Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cooking Fun

What a fun day! Can't you see the excitement in their faces?


This is my new haircut. It is growing on me.


Anna is learning to dance through an online dance site. She would have

done this all day if I let her.


Julia made a triple batch of cookies last week. One batch went in the freezer for us to take to Ukraine-- the other two batches were for eating. My instructions-- hands off the cookies in the freezer. John was the first to sneak-- Adam was the last. One of his siblings snitched on him-- half the cookies were gone by then. I was not happy. My solution was for him to bake more.

So he did.


I made Russian Coltyetes. Annalyn's exact words, "This meat is the best in the world!"


We had so much fun making them today.


Annalyn crushed corn flakes and Sveta mixed up the meat.


Rachel grated the potatoes.

I coated the meat patties.


Galina formed the patties.


I fried them up.


They turned out delicious. I'll share the recipe when I get back.


Julia wanted to play pirate.


Rachel was just being goofy!

Sometimes it can be so much fun cooking in the kitchen!


Julia shoving a donut in Galina's mouth.


Does this at all remind you from a pose in Napoleon Dynamite?



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Wash

I slept well last night. Peaceful. I didn't get up once to go to the bathroom. That's a first for me. Finally woke up to knocking on the door. John was on Skype and wanted to connect before he headed off to bed. It was nice talking with my other half... I sure miss him. It s wonderful to hear that the kids are doing great. I miss them too.
Anyway, we had some sort of hot cereal with raisins and a scoop of ice-cream in it in place of milk. Though you could not tell by how much was left in our bowls-- we thoroughly enjoyed it. David was able to find a neighbor that would give us some milk and Sasha walked over with a big empty jar. Dare I drink unpasturized milk? I think I will boil it first just to be on the safe side. I am not too concerned with getting sick or else everyone else would get sick too, but the thought is what gets me... not enough time to grow on me. Yet.
Sasha decided to wash his clothes today. There are at least two washing machines that I know of here that work, but Sasha filled a wash basin. Old habits are hard to break... and perhaps he doesn't feel comfortable asking to use one of the machines. Either way my motherly instincts kicked in and I sat down and washed his clothes for him. It was very therapeutic... and made me think. I encourage you to try washing a few pieces of clothing by hand the old fashioned way... if nothing else it will get you to appreciate your washing machine a little bit more.
The guest cabin we are staying in is built up against a hill. One wall is all rock... keeps the cabin nice and cool. However, the water runs down the side of the hill and causes moisture to seep into the cabin through the rock. If that happened back home I would not be so calm... and yet it is what it is. Today the construction workers are out digging dirt away from the house. Shirts off, no protective goggles, working in flip flops... interesting.
We are surrounded by nature. I just knocked down all the cob webs in and around the bathroom and yet I am still never alone when I am in there. Always a moth or two... and a beetle of some sort crawling up the wall. The men's side is blessed with a green tree frog in the shower... no bugs for them. Speaking of shower-- I had David explain what a four minute shower is. At first Sasha said that he should just go bathe in the river then because he could not shower in four minutes. But when I explained that hot water is money and more water doesn't make you cleaner... Sasha appeared about five minutes later drying his hair... proud that he showered in only four minutes. It may sound strange... but Sasha craves for a mother and father-- I can tell. Sasha treats Julia and I like we are his family. Likewise, it is hard to not feel like he is a part of the family.
In the late afternoon we are going to walk around the village. Hopefully it will be cooler then. Thankfully it is not as humid as it was yesterday.
I leave you with words of wisdom according to Sasha. Eating three walnuts is good for you. Eating more than that and it all goes down the toilet. This only applies to walnuts-- not the hazelnuts he cracks open with his teeth and eats by the handfuls. Go figure.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shorter Than Expected

What three handsome boys! John took this picture of them just as I called out to them to look my way.

We cut up a bunch of old, stained t-shirts and tied the strips together.

Julia crocheted them into a big rug! It looks so cool!

Thank you to all who donated things to take to Ukraine. Kim Bedzyk, Kimberley McCollum, and Amy Eubanks-- your gift bags will be such a blessing to all the kids! I got carried away with donations myself and before I knew it, I had more stuff than I knew we could carry. Sadly, I had to condense four huge bags down into three--- oh well still 80% is still donations. So thank you again for making it possible!


Julia wanted to buy donuts for everyone for breakfast this morning so Adam took her. He dropped her and the donuts off because he realized that he didn't have his wallet. I quickly called the donut shop-- they had his wallet. Thankfully.

I think he learned his lesson-- one all of us have to learn on our own. Still Julia teased him later on our way to the pool.

"Adam, do you have your card?" She asked because we need a magnetic striped card to get into the pool area. "Better yet, do you have your wallet?"

Ha ha.

Speaking of things that make you go ha-ha-ha, I got a haircut. I wanted just a trim off the back and asked one of my girls if they would do it. By the end of my first haircut, 2 inches was gone on one side and almost 3 inches was gone from the other. I so wanted to cry-- but it is only hair. It is only hair. It was a group effort to get it straightened out, but I am sporting a new do!

