Wednesday, July 31

Yarn Along: Shale Blanket...

This past week I was able to start and finish Miss Maggie Rabbit's little knitted dress and last night I cast off of my Seashore Cowl.  I know that I messed up the stretchy cast off for the cowl and I may try again once I see how it blocks.  I plan to wear it only as a cowl though, so how well it stretches may not really be an issue.  I cast on for a Shale Baby Blanket (though I am aiming for a lap blanket for long winter evenings by the fire) and it is a very easy pattern once you get into it.  I'm only a little in and I am still really having to concentrate, but I am hopeful that as I go along it will be a good knit to work on while I sit with my husband after the little ones go to bed.

I have only read the very first few chapters of The Shell Seekers.  It has drawn me right in again like I had hoped it would, but there was just been too much going on this past week to get much reading done.  This week I will bury myself in Pilcher's story!

Saturday, July 27

Summer Camp: Day Six...

We took a trip to the farmer's market today!  I bought yellow plums (so delicious!) and a large bouquet of flowers (so beautiful!).  We had lunch at a little local restaurant and spent a little time trading off shopping by ourselves and watching the little ones play at a bookshop on the boardwalk.  After Vespers, we ate tortellini and meat sauce and crusty bread with butter.  We watched Jane Eyre and finished up Maggie Rabbit's knitted dress...  I can't believe that we were able to complete Maggie before our little summer camp finished!

Friday, July 26

Summer Camp: Day Five...

Oh how we needed a quiet day!  We began the day with an akathist to Saint Jacob of Alaska We took the little ones for a short ride to see a little town that was only a few minutes away, but even that was too much!  We turned around almost as soon as we got there and drove back to just spend the day at home playing and swimming.  After bedtime, Kate and I were able to stitch Miss Maggie Rabbit together and add the elastic to her dress while we watched The Magic of Ordinary Days and ate Chipotle (multitasking at it's finest!)

Thursday, July 25

Summer Camp: Day Four...

Thursday was a big day!  The three mamas packed up the little ones and took a trip to watch the auction of wild ponies!  We got to see a few ponies sold to be returned to the wild which was really neat.  The island that we visited had a lot more to offer than what we were able to see in a few hours, but it what we got to do was fun (of course we visited the island's yarn shop!) and I'm hoping that the children and I will get to take Father John for a visit in the autumn.  We were very fortunate with the weather since it was overcast and cool all day (we even needed sweaters!).  Once we got home and fed everyone (a simple supper of tacos), the mothers settled down to squares of freshly baked brownies, Possession, and knitting.  The Little Knitted Dress for Miss Maggie Rabbit has knitted up so quickly...  I can see more knitted doll clothes in my future!

Wednesday, July 24

Summer Camp: Day Three...

Wednesday was quiet for the most part.  We took a little trip to the boardwalk to browse in a yarn shop that overlooks the ocean, but since it was a very short drive and walk for the little ones, it wasn't overwhelming.  Kate's friend arrived for a visit with her small son and so we ended up having a slumber party!  We visited and stitched Miss Maggie Rabbit once the little ones were all in dreamland and now all that is left to do is to stitch her arms and legs on, embroider her nose, and finish a few other little details.

Yarn Along: The Shell Seekers...

Now that I am working on Miss Maggie Rabbit, I had to get out the needles and yarn to make her a dress!  I am hopeful that it will be a quick little knit!  I must finish several things that I have on the needles this week while my sister is here to give me advice!

I popped into the library yesterday to get The Shell Seekers.  I'm not sure when I will be able to crack it open, but I hope that it will be soon!  I really enjoyed the tale when I read it a few years ago!

Summer Camp: Day Two...

