Thursday, January 28, 2016

Many layers of thanksgiving

Made a new lunch yesterday!
Caramelized onions with garlic and ginger in coconut oil,
added cumin seeds, ground cumin, turmeric and curry power to the 
coconut oil before adding the onions and later the jarred garlic and ginger.
Added the broccoli after the onions were well soften and caramelizing. 
A jar of curry sauce (a bit too sweet, needed salt) heated up with a can of
chick peas, rinsed well.
Left over rice.
A nice simple meal, with left overs! 

The snow is slowly melting...
in piles, everywhere... 

We still have our Christmas tree up.

I am loving my new tea tray.
And mismatched China!
With Spiced Chai Tea from Trader Joe's, super good. 

Cleo has decided that the seat where I am writing this blog entry
is the best place to sit right now. 
Near the sunlight, near her food, near to me.
I am spoiling her, she is taking up most of the chair,
I am perched on the very front of it while I type! :)
Thankful for every good thing....
I am working on, I hope finally, getting my citizenship card replaced,
the one for Canada that is, that Mr Husband has been 
telling me to get done for 3 years now,
the one I lost in January when I was coming back from NJ to Ottawa
and lost my wallet... 
It makes me miss Canada, 
miss the sense of the Commonwealth, the beauty, the heritage,
the Britishness, walking in Ottawa, the sun, the cold, the snow,
just being there.
I have always been capable of loving more than one 
place at once, 
I am loving where I am now more and more;
I love being married to Mr Husband, I love our home,
our churches, our friends, my munchkin, my quilt group,
being able to commute easily to NYC, so many things.
But there will always be a part of me that is missing Canada
and that no one here really knows what exactly it is I am missing.
Until I talk to someone on the phone, a good friend of course, from Ottawa
who knows our church, our friends, our city and understands,
sees what it is that I now miss.
But yet, the sun is shining,
I am so much more at home here,
I have so much to do here.
I am seriously committed to being here,
with Mr Husband
and when I read books like
Amy Welborn's on losing her husband,
I can't help but think of how much I love my husband,
his quirky humour, his gentle rascal ways, his hair that grows
long and thick so quickly, his height, just inches above mine,
his mind, how he thinks, quickly and has many layers of understanding,
through history, theology, literature while understanding math, logic (that I regularly defy!),
science and has a wonderful memory...
He is really my best friend.
And I am so thankful. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Beauty of Sewing Brightly Coloured Squares

Yesterday was the leave-taking of Theophany... while the Christmas period will last
in ways until Candlemas in February, and my Christmas tree is still up,
bright and beautiful,
We are beginning the shift.
The business of Christmas decorations-present-wrapping-baking is over. 
I am almost done with our Christmas cards.
I even wrote Thank You cards. 
Still need to address them.
The Christmas dishes are put away,
the Theophany ones, about to be back in the buffet...
And I finally have time to think about knitting and sewing.
And I had time to sit and sew knitted squares together,
beginning the blanket that began months ago, in sunny June.
I can already see that I will have more squares to knit,
but that is wonderful, as I hope to finish this blanket up in the next month or so....

 Reading lots.
Loving the first story in Goudge's The Lost Angel, so beautiful, so much hope....
Reading Wish You Were Here - good but heavy, well written for the genre.  But you know,
grief, it's heavy ~ esp. when it is also a journey towards, and a journey to continue holding on
to, faith in light of great personal loss.
Recently finished an Orthodox book by a Greek Taxi man who goes from being
indifferent to the Church to loving it - and monasteries. 
I learned a lot, really appreciated the stories...
A good read, but not one that I would recommend to everyone.
But then, I am not sure what book I would recommend to everyone,
expect The Bible Itself....
I am also reading a book on Elder now Saint Porphyrios
Re-Reading the First in the Mitford Series....
What are you reading and creating?
Yarn Along with us! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some Special Christmas Moments

I wanted to write down some moments from this Christmas,
so I do not forget them as quickly and can be thankful for them.


~at our first (of two at home) Christmas dinner(s), we had the Christmas Crackers which the
Munchkin had never seen.
We pulled them apart, two people with one Cracker and whoever
was left with the Cracker itself, and not just the one loose end,
'won'... my favourite part though was when 
the Munchkin,
with his paper crown on his head,
said, to effect,
I am king of [country], no, I am the emperor of all of China, 
the king of the world! 
with all the joy of a 7 year old...

