Wednesday, December 31
Home again, home again jiggity jig! We had everything unpacked from our little three day trip in record time this afternoon. After getting everyone settled with something to do and throwing in a load of laundry, I zipped out for some special food for tonight and New Year's Day. We're all looking forward to some yummy treats and a little relaxation tomorrow! Happy New Year!!
Tuesday, December 30
Monday, December 29
Saturday, December 27
Sugar Plum and I baked a batch of blueberry muffins this morning. By the time they were out of the oven, the winter sunlight was pouring onto the breakfast table beautifully. I love when tulips start to flop over out of the vase and with the light just so, it made our meal seem quite festive.
We took a break from lolling around with our new toys, books, and Christmas movies and spent a little time at the playground after lunch. It was amazing for December - 60 degrees! The little ones even ran around sans coats. the temperature will be more wintry this coming week, so I am glad that we took advantage of a warm day!
With Christmas day falling midweek, it is kind of hard to believe that Sunday is already here!
Friday, December 26
I was happy to find out that Sparkle Stories had created a new little series of twelve stories for The Twelve Days of Christmas. We spent about an hour in the playroom listening to the first story after dinner tonight while the boys played with their cars and Sugar Plum drew. It's a nice story-within-a-story and we are already looking forward to tomorrow's installment.
Did you get to watch the Call the Midwife Christmas Special on Christmas night? I recorded it and plan on making a mug of hot chocolate (with whipped cream! And a dusting of cinnamon!!) to enjoy while I watch. It'll be a nice way to end the day.
Christmas Day was so nice! The children opened their stockings before Liturgy, we had church and coffee hour, and then spent the rest of the day making merry by spending time together, eating delicious things, and opening presents. Our night ended with Vespers in our pretty little church and a long, hot bath for mama (with a special new Christmas book, A Merry Christmas: And Other Christmas Stories). It really was a perfect day!
Thursday, December 25
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
To the honorable Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and Pious Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,
My Beloved Brethren and Blessed Children in the Lord,
I greet all of you with the joy of the most glorious Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ! As Saint Leo the Great reminds us in his sermon on the Nativity, “in adoring the birth of our Savior, we find that we are celebrating the commencement of our own lives, for the birth of Christ is the source of life for the Christian people, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the Body.”
Indeed, we rejoice and celebrate on this great day. Yet we must never fail to recall those for whom the earthly sojourn seems to be anything but joyful—the lost and searching and seeking, the lonely and forgotten, the sick and imprisoned and persecuted, the hungry and thirsty, and those who, like the Christ Child, “have no where to lay their heads.” If the birth of Christ is the commencement and source of our lives, then it is not only our duty, but our blessed honor, to share the light of the newborn Christ with those who sit “in the valley of the shadow of death,” thereby revealing the love God so richly and unconditionally pours out on all who would accept it.
Our Lord proclaimed good news to the poor, gave sight to the blind, and healed every manner of infirmity. How well we know the spiritual poverty and blindness and infirmity that fills our world today. And how crucial it is to be continuously reminded that “with God, all things are possible,” (Mt 19:26) precisely because “God is with us” (Mt 1:23) and calls us to become “partakers in His divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) Even our most seemingly insignificant expressions of love and compassion for “the least of the brethren” (Mt 25:40) make the impossible, possible and the mundane as miraculous as the divine birth we celebrate today.
The angelic hosts called out to the simple shepherds: “Tarry not in the field, O ye that shepherd the nurslings of the flocks! Cry aloud and sing praises, that Christ the Lord hath been born in Bethlehem!” Let us not tarry in singing praises to our incarnate Lord, not only with our voices, but also with our unconditional acts of love and kindness and compassion. Such is the fruit of the good news proclaimed over two thousand years ago. And such is the very heart of our common ministry to incarnate Him in our hearts and our lives, and in the hearts and lives of those whom He continually prepares to encounter Him.
Please be assured of my prayers for all of you, that Our Lord will not only equip us in our common ministry as His Body, but bring our efforts to fruition. May the divine blessing that He so freely brings into the world remain with all of us now and throughout the new year to come!
With love in the New-Born Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
has shone to the world the light of wisdom!
