Tuesday, January 29

Six Unimportant Things...

I've been tagged (over a week ago!) for this meme by Jenny over at Backwoods Wife.

The rules for this meme are: (1) Link to the person that tagged you. (2) Post the rules on your blog. (3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. (4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

OK so here we go:
  • I love to write lists... if you look through my desk at any given time, you will probably find ten lists - everything from grocery lists to "to do" lists to wish lists!
  • I "nest" even when I'm not pregnant. Ususally once a week, I get this crazy urge to "improve" things. On days like this, I can be found re-arranging furniture, tidying, re-organizing, etc. My nesting days often result in a list or two on how I would like to improve the area I was working on further if I had the means to do so!
  • My favorite store is Marshall's. I could go there everyday and not be bored. In fact, when my husband was telling me all of the great features of the area our mission church was in, he made sure to mention that there was a Marshall's a few miles away!
  • Nap time is my favorite time of day... there is nothing better than snuggling down and getting in a little shut eye!
  • I love going to fancy grocery stores. Even if I only end up buying a cucumber, I think that it is a great deal of fun!
  • I love to play a game when I am cleaning or tidying up. One of my favorites lately is to see if I can accomplish everything on my list before Fr. John gets home from church. Another one I like is to put on some music and see how much I can accomplish during one song. Yes, I am a passenger on the crazy train!
I tag: Courtney, Darcy, Jamie, Eva, Mrs. Pea, and Monica

Monday, January 28

Never Without Her Touch of Crimson...

"She stood just where the warm yellow light flooded her from the open door. She wore a plain dress of cheap, cream-tinted cotton voile, with the usual girdle of crimson. She had told Anne that she never felt satisfied without a gleam of red somewhere about her, if it were only a flower. "
-Lucy Maude Montgomery
Anne's House of Dreams

I have begun to be aware that I have been dressing mainly in plain, neutral colors. This mostly has to do with the fact that I am not quite back into my "normal" clothing yet, but I am also a very boring dresser. When choosing something to add to my wardrobe, I often choose the plainly colored or patterned option so that it will work with more in my closet. The result is a very bland color scheme!

If you had a signature color - one that you tried to incorporate into your daily dressing - what would it be? I lean mostly toward the violet/gray blue category all months except January and February when I crave bluish-red!

Saturday, January 26

Mansfield Park...

Sunday, January 27th - 9pm EST

After being sent to live at Mansfield Park, Fanny Price navigates a labyrinth of intrigues and affairs among its occupants.

To view the Billie Price version on YouTube, visit here.
To view the Frances O'Conner version on YouTube, visit here.

Friday, January 25

The Complete Jane Austen...

If you missed either Persuasion or Northanger Abbey ( I missed N.A. due to the Giant's game), you can watch it on YouTube! I am so thankful to Courtney for pointing this out to me!

Northanger Abbey


Tuesday, January 22

The 35th Annual March for Life...

Hubby and I were sorry to be unable to attend the March for Life today (though a new baby is a great reason to miss it!), but I was able to watch the speeches on EWTN this afternoon. It was wonderful to see Metropolitan Herman and Bishop Tikhon (our spiritual father!). Maybe we'll be able to brave the cold with two babies next year and march with our fellow Orthodox Christians for Life!

One of Our Next Projects...

Now that Fr. John is becoming a skilled woodworker, I have hopes that he might be able to create this little play gym for our baby boy!

Bonnet Tip to: Oh Happy Day

Sunday, January 20

Steps for a Successful Nap...

1. Lower the shades, draw the curtains, and lock the telephone in the bathroom...

2. Gather up some good books...

3. Find the bunny, the Boppy, and the blanket...

4. Snuggle down and head off to Dreamland!

From Office Building to Church: Part Ten...

Here is the beautiful candle stand that Fr. John and his team made this week... one down, two to go!

Suggested Reading for Big Brothers and Big Sisters...

These suggestions were recently posted on my local mom's group website... I thought that they'd be helpful to those of you who are expecting. I wish that I had this a few months ago!

Do you have any books to add to the list?

Small Ways to Help Prepare Big Brothers and Big Sisters for a New Baby...

