Chester, Cheshire in England : Part 2

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In our walk around town, I stopped at Bollands tea store.  Hard to decide what to bring.

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But a small bag of Chester Breakfast Tea and Bollands Afternoon Tea made their way to my suitcase.  Something for the morning and I guess something for the afternoon.  Right?  DSC_0047 copyThis is when I really wish  I could smell…. DSC_0045 copyA beautiful little store.


DSC_0054 copy DSC_0050 copy DSC_0055 copy DSC_0059 copy DSC_0060 copy DSC_0058 copyBakeries.

DSC_0063 copyA candy store.  Yup! With a birthday girl with us, we had to go in. DSC_0066 copy DSC_0065 copy DSC_0067 copy DSC_0163 copyAnd some to bring home.  DSC_0162 copy DSC_0156 copy DSC_0157 copy DSC_0155 copy What a beautiful city.  Another must go back place, for some day.

Posted in England, family, friends, history + geography, homeschooling, Summer, travels | Leave a comment

last week…

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… went to Siena’s first swim meet of this year.

DSC_0089 copy DSC_0091 copyAnd we had so much fun.

… Lucas’s baseball games got cancelled because of the rain that seems to have arrived this fall.  We’ll have to wait until the spring to see him playing again. It’s all good because there’s other fall things going on.

… I received my swap package from Allison from Knitting Nautilus.  The summer swap Amanda from Sweet Potato Claire organized.  Thank you Allison I love all the goodies I received!

DSC_0024 copy… it rained. Oh that rain, I love it.  I was waiting for it.  It is mid-October after all!

… I’m thinking we need to turn the furnace on, and let it warm the house when it needs to. It has been a little chilly, but nothing than a sweater and wool socks can’t help with.  I’m wondering if we can make it ’til the end of the month.  We shall see.

… my mom sent me this picture of this weaving she made for their lake house.  I love the colors.  So warm and bright and beautiful.  I love it!


Photo taken by my mom.

… we met with our most favorite three year old and his parents few times.

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… this little guy and my kids spent a lot of time playing outside and raking leaves.  Fall playing for sure.  They are all loving their cousin time together.

… we spent few hours re-packaging food for families in need at the Oregon Food Bank.  I’m hoping we can go there more often.  It is a fun volunteer job for us to do together.

Photo taken by Angela (Thanks!)

Photo taken by Angela (Thanks!)

… I heard lots of geese flying over our house.  They are going south, I am sure.  The weather though much warmer than I ever remember being at this time of the year, it is changing, and they heading to their new home to keep warm.

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… Siena and I have been making new things for the holiday fairs coming up.  We are excited thinking what would be fun to make for this year.

… found this video.  I like it.

… I set out our autumn decorations.  I just wish I would put them all together in one box, come winter, each year.  I’m always scrambling, re-shuffling, figuring out where I’ve placed them, the precious year.

… I found this picture on Pinterest and I think I want one.


From Pinterest.

I usually don’t have five people drinking tea with me, but wouldn’t it be cool to pour with it?  I think it almost looks like something from Harry Potter.

… I grabbed few sunflowers to enjoy in the house.  I imagine they will be the last ones for a while.

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… I felt lucky to have such a beautiful family.  I do feel that way often, but there are times, days that it seems even more special, more so.  Maybe it’s the spending more time together, getting inside more, less running on our own ways that summer brings… I love it too.  Just right now I am feeling very lucky to have these people living with me, feeling lucky to be together.

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this week in my kitchen :: blog hop

Following Heather’s blog hop (from Beauty That Moves) I share here with you what happened in our kitchen this past week.

“A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home.”       — Heather

DSC_0022 copyHome made bread.  A great perk of autumn and cooler weather.

DSC_0023 copy DSC_0024 copyOn one day we had some special people coming for dinner, I made this new recipe.  I found it on the weekly advertisement of New Seasons Market (our local store) and decided to go for it.  I usually don’t make fancy, complicated-looking meals.  I guess I’m more straight forward, cook in a pot or pan and let’s gather to eat.  But in their picture it looked just so pretty all that quinoa in the cute pumpkins.  So I decided to make it.  Here’s the recipeDSC_0028 copy DSC_0063 copyJust out of the oven (after 2 hours.)

