Wednesday, December 13

Clinging on for Dear Life

Saturday's snow is still trying to cling on for dear life.  The snow was very wet and heavy when it fell and perfect for snowballs, forts, and snow men, but after a cold snap last night what's left has become very crunchy and satisfying to trudge through.  

This week has been quite busy.  The children had their first violin recital on Monday night, our middle son turned ten on Tuesday night, we have our homeschool review scheduled for Thursday morning, and there is basketball scheduled for four nights this week.  Add to that lessons, violin practice, church services, and other miscellaneous activities, and our plates are very full! 

In the midst of all of this, I have gotten a bee in my bonnet.  It has been very satisfying to sift through some of our things for a little bit of a clear out before Nativity arrives in less than two weeks.  We haven't really begun putting up our Christmas things at all yet, so it has been nice to try to make a little space for the decorations and presents that are starting to arrive already!

I had a little panic attack the other night when I started to look for presents that I had put away for our son's birthday.  For the life of me I couldn't find one of his gifts that I knew I had put in a box with several Christmas presents.  It was a hair-raising half an hour, let me tell you!  I prayed to Saint Menas (a saint that never lets me down when I am searching for something!) very fervently and in the end found everything I was looking for in a box that I had check three times previously.  Oy.  Hopefully we will not have a repeat of that when I start wrapping the Christmas things next week!

Joyous Feast of Saints Lucia and Herman!

Tuesday, December 12


Happy, happy birthday to our darling Little Man!  We love you so much!

Sunday, December 10

Citrus Ornaments

I spent a little time to day baking oranges, lemons, limes, and pink grapefruit in a low oven.  After the slices had dried a little bit, I threaded a bit of twine through each one.  Eventually, we will hang these beauties on a little Christmas tree on our front porch.  I hope that the tree will bring some much needed cheer to our entrance way on the cold days of winter!

Friday, December 8

Warm and Alive

'...  What a traditional woman did that made her home warm and alive was not dusting and laundry...  Her real secret was that she identified herself with her home...  her affection was in the soft sofa cushions, clean linens, and good meals; her memory in well-stocked storeroom cabinets and the pantry; her intelligence in the order and healthfulness of her home; her good humor in its light and air.  She lived her life not only through her own body but through the house as an extension of her body; part of her relation to those she loved was embodied in the physical medium of the home she made."

Home Comforts
Cheryl Mendelson

Wednesday, December 6

Joyous Feast of Saint Nicholas!

Hymn to Saint Nicholas
O who love Nicholas the saintly,
O who serve Nicholas the saintly,
Him will Nicholas receive,
And give help in time of need:
Holy Father Nicholas!

He who dwells in God's holy mansions,
Is our help on the land and oceans,
He will guard us from all ills,
Keep us pure and free from sins
Holy Father Nicholas!

Holy Saint, hearken to our prayer,
Let not life drive us to despair,
All our efforts shall not wane,
Singing praises to your name:
Holy Father Nicholas!

Tuesday, December 5

Let's Make a Lenten Cake!

Andie's Chocolate Cake

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans or one 9x13 (I also greased cut parchment paper circles to put in my round pans.)
Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
In another bowl combine wet ingredients.
Mix wet into dry until well blended.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done.

Monday, December 4

Saint Alexander Hotovitzky

In a time of fiery temptations for the Church of Russia, 
 you manifested Christ’s love to your flock through meekness and humility. 
As a good pastor you laid down your life for Him. 
 Pray for us, Hieromartyr Alexander, that our souls may be illumined!

Saturday, December 2

For the Joy of It

For a couple of weeks now, I have not had much interest in tending the house.  I would tidy and clean things that were absolutely necessary, but it was hard to get up the energy to do so.  For some reason the desire to home-make returned today and I spent much of it floating the house around getting things in order.  In the end, two bathrooms were cleaned, piles of laundry were put away, and the closet and a few drawers in our room were tidied.  I dusted our bedroom - especially my yarn shelves, changed the covers on the throw pillows in the living room, sorted through the dvd cabinet, rearranged a few odds and ends, and swept the hallway and entrance.  It felt good to do things for the joy of it, rather than because it had to be done.

One of my favorite activities on non-school days is to bathe in the afternoon.  I like to leave the overhead light fixtures off and read by the light that streams in the window while I soak.  I'm in the middle of Joan Didion's memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking.  I became interested in it after the recent Netflix documentary of her life (The Center Will Not Hold) and her writing were recommended by Julie Bogart of Brave Writer.  I enjoy reading memoirs, journals, and letters quite a lot, so this was a good fit for me.

All is quiet here except for quiet strains of music drifting down the hall.  The children have a new habit of listening to a classical station on Pandora while they drift off to dreamland.  It is darling to walk down the hall to the bedrooms and find the tablet propped up between their doors playing soothing melodies for them.  Sometimes I wonder how they can even fall asleep to music, but it does help quell their usual chattiness.  I suppose that it isn't much different from using a sound machine, right?!


Wednesday, November 29

Library Haul

I hit the jackpot today at the library sale shelf.  I suppose that the librarians sorted through the Christmas books to weed out a few, but they really got rid of some good ones!  My especial favorite is A Christmas Tree for Pym.  I borrowed it for the Trio every year and am so happy to have a copy for us!

I took out the Didion book after hearing about it and a recent documentary about Joan Didion that was recently released on Netflix. 

Tuesday, November 28


Little Man: Papa, I faced my fears today.
Papa: Really? That's great!

Little Man: Yes! I changed the toilet roll.

(As hilarious as this conversation was, he WAS attacked by the toilet paper roll insert a few years ago. The spring shot one of the the metal pieces right into his face and he needed to have his eyebrow glued together at Urgent Care.)

Monday, November 27

Sunday, November 26

Persimmons in the Light

This gorgeous bowl of persimmons was given to us from a parishioner...  her neighbor has a tree laden with fruit.  I have never eaten them before, so the jury is still out on how we like them.  I have been directed to wait to eat them until they are soft.  Any other tips?

Friday, November 24


Every year, we buy one or two ornaments for our Christmas tree.  Here are the ones that I found for this year.  I bought them while at the mall with my sisters on Thanksgiving Eve!

Thursday, November 23

In Thanksgiving

O Lord, how lovely it is to be Thy guest. Breeze full of scents; mountains reaching to the skies; waters like boundless mirrors, reflecting the sun's golden rays and the scudding clouds. All nature murmurs mysteriously, breathing the depth of tenderness. Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of Thy love. Blessed art thou, mother earth, in thy fleeting loveliness, which wakens our yearning for happiness that will last for ever, in the land where, amid beauty that grows not old, the cry rings out: Alleluia!  

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