Beautiful autumn

Autumn this year was beautiful and mild and felt like a sort of nicer continuation of summer. We were, of course, back at doing school, but we tried to enjoy the nice weather as much as we could. Here’s a bit of a summary of the last 3 months or so.

One day, I took the girls and their friend, Elijah, to a nearby park and enjoyed my camera for a change. The light was so beautiful filtering through the trees, and the trees! —  so stunning.

A couple of years ago I started hosting some girls from church for a day of cooking and learning new recipes. I hosted it in 2014, and in 2015. This year, we made Indian food. Almost all of my recipes came from my good friend, Anne, who is married to an Indian guy (hi, Henry!) and whose mother-in-law taught her how to cook Indian food. So this is the real deal! It turned out delicious as usual. May the Fall Cooking Day long continue!

Esther celebrated her 7th birthday. How time flies — here she is on her first birthday

dsc05861

And here, 6 years later. Her birthday celebrations stretched over the good part of a week with several events where there were opportunities for Happy Birthday being sung and goodies eaten.

When the weather turns colder, there’s nothing better than building a fort and eating a special morning tea in it, is there? And nothing gives you quite such cool static hair is a microfleece blanket, does it?

On the day of Esther’s birthday, she and Marica were in a CYT showcase. They had been attending this theater class for a couple of months and both loved it. Esther really surprised me by being confident, clear and loud up on stage — not a hint of being timid! I was super proud of them both.

When we go to the library, Marica usually gets a couple of cookbooks out. She decided she wanted to make a three course meal all by herself, and did a great job! We had Caprese Salad for appetizer, lamb stew with garlic bread for the main, and banana with a berry sauce for dessert. It was all delicious. Now, how to figure out to get her to cook more often…

A few random shots: a tree in front of our neighbor’s house that looks like it is on fire; Laurelin being silly in the boot — there’s something special about playing back there, apparently; Esther’s pretty masterful artwork with chalk pens on the window.

Thanksgiving in my mind sort of marks the end of autumn, and then when Advent starts it is the beginning of winter. Does anyone else think like this, or am I the only weirdo around here?

This year we hosted Uncle Sherwood and Aunt Sharon, along with cousin Jonathan and cousin Esther and her husband, Nate. It was a really nice relaxed weekend of visiting, resting, and eating. A lot. I was so glad we could spend the time with their family and get to know them all a bit better!

Quick, sticky snow

It’s been quiet on here for a while. When that happens, it usually means things around here have been a little extra busy, which it indeed has. Some of the highlights of the busyness will be following in the next few weeks, but before the warm weather completely overtakes us I wanted to share some last winter snow pictures.

This snowstorm didn’t last very long and gave us the most beautiful, sticky snow that was perfect for snowballs and snowball fights! It happened on a Friday morning and our co-op was cancelled, so my friend Nina and her kids came over and we had a mums against kids snowball fight. If I remember correctly the mums won! Lots of fun. The storm was over as quickly as it started and by lunchtime the skies were blue again, with quite a dramatic sky change — as if a big blanket was being pulled away — beautiful.

 

This winter’s first snow

I feel like I’m always putting up stuff on here that’s a month or more old. It just seems to be the rate at which I can keep up with things! A few days after we got back from New Zealand mid-January, we had the first big (and the only big, really) snow storm of the winter. We got somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 feet of snow — it was hard to get an accurate idea because it was really windy during the storm and there was a lot of drifting snow. Either way, it was a lot! Church was cancelled, and just as well because there would have been no way we could have gotten out of our driveway and down the street. We had a lot of shoveling to do, and the streets didn’t get properly plowed until the next day!

Despite the load of snow we got, and a week of really cold weather, it has actually been a pretty mild winter. There are hints of an early spring which I’m not complaining about!

A tad on the cool side

This past weekend was a little nippy. I’d say it was the coldest weather we’ve ever experienced! Most of last week the high during the day didn’t get above 0°C, and by Sunday morning we woke up to this (my phone shows temperature in Celsius):

IMG_20160214_074018

Ben and I were hoping we’d get to the sweet spot where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet (-40). It got close, but not quite. :-)

The high yesterday (Sunday) got up to -17°C. 

Screenshot_2016-02-14-12-42-29

To add a little excitement to the mix, our heating system at church stopped working after a while, so our second service was quite cool.

Earlier in the week I noticed a problem with our heating system at home, so I got someone in to fix that. The humidifier part of the system had completely packed up and was dripping water in all sorts of places it shouldn’t. Thankfully it was all fixed before this cold weekend!

I’m very glad that this kind of weather is an “event”, and not a regular occurrence where we live!

Beautiful autumn

I have a love-hate relationship with autumn. I love all the beautiful colors, the  cooler weather and the fun things the season brings like apples, cinnamon, pumpkin pie and hot chocolate. But… autumn is the start of a long cold spell that only keeps getting worse for about 5 months before it starts getting better!

But let’s focus on the positive instead and let me show off the pretty colors in our neighborhood and some cute pictures of the kids!

DSC_0376 (Large)

DSC_0382 (Large)

DSC_0381 (Large)

Ben enjoying our rope swing (it’s great for kids AND adults!)

We took a field trip to a pick-your-own farm about an hour’s drive from our home where we had loads of fun (blog post to come), and picked some apples. Some of them turned into yummy apple pie. Can’t really go wrong there!

DSC_0375 (Large)

One afternoon after church, the light on the porch was just so pretty, and when Laurelin sat down on a pumpkin and started playing with the little pumpkins, I just ran to grab my camera and snapped a few shots. This was before the squirrels started attacking our pumpkins, making them look like the apples my kids start eating and then leave lying around the house: a bunch of bite marks, but no real attempt at finishing what’s been started.

DSC_0182 (Large)

DSC_0192 (Large)

DSC_0196 (Large)

DSC_0207 (Large)

Black and white trees

I love the way leaf-less trees look so stark in black and white.

These photos were taken in Prospect Park, Brooklyn a couple of years back.

And this one in Lancaster County.

March was heralded in by a snowstorm, and it looked like this in front of our house just a couple of weeks ago:

DSC_0096

Now that it’s mid-March, we’ve had some lovely warmer days, the snow piles have mostly melted and there’s a hopeful feeling in the air, but the trees are still stark and leafless. Not for long, though!

EDIT: I wrote this post earlier this week. Today, on the first official day of spring (and my birthday, no less), we are experiencing another snowstorm. Can you believe that?! Enough with the snow, already! :-)

Beautiful snow

Last week we had another bit of snow. (That was the snow before today’s snow, and Sunday’s snow, and then the two snows before that.) It seems every time Boston gets a foot or more of snow, we get about 2 or 3 inches. And I have to admit, I don’t mind one bit (sorry, Boston!). 2 or 3 inches is quite manageable, and fun to play in. However, this particular dumping was the most beautiful snow any of us had ever seen.  Normally, snow just seems to clump together into these big lumps, but this time you could see individual snowflakes stacked up to make the piles of snow. The sun would reflect off them, and you could see all their spectacular beauty. I tried taking some photos, but was really unsuccessful. Maybe these will give you a little idea of what it was like.

DSC_0091 DSC_0079 DSC_0078
Now, if you want to learn how to take photos of snowflakes, don’t ask me how! But this guy… wow! Scroll down the page to see some incredible specimens.

Even if my snowflake photography was a bit of a major flop, playing outside in the snow with the kids was not! This snow was light, fluffy, beautiful stuff to play in, and also really good for making snowballs!

DSC_0088 DSC_0087 DSC_0083