These suggestions were recently posted on my local mom's group website... I thought that they'd be helpful to those of you who are expecting. I wish that I had this a few months ago!

  • Move your older child out of the crib well in advance of the baby's arrival (or wait at least a few months after the baby is born). It is important not to give the message that the older child is being "replaced."
  • Explain plans about who will take care of your older child and where the child will stay while Mommy is at the hospital.
  • Let older children help decorate the nursery, set out toys, etc.
  • Show your older children pictures of when they were a newborn. Tell the story of the day that they were born.
  • Let your older children look at clothing, shoes, and socks that they wore.
  • Buy a special doll and show how to hold a baby, change diapers, etc.
  • Have a "gift" that the new baby can "give" to the older sibling when they meet the first time.
  • Stash away a few small "big brother/big sister" gifts that can be given when guests arrive with presents for the new baby. Let older children open gifts for the new baby if they want to.
  • Read books about being a big brother or big sister.
  • Plan a small birthday part for the new baby at the birthing center/hospital. A few cupcakes and balloons are all you need.
  • Take pictures of the older child (with and without the baby) when photographing.
  • Put together a big brother/big sister busy bag filled with activities (crayons, paper, small blocks, simple snacks, etc.). Bring it to the hospital to help pass the time while visiting. You can also use it at home to help an impatient older child wait a few minutes while Mommy or Daddy are busy taking care of the baby.
  • Let Daddy or another grown-up carry the new baby into the house so that Mommy's arms are free to hug big brothers and big sisters.
  • Before sitting down to feed the baby, offer drinks and snacks to the older child, or have them where the child can easily get them by himself or herself. A hungry or thirsty child will not be able to wait very patiently until the baby is done eating.
  • Try to keep some routines and rituals the same, especially bedtime.
Do you have any tips to add to the list?

Sanctity of Life Sunday...

O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, Who are in the bosom of the Father, True God, source of life and immortality, Light of Light, Who came into the world to enlighten it: You were pleased to be conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary for the salvation of our souls by the power of Your All-Holy Spirit. O Master, Who came that we might have life more abundantly, we ask You to enlighten the minds and hearts of those blinded to the truth that life begins at conception and that the unborn in the womb are already adorned with Your image and likeness; enable us to guard, cherish, and protect the lives of all those who are unable to care for themselves. For You are the Giver of Life, bringing each person from non-being into being, sealing each person with divine and infinite love. Be merciful, O Lord, to those who, through ignorance or willfulness, affront Your divine goodness and providence through the evil act of abortion. May they, and all of us, come to the life of Your Truth and glorify You, the Giver of Life, together with Your Father, and Your All-Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Saturday, January 19

You Know You are Officially a Mother When...

... you request that your husband gets you new (better fitting!!) nursing bras for Valentine's Day instead of flowers. You know that you are still a woman though when you request this while secretly hoping that you get the flowers anyway!

Northanger Abbey...

Sunday, January 20th - 9pm EST

In a medieval house that appeals to her most lurid fantasies, romance addict Catherine Moreland (Felicity Jones) begins a relationship with the younger son of the estate.

To view on YouTube, visit here.

Wednesday, January 16

A New Favorite...

I made this dairy-free cake tonight in honor of my father-in-law's birthday... it was delicious with sliced strawberries spooned on top!

Double Chocolate Cake

For the Cake:
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
For the Glaze:
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (preferably at least 70 percent cacao), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with spray.
  2. Whisk water and cocoa in a small bowl until smooth. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, and make a well in center. Add cocoa mixture, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in vinegar. Pour into pan.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, invert it onto rack, and turn cake right side up. Let cool completely. Transfer cake to a serving plate or a cake stand.
  4. For the glaze: Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly.
  5. Whisk together sugar and water until smooth. Add melted chocolate in a slow, steady stream, whisking until thickened, about 1 minute. Immediately pour glaze onto center of cooled cake. Using an offset spatula, gently spread glaze over top and sides. Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

I Just Couldn't Resist...

Cupcake Sippy Cups from Target...

Tuesday, January 15

Book Club: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage...


