Friday, April 3

Tales from Exile: 3 April

I am obsessed with Persuasion by Jane Austen. I watched one version yesterday, downloaded a free sample of the book on my Kindle app last night, watched a second vision of the movie today, and am thisclose to getting the audiobook read by my fav Juliet Stevenson. I'm not really sure why I am so obsessed, but I am!

One of my darling goddaughters, Vivienne, sent me a watercolor card this week, so I painted her some daffodils. I always want to watercolor in the spring.

The tulips on our table are getting so blousy. Tulips are one flower that looks better and better as they age. 

The bluebells are up!

Thursday, April 2

Tales from Exile: 2 April

I planted these giant snowdrops at least two years ago and this is the first year they bloomed.God's perfect timing.

Our twelve-year-old son is making a shield out of a scrap of wood! He painted on this dragon and later Papa will help him apply a coat of gloss to protect the image.

Wednesday, April 1

Tales from Exile: 1 April

Our daughter has been really enjoying all of this free time to create. She finished knitting this darling wee lamb (the pattern is by @mamma4earth). She accidentally left him in our room a couple of nights ago, so I've just been setting him in the center of our bed ever since.

I bought some tomatoes on the vine last week that were terrible. Since I didn't want to waste them, I found a recipe for tomato sauce and it is delicious. Google 'Feasting at Home simple oven-roasted tomato sauce'. I didn't have fresh herbs or a shallot, so I used dried seasonings and half an onion. I don't have a potato masher, but a slotted spoon worked just fine. I also didn't bother to peel the tomatoes. It is amazing... especially on a piece of homemade bread, lightly toasted.
I finished the first sleeve of my sweater this evening! Casting on for the second as soon as possible...  hopefully tonight!

Tuesday, March 31

Tales from Exile: 31 March

Before going to do our week's grocery shopping today, I stopped at a local farm cart (no human contact) and bought these beautiful blooms.  As long as the flower farmer has flower's for sale, I am going to get some. It is lovely to have them and to help support a small business.

Grocery shopping is an anxiety producing experience to be sure. When all of this started, I was going out twice a week to stock up on necessities and try to find hard to get things (like eggs, milk, and toilet paper).  Things are getting bad enough, however, that we have decided to drop down from two trips to one. I am quite nervous about being able to get what we need in one trip. I wasn't able to find everything this week, but we are making do. Once I came home with the groceries, I wiped everything down with Clorox wipes, threw my clothes in the wash, and took a bath.  It is honestly so exhausting to get food. 

Monday, March 30

Tales from Exile: 30 March

Okay, fine. I'll bake some bread, too. I used the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It is delicious toasted with strawberry jam.

Sunday, March 29

Tales from Exile: 29 March

I've been looking for a suitable quote for the letter board since this all began and finally found it on someone's instagram feed a few days ago:

"He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." Goethe

Must try to live this quote as well as I can during this time of exile.

Saturday, March 28

Tales from Exile: 28 March

Saturdays were my favorite day of the week before our exile began, but now it is almost like every day is a Saturday.  I most resent Sundays...  there is no Liturgy (just Typika) and no post, which brings me delight on the other six days of the week.

Anyway, today I woke to grey skies, so it seemed like the perfect time to put on The Secret Garden, which we watch every spring.  I spent the first few minutes making newspaper cups for our herb and flower seeds, which felt quite fitting. By the time it was over, the rain was gone and it was a good day to play outside.

I finished the body of my sweater tonight, while we had Bible Study via Zoom. I try to keep my knitting below the table so that it doesn't distract the other participants.  We had Reader's Vespers afterward and I will try to cast on to the first sleeve once the children are in bed.

Friday, March 27

Tales from Exile: 27 March

Our daughter's school has not begun distance learning yet, so she has been really enjoying whole day's worth of free time to pursue creativity.  For the past few days, she has been painting with watercolors.  She created a beautiful card for her dear cousin, Lucy, with paintings of the plants on her windowsill and I just love it.  She also created a seal for the letter's envelope with hot glue and dried flowers. I think that she has been heavily influenced by her recent viewing of From "Larkrise to Candleford."

In other news, the daffodils on the front porch continue to delight.

Thursday, March 26

Tales from Exile: 26 March

We've finally started to see an improvement in our daughter's coughing. She had a terrible day yesterday and another bad night, but things have turned around with a nasal spray and a different cough medicine. I am so thankful and hopeful that she will be able to have a good night's sleep tonight.

The children and I finished reading Boy by Roald Dahl last night. It was full of funny stories, but the tales of the gruesome abuse of school boys by their headmasters cancelled them out! We are re-reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe next... a good palette cleanser.

Wednesday, March 25

Tales from Exile: 25 March

Joyous Feast of the Annunciation!

What a strange feast day this was. We had church, but it was only our family and the service this morning was a Vesperal Typika. It feels so strange not to see our people on such a wonderful feast. 

We had our usual fasting fish day meal today: salmon, sweet potatoes, salad. I also made the season's first asparagus. A simply lovely treat!

