Tuesday, February 28

Birthday Dresses

Our little girl and her baby cousin (my goddaughter!) share the same birthday (our daughter will turn eleven on the day Vivienne turns one!).  One of the traditions that we have for our daughter is to buy her a special birthday dress and this year, I was able to find matching birthday dresses in the clearance section of April Cornell!  Aren't they lovely?

Monday, February 27


I was surprised to see a catalogue from Emma Bridgewater in our mailbox today.  I couldn't help squealing when I spotted this Oxford mug within the pages.  I was born in Oxford, England nearly 37 years ago and though I have not lived there since I was three months old, it is a very special place for me.  I noticed that the mug was on sale for 30% off and they were also offering free shipping, so I impulsively bought it.  I can't say that I regret the purchase, either!

Cami's Romanian Potato Salad

Cami is a Romanian woman that comes to our church who is an absolute wizard in the kitchen.  She makes this delicious potato salad for many of our Lenten Sunday coffee hours.  She gave me a vague recipe which I have attempted to recreate for you!  

Boil peeled and cubed potato until they are soft.  Shred two carrots and dice one pickle,  two stalks of celery, a couple of green onions, a quarter to half of a red onion, and some kalamata olives.  Mix a dressing of red wine vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard.  Combine vegetables, drained potatoes, and dressing in a large bowl.  Chill and enjoy!

Sunday, February 26

Knitted Socks


  I have completed my first pair of socks!  I used the magic loop method and Susan B. Anderson's pattern to knit them.  The yarn was a gift from my sister and was lovely to work with:  Hedgehog Fibres in the Concrete colorway.

This Week's Menu


I've made a couple of dishes to see us through the next few days:  simple beets (just salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar), potato salad, and mushroom barely soup.  Along with some hummus, guacamole, bread, pretzels,crackers, fruit, and cut up raw vegetables, meals should be relatively easy this first week of Great Lent.

Saturday, February 25

Embroidering with Matushka Dunia


Father Daniel and Matushka Dunia came over for dinner on Thursday night. We have been meaning to get-together for a meal for quite awhile, but our schedules havent matched up.  After we ate, Matushka spent a little time with our daughter teaching her a few basic embroidery stitches.  Our little girl has become quite the needlewoman of late (she knits, cross-stitches, and can use a sewing machine) and embroidery has been on her list of things to try for quite some time.  She enjoyed her lesson very much and has spent the past few days whipping through the little sampler that Matushka drew for her.  Her goal was to finish by Sunday, and she was done this morning!  She'll be able to show her teacher what she practiced tonight at Vespers!

Thursday, February 23

Flower Girl

Our daughter's gown for my sister's May wedding has arrived

Wednesday, February 22



We celebrated my father-in-law's 41st anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood last night (a smidge early as it is actually today!).  41 years!  He was here for a little pre-lenten visit and brought a folder full of old photographs like the one above.  This one shows my husband's dear godfather and my father-in-law at Holy Trinity Monastery in the early 1980's.  It was lovely to see a glimpse into his past and hear some of the many stories that he has to tell!

Tuesday, February 21

Preparing for Great Lent: Planning Ahead...

One of the things that really helps to make Great Lent and Pascha go a little more smoothly is to plan ahead.  Here are some of the things that I have on my list to do:

1.  Begin saving onion skins for dyeing eggs red naturally  
2.  Buy candles (battery operated for little ones) for Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha
3.  Purchase wheat grass seeds to plant on Palm Sunday  
4.  Purchase Pascha candy and plastic eggs for egg hunt  
5.  Sort out Pascha outfits and egg necklace(s)
6.  Create a Lenten calendar  
7.  Pick out a book or two to read during Great Lent
8.  Print out Great Lent Passport 
 Is there anything that I am missing?

Come and See!

Monday, February 20

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead

Church in the Home
With Great Lent fast approaching, I'll be posting a little bit on some of our Lenten preparations and plans this week.  Have you seen the lenten cleaning plan I posted earlier today?  I'd love to see yours if you have one! 

I started watching Sense and Sensibility last night and am really enjoying it!  I love the Emma Thompson version, but this one is so well done and is lengthier!

On My Bedside Table
I began reading Good Evening, Mrs. Craven:  The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Brown last night and am already nearly done.  I really love reading about the experience of the British during World War II and this slim volume of short stories is no exception!  

Kitchen, Pantry, Table
It's Cheesefare Week for the Orthodox Church and we are planning to eat lots of yummy things before the start of Great Lent next Monday.  Some of the things that I plan to make are:  pancakes, waffles, baked ziti, and grilled cheese.  I'd also love to go out for pizza on Friday night!

