Kate arrived with her two little ones yesterday! We spent the afternoon relaxing on the porch while the children played, knitting in hand for her and a wreath making project for me. Pizza was ordered for dinner, which we ate with my brother once he came home from work. We played the Best and Worst game (each person shares the best/worst thing that happened to them today) that we used to enjoy when we were children and discussed politics while we washed the dishes together... I like who we've become.
Monday, May 30
My sister, Anna, very kindly took the Merry Trio to see a Memorial Day bike race downtown and so my mother and I took a little trip to Anthropologie, Trader Joes, and lunch. We we ven stopped for a little ice cream on the way home. It was such a wonderful treat to be with my mom alone! Thank you, Auntie Anna!
Sunday, May 29
Saturday, May 28
Things I did today:
1. Grocery shopped
2. Made seven meals to freeze and divide between my sister's family and your family (plus one dinner for an elderly couple in our church)
3. Cleaned a bathroom
4. Bought a bakery cake
5. Attended a baby shower
6. Saturday night Vesper
7. All the prep for this coming week
What I wish I could have done:
1. Cuddled Vivienne
Friday, May 27
My littlest sister made me an auntie again! Her new little one arrived just after 11 pm. I was able to wake Sugar Plum up with the news that I had just one more present for her: a new little cousin to share her birthday with! May 26 is a glorious day to be born... it also happens to be her best friend's birthday!
Thursday, May 26
Our girl has reached double digits! We had a great day that began with presents in bed and ended with vanilla cake topped with vanilla icing. It was a beautiful (hot!) day and we were able to spend a little time at the strawberry farm picking our own juicy berries, filling our little baskets. Hopefully we will be able to go at least once more before strawberry season is over. In the meantime, we are savoring every delicious bite!
Tuesday, May 24
I heard about Julian Fellows' adaptation of Anthony Trollope's Doctor Thorne on Amazon a few weeks ago and was intrigued, but didn't really know much about the storyline. Once I started watching on Saturday, I was hooked and blew through all four episodes this weekend. I really loved it!
In the Kitchen
It's strawberry season! Our little girl is turning 10 on Thursday and her dearest wish is to pick strawberries as part of her birthday festivities. We'll take her after breakfast and gather as many as we can!
On My Bedside Table
I'm reading Dragonwyck after spotting it's gorgeous floral cover in the bookstore. I'm glad that I borrowed it from the library, because though it is well written, it is basically a teenage romance novel. I may give one of the author's other books a try because of the rave reviews, but I have a feeling that Anya Seton's books are not for me. The covers are amazing, though!
Out of Doors
The weather has been so chilly and gray lately that I have put off getting our window boxes sorted out, but I think that this is the week that it will happen. I love picking out the plants that go in and think that I may have finally decided on what I'm going to buy this year. Stay tuned for more details!
It is so hard to believe that we have a child who will be DOUBLE DIGITS in a few short days. We have a nice day planned, God Willing. Her gifts are already wrapped, but I am hoping to find a bit of ribbon to tie around her packages. We have a big surprise for her main gift and I cannot wait to give it to her!
Saturday, May 21
Last night was the first time we've been to the beach for a bonfire this year. We brought a little firewood with us (along with peanut butter and jam sandwiches), but the children ended up scavenging quite a lot of wood that other beach-goers left and dried beach grass for kindling. It was chilly and we went a lot later than usual, but we were able to spot dolphins frolicking near the shore, sea gulls grabbing a dinner of wriggling crabs, and sandpipers darting over the wet sand. Wild ponies and red-winged blackbirds rounded out our nature sightings. We left the beach after sunset, which gave us lots of time to really enjoy our fire. It was so wonderful to breathe in that smoky, salty air again.
Friday, May 20
It's quite exciting to be able to fill out my weekly bunch of grocery store flowers (in this case, $8 of pale pink spray roses) with greenery from the garden again (hydrangea leaves, parsley gone to flower, and two branches from a fragrant bush in the courtyard).
Thursday, May 19
Monday, May 16
We've been really enjoying singing The Angel Cried as part of our bedtime prayers routine since Pascha. It is such a wonderful hymn:
On My Bedside Table
I'm nearly finished reading The Remains of the Day. I'll be glad to finish it, as it has not been my favorite novel. I barely remember watching the film based on the book, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson (it was years and years ago). I think that I may see if it is available to borrow at the library... I seem to remember it being good!
Have you heard about the new Jane Austen film, Love and Friendship, coming to theaters? It is based on Austen's unfinished novel, Lady Susan. Not only has Whit Stillman turned Lady Susan into a feature length film, he has also re-imagined and completed the novel for our reading pleasure. Both book and film look to be very good! The release for the movie is not terribly wide, however, so it won't come to us until the end of the month (and even then, I'll have to drive 45 minutes to get to a showing!).
One of the things I love to do just as the weather warms is pick out sandals. I have purchased a pair of Born Stephane sandals in gold. I love how they fit and look (they're perfect with every outfit), and as I am quite tall, the fact that they are flat is a wonderful bonus! What sandals will you be wearing this summer?
Kitchen, Pantry, Table
I've been flying by the seat of my pants as far as meals go since Pascha and really needed to get back into the menu planning groove! We're having: baked ziti, beef stroganoff, roast chicken with mashed potatoes, tuna sandwiches, and chili for our dinners this week. I made my grocery list and did the weekly shopping today after lunch. It wasn't ideal to wait until Monday afternoon to get it all done, but now that everything is planned and purchased, things will be a lot easier. I'm not sure why it took so much effort to get organized this time.