Though it didn't seem like it when we planned it, day two of our little summer camp was a busy one!  We began the day with a trip to the dentist for cleanings for all of my little ones and a stop at Hobby Lobby to get a few odds and ends we needed for the crafts that we have planned for this week.  After a little break at home, we all headed over to our favorite yarn shop so that Auntie Kate could take a spinning wheel class to perfect some of her yarn spinning techniques.  We also were able to buy some wool stuffing for our Miss Maggie Rabbits!  On the spur of the moment, we treated the little ones to ice cream while the mamas took turns browsing in a different yarn shop nearby.  Fun!  After swimming, dinner, tidying, and bedtime for tired little ones, Kate busted out the sewing machine and whipped up three little dresses for the rabbits that we are making.  In a final burst of energy, we were also able to stitch Miss Maggie's face together and get her ears attached.  A quiet home day is planned for tomorrow to make up for all of the coming and going that we did the past two days.  It should be very relaxing!

Monday, July 22

Summer Camp: Day One...

Kate and I have been planning a week of fun for months now and it has finally begun!  Our first activity was visiting a local quilt store where we gave each other time to browse and shop solo while one mama stayed with the little ones outside.  Afterward, there was a little knitting (dropped stitch repairing, too!), some swift and ball winding practice, and swimming.  Dinner was a combination we've never tried:  pulled pork topped with our great-grandmother's recipe for coleslaw on a delicious roll...  Yum!  Once the dishes were done and the children were tucked in (hopefully for the night!), we pulled out the Miss Maggie Rabbit kits that we have been saving since Mother's Day.  We plan to do a bit each evening and hopefully finish before Sunday afternoon, and so tonight we got everything cut out and Miss Maggie's face embroidered on.  There is so much planned for this week!  I cannot wait to tell you all about it!

Sunday, July 21


Meanwhile the girls were helping Mrs. Beaver to fill the kettle and lay the table and cut the bread and put the plates in the oven to heat and draw a huge jug of beer for Mr. Beaver from a barrel which stood in one corner of the house, and to put on the frying-pan and get the dripping hot.  Lucy thought the Beavers had a very snug little home though it was not at all like Mr. Tumnus's cave.  There were no books or pictures, and instead of beds there were bunks, like on board ship, built into the wall.  And there were hams and strings of onions hanging from the roof, and against the walls were gum boots and oilskins and hatchets and pairs of sears and spades and trowels and things for carrying mortar in and fishing-rods and fishing-nets and sacks.  And the cloth on the table, though very clean, was very rough."

C.S. Lewis

Saturday, July 20

How to Pray When You're Not in a Good Mood...

"When our soul’s not in a good mood and we can’t make prostrations, we should just say the Jesus prayer standing, or read or pray or do whatever we find appealing. When a child’s got no appetite, you can’t force him to eat. You give him whatever he wants. But afterwards, when he’s feeling better, you can feed him broccoli. That’s how it is with the soul. The whole heart has to participate in prayer. Spiritual labors need to come from the heart."
- Elder Paisios the Athonite

Friday, July 19

Festal Learning Basket: Saint Seraphim of Sarov...


Place an Icon of Saint Seraphim in a prominent place.  It would be nice to add one to the centerpiece on the dining room table, on your feastday table, or in the icon corner.  You can also add some toy bears to your centerpiece in honor of Saint Seraphim!

 Add a vase of flowers to the icon corner and/or feast day table

Sing Saint Seraphim's Troparion before meals

Bake Russian Tea Cakes for dessert 

Take a hike in the woods and notice all the little animals and plants in honor of Saint Seraphim who prayed in the forest.

Replenish your medicine cabinet with bandages, salves, and medicines to fix up cuts (Saint Seraphim was known for healing people)


Acquire a peaceful spirit and then thousands of souls around you will be saved."

Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Thursday, July 18

Favorite Things...

Not too long ago, I came upon the blog Assortment, which is written by a woman who lives with her family of five in a cabin that is 665 square feet.  I really enjoy all the posts that she writes, but my favorite ones are about their living space.  In her kitchen tour post, I loved to see all of the ways that she organized her pots, pans, dishes, and utensils.  When I came to the photograph with her Corelleware, I was completely amazed by how she stored everything so tidily! My Corelleware is always a hodgepodge of precariously stacked lids and dishes and I was always nervous that something would come tumbling down when I opened the cupboard door.  Learning to to stack the dish with the inverted lid and then putting the smaller one on top was revolutionary for me!  I love to peek into this cabinet now...  off to conquer the pots and pans and baking sheets!

