Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding The Christmas Tree!

On Saturday we bundled up and headed out to our favorite Christmas tree farm. 
~  ~ ~ ~ ~
We love searching for and cutting a fresh tree every year, and this year was no exception.  LittleA asked us to wait until she was home from college, so we headed out a week late.  
 We wouldn't have wanted her to miss out on some favorite family fun.

This year we went to a different part of the farm that had canadian fir and scotch pine. 

The trees were really packed in tight.  So finding the right one took some careful searching.
In the end we were successful and came back with the perfect tree.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making Snow Angels

LittleJ was SO excited when it finally snowed enough to make snow angels.
So, he and Dad headed out in the cold.

Aren't they cute?

He was running around the whole back yard making them everywhere.
Happy Winter!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Legacy Christmas Program

This year's Christmas program had BigJ portraying a shepherd.  He seems to always have this part, but I don't think he minds. The 4th-7th grade class did a wonderful job portraying the fulfillment of the Christmas prophesies.

Here are some of the actors waiting for their turn during dress rehersal.
Here we have the narrators, kings, shepherds, and Joseph.

I wasn't able to get a good shot of BigJ the night of the program.  They had the lights turned down and I didn't think to change my camera to a night setting.  So.....this is about the best I could do.

Here we have the shepherds meeting with King Herod.

The high school class also had a nice program.  They did a great job memorizing their parts and telling the Christmas story.

This is one scene from their retelling.
As you can see I finally changed the setting on my camera, and this one in particular came out much better.

See those silhouettes?  The high school class, plus another parent and I, spent 4 weeks putting them together.  The tracing, cutting, and painting was fairly simple.  It was the process of making them free-standing that was challenging.  But, as you can see, they turned out great.  Not a single one fell during the performance.


Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas Village

For 23 years we have been building our Christmas village, and every year it seems to get just a little bigger. 

It's a Dickens Village and I just love it.

This year I didn't get to set up a single house, animal, tree, or child; the kids did it all themselves.

Now normally I would be jealous since I love setting it up and rearranging everything just right.  But this year I enjoyed watching them set it up.  It was very nice.

Little J and Little E set the scene on top of one cabinet in the living room.

And Big J set the scene on top of the computer desk.

The great thing is I have plenty of time to look at it and enjoy it; usually it doesn't
come down until the snow stops flying! 
Occasionally I'll rearrange some people here and there, but the kids always seem to know
 and will move things back.

 I guess they like looking at it too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Happenings

This month of November is really flying by fast!! 
I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving, but the good note is I've actually done some Christmas shopping already.

We've been busy with school mostly, but here are a few random photos of daily life the last few weeks.
We've been having such great fall weather this season,  so blowing bubbles in the middle of November was definitely unusual..... but fun! 

And you can't get much cuter than that!
We also had a Thanksgiving meal after church last Sunday.  It was delicious! 
 LittleJ enjoyed eating with some new friends. 
And we enjoyed our meal with new friends as well.

We've also been busy with our homeschool co-op. 
Here's LittleJ coloring his gingerbread people.

I'm also helping with the scenery for our Christmas program. With the help of our 8th-12 th grade guys, we are making silhouette cut-outs of the nativity.
Here they are lined up in the living room after I cut them out.

And the boys did a great job painting them on Friday. 
I can't wait to see it all come together.  It should look fabulous.
I hope you've all enjoyed your fall season as much as we have.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Shakespeare Fest

The Shakespeare Festival at Wayne College in Orrville has become an annual fall tradition for me and the girls. This year we were minus one college girl though, so it was just me and LittleE.  This was our third year attending, and once again it was fabulous.

This year's comedy was As You Like It.  I remember having to read this in high school, but didn't actually remember anything about it.  Oh, well.  I can definitely say I know it now, and will most likely not forget it.  After all, Shakespeare is much more memorable when seen.  Shakespeare wrote his plays to be seen, and never intended for them to be read.  Watching live performances is absolutely the best way to learn to love Shakespeare.  

