Saturday, January 31

On a Saturday...


Mama: Good night, Button. I love you.

Button (in a rush): Good night. I love you. You're beautiful. You're welcome.

Friday, January 30

Wanted on Voyage...

It's nice having a bear about the house.”

Michael Bond
A Bear Called Paddington

For months we have been looking forward to seeing Paddington on the silver screen and so we went this afternoon as a family.  He is one of our favorite characters (we've read most of the books) and Little Man has a stuffed Paddington that he sleeps with most nights.  The movie did not disappoint (though there are a few sad/scary scenes, so be cautious with your young ones)!  We've decided to revisit the story for our bedtime reading for the next week or so.

This weekend will be busy (lots of house blessings, lots of services) but we will be making time for some candle rolling, Irish Soda Bread baking, and cross weaving.  Can you believe that it is nearly February? 

Thursday, January 29


Go out more, keep cheerful as well as busy, for you are the sunshine-maker of the family, and if you get dismal there is no fair weather.”

Lousia May Alcott
Little Women

Riverbank in Ink...

I finished up my Riverbank Cowl in Madeline Tosh Vintage early in the week and have been wearing it constantly since it finished blocking..  The colorway is a gorgeous dark blue called Ink.   I am really pleased with how it turned out and am really happy that it was such a quick knit!  I cast on 224 stitches, using a size 4 needle (32" circular) for the whole project (including the ribbing - the pattern calls for a size three needle for that).  For the ribbing, I did k2p2 for 5 rows.  I will be doing 3 repeats for the body of the cowl and then finishing up with another 5 rows of ribbing. 

Wednesday, January 28

How to Make Things Better...

Feeling gloomy?  Whip up a tasty treat to enjoy with a steaming mug of coffee or tea and light a few candles.  Tulips don't hurt, either!

Yarn Along: Redux...

I finished up my pretty little Riverbank cowl the other night and am blocking it as I type this.  I needed another project on my needles and decided to use up the last little bit of the ink colorway on a hat for one of my baby nephews.  I'm hoping that it will fit Sebastian first so that when it gets too small for him, Sampson will be able to wear it.  We'll see.  

2015 is the year where I try to conquer some of my knitting fears and it seems to me that the best way to do that might be to knit some crazy hats with short rows, cables, and charts (my three biggest fears in order).  This hat is going to be a Garter Ear Flap Hat and the main challenge is to learn how to do short rows.  I'm not a huge fan of double pointed needles, so my hope is that by working on hats I can get more comfortable with them.  There may be a few panicked phone calls to my sister in the near future.  Sorry, Kate!

I am reading North and South.  I only have it on the Kindle app on my phone (it's a free download), but I am looking for a nice copy of it for my shelf.  I think that it is one of those books that needs to be re-read every few years (or in my case every few months).  It is that good.

What are you up to?

Monday, January 26

2015 March for Life...

While the children and I were marching with Orthodox Christians for Life and wandering around museums (and let's be honest, eating our weight in fries), Father John was filming for the Orthodox Church in America! Here is the two minute video he put together for them!

Sunday, January 25

Sunday Night...

I've been binging on North and South.  I'm not sure what made me want to start to re-watch it, but I finished all four episodes while we were down with the stomach bug last week and then started to read the book again.  I have been watching the best parts while I knit each night.  Needless to say, I'm getting a lot done on my cowl!  

It is hard to believe that it is already Zacchaeus Sunday and that there is only about a month before Great Lent starts.  There are so many favorite feasts coming up!  We'll be baking some Irish Soda Bread, making Saint Brigid's Crosses, and reading Saint Brigid:  Abbess of Kildare for February 1st.  I'll have to remember to buy candles this week for the Meeting of the Lord (next Monday) so that they can be blessed after the Liturgy...  maybe we'll even roll some with sheets of beeswax. 

 I made my menu plan and grocery shopping list yesterday evening in a rush when I thought that there would be snow heading our way on Monday and Tuesday.  When I found out that it was only going to rain, I abandoned the idea of shopping tonight in favor of a dish of ice cream on the couch.  I'll get everything tomorrow after we finish up our lessons.  It's nice to relax after a long day!

Friday, January 23

Just a Little Reward...


  I was so thankful that we were all well for the March for Life on Thursday!  Our little reward for a hard week was two hours in the National Gallery of Art this morning while Papa finished up some work at the cathedral.  We were able to see a lot more than we did on our first visit...  the highlight for the children was riding (and riding and riding) the moving walkway while looking at Leo Villareal's light sculpture, Multiverse.  

Thursday, January 22

Coverage of the March for Life...

Today is the March for Life!  If you are unable to go and would like to view the events, please tune in to C-Span (for us, that is C-Span 3) from 12 noon to 1 pm.  For all day coverage and interviews, watch EWTN all day.

Wednesday, January 21

Yarn Along: By the Riverbank...

