Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Movie Review --- Philomena

I'll just say, Judi Dench is a wonderful actress.  She knocks this part out of the park, and its a true story based on a real person, so that's hard to do.

Looking at this poster of the movie, you might be tricked into thinking that this might be a comedy.  So not true. Really, NOT a comedy.

Philomena will make you smile occasionally, and she remains an upbeat person, much to our surprise, given the things that she lived through. She is the perfect example of how Christ wants us to "turn the other cheek" and try to understand that everyone has reasons for what they do, even when those actions cause you pain and suffering.

Its the story of a woman in Ireland who, as a young girl with no idea of what sex even is, becomes pregnant and ends up in a Catholic nunnery.  All the "wayward" girls there have to give 4 years of service to the nuns in return for their help, since these girls were all most likely thrown out by their families, given the times.
Fast forward to much later in this woman's life and she's determined to find the child that was stolen from her by the nuns.  He would be in his 50s by now, and in America.

I won't spoil the story, but the journey that she takes with a journalist's help will touch your heart and give you plenty to think about.

Movie Review --- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Totally, totally loved it and it was well worth the wait!  Such great story telling, and the characters and actors they are portraying are well developed -- you will definitely care what happens to them as the tale is told.
I have one little disappointment -- we went to see the 3D high frame rate version -- which I haven't seen before.  I was very distracted by the way the film looked - I thought constantly that it looked like I was watching a stage show.  Also, the special effects in some parts seemed less well done in high frame, specifically those dog creatures that the Orcs ride. Am I crazy?  Did anyone else see it this way? I wish I had gone to the regular 2D version, but the story itself was so good, its a small thing.
The movie is long, but I never felt like it...we were totally caught up in the movie and the time just flew by.
The dragon was perfection - well done. Very well done.
The only problem -- we have to wait a full year to see the final film in this series.
5 Stars -- I'm not kidding.

Swing time!

Schwencke Family Christmas Party

What a great turn out!! The day was beautiful, but it got a little too cold as the sun went down.  The bonfire after the meal helped a lot.  Thanks to everyone who came, and who's doing it next year? ha ha!
Sorry - I didn't take too many photos. We had plenty of great food and drink!  KT, Noah and Parker had a great time running all over the place.  I'm sure they slept well that night.

 The dog is fast asleep in John's arms there -- it was lots of work keeping up with those kids!

The Schwencke Women's Christmas Breakfast

We all got together Saturday morning for one of our old traditions of having a women's breakfast before Christmas -- this year at the Guenther House.  We all had some delicious breakfast items, pancakes, waffles and biscuits mostly (The Guenther House is at the site of the Pioneer flour mill.)
We had secretly planned a surprise baby shower for Colleen -- so after we ate, she opened her gifts.  I still can't believe that we totally surprised her! Thank you, Sarah, for all the coordinating!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Around the house.....

We had to replace the water tank outside this week.  It's always something, I tell you.  It's several years old, so I guess it was about time, but I don't know why it always has to be on the coldest day of the year. Sigh... Thank goodness for John! 
His knee is doing very well, by the way.  He had his first doctor follow up appointment, and the doc was very pleased at his progress.

 I cut open the only Lady Godiva pumpkin that we grew in the garden this past year, planning to save some of the seeds for next year.  These are the "naked" seeds that you can roast.  I really didn't have enough from this one small pumpkin, but maybe next year.

 The Christmas cactus that I have had on the kitchen window sill all year has actually bloomed.  I always thought you had to go to all kinds of rig-a-ma-roll to get these to bloom (like put them in a dark place for some time, dry them out, etc.) but I was surprised to find you can just ignore them! ha!  
A macro shot of one of the blooms.  Pretty blushing pink!

Christmas is coming so fast!

I'm not sure why, but I'm already feeling behind in getting ready for Christmas.  Could be because Thanksgiving seemed so late in November, but I'm not sure why.
We finally got our tree up in the house, all decorated!
My Mom's nativity set at the base of the tree.

We wanted to get the pavilion decorated, but the weather has been so cold the last few days, with no real let up in sight, so I'm not sure when that will be done.  Praying for some warmer days this week!
We got Santa and the reindeer up on the bar, along with a small tree, but that's about it so far!

On Saturday I got to go with KT and her mom to see the "Best Christmas Pageant Ever" at the Magik Theater downtown!
This is our second play at this theater with KT.  She really seems to like them.  It was only about one hour, which is just about right for her age and attention span.  The story may have been at bit over her head, but all the action and changing scenes helped keep her interest, especially when they came out in the angel, wise men, and sheppard costumes.  I call it a hit!
 It was so cold! KT in her parka.
 KT and Colleen waiting for the play to begin!
 KT's friend, Conner, came to see the play with her!
 Rapt attention.....
 Stage view from fairly far away..
After the play we spent a short time in the outdoor play area --- really too cold to enjoy it much.  Even the kids were ready to go.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pipe Creek Christmas Tree Farm

We took our annual trip to pick out a tree today!  This is a tradition now -- thankfully it wasn't raining like it is many years when we go.

Thanksgiving 2013

We had a belated Thanksgiving this year, on Sunday so that we could have Colleen, Jeff and KT, along with Adrienne here.  We had a great feast -- KT helped me make some of the dishes this morning.  She's really good in the kitchen, her mom has taught her well.  She can even break eggs very well!
 John and Adrienne
 Jeff and KT
 KT and Colleen
Leaves that I sprayed for the table 
A before meal ride!

An evening with KT!

We were lucky to have our KT for the night on Saturday, and wow, what a lot we got done! We repaved her front walkway to her little house, ---
and we got new sand for her play box so she could play with her trucks, ---
and we ran around with the new puppy, jumped from stumps, fed the deer, ---
road the donkey (ATV), fed the horses, made cornbread, ---
and went out to eat at our local Mexican food place ---
after which we went home and watched some Christmas movies on Netflix! Whew! What a busy day!