DSC_0085 copyWe paired it with Potato-Leek soup.  Oh, it was so good.  We all liked it.

DSC_0086 copyEven the super hero at our table tried everything.  Even with his new cape made by his girl-cousin, I think this meal just made him stronger.

DSC_0088 copyA fun and delicious autumn meal with those we love.

DSC_0209 copy DSC_0089 copyPotato-Leek soup.  I love it!

DSC_0094 copyAnd had some pretty popcorn as well.  Look at all those colors…

DSC_0096 copyIt was that good too. I thought.   I mixed it with some kale I roasted in the oven.  It was really good.  But I think if you’ve been visiting here for any amount of time, well, you already knew I love popcorn.

Please do go check Heather’s blog for some meal inspiration.  It has been great gathering all of us there.  So much food goodness.  You should go check it out if you are wanting to see some delicious photos and get inspired for today’s dinner.

Posted in autumn, family, Food, home, Recipes, right now | 8 Comments

the warm up

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Last week we went to Siena’s first swim meet of the year.  It was not far from Portland, but we decided to make it a weekend and a little vacation out of it, and I am glad we did, because it was a lot of fun.

DSC_0082 copyHer warm up is always so early.  I wonder why swimmers gather so early.  I think I’m going to have to get used to this.  I don’t know how though…  DSC_0095 copyBut we were there of course.  Coffee, tea and milk in hand.  Ready.

DSC_0083 copyI moved to the timer’s chairs before the races started, so I could take some close up photos of her swimming during warm ups.  DSC_0090 copy DSC_0094 copy DSC_0099 copy DSC_0105 copy DSC_0106 copy

She was nervous.  I think because we were gone in the summer and I think she felt she hadn’t practiced for as long as she wanted to for it.   But as always, we talked to her, asking about her worries, and making sure she knew we were there for her, to have fun, not for her race or her place in a race or her times.  We are having fun with her, as she’s swimming, as she’s getting ready, and diving off the board, we get excited for her.  We are there for her every minute of it.   To have fun.  No matter what happens.

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We are there to enjoy her improvements, as well as have a shoulder, or a hug for her for the disappointments. We are with her.  We don’t have our own agenda.  I don’t have her times memorized though we  write them down for her.  She likes to see her improvements and she likes to have them as goals.  That is all good, and it’s fun, as long as they are still her own needs.  We are excited for her every single time.  I am happy when she’s happy swimming.  We love being with her.

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Chester Cathedral, Cheshire in England

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After traveling to 2,000 years ago, we stopped for lunch (yes, fish and chips) and then across the street and back in time, to the year 660 AD, to visit the Chester CathedralDSC_0075 copy DSC_0078 copy DSC_0079 copy DSC_0076 copyChester Cathedral.

DSC_0081 copy DSC_0082 copyWalking around was amazing.

DSC_0085 copyThe stained windows.  DSC_0088 copyThe walls.  The floors.  The stones. DSC_0095 copyThe glass.  DSC_0096 copyThe wood.  DSC_0100 copy DSC_0097 copySo beautiful. DSC_0103 copy DSC_0104 copy DSC_0101 copy DSC_0102 copy DSC_0107 copy DSC_0110 copy DSC_0111 copy DSC_0112 copy DSC_0113 copy DSC_0105 copyThe marble.  DSC_0116 copy DSC_0117 copyThe mosaic.  DSC_0119 copy DSC_0122 copyThe space.  DSC_0129 copyStained glass windows from 1992.  You can see their much modern design.  but still, amazing work.DSC_0139 copy DSC_0131 copy DSC_0143 copy DSC_0146 copy DSC_0144 copy DSC_0136 copy DSC_0153 copySaint Mark Evangelist.  Saint Catherine of Siena. DSC_0154 copySaint Monica.  DSC_0147 copy DSC_0148 copy DSC_0152 copy DSC_0086 copy

A beautiful place indeed.

Posted in England, history + geography, homeschooling, Summer, travels | 1 Comment

Chester, Cheshire in England : Part 3 : the Roman Village

There is remnants everywhere, and I am sure we didn’t notice it all.