  This week I am reading through my UK Country Living (the cover looks like it was styled by Alicia Paulson) and working on my Riverbank Cowl in Madeline Tosh Vintage.  The colorway is a gorgeous dark blue called Ink.  I've made two other Riverbank Cowls (Ironically, both went to people with the same name:  Katherine's was knit last January and Katharine's was finished in September.  For this one, I cast on 224 stitches, using a size 4 needle (32" circular) for the whole project (including the ribbing - the pattern calls for a size three needle for that).  For the ribbing, I did k2p2 for 5 rows.  I will be doing 3 repeats for the body of the cowl and then finishing up with another 5 rows of ribbing.  I want to finish this quickly so that I can wear it!  I have a winter duffel coat in camel and I think that the colors will look nice together.

What are you working on?

Monday, January 19

The Long Weekend...

Our weekend started out really well with an art class at a local museum and a little bit of Shakespeare's The Tempest re-imagined as a puppet show, but ended rather badly with a bout of the stomach 'flu for our littlest (it seems to be over now).  Everyone else has remained healthy so far...  I hope that it stays that way.  

Just before bed tonight, we smushed onto the couch all together and watched Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech.  Our older children were really interested in it and had a lot of questions and observations.  It really is an amazing speech that gave me goosebumps.  We plan on taking the children to The March for Life this year and hope to walk over to the Lincoln Memorial afterward.  Visiting that great monument after watching the clips from The March on Washington and marching for Life ourselves will make it that much more poignant.

Father John and I are going to watch Grantchester together now.  To be honest, I'll watch and he will probably doze.  Have you seen it?


Before I forget, we borrowed The Tempest from the library the day before seeing the puppet show and the illustrations are really gorgeous.  The illustrator, Gennady Spirin, goes to my father's church on occasion.  I was glad that we read it prior to seeing the puppet show because knowing the details of the play made things really enjoyable for our little ones.


Sunday, January 18

Sanctity of Life Sunday...

To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:

Dearly beloved,

Today has been designated by the Orthodox Church in America as “Sanctity of Life Sunday,” a day on which we re-affirm our faithfulness to the eternal value of human life and re-commit ourselves to the defense of the lives of the unborn, the infirm, the terminally ill and the condemned.

Our proclamation of life is offered in the context of a world in dismay at the terrorist attacks that recently shook Paris, the latest in a series of seemingly endless tragedies throughout the world that unnecessarily claim many innocent lives. Following this latest tragedy, Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers have engaged in discussion and debate about a range of issues, from human dignity to the responsibilities of political cartoonists, from freedom of expression to humanity’s capacity for tolerance. Unfortunately, much of this debate is framed in an atmosphere of ideological violence, whether this be a “war on infidels” or “war on terrorism.” In such divisive engagements, there are rarely any victors but only more victims.

As Orthodox Christians, who hold dear the revealed truth that the life of “all mankind” is sacred, we might reflect, along with St. Nikolai of Zhicha, on the paschal victory of Christ over death and corruption:

    “Christ’s victory is the only victory in which all humanity can rejoice, from the first-created to the last. Every other victory on earth has divided, and still divides, men from one another. When an earthly king gains the victory over an another earthly king, one of them rejoices and the other laments. When a man is victorious over his neighbor, there is singing under one roof and weeping under the other. There is no joyful victory on earth that is not poisoned by malice: the ordinary, earthly victor rejoices both in his laughter and in the tears of his conquered enemy. He does not even notice how evil cuts through joy.”
Our world is so full of these joyless and dark victories that we might despair of being able to put forward the hope and light of the Gospel message. We would do well to heed the words of St. Nikolai and keep our hearts and minds focused on our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, in Whom alone can solace, hope and joy be found in any meaningful and lasting way.

Indeed, Christ did not say: “I offer one of many complimentary paths”; He said: I am the Way. Christ did no say: “I hold to the correct philosophical principles;” He said: I am the Truth. Christ did not say: “I subscribe to the only viable political agenda;” He said: I am the Life.

It is only possible to attain to this Way, this Truth and this Life through Christ and through the light that He bestows to those who strive to allow even a small beam of that light to enter their hearts and illumine their path. As St. Nikolai writes: “Christ’s victory alone is like a sun that sheds bright rays on all that are beneath it. Christ’s victory alone fills all the souls of men with invincible joy. It alone is without malice or evil.”

Let us therefore make every effort to offer this “victory of light and life” to those who are surrounded by darkness and death. Let us be bold in our adding our Orthodox voices in support of the value of every human person, born or unborn; let us offer consolation to the mothers who have undergone abortions and offer our prayers to them and to all who have been affected by this tragedy; let us affirm our Orthodox understanding of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God and yet in need of healing in Christ.

Let us, together with St. Nikolai, proclaim the great victory of Christ:

    A mysterious victory, you will say? It is; but it is at the same time revealed to the whole human race, the living and the dead.

    A generous victory, you will say? It is, and more than generous. Is not a mother more than generous when she, not once or twice, saves her children from snakes but, in order to save them for all time, goes bravely into the snakes’ very nest and burns them out?

    A healing victory, you will say? It is, healing and saving for ever and ever. This gentle victory saves men from every evil and makes them sinless and immortal. Immortality without sinlessness would mean only the extending of evil’s reign, and of that of malice and wickedness, but immortality with sinlessness gives birth to unconfined joy, and makes men the brethren of God’s resplendent angels.”

