Monday, March 31

Post-Pregnancy Dressing Woes - Solved...

One of my favorite ways to hide my poochy postpartum belly is to wear tunics. Wearing one with a little give in the lower part of the shirt but a good fit in the sleeves and bodice ensures that you look neat and your tummy can stay disguised. You can find shirts like this at Marshall's and at ethnic stores, but I'd love to find some online sources. I love the ones pictures above from J. Jill, but they are quite pricey... especially for a mama with a baby prone to spitting-up!!

Note: If you area nursing mama, be sure that you can feed your baby in the shirt before you buy!!

Get Thee to Borders...

When I recently went to Borders Bookstore, I was surprised to see a huge number of really wonderful books on their bargain shelves (Is there any truth to the rumors that they are going out of business?). I scooped up a few things and among them were these Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme cards. For about $4.00 a box, we got 22 touch and feel cards that our daughter loves! They are just right for her little hands and she is fascinated by the Kate Greenaway illustrations and the fact that she can feel different things on the cards. We highly recommend them!!

Fancy Feet...

Target has some especially cute sandal styles this season for little girls... If a little one in your life needs some new shoes, you might want to check them out!

A Few More Decorations...

After having these dried flowers for over a year, I finally found a good spot to hang them!

I removed the Wintery scene from our little greenhouse and added a nest basket, a little bird and some eggs.

My sister recently gave me a few decorations that she no longer wanted and among them was this dear little sign of an Irish blessing: "When I count my blessings, I count you twice"

Sunday, March 30

Updated Blog Roll...

After many months of procrastinating, I've updated my blog roll. If you'd like to be added (or removed), just let me know!

Springtime Clothing Inspiration...

These pretty clothes can be purchesed at J. Jill, April Cornell, or Boden.

Surviving Sunday...

With the birth of our second child, I have begun to realize that some of the things that worked for us in the past are not cutting it anymore. I have really begun to struggle with what I do and what I don't do on Sundays. For example, the early morning hours on Sunday are a big rush to get to church and so we typically run around like madmen trying to get ourselves ready, the children dressed, prayers said, and bags packed before we run out the door. Because of the fact that everything is a big rush, we usually come home to a disaster in the upstairs part of our house. Then, because we're all tired from church, we usually eat a hurried lunch and just try to relax downstairs the rest of the day. This usually ensures that the downstairs is trashed by dinner-time.

I find this all very frustrating because all this mess and lack of routine makes things very hard on Monday because it becomes a huge clean-up from the weekend day. However, I would like a day to relax and enjoy the day without a routine hanging over my head.

How do I balance the need for a day of rest with the desire to make our home look tidy and have a pleasant beginning to our week?

Where I've Been...

I'm sorry that I've been pretty much MIA this past month. Things have been busy around here between two birthdays, the beginning of Lent, overnight guests each week, struggles without a choir director, and business woes (for my husband). Though it may seem silly, I am looking forward to April and it's rain! Rainy days will keep us snug at home with plenty to do.

I am looking forward to getting back into blogging more frequently, though some of my time will be spent helping my husband do some of the secretarial work for his business. I am hoping that I will soon have my computer hooked up downstairs (the web designer's wife has been computer-less since our move to this house!) ... which will mean that I can hop on when I'm able rather than when I can and when Fr. John isn't working!

March 30th...

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. Re-organize the kitchen
2. Visit the library for story hour and a much needed perusal of books
3. Work on complaining less

4. Work on a few craft projects I've been thinking about

5. Take a looong soak in the tub complete with candles, soft music, a good book, and bubbles

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.

Sense and Sensibility, Episode One...

Sunday, March 30th - 9pm EST

Though poor, levelheaded Elinor Dashwood (Hattie Morahan) and her impulsive sister Marianne (Charity Wakefield) attract a trio of promising gentlemen.

To view on YouTube, visit HERE.
(Warning: there is a suggestive scene at the beginning.)
To view the Emma Thompson version, visit HERE.

Sunday, March 23

Memory Eternal!

Fr John had the opportunity to go to a Panikhida for His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus, newly-reposed First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia this past Thursday. This service was particularly wonderful because His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman served the memorial service that day.

May His Memory be Eternal!

To see more photos from the memorial service and the funeral visit the blue links.

To read about Metropolitan Laurus, visit HERE.


Sunday, March 23th - 9pm EST

Kate Beckinsale stars in the title role as the tireless matchmaker who
professes no interest in matrimony for herself, only for her orphaned protégée, Harriet Smith (Samantha Morton).

To view on Youtube, visit HERE.
To view the Gweneth Paltrow version, click HERE.

Friday, March 21

Happy Birthday, Fr. John!

Highlights from our day in reverse order:

Chocolate Cake (we served it with strawberries and Cool Whip):

An early dinner of Chinese food (Shrimp rolls, Shrimp Toast, and General Tso's Shrimp):

And, a gift the whole family can enjoy:

Just Like Her Grandfather...