In My Knitting Basket
I'm still plugging away on my socks, but I've also decided to join in on a Lenten knit-a-long that my sister, Kate, has begun. I'll be knitting another huge Palmyre Shawl.  I'm hoping that the yarn that I ordered yesterday arrives in time.

Preparing for Great Lent: Lenten Cleaning

I try to deep clean our home as much as I am able during the weeks when we fast (Cheesefare Week begins on February 20 and Great Lent begins on the 27th of February this year) . I find that it is really wonderful to enjoy having everything clean and organized for the Great Feasts of the year. I plan on breaking my cleaning up by cleaning one room or area each week of the Fast (there are seven weeks + Cheesefare Week).  I'll also try to keep up with my regular daily cleaning and laundry routines as much as possible so that the kitchen isn't spotless, while the rest of the house looks like a war zone with naked children running around!


Cheesefare Week
1.  Clean Icon Corners
2.  Plan Lenten Menu List/Create Shopping List
3.  Shop for Lenten Staples
4.  Prepare a few quiet activities for the first week (watercolors, play dough, audiobooks)
5.  Create a Lenten Calendar

Week One (Kitchen)
1.  Clean out fridge and freezer
2.  Clean out cabinets and drawers
3.  Clean counters, appliances, and sink
4.  Wash out garbage can and recycling bin
5.  Wash baseboards and scrub floor

Week Two (Sunroom, Dining Room, and Laundry Room)
1.  Scrub table and chairs
2.  Clean out cabinets and drawers
3.  Clean counters and appliances
4.  Wash baseboards and scrub floors
5.  Tend potted trees (add dirt, repot, etc.)

Week Three (Playroom, Living Room, Entrance and Hallway)
1.  Sort through books, magazines, dvds, and cds
2.  Sort through puzzles, games, and toys
3.  Tidy art supplies
4.  Dust furniture and vacuum under cushions
5.  Wash baseboards and scrub floors

Week Four (Bathrooms)
1.  Clean out cabinets and drawers
2.  Purge bath toys and sanitize keepers
3.  Clean tubs, showers, sinks, and toilets
4.  Wash baseboards and scrub floors
5.  Reorganize towels and replace worn ones

Week Five (Children's Rooms)
1.  Clean closets
2.  Go through books and toys
3.  Dust
4.  Wash all bedding and curtains/flip mattresses
5.  Wash baseboards and vacuum floors

Week Six (Master Bedroom)
1.  Clean out closet
2.  Tidy dresser, bedside tables, and bookshelf
3.  Dust
4.  Wash all bedding and curtains/flip mattress 
5.  Wash baseboards and scrub floor

Great and Holy Week
1.  Paschal shopping
2.  Clean car
3.  Wash glass doors and windows
4.  Tidy porch
5.  Fill hanging baskets and window boxes (weather permitting)

Sunday, February 19



The eagerly anticipated snowdrops finally have a bud and there are masses of daffodils poking their heads up out of the ground.  The question is, will spring come early this year?  Or are we in for one last hurrah before winter gives in?

Saturday, February 18

Plant Happiness


The best way to plant happiness is to do at least one thing every day to make one person happier, and to do it for God. That shouldn't be difficult. We can all do that.”

D.E. Stevenson 

Thursday, February 16

Carrot Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes to make and always receives rave reviews!   

Carrot Cake

    3 eggs
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cups white sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    2 cups shredded carrots
    1 cup flaked coconut
     1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two round cake pans or an 8x12 inch pan.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.  In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, and pineapple (I like to use a food processor to shred my carrots and more finely chop up the coconut and pineapple).  Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.  Pour into prepared pan(s), and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an1 hour. Check with toothpick.  Cool thoroughly before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing 
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened
    4 cups confectioners' sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

Tuesday, February 14

Saint Valentine's Day

My darling valentines chose these delicately-colored roses for me and we enjoyed chocolates, valentine cards, and a luxurious homemade dinner (grilled steak, loaded baked potatoes, Parmesan garlic asparagus, and salad).  It was such a peaceful day with my sweethearts, which was balm to my harried and weary soul.

Memory Eternal!

Give rest O Lord to the departed soul of Thy servant, Patrick.
Our dear surrogate grandfather, Patrick, fell asleep in the Lord late yesterday evening.  He was very elderly and had been failing for quite a long time, but we are missing him so much. 

Monday, February 13

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead


Kitchen, Pantry, Table
My little Sugar Plum baked galettes for this past Sunday's coffee hour and tried new fruit for the filling.  She made one with peaches and one with peaches and blueberries.  Though frozen peaches weren't bad, I'm looking forward to using juicy sun-ripened summer peaches and sweet blueberries right off the bush.  There's just nothing better.

