May 30, 2012

She's 9 years old now...

Yesterday was Olivia's 9th birthday.  I made a yellow cake from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that my parents gave while I was in college, it's falling apart, taped together, but really I use it a LOT.  For the frosting, I used:
  • 1 large strawberry
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
...and blended them in my food processor until a nice and thick consistency and then spread it atop the cake.  It was really good!  Naturally pink.
Monday was Memorial Day and so we went to visit Rob's grandma in Indiana and to take her from the nursing home to the cemetery where her husband is buried (it's been 5 years since he passed away).  He was in the Navy.  
Then we all went to Cracker Barrel.  I haven't been to one in a LONG time, maybe 10  or more years, but I liked it.  Especially when the waitress brought out cornbread and biscuits in the beginning with real butter (cream and salt were the only ingredients)!  Rare when unfortunately so many places serve margarine with a long list of horrid ingredients.
Olivia really enjoyed watching the swans at the pond in our friend's neighborhood Sunday afternoon.

May 25, 2012

3 day old chicks

I held a Golden Comet chick yesterday...born on Monday.  ♥  Here are the other 5:
A total of six 3 day old chicks...
The chick Olivia is holding here is a black Australorp.  
Reminds me of chipmunk with the stripe down its back...
This black chick with white on its head, on Olivia's knee should be a Barred Rock chick!  I specifically wanted one of these, so hopefully it will be coming home with us, after Betsy raises them.  We're also hoping to take home one of the araucanas, too.  Her husband just built a wonderful coop and they will be keeping 4 of these chicks.

May 23, 2012

As tall as an onion...

Well, she's almost as tall as the tallest onion...I love how the tops of them are like raindrops and then they open up into a beautiful round flower.  (Olivia is still 8 years old...for a mere 6 more days.)
Big beautiful maple tree at Coney Island, right next to the Ohio River.  We couldn't climb it, but we tried, we just walked around it and admired it.  Looks like it may actually be 3 trees that twisted together as they grew.  I wonder if man had a hand in it or if it's just nature?  ♥

  • 13 years ago I spent the whole month of May with my sister, Mary, in Russia.  I cut her hair while there, really short.  She didn't like it.  I still feel bad about it, but she did look pretty!  
  • 11 years ago I was expecting my first daughter, and 9 years ago at this time, my husband had just gotten home from Iraq and we were awaiting the arrival of our second daughter 
  • 9 years ago was also when my father was diagnosed as having Parkinson's disease.  Since then, we moved from Georgia back to Ohio and my father's health has gotten worse, but we are so glad to be involved in his life, and my mom...  This year, we are doing a 5k for Parkinson's disease in a couple of weeks!  

May 21, 2012

New go with a book!

I decided to order this tea, inspired by the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith.  And it came...quickly!  Hannah and I enjoyed a cup of the 97 per cent tea, named after Grace Makutsi who brags about her high score on her exam at the Botswana Secretarial college.  She is hilarious.  ♥
If you haven't read any of these books, I highly recommend them.  We actually just got Smith's first children's book, The Great Cake Mystery, from the library (it also comes on CD, we got both at the same time, what a nice coincidence)!  It's about Precious, as a young girl:

"When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective."
Geared for children 7 years old and up.  There are beautiful simple woodcuts on just about every page.  It starts off with Obed telling his daughter, Precious, about how he came face to face with a lion as a child and how he is still alive...  Even an adult would be captivated by this interesting and sweet story of a little girl in Africa. 

May 18, 2012


Saturday, Olivia fed the chickens a banana.  Sunday, they had watermelon with us.  Monday, however, we noticed that Clementine, who hasn't lain an egg for a few weeks, was not her energetic and friendly self.  Monday evening, she was droopy, closed her eyes and didn't go up on her roost at 8pm when Nutmeg did.  Tuesday morning, I found her dead.
So sad.  Rob buried her in the backyard by the fence.

While Hannah washed off the carrots from our garden, I remember how Clementine came over to munch on the greens!  Oh, she loved them.  And yogurt.  We'll miss her.  ♥

May 14, 2012

Piper sandals (made in the USA)

For Mother's Day ♥ I got a pair of Piper sandals...they are made in the USA.  San Antonio, Texas, to be exact, by Dave Piper and his son, a small family business.  They are $119/pair.  On the home page, it says they've made 48,000 pairs since 1971.  Each sandal is marked and mine is the 52,830th pair they've made!  We are considering getting Hannah and Olivia a pair, as they are $49/pair for children!
I refused to by "made in China" only to have them last a year.  The last pair that I had that were decent were made in France.  I still wore them, although the cork sole is cracked and the leather strap between one toe is disattached from the sole.  They were a gift on Mother's day about 3 years ago.  I thought they should've held up for longer.

