Wednesday, August 31

Late Summer Wardrobe...

We have a few more months of warm weather and things were feeling a little stale.  I ordered the linen tunic in early August (it should arrive in mid- to late- September), tried a new combination of skirt, sweater, and camisole after seeing Matushka Rebekah Bethany wear recently, and Kate and I are hoping to sew some chambray Everyday Skirts in the next couple of weeks.

Our 2016 - 2017 School Year

Teaching Textbooks 5 and 3
Horizons Math 1
Xtra Math App
Language Arts
Brave Writer:  A Quiver of Arrows
Reading Comprehension (Grades 5, 3, and 1)
Daily Language Review (Grades 5, 3, and 1)
Phonics (Grades 5, 3, and 1)
Handwriting (Grades 5, 3, and 1)
Spelling (Grades 5, 3, and 1)
Writing (Journal Entries, Copy Work, Free Writing, etc.)
Calendar Work 
Read Alouds and Daily Reading Practice

Stack the States App

The Story of the World Volume 1
Story of the World Activity Book

Tinker Crate Subscription

Liz Steel's Foundations Sketching Course

Violin Lessons
Listening to Classical Music During Breakfast

Homeschool Gym Class
Daily Outdoor Play

Speech Therapy (for our youngest)
Reading Eggs and  Math Seeds

Wrought By My Mother...

I remember when my mother spent evenings embroidering this beautiful piece in 1991.  Now it is adorning my mantle where I can gaze at it any time I want.  Thank you, Mama!

Tuesday, August 30

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...

In My Knitting Basket
I finally feel like I'm getting back in my knitting groove.  It has been really nice to knit my black pullover this week.  What are you knitting?

The King and I is coming back to the big screen on August 31.    Is the theater near you showing it, too?

On My Bedside Table
I'm on little bit of an Anne Tyler kick.  I whipped through Digging to America last week (it was excellent!) and am now just starting A Spool of Blue Thread.

I know that I've mentioned Melody from Mandarine's before, but she has recently started to share a Monthly Memories video at the end of each month and I love watching them! 

Beauty Outdoors
Have you seen Anna Wintour's Hampton's garden?  It is the quintessential English garden of my dreams. 

Monday, August 29

Ornamental Pepper Plant...

I went to a farm stand for fresh tomatoes and ended up buying this pretty little pepper plant, too!

Sunday, August 28

Church Painting: Days 28, 29, 30, and 31

While I was in church tonight, I realized that I never documented the work that Mirona did a few weeks ago.  Over four days, she was able to complete all of the decorations painted on the inside of the arched windows and the two rectangular windows in the Altar.  These decorations look so good and pull everything together.

Saturday, August 27

Winter Woodland Pullover Redux...

I was so excited about this winter woodland pullover when I started it over a year ago, but then I had to frog it after finishing the entire body due to a mistake early in the yoke.  I did re-cast on and got a little done in October, but after awhile I just stopped knitting it in favor of other more interesting projects.  It has been relegated to a basket on my shelf for at least nine months, but when I finished my Riverbank Cowl last week while on the road for Baba's funeral, I somehow rediscovered my knitting mojo.  I dug out this sweater and began knitting on it again (while re-watching The White Queen for the upteenth time) on Friday evening.  Here's hoping that I will be able to complete it before it starts to get chilly...  I have a feeling that it will be a workhorse in my cool weather wardrobe if I can just get it finished!

Friday, August 26

Riverbank Cowl in Hush...



According to my Instagram feed, I cast on to this Riverbank Cowl on March 6th. I used MadelineTosh Longrider DK in the Hush colorway.  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 did 3 repeats for the body of the cowl and then finishing up with another 5 rows of ribbing.  This was the first project I did using Karbonz Interchangeable knitting needles.  My sisters bought me a set for my birthday and I love them!  I actually picked up a long-neglected sweater project that I had my beloved Lantern Moon bamboo needles and I was surprised at how much less smooth they were when compared to the Karbonz.  

This cowl was a gift for my friend, Kathleen.  She admired the yarn color when I first cast on and I love how it looks with her beautiful red hair!

Tuesday, August 23

Loose Ends...

Today was a flurry of activity.  We had some loose ends to wrap up, errands to run, and packing to do before our trip North for Baba's funeral.  

