Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vacation: the rest of the week

I don't think I'll ever get these pictures done if I keep chipping away at the rate I'm on.
So I'll just post the rest of the week now, with not nearly as many pictures as there could be. Maybe someday I'll show more of them. Maybe.

So, without further ado, here's the list of memories, mostly from the mouths of our very cute kids.

Jasmine's favorite part: holding the "red bird" (Macaw).
Bekah now likes to demonstrate having us hold her toy snake so she can take our pictures.

At the border crossing, coming home from a couple hours with my grandmother and two of her dear friends, the kids were asked if they had been out with Mommy and Daddy. They gave their deer-in-the-headlights stare. I whispered to them that they needed to answer the man when he asked them anything. So when he asked what we'd been doing for the afternoon, Hudson very quietly answered: "Grandma Kay!"

Bekah and Jasmine's favorite part of the rest of Tuesday was the musket demonstrator (not the demonstration itself, but the man who has so much fun doing the demonstrations) at Old Fort Niagara.

After Josh's flight in the morning, Jasmine asked:
did you enjoy your flight? 
was it good exercise?
why did you need headphones?
When Josh answered, she replied,"I think that makes sense."

After asking each of the kids for their favorite moments of the day (the county fair after Josh's flight), they replied:
My new magic wand (Jasmine)
The bouncing....no, the hamster wheel (Bekah)

ammals (translation: animals) (Hudson)
(when Josh heard that, he said, "you know all those animals were horses, right?" and Hudson answered, "Yes.")

Jasmine: I waved because I was saying 'hi' to everyone in Bethlehem.
(i.e. she was a Magi)

Bekah, to the horse named Boo: Hi, Boo. My name is Boo, too! 

Bekah, at the playground, made friends with "little 'kids" (i.e. younger than her).

After horseback riding lesson, Bekah said the following:
it would be fun to be a horse
but horses don't eat chicken nuggets
and chicken nuggets are my favorite food.
so I don't want to be a horse.

Hudson spent the evening hugging my sister's cat, and looking for her whenever she took a reprieve from his affections.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vacation: Monday

It's fun to reminisce about our vacation on a day that I can't do what I most want to do.
(that would be sleep).

So instead, here's day two. Well, day 3, but Sunday we stayed home and relaxed. Played Beatles on the Wii.

We went to Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We've passed it numerous times, always saying 'we should try it there someday!' So, since it was supposed to rain, it was the perfect day to go!

There were...birds.
Lots of birds.
They were beautiful. We weren't allowed to touch them, though they had a special area where you could hold an animal. Free! Of course, you weren't allowed to take pictures, but could buy theirs for $12 apiece. Uh, no. I'm a photo snob (and pinching pennies). So no photos. but if you ask the girls, they'll reenact the whole thing for you!

There were also reptiles!
Those, you could touch.

They were thrilled to be a part of the touchy part of the exhibit.

More to come next time I'm at the computer...like the rest of Monday. This could take me months at this rate!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I just checked our garden for any new produce.

We have four (or is it five?) eggplants growing. None are quite big enough to harvest yet, but I'm pretty excited about them.
We've gotten between 6 and 8 zucchini. I've blanced most of it so I can make zucchini bread all winter.
And we have two plants of grape tomatoes. We're at that heavenly place now where we should be able to collect a handful each day!

(sorry I haven't gotten anything more up from our vacation last week. I'm working on setting up Lightroom for my pictures and have to get all my pictures sent over still. Soon.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunshine and Roses

A lot of times I feel like Larry in one of my favorite Silly Songs.
Trying to sing the blues but unable, because he's so optimistic and happy.

And those are the times I'm always blogging.

Today I've been thinking more about my time in Turkey, as I watch from a distance about the earthquake in Virginia this afternoon. Remembering that difficult time, when I was thrown together with my new neighbors, with whom I shared nothing but a common, traumatic experience.

During my two years there, I wrote monthly updates to people back home (as well as daily emails to my mom) But I always made sure I wrote those updates when I was in a good mood, so no one ever saw any of the struggles I went through.

I guess I should take that lesson and learn from it, and share when I'm struggling, too.

Then I read this blog post, which says exactly that!

So here's me, on a less-than-perfect day.

We had an absolutely wonderful vacation last week. But getting back to routine, to put it bluntly, stinks.

Jasmine does best with routine and order in her life. Even at 6, messing up her schedule messes up her temperament. So whenever people would ask why we did school all through the summer and if we'd ever take breaks, I'd tell them how much happier she is when we keep things the same each day.

At this moment, I'm almost wishing we'd just plowed through last week, too. Done school in the morning and taken vacation outings in the afternoon, maybe.

I don't, really. these are the weeks I love to look back at.
But I'm so fried. I'm so frustrated and worn out. The house is a disaster. Jasmine wants nothing to do with the written parts of school, and at this moment is screeching at Bekah for changing the order of her matchbox cars.

So I'll show a very old layout that sums up today pretty perfectly:

Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll get back into editing pictures and telling you about last week. But it just takes a part of me that isn't functioning today, so it's not going to happen this afternoon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Week: Day One

Visited Amherst Museum, which is our local version of Genesee Country Museum or Old Sturbridge Village.

