Friday, May 30

Pascha 2008...

Fr. John created this video a few days after Pascha. It gives you a good idea of what the midnight Pascha service is like in the Orthodox Church. Hope you like it!

Doll Sling...

To make the doll sling I put together for our daughter's birthday, I used a receiving blanket. One it was cut, my sister helped me by hemming it and then sewing the pocket with her sewing machine. I know that there are more complicated designs out there, but this simple one (based on the sling we use for our baby) seems to be working out very well!

Burt's Bees Radiance Collection...

After our daughter was born, I developed very sensitive skin that only Burt's Bees products seemed to help. Recently, they came out with this new Radiance line and I love it! the smell is wonderful and I really like the results. See if it works for you!

Thursday, May 29

Our Birthday Weekend...

This weekend was BUSY! My husband thinks that our two-year-old's birthday will probably always be this way since it will fall on or around Memorial Day weekend (May 26th).

We kicked off our celebrating on Saturday when we had a neighborhood cookout. Our big girl got to dip her toes into the (freezing) pool water, chow down on a hot dog, and play with her new farm house (we gave it to her early since we were not going to be home on her actual birthday). The rest of the day was spent scurrying around in order to get everything ready for our trip to visit our families and St. Tikhon's.

We went to church in the morning and I was happy that we were able to host coffee hour (something I like to do in honor of the special days in our family). I served Sloppy Joe's (using my Grandma Judy's recipe) and we provided ice cream and toppings to make ice cream sundaes. The Sloppy Joe's were gone in about 60 seconds but there is enough ice cream to serve next Sunday. I am glad that we have a freezer at the new church!

Once coffee hour was over and the church was cleaned up, we set off for my parent's house with a few church friends in tow (they were going to the pilgrimage for the first time!). My parents were hosting a birthday party for my sister Katharine (21 on the 20th of June) and our little one. we had a great time at the BBQ enjoying our family and friends and eating delicious hot dogs, hamburgers, cole slaw, potato salad, cup cakes and black midnight cake with cream cheese frosting (thank you, Mama!). Our little one was positively spoiled with gifts from our family!

After the party, we headed over to my father-in-law's home and went right to bed. We were back on the road at 7 am so that we could make it to Liturgy at Saint Tikhon's. After Liturgy, we ate a picnic lunch, strolled around, visited the museum, and bookstore (we got some GREAT books!), and just really enjoyed ourselves. Even though it was crowded, we were able to talk to and get blessings from Metropolitan Herman and Bishop Tikhon (our spiritual father). At about 4pm, we started the trek back to my father-in-law's house while our friends headed back home so that they could go in to work on Tuesday.

Once we were home, we were finally able to spend a little time relaxing and enjoying our little one's birthday! We had pizza and fruit tart (not something I would have thought to get, but it was delicious!) and got to open presents. In addition to the farm house and fence, we gave her a sling (that I made with help from my sister!!) for her doll, hair clips, a bracelet, and two books. Once all of our partying was over, it was bedtime. I think that this is one of the first times that I have put my children onto the bed awake, turned away for 10 seconds, and found that that they were sound asleep by the time I came back! It was wonderful... especially since I was exhausted too!

I woke up on Tuesday morning to a nice spring rain and I ran out with the baby to get a dozen bagels ( they were so fresh that they were still warm) to go with our breakfast of eggs and bacon. We started out for home at about 1pm (a lot later than usual) and returned at dinnertime.

Though we've been home for two days already, I feel like I am still catching up from the trip. Tuesday evening was spent unpacking, Wednesday was taken up by laundry and errands, and today I cleaned the upstairs. I am aiming to clean the downstairs tomorrow so that we can be back on track for the weekend. We'll see what actually happens.

Orthodox Christians Return to St. Tikhon's...

Orthodox Christians Return to St. Tikhon's

By Jon Meyer

Memorial Day is of course filled with parades in so many places around our area but a procession in Wayne County is much different and draws hundreds of people from all over the country.

The traditions date back more than a century. It was 104 years ago when people first began their pilgrimage to St. Tikhon's Monastery.

Now the crowds in South Canaan are so much bigger. The sound of song and prayer so much louder.

"I feel as though it's a spiritual fulfillment, one you don't get from a normal church experience," said Gregory Smith of Massachusetts.

The pilgrimage is meant to mark the anniversary of St. Tikhon's, the first Orthodox monastery in the U.S. It often draws more than 1,000 people from all over the country.

"They come from Illinois, from Massachusetts, from all over. It's very touching," said Nina Kuksa of Clarks Summit.

"This is a family tradition for us. We come up here every on Memorial Day," said Ralph Rogers of Philadelphia.

The Rogers said this day has become a big Orthodox family reunion.

"This is her (a baby's) first year here. Every year, they get more into it. The boys come up for summer camp," Rogers added.

Decades ago people used to come by foot. They used to process up over the mountain to get here. Those times have changed, but many things have not.

