Making :: a swimming quilt

For Siena’s birthday this year, I made a new quilt for her.  I know I had made her one last year with the fabrics from clothes of hers growing up.  But I found this fabric with swimmers and I liked it.  It was a fabric I had been looking for for a while… not the summer-flip-flop-beach-Hawaii-type swimming fabrics that I was able to find in few places.  I was looking for “real” swimming, you know, stroke swimming.  And I found this cool fabric online.

So I gave it to her when we came back from our trip this summer.  But again this year, I only had finished the top part.  She knew my trick from last year.  Top of the quilt a present for her birthday and completed quilt a present for Christmas… Ha!  She was onto me this time.  So I worked hard in finishing it before her first meet, last weekend.  And she likes it a lot.

DSC_0008 copyWith the colors of her team. Red and blue.

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Water bubbles (fabric) all around.

DSC_0012 copy DSC_0013 copyAll kinds of stroke and swimmers.  She loves it.  I thought it would be a quilt we can use at the meets, to sit on.  But it has been taken to her room, on her bed instead, right away.  Too nice to use to sit on, I was told.  Not a bad change of plans I guess.  It is her gift after all!

I really liked the fabric design of the swimmers and now I am searching for more swimmer fabrics.  And of course, now I know of this store.  Oh my!

But first, I have another quilt started (that is about a year overdue), and a couple more on the plans.  Not sure I can make them happen for this year’s holidays, but it’s not like we are short on blankets or quilts around this house.  We’ll see what I can make happen.  For now, we have a happy little swimmer all curled up under her new swimming quilt.

Posted in family, Handmade, Sewing | 2 Comments

Chester, Cheshire in England : Part 1

DSC_0820 copyWelcome to Chester, on the border with Wales.DSC_0822 copy DSC_0823 copyWe parked right across the street from the Castle. DSC_0824 copyAnd across the street from the Chester Raceway.  DSC_0829 copy  DSC_0831 copy DSC_0832 copy

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Then we kept on walking.

DSC_0836 copy DSC_0837 copyThis city is right along the River Dee. DSC_0840 copy DSC_0841 copy DSC_0842 copy DSC_0843 copyDSC_0846 copyThis is the Queen’s School.  A private school for girls.DSC_0847 copy DSC_0849 copy DSC_0852 copy DSC_0857 copy

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DSC_0914 copyRight. Starbucks in England.  In a place that used to be a Roman Village. They are everywhere!  Even in these Tudor buildings.DSC_0917 copy

DSC_0919 copy DSC_0931 copyMy goodness.  The buildings.  I fell totally in love with them.

DSC_0942 copyCan you tell?

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I wonder if I moved there, I would still find these cities and buildings as gorgeous.  So wonderfully beautiful.  I am so happy we got to go.

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


Last spring was the first time Lucas has been in a baseball team that was kid pitched.  I wrote about it in the spring, when we I had to learn lots, lots more.  But now? Oh man.  My learning curve is even steeper than in the spring.  But not really about me, I think it has been Lucas the one who has learned a lot too, this fall.

He’s really enjoying his games every week, and has gotten really good at pitching… OK, I am his mom after all, but you understand.  Right?  DSC_0252 copy DSC_0254 copy DSC_0255 copy DSC_0257 copy DSC_0265 copy DSC_0266 copy DSC_0293 copy DSC_0322 copy

There is no way I can play catch with him.  Not that I was ever good at it, but I’m not the one warming up his arm before the games.

He’s awesome.  (Thank you for letting me say that.)

Posted in autumn, family, friends | 2 Comments

last week or two…

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… we celebrated with friends.

… found these pictures on Pinterest and followed the link to this chai recipe.  Autumn is meant to drink Chai.  Or is it the other way around? Is Chai meant to be drunk in Autumn?  Maybe it’s both ways.

… we grilled outside another few meals.

… had a weekend that seemed like summer days, hot and sunny and mostly spent out of doors in shorts, t-shirts and bare feet.

… I keep looking at the weather wondering if the weather will change.  It’s been such a beautiful fall so far, filled with sunshine and warmth.

… we watched a movie with friends again.  We have to before the rain comes.  We watched Chicken Run this time.  It’s been many years since Mark and I saw it.  I think we did before we had kids.

