Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Roll Call - Please Comment!

Okay, I got this idea from my sister-in-law Emily. I know people are here and looking and lurking and reading and sometimes commenting. Who are you? We want to know!

Here are some recent stats of visitors to our blog by country:

Num Perc. Country Name

27086.26%United StatesUnited States



61.92%New ZealandNew Zealand



20.64%United KingdomUnited Kingdom




10.32%Hong KongHong Kong




Here are some recent stats of visitors to our blog by state/region:

Num State/Region Country Name

125PennsylvaniaUnited StatesUnited States


45UtahUnited StatesUnited States

33CaliforniaUnited StatesUnited States

32ConnecticutUnited StatesUnited States

32New YorkUnited StatesUnited States

29TexasUnited StatesUnited States

11ColoradoUnited StatesUnited States

10KansasUnited StatesUnited States

8ArizonaUnited StatesUnited States

8New JerseyUnited StatesUnited States

7MassachusettsUnited StatesUnited States

5NebraskaUnited StatesUnited States

5AucklandNew ZealandNew Zealand

3GeorgiaUnited StatesUnited States

3WashingtonUnited StatesUnited States

3VirginiaUnited StatesUnited States

2IllinoisUnited StatesUnited States

2British ColumbiaCanadaCanada

2FloridaUnited StatesUnited States

2NevadaUnited StatesUnited States



1MinnesotaUnited StatesUnited States

1MichiganUnited StatesUnited States


1TennesseeUnited StatesUnited States

1MarylandUnited StatesUnited States

1North CarolinaUnited StatesUnited States

1IndianaUnited StatesUnited States

1New South WalesAustraliaAustralia

1Hong Kong (sar)Hong KongHong Kong

1KentuckyUnited StatesUnited States

1VermontUnited StatesUnited States


1EnglandUnited KingdomUnited Kingdom

1OklahomaUnited StatesUnited States

I know that some people find us doing Google searches (birthday cake ideas, sushi, pizza, talks for funerals, world's biggest dork, etc.), but I also know that many who visit us are friends and family, some who comment, some who don't. So, here's a chance to make yourselves known--simply comment on this post and let us know who you are! And if you've somehow found us and become a regular reader, please tell us how and who you are! I'm so curious who's reading!! Thanks! :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring Violin Recital

K really wanted me to share these videos tonight so people could see them. She had her violin recital tonight and did an excellent job (as she always does). Enjoy her wonderful performance (the cameraman botched the last five seconds or so--who is that guy?).

Apparently there is a tradition at Suzuki recitals that K's teacher did for the first time. Dr. Suzuki always had his students perform "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and all his variations at the end of each concert. Kate even got to "lead" the "Ice Cream Cone" and "Run, Pony" variations. It was a beautiful part of the recital and a very nice way to end the evening.

So what else have we been doing?

Here are some pictures and video of the new bike and gear:

Wednesday--We got more stuff done and did great family pictures and K's 8-year-old pictures (so cute!!), some with her reading books in a very cute spring dress--guess who else is up on the wall at Sears? (Yes, both K and M have pics up there!). What dolls! We took some candids in the backyard as well.

We played all afternoon at a local park enjoying our homeschool and church friends for hours! We then ate dinner at a very local, very "Dutchy" (PA Dutch) restaurant that is now quite possibly my mom's favorite restaurant here--it was pretty good, too! And inexpensive to boot! Then, I took my mom to my movies at the cute local independent theater in town and we really enjoyed Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day (such a cute film!). My mom says it's one of her favorite things she's done here. Such a cute theater and so fun to see movies there! Plus my mom has made friends with Arnaldo (a guy who works there and has struck up a friendship--he says he's going to miss her). We got home and watched Idol with Mark (What?! Carly before Syesha?! Wrong. Simply wrong.).

