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March 31, 2008

I have a sweet tooth...

Chocolate cake with almond paste frosting...so delicious!

Marzipan-Chocolate frosting:
  • melt 4 oz. dark chocolate (I used 72%) in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between....for a total of 2 minutes or until completely melted
  • add can of almond paste and mix well
  • to make smoother, add half of a cup of liquid
Wacky Chocolate cake:
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ c. water
Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Mix together oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water until well combined and blend well with dry ingredients.
Bake for about 40 minutes for 9" round (for cupcakes 20 minutes), or until a cake tester inserted into the center.

Thank you, Aunt Sarah...for that dress from India! Hannah wore it to church with tights and then decided she would wear pants with it, later! I used some of my new Hero Arts stamps in the ATCs. P.S. I can't do without a fine brown pen.

March 28, 2008

Mow?

I'm so glad the sun decided to come out today. The sky has been gray and I thought it would rain. Finally, our grass is growing again, our lawn looks green and I bet in a month we'll need to mow!



Our backyard is great. I jumped on the trampoline with the girls (Olivia sweetly asked me to hold bunny's hand, because she said I'm her Godmother. Now, you can see she has her cardinal) & gave a few "under-doggies"...anyone else remember those?

"Under doggy" = you push and run UNDER the swing. So, it's really fun....whoever is on the swing goes really high!
Hannah just took this photo of me with my icon of St. Martha (who was sister to Lazarus), who I was named after. If you have a photo of yourself with your icon, come along: http://flickr.com/groups/655066@N25/



Yesterday, I took the FREE stamping class at Archiver's with my sisters...it was wonderful! I thought I knew enough, but there are so many different kinds of inks, we made some great "recipe" cards, using dye ink, chalk ink, alcohol ink, staz-on (on a button!), embossed, etc. And I bought a silver sparkle pen and stamp set by Hero Arts (that logo for the back of my cards was one, got a "coupon" one, to: and from: & more).

March 24, 2008

Life goes by FAST

67 words

Speedtest...When Rob was in Iraq in 2005, I became a proficient typer (in high school I had to learn how to type properly in my "keyboarding" class). We communicated FREE and saw each other (which was so good since the girls wanted to SEE daddy) via Yahoo Messenger and the $20 webcam we got at Walmart. I'm still pretty good at typing.

Let us all remember all that Christ did for us and does daily in our lives! I've been making a few cards. And plan on making some aprons. Maybe I'll join this SWAP, or make a bunch for gifts?
Yesterday, after church, we had fun hunting for hidden eggs outside in the sunshine (it was a bit chilly, though). The Orthodox celebrate our Lord's Resurrection AFTER Passover (which starts April 20), so Pascha will be April 27th. As with most holidays, I find that it's nice to celebrate with my in-laws and then later with my family, we don't have to try to be with both!

I just finished The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith, in which the Botswana couple whose shop is half detective agency and half devoted to car mechanics, realize how good their life truly is...


March 21, 2008

Sun

We've had so much rain this week, and even some snow, so the following morning, I was totally surprised to see the sun and a gorgeous blue sky!

Hayden wanted to hold Hannah's hand. So sweet. We went to the zoo with friends from college, Maggie & Eric (who married later), and that's their son, Hayden. He's got beautiful hair, doesn't he? A peacock showing off...I think he wanted some of our lunch!
She's reading the map, like this peacock is nothing spectatcular. The polar bears were fun to watch, swimming around, and the manatees, too...it amazes me that something so HUGE can be so graceful underwater! Last week, Hannah studied penguins, she did a report on 2 species, and we got to see the King Penguins (the other she chose were smaller, Royal Penguins, that have yellow on their head that looks a bit like a crown)!

March 19, 2008

Shrimp cakes

We went to Trader Joe's and I got most of the ingredients to make these Shrimp cakes...
Yesterday was Mary's birthday...and the day we remember St. Oliva of Brescia, Italy, martyred for her Christian faith in 138 AD. To honor this day, I made my Olivia a strawberry pie, her Godmother (Susanna) gave her that pretty pink circle dress (she's wearing it, sitting with Emma on our couch) and Grandma gave her a pretty lacquered jar & samovar magnet. We just read a book called "How the Tsar drinks his tea."
I'm knitting on double point needles...I want to make legwarmers. I know 2 very special ballerinas who could use some!

March 17, 2008

Remember

Memory Eternal! Yesterday, Metropolitan Laurus passed away. I personally knew this man and he was one of the most loving persons I'd ever met. We Orthodox sing Memory Eternal (in Church Slavonic: Vechnaya Pamyat) at the end of every funeral. In order to explain to those of my friends who aren't Orthodox, exactly what this means, I found this great article here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~karamazo/sheehan.html
This song is basically a prayer asking the Lord our God to remember this person, as at the Lord's crucifixion, the wise thief asked, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest in Thy kingdom" (Luke 23:42).

This is one of my favorite photos...Hannah and me on the front porch of my childhood home in Vermont. I just got these MM felt flowers this weekend, I had a 30% off coupon and the jar was $10 (so I paid $7)...I'd seen Joscie use them on some of her recent layouts. I'm really trying not to buy things I don't need. I have a stash to use up. I've always been frugal.

