Tuesday, October 30

Yarn Along: Jenny and the Cat Club...

This week finds me knitting away on my second Be Loving hat and reading Jenny and the Cat Club to the little ones.  It is very windy and much colder outdoors now, so I am trying to knit quickly so that the children's heads will be warm!  We are spending a lot of time in front of the fire this week which goes well with my three favorite past times:  knitting, reading, and drinking hot chocolate!

What are you knitting and reading?

After the Storm...

Monday, October 29

Hurricane Sandy...

We're still in the midst of Frankenstorm Sandy, but I think that we are through the worst. Thankfully we have only lost one tree so far and have had a little bit of flooding in the church (we expected this and were prepared). Unbelievably, we have yet to loose power (though it is quite possible that we will before morning). Because of the strong wind, we have moved the little ones into our room (which is an interior room of the house) to sleep. God Willing, no more trees will fall.

Please keep our families (and Elizabeth!) in your prayers. They are facing the worst of the storm right now. Also, I found out that Barbara Curtis (I was very influenced by her writings on using Montessori Methods in the home early on in our parenting journey) suffered a massive stroke and it is not likely that she will regain consciousness. Please pray for her and for her family!

Sunday, October 28


Little flourishes, like parsley, make food seem cared for.  They are as practical as lighting candles to change the atmosphere of a room."

Tamar Adler

Saturday, October 27

Prayers During a Hurricane...

O Master, Lord our God, Who by Thy Hypostatic and Unoriginate Word, and Thy life-giving Spirit, Equal-in-honor, hast brought all things out of nothingness into being, Who hast established the sand as bounds to the sea and did set in place the hills and valleys by Thy rule, Who hast measured Heaven with a span and holds the earth in the hollow of Thy hand, Who has given this creation measures and rules, boundaries and compositions, and visible and physical orders, Who also, as Thy gesture, has ineffably put in place changes of time and returns of the sun, and the disclosing of elements, and Who directs them to  an unalterable and unchangeable state:
Do Thou show unto us in this time of storm and tribulation, Thy compassionate love and quickly return the natural order of creation.  Constrain the storm and cut apart the disturbance of the air. Command the winds to render a timely and harmonious breath.  Rebuke the waves of the sea and the river bank floods. Lessen the downpour of rains.  Protect us all in this time of danger and trial.  Remember not our sins and transgressions but be merciful to us and Thy creation.
O Lover of Mankind and Master, by Thine unequaled love for mankind, Who, by Thy good pleasure and the activity of Thy Holy Spirit, did will Thine Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, become  Man and sail together with Thy holy disciples and apostles, Who did rebuke the stormy winds and did command the waves of the sea to be calm; Do Thou Thyself, now, also. soothe every contrary wind, clam the waves of the sea, re-direct flood waters, appease the hurricane and restore the good order of nature.
May Thy Holy Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be glorified, now and always, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Friday, October 26

From House to Church: Installing the Chandelier...

Today we received the chandelier for the center of the church! We decided to order it from New World Byzantine and really like how it looks in our church! Father John and Miguel installed in within a few hours of it's arrival. We can't wait until Sunday to show everyone!

Wednesday, October 24

Rock Painting...

Yesterday was just one of those days when things weren't going well. The little ones were wild, I had a toothache (off to the dentist today!), and we were all out-of-sorts. We were outside milling around looking for something to occupy ourselves when inspiration stuck: rock painting! The older children picked out some rocks they liked while I gathered the paint, brushes, water, and paper. I was surprised how long this activity kept the older two children's attention! Of course it was not perfect (Button smashed a jam jar on the driveway, Little Man painted his hand and arm and stuck his brush into his sister's paint, swirling all of the colors together, and there were copious amounts of whining and crying), but now we have some pretty rocks to use as paperweights and to give as gifts! Sometimes, it is hard to find the joy in the moment, but as I look back on these pictures, I feel so grateful that we made a nice memory even on a hard day.

Yarn Along: Be Loving...

I have finished knitting the three Milo Vests that I have been working on.  I do have to go back and lengthen Button's, but since I cast off already I need to ask for some advice from Monica, the owner of our local knitting shop at her Thursday night Knit Along.  Last night, I cast on my first Be Loving hat.  I am hoping to make three of these, too!  Hopefully, I'll be able to get a lot done today and tomorrow so that I can cast off on Thursday with Monica's help.

We are still listening to Mary Poppins (a little slow going!) and I have just started a new book for myself, The Little Village School.  My mother has already read it and compares it to a modern Miss Read story.  I hope so! 

What are you knitting and reading?

Tuesday, October 23

Nesting Dolls...

