Monday, May 28

The Twelve Great Feasts for Children...

We recently had a chance to visit a large church bookstore/church supply. Though I knew these books existed and was eager to get my hands on them, I finally had the opportunity to flip through a few. They are so good that we ordered the Twelve Great Feasts set and the Three Day Pascha Series!

Conciliar Press carries them all and describes them thus: "Elegant watercolor illustrations highlight the beauty of each of the Church's feast days. The simple, psalm-like poems are written especially for children, but the whole family will enjoy them."

Sunday, May 27

Photos from the Big Day...

Though the cupcakes didn't turn out the way I had planned (faux flowers saved the day!), a good time was had by all!

Thursday, May 24


... I'll throw a party like this and invite you all!

Wednesday, May 23

A Skirt for Baby...

Made by talented Auntie Kate!

Sound Advice...

"Of course it is irritating at times to find that all one's personal affairs are an open book to all the village, but, personally, I have two ways of mitigating the nuisance. The first is to face the fact that one has no real private life in a village, and si it is absolutely necessary to comport oneself as if in the public gaze the whole time. the second is to let people know a certain amount of one's business so that their minds have a nice little quid, as it were, to chew on. There is then a sporting chance that any really private business may be overlooked. On no account, in a village, can one begin a sentance with: 'Don't let it go any further, but-' One has to face this consuming interest squarely. It doesn't worry me now, though it did in my early days here as headmistress; but I have reminded myself many times, that wither- none must know, or all."

Miss Read
Village Diary

Host-ette Gifts...

Since we will be visiting our close friends this coming week (for a week!), I've been scrambling to find small gifts for their four children. These jump-ropes and book fit the bill exactly for the three girls!

Party Essentials...

Cake stands to stack and cover with posy cupcakes.

A "Happy Birthday" garland.

A glass pitcher thirst quenching pink lemonade.

Green gingham dress for church.

Six yards of vinyl cloth to cover the tables.

I've been gathering odds and ends for the special birthday coffee hour we're hosting in honor of our little one's first birthday. These aren't the exact things what I am using (with the exception of the wee dress), but I will post a picture of the final product sometime after Sunday. I am getting very excited!

Tuesday, May 22

First Birthday Gifts for Our Little Girl...

A cute little pocketbook to tote tiny toys.

A colorful wooden puzzle.

A wooden pull toy with puzzle animals.

May 26th should be a happy day!

Thursday, May 17

The Mall and the SAHM...

It really is possible to look good and be a SAHM. And this is possible without spending much more time every day. It’s all about mindful shopping. I know I have written about this before, but this is something that is important to all women, no matter our lifestyle or responsibilities.

As I walked down the mall, I had two women in front of me pushing strollers. They were friends, chatting with each other as they window-shopped. They were both in their 30s, both of average size, both with straight blonde hair and I believe even had the same strollers. That was where the similarities ended. One was in baggy over-washed black cotton capris that ended at the widest part of her calf. She paired this with a pink, black and white horizontally striped polo shirt that hit right at her waistband and with it a pair of black flip flops. Her hair was half up in a claw clip, though most was slipping out and fanning out around her head. She looked dumpy, disheveled and her clothes looked cheap. Her friend was also in black capris, but they were of a very heavy knit and fit her frame quite well. Paired with it was a turquoise boatneck ¾ sleeve top that hit at mid-hip. On her feet were black ballet flats and her hair was held back with a black elastic headband. Her outfit was just as low-fuss and easy care, yet she looked slimmer and more polished. Both wardrobes can go in the washer and dryer. Both outfits were comfortable and easy. The difference was that the woman in the turquoise seemed more mindful of what she was purchasing.

1. Don’t buy 100% cotton unless you love to iron. It wrinkles, and even an extra 10 minutes in the dryer won’t get those wrinkles out. Also, cotton is known to fade after many washings. Cotton clothes soon look rumpled, old and worn. You don’t have the time and money to replace them, so don’t buy them in the first place.

2. If your tummy is not your best feature, then don’t showcase it. Tops that hit right at your midsection draw attention to that area. Tucked-in tops emphasize the lower abdomen, and tops that are too tight do not flatter anyone. Look for tops that hit around mid-hip. This length is slimming to the torso without making the legs look short. No need for baggy tops – they often add bulk instead of hiding it. Look for something that either skims the body or sits pretty darn close. This will show you have the figure of a woman, not a sack of potatoes.

3. Flip flops are for the beach, not the mall. I say this often on here, but flops are bad for your feet. Your arches sink, you pull muscles between your toes and they do more harm than good. They are great when hopping in the car to drop the kid off somewhere, tooling around the garden, the pool or the shore but that’s about it. To preserve your feet for your future and not look sloppy, invest in some real shoes. Ballet flats are a great alternative and can be found for less than $20 at retailers like Target. A leather sandal in tan will go with 90% of your wardrobe and be more structured and attractive than a flip flop. This change affects your personal style as well as your personal health.

