Monday, June 30

Blueberry Picking...





Blueberry Sauce...



One day, Little Sal went with her mother to Blueberry Hill to pick  blueberries.  

Little Sal brought along her small tin pail and her mother brought her large tin pail to put berries in.  "We will take our berries home and can them," said her mother.  "Then we will have food for the winter."

Robert McCloskey

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Blueberry Sauce

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 pint blueberries
vanilla ice cream

Method
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in sugar and gently fold in blueberries.  Heat, stirring occasionally until the blueberries begin to break down and make a sauce.  Scoop ice cream into bowls and pour a generous ladle-full of blueberry sauce on top.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 29

Overheard...

Overheard...

Mama: "You guys have such a great life! Farmer's Market in the morning, a visit to the beach in the afternoon, and now the pool!"

Button: "Yeah, and we get Communion and coffee hour!"

Saturday, June 28

Why Do We Need to Go to Church?


Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev)
 
Many people who rarely attend church have a kind of consumer’s attitude towards church. They come to church, for instance, before a long trip to light a candle just for the sake of it, so that nothing would happen on the road. They come for two or three minutes, hurriedly cross themselves and, having lit a candle, go on their way. Some, entering a church, say: “I want to pay money so that Batiushka would pray for such and such” and pay money and leave. The priest needs to pray, but these people themselves do not participate in the prayer.  

This is a wrong attitude. The Church is not a machine for buying “Snickers”: drop your coin and candy falls out.  The Church is a place to go to live and study. If you are experiencing certain difficulties or if one of your neighbors has fallen ill, do not limit yourself to going and putting up a candle. Come to church for the divine service, immerse yourself in the elements of prayer, and lift up your prayer for your need along with the priest and the community. 

 It is important that attendance at church be regular. It is good to attend church every Sunday. The Sunday Divine Liturgy, as well as the Liturgy on great feasts, is the time when we can, by giving up two hours of our earthly affairs, plunge ourselves into the elements of prayer. It is good to come to church with one’s entire family, in order to receive Confession and Communion.  

If one learns to live from Sunday to Sunday, in the rhythm of the church services, in the rhythm of the Divine Liturgy, then one’s whole life will change dramatically. Above all, it will become disciplined. The believer knows that next Sunday he will have to give an answer to God, and he lives differently: he does not allow himself many sins that he would otherwise allow himself if he did not go to church. Moreover, the Divine Liturgy itself is an opportunity to receive Holy Communion, that is, to unite with God not only spiritually, but also physically. Finally, the Divine Liturgy is a comprehensive service at which the entire church community and each of its members can pray for everyone that troubles or worries him or her. The faithful during the Liturgy can pray for themselves, and for their neighbors, and for their future, bringing repentance for their sins and asking God’s blessing for their further ministry. It is very important to learn to participate fully in the Liturgy. In Church there are also other services, for example, the All Night Vigil a preparatory service for Communion. One can order molebens [supplicatory services] for the health of one person or another.  But no so called “private” services that is, services ordered for someone’s specific needs can take the place of the Divine Liturgy, because the Liturgy is the center of church prayer, and it should become the center of the spiritual life of every Christian and every Christian family

Friday, June 27

Sitting in the Sand...

 




It was gray for most of the day.  After the boys and I dropped Sugar Plum off at art camp, we went to the store and bought a few things:  a new cord for my phone, lettuce, a cucumber, one yellow watermelon, some salad dressing, and three $1 nets to catch little creatures with.  They are a big hit!

Sugar Plum finished up art camp this afternoon with an art show and recital.  She played Mary Had a Little Lamb on the violin with five or six other children and their teacher, Miss Monika.  She really enjoyed her first exposure to the violin and so we're hoping to start official lessons in late July.

We went to the beach for the third time this week to try out the new nets after the recital.  I had my Blossom Tee knitting with me and we had a little beach all to ourselves.  It was really the perfect day to sit in the sand...  the sky cleared up on the way and was just the perfect shade of blue.  It set off the golden fields of winter wheat that the farmers are harvesting now and the bright green corn plants that we pass on the way just perfectly.  

It is so hard to believe that June is ending in just a few days.  The month really sped by!

Thursday, June 26

Ending the Day with Fireflies...

 









The past few days have been a whirlwind.  Sugar Plum is attending a week long art camp that meets from 9 am until 2:30.  It has been a lot of fun for her and good practice for attending sleep-away camp in a few weeks, but it has been tiring.

One of the fun things that I have been getting to do each day is packing her lunch.  I can see how filling a lunch box could easily become tedious over the long haul, but it has been pleasant for these past few days.  I only wish that it was a non-fasting time, because that would really be fun!