I have always loved nesting dolls, but have never gotten around to getting any. Today I was shocked when Father John handed me a gift from an elderly parishioner wrapped in a humble grocery sack. I opened the bag expecting a tin of cookies and found this beautiful set of matryoshka dolls! Each doll has a Russian church painted on it. It is truly the most gorgeous set that I have ever seen. The little ones are completely enchanted by it. For now, I have them up on a high shelf where they shine like a little secret in the living room, but I think that it would be lovely to set them up somewhere more prestigious. Wouldn't it be nice to decorate the mantle with these beauties for Pascha (Easter)?

Monday, October 22

Rice Pudding...

 Through and open window in the kitchen of number 7 Elm Road wafted the smell of vanilla rice pudding and sausages.

"Woof! Woof! Woof!" said the little white dog."

Rosemary Wells

3/4 cup of uncooked rice (we like sushi rice, which is short-grain)
2 cups of milk, divided
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 T. butter, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon for serving

Cook rice in one and a half cups of boiling water, salt, and 1 tablespoon of butter for 20 minutes on low heat.  Add one and a half cups of milk to the cooked rice and cook for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat.  Add sugar, half a cup of milk, and egg (beaten into the milk) to rice.  Cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and one tablespoon of butter.  Serve warm or cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Sunday, October 21

October Beach...


The Reverend Atticus, rector of Barton, surveyed his tea, which had just been placed before him, thorough the thin lenses of small steel-framed spectacles.  In the centre of the plate was a weeping chunk of boiled ham, half a hard-boiled egg with a blob of sickly-looking mayonnaise on top, two circles of dry cucumber, a radish, an over-ripe tomato and a fan-shaped piece of wilting lettuce edged in brown.

'Is there something the matter with your tea, Charles?' asked the vicar's wife.

She was a plain woman with a tong oval face and skin the colour of wax candles on the altar in the church, but her redeeming features were the most striking jade green eyes and her soft Titian hair.

'No, no, my dear,' the vicar replied, raising a smile.  I am sure someone starving in somewhere in the world would be glad of this repast, he thought, but it looked deeply unappetizing to him.  Of course he didn't say anything but picked up his knife and fork.  'I was just thinking,' he said.

'About what?' asked his wife, spearing a radish.

'Oh, what I might make the theme of my sermon on Sunday.'"

Gervase Phinn

Saturday, October 20

For Consideration...

From the Prologue of Ochrid – St. Nikolai of Zicha

We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (II Corinthians 5:1), says the discerning Apostle Paul. All our efforts for God on earth have this purpose: to merit, according to our power, this eternal house in the heavens not made by hands. The Indian King Gundafor decided to build himself a magnificent palace, unlike any other on earth. When Abban, his envoy, sought a skilled craftsman to build the king's palace, he met the Apostle Thomas by God's providence. St. Thomas told him that he was a craftsman, and that no one else could build what the king wanted. Thomas therefore received much gold from the king for the building of this palace. As soon as he departed from the king, he distributed all the gold to the poor. The palace site was some distance from the king's capital, and after two years the king sent servants to ask Thomas if the palace was completed. Thomas replied: “Everything is ready except the roof,” and he sought more money from the king; and the king gave it to him. Again, Thomas distributed it all to the poor, and went throughout the kingdom doing his work, preaching the Gospel. The king, learning that Thomas had not even begun to build the palace, seized him and threw him into prison. That night, the king's brother died, and the king fell into great sorrow. An angel took the soul of the deceased and, leading him through Paradise, showed him a magnificent palace, such as the mind of man could not imagine. The soul of the deceased wished to enter that palace, but the angel told him that he could not, for it was his brother's palace, which the Apostle Thomas had built with his alms. Then the angel returned the brother's soul to his body. When he came to himself, he said to the king: “Swear to me that you will give me anything I ask.” And the king swore. Then the brother said: “Give me the palace that you have in the heavens.” The king was amazed that he had a palace in the heavens. When the brother described everything in detail, the king believed and immediately released Thomas from prison. Then, when he heard the apostle's preaching of salvation and eternal life, the king and his brother were baptized. King Gundafor undertook new works of charity, and built an even more magnificent palace in the heavens for himself.

Friday, October 19


A week or two ago, I bought this little apple peeler contraption at Target.  I have wanted one for years and it took two trips to the store before I actually broke down and bought it.  I really don't like having a million little gadgets cluttering up my kitchen (our toaster broke and it took me 18 months to replace it!), so I wanted to really be sure that I would use the peeler.  Last night, I took it out of the box to make an apple cake that called for three cups of apples.  In just a few minutes I had a tidy heap of apple peels and three cored and spiral cut apples sitting on my cutting board!  Easy!  I don't know why I waited so long...  especially because we love our fruit desserts in this house!

Here are our favorite apple sweets:

Wednesday, October 17

Yarn Along...