In the introduction of this book, Dr. Laura explains what this book will do for a person's marriage and why she feels that a book like this is necessary in today's society. One of my favorite quotes (really a prescription for a good marriage) is in the introduction and is one that I mentioned before:

"People call me every day on my radio program with minor complaints, resentments, confusion, and bitterness in their marriage. With all the different combinations and permutations of people and problems, there are three points that I always try to make:

1. Treat your spouse as if you loved them with your last breath - no matter how contrary to that you might feel at any one moment.

2. Think hard every day about how you can make their life worth living.

3. Be the kind of person you would want to love, hug, come home to, and sacrifice for."

Though I don't feel like my marriage is in trouble (in fact, I feel like it is pretty wonderful!), I believe that every person can improve themselves and make their relationships better by how they act (both inwardly and outwardly). I think that is one of the reasons why I like this book so much... it doesn't make the reader feel like the victim. It makes the reader think about what they can do themselves to improve things in their marriage.

One of this things that I am hoping to improve in myself is my tendency to complain, be impatient, and be negative. I would also like to just do my job as a mother and homemaker without wishing for my husband to do his job all day and my job when he's done with his work each evening (obviously, there will be times when I need a little help, but I'm really just taking about when I have something to finish up and the poor man just wants to watch the news!)

What is your goal for improving yourself (and thus improving your marriage)?

New Homemaking Goals...

Every so often, I find that I need to re-evaluate how I go about keeping our home clean and tidy. Here are some new goals I have come up with to help me improve my homemaking:

1. On the day before the garbage is picked up, find at least five things that can either be thrown out or given away. Put the give-aways into the car and get rid of them as soon as possible.

2. When going through the house to tidy each day (I do this three times a day), really focus on one of the bathrooms in the morning, the family room in the afternoon, and the kitchen in the evening. In this way, the three high-traffic areas will be maintained daily.

3. Fold laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer.

4. Focus on organizing and tidying one small space each day.

5. Involve my big girl in helping me throughout the day so that she can take pride in the home we are creating as a family.

Feminine Inspiration from Anne...

"You have such lovely hair, Katherine. Do you mind if I try a new way of doing it?"

Katherine shrugged.

"Oh, go ahead. I suppose my hair does look dreadful.. but I've no time to be always primping. I haven't a party dress. Will my green taffeta do?"

"It will have to do... though green is the one color above all others you should never wear. my Katherine. But you are going to wear a red, pin-tucked chiffon collar I've made for you. Yes, you are. You ought to have a red dress, Katherine."

"I've always hated red. When I went to live with Uncle Henry, Aunt Gertrude always made me wear aprons of bright turkey red. The other children in school used to call out 'Fire,' when I came in with one of those aprons on. Anyway, I can't be bothered with clothes."

"Heaven grant me patience! Clothes are very important," said Anne severely, as she braided and coiled. Then she looked at her work and saw that it was good. She put her arm around Katherine's shoulders and turned her to the mirror.

"Don't you truly think we are a pair of quite good looking girls?" she laughed. "And isn't it really nice to think people will find some pleasure in looking at us? There are so many homely people who would actually look quite attractive if they took a little pains with themselves... I passed the time making people around me beautiful. I gave Mrs. Brent a new nose, I waved Mary Addison's hair and gave Jane Marden's a lemon rinse... I dressed Emma Dill in blue instead of brown... I dressed Charlotte Blair in stripes instead of checks... I removed several moles... and I shaved off Thomas Anderson's long, sandy Piccadilly weepers. You couldn't have known them when I got through with them. And, except perhaps for Mrs. Brent's nose, they could have done everything I did, themselves. Why Katherine your eye's are the color of tea... amber tea. Now, live up to your name this evening... a brook should be sparkling... limpid... merry."

"Katherine gazed at her reflection in the mirror as if rather doubting her identity.

"I do look years younger," she admitted. "You were right... clothes do do things to you. Oh, I know I've been looking older than my age. I didn't care. Why should I? Nobody else cared. And I'm not like you, Anne. Apparently you were born knowing how to live. And I don't know anything about it... not even the ABC. I wonder if it is too late to learn. I've been sarcastic so loing. I don't know if I can be anything else. Sarcasm seemed to me to be the only way I could make any impression on people...