Ha-ha!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Beach

It was a beautiful day to go to the beach.  No sharks, but despite sunscreen we all got sun kissed.
John so enjoyed boogie boarding with the kids.  He was like one big kid himself!
Caleb stayed true to his word-- not even one toe touched the water. 
It was fun digging in the sand. The boys found this jumping sand crab that was really cool.  I showed Jonny how easy it was to dig for sand crabs and find one virtually every time.  The key is to dig in the sand as soon as a wave recedes.
John and I
Paul loved the ocean!  Now that this was his third time and he knew what to expect he was all smiles!
Alex pretty much sat here and played in the sand the whole time-- I'll tell you why in a minute.
For lunch we had PB and J sandwiches with juice, granola bars, and corn nuts.

The girls ruled the water!  Galina, Julia, Sveta, and Annalyn jumped waves for hours!  Poor Galina got a pounding-- a few times she came out crying because the waves had knocked her down but with determination she went right back in.  They had a blast!
Alex kept getting to close to the water.  Since he often didn't hear us telling him to back away we all took turns physically moving him away from the water.  Still.... in an instance he went into the water up to his calves and a wave came and as it retreated back into the ocean it took one of his crutches with it.
I was not happy.  John walked the shallow part of the water following the current but he never did find it.  The upset irrational side of me wanted Alex to be in a timeout for the rest of the day-- afterall he hadn't listened, he compromised his safety in the process, and replacing crutches is expensive when insurance won't pay for another pair-- but as he inched his way on his bottom back to the water, I softened.  It was hard to stay mad.  I let it go, and everyone including him and I ended up having a great time at the beach.
As the tide was coming in, a wave came in and brought a gush of  water a few inches deep.  We didn't notice it because we were packing up.  All of our stuff got wet, John's cell phone is toast.
Definitely a trip we won't soon forget.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Move Over Owls!

Move over owls--- the frogs are here!  We leave in one week-- please consider partnering with us for Ukraine as you bid on this one of a kind tote bag great for books, diapers, or even a purse!  The detail is great and much work went into this bag, as God shows us that he pays great detail to our lives.  Besides... I now enjoy this new found craft of mine-- I didn't at first.  Amazing how God works on us like that.  The bidding will start at $30-- and will end on Friday, July 8th at noon!  Sorry but I can only mail in the US.

Thank you ahead of time!

Congratulations!

The raffle is over! Congrats to Talley Images, Leah Wentzel, and Judith Martin! Thank you so much for your show of support! Please email which item you would like me to send you from the raffle!

Monday, July 4, 2011

An Unforgettable Family Outing and Another Owl Bag

Yea! Jen from Texas was the highest bidder on this pink owl bag! Thank you so much for your contribution. Please email me your address.

Onto the next bag that I finished late last night. Here is a bright turquoise and green owl bag! Just like with the other owl bag, the bidding starts at $30 and all money will go towards the love offering for River of Joy. Please spread the word. The bidding ends at noon PST on July 6th! I can't mail outside of the US- I'm sorry. Thank you ahead of time! The first camp at River of Joy ended a few days ago-- it went very well! New believers-- praise the Lord! That is what it is all about!


I read in a magazine that Orange County has a park with a giant orange hot air balloon that people can ride for free! Free--- is right up our alley-- throw in dinner and you have a great family outing! Or so I thought.

As we drove through the park, John and I thought it looked empty-- perhaps the park was closed Fourth of July weekend. Nope! But it certainly wasn't packed. We were early and it never crossed our mind that we wouldn't be able to ride the balloon. But we were wrong. Too bad we didn't know that registration starts an hour and a half before the first launch and that though the balloon holds 30 at a time-- that is only the case under perfect conditions. We stuck around to watch the first launch-- with 11 people aboard. I was bummed.

But... we did ride the free carousel. As it began to go round, Paul was immediately concerned because his horse didn't go up and down. His brothers horses went up and down-- how come his didn't? We decided to ride the carousel a few more times so Paul would get the full experience!

Now he is happy!

Alex had a blast! No tears like last year!

Dennis loved it too! I guess all I have is big boys now!
The girls had fun too!



Jonny and Andrew liked that there wasn't just horses to ride on but zebras and mermaids and lions too!

On the way home, we stopped at one In and Out burger place. It was mainly a drive thru and it was hard to feel welcome in the restaurant when maximum capacity was 14. As I stood in line I noticed that the soda machine was behind the counter and there was no ketchup dispenser-- "John let's go to a different In and Out." Yes we got back in the car. We found another one on the the way home but it had only a walk up window. A true In and Out I guess! Anyway, we finally went to the In and Out that was close to John's work and has a huge sit down area inside the restaurant. I had taken everyone's order before hand and was amazed at how well they accommodated our order. I asked for an extra cup to split Dennis and Alex's shake and they said they could split it for us. I asked for a plastic knife to cut their burger in half and they said they can do that too! Who knew! I was impressed. You want to know the coolest thing? We ran into people we knew! What a small world after all!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Family and Friends

Here are pictures from the previous weekend when we traveled up north to visit family and attend a wedding reception.

John got this picture of all the kids while I was busy visiting away with old friends.

As a Mom-- I yearn to see more of this.

Alex was so happy that day!

My long time friend, role model, mentor--- Grandma Marge. Oh how I love her.

Adam was asked to join an impromptu jam session.

Remember my little ol' Grandpa? Well he is still alive and well. My Mom brought him over to visit with us.

All of the kids got to meet my Grandpa-- their Great Grandpa. It is quite an accomplishment since three of them never got to meet my Dad.