Thursday, February 25

This Week's PreSanctified Menu...

Michelle M.'s Lentil Soup (this got rave reviews and requests for the recipe!)

Salsa and Chips (it was National Tortilla Chip Day, after all!)

Fruit Salad (made with strawberries, pineapple, and grapes)

Just So You Know...

Last night, we were all lying in bed waiting for sleep to come. Papa asked Sugar Plum what kind of baby was in my belly - a kitten or a puppy? Indignantly, she replied, "Papa, we're having a skin baby! Just like us!"

Wednesday, February 24


I haven't gone to get my haircut since July 2008... that is a long time even for me! My hair was getting scraggly at the ends and I always get the urge to get a makeover around my birthday. I didn't really have anything in mind, but I went to a lady that I knew I could trust. I just told her that I wanted the natural curl in my hair to come out and that I didn't want it cut too short. She gave me lots of layers and instructions to scrunch, scrunch, scrunch. Unlike last time, I am very happy!

P.S. Don't look to closely at the top of my head... lots o' gray!

It's Been Awhile...

I'm sorry that I have been so absent from this blog. We've been doing well and not much is new. Great Lent has been going pretty well for us, though it has not been without its challenges. Nighttime services have been very hard for the little ones this year. The past few months we have been in such a groove with dinner, bath time, reading, prayers, and bed by 7:30 - 8:00. With weekday evening church services beginning at 7pm, everything was topsy-turvy for the little ones. Bath before dinner, no nighttime reading, sleep not coming until 9 or 10... Fortunately, nap time has remained the same (and Sugar Plum is sleeping again!!), so that really helps.

For now, we are just enjoying more time at home. We've become quite the crafting family... we actually are out of construction paper and scrap paper and have had to resort to Papa's printer paper! Markers are drying up, paint bottles are empty, glitter is dwindling (thankfully!!) etc. Our fridge has never looked better!

I hope that your last few weeks have been going well!

Friday, February 19

Hungry Hordes...

Tonight is the first Presanctified Liturgy of the year. Hopefully, minestrone soup, tossed salad, bread, and dump cake (from our Letters of Grace curriculum) will be enough! Somehow, I don't think I'll be taking home any leftovers... no matter how bad the food is!

Monday, February 15

Great Lent for Little Ones...

Last year, we created a Lenten calender to mark the days of Great Lent (the idea came from Jessica). This year, we are going to do things a little differently. While I liked the calendar to see where we were in the fast, we always forgot to do the stickers for each activity and church service. This year, I am going to keep things simple. We are going to work on three things daily this Great Lent: prayer (by learning a short prayer by heart - this is mostly for Sugar Plum since she is old enough), fasting (by placing one favorite food- one per child- into a basket each day and then emptying the basket in our church's food pantry box each Sunday before Liturgy), and almsgiving (by adding coins to a bank each day and emptying them into our church's poor box each Sunday before Liturgy). These are all simple ideas that I am hoping that I can follow through on that will hopefully help our little ones these next six or seven weeks.

I would love to hear about anything that you are doing with your little ones this holy time of year.

Also, if you are not Orthodox and are wondering what I am talking about, you can learn about Great Lent here and find out why Orthodox Christians fast, here.

Friday, February 12

Lenten Cleaning...

February 15th: Master Bathroom
February 16th: Master Bathroom Drawers and Cabinets
February 17th: Family Closet
February 18th: Family Closet (Shelving for Linens)
February 19th: Dressers
February 20th: Saturday
February 21st: Sunday
February 22nd: Master Bedroom
February 23rd: Nursery Bathroom
February 24th: Laundry Room
February 25th: Toy Closet
February 26th: Nursery and Closet
February 27th: Saturday
February 28th: Sunday
March 1st: Hallway and Steps
March 2nd: Entrance
March 3rd: Loft and Guest Bedroom
March 4th: Living Room
March 5th: Craft Cupboard
March 6th: Saturday
March 7th: Sunday
March 8th: Playroom
March 9th: Dining Room
March 10th: Baseboards
March 11th: Glass Doors and Windows
March 12th: Kitchen Counters and Decor
March 13th: Saturday
March 14th: Sunday
March 15th: Pantry and Microwave
March 16th: Freezer and Refrigerator
March 17th: Stove and Oven
March 18th: Drawers and Cabinets
March 19th: Put Out Spring Decorations
March 20th: Saturday
March 21st: Sunday
March 22nd: Desk
March 23rd: Paschal Shopping (Clothing, Children's Paschal Baskets, Paschal Egg Hunt)
March 24th: Garage
March 25th: Front Porch and Deck
March 26th: Clean Car
March 27th: Saturday
March 28th: Sunday
March 29th: Back Porch
March 30th: Plan Paschal Clothing and Quick Clean of the House
March 31st: Paschal Baskets and Clean Garbage Cans
April 1st: Flowers for Hanging Baskets and Mulch Flower Beds
April 2nd: Launder Spring Bedding
April 3rd: Great and Holy Saturday
April 4th: Pascha!!