..."Katherine Brooke, look at yourself in that mirror; carry that picture of yourself with you... magnificent hair framing your face instead of trying to pull it backward... eyes sparkling like dark stars... a little flush of excitement on your cheeks.. and you won't feel afraid."

-Lucy Maude Montgomery
Anne of Windy Poplars

Sunday, January 13

January 13th...

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. Really try to stick to my daily routine so that things don't start to pile up.
2. Spend some time primping a bit each morning... I know that I will feel more awake if I do!
3. Spend some time reading my Anne books each day while the babies nap.

4. Complain less.

5. Tidy up all of the closets in the house.

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.

Saturday, January 12


Sunday, January 13th - 9pm EST

Sally Hawkins appears as Anne Elliot, a woman destined for spinsterhood after a proposal eight years earlier. Then her spurned suitor returns.

To view on YouTube, visit here.

Happy One Month Birthday Little Man...

It is hard to believe that it has already been a whole month since our baby was born. He has already become such a huge part of our lives, I can barely remember life without him. While the time he spent at the hospital was really very difficult, it is already a fading memory (as many of you predicted it would be!). Here are twelve things that you should know about our baby:

1. He is 5 lbs 7 ozs. I am pretty pleased with his weight gain since he was 4 lbs 1 oz at birth and only 4lbs 6 ozs when he can home (he lost about 10% of his birth weight before he began to gain).

2. Though he came home on New Year's Eve taking half of his feedings through a bottle and nursing for the other half, he is now nursing for all of his feedings and only getting a little from the bottle to "top him off."

3. He has blonde hair and dark blue eyes.

4. He has outgrown his preemie clothes as far as length goes. He only wore them for a few days!

5. He is 18.5 inches long.

6. He has to go for weekly weigh-ins (like he's a teeny-tiny wrestler!).

7. After eating he falls asleep immediately, but grunts and groans in his sleep for 15 minutes to a half hour. It's cute in the daytime and a little aggravating at night since he sleeps next to me in a co-sleeper.

8. I can usually "silence" him by rubbing his belly for a little bit.

9. He loves to sleep in the swing and cries when it stops.

10. He is just starting to have awake times... though they are few and far between and only for short periods.

11. We bought an Angel Care Baby Monitor for his bed before we brought him home from the hospital. He has only set it off once by sliding off of his sleep positioner. That was an extremely scary moment!

12. His big sister loves to come in and peek at him and say "hi!" It is video camera worthy!

An Orthodox Church Building's Layout...

Several readers mentioned that they would be interested in learning more about the layout of an Orthodox Church. I found a few articles that will explain some of the main parts of an Orthodox Church better than I ever could:

Orthodox Church Building

Holy Doors





If anyone has any more questions, I would be happy to answer them or find the answers someplace else.

How to be a Classic Beauty...

As received in the Besame Cosmetics Newsletter...

1. Classic women never wear highly trendy clothes. They wear classic pieces such as a simple black dress with a striking accessory, a colorful scarf or a set of pearls. Purchase pieces to fill your wardrobe with clothes that will not go out of style next season and truly express who you are.

2. Do not be afraid of strong color: Bright colors selectively placed will make your face more youthful and add more vitality to your look. There is a reason why our ancestors were so enamored with rouge. Select your best feature to highlight and keep the rest of the face light and clean.

3. Your eyes are strong communicators and therefore should be well framed. Invest time to groom your brows correctly. Do this yourself with stencils and tweezers or use a professional to do them for you.

4. How you eat truly shows in your complexion. Raw foods, fruits, and vegetables make skin almost glow from the inside, with a fresh dewy texture that make-up cannot duplicate. Eating well is the best way to maintain your looks, and it does not require investing in any creams or expensive procedures.

5. Follow your hair's natural color and texture to keep styling time to a minimum. Always aim for a shiny, healthy style. Consult a hairdresser to figure out what style will suit your face and be the easiest way to maintain your hair.

6. Keep nails and toenails looking prim and proper. A simple French manicure is always elegant. Lighter shades will coordinate with any outfit.

