Tuesday, March 31

Already Tuesday...


  I'm not sure how it is already Tuesday.  The list of things to accomplish before Pascha is starting to feel oppressive, but I've determined to take it all in stride.  I seem to be the most productive in the mornings and early afternoon, whirling through breakfast, lessons, and cleaning.  In the late afternoon,  I peter out and settle in on the porch swing in the sun with my knitting and audio book while the children play outside for hours.  We've not been eating dinner until after six now that it is light so late.  Before we know it, it is bedtime!

Wednesday, March 25

The Lamentations...

I grew up in an Antiochian Orthodox parish and though I have come to love Russian Liturgics, Iconography, and chant more than the byzantine style, I have to say that there is nothing on earth more beautiful than The Lamentations in Byzantine Chant on Great and Holy Friday. 

Yarn Along: Daily Rituals...

I'm working away on my newest knitting project, a Palmyre Shawl. Though the pattern is simple enough (and has great reviews for ease), I struggled a bit in the beginning.  I am not following the pattern precisly, but am getting the shape and  number of stitches I need for the lace part.  I have already scheduled a knitting SOS for next Tuesday at our local yarn shop to help me look over the lace part of the pattern.  Hopefully that will help things go smoothly.

I haven't had much time for reading this past two weeks (I've been having too much fun with my siblings!), but I am already back to it.  I only have a little bit left in The Scent of Holiness and Daily Rituals and am also listening to North and South while I knit and clean. 


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 Festal Learning Basket for Annunciation can be found HERE.

Tuesday, March 24

On a Tuesday...


We said a sad goodbye to my little sister and sweet nephew today.  It was a great visit with them and are so thankful that they made such a long trip to visit us.  They are now home safe and sound...  that makes me so happy!

Tomorrow is Annunciation for us and I am hoping that it will be a festal day. This week is kind of little a mini Holy Week with all of the Lenten services, but it's going well so far. The children are hoping for tuna subs after Liturgy and the thought is making me hungry right now! 

The Life of Saint Mary of Egypt...

I printed out a bunch of these one page comic-style Life of Saint Mary of Egypt sheets yesterday and the little ones and I spent some time coloring them.  We had a great time and I thought that I would spread the word about them in case other families would like to use them, too!  

Sunday, March 22



 The week with my brother went by so quickly.  We brought him to the bus stop on Saturday morning and swung right into getting ready for our next visitors (my sister and her baby boy!) and celebrating our dear Papa's birthday!  Saturdays are hard days for priests to celebrate much, so we did a little on Saturday (presents and cards) and a little on Sunday (lunch and cake!).

These last few weeks before Pascha are going to be busy.  The first weeks of Lent seem to go so slowly, but the second half always speeds right by...  before we know it, it'll be Holy Saturday and we'll be ironing pretty dresses and decorating kulich (Russian Easter Bread)! 

A Better Vanilla Cake...


  My mother made this vegan vanilla cake over the summer and I decided to bake it for Father John's birthday this year.  It is much fluffier than the vanilla cake that I made earlier in March.  We served this one with Cool Whip and sliced strawberries and it was delicious!  This will be our go to vanilla cake during Lent!


Grandmama's Lenten Vanilla Cake

1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease round cake pan.  Sift dry ingredients in large bowl.  Stir all wet ingredients together in a small bowl.  Add wet ingredients into dry ones and combine.  Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 25 - 30 minute or until a knife comes out clean.  Serve with cool whip and sliced fruit. 

Friday, March 20

Birthday Yarn...


  Three skeins of Madeline Tosh DK weight yarn in Farmhouse...  I'm attempting to knit a Palmyre Shawl.  It's been a rough start, but I am hoping that I'll be able to figure it out because this would be the prettiest thing that I have ever knit!

Thursday, March 19


We're in the last few days of my brother's visit.  We've been having fun and it will be sad to see him go.  He has been making us laugh with his funny jokes once the kids are in bed each night.  

The children and I have been listening to The Story of the World while we are out and about and are really enjoying it.  I can see this series being one that we revisit every so often.  It's cute to look back in the van at the kids listening so intently.

