August 30, 2013

Chickens, concert, the Cutchens and chocolate covered cheesecakes...

 Summer evening concert in the park.  I ♥ all the folks dancing the two-step.
Hannah practicing the guitar.  She's getting very good at playing "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."  And Olivia is getting better at doing handstands!
I woke up to see the chickens on the deck by the back door yesterday.  They're so funny, but we also are not happy with how many tomatoes they've taken.  So, we're keeping them in the coop.

We're trying to weave with a hula hoop.  Maybe you've seen the project on Pinterest?  It inspired me, but oh man it's harder than it looks!  I actually used yarn to make the weft and am using an old pink t-shirt that I cut up into strips to weave.

Yesterday, we had some friends from Hawaii come for lunch...the Cutchens!!!  We had a really nice time and wish we could've spent more time together, to play a game of Life or chess.   I wish I'd taken a picture of their license plate!
Making chocolate covered mini cheesecakes with a friend, Maryna.
 And her darling little baby boy, with his icon of St. Timothy.

August 26, 2013

5th grade and 7th grade

Today is the first day of school for my girls.  Olivia is now 10 years old and in 5th grade.  She is reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.  It's a classic.  Have you read it?  There are many issues to talk about while reading this...slavery, for one. 
Hannah is 12 years old and starting 7th grade.  I have to say that looking back, that was one of the years of the most changes in my life.  It was a fun year, but not always easy.  For Hannah's literature, she starts off reading short stories.  Chura and Marwe is a folktale that originated in Africa. The Masai tribe, which will be mentioned in this story, is from the area that currently makes up the country of Kenya.  Later this year, she will read Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey.
We look forward to learning and having fun!  We are planning a cultural night, in which we plan to dress in Japanese, Russian, Indian, Greek and African, etc. clothing and cook ethnic food. 

August 19, 2013

Blessing of fruit and vegetables

We went to church this morning, for the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor.   The priest prays and sprinkles holy water on the first fruits that the faithful have brought to church (we picked tomatoes and grapes from our garden this morning, and also bought plums, pears and grapes, at the store).
 Matthew 17:1–9
 "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead."
Hannah after we got home...

Did you see that?  If you look closely, you'll see something under the step.  It's Cinnamon, Pepper and Nutmeg all laying in the dirt.  This is one of their favorite spots.
We cooked shrimp in olive oil, added some fresh garlic and ate it with pasta for lunch over the weekend.  I ♥ raw shrimp, as you can cook it the way you want and it has SO much more flavor than the pre-cooked shrimp.
This weekend, the public pool closed, but we got in one last visit...all 4 of us went off the diving board.  Olivia is getting good at diving!

August 16, 2013

Tomatoes are in!!!

This past week we've been eating tomatoes every day.  Taco salad (with pinto beans and cumin, greens, corn chips and lots of tomatoes), tomato, rosemary, garlic and olive oil focaccia, sliced tomatoes on Trader Joe's marsala burgers (vegan, and SO scrumptious, in my opinion, only $2.49 for a package of 4) and making quinoa salad with cucumbers and tomatoes today...
My favorite are the big yellow King of Siberia tomatoes...naturally low in acid and great flavor.

Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres from martha baier on Vimeo.

August 12, 2013

Red's baseball game

Did you have a nice weekend?  We went to a Cincinnati Red's baseball game (sadly, they lost), but the highlight of the game was that our girls both danced pre-game with the McGing Irish dancers.
The first 20,000 fans got FREE hats, because it was Irish heritage night.  They announced there was a total of 34,777 fans!
Last night some friends from our church came over for dinner.  This little 4 year old girl, Sofia, has cancer.  Please keep her in your prayers.  Below, I'm holding Sofia's little brother, Timothy and his mother, Maryna, Hannah and Olivia posing for a picture.  Maryna and her husband, Sergi, asked me to be Timothy's Godmother!

August 7, 2013


I won't complain anymore about not being able to bake during the summer.  My oven just heats up the  house so much (we have a window unit, behind Hannah in the picture below, but it still gets too hot without central air conditioning to use the oven)! husband gave me $100 for my birthday to buy a toaster oven (it's actually called a counter convection oven...and was only $39.99 at Aldi's).  I ♥ it!
The first thing we made in it was homemade pizza.  Since, I've made blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies and brownies!  Do you have any suggestions on what else I should try making in my NEW toaster oven?!
Monday, we celebrated Hannah's namesday.  Her patron saint, St. Hannah, is the mother of the prophet Samuel.  We read from the Bible, about how she was unable to have children, and prayed to God, who answered her prayers.  We read more about Samuel, and how he made Saul the king, and the ark was stolen out of the temple...
To honor the day, we had ice cream sundaes with Grammie and Peepaw.  First, we put brownies (yep, ones that I'd baked in the toaster oven) in the bowl.  Here's the brownie recipe I used (I made this twice already! Mmmmm...I think this would be a nice little gift in a jar):
1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cocoa
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder 
You can store this dry mix in plastic bags or Mason jars. At baking time, add: 
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter (1 stick, melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. 
Then, ice cream, caramel sauce, fudge, homemade blueberry sauce, whipped cream, and real cherries on top.  It was so good!
Later, that day, we met up with my sister and her girls at the pool!