7. Find the classic colors that look best with your complexion and eye color. For example:

  • Blue Eyes: Dark Blue, Dark Purple, Light Green, Grey-White, Black, Turquoise, Blue-Purple, Dark Red.
  • Brown Eyes: Any Pink, Charcoal, Any Dark Color, Gold, Green.
  • Green Eyes: Green, Dark Red, Dark Blue, Black, Brown, Off-White
8. Look for eye shadow and blush that complement your skin tone. Try plum shades for green eyes, rose for brown and peach for blue. Warm tones complement skin with yellow, peach or olive tones. Cool tones complement skin with pink tones.

9. You can achieve multiple looks with a few colors of lip gloss. These basic colors work well on most women: Beige, Pink, Red, and Clear. Tones of beige for a professional look, pinks and magenta for casual everyday colors, reds for formal occasions, and clear for any other times. A lip liner in a similar tone as your lip gloss applied all over the lips will give the gloss stying power.

10. Smile. Classic women always seem to be in a good mood. Smile to people and you will feel better instantly no matter how your day is going.

Monday, January 7

Book Club: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage...


In the preface of the book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage, the author recounts the story of The Gift of the Magi by O'Henry to illustrate the point that when we love someone, we focus on their needs rather than our wants.

Can you think of a time in your life when your spouse gave you exactly what you needed at the expense of their wants or desires?

Read (or re-read) The Gift of the Magi to get yourself in the mood to give to your spouse.

Extra Credit:
Read The Wife by Washington Irving to get more inspiration in the giving and good attitude department.

Sunday, January 6

From Office Building to Church: Part Nine...

If you peer in through the Royal Doors, you can see the hand-painted Icon that Fr. John and his team hung yesterday. It was originally made for our first church building, but looks better in this one!

Scenes From Our Evening...

Since I never posted any Christmas decoration photos, I figured that I'd better since they are scheduled to start coming down tomorrow!

Mistletoe hanging from the bedpost

A watercolor I painted in college

Our Nativity scene

Our banister

A small wreath hanging from a doorknob

A glittery star ornament on the tree

A poinsettia ornament on the tree

Candlelit dinner for Theophany - complete with nursing mama's bubbly!

Saturday, January 5

Oh. My. Word.

From Office Building to Church: Part Eight...

Though we are officially in the church building for services, there is quite a bit to accomplish still. This week the chandelier was installed, the doors for the Iconostas (the Icons are from Orthodox Images) were built, stained, and attached, curtains were purchased and hung, and Fr. John and some parishioners did a little general tidying, cleaning, and organizing.

The Twelve Days of Christmas...

Since we seem to be part of the rare few who hold off putting up Christmas decorations until about the 20th of December and then wait to take them down until at least January 6th (Theophany or Epiphany), I was pleasantly surprised to see this post on the Twelve Days of Christmas. I plan on printing it out and putting it into one of my boxes of Christmas decorations so that I can remember that I want to begin to really celebrate each of the twelve days of Christmas next year!

Thursday, January 3

Good Ideas in My Inbox...

I signed up for Martha's e-mailed newsletters and was happy to find this great list in my inbox this afternoon. Though I am still trying to figure out how to do more than just feed, clothe, and care for two children in my day, these ideas will be great to implement when I can!

Now is a great time to organize and make a fresh start. Get into the habit of completing these basic tasks each day -- with just a few minutes of work, you can keep chaos at bay.
1. Make the bed

2. Manage clutter

3. Sort the mail

4. Maximize your time in the kitchen: Wash pots and dishes or put them in the dishwasher as you prepare a meal.

5. Wipe up spills while they're fresh: It is faster and easier to remove almost anything if you attend to it immediately.

6. Sweep the kitchen floor each night

Small Luxuries...

  • Freshly laundered sheets
  • Hot showers while your mom watches the babies
  • Naps with a child nestled into either side of you
  • Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Episodes of Jon and Kate, Plus Eight and SuperNanny... some people have it much harder;)

Book Club: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage...

Get your books now... We'll start next week!

P.S. Amazon's used prices are great!
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