Sunday, January 31

Pizza, Pizza!

One of my favorite foods is pizza. If we go out for it (very rare!), I nearly always opt for a plain pie, but when we make it at home I like it loaded with delicious ingredients. Tonight's toppings were Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, sausage, and broccoli. Yum! Have to get it all in before Great Lent!

What are your favorite toppings?

Fun in the Snow...

Saturday, January 30

Friday, January 29

Pink and Red...

Each January, the desire to fill the house with red and pink is hard to overcome. I love Valentine's Day and adding these splashes of color really brightens things up after the sparkly Christmas tree comes down and the dull gray-brown landscape is in full view from every window.

Cake from earlier in the week

Breakfast Hot Chocolate

Begonias in delicate pinks and greens

Pink paper plates for our House Blessing

Paper napkins to go with the plates

Tuesday, January 26

Setting Up Our Seasonal and Liturgical Shelf...

When we woke up yesterday to whipping wind and pouring rain, I was so happy that we had nowhere to go. For the first time in awhile, I woke up with energy and the desire to do a little re-arranging and nesting. In our old home, we enjoyed a nice little nook for our seasonal and Liturgical shelf, and while I had a home for our seasonal things in this new house (on an end table next to the couch), I just wasn't happy with it. It was neglected and boring. I remembered being inspired by Nicole's farm setup and realized that I could adapt it to work for us since I had the cube shelving that she had (Michael's 50% off coupons!!). Here's what I came up with:

This was the end table where our festivity stand and seasonal items used to reside. I think that the globe, airplane (I just have to keep retrieving it from Little Man every evening;) ), and basket of faux flowers works much better.

This is the whole setup now... it is very similar to how it used to be. I am still thinking about seeing if I can find two more baskets to fit in the last two cubes. We have the dollhouse and farm in the nursery right now and will switch the castle with them every so often to keep things fresh and intersting.

The castle. This can be taken off and set up different ways.

Our Eskimo family, a gift from a dear friend. Since Fr John was born in Alaska, it means a lot to us!

Horses and Hay (pompoms!)

The well, dragon, and rear door of the castle. We thought it looked a little like a church, so that is what the little ones pretend that it is!

The Liturgical and Seasonal Shelf... it is a little bare right now, but I really like that it is eye level with the children. Little Man is particularly smitten with it. I am looking forward to getting some things from our walks on the shelves. We have St Joseph, the Theotokos (Mary), and the Christ Child there since it is nearly the feast of the Meeting of the Lord (February 2nd).

Now, onto the vacuuming!

Monday, January 25

Commitment to Loveliness: No 52...

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. Experiment with pretty hairstyles for Sugar Plum... watching Emma last night and seeing a few little girls with simple yet pretty hair, has encouraged me to try this out!
2. Purchase some pretty flowers for the table.
3. Renew efforts to wear hair down and put on a little makeup each morning.
4. Decorate a little for Valentine's Day - now that the Christmas tree is down, things are looking a little bleak around here! I am eager to see what I can come up with for the mantle.

5. Grumble and sigh less!

Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and let us know in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

Saturday, January 23

Emma on PBS...

The first of this three part mini-series will start this Sunday night! Check your local PBS listings!

Bonnet Tip: By Sun and Candlelight

Edited to Add: PBS will be posting Emma on their website so that people can view it online.

Friday, January 22

Announcing Baby Number Three!

Fr John and I were so happy to find out that we are expecting our third little one! We've known for awhile, but like to wait to announce our pregnancies until the twelfth week. God willing, everything will go smoothly with this little one! Please keep us all in your prayers.

Broadcast of the March for Life...

The March for Life will be broadcast today on EWTN at 12 noon EST. Metropolitan Jonah will be the first speaker at the rally!

Edited to Add: It is 12:53 pm, and Metropolitan Jonah still hasn't spoken. Maybe they meant that he'd be the first religious leader to speak (those haven't started yet). Tune in if you have the chance!

