Friday, December 31, 2010

One more dawn, one more day...! and specialness of the season.

Happy New Years Eve, dear readers! :) I've been wanting to put this post up for several days now, but never had the chance. Well here it is at last!

Ah...right now I'm listening to 'One Day More', from the musical Les Miserables. No matter how many times I listen to that song, I never get tired of it. And it just seems so appropriate for today, considering we are at the brink of the New Year.

"Tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store!
One more dawn, One more day, One day mooooore!"

So triumphant. Makes me all tingly inside, thinking of all the potential possibilities 2011 may bring. This evening I spent several minutes in deep prayer, dedicating the coming year to Christ. The future is both frightening yet exciting: 2011 will mark my 20th year. Whew, how time flies! I'm looking forward to reading the Bible in a year with some friends on facebook, getting my temps (no, I don't drive! I know how...but thats another story, ;) ) and most importantly, striving for a closer relationship with my Jesus.

There are SO many highlights to look over this past for now I'll only mention a few special Christmasy things...

As you all know...I am a HUGE Andrea Bocelli fan. Possibly his biggest fan ever. ;) And I like opera. Now of course I am *extra* choosy when it comes to opera, and mostly I only like Italian. Female singers of most sorts are an especially a big no. So why do I say I like opera? lol 
Anyhow. Carmen is an opera I can tolerate, and it isn't even Italian! But that's besides the point. Anything featuring Andrea's incomparable, glorious, magnificent, stunning voice blows me away. 

Shortly before Christmas I received a package from one of my closest friends, Nicole. Boldly written  on the package were the words "do not open until Christmas". O-k. Tough as it was to wait, it was very much worth it! I was so blessed to find this precious keepsake when I *finally* opened my loot...
 Sooo lovely! I just adore the little box.

The tiny picture features me, Nicole, and our mutual friend Hannah. Love you girls!

Somehow I think this photo should have come *before* the one of the necklace (above.)  hehe Ah well. Isn't the drawer the yummiest thing ever?

An especially special part of this year was "meeting" one of my bestest friends, Flop (aka Alexandra :P )  via Blogger. Ally has been an encourager, entertainer, buddy, girly-friend, and all around blessing! Love you tons and tons, Flop!
The above pictures are pretty much self explanatory. If I'm the worlds biggest Andrea fan, I am a world-renowned, fanatic aficionado of Les Miserables. Oh, and dark chocolate. Ally knows me a little too well! ;)

I made a batch of traditional Italian Toto cookies for our *very* quiet Christmas day. My family doesn't make a huge to-do about Christmas as it is, but we do have a few special traditions. "Toto" is one of them.
Oooh...nutty,  chocolaty, not overly sweet, balanced perfectly with aromatic allspice and cinnamon. (I usually omit the cloves.) Hungry yet? ;) 

Italian Toto Cookies

3 cups flour
3/1 c. cocoa
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp allspice
1/3 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. In another bowl beat eggs. Stir eggs into creamed mixture with vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then nuts. Form into 1 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Prepare glaze. Frost cookies while still warm.
*I make the glaze mixture "wet" enough to just dip the tops of the cookies lightly. 

1 c. powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1tbsp milk

Combine sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk a little at a time until of spreading consistency. 


2011 - here I come*~


  1. I do agree men opera singers are a lot better than women! (no offense to any female opera singers out there)

    Oh,your making me hungry! You like Dark Chocolate?! I don't like dark chocolate at all!
    I guess it's just another example on how God makes everyone different! ;)

    I'll have to try that recipe out!

  2. 2010 definitely went by WAY too fast... lol!! :) But, I am excited about 2011, too. What new adventures are waiting just around the corner??
    Happy new year, by the way... ;) I hope that the Lord will pour His blessings upon you this coming year. :):)

    In Christ's Service,

  3. My, those Italian cookies look so good! I love baking cookies, and I think these will be the next ones I make. :)

  4. Happy New Year, dearest of dear Flips! How's your voice? I'm considering changing your nickname to Flip the Frog. ;-)

    I'm SO THANKFUL for our friendship! One of the BIGGEST highlights of 2010 for me!

    As for know better than to bring this up with me. He's amazing, yes, but not completely totally amazing. Sooo we'll just agree to disagree. :-P

    OH! And funny you used THAT song on your title...the boys and I were singing it yesterday all day long...since it was New Year's Eve. :-)

    Love you!!!! ~Flop

  5. Wow...I always thought I was a big fan of Les Miserables...but I can tell based on reading stuff from your blog, you are definitely a bigger fan than I am. I have yet to see it, I've only ever listened to the music. It is one of my dreams to one day see it performed.

