Friday, May 22

Living and Learning: This Week...

Living Well
For years, the only jam that I have purchased has been Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves.  We enjoy it on our toast and biscuits, with our peanut butter in sandwiches, and the occasional dollop in a dish of yogurt.  I have always saved the jars because they seem so beautiful and useful, but other than storing spices and herbs in them, had no idea what to do with my stockpile.  Not too long ago, I started seeing similar jars being used as candle holders and drinking glasses and decided to try using them as everyday cups.  We like them so much that I don't think that I will have any need to buy glasses again!  They are sturdy and stout (which makes them unlikely to tip) and hold jut the right amount of liquid (less waste).   

After waiting nearly a month for Among the Madding Crowd to hit theaters nationwide (it was in limited release on May 1st), I am finally going to be able to see what looks to be an amazing film (based on a Thomas Hardy novel) this evening.  Have a look at the trailer: 

My sister is heading here for a little visit this coming week and we are hoping to make our daughters a few skirts for the summer.  I've not sewed much in my life (the odd button, Miss Maggie Rabbit), but am exited to learn something new.  We've reached the stage when pretty skirts below the knee are a bit difficult to find for Sugar Plum, so being able to whip something up quickly would certainly be a wonderful skill to possess.

I've just begun Love, Work, and Children, which is the second book of a trilogy detailing life in Morningside Heights.  Cheryl Mendelson, who's work has been compared to Austen and Tolstoy, covers such an interesting array of topics that I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy reading her books.

In Season
Today was the first harvesting day for our little herb garden.  We were able to fill a jam jar with basil, parsley, thyme, and dill and even had a tiny handful of rosemary to round things out.  I'm dreaming of potato salad with dill and pesto with the basil.  Do you have any good warm weather recipes for the thyme and rosemary?  All I can think of is roasted chicken and stuffing.

Thursday, May 21

Joyous Feast!

O Christ God, You have ascended in Glory,
Granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Through the blessing they were assured
That You are the Son of God,

The Redeemer of the world!


The Ascension Learning Basket can be found HERE.

Wednesday, May 20



We just had to celebrate the last day of Pascha with little heart-shaped shortcakes covered in freshly picked strawberries and whipped cream.  Each shortcake is brushed with heavy cream and sprinkled with a bit of sugar before baking and they are so very good!

Recipe, HERE.


Strawberry Picking...


Tuesday, May 19

The Land of Big Children...


 I spent a some time last night gathering books, papers, and projects for our last homeschool review of this school year.  I finished up the final draft of lesson plans and our attendance sheets and gathered everything up into a huge bag to bring to the library for Miss Eloise to look through.  This was the last year we will have two little scholars...  Mister Button will be joining us for lessons as a kindergartener in September.  It is hard to believe that we will have three school-aged children.  We've been moving into uncharted territory for awhile now (Potty training!  Weaning!  Sleeping through the night!) and though there is always the hope that we will someday add to our little brood, we've reached a good place...  The Land of Big Children and all of the fun things that they can do!

Salty, Smoky Air...


  I may have been crabby about going to the beach last night.  There may be a pile of wet, sandy clothes and towels on our front porch.  The bathtub may have dirty footprints on the bottom and scavenged seashells strewn along the edge.  But, we also may have been able to skip in the waves, build sandcastles, and roast gooey marshmallows long into the evening and that salty, smoky air just may have been a balm for our weary souls. 

Monday, May 18



 I had a few hours on Sunday to focus on yarn and knitting.  Part of my time was spent in the dim quiet of my bedroom.  I began a little hat for Sugar Plum and then started thinking about what I might want to knit once that is finished.  I had seen the latest design fro Kate Davies and thought that would be a nice choice.  Of course, when I decided on the pattern, I needed to choose a pretty yarn to knit it with.  I began browsing online and just before I clicked 'complete purchase,' I remembered that I had half a Seashore Cowl languishing in my knitting basket.  It had been there for nearly a year, and so I decided that it would be better to frog it and try knitting Fantoosh shawl with it instead.  I moved my operations to the porch swing and ripped it all apart while the trio played in the parking lot.  Though I haven't cast on yet, I did get a chance to flip through the detailed pattern, I think that it will be a lovely little project.

Saturday, May 16

Freddie Gray: Baltimore's Orthodox Churches Release Statement...

The Annunciation Cathedral faithful gathered for a special prayer service for the city, after the divine Liturgy on May 3, 2015.

The following statement was composed and sent to Baltimore City Hall on May 2, 2015, after Baltimore-area clergy and laity met to discuss the city’s recent turmoil in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray.