The tragedy for this year was Macbeth.  This one I had never read before, other than a children's version, so I did set out to read it beforehand.  I like to use the Shakespeare Made Easy series which includes a modern English version side-by-side with the full length original text.  After reading the play, I couldn't wait to see it.  They did a great job! 

We thoroughly enjoyed both productions done by the professional tour actors from the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia.  I'm already looking forward to next year!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a Little Fun in the Backyard

The trees in our yard are late season turners.  They have finally changed their color though and are falling. 
Since we had such nice weather this weekend, we did a first raking. 
Not much really, but enough for LittleJ to play in.

Everyone else eventually made it outside too.

All our leaves should be down in the next 2 weeks. 
Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fellows Riverside Gardens

On Sunday afternoon we visited the Fellows Riverside Gardens, part of Mill Creek MetroParks. 
It was a gorgeous fall day, and the gardens were decorated for the annual pumpkin walk.
Of course, as you might have guessed, the decorations involved pumpkins-- LOTS of pumpkins!

There were 100's of pumpkins set out on the paths and lawn areas.  Each one was carved and ready for the twilight walk that evening.  They light each and every pumpkin at dusk, and you can stroll the gardens by candlelight-- or should I say pumpkin light.

They also have two large gazebos on the grounds.

LittleJ and I enjoyed the gazebo.  And the view was beautiful as well.

After a lot of roaming around, we ended up here.
 And what can you see from this viewpoint?
I wish I could have captured the colors better.  The peak autumn colors probably were about a week ago, but they are still very nice.  We've had a great fall season this year.
Next year we will have to go in the evening when the pumpkins are lit.
Now, I'm looking forward to the Christmas walk they have in December.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Algonquin Mill Festival

 I like a good fall festival, and this year we decided to go to the Algonquin Mill Fest in Carrollton. 
It was a beautiful 75 degree day as well, so their were a lot of people out and enjoying the exhibits.

They had the grounds set up like an early pioneer village. 
Here are a few pictures of just some of the many things they had going last Saturday.

Here is a steam-powered sawmill.  You can see the steam engine at work here.

Here is the very large saw blade. 

Here they are "squeezing" sorghum cane.  It's obviously horse-powered, with the man feeding the canes in.
Here you can see the "juice" being extracted.

Here is the flour and corn meal mill; also steam-powered.

Inside they had three machines going.  One for whole wheat flour, one for buckwheat flour, and one for corn meal.

Here is the cookie house and the cheese house.  They also had apple dumplings.  I'm having one of those next year.

Of course, what pioneer village doesn't have a school house.  LittleJ decided to relax and enjoy his cookie.

They also had cider, homemade bread, soup, chicken bbq, a two-story log home with spinners and weavers, and many craft booths as well.  And no large "fair food" wagons.  Nope.  Not here.  Everything was homemade.  There was a fudge lady, and one tent with some wonderful looking pumpkin rolls. 

I can't wait to attend this festival again next year.  I definitely consider this one a favorite OH field trip.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Strange....but true.

How did we let the whole summer go by without making homemade ice cream??

So, in order to remedy the situation, we made some last weekend. 

Mix it up.
Pour it in the cylinder.
Put in the paddle.
Pop on the motor.
Plug it in.
Dump the ice around.
Add the salt.
Add some more ice... and wait.

Finally!!  Mmmm.  Doesn't that look good?

 LittleJ accepted the job of being the official taste-tester. 
After all, you just can't waste what's hanging on to the paddle.

How does it taste, LittleJ?  MMmmmm.  YUMMY.

Here's what goes into our "Oh So Yummy" Ice Cream:

6-7 eggs, beaten well
3 quarts whole milk
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 pint whipping cream

Mix together well, and freeze.  I also added a teaspoon of almond extract... perfect. 
Simple and delicious.
And, believe it or not, there's still some left in the freezer for this weekend.  YAY!!!