January 30, 2012

Hermitage of the Holy Cross in WV

We went to the monastery in Wayne, WV, Holy Cross Hermitage, this weekend. It's a 3 hour drive from Cincinnati, OH.

The last time we were there in September 2010, Bishop George gave us this prosphora (bread that is used in the altar to prepare Holy Communion). Yesterday he gave us one again. We will visit my parents today and give it to them, as they have both been sick and were not able to attend services at all this weekend.

We stayed at the guest house, which is next to a small cemetery where a friend of ours, George Booth, is buried. At night, there is a lamb on his grave that is lit. We walked down the road to have dinner with everyone, about 30 monks and one nun, who makes pure beeswax candles. Along the way, we stopped to say "hello" to Myrtle the cow and the goats. Up on the hill, one can see about 10 white boxes, the beehives, and they sell their honey, which is a beautiful amber colour, Brother Anthony, who helped us in their store, told us that this is dark because of the many tulip poplar trees.

Vigil began at 6:30pm and when it ended at 9:50pm, it was dark, cold and the 1/2 mile walk would have been possible, but when Father Tikhon offered to drive us back, we accepted. He told us that when he turns around, the vehicle would turn into a Ferrari! That made us laugh.

Sunday morning, we watched as the monks sang in beautiful Znamenny chant and Bishop George was dressed in his festive garments. Buttoning up the sides and then finally placing the golden miter atop his head. The girls really enjoyed watching. The service was wonderful, we listened about Zacchaeus, the short man who was a tax-collector, who climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus and invited him to dine at his house. Then, he gave up his wealth and changed his life. We all partook of Holy Communion. At the end of the service, Bishop George held a beautifully carved wood cross. An old friend, Audrey, came with her husband and 3 children. It was really nice to see them. Everyone there was so very kind. We hope to go again soon!

January 25, 2012

A little yarn along...spool knitting!

A while ago we got a wooden spool with 3 nails atop....and my 8 and 10 year old girls have taken turns working on's about 50 inches long right now. We plan to twist it up like Lori did and if it's big enough make a small rug!In addition to spool knitting, we attempted i-cord (there's a link to the wonderful Purl Bee tutorial) this past week...that is what Hannah made using the purple yarn...3 stitches. The blue is made with the spool. I also made an i-cord with 5 stitches using my DPNs (double pointed needles) made it into a little bracelet for my niece.We got The Four Seasons of Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem from the library...what a sweet book, the stories are lovely and illustrations beautiful! I especially love this wintry scene above.

Follow what others are doing with yarn here ...Ginny's yarn along! ♥

P.S. I just learned how to make a heart! Thanks to Lori. If you want to make on, press the "fn" key at the bottom of your keyboard AND the "alt" and then the "3" on the right hand side!

January 23, 2012

Lemon poppyseed cookies

When I saw this recipe...I wanted to try the recipe! Thank you, Gretchen for sharing!!!

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted this, as I wanted it to be just lemony)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (I just squeezed about a tablespoon of lemon juice from the lemons I zested instead of using lemon extract)
Mix flour, salt and baking powder in medium bowl. Using electric mixer (I'm not fond of electric mixers, so I just beat it by hand using a wooden spoon), beat butter in large bowl until light. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in egg, then poppy seeds, lemon peel and extracts. Mix in dry ingredients. Gather dough into ball, divide into two parts and flatten each into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours. If wrapped well, it will last in the refrigerator over a week.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Using 2-inch-diameter cookie cutter (I don't have one that size, so I used a clean old small glass jam jar), cut out cookies. Arrange cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Gather scraps; reroll and cut out more cookies.

Bake cookies until edges just begin to color, about 18 minutes. (If you use insulated sheets as I did they might take longer.) Cool cookies on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer to racks and cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining dough. (Can be made ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 1 month.)

Gretchen uses a filling, but I chose to just have them like this...loved them! I had 60 sweet little cookies and decided to share some...I ate some as I sipped Trader Joe's Duchess tea, black tea infused with orange, lemon and bergamot. Then this morning I had plain yogurt with a cookie. Mmmm!

January 20, 2012

Scrabble addiction

I've always loved words...both of my parents read a lot. It started out with reading the Bible together every morning, when I was a child.
And I find that we are passing it on to our daughters now...

Right now Rob is reading Tintin to Olivia. Hannah reads novels voraciously, sometimes while eating breakfast, up late at night...

I played my first game of online Scrabble in November.
And we are addicted to playing Scrabble in person, too. Hannah and Olivia and I are going to play a game today! We allow the use of a dictionary, because I believe it's more LEARN new words!

January 18, 2012

The slouchy hat...

When I saw this slouchy hat, I thought it was so cute, especially in yellow, but I had some nice green wool yarn that I'm done with it, I can tell you that it was pretty easy, so I'll be making another one!Give it a try...if you go to the link above, you'll see there's a FREE pattern! You can see we have a little snow right now. And the outdoor color is realistic, but I had to share a picture of me wearing it, just so you can see how it looks on... very comfy!!!Last week I read Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo, the story of his 3 year old son, Colton, and his experience in heaven - he died for 3 minutes while suffering from appendicitis. What a touching story. I especially loved the part when he met his sister, who his mother miscarried. The little boy was so eager to go to heaven again. We all should aim for heaven...I mean really work on it everyday!!!