With love in the Lord,

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Saturday, January 17

The Blessing of the Atlantic...

My husband shot the footage for this video last weekend during the Blessing of the Atlantic!  It is his first video and I am so proud of him!

Friday, January 16

Kate's Cowl...

I finished my sister's Honey Cowl on Thursday night and popped it in the mail for her on Friday afternoon.  I followed the notes that I took for my San Francisco Honey Cowl so that it would be wide and long enough to comfortably loop round her neck twice.  Kate's was made from Madeline Tosh DK weight yarn in the Fragrant colorway and reminds me of the inside of a cranberry!  It is nice to know that my sister (who is a much more talented knitter than I) will be wearing something I made...  now all of the sisters have Honey Cowls knit by me!

Thursday, January 15

All Bundled Up...

 Thank you so much for all of the kind comments you left for Sugar Plum yesterday!  She was really thrilled to read them all and is looking forward to showing all of you her dolly apron (which she finished this afternoon!).

As I mentioned yesterday, it snowed!  It was only a little dusting, but it didn't stop us from building several snowmen and keeping the fire going in the hearth all day long.  Happily, the snow stuck around through today so that we could continue the fun.  There's nothing better than hunkering down on a cold day with a few creature comforts:  hot tea, loads of blankets, some knitting, and a roaring fire.

I am only a few more rows from finishing up my sister's cowl.  As soon as it is finished, I am going to mail it to her and cast on to something else.  I'm not really sure what I want to knit yet, but I have quite a bit of yarn tucked onto my shelves from the past few months, so I should have what I need once I do decide  Half the fun of knitting is spending time time picking out the next project, right?

Wednesday, January 14


Yarn Along: Mercy Watson...

Today my daughter, Sugar Plum, is going to be guest posting her Yarn Along!  Sugar Plum is eight and has been knitting for two years...  in fact, she is the reason that I learned!  Enjoy!


I am making an apron for my doll.  I got this yarn for my namesday in a book on knitting that my Mama and Papa gave me.  I just finished a book called Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo.  It's really good.  It is about a pig to the rescue.  The pig gets in her bed and gets scared of the dark.  She climbs in bed with Mr. and Mrs. Watson.  The bed starts to break the floor, but all Mercy can think about is hot, buttery toast.  This book is funny!  You should read this book!

Monday, January 12

Living and Learning: January...

The Twelve Days of Christmas
St. Basil’s Day
Sanctity of Life Sunday
The New Martyrs of Russia


Stovetop Popcorn
Take down Christmas décor (After Theophany)
Revamp winter menu plans
Clean car
Declutter and organize linens
Create a shopping list for needed linens
House Blessing
Update framed photographs

Update Mantle décor
Buy and fill out calendar
Christmas Thank You notes
Wash all of the linens on each bed

Complete Kate's Honey Cowl
Start Riverbank Cowl to Freshen Winter Wardrobe
Finish Reading Light a Penny Candle

Read An Episode of Sparrows

12 Days of Christmas

Special Days
Full Wolf Moon (5th)
+Grandma Joyce (7th)
Poppy Chick (9th)
Grandfather James(11th)
Auntie Juliana (15th)
AA Milne’s birthday (18th)
Popcorn Day (19th)

Practice being still and quiet during services and prayers
Practice Venerating Icons Properly
The Sign of the Cross for Button

Practice chanting the Trisagion Prayers
The Blessing of the Atlantic for Theophany
Listen to Peter and the Wolf 
Tidying up Toys after Play
Clearing the Table after Meals
Read Pippi Longstocking for Book Club

The March for Life in Washington D.C.
Visit The National Gallery of Art

Read Nature Table Scene
Book Basket
Watercolor Pencils
Fold Window Stars
Lacing Cards
Memory Games and Puzzles
Inside hide and seek
Feed birds
Polish wooden toys together
Weaving, Knitting Tower, and Knitting Fork Fun

Our House Blessing...

In past years, it has been easy for us to somehow procrastinate and not get our house blessed in a timely manner after Theophany (see last year as an example!).  This year we over-compensated and scheduled our house blessing for the Sunday after Theophany directly following the Liturgy.  Almost everyone who came to church came to the service (they had no escape since the rectory is attached to the church!) and we celebrated with an ramped up coffee hour (our family provided a huge baked ziti, salad, garlic bread, and brownies,, plus lots of people brought things to share).  I think it was a big success!  I'm sitting pretty this week because I cleaned the whole house on Saturday in preparation for Sunday and now I have no house cleaning to do this week! 

P.S.  Little Man has been serving in the altar for about a month now.  Isn't he a cutie pie?

Sunday, January 11

January Nature Table...

::  Tulips and Forced Bulbs  ::  Phoebe Wahl  ::  Ducks and Deer  ::

Saturday, January 10

The Blessing of the Atlantic Ocean...


Next time you take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, you can rest assured that it has been blessed by the Orthodox Church!  
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