Saturday, July 30

Learning Basket: Sunflowers...

Camille and the Sunflowers
Katie and the Sunflowers
Sunflower House
Sunflower Houses: Inspiration from the Garden
The Sunflower Parable
Sunflower Sal

Taste Sunflower Seeds
Plant Sunflower Seeds
Count and Sort Sunflower Seeds
Hang a Sunflower Head from a Branch for the Birds to Feast on
Look for Fields of Sunflowers (they are abundant near our church)
Buy Sunflowers for the Table
Play Flower Alphabet Rummy

Audio Books...

Lately, we've been listening to some really great audio books. We borrow them through inter-library loan and listen to them in the car or in the morning while the children play or color. Some of our recent favorites have been:

Mary Poppins
The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends
Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
The Complete Adventures of Curious George
Tikki Tikki Tembo
Doctor DeSoto

Our daughter is not far from getting to enjoy so many fun classics... The Little House books, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, The Borrowers, The Ramona books, etc. It will be nice to re-read those stories with her!

Friday, July 29

Beatrix Potter and the Last of the Hydrangeas...

The children and I went on a little adventure to a different library than we are used to yesterday. We went to see a little play based on The Wind and the Willows and since the library was located in one of our favorite seaside towns, we walked around a bit. Our last stop was to Little Man's favorite shop... what he lovingly refers to as The Train Store. It is a little bookshop that boasts a big train table with all of the trimmings! While the little ones played, I spotted a beautiful Beatrix Potter puzzle and was able to get it for the children as a little treat (extra fun since it was her birthday yesterday!). We put it together in the evening and the colors are even better inside the box!

Father John trimmed up the hydrangea bush by our front door a few days ago, so we are trying to savor the last vase of blooms on our table. I was surprised how long they lasted this year despite the heatwave we had last week. Summer is not my favorite season, but I am trying to enjoy the special things that only summer offers: dips in the pool, trips to the beach, drippy ice cream cones, the summer reading programs, the abundance of flowers, fruit, and vegetables, outside shows in the evening, and on and on! What are you enjoying this summer?

Thursday, July 28


Almost overnight, little Button is standing!
It is bittersweet, this parenting thing.

Tuesday, July 26

Yarn Along...

There is not much to report on the knitting front. I was able to watch a few videos online for casting off (thanks to those of you who recommended some to me!) and finished my first washcloth! It was promptly tested out that night in the bathtub and all the little ones approved! Since I'd like a huge stack of washcloths for the bathroom, I immediately tried to cast on to my second one... remember, my sister cast onto the one I finished for me. I have been watching casting on videos all week and ripping out my work over and over again and I am still having a hard time! Hopefully one of these days it will click and I can make some progress. I was expecting to be humbled by learning a new craft and skill, but not this quickly!

I just picked up a very old copy (there is even an ancient wallpaper cover!) of Mrs. Miniver at the library this afternoon and was able to read a few pages while the baby nursed. It is my type of book... very domestic and very feminine.

Join in the Yarn Along at Ginny's Blog, Small Things!

Saturday, July 23

Tiny Milkshakes...

One of Father John's specialties is milkshakes. Occasionally, he'll make them in the afternoon during naptime. Today he waited for the children to wake up and made each child a tiny milkshake. They were thrilled! What a treat on such a hot day!

Wednesday, July 20

Yarn Along...

I have attempted knitting twice in the past. The first time was a few years ago when I received a knitting dvd for Christmas. I completed a hideous scarf and put knitting aside when I lost patience with my mistakes. Last summer, I discovered that a few ladies in our neighborhood hold a knitting club once a month at different members houses. Perfect! Except for the fact that I had a premature newborn and a fuzzy brain (oh, and two other little ones!). My sister came down for the family reunion this past week and we took a trip to the yarn store. She cast on for me and knit a few rows while I drove us home. Later, I picked up the yarn and knit (messily) without help! I've completed my washcloth, but don't know how to cast off. I plan to take a walk to one of the knitting ladies to see if she can help me cast off and then cast on for my next one. I'd like a pile of knitted washcloths to wash my little ones with.

On to what we are reading: The favorite book in our home is currently Jenny and the Cat Club. We borrowed it from the library initially, but when the children begged to keep it, I gave in and ordered it from Amazon as a gift for Sugar Plum's namesday. It is a wonderful! And so captivating to my children! I have the others on my wishlist. For my personal reading, I plan on starting Our Church and Our Children, which I found on our recent trip to Saint Vladimir's Bookstore.

Join in the Yarn Along at Ginny's Blog, Small Things!

The Blessing of Automobiles and Bicycles...

Prayer for the Blessing of Automobiles

O Lord our God, Who makes the clouds Thy chariot and Who walks on the wings of the wind, Who has sent to Thy servant, the Prophet Elias, a chariot of fire, Who has guided man to invent this (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.) which is as fast as the wind. We thank Thee for Thou hast provided Thy servants with this vehicle to serve their various needs.