    Anyways, I enjoy reading your blog, and those cookies look delicious!

  6. @ Jason - Great to meet a fellow Les Miz fan - and exciting to find someone else who actually *knows* what it is! ;) I like to pride myself as being the biggest fan, as I guess my post plainly stated. haha My sister and I follow it pretty closely on facebook, so we're always up-to-date on the latest "miserable" news. Quite fun. :D

    When you say "listened to the music," are you referring to the 10th Anniversary recording? Out of all the different casts throughout the years, they are by far the best. And Colm Wilkinson is one of my favorite singers! I like expressive, passionate singers, and few Broadway stars share Colm's feeling.

    lol I ramble when I get on the topic of Les Miz... ;)

    I haven't seen the musical yet either, but I will be seeing it this year at the Cleveland Playhouse. o.O I can HARDLY wait.

    Have you seen the movie from '78? While I prefer the musical myself, (most of the movie adaptions are awful,) that is the only movie that truly follows the "real" story. At least fairly well. There are a few twists, such as cutting Eponine entirely out (which doesn't bother me, seeing I'm not a big fan of her. ;) ) Otherwise its an excellent adaption.

    - oh, and thank you, the cookies taste as good as they look! :D

  7. @ Blyth and Sereina - yes you should make them! o.O They are truly AMAZING cookies. Let me know what you think...

    @ Flop - Flip the Frog with be appropriate. Especially today. Oh, I can't wait to get my voice back! Then I can talk everyones ears off again (including yours. :P ) Love you!

  8. Miserable news? Haha! That's good...

    Actually no, I have the original broadway cast recording which has most of the same performers at the 10th Anniversary version, except I know that Eponine was voiced by Lea Salonga instead of whoever the girl was who played her originally. But I agree with you about Colm Wikinson, I don't think anybody can voice Jean ValJean like he can. "24601!"

    When is it playing at the Cleveland Playhouse? Because I'm probably going to be coming back home to Ohio around the end of May, or the beginning of June. That would be awesome to be able to go and see it! I know my sister would enjoy it as well...

    I have not seen the '78 version, but I have seen the '98 version. It wasn't too bad...and I'm guessing by the way you are talking about it that you have read the book? I read the book as well, well sort of...I read an abridged version, because the original is just too long for me to sit down and read.

  9. haha, well, it IS "miserable" news. Miserably THRILLING news. ;)

    A lot of people dislike Les Miz because they see it as a depressing story...but truly it is a beautiful, unique tale, and I love the different twists in the plot. Plus the redemption theme is very inspiring...!

    Ah, the Original Broadway cast. I've heard quite a bit of that one via Groovshark, and have even seen a couple of videos from the 80's. Neato. Then your familiar with Michael Maguire as Enjolras (who is my favorite character next to Valjean.) Like Colm, Michael Maguire IS the only Enjo. ;) Though there have been a *few* good substitutes in recent years.

    lol - only an Irishmen could throw out that yipping note at the end of "24601!" :P

    Speaking of, have you followed the 25th concert at all? The fellow who played Valjean, Alfie Boe, is an opera singer. Lets just say it just doesn't work. I have a very, very hard time putting a hardened criminal and opera together. lol The depth of emotion just isn't there.
    ALSO Nick Jonas played Marius. o.O If you haven't heard him at all look him up, and form your own opinions. *ahem*

    Les Miz is on tour (with an American cast,) and will be stopping in Cleveland through April only. :-/ They are coming to Columbus too, but in March. Don't worry though. I will be doing an extra-huge blog post after I see it. :)

    Welll...I've only read part of the book. Like you said, it is sooo long. ;) What I found very helpful were the Cliffs notes on the novel. It put everything into perspective, and I understood the story much better.
    Aren't there some pretty big inconsistencies in the '98 version of the movie?

    Anyhow, here's the trailer for the '78 movie. Its amazing, and I'm pretty sure it comes in parts on youtube. :)

  10. I agree with you that it is a very good story. I know my Mom is of the opinion that it is pretty depressing, but my sister and I have always loved it. And I agree the redemptive theme is very good.

    I guess Michael Maguire is probably the guy who played Enjolras on the version I have, although I'm not too sure.

    Actually, I haven't checked out the 25th Anniversary concert, although I just looked at some clips from it on Youtube. It looks like it wasn't too bad! I know what you mean about Alfie Boe, he's good, but it's just not the same. And as far as Nick Jonas, when I first read that you said he was playing Marius, my first reaction was a negative one, but after watching clips of him performing in the concert, I gotta say, I don't think he was terrible. I mean...I expected a lot worse. Although, since I am so used to the guy who did it in the original, it was a little weird.