We are in the midst of firefly season here.  Every evening, about an hour after they have been put to bed, little people come padding out of their rooms to ask if they can catch fireflies.  I admit that I grumble (a lot!), but I let them go out.  Once I get them back inside, they show Papa how many fireflies they've caught before they put they set them free.  It's pretty cute!

P.S.  I'm test-knitting Katherine's Blossom Tee...  it is written so well and I am really exited about it!

Tuesday, June 24

Mini-Golf, Part One...


For years our children have spotted those garish mini-golf places on the sides of the road with the giant volcanoes spewing smoke, snarling dinosaurs with blinking red eyes, or vikings hanging off of a ship and begged to go.  We always planned to take them, but it just never happened.  Well, the boys took matters into their own hands and created their own mini-golf experience in the playroom.  Using a wooden sword for a putter and all kinds of different things from around the house, they built the coolest course I have ever seen!  Father John even got in on the action!  

We're going to surprise them by taking them to a real mini-golf place this Sunday...  I can't wait!

Monday, June 23

Reading...



Your mother never has a vase around without flowers in it," my father once told me.  "That's part of her philosophy of life.  Don't forget that Helene."  That day the small blue glass rose-bowl in the center of the table held a few daisies I had picked in the meadow back of the house."

Madeline Babcock Smith

Saturday, June 21

Friday, June 20

Nestled in the Geraniums...




Our daughter has such an eagle eye!  She spotted this wee nest in the hanging basket near our front door yesterday morning.  There are six eggs nestled inside.  Mama Bird comes and goes (I startled her in the evening when I took out the garbage), but this is the second year that she has made her nest in this spot.  We are hopeful that baby birds will be chirping away soon!

Leafy Rows Washcloth Pattern...



Even if you are new to knitting, you can easily create a lacy washcloth without much fuss!  This is a simple two row repeated pattern that can be made even less difficult with stitch markers. Though a washcloth is a very functional thing to knit, it can also be beautiful!

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Leafy Rows Washcloth Pattern
Cast on 45 stitches using cotton yarn and size US 6 or 7 needles
Knit 4 rows for a border.

Row 1 (WS):  k3, purl across to the last 3 sts.  k3.
Row 2 (RS):  k3, p1, k1, p1, *k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo , k2, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k1, p1, Rep from* across to last 3 sts.  k3

Repeat these two rows until desired length.  
Knit 4 rows.  Bind off, weave in ends. 

Wednesday, June 18

Baby Fern Washcloth Pattern...



I found this washcloth pattern by Vaunda Rae Giberson, and tweaked it a little bit to balance it.  I use lots of stitch markers to help me keep my place even when I'm knitting around the children or paying attention to something else.  I'll be knitting these all summer-long and hope to have a generous stack by my sink by autumn!


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Baby Fern Washcloth
Cast on 45 stitches using cotton yarn and size US 6 or 7 needles
Knit 4 rows for a border.

Row 1 (WS):  k3, purl across to the last 3 sts.  k3.
Row 2 (RS):  k3, p1, k1, p1, *k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo , k2, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k1, p1, Rep from* across to last 3 sts.  k3
Row 3 (WS):  k3, purl across to the last 3 sts.  k3.
Row 4 (RS):  k3, p1, k1, p1, *k2tog, k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k1, p1, Rep from* across to last 3 sts.  k3
Row 5 (WS):  k3, purl across to the last 3 sts.  k3.
Row 6 (RS):  k3, p1, k1, p1, *k2tog, yo, k5, yo, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k1, p1, Rep from* across to last 3 sts.  k3

Repeat these six rows until desired length.  
Knit 4 rows.  Bind off, weave in ends.

The Fountain of Imortality...


Tuesday, June 17

A Quiet Day...




On Monday, Father John was away from very early in the morning until the little ones were already in bed.  One of our parishioners had to have triple bypass surgery and Father wanted to be there the whole time he was being operated on. 

Because we only have one car, the children and I were home all day long.  We found plenty to occupy us:  reading, cleaning, cooking, playing, etc. and the day flew by pretty quickly.  I had gone grocery shopping on Sunday night to get all of the things that we would need for the week (we began fasting on Monday and were out of a lot of our lenten things), so that made the day easy and carefree.  I spent a little time watering the plants (usually Father John does that) and cut a few stems from our hydrangea to enjoy inside.  

Summer seems to be in full swing here.  The temperature is scorching hot, the summer reading club at the library had begun, and our calendar is starting to fill up with all kinds of fun activities.  I've been jotting down the things that I really want to make sure that we get to do while the weather is hot...  I have to remind myself to really enjoy summer.  Though it isn't my favorite season, it has a lot to offer!       

The Costumes of Downton Abbey...






























  
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of taking a day trip with some friends to see an exhibit of some of the costumes that are used in the drama, Downton Abbey.  They were simply lovely and I had such a good time visiting with friends and looking at all the beautiful details of these special garments.  It was a wonderful and memorable day!
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