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December 29, 2008

Downtown


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 checkers...fun 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 Creek...so 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: http://tarisota.typepad.com/my_weblog/ ...so 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.
video
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!
video

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: http://portabellopixie.typepad.com/ 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): https://www.lowesbuildandgrow.com/
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

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

Countdown

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 that...my 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

Sunday

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 weekend...it'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!