    Gah! If only I had joined the Navy two months earlier, I would be able to be home for that! Bummer...oh well, I'm sure some day I'll get a chance to finally go see it. I look forward to hearing how it goes!

    Yeah, I read the abridged version back in High took the book from the 1200 pages, down to about 400 I believe.

    I didn't really notice any inconsistencies in the '98 version, although it's been a while since I read the book, and I watched the movie only about a month ago. So there may have been some, but I just didn't notice...

    I watched the looks pretty good. I'll have to sit down sometime and watch the whole thing on Youtube.

    When I was in High School my Drama director seriously considered doing Les Miz, but the royalties were so high, that our small school couldn't afford it. But my best friends Amy, Maggie, and I sang "A Heart Full of Love" for one of our concerts in our Junior year. We were hoping that that would push our director into doing it...but like I said, we just couldn't do it. I still hope to some day be a part of a cast that performs it...if I could pick any role to play it would be Javert. I always thought it would be a blast to play a bad his songs are more within my range than Valjean. Anyways...I've rambled on for far too long...

  11. Before I continue on Les Miz - go Navy! - and thank you for your service. :) My dad was in the Navy...I'm about to put a post together for his 50th birthday. :D

    Anyway. Yep, that's Michael Maguire. He starred as Enjolras on Broadway in 1987-8 and then portrayed him again in the 10th Anniversary concert. Very talented fellow. :)

    All I've seen of the 25th concert are youtube clips (for the most part,) but my sister and I have been following it via facebook for some time now. Its funny, because we started becoming big Les Miz fans right during this whole 25th Anniversary thing...actually it all started because we'd just gotten back from seeing Fiddler on the Roof (in June) at Playhouse, and were looking for another musical to see.

    But yeah, Fiddler is a whole different story. ;) It was our first experience with Broadway, and were were expecting to be blown away. The production itself was magnificent - talented actors, amazing dancing, all that...
    Originally we were going to see Topol, who was making his farewell tour. Being HUGE Topol fans, this was an incredible opportunity. make a long story short, he ended up dropping out of the tour and was replaced. Without sounding overly negative, the replacement was awful. I'll leave it there. haha Disappointing, to say the least. And we weren't the only ones in the theater who felt that way, because after the performance everyone charged out in swarms. lol ;)

    Ok. Nick Jonas. He has a decent voice, considering his age and the tiny bit of work his done on Broadway. However! He wasn't cut out for something as big as the concert. He was very, very weak compared to Michael Ball (the original Marius who was also in the 10th concert.) I do think though that Jonas has potential - he just needs more work on his voice.

    I think Eponine is almost entirely cut out of the '98 movie though, isn't she? :-/

    Javert is an interesting character, that's for sure. :) "Stars" is one of my favorite Les Miz pieces! I've been trying for quite some time now to get it down on the piano...I'm used to playing classical, so the more modern arrangements can be a challenge at times! One of the pieces I just learned is "A Heart Full of Love." Neato that you got to sing it with your friends! :)

    lol, I'm cracking myself up with all my little Les Miz facts here and there throughout this conversation. :P

  12. Thanks! What was your Dads job when he was in the Navy?

    Okay, then I do know who Michael Maguire is...I've seen the 10th Anniversary Concert, so I'm familiar with him. He is very good!

    I think I've been a fan of Les Miz for about 10 years now. My sister introduced me to it because she had watched the 10th Anniversary Concert video in her Music Class. She came home and told be about how amazing the music was, and so she bought a Les Miz CD, and we've been fans ever since. But I think the "Honeymoon Period" has passed for me, I still love the music, but I'm not as "nuts" over it as I once was.

    I'm a pretty big fan of Fiddler on the Roof as well. Topol is to Fiddler as Colm Wikinson is to Les Miz. It's just not the same without him. When I was little, I must admit I didn't like Fiddler, mainly because the dream sequence scared me when I was little, but now of course it doesn't bother me. Sad to hear that the guy who performed it at the performance you went to was so bad. That would have been pretty amazing to see Topol do it. I actually used to have a CD that had Alfred Molina as wasn't too bad.

    I can see what you mean about Nick Jonas. He did have some weird things he did with his voice, but I think there's potential there for him to be pretty good.

    You know that I think of it, Eponine wasn't in it. I did notice that she wasn't there when I watched it, but I had forgotten. I think she's actually in it, but you only see her as a little girl, and she doesn't talk much.

