May 31, 2013

Not yet summer...

We have had some hot and humid days here in Ohio.  It's still spring, but we are ready for popsicles, sorbet and ice cream.  Last year, I made some salted caramel ice cream from this book by Jeni of Columbus, Ohio:
 And I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy of this one: 
We just celebrated Olivia's 10th birthday...
I ♥ her expression!  The local public pool opened...and we've been spending lots of time outside.
Visitors from out of town, trying to relax in the hammock. 

May 24, 2013

Peonies and ants...

I've been picking peonies in full bloom and buds this week, trying to shake the ants off, bringing the bouquet inside and still getting ants in the house.  
I don't care.  I ♥ fresh flowers. (picture from
Today, we put our American flag on the porch, for Monday is Memorial day...we remember all those who have helped protect our freedom!   

I pulled a bunch of weeds (mostly silver maple seedlings that came from the neighbor's tree) today, near the baby tomato plants and lettuce.  My littlest sister move to Oregon almost 9 months ago and we got her 3 blueberry bushes...they are thriving (had flowers on them last week) and have green blueberries on them now!  
My sister gave me some herbal tea from St. Elizabeth's Skete, we enjoyed a pot of it last night.  ♥  We had organic lavender chamomile tea tonight with our friends, Marina, Michael and Bethany...seriously, both teas were full of pretty yellow chamomile buds!
At the very bottom of this blog, you'll see the playlist...and if you want to listen to some nice music, I recommend Lenka:

May 22, 2013

Tea on Myrrhbearer Sunday...

These are some of the macarons we made...they were scrumptious, but didn't have a "foot" and I'm sure it's because we overbeat them, after reading this:
Sunday afternoon, we had a little tea party.  It was Myrrhbearer Sunday, the day we celebrate those who came to Christ's tomb to anoint his body with myrrh and found that he was gone...and risen!!!  Christ is Risen!  ♥  It was my namesday, as I'm was named after St. Martha and my sister is named after St. Mary, the sisters of Lazarus.  My sister, Susanna, is also named after a myrrhbearer (she would've been Lazarus, if she were a boy) and my littlest sister, Andrea is named after Bishop Andrei Rymarenko of Novo Diveevo, NY, (my parents were very close to him and he passed away in 1978),  her patron saint is St. Andrew the Apostle. 
I got a new teapot for $11.99 with an infuser basket, because I've been making loose leaf tea.  This Rose Petal black tea from the Republic of Tea (given to me as a gift from a friend), with some honey and a little milk, is my favorite!
Our homemade poutine (a French Canadian speciality), turned out well.  I used frozen french fries from Trader Joe's.  The cheese curds I got at Country Fresh Market, on Vine St.  $3.89 for an 8 oz. package and I made the gravy, as this recipe says... 
We had hamburgers with it...they were still on the grill, but we had to dig in...
Hannah climbed our fence to reach over and pluck a few roses from the neighbors wild rose bush...there are SO many, I'm sure they won't mind.  They smell wonderfully!

May 17, 2013

On my list...

I have a list of things I plan to cook this weekend:
  • prosphora - bread that is brought to church and blessed
  • quiche - with asiago, spinach and eggs from our chickens
  • hamburgers - on the grill (well, my husband will do the grilling, I will chop onions and mix it up together and then make them into patties)
  • poutine - I have never made this and will be trying this recipe out!
  • salad - harvested lettuce from our backyard, for the first time, this year, today!
  • macarons - I have made macaroons, but never these French macarons!  We splurged and bought a box of 12 of them at Trader Joe's for $4.99 for a little tea party. 

May 13, 2013

Tea at Bonbonerie

Local bakery and cafe, Bonbonerie, here in Ohio, is a lovely place to have tea.  They serve spinach asiago quiche, scones, raspberry jam, clotted cream, French macarons, and fine Elmwood Inn teas from Kentucky.  I ordered a pot of China Rose tea (black tea) and added a few sugar cubes and cream...
My sisters, Mary, Susanna, and I took our mom there. ♥  We all got a different kind of tea, and tried the other kinds. 
All of our plates, teacups and saucers were mismatched nice china, which I really liked.  Doilies used as placemats.
Shelves lined with pretty teapots.  There were a bunch of kitten teapots with a paw up to the side, the spout!
Mom walking outside Bonbonerie and also by the irises...her favorite flowers!