We went hiking this morning with my sister.






Which trail are we on?

Olivia is tired...a tear.

Snowdrops:

March 14, 2008

Goodbye....

Minty passed away. Yesterday it was sunny and warm & when I got home from work, Hannah and Olivia just wanted to play in the backyard (it's full of stuff: a trampoline, playground, Minty's hutch, our bikes, a deck and hottub-that's closed because it's still officially winter). So I went inside and got a carrot for Minty, the Reader's Digest that had just come in the mail and a cup of Lemon Green tea (from http://www.teahabit.com/). Minty happily munched on the carrot, but I did notice that his eye wasn't open fully, on the side where her tumor was...and he seemed to only move his head. I sat on the deck for over an hour and read while the girls played.

So, then today, Rob said he went to go check on Minty and he didn't move at all, not even his head. Isn't it interesting how the day before, everything seems to be FINE?

I just talked to my mom on the phone and she said that happened when Grandma passed, too. They had all visited her at her worst, and then one day she was doing better. The very next day, only my dad (her son-in-law, who I think was a deacon at the time) went to see her and it was a wonderful thing, because she asked him to tell her more about God. Shortly after, she left this world.

Mom (I know you don't comment, but you DO read this), so thanks for sharing that story with me, Grandma died when I was 2 years old and I don't remember much about her, unfortunately.

Rob made more wheat bread today. This is the second time this week that he's done this....and the old-fashioned way, using yeast, flour and water. I don't know what I would do if I had an allergy to wheat-gluten! We all love fresh warm bread.

Last month, I cut Hannah's hair after she was sick and it hurt to brush her hair. This week, I cut Olivia's hair, probably about 6 inches came off! We've been battling tangles for quite a while, even the de-tangler spray and conditioner didn't help. I think they both look beautiful, but I do miss the long hair and being able to make 2 neat braids.

I made another ATC (artist trading card), a prototype, for a spring-themed swap I joined:

That font is called "jumpstart" I downloaded it FREE from http://www.dafont.com/jump-start.font

I have break all next week. Although it is Holy Week for many who celebrate Easter in 8 days, we celebrate our Lord's Resurrection on April 27th. In the meantime, wish everyone a peaceful Great Lent!

March 10, 2008

Our new church

St. George Russian Orthodox Church is currently raising money to build a new church. The building is old, very small and on a small residental street, so we have bought a new plot of land that we are planning to build on VERY soon. Yesterday, we went sledding on that property and this is what we built there:
Minty spent the weekend inside. He is now outside in his hutch again, happy to be back in his house, I think!

March 7, 2008

Time

We are all thinking about little Minty. We have enjoyed our time together, and continue, but probably not for long.

This morning when I headed off to work, I could see grass in our front yard, when I left work, it was like a blizzard...3 inches or so on the Jeep and more is coming! In just 3 hours, so much of our landscapes has changed. It's beautiful!!!
No...we haven't gotten a dog. Maybe we will, but it's something Rob has wanted for quite a while. This is a puppy that is at Grandma's house (she is going to give it to Brianna, one of her other granddaughters).

I plan to stay inside for most of today and get a lot of scrapbooking done. I have months of photos to work with....probably 400 that I want to put into an album. I'd also like to help my sisters make their wedding invitations...

This is lunch today:
Ingredients
1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
2 eggs
1 tbsp. water
1 pkg. (8 ounces) light cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
Ground black pepper
2 (6 ounces each) salmon fillets
Directions
Thaw the pastry at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir 1 egg and water with a fork in a small bowl.

Separate the remaining egg. Add the egg yolk into another small bowl. Add the cream cheese, chives, parsley, lemon peel and black pepper to taste. Stir until the ingredients are mixed.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom third of the pastry to within 1 inch of the edges. Top with the salmon. Brush the edges with the egg mixture. Starting at the short side closest to you, roll up like a jelly roll. Place seam-side down on the prepared sheet. Tuck in the ends to seal. Brush with the egg mixture. Cut several 2-inch long slits 2 inches apart on the top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let the strudel stand for 5 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet to a cutting board. Slice and serve immediately.

March 4, 2008

Sometimes life is sad...

Today I took, Minty, our little rabbit, who will be 2 years old next month, to the veterinarians office and found out that she is actually a he.... and has an absess/tumor on his head (the size of a walnut) and it appears to be affecting his spinal cord, impairing the use of his hind legs. He is dragging himself around by his 2 front legs and the back ones are just sticking out. It's hard to think about what we should do. The vet is a friend. In reality, he said that surgery is too risky and medicine would most like make little difference. The lack of muscle use will prevent Minty from defecaticating and painfully swell, eventually.
On the bright side....I took this photo of Minty on a recent good day, when she joyfully hopped around in the snow, licking it...that's good ice cream, eh?
I voted today for someone who I would like to see in office. I don't think he has a serious chance, but I did what I believe is right. It's disappointing to see so few candidates who are really decent.

I love this little girl...and that yellow polka dot dress. It looks like she's a 1950s housewife, busy vacuuming.