Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Little Something

I asked Kat the other evening, forgiveness sunday, to be exact, what great lent means to her. Her response was certainly not what I expected, when she stated, "I am going to try not to be fussy so much....and my favorite part is...PASCHA!!!" She has had very little instructional learning on the subject, yet she completely gets it, as much as an 8 year old kid can, through the living cycle of the Orthodox faith. I adore that she did not mention the foods, or how long, but that her attitude was the focus. She will pay attention to her moods, which will be quite a boon, if she finds a way to meter herself a little better. Being an only child, who is a girl, can be rather difficult, but she is managing well enough.

During this period of the great fast, we will focus our eyes inward, toward the willful person who rears their head when it is easy, or because it can, and the heart will subdue the blatant tendencies of the carelessness we all possess. In every look, breath, and moment, it is hoped that we will see our own plank and stop looking at the speck in our brother's eye. May it be to us for cleansing, growth, and perseverance in all things; God help us in this journey.

May I have strength to be selfish in my criticisms of anything but my own shortcomings, generous in the sharing of what God has given as gifts to us all, peaceful toward everyone I am in contact with, however difficult that may be, but please forgive me if I falter.

"O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother;
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen"
Prayer of St. Ephraim

Green Lent

So, I have decided to force feed my family green smoothies every day, for the first week of great lent. I know, I am a horrible mother and wife, ha ha! In actuality, it doesn't take much forcing, considering it is more fruity than green, but it looks bright and terrible when it is all mixed up! Here is what I put in it:

2 banana's (some were frozen)
2-3 hand's full of spinach
1 cup digestive/immunity home 'brew' (cold, kept in fridge, infusion of ginger, chamomile, elderberry, fennel, anise, tarragon, etc.)
~2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1-1.5 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup plain coconut milk kefir (plus a little bit of non-dairy milk, for creaminess today)
1 whole navel orange, peeled and halved

Blend until very smooth. Serve chilled to family and watch it go down!

Such pretty colors! It is like a multi-vitamin in a drink, NOM! Super tastiness, I am telling you, just ask Kat:

I have decided that the first week of great lent is like the breakfast of the fast: the way we begin is the way we will likely continue, our decisions being influenced by the first steps taken, if you will. I figure that by getting into a good habit now, we may start something that sticks around for awhile. Even if not, it is still good for us!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Something More

Angel of God
O guardian, my guardian
This world is stricken
My path is laid
The stones, I roll
Out of their places
From homes they have made
I push them aside
I bid them adieu
Forgetting their grounds
Rushing along
Without heed
Temptation seizes
This distraction

Guide my steps
Keep my heart aright
This dream, I have kept
Let this world be the dream,
The reverie,
Wherein I sleep no more
But awake to Truth in Him

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Girl

This is the girl I live for. She is the one whose life I prize above all others. When I look into her eyes, she has a captivating gaze that takes me outside of myself and I thank God I have found purpose within such a worthy facet. She amazes me. She makes me want to be more than I am. She helps me cultivate who I know myself to be, but also furthers what that means in a fuller sense. She is my love, my sweet girl whom I cherish.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hair, Birds, Baby, and Seeds...Spring Must Be Afoot!

Thank you to all who have given love, concern, and prayer during Kat's illness, she is on the mend and I am certain it is nothing short of your care that she did not get as bad as it was looking there for awhile. She has recovered to nearly her old self again and is looking forward to her first haircut since spring, which will be around lunchtime today. I have explained to her that, since she has such thick hair, she is not able to have a simple, blunt bob like many of her friends, much to her chagrin, but she is content to know that whatever she chooses, she just has to have it layered. She thinks she will go with a short, layered, a-line bob. Sounds like a lot for an eight year, but she has more hair than I have ever encountered in a child! Her hair isn't coarse, just fine, like mine, and tons of it, like her dad! Anyway, I hope to take pictures while we are there and maybe I can share.

We went out and about to the thrift stores yesterday to find some deals and were rather successful. I was hoping to find more that could be used as a gardening tub, or makeshift sort of thing, but we did well in other ways. Jay found some things for the cold weather, including some Smart Wool socks for .50 cents a pair. I found a couple shirts and Kat found herself a Pascha dress! It is her size, with a full skirt, white with really pretty polka dots, and it fit! She will have to wear a shirt underneath because its neckline is a bit plunging (especially for a kids dress), but she has a narrow frame, so things don't fit like they were intended. She loves it and so do we, which is what matters, plus it was $4!! Score!

I can't believe it is cheesefare week again...already! Well, in our house, since cheese and all dairy is always out, it is just eggs, eggs, and more eggs, which is fine by us, we love eggs! I have promised Katherine crepes/blini all week long, since the next eggs we have will be after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Pascha, in the wee hours of the morning, when we receive our dyed red, blessed eggs from Fr Boris at the veneration of the Cross! Phew! That is a mouthful and so we eat eggs this week...and some fish. This sunday will be Forgiveness Sunday, which I always love, but I anticipate little, compared to usual, the impending lenten cycle. I always love it, don't get me wrong, but things are so different this year, it is hard for me to wrap my head around it all. I have been taking a little girl to her daycare on weekdays, will be attending the birth of our friends newest addition, trying to read a lot more, work on projects, etc. My focus is so shifted that I am trying to keep myself grounded and looking to the reality of things, while firmly realizing just how contrasting this year's reflection is finding me.

