Wednesday, February 29

From House to Church: Garage Door Removal...

Once the demolition of the garage and workshop was finished, Father John and Miguel removed the garage doors to prepare for the cement guys to come and level the floor and build three ramps and pour a sidewalk.

Tuesday, February 28

From General Hospital to the Hospital of Souls...

Four-time Emmy award winner Jonathan Jackson, star of 'General Hospital' and 'Tuck Everlasting,' talks with Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick about his journey into Orthodox Christianity, his family, how he lives his faith as a Hollywood actor, music and writing, on this special episode of Roads From Emmaus.

Monday, February 27

Lenten Cleaning: Week One...


Clean Sinks
Clean Toilets
Clean Showers and Bathtubs
Clean Windows and Mirrors
Clean Soap Dispensers, Soap Dishes, and Knickknacks
Clean and Cull Bath Toys
Sweep and Wash the Floors
Organize Drawers and Cabinets
Organize Linen Closet
Toss Garbage
Make Donation of Unwanted Items to Goodwill
Purchase Any Needed Items

Sunday, February 26

Forgiveness Sunday...

As today is Forgiveness Sunday, I would like to ask you to please forgive me for any offense that I have cause you. I hope that you have a blessed Lenten season.


Two hours later Nelly sat, blown but triumphant, on the kitchen chair and surveyed her handiwork.

She had a cause for pride. A bright fire glowed behind gleaming bars, and the bacon pie was already in the oven beside it and beginning to smell most savory. The thin little cat, her repast spread on a newspaper in the corner, dug her sharp white teeth into the cod's head, closing her eyes in bliss the while.

The floor, the walls and the wooden table had all been lustily scrubbed. Albert's dingy sink had been scoured to its original yellow colour, and the window above it gleamed and winked with unaccustomed cleanliness.

Taking a steady look at it, thought Nelly to herself, easing off her shoes for greater comfort, it wasn't such a bad little house, and certainly very much more conveniently placed for shopping than her own cottage at Lulling Woods...

Of better still, there was the village school practically next door! The thought of those yards of bare floorboards, pounded day in and day out by scores of muddy boots, fairly crying out for a bucket of hot suds and a good brush, filled Nelly's heart with joy. There was a cloakroom too, if she remembered rightly, with a nice rosy brick floor that really paid for doing. And there was something about a large tortoise stove, freshly done with first-class blacklead and plenty of elbow-grease, that gladdened your eyes. She had heard that Miss Watson wasn't best pleased with he present cleaner. A word dropped in the right ear, Nelly told herself, might bring her the job if she decided to earn an honest penny in Thrush Green."

Saturday, February 25

Commitment to Loveliness: Week of February 26th...

1. Write a letter to my godmother

2. Keep to my Lenten Cleaning Schedule

3. Focus on the Lenten Spirit as much as possible. There is a lot happening here and with evening services starting right at bedtime, our schedule will be off. One thing I am planning to do is to move bath time to before supper and having the children wear their pajamas to church. Another thing I am going to try is to bite my tongue! I know that I will be more irritable this coming week and I hope and pray that my temper won't get the better of me!

4. Put away the winter decorations. It feels silly to have snowflakes dangling from the light fixture in the dining room when it is 60 degrees outside!

5. Take care of my dry, dry skin!


Please join me in making a Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in one's life each week without much effort! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!
Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and let us know in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

Friday, February 24

Feminine Friday: Books on Femininity, Elegance, and Charm...

Recently, a blog reader named Jeannine asked me to recommend some of my favorite books on femininity. Since books on this topic are among my favorite to read, I thought that I would list them in a post for Feminine Friday!

Here are the non-fiction books that I enjoy reading on femininity, elegance, and charm:

Style Prescription: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want
A Guide to Elegance
What Would Jackie Do?
How to Be a Lady
Wear More Cashmere
Better Than Beauty*
The Woman You Want to Be*
How to Live Beyond Your Means*
A Year of Style

I also really enjoy reading fiction by authors that write about shining examples of femininity and homelife. Some of my favorites include:

Miss Read*
Laura Ingalls Wilder
L.M. Montgomery
Grace Livingston Hill

What are your favorite books on this topic?

Titles with an * following them are my favorites!

Thursday, February 23

Ten Tips for Great Lent...

1. Regardless of how you fast, fast every single day. This type of fasting helps wear down the passions and build spiritual endurance.

2. Know exactly what the fasting regulations are and try to approximate them as best you can. Each Lent, try to be more strict yet humble.

3. Particular concerns about fasting? Age, health issues, never fasted before, mixed-marriages? Speak with your priest.

4. Be sure to recite the Lenten prayer of Saint Ephraim. If you cannot make prostrations just make bows or cross yourself.

5. On weekends, we do not make prostrations and our fasting is slightly relaxed since Saturday and Sunday are holy days.

6. The Lenten services and tones are offered only during the week –
strive to participate as much as possible in these services and the spirit of lent will rub off on you.

7. Sports and outdoor activities are not contrary to the Lenten spirit.

8. Strive to avoid going to movies, parties, vacations, and other entertainments. This we do so we can have more time to devote to spiritual things.