Therefore, O Master, pour out now upon it Thy heavenly blessings; assign to it a guardian angel to preserve it from all evil. And as Thou didst grant faith and grace by Thy deacon Philip to the man from Ethiopia who was sitting in his chariot and reading holy Scripture, show the way of salvation to Thy servants. So that helped by Thy grace and always intent on doing good works, they may after all the trials of their pilgrimage on earth, attain to everlasting joys, through the intercessions of our Most-pure Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, by the power of the precious and life-giving Cross; through the prayers of the holy Angels; of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and of all the Saints:

For Thou art the Provider and Sanctifier of all things and to Thee do we ascribe glory, and to Thy Only-begotten Son, and Thy All-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Tuesday, July 19


After two and a half weeks of running around, we finally had our first day home alone. We did a little bit around the house... sheet washing, grocery shopping, bathroom cleaning, and a little gardening. In the afternoon, a big storm rolled through. We watched the rain on the porch and spent the rest of the day just being home. Truly the best remedy!

Monday, July 18

Boardwalk Rides...

Visiting the Flower Farm...

Feeding the Goats...

Picking Peaches...

One of our first activities for our family reunion was to go to pick peaches at the orchard! What fun! We were able to share the experience with two aunties and one uncle. The fruit basket on our counter has been overflowing with juicy peaches... I am surprised that they have lasted this long!

Family Reunion!

What a week! I was not expecting to take a blog break, but we were too busy with hosting a family reunion this past week for my father's side of the family to spend time on the computer. We had so much fun spending time with our relatives!

Sunday, July 10

Women with Icons...

photo by Jocelyn Mathewes

A few years ago, I posted a link to Jocelyn Mathewes Flickr page entitled, Women with Icons. It is worth revisiting these beautiful photographs!

Also, don't forget to join my Flickr Group, Orthodox Home, to add your own photographs. Orthodox Home is a place to share photos and videos of your home that reflect your Orthodox Christian Faith. I hope that it will be a place where we can inspire one another!

I Have No Hands But Yours...

From Parish Publishing, LLC

A soldier in World War II was given the task of gathering up the pieces and fragments of a statue of Christ that was destroyed when the cathedral that housed it was destroyed by bombs. He found every piece and fragment, and they were turned over to an artist, whose labor of love it was to reconstruct the statue. Even though it took him months, he accomplished the work, and the statue was returned to its pedestal.

One part of the Christ was missing, however. The soldier could not find the hands of Christ. Both the soldier and the artisan considered their work incomplete without the hands. However, one day as the craftsman was viewing the statue with the missing hands, he got a wonderful idea. Instead of Christ’s hands being raised in blessing, as they originally were, the craftsman placed an ornate, but simple, sign at the base of the handless replica. These were the words of the sign: “I have no hands, but yours.” Will you give your hands – your time and abilities – to your church?

Friday, July 8

Learning Basket: Blueberries...

Blueberries for Sal
Peter in Blueberry Land
A Fair Bear Share

Pick Blueberries
Make Blueberry Treats: Jam, Pancakes, Buckle, Crisp, Sauce for Ice Cream, etc.
Freeze Fresh Blueberries for the Cold Months Ahead
Go on a Color Hunt to Find Things that are Blue
Do a Few Counting and Sorting Activities with Fresh Blueberries


Thursday, July 7

Tea Party...

After having attended two teas these past few months, I knew that a tea set would be something enjoyed by our little ones. Unfortunately, the set that arrived on Sugar Plum's namesday had a broken piece, so trying everything out had to wait until a replacement set could arrive. Today was the day! We set out my great-grandmother's embroidered breakfast cloth, a tiny vase of flowers and pitcher of apple tea to refill the pot and the children were ready. Papa was invited for a cuppa and even the little one wanted in on the action. What fun!

Painted Steps...

Recently, Father John dressed up our back steps with a coat of white paint. How do you like our funny little potted garden? Flowers and lone tomato, basil, and parsley plants... we won't be winning any survival contests, that is for sure!

Tuesday, July 5

Happy Namesday, Sugar Plum!

Causing meekness, humility and love to dwell in thy soul,
Thou didst earnestly serve the suffering,
O holy passion-bearer Princess Elisabeth;
Wherefore, with faith thou didst endure sufferings and death for Christ, with the martyr Barbara.
With her pray for all who honor you with love.

Sunday, July 3

Newly Illumined!

A wonderful family of four was Baptized and Chrismated at Liturgy today! We are so happy for them and are thrilled that they are part of our parish family! God Grant Them Many Blessed Years!

Saturday, July 2

Ordination Anniversary...

Five years ago yesterday, Father John was ordained. I remember standing in the church a day or two shy of my forty days, in a bit of a postpartum stupor with tiny Sugar Plum in my arms. She was dressed in a little pink dress and bonnet that we had brought her home from the hospital in. We had no idea what we were in for... mainly because our priest fathers and our matushka mothers did such a good job of protecting us from the difficulties of the priesthood. Now, five years in, things are easier... and happier! We celebrated with blueberry peach crisp, twice! We each had a small scoop with the children and then once they were in bed we celebrated again with a little bit more! It's fun to be the parents!
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