4. With skirts, dresses, shorts and capris, have them end at a slim part of the leg. Your thigh and your calf are the widest parts and when clothing ends there, it gives the appearance that your entire leg is that size. Do your figure a favor and if the garment is perfect except for the length, take them to the tailor. For about $5 they can hem it to a better place.
5. Consider solids. Stripes and patterns may add variety and you may think they hide stains, but they often look cheap and quickly look dated. A solid polo in French blue can look crisp with a pair of khaki Bermudas; a striped one can make you look bigger and often looks cheaper. The best way to make your bargain piece look more expensive is to buy it in a solid color, free of garment-dyed finishes, contrast stitching or elaborate details. Go for simple and you’ll go for gold.

6. Read the label. If it says Dry Clean Only, don’t buy it unless you have time and money for such a service. If it tells you to dry flat, it’s telling you not to buy it. You don’t have the time for this, and if you don’t follow the instructions you will probably ruin the shape or finish of the garment.

7. If it’s great, buy two. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I went and bought two more pairs of pants that I already owned and loved. They were the right length, color, fabric and fit. No one is taking a tally of how many styles of garments you own, all people notice is if you look nice. You found a great wrap top that flatters and fits and is easy care and perfection? Get it in black, pink and teal. Found a wrap dress that can hit the dryer as well as the dance floor? Get it in solid black and also in the red print. This is also true for shoes – get them in the neutral you wear most often (black or brown) and then get them in one other color (tan or a contrast shade like red pr green). If they are awesome, they are worth it.

8. Adjust your hair to your life. If you don’t have time to blow out your hair every morning, then get a cut that allows you to wash and wear. If you have bad hair days, you are human. Work with it with flattering accessories. Claw clips seem like a quick fix but look sloppy more often than not. Headbands are hip right now – great time to stock up. Also nothing is wrong with a low ponytail; side parts are flattering on rounder faces and a little hairspray on your brush or comb will help battle flyaways.

9. Buy a new bra. Whether or not you breastfed, your breasts will not be the same as they were pre-baby even if your waistline is. With any weight changes, your breasts change as well. Nothing makes you look firmer and fitter than a supportive bra. Also nothing makes you feel more like a woman than to have a gorgeous red satin and lace number under your standard tee shirt.

10. Keep the active wear for the gym. Knit shorts, baggy tee shirts from a vacation destination, matching hoodies and pants are not appropriate for “the real world.” It is just as easy to buy a feminine cut of tee shirt than to buy an oversized one.

11. Don't shy from a skirt or dress. If it hits around the knees, you can still crawl on the floor and run around without trouble. A skirt is always more polished, and a great tee-shirt style dress is easier to put on in the morning than a whole outfit. The one pictured is less than $40 by Jones New York, I found it at Nordstrom.

12. Show your personality. You are more than a mom, you are an amazing and vital woman. Wear your favorite colors, buy a leopard print shoe or a bold necklace. Small touches take your standard day wear from uniform to amazing with little work.

Read this whole article at the blog, What Every Woman Needs in Her Wardrobe

Wednesday, May 16

Literary MeMe...

I was tagged by Mrs. Garcia for this fun little MeMe... Enjoy!

How it works:
1. Grab the book closest to you
2. Open it to page 161
3. Find the fifth full sentence
4. Post the text of the sentence to your blog
5. Don't search around for the coolest book you have, use the one that is really next to you.
6. Tag five people to do this meme.

The book on my desk is The Woman You Want to Be by Margery Wilson (Big surprise, right?).

The fifth sentence on page 161 is: You say quietly, "I shall be so happy to come and do what I can for the cause."

Sorry that little quote was so boring! I was hoping for something a little more profound!

I tag:

Monday, May 14

Collecting Satisfactions....

1. A meal of shepherd's pie (topped with mushroom beef gravy, of course!) made by my husband. Delicious!

I would like to invite you to share in this exercise with me by writing a list of people and things that bring you joy in your life! Once you written a post on this topic, post it on your blog and link to this post in your post, and then post the direct link to your Collecting Satisfactions post below. If you do not have a blog, but have a Satisfaction to share, please post it in the comments section.

It will be wonderful to read all about the satisfactions each of you find in your life!

Collecting Satisfactions....

In reading the book The Woman You Want to Be by Margery Wilson, I have come across some precious little jewels of advice. In one section, Wilson challenges the reader to:
"Write down a list of one hunderd people and things you like. Begin collecting "satisfactions." If you like the feel of clean sheets, write that down. Start agreeing with life and watch how it will agree with you."