Tuesday, March 24

Tales from Exile: 24 March

Today was a pretty quiet day after all the hustle and bustle of yesterday. The children and I have started back up with our school work after a week away. We were all a bit sick this past week and the shock of social distancing and everything changing was just too much. I just couldn't face teaching and keeping up with school while I was feeling so anxious and scared. I'm feeling better physically and emotionally this week, so we will press on with our schoolwork and try to have some structure to our days at home.

We are still awaiting news of the fate of the public schools in our area for the remainder of the school year. I wonder what will happen.

Monday, March 23

Tales from Exile: 23 March

Today is our twelfth day in captivity. I spent most of the morning going from store to store (four in all) getting things for the week. I was able to get everything except toilet paper. We still have a week's worth, but I want to try to find some before we run out. I did get  a few boxes of inexpensive tissues in case I am unsuccessful. Though there are still lots of things that the stores don't have, I am noticing that the small shops and grocery stores have more that the bigger chains like Walmart. 

The boys had their first Zoom violin lesson this afternoon and I think it well. It will take a little getting used to, but I do think this is a good way to continue lessons during the times when we (or their teacher) are sick enough to be contagious, but well enough to do some things.

We also held a Zoom meeting for the parish children and that was fun for the kids. They were on for two hours!

I bought some packets of flower and herb seeds and some potting soil while I was out today. The gardening bug has hit many people that I know, and I am not immune. I'm starting small so that things are manageable and not too costly.  Our daughter planted the sprouted pip she found while making apple crisp last week and it is shocking us with the growth it's had in just a couple of days. Hopefully these packets of seeds will grow just as well!

Sunday, March 22

Tales from Exile: 22 March

Today is The Sunday of the Cross in the Orthodox Church. It just didn't feel the same without Divine Liturgy. We did Typika in the church this morning, ate some church bread, and had a Zoom meeting with parishioners who could make it.

I made Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp for my husband's lunch today, which he ate with relish. It is one of his favorite lenten meals. I was thrilled to be able to snip a sprig of rosemary for the front garden to make this dish. It is nice to be able to use something that I grew for a meal, even if it is just a herb. I am seriously considering planting herbs in all the window boxes.

It is unbelievable that we are on eleven on the quarantine. The word on the street is that we will be sheltering in place tomorrow or the next day.

Saturday, March 21

Tales from Exile: 21 March

Happiest of birthdays to my beloved better half and the father of our children! We see all that you do to help our family, our parish, and everyone you meet and are so grateful! You are a wonderful man and we are happy that you are ours. May God grant you many years!


I took a long ramble around the Rectory Gardens and found so many daffodils blooming today. One thing that quarantine forces one to do is to take a deeper interest in one's surroundings. I have watched these daffy-down-dillys unfurl their petals one by one each day. Normally, I'd only noticed them once their blooms were fully developed. This year, however, I have immersed myself in their loveliness in each and every stages of their blooming period.

We made apple blueberry crisp for Father John's birthday. It was exquisite: not too sweet and not too tart. I think fresh (not frozen) blueberries make an impact. I also left it in the oven a little longer that usual and it was perfectly crisp and browned on top.

Friday, March 20

Tales from Exile: 20 March

I woke up this morning and immediately went outside to walk in the very Spring-like weather.  The sun was out, the sky blue, and there was a breeze.  It was also quite warm...  too warm for the sweater I threw on over my leggings and tunic. I spent some time on the phone with my father-in-law who's in quarantine in New Jersey. I am so grateful for the long driveway and wide parking lot in which I am able to walk each day.

Breakfast was an English muffin and tea. I've been drinking cups and cups of hot tea (mostly Bigelow Lemon Lift, with the occasional Bellocq tea bag of The Queen's Guard for good measure...  I'm close to running out and will have to place an order soon). Today I opted for peach iced tea. The children are eating their meal in the living room while watching a documentary on Amelia Earhart. I'm going to count that as history for school. I remember being fascinated with mysteries like this myself at their age. One of the ones I was most interested in was the Lindbergh baby mystery.

Our daughter has been working on a redesign of the art on her tissue box for the past two days.  It is so pretty! She made a prototype yesterday and them improved the design of the box, the artwork, and art medium (originally she chose colored pencil, but turned to watercolors for a better look). I absolutely love it!

Our middle son is doing a Lego Challenge with their church friend.  The take turns coming up with a theme, create their design, and then meet on video chat to show them off.  I'm so impressed with their creativity and it gives them something fun to do for several hours each day.

Thursday, March 19

Tales from Exile: 19 March

We received a box from Amazon today.  It took longer to get then usual, which was good because it gave us something to look forward to longer.  I ordered Little Women for our daughter to read. She has been watching the new version of Little Women almost every day since we started our quarantine, so I think she'll love reading the book. I'm not sure what happened to my childhood copy...  it had been a gift from my uncle's mother, Grandma Fran, and I loved it's tattered pages.  Hopefully it will turn up again! 

I also ordered a travel version of the game backgammon.  I was inspired to learn to play by all of the posts that Alexandra Tolstoy devotes to the game. The rules seem completely mind boggling, so it is the perfect game to learn while there is nothing to distract us!
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