    "Stars" is a very good piece. I can imagine that more modern arrangements might be a little hard to play. I can play only a very little bit of piano. In fact, I'm such an amateur piano play, that I can hardly even be considered a piano player at all.

    It is pretty funny...I feel sorry for anyone who has subscribed to comments on this...they're getting lots of notifications for the books we are writing to each other.

  13. My dad was an AZ on the USS Kittyhawk and the USS Carl Vincent...

    I know exactly what you mean regarding the "honeymoon period." I feel the same way about my favorite Irish music group, The High Kings. Seeing them in concert satisfied me, I think. ;) Plus its been some time since I've been following their yes, I'm still a big fan, just not as "crazy" as I was...
    ...Les Miz is obviously a different story. ;)

    Amen! Topol IS to Fiddler what Colm is to Les Miz. Couldn't agree more. :) Right now a musical version of the movie is in the works, and my friend Alexandra and I are rooting for Colm being casted as Valjean. Its his rightful part, after all. I'm sure Nick J. will be in it, because of his celebrity status. :-/

    lol about the dream sequence in Fiddler. The play version of the story is almost *exactly* the same as the movie, down even to the speaking parts. But the whole "Fruma-Sarah" scene was actually rather amusing. Since its an older play I suppose they are trying to keep it in its original form. The lights weren't even dimmed! Fruma-Sarah herself was played by two men stacked on top of one another. o.O - you could see the guys pants and shoes sticking out under the costume. :P

    haha, well the Eponine question was silly, because now that I think about it, she isn't in the '87 movie either. I *have* heard though that there ARE inconsistencies in the '98 version somewhere. ;) ;)

    I tend to ramble, so book writing is very common for me. lol

  14. Oh, okay...that's cool! The Kitty Hawk actually used to be over here in Japan where I'm stationed. It left soon after I got over here though. It's actually been decommissioned. But an AZ, I believe that's an Air Yeoman? I may be wrong...I hope I don't offend your dad by my mistake...people who are in the Navy, or have been in the Navy get really mad when you get their job wrong...

    Speaking of the High Kings...I actually downloaded their CD off iTunes...I really like it! I think my favorite song is "Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore."

    That's so awesome about them finally doing a movie! I know I had heard rumors in the past, but it sounds like this is official! Wow...I can't wait. They definitely need to get Colm Wilkinson to do the movie...although I imagine he's getting pretty old...

    Perhaps if Nick Jonas ends up playing in it, hopefully they'll working with him more, and maybe he'll improve?

    That's awesome about the Fruma-Sarah that I'm older I actually find that scene pretty funny.

    Well, as you can see, I tend to ramble as well. This is becoming more like emailing than "commenting"...don't you think?

    Do you think it would be alright if I add you on facebook? I'd like to see if you can invite me to join that Les Miz facebook group...I've found some, but I'm not sure which one it is that you have been referring to...

  15. Nah, he'd probably just be ashamed (if he were talking to you in person, anyway. ;) ) ahahaha j/k *ahem* Anyway...No, he isn't offended. :P I asked him again about AZ's, (just to make sure I know what *I'm* talking about) :P and he said they're in Aviation Administration.

    Now I'm curious - what do you do?

    My dad was in the service before my sisters and I were born, so we've grown up hearing his stories. He talks about his adventures on The Kitty Hawk most often. ;) I wonder if they are planning on doing anything with it...I've heard that some of the decommissioned carriers have been made into restaurants and things.

    THK are the best - and no, I'm not biased just because I've met them! ;) Their newest album, Memory Lane, is my personal favorite. Its refreshing to find a group that keeps the older Irish Folks tunes alive while incorporating a modern flair. i.e., though I enjoy some of the Clancy Brothers music, the old, old folk is a hard one for me to swallow. ;) However! Super-modern Celtic groups like 'Celtic Thunder' are NOT my style either. The High Kings are balanced nicely between traditional and mod. They did an especially good job in Memory Lane, I think, as its even folkier then the debut album without being outdated.

    Oh, Colm really, really deserves to make the movie! He isn't that old - actually right now he's about the perfect age to play Valjean! o.O
    - a lot of people are rooting for Alfie Boe (the opera singer.) I'm still not seeing it...even less on the big screen then in the concert. Ah well. And Nick J...I'm thinking it will be years before his voice is strong enough to preform well in Les Miz.
    Me oh my, I'm so positive! ^_^

    Alrighty. My dad says that since we have mutual friends it would be ok for you to add me on facebook (I should be easy to find me through Melanie and Amanda. :) ) ...I'll send over the Les Miz page AND The High Kings. ;) ;)

  16. Oh, okay...that actually sounds like that's pretty close to a Yeoman. Yeoman's work in Administration.

    I am an Interior Communications Electrician. I work on Phones, Alarms, and pretty much anything that "indicates." It's a pretty widespread never really know what you are going to be working on.