With this in mind, I would like to begin a series of 100 posts that will be entitled "Collecting Satisfactions." In these posts, I will add one person or thing to my personal list that helps me to celebrate the beauty, charm, and loveliness in my life.

I would like to invite you to share in this exercise with me by writing a list of people and things that bring you joy in your life! Once you written a post on this topic, post it on your blog and link to this post in your post, and then post the direct link to your Collecting Satisfactions post below. If you do not have a blog, but have a Satisfaction to share, please post it in the comments section.

It will be wonderful to read all about the satisfactions each of you find in your life!

Feminine Inspiration: Agreeing with Life...

One of the traits of a feminine woman which is most admired and perhaps most coveted is the ability to see beauty in every thing one comes in contact with. Most women have this trait to a certain degree. There are women who are able to turn the most dreary of rooms into one that people never want to leave with a few simple arrangements of furniture and decoration. There are others that can take simple and rather plain articles of clothing and somehow wear them with amazing elegance. Many can take a few ingredients from a depleted pantry and create the most filling and delicious meal ever eaten. Some can even take a bunch of weeds from their garden and turn them into a whimsical centerpiece.

How do these women do it? How can they take items with humble beginnings and make them into the most desirable of creations?

Simply put, these women celebrate beauty, charm, and loveliness in everything they see. They relish each and every sense they come in contact with during their day. No experience is unworthy to them! They practice greeting everyday happenings with joy.

In her book The Woman You Want to Be, Margery Wilson list several ways in which we can become lovely quickly and regain a joyful innocence in our lives:
  1. ...Cultivate the acquaintance of some deep and lovely mind- some woman whom you admire, some man whose life as been full and rich and mellow, some graceful and charming girl. It may be a neighbor's daughter grown now to a natural, uncanny poise, instinctivly being a high type regardless of environment. It may be a child, a teacher, a minister, or some new friend.
  2. Have no traffic with pessimists. Remember a pessimist never built a bridge- he knows all the reasons it couldn't be done
  3. Dislike no one- even someone who has injured you- or whom you have injured!
  4. Don't think too much of your own failures. Every bright person has at least one eating frustration, one agony of unfulfilment. This state of affairs cannot be prevented. I shouldn't like to be so dull that my mind did not race ahead of my performance.
  5. Drink in beauty and charm from every possible source.
Agree with your life! Enjoy even the most simple of pleasures and fight the temptation to become sullen and jaded creatures who snuff the beauty and joy out of everything good in life!

Sunday, May 13

A Good Laugh from Bill Cosby...

Part One...

Part Two...

Happy Mother's Day...

to all mothers, step-mothers, godmothers, grandmothers, and mothers-in-law!

Saturday, May 12

My New Favorite Online Store...

Does Anyone Know...

I would like to make the little buttons on my side bar link to different pages on my blog or websites when they are clicked on. Does anyone know how to do this on Blogger? Thank you in advance!

Let's Bring Back Elegance...

For an inspiring read, visit Love, Life, and Laundry!
Vase d'Anemones by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Wednesday, May 9

An Announcement...

After a lot of consideration and many e-mails, Elizabeth invited me to collaborate with her on a special project that I think many of you will be excited about:

An online Finishing School for Ladies!

Since many ladies (including Elizabeth and me) remarked that we would have LOVED to attend a finishing school like the one featured in the television show Ladettes to Ladies, Elizabeth and I decided that we would offer a school for ladies who wish to "brush up on the skills that help a lady create a life of loveliness for herself and her loved ones."

Here are some of the details:

We are looking for six to eight women to participate in our six to eight week finishing school as teachers. These teachers would have to have enough expertise in a subject to devote one week of their blog to that topic. An example of a possible topic might be how to choose clothing based on body type. The blogger would post her own thoughts and maybe suggest an exercise or two to try. During that week, ladies participating in the finishing school would all read the posts on her blog and leave comments on the teacher's blog about how we are applying that skill in our week. In addition, if participators would like they can post about the topic of the week on their own blog.

For this finishing school project, we are planning to select six to eight different subjects. By the end of the six to eight weeks, we will have been exposed to six to eight different feminine skills that will improve our lives.

If you're interested in participating in our little "Finishing School", either to learn new skills or as a refresher, please leave a comment on my blog or on Elizabeth's blog. Also, we would appreciate any suggestions you have about subjects you would like us to include. Some ideas are:

  • How to live elegantly on a budget
  • Embroidery or some other type of lovely handwork
  • Sewing an apron or a nightgown
  • Etiquette, modern and traditional: including cell phone and email etiquette
  • Teaching children about manners
  • French culture and elementary French language
  • How to prepare a simple and relatively inexpensive French meal
  • Interior Decorating
  • Flower Arranging, Centerpieces for tables,
  • The art of Gift Giving, How to make birthdays and other occasions special
  • The Lady's appointment book/calendar/household management book
  • Art Appreciation
  • Music Appreciation
  • Personal presentation: poise, grooming, posture, skincare, etc.
  • What to wear on what occasion
  • How to be an interesting conversationalist; how to help guests enjoy talking to each other, etc.
  • How to set a table for a casual lunch, a casual dinner, a more formal dinner, a tea, a buffet supper, etc.
  • How to choose clothing and how to maintain clothing and shoes; the lady's closet, the lady's boudoir
  • Encouraging our husbands in their work, being a life mate

We want to include subjects that are fun and subjects that are practical. So, let us know what you think!