… our dear friends brought us a special delicatessen.  A jar of flavored salt from a local company in Portland.  She thought of me and my popcorn.  Isn’t it nice? I think I’ll have to keep it for a small batch of popcorn, not these 8-batch movie nights.  She might have to stop to have lunch with me one day and enjoy my popcorn with this special salt.  Yum! I can’t wait to try it.

… noticed the trees turning color.  I love to see the different oranges, yellows and reds… I love fall. I certainly do and all that makes it.

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… I cleaned and dusted the shelf in the kitchen, and the books and jars with herbs and teas.  Autumn, here we come.  We are ready for meals, teas, and all those fall season specials.

… enjoy watching this pumpkin sitting on our porch.  It is so cute.  We’ll have to keep the seeds and see if we can grow them next year.  I better not touch them just in case my brown thumb does any damage. DSC_0010 copy

… had our little nephew over for the movie night and few meals and playing.  It’s always a lot of fun to see him.  We are getting used to seeing him few times a week and living in the same city.  We love it!  We totally love it.  There’s quite a few years or cousin-ness and aunt-ness we need to catch up with! I feel lucky.

… found this list of the Top 50 Cities to Visit.  I wonder if I should print it out.

… Lucas started with swimming as well.  He’s excited and it seems that he’s gotten a lot better since last spring.  He looks so tiny in that pool, and then so big at the same time.

… on our way back from dropping Lucas off, Siena  and I rode our bikes in the bike trail by the river, and as we were admiring the beautiful and quiet morning, and how low the river is right now, we saw two foxes in the island just few yards away.  It is far enough but close enough to have seen them.  What a way to start our day.  This is only the second time in my days here in Oregon (in 20 years) that I’ve seen foxes.  So beautiful.

… Went to the Greek Festival again this year.  We went last year and knew we were going for the foods.  Yup! Delicious lunch and snack indeed.  And I can’t believe I didn’t take my camera… we just went to have lunch I guess.

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… Siena had an extra swim practice and we are looking forward to her first meet of the season coming up.

… we ate a delicious dinner made by Mark on Saturday.  I should have taken a picture but I didn’t.  It was so good I completely forgot and we enjoyed.  We usually don’t eat red meat, but this steak was so good.

… I finished Siena’s birthday present quilt.  I’ll share more later.

… autumn seemed to have regressed and turned into summer for few days.  But the cooler temperatures in the evening give it away and are much welcomed.

… I sewed a little, but not much.  I need to get on a rhythm again.  It’s been hard to get used the routine this fall.  Lots of changes in our lives, I think.

… I organized my idea folders and loose papers.  It’s like my hands on Pinterest that really needed help.

… the autumn colors are arriving home.

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Posted in autumn, family, friends, right now | 4 Comments

Continuing history, our tour with a Roman Solider

DSC_0902 copySo we continued our tour with this Roman Soldier (from Chicago), Brian.

DSC_0951 copy DSC_0953 copyWe should have gone inside.  Next time we visit Chester. DSC_0958 copyWe saw q few school groups doing the tour with a Roman Soldier.  What an amazing way to learn history, your own history, right in your own back yard.  DSC_0960 copy DSC_0961 copy DSC_0962 copy DSC_0966 copy DSC_0968 copy DSC_0969 copy DSC_0970 copy DSC_0971 copy DSC_0974 copy DSC_0980 copy DSC_0975 copy DSC_0983 copyThis is what amazes me. Built between the year 74 AD and 96 AD.  I can’t even imagine what it was 1,940 years ago. Really?  I’m touching, walking, and seeing remnants of buildings (structures) that are 1,940 years old and the actual Romans built them and lived here?  Astonishing!

I hace one more set of pictures that I will share next week.  We just had so much fun.  Thank you Brian for a wonderful tour.  We learned so much and had a lot of fun.

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

A Roman soldier in a Roman village

Yup! We went on a tour in Chester, of what once used to be a Roman village in this city.

DSC_0861 copy DSC_0863 copyThat’s the map of what the village used to be like.

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DSC_0866 copy DSC_0869 copyWe followed our Roman Soldier guide through this arch, into about 2,000 years ago.  DSC_0870 copy

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DSC_0872 copyRight to the “Heart of the Fortress”.  DSC_0875 copy DSC_0877 copyStill remnants and specimens from old time ago, behind these windows.

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DSC_0909 copyLook at these Roman standards.  Flags, banners, symbols of Roman honor and protected carefully.

