Saturday, November 20, 2010

A little Beethoven and a little Bach!

Ethan - Minuet in G Major from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach........C. Petzold

Mac - Sonatina in G Major, Anh.5............................L. van Beethoven

Mac - Haunted Mansion..........M.Kutnowksi

Today completed our whirlwind week of concerts! In the past week we've had 4 orchestra concerts and 1 piano recital, not to mention all the practicing, lessons, homework, and Mac's birthday that some how managed to fit into the week as well. Needless to say, the kids were real troopers and hardly complained that there wasn't time for much else. There were a lot of late nights, and time spent in the car driving to the out-of-town venues, but somehow we all made it through. Bravo to the boys for their hard work and dedication!! Now it's time to relax and celebrate the week's accomplishments with a little Harry Potter!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Veterans Day Assembly

These videos are small excerpts from the Veterans Day assembly at Mac's school. The assembly was quite impressive. In addition to the eloquent guest speaker, a retired marine, there were also performances by the BHS North choir, the middle school band, and orchestra, as well as a vocal solo and trumpet solo. It was a lovely way to honor the men and women who have served in our nation's military, both past and present.

Of  the patriotic pieces that the orchestra played,  Mac asked me to post the pieces, Marines' Hymn, Caisson Song, and Fields of Glory. I also chose to post the piece America the Beautiful followed by God Bless America, because it includes a beautiful cello solo of Mac's friend, Gabe.

However, I am disappointed in the quality of the video and am sure that it has to do with my poor video recording skills. I am still learning how to use the camera correctly. It was a generous hand-me-down from my sister that came without the user manual. I wanted to share the video anyway so that the grandparents could get a small glimpse of Mac's concerts since they haven't been able to attend one yet.  It is hard to spot Mac but he is sitting first chair violin, to the left of the conductor. Also keep in mind that this is in the school gym, during an assembly so the setting and acoustics are not ideal.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Baking in October

It has also become a tradition to do Christmas cookie baking while we’re in Arizona over fall break. This year Mom, Kelly, and I had help from Madelyn who enjoyed sampling the cookies and licking the spoons as much as she did helping us decorate the cookies. 

 Yum! Caramel!

A few years ago Mom made all of us matching aprons, and each year mine gets packed in my suitcase to wear for our baking day. Mom always does a lot of prep work ahead of time in order for us to be able to make all of our favorite recipes in just one day. This year we made, chocolate chip, ginger snaps, spritz, almond butter balls, chocolate-caramel cookies rolled in nuts, cutout cookies, my grandma’s frosted molasses cookies, peanut butter kiss cookies, lemon bars, mounds bars, peanut bars, and chocolate-caramel-almond bars.
 Grandma and Madelyn
 Madelyn and her Mom

I have to bring an extra suitcase in order to bring all the containers of cookies home.I also place bubble wrap in the containers to keep the cookies from breaking while being transported on the airplane. Once we get home, into the freezer they go. It’s so nice to have a stash of cookies to pull out for our holiday guests.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Carving with Cousins

After a fun day at the farm we went back to my sister’s house so the kids to could get together with their other cousins, Owen and Olivia, to carve pumpkins.

Auntie Kelly treated all the kids to some matching Paul Frank pjs. The kids had dinner, got showered and put on their new pjs just in time for Owen and Olivia to show up with their pumpkins.

First the kids picked out patterns from books that they wanted to carve. Madelyn chose an owl, Ethan a werewolf, Owen a spider web, Olivia an owl, and Mac chose a bat.

It took a little while to tape the patterns and trace them on to the pumpkins. Uncle Chris and Uncle Rick helped the kids trace and carve, some designs were more intricate than others and they took longer, but everyone finally finished after about an hour and a half, and the pumpkins turned out great!

 When the pumpkin carving was finished, we got the kids together to take a picture of everyone in their matching pajamas.
They had a little trouble getting lined up on  the floor, but eventually we got a them all to cooperate for the camera!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Schnepf Farms

 It has become a yearly tradition to spend fall break with family in Arizona. Since Halloween fell on a Sunday this year, and the kids weren't going to be able to trick-or-treat with their cousins, we decided to take the kids to a pumpkin patch. My sister found Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, Arizona which turned out to be much more than just a pumpkin patch.
The kids had a great time at the farm. As per Madelyn's request our first stop was the petting zoo.  The pygmy goats were a big hit. The kids could enter the pen via a slide, and the goats even had their own ladder and goat walk that was high above the ground.

After the petting zoo the kids watched some pig races, and Madelyn took a pony ride. The kids also enjoyed the amusement park rides, including riding on a vintage carousel built in 1912. The highlight for Madelyn, and the boys too, was the mini roller coaster.  Madelyn got off saying she wanted to ride two more times. When she got of the roller coaster for the second time she asked to ride it just three more times. We finally diverted her attention away from the coaster by promising her lemonade. The kids also enjoyed riding pedal cars and walking through the corn maze. 

 Pig races
 pedal cars
 roller coaster

We all had a fun day at the farm despite the high temperature of almost 100 degrees.  On the way out of the farm Uncle Chris let the kids pick a pumpkin to bring home for carving. Madelyn had a difficult time choosing which one she wanted, after all there were so many to choose from. She finally found the perfect one that was just her size.