January 28, 2014

Homemade hot cocoa

I've stopped buying hot cocoa at the store.  Yep.  We've been making homemade hot cocoa this winter and I hope you will, too, (because it's easy and delicious and cheaper and probably better for you):
  • 1/3 C cocoa powder
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 4 C milk (you can use cow's milk, almond milk...whatever)
  • vanilla extract, if you want
  • top with whipped cream...extra yummy, but not necessary (I haven't bought marshmallows in a long time, as I think real whipped cream is much better)
So, first you'll mix the cocoa powder, sugar and a half cup of the milk in a pan on the stove over medium heat, just until it comes to a boil...stirring with a spoon.  Stir in remaining milk and vanilla.  Pour into 6 mugs and top with whipped cream...enjoy!  ♥

January 22, 2014

High of 20'F

Yes, it was a cold day, but the sun came out in the afternoon.  The same today, high of 20'F expected but the sun is shining on the snow and the sky is blue with a few clouds...
First thing, we feed the animals...I went out into the backyard and was surprised to see the chickens on the grape trellis!  Pepper had a good inch of snow on her back and when I helped her down I tried to brush it off, but much of it was actually ice and stuck to her feathers!
I lifted the oldest girl Nutmeg down first and put her in the coop.  She will be 3 years old this spring.  I felt like Cinnamon and Pepper were telling me "I'm scared and don't want to get down."
Then, we went to a nearby park and went sledding with Lusy, who ran free, sniffed in the woods and ran as fast as she could, like a wild animal.
 Olivia trudging up the hill with her sled.  We talked about the possibility of harnessing the sled to Lusy, since she had so much energy, and hoping she'd bring the sled up the hill...
 Lusy takes a rest.
Checked in on the chickens again, all ice and snow melted off their feathers and they ventured out in the snow.  They even had laid eggs in their nest inside the coop...I was thankful. 
We gave the chickens a treat, some cubes of cheese (cut to about 5cm by 5cm) as a thank you!

January 20, 2014

Blessing of the Water

Yesterday we celebrated Theophany, the manifestation of the Trinity, when Jesus Christ was baptised by John. 
 Hannah and Anna put out candles.
The church is splashed with Holy Water.
 My dad and mom...and Father Daniel.
 People get splashed with Holy Water on Theophany.  Afterwards, people
take Holy Water home and then their houses will be blessed!

January 17, 2014


I spotted these pretty glitter heart earrings today and am thinking I will try to make some like them!
It snowed a few inches today.  It's cold and beautiful in this part of Ohio.  I went on a nice walk with Lusy the dog, she just loves the snow!
Olivia just finished reading Eleanor Estes's The Hundred Dresses.   It won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since.  Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in Connecticut is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day.  One of Olivia's final assignments was to write an imaginary letter that Maddie (one of the girls who wasn't very kind to her, but also felt sorry for her) could have written to Wanda.

Hannah had to write an essay comparing how Ebenezer Scrooge felt when meeting the 3 ghosts and how it changed his life, since she just finished reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  A good wrap up to this week of homeschooling...and as it is the 12th day of Christmas for us Orthodox Christians who follow the old calendar!

Rob is at work right now.  He has a terrible cold.  Runny nose and cough.  Olivia has a bad cough, too...she was up many times last night.  I convinced her to take 10mL of elderberry syrup, along with some apple juice, because other wise it's too tart and sweet (very concentrated).  I hope everyone will be healthy soon.

I got a letter in the mail this week from Joscelyn and was just amazed at her lovely calligraphy.   I found my old box of nibs and got to work with various colours of ink...pretty soon Hannah and Olivia joined me and we sampled writing out words and alphabets in various different ways:

This weekend, we celebrate Christ's baptism!  Water will be 
blessed at church, and then sprinkled around our home.
When Thou was baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity wast made manifest; for the voice of the Father bear witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of His word. O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world, glory be to Thee.

January 13, 2014


After church yesterday, we had a Christmas party for the children...
First, Hannah sang "What Child is This?" as she played guitar with Maria, who is 25 years old and teaching Hannah:

Olivia with Liza, my sister's little girl, who is 1.  She got this new pink dress, for a Christmas gift...with a snowman on the front and a hat with a white puffy ball on it.

