July 31, 2013

Music and art in our house...

Hannah started playing the guitar this month...she actually learned a few chords from friends at ORPR camp and has been singing along beautifully while she plays.  Rob plays his mandolin everyday, singing "No Nay Never" and many other folk tunes. 
Even I participated in the Graeter's coloring contest!  Today is the last day of July, the deadline.  When you turn in your page, you get a FREE cone.  I got Elena's blueberry pie, Rob got caramel, Olivia got coconut chip and Hannah got mocha chip ice cream.  Olivia actually won twice before. 
Mmmm...I think we're going to make French bread pizzas tomorrow!  I saw The Pioneer Woman's photo and had to share it.  I have basil growing in a pot, not enough to make pesto, yet, but enough for pizza.  It smells so good, everytime I brush up against it while watering it.
We found a tiny praying mantis in our backyard today.  He came inside for a few minutes and crawled up our arms, into my camera and jumped around, he was quite curious.  Then, we put him near the tomato plants.  That's our dill...pretty dainty yellow flower:

July 29, 2013

I'm 36 years old

Started off the day with a bowl of crispy rice cereal, sliced banana and milk...and then lit some incense and my sister called from Canada to say "happy birthday," then we said morning prayers.  I fed the chickens (Hannah and Olivia feed the cat, dog and fish).  I took Olivia to her tennis class, and I hit the ball against the backboard until I worked up a sweat, then took a nice walk, until Olivia's class was done.  When we got home, Hannah had vacuumed the house and made me a cute card, a cat blowing out candles on a cake.  Rob decorated the dining room with colourful paper lanterns. 
Dad and Mom brought over Dewey's pizza (it's the with fresh tomatoes and basil atop, the other with pineapple and ham), salad (with cucumbers, feta, yellow peppers and red tomatoes), and a rotisserie chicken.  Dad is doing pretty well, right now.  He still has a hard time in the afternoon and evenings, but not having to use the wheel chair and sometimes not even using the walker (he used a cane to come in, had to use the walker with a little extra help going down the porch steps, though) is amazing progress.  Thanks be to God for all those who are praying for him!
Mom cleverly bent thin candles (tapers, that are like Wikki Stix) to make a 36.  Rob is brought me the cheesecake with strawberries...and then everyone sang "Happy birthday!"
I picked some yellow pear tomatoes from the backyard, 2 yellow squash, 3 beets and a handful of green beans.  Rob and Olivia checked on the corn...and Olivia got a plum. 
A bunch of kids at the swim meet waiting to swim, in our tent, as it rained.  Lower center moving clockwise is Ryan, Paige, Olivia, Mary Grace, Hannah, Brenna, Claire, Annika, Claire, Katie, Simone and Bri.  It was a long day.  We left the house at 8:30am and got home about 6pm on Saturday!

July 26, 2013


The medley relay is always the first at our swim meets.  That's when all 4 strokes are used:
  1. backstroke
  2. breaststroke
  3. butterfly
  4. freestyle
Olivia swam well!  Her teammates did, too, on Wednesday evening's meet.  So, after practice on Thursday morning (8:30 to 9:30am...I ♥ the early start to the day), they all got ribbons.
They got their t-shirts and put them on after warm-ups.  Their team is named "Piranhas."  The kids set up their towels and stuff in the baby pool area.
Hannah ready to dive in, on the freestyle relay.  She came home with 3 first place ribbons and one second place.  Our final swim meet is tomorrow!
Olivia also swam individual backstroke...and got first place. 
On my list of things to make:  homemade pita on the stove top!  I don't like to turn on the oven, since we don't have central air conditioning, just a window unit, which doesn't cool things off if it has the hot oven to compete with...

July 20, 2013

2 weeks at ОРПР camp

We spent 2 weeks at ОРПР camp in Illinois!  It stands for:  "Oрганизация Pоссийских православных Pазведчиков" (which means "Organization of Russian Orthodox Pathfinders" in English).  July 2012 was our first time there.

I was one of the art teachers and also volunteered in the kitchen, cutting up fruit, serving salad, fish, etc. to the campers.  I made new friends, so did my girls.  ♥  They cried as we left. 
Eating up the crumbs from the prosphora (bread) after church!  And then a delicious brunch of pancakes and strawberries.
I went kayaking 5 is a picture of some kids in the kayaks by the peninsula on the lake that has an icon of the Theotokos on it.
 Daniel, Alex and Andrew working on their "matroshka" dolls.
Svetlana, Anna and me...outside of the dining area.
We spend Wednesday at Splash Land!!!  I went down the waterslide 3 times.  And got a sunburn, sadly.  Some of the kitchen workers (Lya Lya, Vera, Anna, me and Irene):
P.S. I just added some picture to the previous post...I'd meant to!

July 5, 2013

Independence day in Cincinnati

It was quite rainy, but we still went to the parade!  We met up with my sister and her family there.  The girls were all sopping wet afterwards.
I made a vegan chocolate cake and topped it with strawberries and blueberries to look like an American flag...brought that to my parents house and we ate lunch there and spent the afternoon playing Mad Libs from my sister in Portland and talking...the kids made forts (one under the dining room table and the other under my sister's massage table)!

July 3, 2013

Pari and Abdullah

Last night I finished reading about Pari and Abdullah, the Afghan siblings you see playing on the front cover of this book by Khaled Hosseini.  It's called And the Mountains Echoed, and I think it's better than his other books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, although they were both good, too.  In this book, the poor family separates the siblings (who were very close to each other), giving 5 year old Pari to a wealthy couple living in the big city, Kabul...  One eventually moves to Paris and the other to California, and do meet again, although many years have passed.  It's a story about loving and caring for the poor and sick.

I crocheted a little purple hat for a friend who is having a baby.  Hannah is actually now working ona  baby blanket for her, using the same purple wool. We're joining in the yarn along today!
Fr. Paul from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church is very nice...and his wife and little boy, Nectarios, at the Greek festival over the weekend.
Olivia brought her baklava home and put whipped cream on top!
Have you ever put the candy Mentos into diet soda?  Olivia got a special little plastic tube with a string to pull and drop them in all at once as a birthday party favor (awesome, better than trinkets):
That was fun!  Let's do it again.