DSC_0019 copyHistorians, guides, teachers, students, always someone sharing something new, stories from thousands of years ago.

DSC_0031 copy DSC_0034 copyWalking through walls built so long ago that is hard to even imagine.

DSC_0039 copyUp through some stairs, to these Rows.

DSC_0052 copyDSC_0043 copyCovered walkways in the main streets of Chester, are in the first floors where there are stores as well.  DSC_0041 copy DSC_0044 copyOverlooking the street.

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DSC_0026 copyEastgate and the Eastgate clock in Chester, is the original entrance to the old Roman fortress Deva Victrix, formed in the year 74 AD.

DSC_0167 copy DSC_0169 copyChester City Walls built to protect the city of Chester, started by the Romans, made out of sandstone. DSC_0172 copyChester Castle from far away.  For another visit, it will have to be.

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Continuing history with the Romans : Gladiators

DSC_0993 copy DSC_0995 copyAt the end of our Roman Soldier tour, we ended at a Roman Amphitheater.  These were used for shows with gladiators and wild animals fighting in front of thousands of people, cheering, enjoying their time while men fought for their lives.  Not my kind if entertainment, I guess.  I’m glad I didn’t live in Ancient Rome.DSC_0998 copyBut we got to meet someone special.  Brian, the best tour guide we could have asked for.  A modern Roman soldier with a PhD in Greco-Roman studies.  He knew so much and shared his knowledge in such an entertaining and easy way for all of us, of all ages, to understand and keep involved for an hour and half.  DSC_0992 copy

This is part of the stone Roman Amphitheater in Chester dating from the first century, that was discovered in 1929 when they were digging for a new construction.  They later realized there is more under earth, under new buildings, still being used.  So, only part of it is showing and displayed for all of us to enjoy and learn from.

DSC_1002 copyYou can see there below (where those people are walking around) is where the gladiators fought.  Yes… oh my goodness, 2,000 years ago, this is where they stood, fought, got injured, and died in front of a large audience.   Can’t even think of it as a show, or entertainment, but it was in the year 100 BC.  Crazy!

DSC_1006 copy DSC_1007 copyOur birthday girl is being taken to the front of the audience (us) to see how she did as a gladiatrixDSC_1012 copyWhere the seats were.

DSC_0002 copyAmphitheater walls. 

DSC_0004 copyAn entrance to the middle of the amphitheater.  I could almost see the gladiators coming in… 

DSC_0016 copy DSC_0015 copy DSC_0001 copyIt felt funny going to the middle of the amphitheater… I imagine not as large as it actually was 2,000 years ago, and of course, no lions or crocodiles or tigers chasing me, but it felt intense.  I wonder what it would have been like with the noise and the people cheering…DSC_0017 copyA replica altar to Nemesis.  DSC_0009 copySiena’s jumping as part of her swimming team’s practice.  DSC_0012 copyWe survived! Something to celebrate.  And I guess if we were back in time, a couple thousand years, we would be like today’s actors… and for sure not wearing shorts and a t-shirt and tennis shoes.  But probably happy to have survived.

DSC_0007 copyThis amazing 2,000 year old Roman Amphitheater, where gladiators and gladiatrix (not sure of the plural) fought for their lives, maybe there were lions and crocodiles in these sands, now just few feet away there is a Travelodge hotel.  Seriously!  My head hurts just thinking of the normality of this place.  Of all these amazing, historical places we were lucky to have seen this past summer.

What is it 2,000 years ago? One thousand seems modern at times.  Now, I am rethinking if our 100 year old home (in the Pacific NW of the US) is actually historic… I guess it is all in perspective, right?  But even for the US, a new-ish country, 40 presidents and few hundreds years of history is just a brief moment in our world’s history.

DSC_1010 copyThank you Ros for a wonderful birthday present idea.  We had such a great time.  And as we study Ancient Rome these days, we go back to these pictures and remember the details and the stories we heard.  Because, yes, our great Roman Soldier convinced our gladiatrix that Ancient Rome should be the first thing we study this fall.   DSC_1011 copy

Phew, she’s saved.  But I guess I already gave it away with more recent pictures in the blog.  Still, we were a little worried there for few minutes.

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