    Well, I just looked the Kitty Hawk up on "Wikipedia," and it says that it's being kept in "ready reserve" until 2015... and there are people who are lobbying to make it a museum after that. I guess we'll see...

    Well, in the past I've primarily listened to the Irish Tenors, and a little bit of the "Celtic Women." I'm not familiar with the Clancy Brother's although I think I might have listened to some Celtic Thunder before, but I honestly don't remember. They only have their self titled CD on I haven't checked out Memory Lane. I'll have to see if I can find that...perhaps I'll buy it.

    I guess you are right about Colm...I know I remember from the book that it describes Valjean as a man who looks much older than he really I guess it works. By the end of the movie, he'll probably look about his own I guess it will work. Who do you think should play Marius? I honestly don't know enough about modern broadway singers to submit a suggestion...

  17. Whew, yesterday was BUSY - I haven't had the time to write rambling "blogger books." ;) hehe Today is relaxing (as Sundays are for my family) so I'm able to sit down and write.

    Huh, I wouldn't have thought of looking The Kitty Hawk up on Wiki. It would be interesting to see it when the museum opens...I know my dad would LOVE it.

    How do you like your job? I could imagine it keep you pretty busy, especially if your on a ship?

    Oops, I guess I should have explained that Memory Lane isn't out in the US yet (thus it wouldn't be on itunes.) HOWEVER it's going to be released in March, so you should be able to order it then. :) Oh, and as far as the Clancy Brothers - they are very intensely-traditional-folk. I listen to them occasionally for the laughs, mostly. ;)

    ...check out this video of Colm:
    (he doesn't start singing for awhile into the vid, so if you want just fast-forwad the beginning.)

    Yep, he can STILL belt it out! (this vid is from '09.) Still as good as he was 15 years ago, or 25 years ago for that matter, no? Oh...I would have loved to see him at the Capital. It must have been spine chilling! Plus Bring Him Home is my favorite Les Miz song, next to One Day More. And Colm is truly the only one who delivers it with passion and feeling.

    Hmm...Marius. Good question, but a tough one. There are a couple of younger guys who have played various characters in Les Miz that I think would work, though obviously they wouldn't be nearly as popular as Nick Jonas, just because of WHO he is. :-/ I personally feel that Nick is way too young. He's only 18, after all, and Marius is at least in his early 20's by the end of the story.

    So, all that said - for WestEnd/Broadway singers, I'd go with Killian Donnelly (who is currently playing Enjolras in London,) or Gareth Gates, who just finished up playing Marius in the new production.

    Now for popular-celebrity about Josh Groban? My friend made up her own "dream cast" once, and "casted" JG as Marius. Interesting choice. He's done stage work, AND has a beautiful voice. What do you think?? I'm curious: how do you know the Andersons? I met them very recently at an English Country Dance Ball...

  18. Well...I don't love my job, but I don't hate it either. I honestly have no interest in electrical work...I actually picked this job because of a misunderstanding with my recruiter...long story short, I basically figured since I was only going to do four years, I could put up with it while I was in. My real passion is helping people, and ultimately being a Pastor...someday.

    Sweet! Well, if their CD comes out on iTunes in March, I'll definitely have to buy it. Oh okay, yeah, I've listened to some of that old traditional-folk Irish music, and I must say that it is...kind of...annoying, I guess would be the best way for me to describe it. My Mom is 3/4 Irish, so she's really where I got my love for Irish music.

    Wow...yeah Colm, can still bring down the house...I really hope they pick him...

    Yeah, I was able to do a little research, and I think Gareth Gates would probably be a good choice as well. Unfortunately, they're probably going to end up putting Nick Jonas in there. They want a big time celebrity in there to bring in the audiences. I mean, we of course think Colm is a big name, but unfortunately not everyone is into theatre, so not everyone knows his name. So if they don't get some big star to play one of the other roles, it will probably end up being him.

    Hmmm...Josh Groban. I have no doubt he could sing the part, but I'm not sure about acting. I mean, you say he's done broadway before, but I haven't seen anything he's done, so I would have a hard time judging in that regard. I have seen him make cameo appearances in TV shows before, and I'm not sure if it was just the fact that he was playing himself, but he was pretty bad. But...I really don't know...he might turn out to be pretty good.