Tuesday, May 8

A Special Day...

In the Orthodox Church, we celebrate namesdays. A namesday is the day that the saint you are named after is commemorated. My saint is St. Emilia and the icon above is one that my friend Paul Drozdowski painted for me several years ago. The small images of people surrounding St. Emilia are Christ and five of her nine children who became saints. Here is a brief account of her life from The Prologue from Ohrid:

St. Emilia.

She was the mother of St. Basil the Great. In her youth, she desired to remain a life-long virgin, but was forced to marry. She bore nine children and so endowed each of them with a Christian spirit that five of them became Christian saints: Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Peter of Sebaste, Macrina and Theosevia. She founded a monastery in her old age, where she lived with her daughter Macrina, and where she entered into rest in the Lord on May 8th, 375.

Sunday, May 6

May 6th...

It's time for another Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in our lives each week without even trying! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!

Here is my list for this week:

1. Take time to nap (or at least rest) each day.
2. Paint baby's bookshelf and rocking horse.

3. Work on embroidery project.

4. Get bangs trimmed.
5. Finish organizing the pantry.

Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and link to this post in your post, and then post the direct link to your Commitment to Loveliness post below. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

A Date with your Family...

Friday, May 4

The Orthodox Wedding Service...

Several days ago, Mrs. Marcos asked me to write a bit about the Orthodox Wedding Ceremony. I did a search to find pictures of each of the main parts of the service to illustrate my explanations and found Sts. Contantine and Elena's church website in the process. Since they did such a spectacular job describing the ceremony and have such gorgeous pictures, I am sending you all over there! Enjoy!

Note: I will try to go through our wedding picture cd on our anniversary (June 12th) and dig out some good ones to share:)

Thursday, May 3

A Contender in the Great First Birthday Cupcake Debate...

Eating Like a Lady...

Enjoy this lovely article on feminine eating by Mommy Bee on her blog, Muffins, Buns, and Biscuits.

Practical Ways to Show Love to your Husband...

Plan menus that consist of his favorite foods.
Stop what you are doing and listen to him when he talks to you.
Think of daily ways to ease his burden.
Leave him a little love note.
Take time to do your hair, makeup, and clothing.
Keep a clean and organized home.
Do your work without complaining or looking for praise.
Fix him a snack.
Call him unexpectedly.
Make sure that you stock up on products he needs (razors, shampoo, post-it notes, etc.).
Pick out a little treat for him while running errands.
Make creative and delicious breakfasts and lunches.
Pray for him.
Teach your children to appreciate, admire, and respect him.
Do not allow anyone to speak poorly of him.
Make his favorite dessert as a surprise.
Wear feminine and pretty pajamas.
Shave your legs and be sure to smell good.
Keep him in mind while decorating.
Try not to nag.
Say "yes" much more often then "not tonight."
Let him fight your battles and thank him for it.
Encourage him to rest.
Let him pick the movie.
Sprinkle feminine touches through out the house.
Smile more.
Encourage his manly side and increase your feminine side.
Put him before your children.

Wednesday, May 2

Miss Clare Remembers...

"It was a small house, but enough for the young couple, and they arranged their few pieces of furniture to the best advantage and were well content. Mary's taste was good. Her own home, a farm labourer's cottage, had been humble but beautifully clean and neat, and at the farmhouse she was accustomed to seeing solid pieces of well-made furniture, and well-designed utensils of copper and wood in daily use.

She spread the scrubbed deal table with a red serge cloth in the afternoons when the midday meal was done, and enjoyed the site of a white geranium in a pot set squarely upon it. Round the edge ran fringed bobbles which were to delight her little daughters in the years to come. On the mantelpiece stood bright tins containing sugar, currants, tea, and salt. The rag rug before the hearth was of her own making, and the fender and fire-irons of steel were polished first thing every morning with a small square of emery paper, until they shone as brightly as silver...

There were many hazel thickets on the chalky slopes around Caxley... Mary used to enjoy these outings to collect the hazel sticks, and never came back without a few flowers or berries from the woods to decorate the window sill."

Miss Clare Remembers
Miss Read

Red Tablecloth by Nicholas Verrall
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