Then went to pick blueberries. It was a very "Blueberries for Sal" experience for Hudson.

(my bucket isn't pictured...I'm proud to announce I picked more than anyone else! I'm sure it has something to do with Josh choosing better berries, but whatever!)

...to be continued...

Last Week

Today is back to "normal."
back to school...
grocery lists...

all that fun stuff.

But one thing I'm trying to do today is fun. Lots of fun.
Editing pictures from last week!!

I'll be writing down some of the kids' morsels as I get the chance, but for now, here's a taste of the past week.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Jasmine loves to try on different personas. She loves to use her imagination in her choice of clothes. Thankfully she's very imaginative and doesn't insist that the clothes are identical to what she sees.

That was the inspiration for this picture:

I had a lot of fun setting it up, and even though I didn't wait until closer to sunset like I wanted, I still love the way it came out!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

You say you want a Revolution

On Saturday morning, we were driving out for a haircut and passed a beautiful historical house we've walked through in the past. They were having a special weekend of Revolutionary War reenactments and camps for both sides. It was fantastic!

First we watched them fight:

And an awesome verbal battle between the leaders:

After the battle was over, the kids took their little sheets with pictures of 4 of the actors around to find them and get their signatures.
At first they were very nervous about it, but then they got comfortable:

Then we visited the blacksmith. They were all set up so that the kids could give the bellows a try.
(at this point I'd like to add that kids were free. Everything was directed at getting them involved, but they were all three FREE!!) 

Then all three kids signed up for the Patriot Army. I'm so proud!

Voting time!

I have my pictures all up and ready for votes!!

If you have a few minutes, would you mind going through these albums and leaving comments (here, there, as an email or however you want to tell me) about which 3-4 pictures you like best in each of the 4 categories??


Textures or Patterns



The pictures shown above are just a sampling of what you'll find there ;)
For a full description of what's happening, you can read all about it here.

Monday, August 08, 2011


I mentioned in my last post that I'm working on collecting pictures for the year-long challenge I've been a part of. I re-discovered one that makes me smile a little more each time I see it.
The relationship between Bekah and Hudson is so apparent in this shot.

And to think that right after this shot, I put my camera away, frustrated that "nothing worked!" 

Monday, August 01, 2011

Weekend Pictures

I just finished taking pictures for Heidi's yearly challenge. In the next couple weeks, I'll give you links to the galleries and ask you to choose your favorites for the four themes. Most are pictures I've posted here over the past 10 months, but some are likely new.
But for today, I have a couple pictures to show off from this past weekend.

Friday, I decided it would be fun to make a partial alphabet about my favorite drink:

I was invited to take pictures of a ballet master class. 
It was awesome that I could really get into the class without being able to dance at that level. It's perfect for a former dancer who still loves it!

And in the evening I took my brother's senior pictures. 

Then yesterday, we went to see Motocross Racing. 

I'd say that was a pretty successful, fun weekend!!

Turkish Recipes, part 2

This won't be a terribly exciting post, unless you wanted the other two recipes I made for the Turkish Open House!
I'll try to make up for it by posting some pictures very soon...

Cerkez Tavugu (Circassian Chicken, an awesome appetizer that would make amazing chicken sandwiches!)

Whole chicken
1 cup walnuts
half a loaf of fresh bread (shouldn't be fresh), torn in pieces
4 cloves garlic
pinch salt
pinch sugar

Put chicken in a pot, add some salt and enough water to cover. Boil until chicken is cooked through.
Put torn bread, garlic, sugar, salt and walnuts in the blender. Add some of the broth from the chicken to the blender. Blend. The mixture shouldn't be too thick. (You can add more water as needed, and can even add it once the chicken has been added).
Cut the chicken into small pieces and blend them (it's okay if there are still chunks of chicken). Put a little olive oil and red pepper on top, if desired.

Patlican Salatasi (Smoked Eggplant Puree)
4 medium eggplants
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
4 c water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t sea salt or coarse salt
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
Additional salt and/or lemon juice to taste
Toasted pita triangles or rounds of French bread for serving

1. Roast eggplant. My favorite way to do this is to poke holes in it in numerous places with a fork and setting it on a cookie sheet. Cook it in the oven at 350 until it's very, very tender. (check it in 20-30 minutes). This will mellow the flavor beautifully.
Let the eggplant cool until easy to handle.

2. Combine the lemon juice and water in a large mixing bowl. Carefully peel away and discard all of the skin from the eggplant. Place the pulp immediately into the lemon water and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain the pulp in a fine mesh strainer, gently squeezing out any excess water.

3. Mash the garlic and salt together with a fork, chopping knife, or mortar and pestle to form a paste. Transfer it to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggplant pulp and puree until smooth. Add the olive oil and puree until incorporated. Adjust the puree on a serving dish and surround with the bread of choice. Minced fresh mint or parsley may also be added to the puree as a tasty and colorful garnish.