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October 28, 2013

Swan Lake

We went to see Swan Lake yesterday after church:
Can I critique it?  Even though I'm not a dancer, I think so.
I'm glad we had a chance to see this work of art, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (my husband and I especially noticed the oboe solo, trumpet, the harp was huge and acoustics amazing so that the sound floated up to our balcony, still as it must sound next to the musicians) playing the pieces by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875.  Something that has been around and is still being performed 100 years later is amazing.
It was beautiful, the movement, costumes and the set, except for the stage floor.  It was black spongy material that they use in my daughter's dance studio for practicing on...and I assume it must be used for safety of the dancers, but the squeaks that the dancers made as they pivoted was not pleasant.
As we left, we talked about the dancers, their muscles, their feet...how they must have blisters, the amount of work they put into this to make it.
Overall, it was definitely worth it.  Seeing the human body move in such graceful ways to express so much without words!
And a surprise at the very end.  The ballerina who played the white swan was given roses by a young man who walked on stage, and then got down on one knee and proposed to her!  ♥  She kissed him and jumped up and down in a very elegant way to express "yes," without words.  So sweet.

October 25, 2013

Frost on the lettuce

It's has been quite chilly the past few days.  This morning the lettuce was frosty. 
I let the chickens out of their coop and they roamed the garden, munching on lettuce, carrot and beet tops and bugs...
See how scrawny Cinnamon looks now that she's lost so many feathers?
 Velvet our kitty also enjoyed the cold morning and sunshine.
So funny how Pepper has just 1 tail long feather left.
 We got some slushy snow yesterday (that is NOT dandruff...ha ha ha):
P.S. I awoke with a start at 12 midnight to a lot of squawking and am now wondering if something is bothering the chickens (besides moulting), I looked around, didn't see anything, and in the morning I spent a lot of time with them, while the roamed the garden and all seems fine, thankfully.

October 21, 2013

Our chickens are moulting...

A couple of days ago I awoke with a sudden start and looked at the clock 5:58am.  Lots of squawking going on outside, so I slipped on some shoes and went to see what was going on...
Feathers all over the place.  Our older chicken, Nutmeg (lower right), moulted last year, but I think the younger two who were born last year, are upset as they are moulting for the first time.  It's got to be a confusing thing for them...
Pepper in the garden, one of the little watermelons left...and Cinnamon found a tiny tomato to eat.  When the chickens moult, they stop laying eggs for a few months.  We'll miss that.
Here are some older pictures, so you can see their tail feathers (Cinnamon especially had long black beautiful feathers)!
Life is like that, full of cycles that are constantly giving us changes to appreciate life and all of it's seasons.

October 16, 2013

Moving...

Our little church on Myrtle Ave. is moving to the NEW building on Lebanon Rd.   This past weekend was the last service in the church that my father was asked to serve in 20 years ago. 
This is the new church and this coming weekend will be the first services...Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 10am!  We are still helping to paint the interior (floral decorations) and move items through this week...

October 14, 2013

Gem City Feis (Irish dancing)

Hannah and Olivia wore their McGing school dresses to the feis (pronounced "fesh"), new clip-on earrings with gems, that they got at the first feis they went to in July.  We also got a wig for Olivia there (we'd curled her hair before and we have to put them in 24 hours before she dances, it takes a good hour to put in 40 curlers with gel).  It was her 1st time wearing it and she was anxious to take it off...as you can see below, she took it off as soon as possible. 
Both Hannah and Olivia chose to dance the reel and light jig.  Hannah got two 5th place ribbons.  Here is a video of her doing her reel:
video
Olivia didn't place in the reel, but got 3rd place in her light jig, which means she moves up a level to novice!  They both competed against about 10 girls their age and at their level of competition.  Hannah didn't compete against any of her friends, they are all a year younger than her, or in a different level, but they watched and cheered one another on...
Olivia did compete against one of her friends, but it was a friendly competition.  Some people can get very competitive.  I don't ever want us to get like that.  It's just for fun. 
Each stage where they danced has an accordian player, playing music live for the dancers.   It was beautiful music.
Next month, we're going to Michigan for another competition, as Hannah was invited to be a part of an 8 hand team! 

October 7, 2013

Super scrumptious pumpkin stuff...

Last week we went to a farm near us to pick some pumpkins...we bake them to make pumpkin pie and bread. 
This Pumpkin Spice Rooibus tea (no caffeine) is really good, just $3.99 for a pretty tin.  I like it best with a bit of honey and cream.  And we made cookies and spread Nutella in the middle to eat with the tea.
Trader Joe's has so many good pumpkin treats. 
 And for some homemade goodies:
My sister made these pumpkin pie cupcakes 2 weeks ago.  We ate them with whipped cream on top.  They are SO good.   Here's the recipe from the blog (link above, with my notes in parenthesis):

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (use 1 cup freshly baked pumpkin flesh, pureed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (instead, use 1/2 teaspoon each, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin tin with silicone liners, foil liners sprayed with cooking spray or just spray the cups with cooking spray.  Either of these three methods will make it easy to take the cupcake out after it’s cooked. Paper liners make it difficult to remove the cupcakes.
Mix the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and milk.  Add the flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture. Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 cup of the mixture. Bake for twenty minutes and let cool for twenty minutes.  Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle more pumpkin pie spice on top and serve. ♥ Makes 12 cupcakes.

October 4, 2013

My Dad's truck

Yesterday I spent an hour with my dad, while my husband was at work, my girls were in Irish dance class and my mom went to the store.  I asked him if he's seen the NEW 10 minute weekly videos by Sister Vassa (here is the first episode), which is full of information and also a bit of humor.  He said yes and told me that he sat next to Sister Vassa about 10 years ago at a meeting discussing the reunification of the Moscow Patriarchate and Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (the reunification happened on May 17, 2007 and my father and mother were both able to go to Russia for this)!  He said she is very intelligent.  We went on to talk about her father, who is the priest who served the funeral when my dad's sister (Martha) passed away in 1976.
I grabbed a pen and paper and began writing and we added another chapter to his memoirs.
When my mom returned, I asked her to help me find some old pictures...and these are what I wanted to share today:
This is Dad's 1987 Mack, complete with a shiny silver bulldog hood ornament.  In 1965, the Mack truck produced the R series, which they made until 2005...and that's what kind of truck my dad purchased in the 1990s, he used it for many years when he picked up containers (big rectangular boxes you see on trains that are brought to the ports and then put on barges to go overseas).  It was shiny red.  Beautiful.
There it is, parked in our driveway, where my parents still live.  My sister took this picture many years ago, while she was in high school taking a photography class, you know the old film kind?  They used black and white film.  My dad even helped her to make a photo lab in our basement, where we had a large closet to use as a dark room, with bins of chemicals mixed to lay the photo paper in to let it develop.  Dad is still awesome, just now he's not as active as he used to be, not able to DO stuff we used to do, but he is here to tell us the stories.

October 1, 2013

Bobbing for apples

Have you ever tried?  It is not easy. Lots of laughter ensued.  You really have to submerge your head in the water!  So, we decided it's legal to grasp the stem of the apple in your teeth. 
 What do you think of the government "shutdown," or partial shutdown?  We had a great discussion in our house about it today, the girls asking about the budget and how exactly money is given to the government and if it's backed with gold/silver and where it is printed and distributed.  We all learned something from this...
A little music...3/4 guitar and mandolin.  They're practicing Hotel California.