windows in their new home. Laura and Mary were so excited. The things we take for granted in 2008, like glass windows were so very special to them.

October 27, 2008

Today is really chilly...

One of my blogging friends recently tagged me. So, without further ado, here are 7 random things about me:

  1. Anything homemade makes me happy, especially food, but also handsewn clothes, handmade cards, a painting...

  2. I would love to see the first African American president in the somewhat near future (however I was thinking in the terms of Alan Keyes)!

  3. I am going to get some raw milk this week, I have to drive out of's like bootleg, can you believe it? $7 per gallon.

  4. Last night, we made some fantastic Thai food with some friends. I'm learning all these names, but we made sticky rice, Larb, Green Papaya Salad, Pork Satay, and Pod Thai.

  5. A fire is gently burning in the fireplace.

  6. Today I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns...what an emotional, deep and realistic fictional novel.

  7. I am doing a painting for Art For A Cause...the proceeds benefit Afghan war orphans (one place badly in needs of funds described in the above-mentioned book).
    Now I'm tagging: Susanna, Anne, Jovina, Amanda and Kristina - I wanted to tag everyone...but if you want to play along, I'd love to read yours, so leave a comment and let me know, pretty please with sugar on top!