January 30, 2009

Ice and snow here...

Look how thickly the ice covered this part of our gate!
Hannah wanted the biggest icicle...we found one on the neighbor's stoop!
This version of "The Princess and the Pea" was retold so that the maid ends up marrying the prince! My sister gave this book to Hannah and she can read it herself, which is beginning to be almost everything now...she's reading really well. Homeschooling was on the back burner this week as we decided to play outside instead of doing work, but today it finally caught up with us. We got a lot done today! Lusy just loves the snow...I wonder if she's not just a lab and collie mix, but husky, too! One of our neighbors has charming little benches in their backyard...the trees glistened with the ice and snow. So lovely.
A really sweet movie...came out in 2004 and is pretty decent for children to watch with you! That's rare nowadays: finding a movie an adult will enjoy and that a child can watch without cursing, sex, violence.

Yesterday I made some Bread Pudding...very scrumptious! I should make it more often.

January 28, 2009

We all love snow...

Twinkle loves snow, originally uploaded by mama_marfa.

Tuesday we woke to about 5 fluffy inches of snow. We went sledding at a park near to my parent's house. My 1st SNOW DAY of the year.

Then, this morning, everything was covered in ice. We have had so much fun playing outside. Rob helped a few cars that were stuck in the snow. The girls and I enjoyed a cup of tea with honey. We made vegetable soup for lunch and then went outside to play more!

January 26, 2009

Russian Winter's Night

I will be here in less than 3 weeks!!! I'm really looking forward to it! I am putting together a "Gardening Basket" to donate.
I have a glass pitcher on my counter with kefir grains in it that a friend gave me (originally from Russia). I usually have it covered with that dishtowel. I added about 3 cups of raw milk on Friday after our pickup from Farmer Gary and now it's growing fast. It's full of bubbles. In my cheesemaking book they call it the "champagne" of milk. I mashed up a banana and made a milkshake with it, pretty good...I know it's very good for me! My sister, Susanna lent me her Nourishing Traditions book. On the right side, is a container of "tvorog" that Ludmilla gave me yesterday. She made it using cultured buttermilk. Yesterday we made crepes and rolled tvorog and honey up inside. Yum. I'm going to try to make it myself, following the recipe for cream cheese in Nourishing Traditions!
Lusy loves Thumper and Twinkle, our bunnies. She's always checking on them. They're working hard at making fertilizer for our garden. Smile.

January 23, 2009

A gazillion?

Today was lovely, sunny and warm, so we spent a few hours playing outside this afternoon...

...but sometimes it's really chilly. And you'll want one of these guys to keep out the drafts coming in under your door! I made a bunch of these "snakes" to give as Christmas presents.
Would you like to join in? My friend Kristina is doing a valentine ATC swap!
We watched Born Free (1966) on DVD with my parents. We popped popcorn and ate that, while the girls happily snuggled with their grandparents and enjoyed watching Elsa grow from a kitten to a tigress. It's such a great movie!An old friend posted a wonderful video about a baby (appropriate with Roe vs. Wade decision being made 35 years ago yesterday...ruling that a baby can be killed even at 28 weeks)! I hope Obama is grateful to have a mother who cared enough to CHOOSE life.

January 19, 2009


Yesterday we took down the Christmas tree... what did ingenius little Olivia do?Pretty hearts, eh?

Today we celebrated Theophany, when John baptised the Lord Jesus in the Jordan River. Lots of water was blessed and everyone filled their bottles to take home. Someday this week, we'll have our house blessed. We have a bit of cleaning to do!

I wanted to share this book I'm making for a project in a course I'm taking:
I am adding more photos on Flickr (see link on the right side)...

January 16, 2009

It's about independence...

Politics are getting to me...government wants to take so much control over our lives. With the upcoming change of presidents, I can't help but think all the ways I can get away... and stake my independence!
If you're interested in growing your own organic food, you'll like hearing about the Dervaes family in Pasadena, California. There's a film about what they've done on their small urban homestead and I hope to see it soon. I especially enjoyed seeing them pedal this bike that was attached to a grinder (I think they were grinding wheat) and their earthen outdoor oven with freshly baked bread inside! Rob is really interested in becoming a bit more self-sufficient, especially when this world is so crazy, what would happen if we lost our jobs or the mortgage company went bankrupt? We want to be able to take care of ourselves!

My sister gave me this pretty water bottle. It's from Pottery Barn, she said, but just like the popular SIGG water bottles. Lately, I've been drinking more water because I want to take it everywhere with me!!!

I highly recommend Disney's Wall-e, it's a sweet movie, with a serious message. It's possible that the human race will be come fatter and fatter, with the way we eat (I love processed stuff, like bread and sweets...I know I should eat more whole grains, but do I? Not enough). Consumerism, especially fast food, makes for unhealthy lifestyles, and lots of paper and plastic waste (most of it is unrecycleable). What would happen if our earth was full of trash? Well, in this movie, they lived in a "ship" in outerspace. Wall-e is a robot that compacts the trash, trying to clean up the earth, and finds some life, a plant...where hope is then regained!

January 12, 2009

Hoping for a "snow day"...

It's cold enough and the past few days we've been "teased" by lots of flurries.