Monday, January 18

Famous Rapper Sings About Abortion...

Flipsyde is a group that has toured with Fort Minor, The Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg and on the Anger Management Tour. Two of their songs have been the theme songs for the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2008 Summer Olympics. It is good to see young and very talented artists standing up for the unborn.

Reposted from last February.

Sunday, January 17

Sanctity of Life Sunday - January 24th, 2010..

January 24, 2010
Sanctity of Life Sunday

To the Venerable Hierarchs, Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America

Dearly Beloved in Christ:

As Orthodox Christians, we strongly affirm the value and sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception to the final breath one takes. This affirmation is theologically based, in that each person bears within him or her self the image of God, and has the potential to fulfill that image by likening him/herself to God. To artificially terminate life is to transgress on that which is holy; it is unthinkable, a grave sin.

Every one of our churches and our homes bear the image of the infant Christ cradled in the arms of His Mother, an image that is supremely human, and supremely divine. It is the image of divine Motherhood, that the Son of God was conceived, borne and nurtured by His Most Pure Mother. God is thus revealed in the Motherhood of the Virgin; bearing us in Her holy embrace of love. This image also reveals God's love for us, that he became like us in every way--a fetus in His Mother's womb, an infant in Her arms, a little child. God has sanctified every aspect of human life, becoming what we are that He might make us like Himself.

As Orthodox, every aspect of our lives is iconic. Every child is an image of the Christ Child, every person an image of God. Each bears infinite potential to attain to the Likeness, to sainthood, to holiness. Marriage also is an icon, as the union of man and woman in the flesh blessed by God, and bringing forth the fruit of children, is an image of our union with one another in Christ in the Kingdom.

Christian marriage and family are the sacred context not only for the rearing of children, but as the basic core of our identity and reference point of stability. The family is the place where we are nurtured and accepted, find solace and consolation, and thus the faithful family becomes the place where these very human emotions and feelings are filled with grace and sanctified. Whether we are very young or very old, the family is the context of our life, in which we work out our salvation. We experience God's Fatherhood, and divine Motherhood; we experience the nurturing love which becomes a participation in divine communion. And as we breathe our last, should we not remember the image of the crucified Christ, carried in the arms of his mother, in her grief, the grief of every mother for her child?

We affirm the sanctity of life, made holy by the incarnation of the Christ. We affirm that every stage of our life has been sanctified. We affirm marriage of one man and one woman as the foundation of the family, the image of our union with God, and the means of sanctifying the lives of all members of that family by the grace of love and divine communion.

These are desperate times. Our society is in despair. It is a despair that manifests itself in the breakdown of essential relationships, of marriage and family. Continued unemployment leads to hopelessness, and the breakdown of trust that one is able to provide; this leads to the breakdown of marriages, and the bitterness that goes with it. Returning soldiers, with posttraumatic stress just below the surface, enter into relationships that often turn brutal and abusive. Marriage, and the very family itself are in question, with the issue of homosexual unions. The majority of marriages end in divorce, and the majority of children grow up without fathers or mothers; and how many pregnancies end in abortion? Despair is the primary context which could make it even possible for a mother to destroy her unborn child.

We offer, always, the way to healing and reconciliation for those who have fallen short and fallen into sin, in an embrace of love. We offer hope to those who have lost hope through the guilt of sin. We offer consolation to those in sorrow. We offer support and guidance to build families that work out their salvation together, and become the rock and foundation of our culture. Through these things, re-incarnating Christ's love and redemption in hearts, in real faces, in institutions of concrete service and healing, we offer hope to our people, our culture, our society, and through that hope, joy as we see God reborn in our lives and in those of all around us.

Yours in Christ,

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Saturday, January 16

The Making of a Saint...

Bonnet-Tip: Orthodox Mom

A Pocketful of Seeds...