May 8, 2013

Butterflies of Morocco

I remember hearing of my grandma's trip to Morocco...  She gave me a t-shirt from Tunisia when I was about 10 and I wore it for many years after.  I guess she must've gone to Algeria, too, because that's between those two countries in northern Africa.
We went to see the Butterflies of Morocco at Krohn Conservatory (it's a huge greenhouse with all kinds of exotic plants, like banana trees and cacoa pods growing) in Eden Park in Cincinnati.  Admission is $7/adults and $4/children, under 4 are FREE.  We got coupons to use for $1 each admission at the library.
We walked around Eden Park to where there is a nice lookout point over the Ohio River.  The girls took turns in the old phone booth!
Little Elizabeth is 9 months old today...exactly 3 more months until her first birthday!
You probably know the story of Remus and Romulus, the two brothers who were raised by a wolf. 

May 6, 2013

Bright Monday

The week after Pascha (Easter for Orthodox Christians) is called Bright Week, so today is Bright Monday.  It's also a very special day because it is the feast of St. George (for those of us who follow the old calendar), which is also the name of our church!

My parents have had a difficult time recently, but made it to church this morning!  I was so glad, because they missed the midnight Paschal service, which is our favorite.  Here is a picture I took of Rob and the girls about 11pm on Saturday, all ready to go...
Olivia holding her candle.
Afterwards, we all broke the fast together.  This cheese pascha, below, was SO delicious and pretty with all the fruit around it!
Sunday we went to have lunch with at my parent's house.  I bought bunny ears for all the girls.
Today, Holy Communion in our church, and then a procession:
Almost everyone had an icon to carry and we walked around the church, Father Pavel and Father Daniel sprinkled the faithful with holy was really beautiful.

May 3, 2013

Just around the corner

We will be celebrating Pascha, the Lord's Resurrection, on Sunday, May 5th.
  • Last Sunday was Palm Sunday.
  • Monday, I baked kulich with Maria, a friend from our church.
  • Tuesday, we cleaned the house, my sister, Mary, her husband, Andrey and 8 month daughter arrived late.
  • Wednesday, we bought some special things at the market.  Olivia wanted sliced olive loaf (basically bologna with green olives with red pimentos in it) and we also got some of our favorite Guggisberg baby swiss, smoked cheddar, cheese curds (to make poutine), etc.  That evening, we all went to Confession after church.
  • Thursday, we went to church and celebrated the Last Supper in the morning by going to Holy Communion.  I used yellow onion skins and colored our eggs, Hannah polished them with olive oil, so they shine!  In the evening, we went back to church and read the 12 Passion Gospels.  We take the candle we held while listening to the gospel and put it in a lantern and take it home and mark our doorways.
  • Friday, a solemn day, we dressed in our darkest colored clothing and went to church, where the crucifix was in the middle...and then replaced by the tomb.  I frosted the tops of the kulich and added almonds & raisins to the top and started making "cheese pascha" (I should've done that earlier in the week).  This is Gretchen's blog post on Holy and Great Friday!
  • Saturday, tomorrow, we will go to church in the morning and then again about 11pm, as we have a beautiful midnight Paschal service.
  • Sunday, we will probably get home at 4 or 5am, after the service we have our Pascha baskets blessed with Holy Water.  Then, sleep...and have dinner at my parent's house with almost all our family (missing my littlest sister, Andrea, her husband, Wally and 2 boys).
Please pray for my father, Fr. Paul, and mom, Barbara.  It's been a tough week.  Yesterday, Dad's coffin arrived.  If you've seen the film The Island made in 2006 which is about a monk who has his coffin ready, you'll understand why I think this is so beautiful.  This link takes you to the 11th of 12 parts of the film, if you forward to the 8:00 minute mark you'll see what I mean.  They ordered it from Fr. George Brooks in Arkansas.  It's beautiful, smells like fresh pine or cedar, has a nice big cross on top, and the words "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us," around the sides.  My dad fell again today.  Parkinson's disease affects so much of your life.  It's been about 10 years now for him.  He would be at every single church service this week, if it were possible, and so would my mom.  ♥