Wednesday, July 17

Yarn Along: Simplicity Parenting...

Nothing is new on the knitting front.  I am still working on my Seashore Cowl but have made very little progress...  instead of knitting, I have been reading Simplicity Parenting for the umpteenth time and going to sleep by 10:30.  A certain three-year-old, who shall remain nameless, has not been sleeping well at night.  If I don't cease being a night-owl while he goes through this phase, I would not be able to get through the day!  

Tuesday, July 16

Dessi Jackson...

A few days ago, Dessi linked to two of her articles from Seton Magazine (I have a love for Elizabeth Ann Seton since I went to Mother Seton High School and The College of Saint Elizabeth!) in a comment on one of my posts on the importance of being home:

I wanted to point them out to you because they are beautifully written and fortunately for us, she has quite a few articles to peruse!  I plan on printing them out to enjoy as encouraging bedtime reading!

Monday, July 15

Our Favorite Toy Shops...

I am often asked where the toys that we have come from, and so I thought that I would put together a little list of shops that I really like.  I plan on adding to this post if I think of anything else.

The Wooden Wagon
Our favorite purchases from here include Ostheimer figures, wooden swords and shields, and knitting forks

Imagination Childhood
 Many of our nature toys come from this shop.  The children really like their bug house, window birdfeeder, potholder loom, and plant press

Nova Natural
 Several of our amber necklaces were purchased through Nova.  I also spent a little birthday money to buy seasonal and fairytale postcards to display a few years ago.  The most recent thing that we've gotten from this site is a crossbow for our daughter's birthday (she requested the crossbow and an apron, which I think is so cute!) and it is a huge hit!

We have a few sets of knitted play food that we bought after the paint on some wooden food we had started to chip and peel

I also use Amazon quite a bit and we are fortunate to have a local toy store that we really like. In addition, I have gotten many of our toys gently used.


Here are a few other posts that I have written on the subject of toys:
Toys to Build Imagination

9 Ways to Help Spark Your Child's Imagination


Sunday, July 14


Lucy thought that she had never been in a nicer place.  It was a little, dry, clean cave of reddish stone with a carpet on the floor and two little chairs ("one for me and one for a friend," said Mr. Tumnus) and a table and a dresser and a mantelpiece over the fire and above that a picture of an old Faun with a gray beard.  In one corner there was a door which Lucy thought must lead to Mr. Tumnus's bedroom, and on one wall was a shelf full of books.  Lucy looked at these while he was setting out the tea things.  They had titles like The Life and Letters of Silenus or Nymphs and Their Ways or Men, Monks, and Gamekeepers; a study in Popular Legend or Is Man a Myth?"

C.S. Lewis

Saturday, July 13

The Significance of Liturgical Colors...

What is the significance of liturgical colors?

Anyone who has at least once attended an Orthodox service, has most likely noticed the beauty and festivity of the vestments. The diversity of colors is an inalienable part of the liturgical-church symbolism, a way of affecting those praying. Bright and radiant vestments convey the joy and exultation of God’s beauty and greatness, while dark vestments instill within us a sense of repentance and the need to return to God.
Since ancient times, the liturgical books have offered flexibility in liturgical color, only specifying whether the vestments worn for a particular feast or season should be light or dark. This has led to various local practices over the years. In the contemporary practice common to many parishes of the Orthodox Church in America, there are six basic color groups.

WHITE is used for Pascha, Nativity, Theophany, Ascension, and Transfiguration.

PURPLE is used for Great Lent (in some places black is used for Clean Week and Holy 

GREEN for Palm Sunday, Pentecost, and monastic saints.

BLUE for feasts of the Mother of God.