Sunday after church, we had a lovely Ёлка, which literally means "fir tree," but means "Christmas party" to most Russians. Дед Мороз, "Grandfather Frost" comes with Снегурочка, "the lovely Snowmaiden" and the children recite poems, sing songs, dance, played the piano, etc. and he gives them each a little gift at the end! Everyone brought really scrumptious food. Speaking of which, I want to share a simple recipe with you:

Галубцы or Cabbage Rolls

(This lovely photo is from:

2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 c. cooked rice
1 lg. egg
1 onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper
1 large head of cabbage
1 jar tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Remove leaves from head of cabbage gently, trying to keep whole. Mix together ground beef, rice, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Place about 1/4 cup meat mixture in center of each leaf; fold in sides and roll ends over meat. Place in Crock Pot. Combine tomato sauce, tomatoes, cinnamon, salt, and pepper; pour over cabbage rolls. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Serves 6 to 8.

Thanks to my friend, Marina, for telling me how easy it is to making in a crockpot!

Olivia is in the cream dress on the right. My niece Juliana is in the light pink on the left and you'll see Emma for a bit, too, in the red and white velvet dress! She loves to dance, but I think she was a bit overwhelmed by it all. Kyra is wearing dark pink, one Ella is wearing turquoise, the other Ella in a Christmas plaid dress and little Michael the orange sweater...most of them are in my Sunday school class. So cute, eh?

Is there a secret to rotating digital videos? We've taken a few videos using our camera, but, I need help. Anyone? Hannah played the piano beautifully, but the video is vertical!

January 9, 2009

This earth...

We celebrated Nativity this week! It had been a good 3 weeks without snow here, but in the morning on January 7th it started snowing... Just enough to make everything beautiful and the drive to church was still safe!
Hannah followed the simple salt dough recipe:

1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

(she had to add extra flour, because it was too sticky at first)
* You can cook it to make it dry out quicker. She decided to make a volcano for her "landform" project. The girls just got a volcano set from Susanna...really cool book, all you need to make your own is vinegar and baking soda!

Rob bought some heirloom seeds earlier this week. From left to right: Mayflower Beans (tan flecked with purple, brought over on the Mayflower in 1620), Gentleman's Corn (pretty yellow with red streaks, introduced in 1890), Black Valentine Beans (deep black color, they're longer and skinnier than most beans), Detroit Dark Red Beet, Butterscotch Beans (white with a bigh tan "eye," they date back to the 1860s, were used for "Boston Baked Beans"), etc. I am really looking forward to our garden this summer!
We had an awesome visit from old friends from Ft. Stewart, Georgia. Lori's husband got back last month from his deployment to Iraq and drove up north to visit family and were able to stop here on their way back home! We had so much fun hanging out at the local coffee shops, playgrounds with our kids, scrapbooking and cooking together...
I think Ingrid is playing the ukuele. My Uncle Jim came here in September and played his's such a beautiful instrument.

January 5, 2009

Off we go...

I'm practicing "Malinka Yolichka." Yep, very excited to have started learning how to play guitar from a dear friend at church, Photina.
Looking outside together. Who's taller? Olivia is 5 and Lusy is just 2 years old!

I feel like whatever I knit is still good because of things like this:
Thank you. I have a desire to knit leg warmers. I started last year. I am using 6 double pointed needles and recently spoke with someone who recommended I use a "U" shaped needle.

January 2, 2009

I celebrate Christmas for 24 days...

Being an Orthodox Christian, we follow the Julian or "old calendar," which is 13 days from the Gregorian calendar most of the world follows (so today is actually December 20th). In 2100, there will be 14 days difference. So, I just read my sister's blog and LOVED that we get to celebrate Christmas for 24 days, we start on December 25th, spent the day with my in-laws, opened gifts, 12 days of Christmas then, January 7th is when we really celebrate the Nativity of Christ and break the fast, 12 days of joyful feasting follow!We collected some beautiful pieces of nature, and then spray painted them silver. I'm going to make some flower arrangements for an upcoming church function with them.

We went to eat at Japanese restaurant and they cooked on a hibachi right in front of us...the girls thought it was fantastic. I ordered a scrumptious dish with scallops. I wish I were such a fun cook!

I got this from my friend Chrispea:
Whoever designed it must've been German, from the spelling, but I have no idea who it was... Now, I get to pass it on. The winner may put the logo on their blog. Put a link to the person who sent you the award and then nominate your favorite blogs, please add a link to their blog.

Here are the blogs I'm going to nominate:

Susanna - my sister because she makes the most beautiful homemade sugar cookies, ornaments with her two girls, she's a fantastic seamstress (sewed most of the curtains in her house) and great gardener.

Zoya - my cousin, who is a ceramicist, making beautiful lanterns and lately, cookie jars (you can find that on her blog if you click her name), also check out her studio:

Paula - my new friend who has a great eye for scrapbooking...and we both agree on so many issues that fall close to my heart.

Sylvia - she has 2 awesome blogs, click HERE for her other one, she's always up to something fun, with her children often. I have a set of the most lovely wrist warmers from her, she's a fabulous knitter!

WW- she's an amazing photographer. I was also recently inspired by her "green" blog post about a month ago...I've started keeping a compost bin since!