November 17, 2011

I suggest you make this for Thanksgiving!

Warm Pear Ginger Upside-Down Cake with Amaretto Whipped Cream

(Recipe by Rebecca Rather from the cookbook The Pastry Queen Christmas- a good cookbook, by the way, with a variety of dishes, not just desserts!)

This is the perfect Thanksgiving, or anytime Autumn cake! I hope you try it for your Thanksgiving breakfast this year, or perhaps as a simple (but delightful) dessert after your Thanksgiving meal! It is one of my favorite cakes now! If you love pears, or ginger, or just coffee cakes in general, you will enjoy this treat.

Rebecca Rather says: ''Before you start this cake, make sure you have the proper pan. You'll need a 9-or-10-inch cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches tall. (Most standard 9-inch cake pans have 1-inch sides, which will leave you with overflowing batter.)(Our family used a ceramic dish which was about 9-inch square, and taller than 2 inches! Worked well) ....This cake is surprisingly easy to make (Yes, indeed- I was able to whip it up the morning of our Mum's Birthday, without any trouble at all!) ......Best warm from the oven, it will still taste good at room temperature. (we found this true, too!) It retains its peak flavour and texture througout the day it's made.''

November 14, 2011


A highlight of our each year, and of each November, is going to see the Duquesne University Tamburitzans (visit their home page here) perform!!!
Words can't describe how marvelous and spectacular their shows are! I can hardly choose a favorite season, and come away each year's show thinking they only get better and better!
We just attended a show (the 75th season show!) last Saturday, and oh! it was splendid! I said I don't choose favorites, but it was one of them. :) I can't wait to see it on video when it is made....and I took some great pictures, I think.
Until I get those uploaded and edited, here are finally last season's pictures!!! I love them. I hope you enjoy them too! I'd love to hear which ones you like, or which costumes you like.
First: Some pictures from the Croatian numbers of the program...

 Another great part in the dance!

Oh...another favorite picture of a favorite dancer: Natalka Karaman (who is Ukrainian)

 Next....some Serbian pictures: (note: we love the women's costume so much, Nikola made it for herself :) I'll have to show you sometime....)

A favorite- Nick Jovonovich. He's a wonderful singer!
We got a picture with him this year.

Filip Petrovski (Macedonian) and Nick J. singing a Serbian ballad.

Love this picture of Natalia, Julia, Christine and Yulia.
This Serbian dance has very precise and intricate footwork. When the ladies spin or turn quickly, their striped pleated butterfly skirts at the back flare out beautifully. (That's what their doing in this picture...)

Another favorite Tammie, Natalia Tarasiuk (Ukrainian) leading the girls. One thing we've always loved about this costume are the aprons, which are each different and works of art in themselves; as well as the stunning black and gold vests.

The intricate and enthusiastic ending to the dance!

Below: a couple close-ups of instruments, taken by Sam

We always love men's dances from Hungary or Romania! In this impressive, competitive dance, there were 2 gypsy men, two hungarians and two slovaks, (or rather, the Tammie men were representing those regions) and it was neat to see the different styles come together...Plenty of slapping and stamping, and amazing footwork!

Srjan Males (A Serbian, acting as Slovakian)

Patrick Vetter playing clarinet. (I don't know about you, but clarinet has got to be one of my favorite instruments!)

Following are pictures from the Macedonian portion of the show....

One great thing about the Tamburitzans is how the performers are constantly changing each season, and although we miss favourite and talented senior performers, the freshmen arrive, bringing with them their own particular brilliant talents, oftentimes bringing new aspects and twists to the show!. I don't think the Tamburitzans have had a drum solo or duet piece in the last several years, and certainly nothing like how freshman Mitko N. (Macedonian- standing on drum) plays! It was amazing watching and listening to how he and Andrew D. made those drums sound out! It was great! There's nothing like a Macedonian or Armenian or Serbian drum!


As you may remember, Macedonia is mentioned a couple times in the Bible, in the apostle Paul's epistles.

Macedonian dances, like Bulgarian, and Serbian are amazing! They usually have energetic endings too.

Macedonian Mitko again

Following, is one of my absolute favorite pictures! I wish all of you could have seen this lovely, graceful dance- dance of the Armenian princesses! (I'm glad, Meghan, that you have seen it, and know what I mean!)

(Natalia, Marija, and Iryna- three lovely Ukrainian ballerinas dancing the elegant Armenian princesses dance)

There was also a men's Armenian dance, which was as masculine as the womens' dance was graceful! The men were amazing as they peformed this shepherd's dance full of great backflips, jumps and even dificult spins on the knuckles of the toes!

The finale of the first half was a splendid Slovakian mountain dance....