I am anticipating things greatly, but until our friends baby is born, I am suspended in a purpose outside of myself. I hope to be prepared and readily available when the hour comes. My excitement is beyond me, to the point of surrealism. It is almost disbelief that it can be happening, and that it was only yesterday she told me they were pregnant, but that was ages ago, in reality! I look at the ironing board that houses the partially finished diaper bag I am making for them out of an old wool sweater from Goodwill, that I have felted down and cut into shape. I hope the end product is lovely, but I am sure she will be happy with whatever. For them, I pray for good weather, low-traffic times to get to the birth center, good health day for her husband (he has similar symptoms as Jay many days), and the most perfect midwife in attendance, someone who really puts them at ease.

On a completely different note, there have been tons and tons of Robin Red-Breast birds around this winter. I have seen trees filled to the brim with more birds than I have seen in one place in my life. I have noticed that every year around here there seems to be an influx of a certain creature, be it snakes, caterpillars, in this case, birds. I marvel at the perfection in it all, as I am sure there is great purpose in it.

We ordered some seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds yesterday and I can hardly wait to start them! I think I have mentioned before that we like to start seeds during the first week of great lent each year, when we can get it together. We are gathering supplies and things appear to be on course. Among the seeds, we have chosen dragon tongue 'green' beans, two carrot varieties, wild strawberries, purple Russian tomatoes, dwarf pak choy, various herbs, lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, radishes, and nasturtiums! Where will be put it all, you may ask!?!? Well, we are devising ways to grow without taking up too much space, among which, we found an upside down tomato hanger at the thrift store for $2, and we are always on the lookout. We are trying to maximize our space to yield the best production. We will also be giving some of the seedlings away, since I love to watch things sprout and grow, but my heart of greens is bigger than my own garden! I am particularly looking forward to what we get from the beans and tarragon this year.

Well, I think that is all for now, but I will be back again soon, Lord willing, and the creek don't rise, as a friend says. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Church and My Punky Princess

Tomorrow is meat fare sunday, also known as Maslenitsa in the Russian community. There is meat galore, as it is the last day before Christ's Resurrection that the faithful will partake of meat. There will also be blini in abundance, as it also begins the Butter Week, or Cheesefare, since everything besides meat is allowed for one more week, until we arrive at Forgiveness Sunday, the day before Great Lent officially begins, which is always on a monday. I have been asked to make some gf/df blini for the merrymaking tomorrow afternoon, but I don't know how much I will get done with my girl being sick. When I am finished writing this up, I will go mix up a batch to sit, so by the time I get to cooking them up, Jay will be out of bed and with the land of the living and I won't be on call for Kat.

The poor girl started out thursday morning not being able to get warm so she had a bath and, by the time I returned from a couple errands, she was flushed with fever. I dosed her with elderberry syrup, vitamin C, garlic, and echinacea/astragalus kids blend and by that evening her fever had nearly vanished. She had an epsom salt bath, with a little bit of oil (to keep her skin soft) and lavender added, to promote relaxation, but is also anti-bacterial and anti-viral. My biggest concern was whether she would sleep the night, or if she would get sick then. She had eaten breakfast that morning, but not nearly as much as usual, but then nothing else the rest of the day. Night is usually when it is the worst, who knows exactly why, but she always has hard nights, it seems. She did have a moment where it threatened to get icky, but nothing came of it and she slept the whole night without much trouble. She spent most of yesterday laid up, watching movies and sleeping, while sipping water, bit by bit. She was doing pretty well and asked for her tummy tea and then thought she might be ready for some yogurt, which she stomached fine, but that was it for the day. Her body is fighting hard on this virus. She says her legs are sore, she's tired and completely without appetite, but is more worn out than sleepy tired, however, she has just fallen asleep again, after waking at 5 a.m.

All in all, Glory to God for all things! It is a jumbled weekend, but I am grateful for all of our resources, friends, and my little family. Jay is really helpful when it comes to his girls needing him, so I count my blessing, of which are more than I have fingers; let's hope I never forget it! I think that is all I have for now, especially since the computer already froze up on my once while trying to post this. A blessed meat fare to all!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

While She Was Out Playing, I Was Inside Creating!

After we slept in, had homemade cocoa, she was out in it again!

Nearly up to her hips in some of the drifts! WOW!

I love this flop in the snow :)

While she was out in the snow, I was putting on my veggie end pieces from the freezer to make stock :)

I got the idea from a friend to save the pieces from the veggies I chop for other meals in the freezer to make stock in the future. It makes perfect sense, if you think about it, especially when you have to imagine that broth/stock companies don't likely use the very best pieces of veggies and such when making theirs. Not to mention that I paid just as much for the tips and tops of my veggies as I did for the central parts, so why not save them and use them again. Some of this is even made from $1 bags that were on quick sale at the natural grocery store because they were needing to get used.

I need to get better about making the broth/stock as soon as the bag gets full, because I have enough for 2 large stock pots FULL, so my system needs a little tweaking, but I will get there, I think. In this batch of stock, it is made from kale, cabbage, celery, onion, carrot, and fennel. Mmmm, good stuff! Just think of all the possibilities!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Not Quite 24 Hours From Its Beginning, We Ventured Into the Tundra

Getting ready for a walk in the snow with the family and dogs.

Kat loves the snow!

Neat snow drifts on the rooftops nearby.

Kat, Buttercup, and me walking along together.

After Kat got some more time to play in the snow, we warmed up inside with nice split pea soup, which was just what we all needed!

A Cocoa Kinda Day

Kat's cup of cocoa, made from chocolate sauce from scratch by her papa, So Delicious coconut milk, and all natural marshmallows!

We had a pajama day, since it is snowing regularly outside, without a sign of stopping :)

Mmmm, cocoa first thing after morning prayers...NOM, NOM, NOM!