I'm reading Snow Falling on Cedars right now. Apparently it was made into a movie, too, so hopefully I'll find that and watch it after I've read the book!

January 16, 2012

Simple sewing...

Nothing fancy, simply a curtain to cover the window in our back door (in our kitchen)...I used Amy Butler fabric that I got on sale at Sewn, a cool shop, I could've spent LOTS of money there. I got the pom pom fringe at another shop...isn't it so cute? I think it would be nice on an apron, too.When we moved into our house 5 1/2 year ago, there was an awkward space under the counter in the kitchen, I think the previous owners had 2 barstools there, but it's a galley kitchen, small, so it really doesn't make we use it to store stuff (all my stones and pans for baking are under there...recycling bin, etc.) and I covered it with this Michael Miller polka-dot fabric...and just added the same pom pom fringe to it, too.
Lately, my more adventurous sewing involved pennant banners, a pin cushion, circle skirts for my daughters and an alligator with a zipper for a mouth. I'm currently working on a prairie bonnet.

January 11, 2012

Yarn along...crochet lessons with a 6 year old

My 6 year old niece broke her arm and is taking a break from karate class, so while her 4 year old sister is in class, she is coming to my house to learn how to crochet.
As for me, I'm making this slouchy hat....which is turning out really cute so far, don't you think? i love a free pattern. And I'm reading this book Heaven is for Real that someone in church gave to my 10 year old daughter, she read it in one day (she loved it), so now it's my turn!

January 9, 2012

Joyous feast of the Nativity

(I sewed circle skirts for my is Olivia with her friend Sasha after church on Nativity)

I greet you all with the feast of the Nativity of Christ, which we celebrated 2 days ago, December 25, 2011 (old calendar) or January 7, 2012 (new calendar)!My sister and her husband came down from Canada (a 13 hour drive in the car for them, they headed back early this morning, so are probably getting home just now).My 1 year old niece giving my dad a homemade present...
Today, my dad read prayers over my youngest sister's baby boy, Theodore. He is 8 days old now, and the naming-prayers are usually done on this day. I am going to be his Godmother! Hopefully, his baptism will be in about a month.

January 6, 2012

Isaac and Theodore

Well, the little hat fits Theodore. I made it with a 13 inch circumference but it will stretch. I know he'll grow it will only fit him for a little while. The yellow ocher blanket he's wrapped in is one that was Wally's when he was a baby! So it's about 29 years old.
Isaac wanted to share his car with Theodore...

Before you watch the video, you may want to scroll down on the right hand side and turn off the music. We went to the park with Isaac...and here's a video I took while at the "fishing hole:"

I love all my family...looking forward to celebrating Orthodox Nativity with all of them tonight and tomorrow! We're hoping to take a photo of everyone at my parent's house tomorrow...that will be 17 of us.

January 4, 2012

Yarn along...a tiny hat!

It's the first yarn along of 2012...and what am I making? A hat for my newest nephew! He was born Monday January 2nd. I hope it's not feels like a nice soft wool.I got this wool yarn while on a trip to Kentucky in May. Honestly I haven't been yarning too much lately...I've been sewing. I am working on Christmas skirts for Hannah & Olivia, using this free pattern: Twirly skirts...we celebrate the Nativity of Christ this coming Saturday!

I'm sipping some ginseng peppermint tea and eating marzipan stollen (just got it for $1.99 at Trader Joe's and it's vegan) this morning.

January 2, 2012


My little sister, Andrea, and her husband welcomed a new little boy their home. I wish I'd had a home-birth, as it seems so much more peaceful and relaxing. I remember being happy, yet so exhausted when I had my girls in the hospital. Nurses would come and take my vitals just as soon as I would fall asleep. I thank God for healthy babies, and eventually I caught up on my sleep...Speaking of health...I wish my dad had better health. He didn't get to see the baby, yet...he has had a very difficult day, my mom said when I called them up. Hopefully they will go tomorrow. Dyskinesia is getting much so that Dad is balding because he moves his head back and forth so much. Parkinson's is really horrible. I think of it as the demons attacking him, because his soul is close to God...he loves the church so much and is very humble, not proud, of course he's not perfect, but compassionate, understanding and thinks of salvation . I will never forget when I was having the most trouble in my own life and he was so kind and positive, helped me more than he will ever know. This is the big brother, Isaac, who came over to our house for lunch and to play in the snow...and give his parents a little time to rest. The snow was lovely and great for making snowballs! We made vegetable soup and focaccia bread. I have renewed artisan breads every day by Peter Reinhart 3 times already...I love our library. Rob, Hannah and I are becoming expert bread bakers. Olivia loves to eat it.

I brought some of the focaccia over to Andrea and Wally, too. I am preparing another batch right now.