    Oh, okay...well, I actually met the Andersons online at first. When I was in High School my family was going this church in Windsor, Ohio...well, after I joined the Navy I kept in touch with the Pastor and His kids(the Greenfields). I guess a few months after I joined the Navy, the Andersons started attending the Greenfields church once in a while...not on a regular basis, because they already had a church they were going to...anyways...the Andersons found out about me through the Greenfields, and after I started blogging and following Ashley Greenfields blog, the Andersons girls started following my blog. Before too long, they added me on facebook, and we officially met in person when I was home on leave back in September for my sisters wedding. Whew...I hope that wasn't too long and too confusing...

  19. Ok...I started out trying to write this note on my very rickety laptop, but it has a habit of shutting down every 2 fun. ;) So now I'm on the desktop, which thankfully is in good working order. ;)

    My dad had a similar situation when he enlisted...Lord willing everything will work out for you when you get out of the Navy! :), I forgot to mention that (and no, I am NOT biased :P ) all The High Kings are in my facebook friends list. Go look - they're there. o.O It is so strangely-neat when they comment on different things. Too much fun. And yeah, you really should try and buy Memory Lane when it comes out (March 8th - THK are coming back to the US to release it. Can't wait!) I bought my copy from N. Ireland last year, and it was completely worth it...oh, have I mentioned I really, really like the group?? (and no, I'm not biased? Seriously.) lol

    Neato that your at least a little Irish - I'm not even the tiniest bit. I guess the saying it true though, "you don't need Irish in your blood, only in your soul."

    Funny, because I follow the Les Miz Broadway stars much closer then any regular actors...but your right, not many people are into theater. So yes, Colm is huge to theater fans while many others have never heard of him. However I think he STILL may have a chance to be casted in the movie...think about it. Topol was a Broadway star, and HE was in the film version of Fiddler...

    Gareth is MUCH better then NJ, even though his voice is a bit too high for my taste (typically. I actually like Gareth's voice. It has a fresh youthfulness about it that fits the part of Marius perfectly.) He is also a decent actor, as far as I know.
    Interesting about Josh Groban. I know he originally wanted to be an actor, but that's pretty much ALL I know. If anything his voice would make for a good Marius. ;)

    Oh, in case your interested...there are several large sections of the 25th Anniversary DVD on youtube. My sisters and I just watched at least 2 hours worth yesterday. Not as impressive as the 10th An. concert, but very professionally filmed and fun to watch.

    Nope, not confusing at all! Like I said, I met the Andersons very recently, and have only gotten the chance to get to know them better via facebook. Before that I had seen them around on blogger. Oddly enough I didn't even realize who they were until I got home. What a small world!

  20. You're friends with the High Kings?! That's awesome! Where did you meet them? I mean I know you met them at one of their concerts, but where was the concert?

    You've been to Ireland?! That's so cool! It's one of my dreams is to some day to go Ireland, and travel all over Europe. I mean, I like being stationed in SE Asia, and travel around, but I would much prefer to have been stationed in Europe!

    I agree that Irish can be in your heart. After all, who doesn't love Irish Music, Irish dancing, and kilts?!

    Yeah, I guess we'll just have to see who they pick to fill the major roles. I can't wait till they star announcing who's going to play in it!

    I know I already said this, but I really need to watch those videos on youtube! I just need to sit down and take the time to do it! I know I'll enjoy it!

    Yeah, it's funny, because before I joined the Navy, I hardly had any online friends, but since I joined the Navy, I have a bunch. Mainly because it's so hard to have good Christian friends when I'm in the Navy, stationed in Japan. There aren't that many committed Christians in the Navy. I'm sure your dad can attest to that. Anyways...having online friends gives me the chance to have some Christian "fellowship"...if you could call it that. I know it is definitely very encouraging...

    Just did you get into these English Country Dance Balls? I noticed you have quite a few pictures of yourself at them on your facebook...

  21. I thought I'd drop another comment. So...I'm watching clips from the 25th Anniversary Concert...and remember how I originally said I thought Nick Jonas wasn't that bad? Well, I take it back...

  22. Oh my - I guess I did make it sound like I've been to Ireland! o.O, I haven't been to the Emerald Isle *YET* - but it is one of my biggest dreams. And believe me, I understand the craving for Europe! (though I'm sure SE Asia is amazing. ;) ) My mom was born in Italy, so we have tons of family there. A lot of people are surprised when I say I've never been to Italy/Europe. :-/ Someday, someday. Traveling to Italy would mean free lodging and food...but still, I almost think I'd pick the British Isles first, when and if I ever get the chance to see Europe.

    haha, its true - I've met very few people who DON'T like Irish music. Its addicting, kind of like the wonderful culture. Oh, and yeah, I kinda-sorta know The High Kings. ;) They passed through the Cleveland area on their mini US tour this past August...only about 15 minutes from where I live! o.O It was QUITE the experience, especially since my sisters and I are huge fans - we never thought we'd actually get to see them in concert...I mean, their from Ireland! Plus they'll be making another US tour in March. o.O Lord willing we'll get to see 'em again!