When the package with A Pocketful of Seeds arrived, I eagerly ripped into the envelope. I have been reading Sylvia's blog, Adventures of an Orthodox Mom for nearly two years now and couldn't wait to see her first children's book! My excitement was justified! It is a beautiful book full of Orthodox Spirituality for children.

The story is told from the perspective of a young boy who is living through a war evacuation and is separated from his family. He meets a holy monk named Papouli and they begin traveling together planting seeds all across the land despite harsh conditions and opposition from the people they encounter.

Both young and old will enjoy this beautiful story of love, perseverance, and forgiveness. Our daughter was especially taken by the beauty of A Pocketful of Seeds. She has requested we read this book aloud over and over for weeks now. Since both Father John and I both enjoy the story, we are happy to oblige! A Pocketful of Seeds is one book that will always have a home on our shelf!


A Pocketful of Seeds was recently honored by being read by Dr. Chrissi Hart on her radio program, Under the Grapevine. Listen to Program 129 when you have a chance!

Tuesday, January 12

Saturday, January 9

The Napping House...

Naptime is just about the best part of my day. I love slipping under a blanket with a bunch of books and two wriggling little ones on either side. Recently, our eldest has begun to not need naptime on a daily basis. Because of this, Little Man and I have been laying down together while she does puzzles and looks at books. I relish these moments with my little guy. He cuddles right up and hugs me as he drifts off to Dreamland. It reminds me so much of those short months when kangaroo care was the way we did things around here.

Friday, January 1

The Seventh Day of Christmas...

Happy New Year!

May 2010 be a year of blessings for you and your family!

The Sixth Day of Christmas...

Yet another feasting favorite was served tonight, Cottage Cafe Chicken!

chicken breast, butterflied
2 slices of ham for each piece of chicken
sauteed mushrooms
Cheddar cheese
Monterrey Jack cheese
garlic powder

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean, slice and saute a box of mushrooms in a bit of butter. Butterfly the chicken breast and grate the Cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses. Melt a tablespoon or two of butter and coat the bottom of a large, oven-proof pan. Place the chicken breast into the buttered pan. Sprinkle a little bit of the Jack cheese on top. Place two piece of ham on top of each piece of chicken. Sprinkle on a little Cheddar cheese. Spoon the mushrooms on top of each piece. Top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic power over everything. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until juices run clear. This dish is wonderful served with a baked potato topped with sour cream and chives!

The Fifth Day of Christmas...

Today was the first day that I had the chance to cook foods that we really wanted to eat! After a huge grocery trip with Little Man, we made one of our favorites, Beef Stroganoff. Here's the recipe, adapted from Joy of Cooking:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of beef tenderloin
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 stick of butter
3 T. all-purpose flour
3 c. beef stock heated to a simmer
1 medium onion
9 T. sour cream
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 box of mushrooms
egg noodles

Cut beef tenderloin into thin strips. Dice onion. Melt 1 T. of butter in a pan and add beef tenderloin, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the meat as desired (our family cooks it all the way through). Clean and slice mushrooms. Melt 1 T. of butter in another pan and saute. Melt 4 1/2 T. of butter in saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add beef stock and and whisk constantly for 3 -4 minutes to prevent lumps. Simmer until sauce is smooth and thickened. Add 9 T. of sour cream and whisk. Put in the Dijon mustard and whisk. Add sauteed mushrooms and beef tenderloin and stir. Prepare egg noodles according the the package directions. Put a bed of noodles on each plate and spoon beef stroganoff on top. Serve hot.

The Fourth Day of Christmas...

The new camera lens was ordered! I can't wait until it comes!

The Third Day of Christmas...

On our way to a family Christmas party, we made a stop at Rockefeller Center and saw the Christmas tree, ice skaters and Saint Patrick's Cathedral. It was the first time in years that we've been, and though it was SO crowded, it was worth it! The best part of the day was seeing our family though! We miss them so much!

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