For by it, those who worshiped the stars
were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness
and to know Thee, the Orient from on high.
O Lord, glory to Thee!
Tuesday, December 23
Sunday, December 21
After Liturgy Nibbles
Ham Sandwiches on Tiny Rolls
Vegetable Platter with Bacon Ranch Dip
Sausage, Cheese, and Crackers
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole Christmas Cauliflower
Christmas Bread and Butter
Friday, December 19
We've been decorating gingerbread houses every December for several years now and always have a lot of fun (and make a huge mess!). The children decorated a tiny gingerbread village using all of the candy and icing that came in the box. I was inspired by Barn Raising's birdseed gingerbread house and so I tried to recreate it myself. My house was already put together, so it was easy to spread peanut butter all over the house and add a colorful birdseed mix to the roof and thinly sliced dried apricot and pineapple to the walls. I nestled it in our birdbath outside of the dining room window and the blue jays have been loving it! Hopefully they'll let their woodland friends know and it will get eaten up soon. I want to use more color (cranberries!) next year... Here's to new traditions!
Thursday, December 18
Book with an * are ones that we particularly enjoyed!
Wednesday, December 17
Look at the amazing calendar Xenia Kathryn created! It includes 13 wonderful illustrations that will make jotting down your family's activities truly pleasant! Each calendar is only $17 and the proceeds from calendar sales will go to the Building Fund of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Oregon.
Here are some of the details:
The calendar features 13 copyrighted watercolor and/or pen and ink illustrations, running from January 2015 through January 2016. Included are the twelve major feast days, Great Lent and other important dates in the ecclesiastical year, according to the New Calendar (Gregorian). It is printed on medium weight cardstock, and is ready to hang on your wall.
Unfolded, as presented on your wall, it will measure 15”(h) x 10” (w)
To order your own Orthodox Christian Calendar, please visit Xenia Kathryn's Etsy shop, Grover Eats Beans.
While we were on our little week-long adventure last week, my sister and I took turns browsing in a local-to-our-parents yarn shop. They had loads of Madeline Tosh and Kate was get three skeins of DK weight yarn in the Fragrant colorway. I love knitting cowls, so when she offered to knit up the yoke on my son's sweater in exchange for me knitting a Honey Cowl for her, I said yes!
I'm using the notes that I took for my extra large Honey Cowl last autumn and am hoping to have this pretty pink one done by December 29th (the day of our extended family's Christmas party. I'm already about four and half inches in (one skein's worth) and so I think that finishing it just might be do-able!
I've been reading Evening Class and just wrapped that up last night. Now I'll start reading all of the Christmas books I have! I think that I'll start with The Lion in the Box. The children and I just read Something for Christmas and thought that it was very sweet!
Monday, December 15
Today was quite a Monday. We were away all last week visiting family while Papa was on a work trip to Texas. Visiting was loads of fun and I got to tackle most of our Christmas shopping while we were near fun shops, but I feel very behind on Christmas preparations now that we are home. I was able to keep my hands busy while we were doing our lessons with one of my very favorite December activities: making paper snowflakes! I only finished up the large coffee filter ones and so tomorrow I'll work on the smaller cupcake liner snowflakes. Other than twinkle lights, I think that the wintry windows are my favorite decorations!
Friday, December 12
Thursday, December 11
Wednesday, December 10
Tuesday, December 9
This morning was spent with one of my sisters, sipping steamy mugs of tea and knitting while simultaneously tending our passel of little ones. Kate and I ended up trading our knitting projects: my sweater was behaving badly and the stockinette on her hat was a bore. The hat is nearly done now and based on Instagram updates, it seems like Button's sweater may actually be on his body rather than stuffed into a project bag tomorrow!
Monday, December 8
On a whim, I decided to join two of our children's godparents at a sing-a-long for The Messiah at a rather large university. I was filled with excitement at 12pm when I found out about the event, but at 7:04 pm when I was struggling to get the children into their car seats and find my keys (for a 7:30 start!), I was decidedly less so. The effort (and our late arrival!) was worth it, though. It was great to see godparents and we were able to hear all of the best parts. Though the children weren't listening very intently, they were pretty quiet and well behaved which meant I could enjoy the music!