"The idea of pilgrimage has not change, and I think that's why they come. Because we live in a very changing world and people are changing all the time but in the Orthodox church, we keep things the same," said Father John Kowalczyk of Jermyn.

So on a day so many go to Memorial Day parades and ceremonies, those at the monetary stick to their religion, praying for peace and enjoying their time together.

Memorial Day Pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon's...

We were able to go to Saint Tikhon's Orthodox Monastery and Seminary for their annual Memorial Day Pilgrimage.

Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and Memorial Service, we were able to venerate the miraculous Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God and the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov. After a picnic lunch, we toured the museum dedicated to Orthodoxy in America and visited the seminary bookstore before heading back to my father-in-law's house to celebrate our little two-year-old's birthday!

Saturday, May 24

The Gifts...

Our little girl is turning two on Monday! We decided to go with a farmhouse theme for gifts this year. We found the house through Willow Toys and the fence on the Quiet Hours Toys website (both of which I highly recommend!). We've been collecting the little animals for about a year now and I made the trees out of pipe cleaners and yarn (I would like to add leaves and blossoms and have one tree for each season). I'll be sure to post more pictures of the birthday festivities as they happen!

P.S. This scene was set up before the birthday girl was awake... and I had a great time playing!

Friday, May 23


Courtney asked to see the hats I mentioned in my Commitment to Loveliness... here they are!

That's How We Roll...

We've finally broke down and bought a double stroller (well, the church did, thanks to a generous baby gift!). It's one of the ones that the baby can sit in the front and the toddler can sit or stand in the back. So far, it has worked out very nicely and both babies and mama like it a lot! Papa will be going on a test drive with the children this afternoon to see if he can give it his seal of approval... he liked this one primarily because of the video (skip the Intro and go right to the I AM MOM video)!

Strawberry Season...

We had so much fun picking strawberries on Wednesday that we went again today! Our two year old enjoyed wearing her new boots and ate strawberries to her heart's content! I am glad that we still have some chocolate left over from Easter... I see chocolate covered strawberries in our near future!

Monday, May 19

May 18th...

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. Clean the whole house from top to bottom!
2. Finish making, buying, and wrapping presents for our big girl's birthday.
3. Plan out all the details for coffee hour, family birthday celebration, and the party

4. Plant the potted Bleeding Heart I purchased at the health food store.

5. Take the babies Strawberry Picking and don pretty hats (at least for the girls;) )

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.

Edited to Add: I can't seem to get Mr. Linky to work... I'll try later, but in the meantime, post away in the comments section!!

Saturday, May 17

Springtime Curb Appeal...

Last week's project was buying and spreading the mulch and putting out the bunting. We went to a small nursery this week and hung out our hanging baskets on the porch. Next on the agenda are some flowers for the steps and the screened-in porch in the back. I'll post pictures as we finish! How are your yards being improved this spring?

Monday, May 12

Saint Emilia...

Somehow, I totally forgot to post about Saint Emilia on her feastday (May 8th). I am very honored to be named for this saint as she was a wonderful example of wife and mother!

(Tone 1)

Through thee the divine likeness was securely preserved, O Mother Emilia; for thou didst carry the cross and follow Christ. By example and precept thou didst teach us to ignore the body because it is perishable, and to attend to the concerns of the undying soul. Therefore, doth thy soul rejoice with the angels.

This icon of Saint Emilia was done by my friend, Paul Drozdowski, a wonderful Iconographer. He also wrote this icon of Saint Emilia that we have in our icon corner.

Dining Al Fresco...

One of the things that we have been really looking forward to is eating out on our screened-in porch. We were so excited to rent a house with one, but somehow didn't use it for eating last summer and fall. Since my sister graciously gave us a patio table she was no longer using, we've renewed our interest in al fresco dining. This picture was taken last week (on my namesday)... dinner was wonderful! Our daughter was thrilled beyond words to be eating outside! I'm hoping that the torrential rain and wind (though I have been enjoying that too!!) we've been having lately will give way to warmer weather and sun so that we can do this more often!

Little Man's Five Month Update...

I cannot believe that our little boy is already five months old! He has been doing quite well these past few months! He now weighs about thirteen and a half pounds (catching up to his nearly two year old sister who is only 20 lbs!). He smiles, coos, and even shouts a little. He is a demanding little guy... When he's hungry or dirty, he NEEDS MAMA NOW! He is starting to get a kick out of some of the baby toys we have and learned how to roll over last week. We were startled to see how far he rolled a few nights ago because it was easily a few feet! It is amazing how well he is doing given his very early arrival. We thank God every day for our little boy!

Richard Earl Thompson - Tender Moment

Music to Cheer Us On While We're Cleaning...