    Though in a different way, I can very much relate with "fellowship" via the Internet. The Lord has used online communities to bless my family. Over the past couple of years we have had the opportunity to attend many, many events (home school alumni) where we've met hundreds of online friends in person. :)

    Anyhow, back to the Navy part. Though my dad wasn't a Christian when he was in the service, he has told me of the corruptness in the military. (He doesn't regret joining though!) The neat part is that the Lord has gotten you through and you'll be home with your family soon!! That's a praise, no? :)

    Lets see...ECD is HUGE in the home school community - we actually learned to dance by going to the events I mentioned before. I've been to dozens of Balls *and* my sister Anna and I are prayerfully hoping to start a group in our area soon. Its a very easy form of dancing - you've probably seen some of it if you've watched any of the Jane Austen films.

    Btw, the vids you posted on facebook were quite amusing. :P ;)

  23. I made the Italian Toto Cookies and they are SO good! Thank you for the recipe!

    Anna from Seven Sisters

  24. That's cool about your mom being from Italy! Did your parents meet over there? I know there are some Navy bases over there...

    That's awesome about them coming to Cleveland again in March! Again, I wish I was coming home sooner, that would be awesome to be able to go to the concert!

    It definitely is a blessing that I'm going home soon! It's been a long 3 and a half your dad, I don't regret serving, I just don't love it. And your dad is definitely right about the hasn't gotten much better that when your dad was in I'm sure. But I have definitely learned a lot about different kinds of people, and I've learned a lot about the world as well. I regrets. I haven't watched any Jane Austen films, but when I was little I watched Anne of Green Gables, and don't they go to one in that movie? Sounds interesting...although I'm a terrible dancer...even if it's easy...I'm pretty sure I would mess up terribly if I tried to do it...

    Glad you enjoyed the vids! Those were made by a student at Northland Baptist Bible College (That's the college I'm going to). I spent a whole evening watching those a while back...I was laughing my butt off.

  25. Oh Anna, I am SO glad you enjoyed them! :) Toto's are some of my families *favorite* cookies.

  26. Noooo, my parents met in Cleveland. ;) My mom came to America with her parents and brother when she was seven, so while she still speaks Italian, she has no accent and speaks perfect English...

    Where else have you been in Asia besides Japan?? I could imagine the different culture has been an interesting experience...and the food! I'm sure its nothing like American-Asian-inspired food at all. (kinda like American-Italian food. Meatballs are unheard of in Italy. Its true!) :P

    Well you haven't missed much as far as the Austen films. (a lot of people are horrified at my, *ahem* lack of love for those particular movies. ;) hahaha ) I enjoy some of them, but well, they just aren't what their cracked up to be. Anyway - the Regency era is most commonly thought of when it comes to ECD. I believe a form of it originated in the 1600's, and it continued into the Victorian period. But, like someone said once to me, its never really died! Oh, and no, English Country Dancing isn't it Anne of Green Gables. I'd say that's more of a ballroom style. :D

  27. Oh, okay. It’s always interesting to see how God brings people from different cultures together. God works in mysterious ways…

    Oh wow…well, I got lucky…most ships in the Navy don’t see nearly as many ports as mine does. Here goes…we’ve been to Russia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Guam, Palau, The Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, New Caledonia, and Australia. It’s been quite an adventure! As far as food is concerned…yes I have eaten some strange things. My philosophy when it comes to food is I’ll try anything at least once. Probably the most unusual thing I’ve eaten was Chicken Feet in the Philippines. And lets just say that’s one thing I’m only going to try once…it was not a very good experience…

    So no Meatballs in Italy? I never knew…that’s funny!