We had very little in the way of suitable funeral clothing for the children (is there even sch a thing?) and so I took them out to buy the boys new dress shirts and ties (which will do nicely for Christmas, as well) and we found a more somber looking skirt and top for our little girl (this seems to be a good time to buy clothing since everything was on deep clearance).  The children won't be wearing black, but they will look dressy for the services.  Thankfully our little men were given haircuts by Papa before our busy weekend with the Metropolitan, so that was not a concern.  

We had a panikhida (a short service for the departed) in the late afternoon and then ate dinner with Father  John's mother and brother.  It was good to be together, but the grief is a lot to bear.  The children were awake last night when we got the news and it took quite awhile to soothe everyone and fall asleep.  Despite my best intentions, bedtime was late tonight, too.  They will be exhausted tomorrow, but will hopefully sleep during the long car ride. 

Please keep the newly-departed Alexandra in your prayers.

Monday, August 22

Memory Eternal!

Give rest O Lord to the departed soul of Thy handmaiden, Alexandra.


My husband's beloved Baba died tonight.  She was 95 and though she was ready to go, there are many broken hearts crying themselves to sleep tonight. 

Living and Learning: This Week...

I have enjoyed Fiona Ferris' blog, How to Be Chic for years.  It is chock full of good advice for women wishing to live an elegant life.  Fiona was recently interviewed by Shannon Ables...  I'm looking forward to hearing her on The Simple Sophisticate podcast!

I cannot wait to see the film based on the novel The Light Between Oceans.  It was one of the first books I read in 2016 and the movie looks like it will do justice to the author's story.

On My Bedside Table
After finishing (and enjoying!) Vinegar Girl, I decided to read The Ladder of Years this past week.  It was a compelling novel (I read it in about two days), but I'm not sure what I think of the tale itself.  I am still thinking about it though, so I guess that is the mark of a good storyteller!

With all that has been going on, I haven't had much time to sit down and think too much about the upcoming school year.  I have about half of our books already and am just waiting for an order of our workbooks to arrive.  About halfway through this past school year, I started using a daily checklist to keep track of things that we needed to get done.  I worked on this year's master checklist and I have to say that I am really starting to look forward to beginning school again.

I recently bought a tube of Laura Mercier's Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer in Bare.  A friend recommended it to me and I have to say that I love it!  It has a very subtle sheen that makes my skin glow and it is lightweight enough for the natural look that I prefer. 

Sunday, August 21

Good Things Abound...

Not only did the mortgage get torched this weekend, but Father John was awarded a Kamilavka

Metropolitan Tikhon Blesses a Tea Party...

I'm still catching up after a very full celebratory mortgage burning weekend with Metropolitan Tikhon, but the highlight for our daughter (and let's be honest, me) was when he blessed the tea party she threw for all of her little church friends and their dollies after Liturgy today. I cannot handle the cuteness.

The Golden Clasp...

Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week." 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Great Vespers with Metropolitan Tikhon...

Metropolitan Tikhon arrived at 5pm and we jumped right into our celebratory weekend.  We began with a little question and answer period with our Metropolitan and then followed it with Great Vespers.

Saturday, August 20

Saturday Night with Metropolitan Tikhon...

Our mortgage burning weekend with Metropolitan Tikhon is here!  I set the table for dinner this afternoon.  We'll have ten people eating after church tonight.  One of our parishioners is preparing all of the food tonight, which is sch a treat.  Here is the menu:

Octopus Salad Served in an Avocado Shell
Tomato, Avocado, and Spicy Peppers with Barrel Feta drizzled Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar
Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Caper Compote
Papou Potatoes (Greek Baked Potatoes
Brownies and Ice Cream

Thursday, August 18

Today was the worst.


Today started off so well.  I made pancakes for breakfast and we began preparations for our big weekend.  In an effort to try to help my husband who was mowing and tidying the church property, I offered to fill up a gas tank for the lawn mower and leaf blower.  Of course the gas spilled all over our beautiful minivan's trunk as I was returning home from the gas station.  Of course.  I spent a few hours trying to clean the mats and rug in the van.  Ultimately I ended up using vinegar and baking soda per Google and had to just let everything soak for the night.