I'd love to see your spring cleaning plans if you have any!

Valentine Dots...

This is the second year that we've made Elizabeth's Valentine Dots. They are delicious, easy, and the recipe is totally toddler friendly! I love how they look in my great-grandmother's butter dish, too!

Thursday, February 11

Cheesy Bean Dip...

This dip doesn't look very appetizing, but it is so, so good!!

Cheesy Bean Dip

1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1/2 (2 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 (8 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix in the refried beans, taco seasoning, parsley, green onions, 1/2 the Cheddar cheese and 1/2 the Monterey Jack cheese. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Spread salsa over bean mixture. Top with remaining Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned.

Wednesday, February 10

Pregnancy Update - 14 Weeks...

We went in for our third doctor visit for this pregnancy yesterday, and everything is looking good. We got to hear the heartbeat for the first time and planned for our next visit which is in two weeks. Starting at 16 weeks and ending at 32 weeks, we will have one visit each week for a check-up and a shot (17 Alpha Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate) which will hopefully keep our risk of delivering early at bay. If you have had these shots, will you tell me how they worked for you? Thanks!

Oh, the little lamb and gray blanket were gifts for this baby from my sister, Anna! I love having a few new things for each child... this poor babe will have all hand-me-down clothing and baby gear, so treats like these are so much fun!

Inspiration Garlands...

I was so inspired by Emily's seasonal banner last month (scroll down to January 26th, 2010 to see the post). I decided to make two for our playroom. This was the perfect time to make them in our house since we have a ton a beautiful postcards from my sister's recent trip to Paris, France and London and Oxford, England. I really love how they turned out and I think that it will be fun to gather pretty things for these ever month or so.

Egg Salad Sandwiches...

We were in need of a little something different for lunch today, and egg salad sounded really good! Normally, I only make egg salad and deviled eggs after Pascha (Easter) to use up the multitude of eggs we always seem to have left over from the Paschal Liturgy. It was big hit today though, so I think that I will try to make it more often!

Friday, February 5

Fr John on Blood Oranges...

Fr. John came home late tonight from a house blessing and began fixing himself a plate for dinner. He grabbed the last orange from the fruit bowl , took a knife, and cut the orange in half letting out a little yelp as he saw the inside. Thinking he cut himself, I ran over. He showed me the orange and stated, "It's like cutting into a horror film!"

I am still laughing!

Thursday, February 4

The Blue Bedroom...

"Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more 'scope for imagination' without them... Oh, dreams will be very sweet now."
Lucy Maude Montgomery

Wednesday, February 3

Painting Our Bedroom...

My husband surprised me yesterday by suggesting that we go to Lowes to buy paint for our bedroom. We chose a pale blue which I really like with the wood and our white duvet. I love sprucing things up with paint... it is relatively cheap (though a little time consuming) and gives a room an instant face lift!

Tuesday, February 2

The Meeting of the Lord...

The Prayer of Saint Simeon the God-Receiver
Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace,
according to Thy Word,
for my eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples-
a Light to enlighten the Gentiles,
and the Glory of Thy people Israel.
To learn more about this Great Feast, please visit here.

Monday, February 1

Preparing for the Meeting of the Lord...

O Lord Jesus Christ, the True Light that enlighteneth every man that comes into the world: Do Thou pour out Thy blessing upon these candles, and sanctify them with the light of Thy grace. And be pleased, O Merciful One, that as these lights, kindled with visible fire, drive away the darkness of night, so may our hearts, kindled with invisible fire, and illumined with the brightness of the Holy Spirit, banish the blindness of every sin, that, by the cleansing of our spiritual eyes, we may be able to see that which is well-pleasing unto Thee and necessary for our salvation; and that having triumphed over the dark forces of this world, we may be counted worthy to attain to the everlasting Light. For Thou art our Savior, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thy Father Who is without beginning, and Thy Most-holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

-The Great Book of Needs-
Taken from The Order for the Blessing of Candles on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord
February 2nd

Saint Brigid...

February 1st is the commemoration of the Irish saint, Saint Brigid. Last year, I wrote a review of Jane G. Meyer's book, The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare. It is a gorgeous book and I hope that if you haven't read it, you will. Dr. Chrissi Hart read the book for her radio program Under the Grapevine, so you can listen to it if you don't have a copy of the book. I was excited to celebrate this feast with the children today since I knew nothing about St. Brigid before reading the book and had never celebrated her feast.

We baked a loaf of Irish Soda Bread with Raisins this morning... YUM! It is very similar to the bread that we served at an Irish Pub I waitressed in during college.

I also made a St Brigid Cross using directions I found on Bethany's blog and pipe cleaners (thanks for the idea, Mary!). The directions are quite easy to follow and using the pipe cleaners made it even less difficult to create the cross. I think this is a craft that even pre-schoolers could do with a little help.

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