The weather has turned colder after a string of pretty nice days.  I wonder if it will be winter's last hurrah or if it will be a chilly Pascha this year.  I'm actually huddled next to the fireplace as I type this!

Wednesday, March 18

Our Namesday Boy!


Happy Namesday to our dear Button!  We love you Sweet Boy!

It was a wonderful day for our favorite four year old.  The highlight for him was that he got to share his chocolate cake with all of his church friends after PreSanctified Liturgy tonight!      

Tuesday, March 17



  My sister's blanket traveled with me to the coffee shop during art class and then after lunch, I sat on the porch swing knitting in the sun.  Only a ball-and-a-half of her first handspun left to knit and then she'll have a nice blanket!     

Monday, March 16



  It is about halfway through Great Lent and while in some ways we are getting used to a more austere way of life, in other ways I feel a little faded like my birthday roses.  

Last week I was hit with the worst head cold that I have had in ages (like, since before I had children).  It was bad enough that I regularly thought on days two, three, and four that it would be so nice to 'take to my bed' and leave the care and feeding of our little family to our cook, maid, and nanny.  But then I remembered that we are not living in a Jane Austen novel and I had better get it together.   

We are feeling very fortunate that my little brother is spending his spring break from college here with us.  He is helping Father John with some work and spending lots of time with his niece and nephews and doing up the dishes for me!  He's the best!

Sunday, March 15


One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture,
and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." 


Saturday, March 14

Using the Sign of the Cross Every Day...

The sign of the Cross is a great way to sanctify or bring God every part of your busy day -whether good or bad! Here are just a few times during the day when you might want to make the sign of the Cross:

  • Before you get out of bed, to thank God for protecting you during the night.
  • Before you prepare a meal for your family, to thank God for His bounty (My grandmother, Mary, said a prayer and traced the sign of the Cross with the tip of her spoon whenever she opened a new sack of flour or sugar, opened a jar of jam or peanut butter, etc.).
  • Before and after meals, to thank God for the bounty He provides.
  • As you leave your home, to ask God to Protect you on your journey and watch over your house or apartment while you are gone.
  • When you pass an Orthodox Church building or monastery, to ask God to preserve it and guide its leaders
  • As you bandage a "booboo" or take any kind of medicine, to ask that God will heal you both in body and spirit.
  • Over any new piece of equipment, tool, book, art supply, or toy, to ask God to guide you in using it wisely in His service.
  • Before, during, and after any meeting or conversation you have - especially with someone you know to be "difficult" - that God will help you approach them with Christian love and understanding.
  • As you begin any project, and before and after working and studying, to ask God to guide your efforts.
  • As you sign a contract, lease, or any other legal agreement - or even when you make a promise to someone - that God with protect and guide all involved.
  • As you mail or fax an important letter, that God will see it quickly to its destination and allow the reader to understand/not misinterpret its contents
  • When you hear news of something wonderful )to thank God), or of something terrible (to ask for His mercy and protection).
  • When you witness any accident - big or small- to thank God for His protection and ask HIs help in "setting things to right" and recovering from it.
  • When you pass a cemetery or are reminded of departed loved ones during the day, to ask God to forgive their sins and welcome them into His kingdom.
  • As you come through the door at night, to thank God for His protection and bounty.
  • Before reading the Bible, the writings of the Church Fathers, or the lives of the Saints, to ask God for His enlightenment.
  • Over your bed, before you get into it at night, to ask God to protect you as you sleep (many Orthodox prayer books include special prayers to say when blessing your bed, too!).
  • If you wake in the middle of the night, after hearing a bump or a screech, or having a bad dream.
I am not sure who to attribute this to (it says NTK at the bottom of the page)... if you know, please tell me!

Thursday, March 12

Working in Clay...