When I found this tiny wooden tray among my decorations in storage, I knew that it would make the perfect little tea tray for our daughter's tea set! Once I set it up, she played with it all evening!

Spring Has Sprung...

Though we were away for a few days, I had the urge to bring out our Spring things as soon as we set our things down! Here are some of the treats I was able to get up today:

Sunday, March 16

The Life of Saint Patrick: Enlightener of the Irish...

Listen to the Life of Saint Patrick on this week's podcast on Readings from Under the Grapevine on Ancient Faith Radio.

Miss Austen Regrets: On YouTube...

Courtship she knew well; only the last act eluded her. A film biography that dramatizes Jane Austen's lost loves.

To view on YouTube, visit here!

A Great Book for Your Shelf...

Reviews from Amazon:

"If this book were published by a major publishing house, it would be a New York Times best seller. This book is a must read for all families with young children regardless of your faith or tradition. The engaging story follows the spiritual journey of Stubborn who comes from the town of I-ville where the motto of the townspeople and of their queen, Queen Conceit, is "me first, me first." He has a chance meeting with a young girl, Serenity, who comes from a different place called You-ville. This chance meeting affects Stubborn deeply, and he is amazed that during their initial brief encounter she spent time listening to him and did not talk about herself or how wonderful she is.
He sets out to discover this mysterious place and gets advice along the way from an old man living in a cave (representing the Elder Pasios, a much beloved modern day monk from Mount Athos whose spiritual teachings form the basis for this book). The journey is not an easy one as it requires Stubborn to shrink his ego and fight against bad and selfish thoughts.
As a father of two young children, the lessons here for everyday life are enormous and there are teaching points from each of the wonderfully written chapters. Children are naturally drawn to characters such as Serenity, Humility, Magnanimous, Mr. and Mrs. Kindness; and against the old Stubborn and Queen Conceit. I can now point out to them when they are behaving like Stubborn or like someone from I-ville and the point really hits home.
What else can I say, I loved this book. It is great for the under 10 crowd and for adults (in fact on a recent visit I made to an Orthodox Monastery, the monks had just finished reading it as a group). Most teenagers will probably find the story too childish and the deeper message difficult to grasp, but perhaps I sell them short. Do not hesitate, get this book for your family."
-B.N. Polite

Truly great children's literature isn't just for children. How many of us relish Tolkien's The Hobbit or Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia? Well, now there's a new, fresh children's story out there for us, and I can sum it up in one word: "delightful." An allegory in the tradition of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Mersine Vigopoulou's From I-ville to You-ville enchants as much as it edifies.

I-ville is a Kingdom ruled by the goddess Conceit, a place where people live by the motto "Me first!" You-ville is a Kingdom ruled by Humility, a place where people put the good of others before their own. This story follows a young boy from I-ville named Stubborn on his journey as he struggles to make the arduous trek to the beautiful, joy-filled You-ville.

In the course of his adventures, Stubborn learns profound lessons in how to conquer bad thoughts and feelings. He learns how to shrink his ego, forgive himself and others, and put others first. He also learns how to pray to and trust in the one true God.

While written by an Orthodox author and based on the teachings of Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, the book will still appeal to Christians of other stripes. In fact, because it isn't even explicitly Christian, it will appeal to folks of almost every major religion. Young or old, we all must take the journey from I-ville to You-ville, and this story is filled with the profound spiritual truths we need to embrace in order to succeed. It's the best-selling Orthodox children's book in Greece, now in its fifth printing, and finally made available in English."
-K. Michaelis

"The other two reviews have done a good job of summarizing the book. I would like to add that our whole family enjoyed this book. This book can be given to any Christian denomination, but has very sound Orthodox teachings. The book is best for those who are five and up. The illustrations in the book are nice. The best thing I can say about the book is that my oldest daughter, who will be eight soon, has been a lot more helpful, nice, and caring towards her sisters. Now THAT'S a GOOD BOOK!"
-C.D. McGinnis

Saturday, March 15

My Dream Nursery...

When I saw this nursery in a recent issue of Romantic Homes, I instantly loved it! I am going to try to use the same colors in our nursery (black paint, here I come!) and will aim for the same "feel." What do you think? Any tips?

Friday, March 14

Closet Transformations: The Nursery Closet...

Here is the abomination our nursery closet was in this morning. Though we have a family closet for all the clothes we wear now, the baby clothing and supplies that we don't need at the moment is stored in the nursery's closet. Since our son's birth, everything exploded in there and things needed to be totally overhauled!

Though I've used huge ziplock and rubbermaid containers to store clothing in the past, I've wanted to try Space Bags out. I found that two ziplock bags worth of clothing could fit into one extra large bag!

Here is my husband sucking the air out of one of the bags with the baby vacuum cleaner:

Here is the closet after:

I decided to store all of our girl clothing in the Space Bags since we won't need to get into them until we have another daughter. Our son's clothing will be stored in the ziplocks for the time being (that way I can get into them easily to put away clothing or get the next size. I was happily surprised that all of clothing that we need to store was now able to be kept on the shelf in the closet!

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