On My Bedside Table 
I'm slowly working my way through the Miss Buncle books and am going to be sad when they're over.  I have several books that have been recently been lent to me from a few different people, but I'm also looking forward to Good Evening, Mrs. Craven:  The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter Downes.

I read about Ramond Briggs' upcoming cartoon Ethel & Ernest on Sunday and just loved watching the trailer.  It won't be out for awhile, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it!

In My Knitting Basket
I'm in the midst of knitting (and re-knitting) my first sock...  if I can get it right, I can see sock knitting as something I can see myself doing for a long time.  There are only so many cowls and hats one can knit and use, but socks!  Everyone needs multiple pairs!

I've been on a bit of an audiobook bender lately.  I listened to Pride and Prejudice rather quickly and moved right on to Emma, which I am enjoying very much.

Saturday, February 11

Wedding Inspiration at Terrain


While my sister, Anna, was here for a brief overnight, we took a quick trip to our favorite store to gather inspiration for her upcoming May wedding.  It was such fun and I cannot wait to help her decorate for her reception!

Mama's Shawl


My mother recently completed this delicate lace shawl and sent it with my sister to have me block it.  Since it was so whisper thin, it dried in less than twenty-four hours.  Isn't it lovely?  She did such an amazing job knitting it!

Wednesday, February 8

Fanciful Ways

 'Romantic,' Christopher said scornfully.  Annaple's fanciful ways were a great nuisance to her family.  She bought a harp and sat on the window sill twanging it, singing in a small flat voice and breaking her fingernails on the gilded strings.  She sighed over pear blossom in the spring, ate strawberries even though they brought her our in a rash, cooed over babies, fussed about wearing gloves to church, and wasted time embroidering flowers on a useless strip of ivory silk which had taken her three years already.  She plaited her hair like a goose-girl's, stuck wilting daisies in it, and talked about the simple pleasures of country life although she had never so much as miLked a cow: 'Making butter in the dairy, picking lavender, herding the geese across the fields, feeding lambs, long evenings by the fire with your patchwork---'"

Jenny Overton 

Tuesday, February 7



Way back in November I ordered pompoms for the hats that I knit for the Trio (+ me!) .  They finally arrived yesterday and I attached them to our hats and we love them!  Little man's hat is missing, so I attached his pom to my yarrow bloom hat for the time being.

Monday, February 6

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead

Kitchen, Pantry, Home
Sugar Plum and I enjoyed watching the BBC's Emma a few weeks ago and were instantly enthralled with Miss Taylor's wedding cake.  As the beautiful Nordic Ware Cathedral bundt pan used in the film seems to be no longer in production,  we think that the Vaulted Cathedral bundt pan will work very nicely!

On My Bedside Table
In the past week or so, I found that Audible has a bunch of free audiobooks available on the channels section of their app.  This week I am whipping through Pride and Prejudice read by Rosamond Pike.  It is excellent, of course.

Father John and I are enjoying Victoria on Masterpiece each Sunday.  It is wonderfully acted, the story is fascinating, and the sets/costumes are gorgeous. 

In My Knitting Basket
I finished up my Song of the Sea Cowl early last week (though I still have to block it) and am now working on my first pair of socks.  My sister, Kate, gave me a skein of Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn in the Concrete colorway this past June.  It has taken me this long to get the courage to try knitting socks.  It hasn't bee too bad!  I'm using Susan B. Anderson's sock pattern as my guide.

I really enjoy living vicariously through BlackbirdandGoose.  Her Instagram feed is so, so lovely.

Saturday, February 4

Saturday Sketches


I went grocery shopping this morning, which was a huge load off my mind.  Last Monday, I had to do the week's menu planning and shopping in between meals and lessons.  It feels so much better to have things organized before the school week begins.

These gorgeous roses were for sale at Walmart (of all places).  I combined them with some seeded eucalyptus from a week or two ago.  I sketched them tonight after church and while I am pretty happy with the colors that I was able to mix, I wish that my painting didn't always looks so flat.  I'm going to do a little research on how to improve.  I'd really like to focus my sketching on table-top vignettes and flowers. 

Friday, February 3

Favorite Things: Bookends

My reward for enduring the indignity of my annual medical exam was to take a turn 'round a nearby antique store.  These cast iron (bronze?) bookends were tucked nearly out of sight.  Marked 'lovely bookends,' I could not resist them. 

Blooming in February

 We spotted this blooming tree at the University yesterday.  

"Beauty will save the world."  Fyodor Dostoevsky  

Thursday, February 2

Joyous Feast!


The Prayer of Saint Simeon the God-Receiver
Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace,
according to Thy Word,
for my eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples-
a Light to enlighten the Gentiles,
and the Glory of Thy people Israel.
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