So, if you're looking for a leather, quality, made in the USA, supportive sandal...look no further!

May 11, 2012

Eating fresh...

Yes, I ♥ salad, but not every salad, there are lots of salads that are made with poor quality vegetables.  My favorite is fresh dark greens, maybe speckled, or red lettuce with avocado, lemon juice, cucumbers, feta, sunflower seeds, carrots, cucumber, maybe some cilantro, dill and tomato...with olive oil.

Our cilantro is flowering.  I cut some yesterday and put it in a bouquet to give to my little niece, Natalia, who turned 2.
I got a scroll saw when we lived in Georgia, and I love using it to cut things out of wood, to paint...
Hannah knit a little owl and sewed on buttons for eyes to give to Natalia.
My sister made a cookie, covered it with cream cheese frosting and fresh raspberries, kiwi and strawberries, instead of a cake...  Isn't it beautiful?

May 9, 2012


Lush and growing well...
I highly recommend the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith.  This is his 13th in this series.  There is also a BBC production of the first couple of books...that are very well done.  We got it on DVD at our library.
I got more herbs to add to my little area where the sage and mint abound...purple basil, dill and lavender!
  I crocheted this green trim for this apron for a little girl.  Join in the "Yarn Along" here. ♥

May 7, 2012

St. George in Cincinnati

Yesterday morning, we went to St. George's (you can see the sign on the right hand side in the photo above that my sister, Susanna painted) and the feast of St. George is always on May 6 (which is really April 23 old calendar), so it's not often on a Sunday.  My girls are wearing the pink and blue sweaters and standing on the steps...waiting for Bishop Peter, who came from Chicago for our feast day.
You will want to turn off the music on the sidebar on the right before you watch these video clips:
I put more photos on Facebook!  For privacy, though, I use a pseudonym there...and honestly, I love that I can look at photos and keep in touch with friends and family who don't live nearby, but am considering leaving it, because I'm so frustrated with the Facebook Timeline that I was automatically switched to....I do not like changes!
And Zizi who is from Georgia (the country) made her most scrumptious light and creamy caramel cake for afterwards!  I must get her recipe.  ♥  The photo doesn't do it justice...

May 4, 2012


I zested the last lemon I had...and baked lemon poppy seed yogurt muffins yesterday, drizzled atop with a icing of yogurt and confectioner's sugar. 
Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Muffins  
(they're so light and fluffy and scrumptious, more like a cupcake)

2 cups all purpose unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, whisked together
Zest of one lemon, plus its juice, or you can use that and confectioner's sugar to make icing
1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt or sour cream

Mix dry ingredients together.  Melt butter, then allow to cool.  Add sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and yogurt, then pour into bowl with dry ingredients.  Bake in a 12 muffin tin lined with papers at 350' for about 20 minutes.  Let cool and then drizzle icing on top.  

Recipe adapted from:
In our church, we use beeswax candles, and when it's warm outside, we open the windows a bit and the breeze makes them drip.  They are beautiful, when the drip.  The children often put out the small candles and we recycle them (return the stubs to the monastery in WV, where they melt them down again, and pull the small wicks out and make more candles!) and sometimes they create sculptures or art...Olivia made a plate, cup, spoon, knife and napkin out of wax.
Almost all of our lovely yellow irises are abloom.  They smell very nice, like oranges, actually.

The feast of St. George is always May 6 (which is actually April 23rd on the old calendar) and this year it happens to fall on a Sunday, which is really great, because it is the name of our church, so it's a big deal and it's still during the Paschal season.  We celebrate our Lord's Resurrection by greeting one another with "Christ is Risen!"  and respond "Truly He is Risen" until the Lord's Ascension into heaven.  ♥  I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

May 2, 2012

May day in Ohio ♥

In honor of the first day of May, we assembled some little bouquets of flowers to give away.  Snapdragons, iris, purple sage, the yellow flowers of our kale, white tiny flowers atop the cilantro...

At 7:30am yesterday, Olivia and I walked down the street with Lusy the dog, to leave the first one.  What a great way to start the day.  I think we may do this more often, just because.

Today, my mom dropped by with some cut peonies from her yard for us!
Check out what May day is like in Hawaii...