“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” (Luke 11:17)

Countless Orthodox Christians have called Baltimore their earthly home for more than a century. Many of our ancestors and contemporaries fled to this country to escape poverty, persecution, oppression, imprisonment, torture, and murder, and to find a new life in a land that held the promise of peace, prosperity, and the rule of law. As devoted citizens of this city, we have of course been moved by the tragic death of Freddie Gray and the events that it has sparked.

It is with one voice that we Orthodox Christians add our prayers for healing, reconciliation, and peace in Baltimore.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

    We condemn any abuse of power or position with which a civil servant or other agent of civil authority is entrusted in a society that claims to abide by rule of law;
    We condemn any language or action motivated by or expressing disregard, disdain, or hatred for any human being or group of human beings for any reason, whether on account of their religion, gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, profession, or of any other defining characteristic;
    We condemn wanton violence and destruction of property that renders harm to our fellow citizens’ persons, property, and livelihoods.

Furthermore, we commit ourselves to our duty of prayer and repentance, that we may ever be faithful stewards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to fulfill His admonition to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

We therefore humbly, but resolutely, call upon all our fellow citizens to join us in honest, dispassionate self-appraisal and reflection, to aspire to the greater good of self-emptying love and forgiveness, to encounter one another in dialogue with mutual respect so that we might, as a city, progress in a concerted movement toward the goal of lasting harmonious coexistence and genuine neighborly and brotherly love.

To this end, we encourage our faithful, and all Baltimore citizens, to engage their constitutional rights and to follow their conscience in regard to participation in lawful and peaceful assemblies addressing perceived injustice, inequity, or concerns and grievances with the status quo. Likewise, we encourage and support our duly elected officials and appointed law enforcement agencies in their efforts to govern, serve, and protect our city lawfully and honorably, as so many have done and continue to do.

We are told that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17). In addition to prayer and the words expressed here, our communities are committed to ongoing support of and involvement in numerous and various Baltimore-area charities. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), based in Baltimore, already has been able to distribute six thousand health kits to those in need in our city over the past week. However, the city’s needs extend far beyond current events and material goods, and we resolve to be attentive to them and to adapt our assistance as needed.

We stand firm in prayer before God and in service to this great city. Orthodox parishes in the Baltimore area will offer a special prayer for our city on Sunday, May 3, following the Divine Liturgy. We look forward to a bright future in Baltimore, and fervently ask God for His mercy and guidance to allow all people to do His will, for there to be peace on earth and goodwill among mankind.

Archimandrite Constantine Moralis
Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation

Archpriest Theodore Boback, Jr.
Saint Andrew Orthodox Church

Archpriest Gregory Mathewes-Green
Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church

Archpriest Theodoros Daoud
Saint Mary Antiochian Church

Deacon Michael Bishop
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church

Constantine Triantafilou, Executive Director
International Orthodox Christian Charities

Andreas G. Houpos, Pastoral Assistant
Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation

Friday, May 15

Living and Learning: This Week...

Church in the Home
This coming Thursday is Ascension.  We'll be reading The Ascension of Our Lord and Jesus Ascends into Heaven (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 267).  I think that it would also be nice to go to the beach for a bonfire and some cloud watching in the late afternoon, weather permitting.  I found some little lanterns at Target today and will be using them for our festal centerpiece.  They will also be wonderful for future ambles through the woods at twilight with the trio...  especially in November for the feast of Saint Martin.

I bought a few different potted herbs the other day and popped them into a large planter in our little garden outside the dining room.  I'm not ready for full-fledged gardening yet, so this little herb garden is just my speed.    

Film and Television
The kidlets have been watching episodes of Babar on YouTube this week.  We watched it many moons ago and are happy to be enjoying it again.

Kitchen, Pantry, and Table
I exclusively use the Joy of Cooking pancake recipe, which makes fluffy, golden pancakes with an amazing buttery vanilla flavor.  We eat them all year-round and instead of buying quarts of buttermilk, just use a tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of milk (we use whole).  They are especially tasty when eaten in the early morning sunlight out-of-doors.

Hair forks have been my go-to hair accessory for months now (teak and horn) .  With the weather warming up, I've been checking out new hairstyles on Pintrest...  I really want to master The Gibson Tuck!



We are starting to finish our school year:  workbooks are getting wrapped up, our bi-annual homeschool review is scheduled, and we are getting spring fever.  I am totally counting pressing flowers, wondering about bumblebees (and reading a book about them), and afternoon quiet time listening to The Hobbit as legitimate school activities (once our math and language arts are finished for the day, of course!).  

Father John had a little work to do out of the house today, so we tagged along and ended up eating ice cream for dinner at his suggestion.  There is just one more week of the Paschal season left.  If there is one thing you should know about Orthodox Christians it is that we  know how to fast, but we really know how to feast!
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