Thursday--I worked and my mom and Mark and the kids watched AI. Then when I got out of the clinic, the Ratcliffes were in the backyard playing and hanging out with my Mom and Mark and the kids (and the Rat boys helped lug some heavy garbage to the road for town trash pick up--10 bucks for the town pick up! Amazing!). So we hung out until the Bug people came (we're having ant issues since cutting down the trees and, as much as I loathe chemicals/pesticides/etc, we are (conservatively) making sure that they don't infest our house especially since there are Carpenter Ants around!). So, after grilling her for safety information and once she got started, we high tailed it out and delivered some Amish Friendship Bread starters and ate dinner at A&M since M loves Pizza (K's been getting her sushi, too). :P I had a nighttime appointment as well that evening.

Friday--We had a really fun homeschool art history class at the library. We've got some new families in our group that are really nice. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the class and fun art project as well. We then grabbed lunch quickly at a Mexican place in town and then got up north to visit our friend Lisa on her farm. That was REALLY nice and very relaxing!! They have over 6 beautiful acres and you can see farmland all around and even see the Appalachian Trail behind their land!! So nice. Then, that night we impulsively went out for sushi yet again. YUM!

(BTW, we've been watching gas prices steadily go up--they have gone up about 20 cents in the past 2 weeks . . . frightening!)

Saturday--My mom and the kids and I went to K's violin recital practice at our violin teacher's church and as we got out, the local Arts Council was holding one of its storytime festival activities in the lobby of the church, so we decided to stay and the kids got to participate, too! It was really fun and the guy doing it was really good! My mom really enjoyed it and laughed out loud several times (along with everyone else!).

Here is K being a golden bell

Here are K and M being members of the band!

Mark met us after finishing up with some patients and we went farm marketing and discount grocery shopping (and oh such beautiful countryside!!) and got some screaming deals!! We got hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for SO CHEAP!! (We got some boxes of pasta that are normally $1.99 for .25 and some cereal boxes for just over a dollar, oranges at 24 for $1, peppers at 10 cents each, bags of carrots for .35, 2.5 pounds of frozen flounder for less than 4 bucks, and, one of my favorites, half gallons of Breyer's ice cream for .99!). The stores are run by the Amish and Mennonites (one of them doesn't even have electricity--it's strange to shop in the light of overhead skylights but not regular electric lights). Anyway, SO SO SO cheap!! Totally worth it--we fill our pantry and fridge with lots of food and get creative with our meals--great way to save money!

We got home, had a late lunch, put groceries away, ran to the local mall to pick up some stuff and show my Mom the hutch we've ordered (or something like it anyway) and while at Boscov's we found a LOVELY tablecloth that is perfect for our big, long dining room table (we're working on fixing it up this week--it was a bargain we got at a local thrift store and Mark's sanding it and painting it, etc.)--well the tablecloth (and one for our outside picnic table since we're starting to BBQ!) was 75% off and then when we got to the register, it was an additional 25% off! Well, they were short on matching napkins (they had 1), so they called a local store and they are shipping us about 15 more (free!) at that super low price (they were $4.99 each and we're paying 90-something cents each!). Gorgeous! We're so excited to have people to dinner!

Sunday--K's recital was AWESOME and she did a beautiful job as always! Our next door neighbor's daughter (she's in her 20s) came to support K, which we all thought was very sweet. She sat with us and M flirted with her the whole time (he really likes her). Oh, K did such a good job!! Such a cutie up there with her violin and in her cute springtime dress (same as one from pictures). Mom and I got teary-eyed when they played "O Come Little Children" as that's the song K played at my Dad's funeral. They also play a beautiful "Twinkle, Twinkle" song that has a lovely violin descant that the teacher plays--gorgeous! Mark's posting video in the next post as well.

K, during her beautiful performance of Perpetual Motion!

It's blurry, but that's K recognizing her accompanist after her performance.

Group Numbers

K's turn to lead a couple of group numbers

M, enjoying drawing with our neighbor's daughter Sarah (so sweet of her to come!)

We got home and finished cleaning up and, though we've been waiting to finish our dining room to have people to dinner, had the Mechams over for dinner and had a really great time doing that! They're so great--we really love the Mechams.

Anyway, it's going to be a cooler, rainier week and so we're getting to work on more school and home and business projects! Work is really picking up at the clinic, so much so that Mark is done teaching at the college and has been doing less Google (yes, it's that busy and we're very grateful). We're so excited to show Mark's parents our house and business when they get here!!