9. Confession and Holy Communion are central to securing the benefits of Lent. Without fail, we should receive the Sacraments during the period of Great Lent.

10. Be mindful of what we look at and how much time we spend on TV and computer. Some give up TV for all of Lent. Others strictly limit their time and watch only educational and news programs. Surfing on the web? Hit the theological sites.

Wednesday, February 22

Festal Learning Basket: Great Lent...

Lenten Calendar in Our Dining Room

From I-ville to You-ville
Jesus: His Life in Verses from the King James Bible
Christ Has Risen, Children!
The Tale of the Three Trees
The Children's Bible Reader

Create a Lenten Calendar (I was inspired by this one. I bought two vines from Michael's and hung them over windows in our dining room. Each day, we'll add a butterfly to the calendar and by Pascha, we'll have a beautiful vine full of butterflies to enjoy! )

Learn a prayer by heart

Take a trip to the market to pick out favorite non-perishable foods to give to the food pantry (by placing one item into a basket each day and then emptying the basket in our church's food pantry box each Sunday before Liturgy)

Keep a coin jar in a prominent place in your home to collect money for the poor (some parishes also give out little boxes to collect coins with)

Limit media and entertainment

Use the magnetic Doors of Repentance Calendar and study guide each day

Tuesday, February 21

Lenten Cleaning...

Each Lenten season, I try to clean our home from top to bottom. Since we moved recently, my focus will be to make things a little more organized. I unpacked things and threw them in cabinets and closets haphazardly and now is my chance to rectify that. I will also clean each room the best that I can, but with construction happening (and of course, three little ones!), it is doubtful that it will stay that way. I will elaborate on this general plan each Monday with a more detailed "to do" list.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three
Living Room

Week Four
Paschal Shopping (Outfits, Pascha Baskets, and Egg Hunt)

Week Five

Week Six
Dining Room
Clean Car

Week Seven
Hanging Flower Baskets
Paschal Grocery Shopping

Monday, February 20

Lenten Meals...

Orthodox Christians abstain from different foods during fasting periods. Though I have been Orthodox for most of my life (my parents converted when I was three), I still find it hard to plan, shop for, and cook fasting meals. Here is the general meal rotation for this Great Lent:

Sunday: Seafood
Monday: Soup
Tuesday: Mexican
Wednesday: Soup and Sandwiches
Thursday: Veggie Burgers
Friday: Salad
Saturday: Pasta

I know that there will be overlap (pasta salad, anyone?), but I am hoping that this will help motivate me in the kitchen. I will also be making bread each day (Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day) and keeping fruits, fresh banana or pumpkin bread, hummus/babaganoush, pretzels, and nuts around. We are still working on the church and are feeding hard-working, hungry men, so food will have to sustain them through the work day.

Sunday, February 19


The dining room was pretty. There were green stripes and rows of tiny red flowers on the chocolate-brown wall-paper, and Mother had woven the rag-carpet to match. She had dyed the rags green and chocolate-brown, and woven them in stripes, with a tiny stripe of red and white rags twisted together between them. The tall corner cupboards were full of fascinating things-sea-shells, and petrified wood, and curious rocks, and books. And over the center -table hung an air castle. Alice had made it of clean yellow wheat-straws, set together airily, with bits of bright-colored cloth at the corners. It swayed and quivered in the slightest breath of air, and the lamplight ran gleaming along the golden straws.

But to Almanzo the most beautiful sight was his mother, bringing in the big willow-ware platter full of sizzling ham.

Mother was short and plump and pretty. Her eyes were blue, and her brown hair was like a bird's smooth wings. A row of little red buttons ran down the front of her dress of wine-colored wool, from her flat white linen collar to the white apron tied round her waist. Her big sleeves hung like large red bells at either end of the blue platter. She came through the doorway with a little pause and a tug, because her hoop-skirts were wider than the door."

Farmer Boy
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, February 18

Commitment to Loveliness: Week of February 19th

1. Begin writing plans for Great Lent: Cleaning, Eating, and Learning lists must be written down!

2. Clean the car: After having not cleaned our vehicle few months, the car is looking pretty filthy!

3. Strive to have a quiet week: We need to have a week where the comings and goings are limited to only necessary outings. Otherwise, we'll stay in our own home and garden.

4. Continue curling my hair daily

5. Finish Reading Little House on the Prairie to the little ones; finish reading Farmer boy to myself


Please join me in making a Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in one's life each week without much effort! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!
Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and let us know in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

Friday, February 17

Feminine Friday: Signature Scent...

After searching for years to find a signature scent, I have finally found one! It is L'Occitane's Pivoine Flora. I have been using the Pivoine Flora Eau de Toilette roll on which I can easily fit into my handbag for a quick dab on the go for six months or so, but I 'd like to eventually upgrade to a bottle of the perfume for a more lasting scent. I really like that I found something that is delicate and feminine. I didn't want a chemically smelling perfume and this feels natural to me. It is nice to fling on a scarf and catch a very faint whiff of my perfume... such a happy smell!