    That’s funny about you not liking the Austen Films. Do you like the books? I know when I was on High School Literature class, we had a list of books that we got to choose from to read during the school year, and Pride and Prejudice was on the list. I gotta say I was happy that I was able to choose what books I wanted to read…I think if I would have read it it would have hurt my manhood…

  28. Yes, He does! Its interesting to think that if my mom would have never come to the States, she would have never been Saved out of Roman Catholicism. And my dad (who was also Catholic,) would have never been Saved if he hadn't met my mom, who was saved before they were married. (My dad accepted Christ soon afterwards.) The Lord truly has a plan for everything, and I thank Him for His magnificent work in my parents lives before my sisters and I were born. My parents aren't perfect, but they truly are Godly dearest wish is to have as strong a faith as they. :)

    Meatballs. Actually - after asking my mom - I guess I'm wrong. *ahem* They originated in Sicily (along with thick, pasty red sauce,) but! have migrated to Italy over the years. So yeah. They DO eat 'em in Italy, they just aren't an Italian dish. In fact Italian's don't eat much meat. Thank God for pasta! ;) ;)

    So neato that you've gotten to travel all over like that. And Australia! I would LOVE to go there someday.
    Was there a particular country you liked the best? - btw, I'm willing to try mostly everything, but chicken feet sound *interesting*. Yuck. Maybe I don't want to know what the "experience" was like. :P

    ahahaha, oh don't get me started with the Jane Austin stuff. ;) Its really overtaken the home school realm, and for some reason I just can't fall into the peer-pressure. :P lol
    Now maybe if someone could explain to me just WHAT makes Mr. Darcy a hero...or what is so amazing about Pride and Prejudice...I watched the 5-hour version with Colin Firth, and while the story was good, most of it dragged...and I still don't admire Mr. Darcy . :P When I think of a hero I think of someone like Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. Hm. Maybe I should write a blog post on this...
    (Oh, and to answer your question, no, I haven't read any of the Austen books. ;) Sense and Sensibly is my favorite Austen story/movie - in fact its one of my all time favorite movies.)

    Hey, did you know there's a musical of AToTC? I haven't looked into it much yet...

  29. I hear ya about your parents. It's funny...if my parents would have followed the Chinese zodiac it would have told them to avoid mom is a Dog, and my dad is a Dragon. Good thing God doesn't care about the parents have been happily married for 30 years!

    Oh, okay. That's interesting about Meatballs. I never really knew the History of them. So they're Sicilian? Interesting...

    Oh wow...well, as far as beauty it's probably an even tie between Australia, and Palau. But as far as just a very interesting place to visit, Vietnam.

    Haha! Yeah, it wasn't so much that Chicken Feet tasted bad, it was just that there was very little meat on them, and they just looked really weird...I took one bite, and I couldn't finish them...

    Hahaha! You are now officially the 2nd, or 3rd Christian Homeschooler that I've met who's not a big fan of Jane Austen. It seems that girls like you are very uncommon. Yeah, from what I know of Pride and Prejudice, which is very little, Mr. Darcy is pretty arrogant right? Hence the "Pride" in Pride and Prejudice?

    You know, I've never actually read "A Tale of Two Cities." I started to back in High School, but it didn't really pique my interest. I'm pretty picky when it comes to books, if it doesn't really catch my interest in the first couple of chapters, I usually stop, and don't pick it up again. Do you like it? Perhaps I should give it another try?

    And no, I did not hear their was a musical of AToTC. Is it new?

  30. *ahem* forgive my ignorance...but why should a "dog" and "dragon" avoid each other?? (no, I don't know anything about the zodiac :P ) lol

    This whole conversation is too funny. Chicken feet and meatballs. Wow. hehe Lets just say that while I've tried squid and a few other interesting things, chicken feet sound much, much worse. I'm sure the texture alone was nasty. o.O

    Where is Palau? - and what makes Vietnam interesting? Is it the culture, the scenery...?? sister and I are some of the only home schoolers/grads we know who aren't hyper Jane Austen fans. ;) Like I said before, I don't *dislike* JA - if anything I highly recommend Sense and Sensibility. But anyway. Mr. Darcy. He is considered a very misunderstood person - shy, very rich, and with a bad reputation because of a false rumor. When I watched the Colin Firth movie I was expecting a huge transformation - the no-so-friendly Darcy turned nice guy. never happened. Yes, he's a perfect gentlemen, he was kindly (though he only smiled once in the entire 5-hour mini series, :P ) but over all not the greatest fictional hero of all time. At least in my opinion. I don't see the heroism part of hero...oy. ;) I'm rambling again.

    So no. I'm not a P&P or Mr. Darcy fan. Nor am I the hugest JA fan. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo? Uncle Tom's Cabin? Now we're talking about hero's and AMAZING stories! :)
    (haha, yes, I'm overly opinionated. ;) )

    Actually I haven't read AToTC yet either. I'm not really sure I will, at this point, since Dickens tends to twist his plots and deviate away from the main story...and it all becomes confusing. :) But I think the story itself is incredible. As far as the musical, I know they did a concert version of it recently (last year?) I've seen a few little clips...its not as impacting as Les Miz, especially as far as the score goes, though they are supposed to be similar. :D If you look into it all let me know!


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