October 22, 2014

Bunk beds!!!

Olivia said "Every time I got to throw a penny in a fountain, I wish for bunk beds."  Sunday afternoon, we came home from church to see that someone in our neighborhood had set up a bunk bed in their front yard, for sale $75. 
Rob measured to see if it would fit...we thought with the angle of the ceiling in the room, it wouldn't fit, but they did!  There are some happy girls sleeping in it right now. 

October 15, 2014

Fall colors

The leaves on the trees are really beautiful colors now. 
 Green, yellow, orange and red leaves and gourds.
We went to the Chicago Botanic Garden on Monday:  http://www.chicagobotanic.org/
Sunday after church, we went to a friend's house and met their 4 kittens who are 6 weeks old.  Olivia really wanted to take one home.
 The girls did really well at an Irish dance competition (called a "feis" pronounced "fesh") on Saturday.  Here they are with Margarita, who we call Rita for short.  It was really nice she could come with us, she enjoyed watching the really little ones dance...they must've been about 3 or 4 years old.  So cute.  It was her first feis, and she said, "It was Irish dancing heaven."
Lots of blue.  Did you know that royal blue is the national color of Ireland? The modern Irish coat of arms (and the standard of the President of Ireland) is a golden harp with silver strings on a royal blue background.
 Hannah and her friend, Katya after church.  We celebrated the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, so almost everyone wore something blue to church!

October 6, 2014

Chickens, cordial, cute earrings and closet...

The chickens are happy I'm not keeping them in the pen as much, since our garden is pretty much done (we only have beets and carrots left), they can roam around there.  When tomatoes are ripe they love to take a few pecks out of them.  They are starting their yearly moult (which means to lose their feathers) and we're getting an egg about every other day now.  Usually they resume laying eggs in 3 months.
Saw these cute bicycle earrings at Findlay Market this weekend and bought them.  Only $6, made by someone in Kenya out of recycled materials.
A friend of mine shared some pictures from their trip to Prince Edward Island.  I especially liked the bottles of raspberry cordial for sale, but would rather have the homemade variation from "The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook" (my sister gave it to my daughter a while ago). 
We are organizing the girls closet.  See the camp uniform, with the patch that looks like a Russian flag?  Pink hangers were for sale at Deals $1 for a pack of 6 (and they're made in USA)!

October 3, 2014

In the fall...tea & baking

Mornings are now cool...today is rainy.  Definitely the kind of fall weather in which tea is good.  I ♥ these little mice.
Tiny tomatoes from some friends.
In the fall, I bake a lot. Everyday. We made focaccia and put them on top with olive oil and a few basil leaves.
The focaccia dough is very simple, we make it about once a week, so I have this recipe memorized:
      • 4 cups flour
      • 2 teaspoons yeast
      • 2 teaspoons salt
      • 2 cups water, at room temperature
      • 1/2 cup olive oil, maybe a little more
      • herbs, garlic, tomatoes
    Mix all ingredients until completely combined in a bowl.  It will be very sticky.  Let rise 1 hour.  Pour onto pan rubbed with oil.  Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil on top (it won't stick to your fingers too badly) and spread the dough out, and poke.  Let rise 30 minutes.  Then put tomatoes & herbs all over it.  Sometimes we put cheese on it.  Bake at 450' for 20 minutes.  Here is a more detailed recipe.  Enjoy while still warm!

    This week we also made artisan bread with whole wheat flour, corn bread (to go with this awesome vegan chili by Post Punk Kitchen:  http://www.theppk.com/books/isa-does-it/), wheat-free brownies with coconut flour (I will share the recipe, but I need to make it again and take a picture this time) and butter cookies with some friends.  Of course, we had tea to go with the cookies! ♥

    September 24, 2014

    First day of fall at the apple orchard

    Olivia found a pretty apple.  We always like when a leaf stays on... By the way, she has a cold sore that is healing up on her lip. 
     We went for a wagon ride.
     Then, we went into the barn where they store the apples.
     This is the machine that washes them and sorts them by size.
     In the cider house:
     Juliana picked an apple and shined it up for me.
    We admired their steers afterwards.  A&M farm used to be a dairy before it became an apple orchard.  The woman who gave the tour, said that her great grandparents bought the farm in 1942.  The few first apple trees that are there were planted by the previous owners in the 20s.
    For brekkie today, we had ginger tea and apple cake:
    • 1 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • grate some nutmeg (maybe a half teaspoon)
    •  a dash of salt
    • 1/2 cup oil (I used melted coconut oil)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup of water
    •  2 apples cut into slices
    Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together first.  Add oil, sugar and water.  Pour into pan and place apple slices into batter.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. 

    September 22, 2014

    Black belt...and baby!

     The karate black belt test is comprised of many different aspects (written exam, physical test, history questions, speech, kata, making a kicking routine). 
    Hannah has been taking classes here for 7 years now (she started when she was 6 years old).  She's been preparing for the past month, by doing 100 jumping jacks, 50 sit-ups and 25 push-ups daily.  She wrote a speech that she had to give (without reading from the paper, which was hard) to the group on Saturday. 
    All done, it was almost 4 hours...but we enjoyed watching everyone being tested, seeing their weaknesses (yes, a few emotional moments) and (MANY) strengths.  It was beautiful.  Thank you to Sensei Scott and everyone else in the dojo who has helped Hannah in this journey. ♥
    Also, Sunday (just yesterday) we got really wonderful news!  At 3:11am my sister gave birth to a baby boy!  Her husband delivered the baby at home, as everything happened pretty quickly. 

    September 17, 2014

    Roller coasters

     I think Hannah rode the Diamondback 5 times.  She loves ♥ roller coasters.  The bigger the better.
    Our friends were headed to a wedding this past weekend, so they gave us their tickets to King's Island (thanks to Proctor & Gamble, we also came home with a Swiffer, which has helped with cleaning around the house this week, and also a package of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, a roll of Bounty paper towels, Charmin toilet paper, Covergirl bronze nail polish, and more)!
    The first roller coaster we all went on was the Beast.  It has quite a history, when it opened in 1979, it was the longest, tallest, and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world!  Then, we went on Firehawk.  We divided up, so Olivia could enjoy the mild rides, in Planet Snoopy.  This one below is called Woodstock's Whirlybirds - aren't they SO cute?
    Olivia wore her Graeter's ice cream shirt (inspired by Mr. Potato head)!

     We stayed until the park closed so that we could watch the fireworks.  Their Eiffel Tower was lit up and it looked so pretty:
     Overall, I have to say that although I really enjoyed the day with my family, I feel older - I have to take it easy.  The next day, my shoulders and neck were quite sore from all the jerking around at high speeds of the roller coasters!