Sunday, May 15
We were invited to help pick out tiny goldfish for our elderly priest's backyard pond this afternoon. We ended up buying fourteen fish (for under $3.00!) and while they floated in their pet store bag to acclimate to the pond water, we helped to spring clean the screened-in porch for our friends. It took very little time to get everything done and now Father and Matushka will be able to enjoy their porch!. They are unable to do much physical work, but their little garden is in good shape now because their grandchildren cleaned out the pond and some other parishioners spent some time potting flowers and doing some other light yard work. It's really encouraging to see people helping one another!
I made a berry trifle for an afternoon treat using half of the pound cake that I made for Pascha. It was wonderful to have that tucked in the freezer for later. There were so many delicacies to eat during Bright Week , that the extra cake would have just gotten lost in the shuffle. Saving half meant that we could enjoy it all the more now.
It is nearly strawberry season here. I can't wait to get out to some of the fields that we have near our home for U-Pick. We have one about a mile away and it is such fun to fill our baskets with the juicy berries. When my dad was little, one night a year during strawberry season, my grandmother would serve shortcake (and only shortcake!) for dinner. It sounds like a perfect tradition to keep!
Saturday, May 14
I woke up very early this morning and took myself to the farmers' market by the ocean. It was gloriously warm and sunny and it was a delight to be driving with the windows rolled down and the sun on my face. For a bit of a treat, I bought a strawberry cheese croissant for breakfast and a bouquet of wildflowers for our table. I hope that the peonies fully open... they already smell amazing!
Friday, May 13
The crowned Mother of God statue at a nearby Catholic Church reminds me of all of the time I was a Catholic schoolgirl (from first grade through my B.A. in college). Seeing the pretty white blooms in her crown put me in the mood to spruce up the porch with some potted plants. I stopped at the nursery just as the sky started to clear (after days of rain) and bought some geraniums and a pot full of mixed plants. Our porch is now tidied and adorned with cheerful flowers... it feels as if spring has finally arrived.
Wednesday, May 11
John Adair had little liking for the simple life; he said it was not simple, but the most damnably complicated method of wasting time that had every existed. He liked a constant supply of hot water, a refrigerator, an elevator, an electric toaster, a telephone beside his bed, central heating and electric fires, and anything whatever that reduced the time spent upon the practical side of living to a minimum and left him free to paint.
But Sally [his daughter] did not want to be set free for anything, for it was living itself that she enjoyed. She liked lighting a real fire of logs and fir cones, and toasting bread on an old-fashioned toaster. And she liked the lovely curve of an old staircase and the fun of running up and down it. And she vastly preferred writing a letter and walking with it to the post to using the telephone and hearing with horror her voice committing itself to things she would never have dreamed of doing if she'd had the time to think. "It's my stupid brain," she said to herself. "I like the leisurely things, and taking my time about them. That's partly why I like children so much, I think. They're never in a hurry to get on to something else.”
Posted by MamaBirdEmma at 9:18 PM
Tuesday, May 10
A lady dropped off this beautiful silver cup as a Pascha gift to the church on Bright Friday. I love how the hearts on the handle match our newly painted border on the church walls. To polish it, I used toothpaste, a washcloth, and a toothbrush (to get into the nooks and crannies).
Monday, May 9
A few weeks ago, I read Behind the Scenes at the Met. As a college student, I often found myself wandering through The Metropolitan Museum of Art on trips for my art history classes. This article gave me a glimpse into the inner workings of one of my favorite places to visit.
Danish potter, Anne Mette Hjortshøj lives and works on the small island of Bornholm, situated in the Baltic Sea. This video was simply stunning. I enjoyed listening to Hjortshøj's philosophy of art and life and found the following quote to really speak to me:
"... We've got enough things in this world, so of course you have to think really carefully when you put something in the kiln... you need to pay honest attention to what you're doing in life."
Bright Week is over, so we're back to our morning routine of breakfast and poetry and classical music on the radio (+ let's be honest: piles of laundry, the whir of the dishwasher taking care of yesterday's dishes, and gnashing of teeth over tidying bedrooms for the first time since Pascha). I love starting our day with good food, good music, and good writing. It really sets the tone for the rest of the day.
I love giving myself pedicures in the summer and I found this year's polish: Essie Forever Yummy. I love the vibrant blue-red that it gives me and it seems to be pretty long-lasting. What's your favorite polish color?
On My Needles
I am working on a delicate and lacy blanket for my sister's little one (due in June) and will probably be doing so for quite awhile! It is made with fingering weight yarn, so it isn't knitting up as quickly as a thicker yarn would. It is really coming out nicely and I am savoring every stitch. It must be done by the baby's baptism, so I do have to keep moving!
Sunday, May 8
Our Sheep & Wool Festival Treasures: a project bag from Madder Root, a jar of Maple Cream, and two relief tiles by Judith A. McKallar)
(As an aside, terracotta, black, bluish-gray, white, beeswax yellow, and English saddle are such a perfect color combination)
Orthodox mamas don't get breakfast in bed on Mother's Day morn, but we do get Liturgy and Holy Communion and Coffee Hour!
While I was out gallivanting yesterday, Father John took the boys to buy a huge vibrant bouquet of blooms and three beautiful corsages for the matushki in our parish (we have two priests' wives and one deacon's wife) and the three of us were so pleased! I loved wearing mine so much and now it is on my bedside table so that I can enjoy it as long as possible.
I dug out my great-grandmother's pink depression glass platter from the back of the china cabinet to set my beautiful berry cheesecake on. It was a feast for the eyes and for our tummies. Plus, there's more for tomorrow!