Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Oh, how I love October!

Last week, I processed several pounds of apples. From them, I baked my grandma's apple cake (the caramel sauce makes it sooo yummy!) and made several batches of apple pie filling which are now in my freezer, awaiting pie dough at the proper time.

 Yesterday was John's birthday and we got to spend the day out together which was a treat for both of us!  We had hoped to get a good hike in but had trouble finding the right place to park and enter the hiking trail, and by the time we did that it was raining and anyway we had to get back to pick up the boys from soccer practice. 

In the short way we did go, I was able to get a couple of pictures of the lovely fall color in Wissahickon Valley Park.

This cobweb (below) was in our backyard this morning.  Evie found it and was fascinated by it.

What a smart girl!  She's probably some sort of genius.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Aaaand...One More

In Minnesota, Johanna played volleyball for Liberty, but when we moved here, we found that Phil-Mont does not have a volleyball team (!), so Johanna switched her fall sport to soccer.

She plays a variety of positions, but most often plays defense.

Not surprisingly, she is a fierce competitor.

She has a great team; can't wait to see what these girls do in the coming years.

They won this game last Friday and have a winning record.

This coming week, Johanna has two games and two practices, Will and Micah have four games and one practice, and Sam has one game and one practice.  I plan to take long naps every day to prepare.  I just hope Evie cooperates with that plan!

Another Soccer Post

Soccer dominates our lives right now, so, yes, here is another post about soccer.

Well, really about two particular soccer players.

Here's Will, leading the pack.  He plays defense - stopper - and does a bang up job bootin' it out from in front of our goal.  He is a formidable presence back there, as you may imagine.

Micah plays left wing.  Basically, from what I can tell, his job is to run up and down the left side of the field like a crazy man for 90 minutes.  

He claims it's more complicated than that, but I'm just callin' it like I see it.

This picture's caption is something like, "Mom, quit taking our picture."

And this is the moment right after.  Goofballs, the both of 'em.

The bandaging on Micah's finger is from a few weeks ago when he had stitches.  All better now, thankfully.

I must say, I know way more about soccer now than I ever expected I would, and, yes, more than I ever wanted to.  But sometimes we have to sacrifice a little ignorance for the sake of our kids.  I'm all about the sacrifice.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September Sunlight

Even before the leaves really start to turn, and trees put on their brilliant autumnal mantle, the sunshine of autumn, more relaxed and mellow than summer sunshine, less eager than spring, makes me catch my breath and see the world afresh.

The first three pictures were taken near the field where Sam plays soccer on Saturday mornings.

In contrast to piping voices and fast-forward motion on the fields across the stream, this quiet cemetery sat in the sunshine, contented and still.

The last two pictures were taken in our own backyard.

In September, beauty dwells, even among us.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sam's Soccer Saturday

Sam plays soccer in a local rec league.  They practice once a week and have a game every Saturday.

Initially, Sam was not excited about going, but pretty quickly, he changed his mind.  In fact, after last Saturday's game, he said to me, "Thanks for signing me up for this!"

Last Saturday was picture day, and being a cheap-skate, I didn't pay for the professional head shot of my darling angel.  Instead I took my camera along and after the team picture, I pulled Sam aside for a quick photo session of our own.

Unfortunately, I do not inspire the kind of cooperation a professional inspires in most youngsters.  Or at least not with Sam.

I got this.

And this.

And finally settled for this: the semi-serious "Mom-stop-torturing-me-I-wanna-play-with-my-friends" look.

Sam's team has boys from ages 7 to 10, a good mix that allows the younger boys to learn from the older and gives the older boys a chance to be rockstars.  

Sam has only played organized sports one other time in his life, two years ago, and I wasn't sure how much he remembered about the game.

(Side note: I vividly remember talking with our liaison at the adoption agency on the phone, gettting updates on "our" birthmom, while watching Sam play soccer with 75 other 5 and 6-year-olds.) 

His favorite move is hopping around the fringes of the "scrum" of boys around the ball, but he's not afraid to get in there, too.

These boys are actually beginning to understand the concepts of strategy, passing the ball, and teamwork, so it's fun to watch.  

They tied their first game and won their second one 4-7, but of course no one is keeping track or cares anything for statistics like that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Mantel 2014

I've made major progress on the kitchen and will share some pics soon.

But in the meantime, we've moved into a new season and that means a new mantel.  Or at least a new mantelscape.  

(Yes, I made up that term and I like it.)

Here is last year's mantelscape.  Mighty pr'ty it was, too, if I do say so myself.  It required lots of input from Facebook friends, but came out rather well.

This year, I decided to start with a clean slate.  I removed the brass doors and scrubbed everything down.  

I still have the doors just in case we find that we have unwanted visitors and want to replace them.

I mean winter drafts, not Santa!

I replaced the grate and arranged some logs on it, then set to work on the mantel.

I pulled things from all over the house and arranged and re-arranged until I came up with this.

This morning, I looked at it again and was dissatisfied.  The big white basket just wasn't right.  It needed something to break it up, but the mantel isn't wide enough to accomodate another layer, so "Bye bye basket!"

Here is what I have up there now and I like it better.  I think.  

What do you think?  

Does it need something more? Something less?  Something different?  Something borrowed?  Something blue?

Wait.  Sorry.  That's for weddings.  

Anyway, what do you think?

Monday, August 25, 2014


Phase 1 of this kitchen makeover has lasted way too long.  It involved removing doors, stripping old polyurethane, cleaning, and buying supplies.  Unfortunately each of these also involved days - sometimes many days - of  waiting for my schedule to clear so I could move on to the next step.

Well, today was the day.  With boring - albeit necessary - prep work done, we moved on to Phase 2.  

Here is my lovely assistant working on Coat 1.

Even after one coat, I could see that the white was really going to lighten up the space- a major factor in my decision to go ahead with this crazy idea.

This is what it looks like after two coats.  

I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  It's not as forgiving and wonderful as everyone says.  My brush strokes are very obvious (and, yes, I used the natural bristle brush recommended.  Actually I felt like the brush strokes became less obvious on the small section where I switched to an evil synthetic bristle brush.).  

I watched yet another tutorial on YouTube and this one explained why my brushstrokes are so obvious - I have a harder, non-porous surface to paint on, whereas an untreated board would soak up the paint and make for a smoother surface.  Fair enough, but still kind of disappointing to me after all the glowing praise I've heard for this "miracle" paint.

I'm hoping that a third coat will make everything wonderful.   

The white cabinets definitely are going to transform the look of my dark, little kitchen, and I'm still hopeful that the chalk paint and wax will come through for me and I'll have the updated white cupboards 
I'm hoping for!

Next up: Phase 3 - waxing and waiting