Then, a few children recited poetry...and then they moved plywood out for the girls to do Irish dancing: 

Russian dancing!
The audience.
I'm holding my Godson, Timothy...isn't his little comfy tuxedo so cute???
He did not want to sit on Grandfather Frost's lap!
His mother was at the hospital, yesterday in the afternoon...they have been taking turns.  Today marks 4 weeks of Timothy's big sister, Sofia's hospitalization after a stroke.
They were told on Friday at a meeting with the doctor that 75% of her brain is unrepairable and damaged.  Lord have mercy.  ♥  Please keep all of their family in your prayers, Sergiy and little Timothy, who you see here...and Maryna, the mother, and especially 4 year old Sofia.
Here is little Sofia and her mother, Maryna.  You can read more about them here:
Today, Maryna's mother, Nataliya, arrived from Ukraine to help out...I look forward to meeting her very soon!

January 10, 2014

The 1 year old

We celebrated Christ's Nativity with going to the morning Liturgy together and then spending time together with family on December 25th (on the old calendar) which is January 7th (to most people who now follow the new calendar).  My sister and her husband and little 1 year old daughter arrived from Canada!
 Lots of hugs and kisses.

January 6, 2014

Preparing for the feast...

Tonight we will go to church and again tomorrow morning to celebrate Christ's Nativity, the incarnation of God, out of His love for mankind!  ♥
We have been preparing by reading spiritually uplifting literature, fasting, confessing our sins and will partake of Holy Communion on the feast.  Our girls have requested homemade macaroni and cheese (they've missed that MORE than meats) and so I will bring that to church and will share that with everyone in a potluck celebration after the church service:

Homemade macaroni and cheese (from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, with a few of my own changes, like adding nutmeg & using cheddar cheese, I doubled this recipe)
  • 8  ounces  dried elbow macaroni or desired-shape pasta (2 cups)
  • 2  tablespoons  butter 
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion 
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground black pepper
  • a dash of nutmeg 
  • 1 1/2 whole cups  milk
  • 12  ounce package cheddar cheese, shredded
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, for cheese sauce, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add onions. Stir in flour and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Add cheese, stirring until melted. Stir macaroni into cheese sauce in saucepan, stirring to coat. Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring frequently.  Makes 4 servings.

*I've done the above and will bake it at church:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
Some wine, ingredients for a delicious salad with feta and macaroni...
My sister and her husband and 1 year old daughter (and his younger brother and their mother) in their beautiful church in Ottawa, Canada on Nativity.
My dad with almost all of his granddaughters. 
Juliana got a china doll for Christmas!  And new socks.  Olivia picked those out for her.
 And Olivia dancing with Natasha in my parents home after the Nativity Liturgy...

January 4, 2014

Paint your own pottery!

There are quite a few places near us here in Ohio where you can paint your own pottery:
You're Fired
Funke Fired Arts
Mad Potter (there are 2 of them that we've been to near us, here and here)
My sister gave us a gift tile (just like a gift card) to use a couple years ago.  It's a great gift, because YOU can create something unique.  These kind of open studios are all over the place...
 Olivia using the big mug she made...inside it's so pretty!
Breakfast this morning (cornflakes with almond milk and sliced banana on top) in Hannah's new bowl!

We took Hannah and Olivia to Starlight Pottery in Savannah, Georgia, when they were 2 and 4 years old and they painted these little mugs (which they use often):
And it's almost Christmas for us Russian Orthodox Christians who follow the old calendar!
We have church services this weekend and then...

Mon. Jan. 6 Vigil-Всенощная, 6:30 p.m.
Tue. Jan. 7 Divine Liturgy-Божественная Литургия, 10 a.m.

(that beautiful picture of our NEW church with snow on trees was taken by a friend, Svetlana Pinkerton)

January 1, 2014

January 1, 2014

Last night Hannah and Olivia's cousin, Brianna, came over.  The girls played Monopoly after dinner, then we watched "Turbo" a movie about snails racing.  I really enjoyed it and so did my husband and the girls...
Today they played LIFE.  Last night at midnight, we went outside to watch the fireworks going off in our neighborhood and noticed a new truck in the parking lot.  We took our dog for a walk.  We gave the cat a bath.  The truck was still there.  We saw a note taped to the window.  The girls wanted to wish the lonely truck driver a safe trip home...and a little something inside a was nice to give a RAK (random act of kindness) to start off the new year.

This morning we made homemade 2014 bread and ate it with lunch!

Sweet little mouse New Year animation by Maggie Rudy: