Monday, March 31

Early Spring Nature Table...


It really feels like spring has arrived, despite the rain and fog of the last few days.  We brought out a few of our favorite animals to decorate our nature table, added a vase of the perfect shade of pink tulips from the market, and put out one of my favorite books, Gerda Muller's Spring.   All the color adds a lot of cheerfulness to our playroom!

Sunday, March 30

Advice to Those Living in the World...

From Step 1 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus: Some people living in the world have asked me:  “We have spouses and are beset with social cares, and how can we lead the spiritual life?”  I replied to them:  “Do all the good you can; do not speak evil of anyone; do not steal from anyone; do not lie to anyone; do not be arrogant towards anyone; do not hate anyone; do not be absent from the divine services; be compassionate to the needy; do not offend anyone; do not wreck another man’s domestic happiness, and be content with what your own spouses can give you.  If you behave in this way, you will not be far from the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Copywork: Little Bunnies...

I spend a little time each week looking for interesting things for my children to write in their copybooks, usually based upon a theme.  I will post them here each week as a record for myself and as a help to any other family that wishes to use them.


by the rabbits

I'm very nervous.
A noise back there!  Must.  Keep.  Still.
When it's safe, I'll run.

See me in the grass?
Maybe I will hop to food...
Or go sniff pansies.
- Barnaby

poems by Maya Gottfried

Foggy Morn...

 One of the things that I like best about the weather in our area is the frequency of waking to a foggy morning.  A feverish little boy and I were up quite early today and so I didn't notice the fog right away, but once the other children were awake and happily settled with their breakfast, I slipped out for a quick walk.  I could just feel spring coming as I wandered around in the cool air.  It is hard to believe that on Wednesday we were bundled up and tramping around several inches of icy snow, and today all I needed was a shawl round my shoulders.

The children and I will stay home from Liturgy today to keep our germs away from our little friends.  It will be sad to hear everyone running around visiting with each other.  I can't remember the last time we had to stay away from church...  we know so many others who have struggled so much with their health this winter, so we have been fortunate.  

What are you up to? 

Saturday, March 29


The business of the broken sleep is interesting but the business of sleep generally is interesting.  I once did without it almost all the time for several weeks.  I had a high fever and was taking cortisone in big doses, which prevents your sleeping.  I was starving to go to sleep.  Since then I have come to think of sleep as  metaphorically connected to the Mother of God.  Hopkins said she was the air we breathe, but I have come to realize her most in the gift of going to sleep.  Life without her would be equivalent to me to life without sleep and as she contained Christ for a time, she seems to contain our life in sleep for a time so that we are able to wake up in peace."

Friday, March 28

A Peter Rabbit Tea...

Glass Bird and Tulips...

I finally took down the pretty wooden snowflakes that were hanging over our dining room table and hung up this delicate glass bird.  I am forcing spring to come though decor.  You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 26

Spring Snow...

Yarn Along: The Habit of Being...

Sugar Plum and I are both working on our Grasshopper shawls.  Hers is in soft turquoise cotton and mine is in charcoal wool.  She has been impressing everyone who sees her work!

I  am slowly reading The Habit of Being.  It is very, very good!

Tuesday, March 25

More Snow!!

A glorious Annunciation to you!  It has been snowing since about 3 this afternoon, which is crazy!  The snow is very wet and will probably melt away in a day or two, but we have about 3 inches on the ground.  The branches of some of our young trees are drooping under the weight of the snow.  

Inside, we are enjoying the solitude.  We had salmon after Liturgy today...  yum.  And just before bathtime, I mixed up a lenten cake for a before-bed-treat for the little ones.  It is chocolate cake and we like to spoon sliced strawberries on top.  

I was able to clean out two closets today and gather up a lot of things to give to Goodwill.  Hopefully I'll find even more to pass on before Pascha.  It is nice to lighten the load in the house a bit.  Maybe the roads will be cleared enough that we can do our drop off in the afternoon.  If not, I will try to get a few more bags into the trunk for Thursday!

Sunday, March 23

Copywork: Annunciation...

  I spend a little time each week looking for interesting things for my children to write in their copybooks, usually based upon a theme.  I will post them here each week as a record for myself and as a help to any other family that wishes to use them.

This week, I will be asking the children to work on copying the troparion for the feast of the Annunciation, which falls on March 25th.  We will write it on nice paper and work on it slowly throughout the week.  Once it is all written, we will decorate the paper and hang their work up in a prominent spot.  
Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee!

The Mid-Point of the Fast...

Having come to the midpoint of the 40 Day Great and Holy Fast, let me reflect:

  • Have I accepted Great Lent as a “gift” from God, with thanksgiving?
  • Have I spent the last three weeks in a meaningfully different way?
  • Have I participated in the lenten services that are held during the week, Monday through Friday?
  •  Have I used the lenten prayer of Saint Ephraim in my morning and evening prayers, and at other times throughout the day?
  • In addition to the Holy Scriptures, what kind of spiritual reading have I done? Have I learned more about my Faith? Have a read spiritual works which can help me in my prayers, dealing with others, and spiritual faults and needs?
  • Am I preparing myself to make a good, honest, and humble Confession?  Do I really believe that I am confessing my sins to Jesus Christ?  Am I aware that the Lord sees my inner heart and will know if I only recite my sins, instead of being truly sorrowful and deeply committed to avoid repeating them?
  • In what ways will I struggle in the second part of Great Lent that I have so far left unattended?
  • Am I willing to die to my old self in order to live in Christ?  Am I willing to trade the earth for heaven?  Am I willing to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Him to His heavenly Kingdom?

Thursday, March 20

The First Day of Spring...

I had my first ballet class today.  Boy am I sore!  I am really not someone who likes to exercise, but I have always wanted to try ballet and there is a place in our area that offers it to adults.  I was like a bull in a china shop (I am tall and big-boned), but I will keep trying!  Maybe it will become a new enjoyable pastime for me like knitting was.

I do not like plastic at all, but something inside of me snaps when the pretty plastic eggs start popping up in stores at Easter time.  I saw these pretty cut "glass" eggs at Target yesterday and bought them on the spot.  I don't think that we have ever had eggs like this!  I've been sneaking into the closet where they are hidden to admire them.  

We rearranged the playroom again.  We had a futon in here that served as an extra guest bed, but it was more a hindrance than help.  It will be going off to live with my brother-in-law and his wife and so Father John and I spent a little time hanging things (that huge mirror and some of the children's artwork opposite it) and moving furniture to freshen things up.  We passed our two year anniversary of living here in December and are still settling in.  I really love this room!

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday!

Wednesday, March 19

Yarn Along: The Gorgeous Nothings...

I'm taking a small break from my Grasshopper to work on a quick little project, the Giftie Slouchy Beanie.  I ordered yarn for this months ago and it finally came in the mail on Saturday.  We had a little snow on Monday, so of course I had to cast on.  Hopefully I will be able to knit this quickly so that I can wear it at least once or twice before spring really turns on the charm!

I am reading/looking through The Gorgeous Nothings which is a large coffee table book of the envelope poems of Emily Dickinson.  It is really lovely!

Tuesday, March 18

Happy Namesday, Button!

Today was our little Button's Namesday!  It was a great day.  We took a trip to have a french fry snack this afternoon and watched a movie on the laptop on Mama and Papa's bed and then had chocolate cake and strawberries for our Namesday dessert.  We'll be continuing the celebration on Friday...  we are taking the Namesday Boy out for lunch with the Birthday Papa!

Monday, March 17

The Last Hurrah...

I am beginning to think that I could probably live in Alaska and be quite happy.  I'm not tired yet of snow (to be fair, we've only had three or four snow days and today's was by far the most significant with around five inches), gathering round the fire, knitting, reading, bundling up, or oatmeal.  

It was a gorgeous day on Saturday, but I knew that there were cold days ahead, so I dug up a little pot of shamrocks from the lawn and cut a few branches from the Thundercloud Plum trees that were just starting to show some life.  Hopefully they will brighten things up in the playroom for the next week or so.  

We have literally two logs left for the fireplace and I don't think that we will get any more wood this season.  That makes me sad...  especially since we are covered in snow.  Maybe I'll get a little $5 bundle before we really close things down.

It's Button's namesday tomorrow!  I can't wait!  He's going to love his gifts this year!

Sunday, March 16

Copywork: Emily Dickinson...

I spend a little time each week looking for interesting things for my children to write in their copybooks, usually based upon a theme.  I will post them here each week as a record for myself and as a help to any other family that wishes to use them.


This week, I will be asking the children to work on copying a poem by Emily Dickinson.  We will write it on nice paper and work on it slowly throughout the week.  Once it is all written, we will decorate the paper and hang them up in a prominent spot. 

DEAR March, come in!   
How glad I am!   
I looked for you before.   
Put down your hat—   
You must have walked—            
How out of breath you are!   
Dear March, how are you?   
And the rest?   
Did you leave Nature well?   
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,           
I have so much to tell!
I got your letter, and the bird’s;   
The maples never knew   
That you were coming,—I declare,   
How red their faces grew!           
But, March, forgive me—   
And all those hills   
You left for me to hue;   
There was no purple suitable,   
You took it all with you.           
Who knocks? That April!   
Lock the door!   
I will not be pursued!   
He stayed away a year, to call   
When I am occupied.           
But trifles look so trivial   
As soon as you have come,   
That blame is just as dear as praise   
And praise as mere as blame.

Saturday, March 15


It was a whirlwind few days.  We went to the burials and funeral, walked around the city, took a boat ride (the children's first ever!), enjoyed Chinese food, seafood, and soy hot chocolates and had a nice time in a hotel (which is apparently where Button would prefer to live!).  It is good to be home!
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