I finished up Little Man's Milo last week, and cast on for Button's on Saturday night. Since we went away for a bit and my sisters were here, I made very little progress until I sat down to watch the debate last night. I hope to finish it up by Friday morning.

I'm between books at the moment, but I'm not ashamed to say that I bought Minette's Feast more for myself than for the children. It's a beautiful book that I know will be a favorite for years to come.

Come tell us what you are knitting and reading!

Sunday, October 14


Don't you know that everybody's got a Fairyland of their own?"

P.L. Travers

An Overnight Trip...

All of the sudden, an overnight trip to a nearby city became an option! My favorite part so far is the hotel room! I'm not sure what we will do tomorrow, but it will be fun!

Saturday, October 13

The Icon Corner: The Heart of the Family Church...

Every Sunday, feastday and other holy day, when we go into our parish temple, we see the heart of the parish which is the sanctuary, where the Holy Table is. When we go into an Orthodox home, we hope to see the heart of the family, which is the icon corner.

Just like the sanctuary is the heart of the parish church, the icon corner is the heart of the family church. In the parish church, the parish family prays together before the sanctuary and the iconostas; in the family church, the family prays together before the icon corner.

What is an icon corner? An icon corner is a shelf or table or cabinet, where icons are placed and where a lamp is kept burning. Many people have icons of Jesus Christ, the Theotokos and icons of the patron saints of the family members. There are many ways to set up the icons and the important thing is just to do it. The icon corner doesn't have to be a corner, it can be a wall or other place in the house where the family can go to pray. It is best if the icon corner faces the east, to remind us of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Besides the icons and the lamp, it is traditional for pious Orthodox people to keep a Bible and prayer book, holy water, and blessed bread from church. Many people also have holy oil, the palms or willows from Palm Sunday, and other holy things from the services of the church year. The icon corner can be very simple or very fancy but the main thing is that the icon corner is not just a decoration for the house but that it is the heart of the family and that the family uses it. In many pious Orthodox homes, the icon corner is arranged so that it can actually be used for celebrating the Divine Liturgy, if the priest needs to do this. This reminds us of the history of our Orthodox Faith and that we must always be ready for times when the churches suffer from those who are not believers.

If you do not have an icon corner, ask your priest to help you start one in your home. Members of the family can use it at any time. If you are not able to read the prayers from the prayer book because there is not enough time, then, at least go to the icon corner and ask for God's blessing before beginning whatever it is that you are doing.

Try to begin each day by going to the icon corner and reading the prayers from the prayer book for the morning, take some, holy bread and holy water. In this way, you are getting God's blessing for the new day. If you cannot read the prayers for some reason, still go to the icon corner, make the sign of the cross and take the holy bread and holy water, still asking God to bless the new day.

You will see that the icon corner makes a big difference in your home. When you see the lamp burning, you will remember that God is always near and that the saints are always praying for your family. When you use the icon corner every day, you will see that God is kept close to your heart and mind and this will help you to be closer to Him and His Orthodox Faith.

-From Father John's Sunday Bulletin

Right Now...

The week-end is here and it's calling for lots of hot chocolate, walks in crunchy leaves, knitting, episodes of Call the Midwife, and a nice long visit with my sisters and Lucy!

What are your plans?

Thursday, October 11

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies...

3 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. oatmeal
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.  Cream together butter and sugars.  Add flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda and mix well.  Blend in egg-vanilla mixture, oatmeal, and chocolate chips.  Drop heaping teaspoons onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Wednesday, October 10

Yarn Along...

I have my second Milo Vest  on my needles in a pretty blue color that nearly matches Little Man's eyes! I am knitting it as a size 2T to compensate for the bulky yarn and bigger needles I'm using and I have high hopes that it will be just right and just in time for the blustery weather we've been having (yay!).

We are zipping through a lot of books lately! We just finished These Happy Golden Years, When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six, and Magic Treehouse #3 and #4 over the weekend (long car trips on Saturday and Monday and lots of rain on Sunday) Whew! I'm waiting for The First Four Years to come in at the library (just for me to read) and we started Mary Poppins only yesterday. I am excited to complete the Little House series and I am really enjoying Mary Poppins since I have never read it before!

Come tell us what you are reading and knitting!

Tuesday, October 9

Milo Vest No. 1...

I finished my first Milo Vest last week and though it is not perfect, I can see why mothers knit for their little ones!  It is wonderful to see them wearing something that I made them and have them want to wear it.  I originally knitted this vest for Button.  Since I was using a worsted weight yarn and size eight needles, I knit an 18 month size and even that was too big!  If the vest was for a little girl Button's size, it would have been perfect to wear with a shirt and tights as a little jumper or tunic.  Fortunately, I have two other children though and it fits them just as well! Sugar Plum is modelling it is for this post, but Little Man likes to wear it too!  I have another Milo on the needles now for Little Man (hopefully!).

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