The Slovak shepherd's dance here was meant to emulate the majestic eagle flying above the Tatra mountains...

An exciting part in the dance!!!

Ukrainian Marija K. at the end of the dance

Another Slovak picture- I LOVE twirling pictures!

Following are some...Hungarian  dance pictures! We love this Hungarian dance! Stamping and slapping and twirling and singing....just so cheerful!

My sister Jessie has home-made rendition this costume- I will have to show you a picture sometime! Nikola also made this costume for my favorite doll.....I love costumes! In this one, the white skirt is pleated so fine that you can hardly tell- but when the girls twirl, it flares out splendidly!

Marija and Srdjan

See- isn't it pretty when they twirl? (Oh! I didn't think I had a picture of these two sisters- but here they are, although back to back- Julia and Emily Khninicky! :))

Next, pictures from the womens' Bulgarian dances!

There is nothing like Bulgarian dances- they are incredibly energetic!

In the Bible, the region ''Thrace''' or ''Trakia'' is in present-day Bulgaria.

I have only one picture to share with you from the Russian dance, which was a charming duet, including fun dance steps like the one below, where the man twirls the girl, as in the following picture....I want to try that- but I don't know how I would keep my balance...

Everyone loves Ukrainian dances....

This was a good choice for the Tammies this year, too, since they have several Ukrainian performers in the ensemble these seasons....

The girls in front are Iryna, Natalka and Natalia (some favorites of ours! :))
The girls' parts in the dance are similiar to ballet, and indeed, most Ukrainian girls grow up learning both Ukrainian folk dances as well as ballet!

Following, pictures from the grand finale of the show! 'Twas a Romanian dance; vibrant, energetic, fast-paced!

Thank you, Tamburitzans, for that wonderful show!!!!
My dear readers, please visit the link at beginning of post!
Each of these pictures are my private property, and I am using them for promoting this wonderful group,
The Duquesne University Tamburitzans!
I hope these pictures inspired you to look into the group yourselves- go see a show this season! Each season, although different, is just as wonderful as the last.
Coming in a month or from THIS season's (75th- 2011-2012) show!

Have a lovely week!

September 29, 2011

Chad and Angie's wedding reception

Now for some pictures from Chad and Angie's Wedding Reception!!!

Elegant tables!

The sign :)

My siblings (enthusiastically) discusiing the wedding
(Nikola and I also had lots to tell our siblings about the rehearsal dinner!!!

The head table

(I was having fun taking pictures as usual :))

The wedding cake(s)

Katia found coloring pages!

Just some of the gifts

Mrs. Sekerak (mother of the bride) and Peter B. (brother of the groom)

Everyone seated, enjoying the delicious meal while watching a slideshow of pictures

(the meal. I always take pictures of special meals. :))

Katia has a tradition of giving every bride a 'jewel' (in reality, glass, but still quite pretty)
from her privately owned collection! She presented Angie with a purple one.

Sam and I

Sam and I had a great time with some friends from Indiana whom we don't get to see often:

(Grace and Hannah A.)

Alex B (cousin of the groom) and Sam

We greatly enjoyed talking with each of you!

Mr. Burns (father of the groom) and his granddaughter (niece of the groom!)

The following pictures my sister √Člodie took....

A flower girl.....*sniffs* I'll never get to be one. And I just realized that now. haha.

Alex, Sam and I


Chad and Angie cutting their cake

Atherton sisters, Marilyn and Nick (cousins), Santoyos, Belley sisters

A nice picture of Mrs. Burns and Chad

I was delighted with the polka Angie and her father did together! (their family is Slovakian)

Angela and Chad dancing

 Cousins Marilyn B. and Nick B. watching

And now...dancing for all! First we did the D Reel, then the Virginia Reel. It was delightful. :)

Sam and √Člodie

The bride's parents

There's meself! (green skirt, beside the mother of the groom, and the bride!)

I love Katia- she dances WAY better than I did when I was twice her age!

Sara and Nick are in front; the bride's sister Nina and Peter Burns are behind them

Sara and Nick Burns

After the V. Reel, the newlyweds departed amidst a sea of bubbles...

The car

Me with two of my favorite girls:  Sara and Shannon! (they are cousins to eachother, and I've adopted both of them as my cousins as well! :) )
Both are incredibly sweet young ladies and wonderful examples to me!

'Auntie Sara' with baby Abigail

Little Abigail with Aunt Sara and uncle Peter!

I hope you have enjoyed this photographic account of the wedding!
I loved looking through the pictures again....and sharing with you, through pictures, our memories!

Have a delightful Autumn!
(And don't despair.......ocean pictures I WILL share!)