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DSC_0880 copyRoman coins.  DSC_0882 copy

Right behind where we were standing, the Forum and Market.  As we are studying now, Ancient Rome, it makes it easier to understand what we saw.  I wonder if we would have understood more of our tour if we would have studied Ancient Rome before we went on our trip to England, and to see this city remains.  I bet we would have.  But it is actually because of this tour, the kids decided to study Ancient Rome now.  And it makes it fun to remember back to our guide and what we learned this day, making our studies now, a lot more fun, and much easier to have a picture in our heads, of what we are reading and studying about.  So I guess it goes both ways.   DSC_0885 copy DSC_0887 copy DSC_0895 copy DSC_0898 copy DSC_0899 copy DSC_0901 copy

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Oh my goodness.  So far, in these first 15 minutes I’ve been taken to 2,000 years ago and I can almost see it.  Standing in front of pieces from that culture (replicas and all, are great and the best way to understand, right?) I would peak to see Lucas and Siena’s faces.  They were captivated with all these stories.  I was too.

DSC_0904 copySeriously, you could see it in Siena’s face.  She, the one of us who fell in love with the Greeks when we studied Ancient Greece the most.

It was such a perfect way we did our studies last year.  We even went to the Greek Festival so we could try some of the foods and see a dance.  Then, the kids noticed we had one of the books with Greek Gods.  Yup!  That was the beginning of Percy Jackson, and we’ve fallen in love with the books and Percy Jackson himself.  And Poseidon of course, and Annabeth and Thalia and all the characters.  And there are quizzes of who’s so and so god or goddess and who is the father of who.  I know we studied it last year, but my brain for some reason didn’t retain all of the gods’ genealogy.  But I have two experts in the house.

DSC_0937 copySo when we started our Ancient Roman Village Tour, we knew he (Brian, our guide) would have to work really hard in making a good impression of the Romans to our twelve year old girl.

As we waited for everyone to arrive for the tour we chatted with him.  Our Ancient Roman Solider is from Chicago (I know… coincidence, all the way in Chester, England we meet.)  We laughed.  We told him about our Ancient Greece-loving birthday girl and what could we do to give the Romans a try.  So he told her “Can you give me this hour and half, to try to convince you about how cool the Ancient Romans were?”  Siena answers with a laugh and a big smile but still wondering, “Sure!”

DSC_0900 copyAnd so Brian began.

DSC_0911 copy DSC_0924 copyWith lots, lots of stories.  So much to share.  He know so much

DSC_0926 copy DSC_0929 copyBridge Street.

DSC_0944 copyBrian, our guide was amazing.  So knowledgable and also very easy to relate to what he was saying and be able to capture everyone’s attention.  From the youngest to the older ones we were there.  Even with the bright sudden sun shining  in our eyes, we were captivated by his stories.  So much fun.

More to come tomorrow.  It was that good.

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

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

Mark has been asking me to make more fermented sauerkraut, with purple cabbage.  So I did, because it’s really good, and it will keep in the fridge once it’s ready, and there are so many cabbages right now.  It is easy to solve this problem.  You just gotta make sauerkraut when you have cabbages. Right?

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And because it is cabbage season, coleslaw is in order too.

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And while I was chatting with my mom last week (she’s in Chile but thank goodness for technology!), it reminded me of this soup we used to eat.  And it’s perfect for cold days and it was perfect to use the shelled beans we had from the garden.  Porotos Granados.  This recipe shows the same beans we used.

DSC_0013 copyIt turned out really good we thought.  Of course, with homemade warm bread.  Similar to this recipe that I found in English but with fresh beans.

DSC_0032 copyOur shelves are looking so pretty and colorful, and are full to the edges.  So much food, I am sure we’ll enjoy in the coming winter months.  Hmmm… I can already savor the peaches come January.  I’m glad we were able to can some.

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And there has been some baking too.  Siena helped me make these muffins.  They are Maya’s recipe from MayaMade.  Buttermilk Apple Cinnamon Muffins.  And yes, we picked the strudel topping, and it was so yummy!

You should go over to Heather’s blog and see all the fabulous kitchens and their makings for some wonderful inspiration.  Every week there is so much and so good!  Happy Thursday to you and thanks for stopping by.


Posted in autumn, family, Food, right now | 4 Comments