RED for feasts of the Holy Cross , St. John the Baptist, martyrs, and for every day of the Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast (except during one of the Great Feasts of the Lord or Theotokos).

GOLD is used when no other color is called for as it conveys the riches and glory of God’s Kingdom.

The color of the feast is worn from the vigil the night before the feastday until the leave-taking of the feast, the final day of the festal season. The length of these post-feasts vary, and are given in the liturgical calendar and rubrics. Generally speaking, there is a post-feast of about a week for each of the twelve major feasts.
Finally, special services like funerals, marriages, and baptisms are usually served either in white, gold, or the color of the lenten or festal season.

Friday, July 12

A Deluge...

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

It has been a rainy week and so we've spent more time in our playroom that usual for this time of year.  We finally hung up the little chalkboard I've had leaning against the wall since we moved in (19 months ago already!).  I was tired of worrying that it would fall down and smash.  I have quite a stack of other things to hang, but I think that they will have to wait since we've just discovered that the leak in the church we thought that we had fixed at the end of Great Lent actually isn't.  That's a large project for Father John and he's falling behind significantly in his other work (which I thank God for, since it means that his business is doing well!).

It's hard to believe, but I've started to think about the books and materials that I need to get for September (we'll be doing kindergarten and second grade this year) and how to organize things a bit for that.  I'm beginning to think that we'll really have to have more of a plan for our days so that we can fit everything in for both children, while leaving room for the attention our energetic three-year-old is sure to demand. 

 I really hope to have space to make plans to do things out an about one morning...  it's quiet at the zoo and library before little ones are let out from school each day.  I do have to say though that I'm really seeing the benefit of being home more often than out.  I'm feeling the urge to read Simplicity Parenting again to try to apply some of the tricks of the trade that I used when the older two children were smaller.  I'm really feeling the need to cut down on going out with the children, take the media exposure down a notch, and implement some quiet time each day. 

It's nice to have these rainy days to work some of these things out in my head.  A lot of it just has to do with me being able to keep the resolutions that I have for our family without letting a rough night or laziness get in the way.  What are you thinking about these days?  How do you keep yourself on track when you're trying to make some changes in your lifestyle?

Greek Potatoes...

Earlier this week, I wanted something different for a side dish.  My mother-in-law makes delicious Greek potatoes for festive occasions, so I decided to look for a recipe like that to serve.  I found Bobby Flay's version of Greek Potatoes and decided to go for it!

I made a couple of changes to his recipe based on what I had and they were so good that I have a second batch baking in the oven for lunch today!  


Greek Potatoes

1 cup of olive oil
The juice from three lemons
1/2 cup vegetable broth   
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsely
Salt and pepper to taste
3 lbs russet potatoes, cut into thin wedges (I aimed for eight wedges per potato)

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.  

Whisk olive oil, lemon, onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth in a large bowl.  Cut potatoes into wedges and toss them with the olive oil mixture.  Spread potatoes and olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet evenly.  

Roast 45 minutes or until tender and golden brown, tossing with a spatula every five to ten minutes.  Serve hot.

Wednesday, July 10


Yarn Along: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe...

I am on the last leg of the Seashore Cowl which is exciting.  I am being tormented by some gorgeous new yarn that arrived in my mailbox a week or so ago and I can't wait to get that on the needles!  

We're reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe together and enjoying it!  I want to start reading The Shell Seekers again now that my sister is breezing through it and enticing me with quotes from the book on her blog, but first I must finish Leaving Cold Sassy.  I've completed reading all that the author had written when she died and now I am working through her biography.

Tuesday, July 9

Black Raspberries...

I'm not really a fan of raspberries, but my children love them!  A little near-by farm has black raspberries growing for U-Pick and so we spent a few minutes wandering through the canes yesterday morning before it got too hot.  The little ones have been eating them by the handful, but I was able to give them each a bowl of the little black jewels topped with whipped cream as a little after dinner treat before the colander was empty!
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