meals overseas

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I didn’t get to take pictures of everything we ate, and I wish I would have done a little more.  Our friends cooked delicious meals, every single time.  And I’ve written a bit about that, but still… we remember with such a special heart our days spent with them, and meals were so delicious and we were thankful for everything they cooked for us, and for sharing all their early produce from their beautiful garden… it was such a treat to spend time with them.

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Handmade pasta.

We met for lunch with their friends.  We had dinner at their house with many of their friends and their sons.  What a treat it was.

DSC_0609 copySuch a beautiful, wonderful family.

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We are lucky to have them in our lives.  Thank you for your friendship and for everything.

Posted in England, Food, Summer, travels | Leave a comment

where we stayed last summer

DSC_0351 copyAt our friends house in England, this summer we got to spend over 5 weeks traveling and seeing amazing things and people.  Our friends have this barn were they made it a home for us.

DSC_482 copy DSC_0363 copy DSC_0362 copyWhat a treat it was. Such a cozy, beautiful place.

DSC_0365 copy DSC_0366 copyWe got visited by the feathery friends on their way back and forth.

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And sometimes they visited us inside too.

DSC_0130 copy DSC_0125 copyThis is the view of the road from the window.  It is so quiet and peaceful. DSC_0122 copy DSC_0120 copy DSC_0003 copyIt was having a whole house to ourselves.

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At the end of the day we got to spend some time catching up on football games (it was the World Cup weeks after all) or maybe watch an episode of an old Survivor show we took borrowed from our library.

But for the most part, we spent our time outside.  There was so much beauty and fun things to do besides hanging out with and hopefully help out our friends in some of their chores around the house and garden.

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A beautiful place indeed.


Posted in England, friends, home, Summer, travels | Leave a comment

Ironbridge, Shropshire in England

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Ironbridge, the town, takes its name from the famous first arch Iron Bridge ever built.  It says “Birth Place of Industry.”

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We took a little walk and that town, as most places we visited in England last summer, stole my heart.  Such a beautiful place, with nature and beauty all around.

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DSC_0597 copyPork skins.  You gotta eat them warm.

DSC_0598 copyPasties.

DSC_0602 copy DSC_0603 copy DSC_0604 copy DSC_0605 copy DSC_0606 copy DSC_0600 copy DSC_0601 copyYup!  We had to go back to try something else.  So, so good!


Posted in England, history + geography, Summer | Leave a comment

The organ concert at Ellesmere College

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We headed one day to Ros’s old job, the school where she taught for years, to an Organ concert.   DSC_0613 copy DSC_0630 copy DSC_0619 copy DSC_0638 copy DSC_0614 copyA beautiful organ, the sound, the sight.  Amazing.

DSC_0639 copy DSC_0641 copy DSC_0643 copy DSC_0651 copyAnd at the end to another room to listen to another newer organ.

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Now I leave you with Siena’s favorite, from Star Wars.


Posted in England, friends, Summer | Leave a comment

The Iron Bridge in England :: A World Heritage Site


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One of the last days we spent in England, our friend Mac took us to see The Iron Bridge.

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The Iron Bridge is the first arch bridge made out of a new material back then, cast iron.  It was built in 1781.

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Look at these poppies…. I love the sparkle of colors. DSC_0502 copyI love poppies.

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The Iron Bridge, was built in the year 1779.

DSC_0513 copy DSC_0517 copySevern River, the longest river in the United Kingdom.

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Intended to be an advertisement for the skills of the Coalbrookdale iron masters, and it proved a spectacular success.  Architects and engineers came from all over the world to marvel at it, and Abraham Darby (who built it) was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of Arts.  Thomas Pritchard, the architect, died before it was completed.

DSC_0541 copy DSC_0544 copyAnd people still go today to marvel at this amazing work of engineering.

DSC_0545 copy DSC_0546 copy DSC_0547 copy DSC_0552 copyA World Heritage Site.  Of course.  DSC_0553 copy DSC_0555 copy DSC_0550 copy DSC_0563 copy DSC_0558 copy DSC_0561 copy

So amazing to be standing right there, witnessing such an amazing work done almost 240 years ago.

Posted in England, history + geography, Summer | Leave a comment

Fall In Swim Meet

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This past weekend we went to Siena’s second swim meet of the season. It was in Portland, so it was easy to get to and be back home for the rest of the day.

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When Siena goes to check in, then stay in line for her heat, and then wait and warm up for her race, I am always trying to find her.  I know her race, her heat, her lane.  But still, all those kids in swimsuit and caps, seen from up above, they look a lot alike.  This picture made me laugh, because it felt she was waving at me, so I can find her.

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And then Mark. Also flagging me. Well no, not to me I guess.  It was for the head timer, he needed a new timer. But also, it made me laugh.

DSC_0004 copyBoth of them getting ready for their thing.  Mark timing a new race, Siena readying for hers.