After that ordeal, I told the kids that they could swim.  They got ready and ran out to the pool and while they were swimming I watered the plants on the patio and filled the bird bath.  Just as I sat down to relax, our middle boy started screaming hysterically and emerged from the pool absolutely dripping blood from his mouth.  The kids had been doing the butterfly stroke back and forth pretending to be in the Olympics and he crashed into the cement wall of the pool scraping his chin and biting right through his bottom lip and chin.  Every one of us was completely traumatized.  My husband took one look and sent us to Urgent Care.  Fortunately, there was no need for stitches.  He'll be on a soft diet and some antibiotics to prevent infection for the next 36 hours.

I'm so done.  I'm also so grateful to God that everything today wasn't worse.  Thank God our son is okay.  And is there anything that baking soda can't fix?

Monday, August 15


The weather is still quite hot and humid.  I'm pining for autumn in the worst way, which I think is because I've been watching little Instagram videos for someone living in Latvia where it is already in the 50's and 60's.  It'll be October before things cool down here.

Today is Dormition and we have my father-in-law here for the next few days.  Now that we aren't fasting, I'm really looking forward to cooking again.  We had a nice family breakfast after Liturgy this morning and I made a big dinner tonight before Vespers (baked chicken, potatoes with cheese and bacon, and a huge salad with feta).  There's Liturgy again tomorrow morning for our parish's patronal feastday, so I think we'll have something festive again after church and then I'm planning beef stroganoff for dinner.   Oh, I bought plums to make a plum torte.  It's an August tradition.

I borrowed another Anne Tyler book from the library this afternoon and really want to start reading it.  I'm afraid if I start reading now, though, I won't get to bed until the wee hours.  Decisions, decisions. 

Joyous Feast!

In giving birth thou preservest thy virginity,
In falling asleep thou didst not forsake the world, O Theotokos.
Thou wast translated to life, O Mother of Life,
And by thy prayers, thou deliverest our souls from death.
The Learning Basket for Dormition can be found HERE.

Saturday, August 13


I went out early this morning to pop into the farmers' market for a few tuberose stems (to get blessed after Dormition Liturgy on Monday morning) and a dried hydrangea bloom for the coffee table.  The children asked for kettle corn and so they scampered off to buy it while I paid for my flowers.  We had a few other errands to run and then we stayed indoors the rest of the day to escape the oppressive heat and humidity of August.  

I was at loose ends tonight.  My husband was preparing for his sermon tomorrow and I'm bored with the Olympics.  I decided to watch Brooklyn and wasn't expecting much since I really didn't care for the book.  It is rare to feel that a film is better than the novel, but in my opinion, that is the case with Brooklyn.  Eilis was so much more likeable on screen than on the page.  I'm looking forward to the film adaptation of The Light Between Oceans and hope that it is as wonderful as the book is.

I shot all of the above photographs on my trusty Nikon, as opposed to my good ole' camera phone.  I've been toying with the idea of trying to really make the effort to use the Nikon for blog pictures  instead of using the ones I shoot for Instagram.  I used to pick up the camera every day to take photos, and I can see that I'm starting to loose the meager photography skills that I once had.  There are so many things that I wish I could be proficient in and make time for (gardening, homemaking, blogging, photography, drawing, knitting, cooking, baking, reading, music, etc.), but there's not much time to indulge.  Maybe doing just a little of each everyday will be enough over a lifetime.

Thursday, August 11

Beach Days...


We took Lila and Co. to the beach last night for horse spotting, a bonfire, roasted marshmallows, sand castle building, and toes in the surf.  This morning was more of the same, minus the bonfire and marshmallows, plus swimming!  The water was warm and our older two had a great time jumping in the waves (and picking themselves up when they were knocked down).  Our visit with our friends was over much too quickly, but we are already looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday, August 10

With Friends...


Saturday's farmers' market tuberose on the counter, Bird Bingo with little friends in bathing suits, and an exuberantly sprinkled double chocolate cake...  it's just the beginning of a great visit with friends!

Tuesday, August 9

Little by Little...


I'm slowly working my way through the house to get ready for a flurry of overnight guests the next two weeks!  I am most excited about Lila and her family's arrival tomorrow!
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