Thursday, February 16

From House to Church: Coffee Hour Room Bathroom Demolition

It was sad to see this pretty bathroom get destroyed, but at least most of it will be going to improve the bathroom at someone else's house! Say "hi" to Mr. Miguel!

From House to Church: Church Bathroom Demolition

In order to make the church's bathroom handicapped accessible, it had to be completely gutted. Next up, the coffee hour room bathroom!

Tuesday, February 14

Kate and Pete's Baby Shower...

This past weekend, my parents, siblings, and I threw a baby shower for Kate and Pete and their little baby, Stormy. I cannot express how excited I am that they are having a little one! I am an auntie for the first time!

Monday, February 13


I was able to see some family at my sister's baby shower on Sunday and was so excited when my aunt told me all about a how she gets curly hair by simply washing it and wrapping it around a headband when it is damp, and sleeping on it. I'm not sure what video she watched to learn this technique, but here is one I found on YouTube. I tried it last night and really liked the results. I think that my hair was a little too wet when I wrapped it because it was still slightly damp this morning. Despite that, it is quite wavy (I did end up putting a little bit of mousse in to help hold the curl) and I am excited to try again tonight! I feel all dolled up! Has anyone else tried getting curls this way?

Sunday, February 12


By dinner time the house was in order. The beds were neatly made on the floor. The wagon-seat and two ends of logs were brought in for chairs. Pa's gun lay on its pegs above the doorway. Boxes and bundles were neat against the walls. It was a pleasant house. A soft light came through the canvas roof, wind and sunshine came through the window holes, and every crack in the four walls glowed a little because the sun was overhead."

Little House on the Prairie
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, February 11

From House to Church: Moving the Shed...

The church property has a very nice shed that was put in by the previous owner. Since the church will be located in the garage, the shed is an important space for our family's outside things. Unfortunately, it was located in an area that was designated for parking. Father John arranged to have the shed moved over a bit. It really was a great idea! Not only is the shed now a bit more out of sight, it was placed in a small grove a trees and really looks like it was meant to be there!

Friday, February 10

From House to Church: Tree Clearing...

There were quite a few trees that were close to the church property's entrance and driveway that needed to come down before any construction could begin. In fact, there have been several times since we moved here, that I have been on my way to run errands only to find that the driveway is blocked by a tree that fell during the night! Father John and two other men spent a few days cutting down trees and then they ground up the stumps, and piled up wood for firewood. I was worried that the entrance would look strange without the trees that were taken down, but it doesn't! All the hard work paid off! It looks great!

Thursday, February 9

From House to Church: First Day of Demolition...

Work on the church began with a BANG! After a short prayer service, Father John and two other guys began ripping out shelving and closets in the garage and workshop area of the house. The last part of demo for this area is removing the garage doors in preparation for cement guys to come level the floor on Monday.

Wednesday, February 8

Cocoa and Toasted Marshmallows...

I thought that these heart-shaped marshmallows were perfect for our February cups of hot chocolate. Turns out that they are also pretty great for toasting over the fire, too!

Tuesday, February 7


Little Man to Button (who was looking a little perplexed):

"I just gave you a hug. It's nothing to worry about. Nothing."

Monday, February 6

Record of Protest...

Record of Protest Against the Infringement of Religious Liberty by the Department of Health and Human Services

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.

In this ruling by HHS, religious hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations will be required to pay for the full cost of contraceptives (including some abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations for their employees, regardless of the religious convictions of the employers.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to pay for “contraceptive services” including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization services that directly violate their religious convictions. Providing such services should not be regarded as mandated medical care. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, call upon HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration to rescind this unjust ruling and to respect the religious freedom guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment.

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops

Sunday, February 5


They were all quite happy... Little Red Ringing Hood and her grandmother sat down together to eat the fresh bread and sweet butter. The grandmother drank some of the wine, and Red Riding Hood had a cup of blackberry tea. After awhile, the grandmother felt quite strong and healthy, and began to clean up the mess that the wolf had left in the cottage."

Little Red Riding Hood
retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

Superbowl XLVI...

Go Giants!


Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Cheese, Pepperoni, and Crackers
Chili Cheese Dip
Sandwich Rollups
Chicken Quesadillas

We use the Superbowl as an excuse to serve a dinner of hors d'oeuvres. Do you serve anything special, go somewhere to have a party, or is it just a regular Sunday in your house?

Saturday, February 4

Commitment to Loveliness: Week of February 5th...

1. Take Care of Some Personal Maintenance: Little Man needs a hair cut and I need to groom my eyebrows

2. Visit the Jewlery Store: I need a new watch battery, to get the children's new crosses attached to their amber necklaces, and to have my engagement ring and wedding band cleaned and checked to see if repairs are needed

3. Rainboots: Look into purchasing new rain boots for Sugar Plum and check the clothing bins for a pair for Button

4. Plan Some Delicious Meals for our Fast Free Week

5. Finish Organizing the Master Bathroom


Please join me in making a Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in one's life each week without much effort! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!
Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and let us know in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

Thursday, February 2

The Meeting of the Lord...

Candle Decorated by Sugar Plum

Candle Decorated by Mama

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.


To find the Festal Learning Basket for The Meeting of the Lord, click HERE.

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