  The children and I met up with a few friends at a local art league today to have a go at creating some masterpieces in clay.  I was very happy that their first experience with this new medium was so positive...  I took several pottery classes in high school and they were fraught with disappointment, frustration, and quite a few lopsided projects!  Each child will have a piece of pottery that will actually be useful (two children chose to make bowls and one a mug).  I'll be sure to photograph the finished pieces in a few weeks once they have hadsome time in the kiln!

Wednesday, March 11

Yarn Along: Handspun...

I've been slowly making my way through projects that have been languishing for too long, wither frogging them or finishing them.  This project has been in the basket since May.  My sister spun lots of snowy white roving into yarn and then turned it over to me to knit.  I love how each ball shows improvement in her spinning...  this was the first yarn she ever made and I am looking forward to handing her a finished lap blanket!

I finished reading An Episode of Sparrows and The Enchanted April on Saturday and am concentrating all of my reading efforts into The Scent of Holiness.  It is a great read.  I really like how profound it is without being a difficult read.  I needed that right now!

Tuesday, March 10

Her Yellow Sun-Bonnet...

 She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead."
A.A. Milne

Monday, March 9

Monday, Funday...

We were back to the grind today, but it was about 60 degrees and sunny and that really made a difference!  We filled our birdfeeder up and spent breakfast watching our feathered friends.  I was so happy that I finally got to admire our red-bellied woodpecker as he gobbled up some seed.  The children have seen him a few times, but their excitement sent him flying off before I could even look.

The nice weather meant that we could go to the playground for the first time in months.  It as good to be outside for a few hours.  Once we came home, I got a lot of cleaning and decluttering done.  I am behind on my Lenten Cleaning List, but am hoping to catch up quickly.   

I hope your week got off to a good start!


Olivia has no business to interfere, she had had no intention of betraying herself, but now she was moved to come down the last stairs and ask, "What did you buy?"

Lovejoy's face lit up.  "A little box coat like a reefer," she said, speaking to Olivia, not to Angela or Miss Dolben, "not a real reffer, of course, but quite good cloth and good turnings; it was forty-three shillings, but you have to pay quite that," said Lovejoy seriously.  "Then a navy cotton skirt, not much stuff in it, but well cut;  it's on a bodice and the buttons will let down; that was nine shillings.  I bought two of these American woven shirts, one is white and one white with navy stripes, they were three shillings each, that makes two pounds eighteen; and two pairs of white ankle socks for three-and-six.  and these plain pumps," said Lovejoy, showing them.  "They'll do for winter if I'm careful to keep out of puddles.  They were fourteen shillings, second-hand, at Dwight's.  I think I was lucky to find them, don't you?  And with the shilling over and two of the half-crowns Tip gave me - after I'd paid for the pansies- I bought this little cap.  It has a touch of the sailor about it," said Lovejoy.  "Sailors are fashionable this year" - but that made her think about Tip, and she as silent."

Rumer Godden

Friday, March 6

Vanilla Crazy Cake...

A few weeks ago, I noticed a pin that boasted of a cake that was completely vegan and had for different variations (chocolate, vanilla, lemon, and spice). March is a busy month for us as far as celebrations go (both Father John and I have birthdays and Button's namesday is mid-month) and these special days often fall during Lent, so I pinned the recipe.  The morning of my birthday, I decided that I would make myself a Vanilla Crazy Cake with Vegan Buttercream Frosting and Strawberries.  It was a very easy cake to put together.  Though they say that you can mix everything in the pan, I opted to use a bowl and then I poured the batter into a beautiful pie plate.  We are planning on trying the Lemon Crazy Cake for Father John's birthday and the Chocolate one for Button's namesday!  Maybe we'll make the Spice version when my sisters come at the end of the month!

Thursday, March 5



  I am 35 today!  We celebrated with vanilla crazy cake, pink roses, no school, and a snow day.  My beautiful present came in the mail and once we opened it, we saw that it was totally broken!  Boo.  The company is sending me a new one in a few days and told me that I could throw out the broken one, but Father John suggested that I see if I could find someone to trim off the jagged edge and polish it up.  I found a local guy to do it and I can bring it to him when the weather gets better!  What a nice silver lining!
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