Some nice things

I like autumn. It’s not so hot, there are pretty colors everywhere, and the change of season brings all sorts of nice things like warm slippers and hot drinks, nice decorations and good smelling candles, and fun kids’ crafts…

I changed up the decoration on my buffet and put 3 cute little pumpkins on it, and they just make me happy with their cuteness.

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Earlier this month we made some coconut and orange zest shortbread, which tasted just lovely, and was fun to make with the kids.

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The shortbread goes quite nicely with a cup of pumpkin spice latte. (Make a cup of strong coffee, blend it with a cup of milk, a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree and about half a teaspoon of cinnamon, with a dash of nutmeg.)

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Another nice thing around here is that there is only one alien left among us, yours truly. The girls got their US passports in the mail and now officially have dual citizenship.

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Recently I realized that with the colder weather Laurelin will need her duvet out, which I then realized I didn’t have a cover for. So I rummaged in my fabric stash and combined 3 fabrics and some ribbon that were all actually intended for other projects in my mind, but combined perfectly to make this cute cover.

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Marica the entrepreneur

When Marica was 4, I got a fancy new camera as a very generous gift. Marica then got our old camera, which was a little point and shoot that was on its way out but still in good condition. Unfortunately it got dropped a few times too many and gave up the ghost. Ever since then, Marica has been hoping and saving for a camera. But you know, you have to do a lot of extra jobs to make money around here, and that’s just not nearly as cool (or profitable!) as having a lemonade stand!

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We live on the same block as a big school. Another block away there’s a charter school, and two blocks in the other direction there is a big day care center. (Yes, people think we are crazy when they find out that we homeschool!) Suffice to say, we get a lot of foot traffic  past our house for about half an hour after school gets out.

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Marica got pretty excited about the idea of having a lemonade stand, so we said that if she bought the lemons and cups, I’ll help her with it. Well, the first day we had our stand, the lemonade sold out within 10 minutes! The second time we sold iced tea as well. We made more lemonade which all sold out and most of the iced tea went too. The third time we made lemonade, iced tea and we sold chocolate chip cookies! With those 3 stands she made about $70! Seeing that we told her we’d for pay half of the camera she and Ben picked out after researching online which went for $110, she had more than enough! The camera has now been ordered, and its arrival will be cause for great rejoicing. :-)

A prize-winning photo!

With such a sensationalist title, you’d think this is something really special, right? Well, not quite! TripAdvisor (where Ben works) had this internal competition over the summer where you could send in a photo with a TripAdvisor fridge magnet on your vehicle, and every week they picked a winner.

One night, we organised a date night and went and took some photos.  After that we had a fantastic Mexican dinner and got to witness a spectacular lightning storm from our cozy seats inside the restaurant.

Here is our prize-winning entry. Ta-daaa!

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Oh, you’re probably wondering what we won. No, not a holiday… I wish! A big bag full of useful (and less useful) goodies with TripAdvisor emblazoned on them all. :-)

Love poem to New York

New York…

Your name invoked images, awe, presumptions
of ghetto, gangster, glamour, glitz.
Yet many will be surprised to know
I found in you much goodness and grace
just as ingrained
as the grit and grime.

I arrived in your muggy embrace on a stifling night in May,
and as I gradually acquainted myself with your form,
you grieved me.
Now, two years later,
I am grieved once more.
But the grief is different this time, my unexpected love.

“New York grows on you like a fungus”
says Anna.
I do believe she’s right.
Can a fungus grow in the heart?
Your roots burrow deep in mine.

You have taught me much about life —
I walk past faces hard as flint
inside them live eyes that have long forgotten how forgiveness feels
I walk over petrified gum ground into the pavement
I walk around the smelly legless homeless man
(do I ignore him this time, or do I smile?)
It’s physical and spiritual, this grit and grime,
But it makes grace more glorious.

Beauty lives in you too, City of Contrasts,
Your skyline’s famous fingerprint
Your proud bridges
Your art — you collect and inspire —
Your playground sprinklers tickling children
Your sprawling parks
Your wide harbor with the proud green Lady
Your beaches
Your Christmas lights
Your people.

African, American, Asian,
Hasid, Hipster, Hispanic (too many more to count)
Is there a place, religion or philosophy not represented here?
We all live side by side
on top of each other.
I’m pleasantly surprised by the peace
as I sit in the evening cool
on my Brooklyn stoop steps.

I am Lot’s wife,
One last look at this Sodom
that has been my home.
But you are not completely Sodom
because in you I have found many
who are righteous
who call on Him who washes us clean
like the summer rains your streets.

I know some of them
and I love them fiercely.
They are your roots burrowing in my heart.
They are what made you my home.