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Her first race of the meet is 50 meter Breaststroke.  That has always been one race that causes Siena problem.  Her kick.  She does the scissor kick, and she’s been working on it.  She did 100 meter in Hood River last month, and did great.  This time it’s just 50, one turn, and that’s it.  She did great.  No disqualifications and a beautiful swim.

She does it beautifully again.  And she cuts three seconds from her last time!

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DSC_0077 copyYup! We are watching you.  We are ready.  (And we love you too!)

DSC_0078 copyHer second race of the morning is 50 meter Backstroke.  Siena is ready and excited for it, but nervous.  Last time in Hood River she did fine, but for a while it seems like she was having lots of problem with her turn.  Hard to time when to turn before you hit the wall with your head.  Maybe for me I guess.  Not for these kids swimming.  They make it seem so easy.  But I know she’s been practicing.DSC_0081 copyA beautiful race.  She arrives first in her heat.  She gets a heat winner tag to add to her backpack.  She should feel so good about that race. She did great.  Check it out.

DSC_0068 copyTimes.  I don’t know them by heart so I take a picture so we can see them and write them later.   DSC_0087 copy She talks to the coach and he tells her she’s cut 3 seconds from her last time again.

DSC_0091 copyWe are so proud of you!

DSC_0094 copy DSC_0092 copyAs in all swim meets, there is some sitting, talking, volunteering, sewing, knitting, playing, and watching of course.

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DSC_0049 copy DSC_0046 copyLots of time in between races. Enough time to hang out together with friends and get to spend time together.

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The second day.  100 meter IM, Individual Medley.  I love this race.  We get to see the kids swim all four strokes and they are so pretty in the water.

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Just 8 minutes later Siena has her second race of the day.  100 meter freestyle.  She was tired with not much time to rest.  But she was OK.  She knows she can do her best.

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DSC_0035 copyMark and the other volunteer dad timing, both watching their kids swim… and also not to forget to time the other lane!  The both girls raced neck to neck.  It was a fun one.  Siena finishes second with less than a second.  So close and so much fun.

DSC_0040 copyFriends cheering for each other.  Supporting each other.  That’s all it matters.  Having fun.

And last, she has her favorite race I think, 50 meter butterfly.  And in this race, she finishes first place in the meet and improves 2 seconds from her best time.  She’s improved so much since she started over a year ago.  Look how pretty it looks…. OK, you probably knew I’d say that, but really!  Butterfly? It’s such a hard stroke and these girls make it look like a walk in the park.

DSC_0070 copy DSC_0074 copyYes, we are so happy for you my girl.  We are so very proud.  And you should be too.

DSC_0078 copy(Thank you for showing it to me. It’s all you, you earned it!)

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She’s very excited of all she accomplished in this meet this weekend.   She can see in her new improved times, her hard work is paying off.  Going to practice 3 times a week (and wishing for more!) and always ready, every single time.  Her swim bag ready to go in the morning.  She waits for swimming all day.  Well my sweetie? Your dedication and hard work is paying off.  It always does.  But I know when she can see it like that, in specific race times, in no disqualifications,… it really helps.

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What a fun weekend it was.  Thank you my little big girl.  Thank you Coaches too!

Posted in autumn, family, locals | 1 Comment

making :: an Ancient Roman Soldier helmet

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As part of our Ancient Rome unit, we made a soldier’s helmet.  We followed the instructions from this book.

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We inflated a balloon. It was hard to guess the size of their heads to make sure it fit but not too big.  We made these twice, and still ended up having them too big for their heads, but they made it work. DSC_1005 copyWe covered the balloons with paper mache.  Instead of making the glue, we used white glue with a bit of water stirred in, to make it thiner.

DSC_1007 copy DSC_1008 copyMade it really smooth and let it dry for a day or two.

DSC_1091 copy Once dried, they popped the balloon.

DSC_1092 copy DSC_1090 copyAnd tried it on.  We cut with scissors around to make it look more like a helmet instead of a turban.

DSC_1103 copy DSC_1105 copyThen we added a plume in the center, on top.

DSC_1106 copy DSC_1107 copyAnd added a cut out paper plate for the neck cover.

DSC_2001 copyThey painted it gray (like metal helmets.)

DSC_2003 copy DSC_2005 copyAnd let it dry overnight.  The plume had to be red, of course.

DSC_2087 copyWe let it dry few hours, and then cut around the ears.

DSC_2086 copy DSC_2085 copyWe then cut a chin cover with different fabrics that I have in my stash.  Siena wanted to use a left over piece from jeans I had used for another project.  And Lucas used an acrylic leather-type piece.

DSC_2091 copy DSC_2094 copyLucas decided to add a tie.  And now they are all ready for their fighting.

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Even though we are done with our Ancient Rome unit, I think they are re-thinking and are wanting to make a shield too.  With these helmets now, a shield is a must.  We’ll see what they come up with.  But for now, these helmets were a fun project to do.

Posted in England, history + geography, homeschooling | Leave a comment