April 23, 2014

Christ is Risen!

The Resurrection of Christ, Easter, Pascha...we sing "Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and on those in the tombs bestowing life!"  This is the middle of Bright Week, instead of regular morning and evening prayers, we sing the beautiful Paschal Hours.  We sing "Lord have mercy" 40 times and like to sing it in 4 different languages, 10 times each, in English, 
Greek (which is Κύριε ελέησον and sounds like "Kírie eléison"), 
Arabic (which is يا ربّ ارحم and sounds like "Yā Rabbu rḥam") and 
Russian (which is Господи, помилуй and sounds like "Gospodi, pomiloi").
We make eggs red by using yellow onion skins, traditional Russian-style bread, kulich, and here, Olivia puts on raisins on the sweet cheese pascha.
After Liturgy on Bright Monday, we had a procession around the church outside.  It was beautiful weather. 
Two of my nieces with icons of their patron saints:
My little nephew Timothy wore a seersucker outfit....so handsome!
Elizabeth wearing my sunglasses this afternoon.
Today is my husband's birthday!  We had a wonderful meal together.  My parents brought over cheesecake and I made carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for him.  ♥  My brother-in-law from Canada took some pictures which I hope to add here later.
(yes, they are expecting their 2nd baby, October 9th)

April 16, 2014

Middle of Holy Week

I ♥ these 10 minute "Coffee with Sister Vassa" episodes.
Today is Holy and Great Wednesday, the middle of Holy Week.  In general, as Orthodox Christians, we fast from all animal products on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Wednesday, because of the betrayal of Judas, and Friday, for His crucifixion.
Tomorrow is Thursday, we celebrate the Last Supper with Christ and his disciples.  This icon is especially beautiful to me, as it is the icon my parents have in their dining room and have for almost 40 years.  We grew up saying a prayer before each meal we ate together, and looked towards this icon.
We are preparing to celebrate His Resurrection on Sunday!  I've made kulich, cheese Pascha (which I use this wooden form for) and red eggs, using onion skins, which we will take to church Saturday around 11:30pm.  We have a midnight service.  This year is going to be particularly special, because we are in our newly built church!  About 4 times the amount of space.  My girls have NEW pretty skirts to wear, they are maxi skirts, and go all the way down to their feet.
I want to share with you a cookbook called Feast, featuring real food recipes (by Daniel and Haley Stewart, who blogs here:  http://carrotsformichaelmas.com/), that I just read a review of here:  http://audreyeclectic.blogspot.com/2014/04/feast-book-review.html  I think it sounds great, many of the recipes are related to Christian holidays and also, as it is spring and we are beginning to think of our garden, for our health.  We've planted only lettuce, but plan to plant kale, tomatoes, squash, carrots, beets, etc. 

I hope all of you enjoy this week and make time to read the Bible, say a few more prayers and enjoy the feast of Pascha!!!

April 10, 2014

Great Lent right now

This past week, my sister and her daughter flew down from Canada mainly for the baptism of my new little nephew.  She was also here while the icon of the Mother of God, "The Softener of Hard Hearts" was visiting our parish.
Elizabeth, who we call "Liza" for short loves to draw.  I'd gotten this easel at IKEA for $14.99 recently (and a roll of paper was $4.99) and Hannah and Olivia drew with her.  Liza is now 20 months old and asked the girls to draw books, cars, crosses, horses, etc. AND says, "I lub you." 
I'm really enjoying the cookbook Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian that I got from my aunt and uncle last month. 
I made French panisses, which is a nice vegan treat.  Basically, this recipe:  http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Panisses.  In the cookbook, she goes into great detail about how to handle the gram flour (chick pea), which is very fine and can clump easily.
 We sprinkled them with powdered sugar.
Our friends invited us over to make a grass garden with a small pot to resemble the tomb of Christ. 
The girls did a great job.  We helped them make 3 crosses to put on the top, and we talked a lot while doing this activity, about what Christ said to the men who were crucified with him, and the one who said "Remember me, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." -Luke 23:42 
It's a Great Lent project that I think we'll do again in the future.  Maybe with our Sunday School children next year?  Hopefully by Pascha (we have 10 days more), it will be full of green grass!

April 5, 2014

My nephew's baptism

Today my sister and her husband's baby boy, Timothy, was baptized. 
 This is one of his big sisters, Natalia:
Deacon Alexander, the Godfather, with Timothy and both of his grandparents.  My sister sewed the baptismal gown for him, which was white with blue ribbon it, very nicely done.
A group picture, of grandpas and grandmas and his 3 big sisters and some uncles, aunts and cousins.  I wish his mama and Godmother were also in this picture!
Our friends from Penn Yan, New York (did you know it's known as "the buckwheat capital of America"?) with my parents...

March 31, 2014

Spring in Ohio

I made more cards last week for Pascha, the feast of our Lord's Resurrection.  I left some of them blank so that you can color them in as you wish, or let your children help color.  Check them out in my etsy shop:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/homemadegoodness
Friday our homeschool co-op went to the Krohn Conservatory, which is a giant greenhouse, and was so humid in the rainforest room that my camera lens kept fogging up, hence this fuzzy group photo:
One of the boys reaches toward a cacoa pod!  That's our chocolate starts off...pretty cool, huh?
The main room was Avant-Garde theme, lots of glass flowers and bowls in bold colors.
 In the cacti room, isn't this aloe stunning?
This is in the bonsai room! 
My friend, Anya, took this picture of some of us after church yesterday.  You can see 5 year old Sofia in her wheelchair and my Godson, 1 year old Timothy in his mom's arms. Her husband was working with the other men helping to assemble the new playground!  My daughter Hannah holding my nephew Timothy, who is now a month old!

March 27, 2014

Making scarves

A friend of ours showed us these pretty scarves she's been making.  Super easy and pretty ruffle scarves like this awesome tutorial.  I think she puts 4 or 5 loops on the hook before pulling it through, we did 7.  If you try this, you can do whatever look you like best, the more loops, the more fluffy your scarf will be.
So this is "art class" today.  This is the yarn (I ♥ Hobby Lobby) that Olivia is using:
 See how it stretches into a mesh?
And she just finished it!