Happy Working Song

All right everyone, time to tidy things up

Come my little friends
As we all sing a happy little working song
Merry little voices clear and strong
Come and roll your sleeves up
So that we can pitch in
Cleaning crud up in the kitchen
As we sing along

And you’ll trill a cheery tune in the tub
As we scrub a stubborn mildew stain
Lug a hairball from the shower drain
To the gay refrain
Of a happy working song

We’ll keep singing without fail
Otherwise we’d spoil it
Hosing down the garbage pail
And scrubbing up the toilet

How we all enjoy letting loose with a little
While we’re emptying the vacu-um
It’s such fun to hum
A happy working song
A happy working song

Oh, how strange a place to be
Till Edward comes for me
My heart is sighing
Still, as long as I am here
I guess a new experience
Could be worth trying
Hey! Keep drying!

You could do a lot when you got
Such a happy little tune to hum
While you’re sponging up the soapy scum
We adore each filthy chore
That we determine
So friends even though you’re vermin
We’re a happy working song

Singing as we fetch the detergent box
Or the smelly shirts and the stinky socks
Sing along
If you cannot sing then hum along
As we’re finishing our happy working song!

Ah...wasn’t this fun?

Tuesday, May 6

Sound Advice...

I picked up this little Martha magazine at the checkout a few weeks ago and am so glad that I did. I have become more and more interested in living a more healthy life and have enjoyed using this little guide. Martha has an gone through the main things that people use in their homes and given some suggestions to make our lives a bit healthier... for most of her topics she has suggestions to be careful, more careful, and most careful. Check it out!

Saturday, May 3


Airing May 4, 11, and 18, 2008 on PBS

Welcome to Cranford, circa 1840...a rural English town where etiquette rules, undergirded by a healthy amount of gossip. Modernity is making a move in town as construction of a railway comes harrowingly close. Cranford's eclectic residents, among them Matty Jenkyns (Dame Judi Dench) her sister Deborah (Dame Eileen Atkins), and Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), stay immersed in the sweet pleasures and sometimes heartbreaking realities of simple village life. But when a handsome, young doctor arrives with cutting-edge new techniques, it rapidly becomes clear that as the world changes, so Cranford will change with it. Based on three Elizabeth Gaskell novels (Cranford, My Lady Ludlow and Mr. Harrison's Confessions), and boasting an all-star cast, Cranford breathes life into one town during one extraordinary year.

A Masterpiece classic first: Starting May 5th, for a limited time, view full-length episodes of Cranford on your computer.

Friday, May 2

May Day, May Day...

Since we were traveling home yesterday, I decided to move our celebration of May Day to May second instead of May first. This the the first time that we have celebrated May Day (I usually forget!) so our activities were rather low key.

We began the day with a nice breakfast and a decorated table. I made the cones out of music printed from the computer and hung them on the chairs with ribbon. I stuffed each cone with Spanish moss and added a small blue egg in the center. Our garden bouquet was our centerpiece and we enjoyed pancakes (one heart shaped pancake for everyone), bacon (of course!!) and orange juice.

Though I have no pictures to share, we went to the beach and played in the sand and dipped our toes in the water (still too cold!!). It was wonderful to see some dolphins leaping around not too far from the shore!

Did you celebrate May Day? What did you do?

A Quaint Little Development...

We live in an area that seems to be booming with new developments. Though we are renting (and have signed the lease for a second year - a first in our marriage!), we enjoy looking around at houses. We were driving to the beach today and noticed a little hidden road. Since everyone was enjoying the ride, we decided to check it out. Look at these darling houses! Though they are new constructions, I love the style the builders chose and think that it is wonderful that the landscaping is mature (a nice change from our development where each house is lucky to have a lone sapling on their front lawn!). Doesn't this remind you a little of Mitford?

Thursday, May 1

Our Paschal Baskets...

This is the third year that I've had a new basket to create (the first year was our first Pascha as a married couple, the second year was our daughter's first Pascha, and this year was our son's first Pascha!).

Here is our basket:

I kept the design the same again. I forgot to take pictures of it full, so you'll just have to imagine it brimming with different kinds of meat and cheese with a smattering of pretty colored eggs.

This is our daughter's basket:

I totally re-did the decorations on it because I thought that last year's version was too plain. It is still filled the way that it was on Pascha sans the hardboiled eggs.

Here is our son's basket:

It is totally new and though I filled it with candy and hardboiled eggs, since he's too young to enjoy food yet, he got some wooden rattles instead.

This is our Bunny Basket. We were given a bunch of little bunnies by different people this Pascha and so I gathered them all into a basket that our toddler loves to tote around... I think that I may do this every year and use it as a decoration!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

One toddler teething (6 new ones coming in!) and starting a cold that the baby has also managed to succumb to... the picture says it all!

Garden of Plenty...

Our son's godfather and his wife are avid gardeners. They gave us this gorgeous bouquet and some asparagus as two (of many) Pascha gifts... I don't think that I've ever seen more beautiful flowers and I know that the asparagus will go perfectly with our Chicken Cordon Bleu and Mashed
Potatoes for tomorrow's dinner!

Christ Is Risen!

I hope that all of my Orthodox friends had a lovely Pascha!!
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