~I got to show him the CD of a copy of the record I listened to as a child,
which he loved...that first song with the flourishing beginning is enough
to excite any child

~his love of his special shirt and Mr. Husband's praise of me
for thinking of it, while he went out and bought it

~his reading of 'how does a dinosaur get well soon?' after
opening it, sitting next to me on the couch

~getting his fun big kids dictionary and saying that we 
are all nerds, because we love learning

~the Russian cookies we were given, just the ones
I used to eat at my Ukrainian family's kitchen table, along
with the gift of the sipping chocolate that Trader Joe's only sells 
around the Christmas time

~Remembering Mr Husband's house before we were married
(he had lots of toy soldiers on display!) 

~Mr. Husband being so relaxed and happy with our
NJ family


~The Happy Christmas Night (4th night) when we looked at the 
beautiful Toy Solider book and talking about history and how beautiful the 
miniatures are


~Spending time with church family and getting time to sit down and talk


~birthday and Christmas in succession...
I did not even blog that it was my birthday this year,
was just too busy, and that day
we were leaving from our vacation spot to go
to Mr Husband's parents house
and stopped at a fabric and quilt store which
was a lovely birthday diversion, with two bags purchased for my
birthday and some fabric!
... so later I got the sweetest 3 cloth napkins from my Mom.
a book, journal, a quilter's gift and a book of knitting reflections
and a lot of love (and a cute card from Cleo!) all in the mail
and beautifully wrapped
... and then another friend surprised me with a beautiful
tea cup in our Christmas gift for my birthday,
it was so kind of them.


This year Mr. Husband gave me 4 buffet sets of
Christmas Tree Spode
(I found them on etsy at a great price!!)
and 6 butter plates, also found on etsy for
a very good price.

It has been such a joy to use these pieces and every night
wash them by hand, to be put back on the table
the next morning.


Our 9 person Christmas party was enjoyed by all,
and the beef roast turned out just right,
and it was lovely.


The many moments of just sitting by Mr Husband,
sipping tea and enjoying a new Christmas treat....

A Joyful Magical Snowfall

Saturday the Blizzard came.
Our good friends came past our place on skies,
texting me to 'look out my window' to see them waving...
I, lover of winter and snow, raced to get boots and coat on,
met them, talked and later we went to 
our new local coffee shop, and later yet to dinner,
I bringing the soup I had made just for the storm the day before,
and we had such a wonderful time
and I loved the thick snow drifts, the quiet of it
and felt so alive...
winter and snow, it does that to me...

The next day we ventured out,
unable to go to church that morning as our street was not plowed out,
and had a lovely exploratory walk 
and then came back in and had a
meal to eat while watching 1 episode of the Walton's, which
sparked a lot of conversation about 1937 and
how this episode dealt with it...

It was a lovely, cozy restful weekend and I am so thankful for it...

Today it is slowly melting away,
as NJ and NYC tries to dig themselves out...
Today is also the leave taking of Theophany,
so I had tea with my new beautiful tea tray, as
we move towards our everyday blue and white dishes
or our simple cream yellow Fiestaware ones...
A bit more beauty, 
for beauty is always needed...
We are heading quickly into February, 
which is often a hard month,
winter still here, it often gets long
and I am determined to keep beauty on my table and surrounding us,
as we slowly struggle towards Lent and Pascha,
towards Spring,
towards light, summer and the seasons that come.... 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ready for the Snow!

Yesterday I went to NYC with Mr. Husband!
I had breakfast with him at work and then
spent the rest of the day doing errands,
including stocking up on groceries
(organic oranges, lemons, eggs... and bread... gotta love
Trader Joe's!)
and I got a new snow shovel...batteries and a
battery powered lantern...
I bought 1 organic butternut squash and today made
a curry butternut squash soup that is 
warm, delicious and vegan!
Recipe here.
I may add more curry spices next time, 
as Mr. Husband likes the taste of curry!
So, we have all the yarn, blankets, books, tea,
milk, eggs, bread that we will need
(though I think I should of gotten 2 loaves of bread,
but no worries, we have some in the freezer also)...
We won't know how much snow we will get,
potentially starting tonight, 
forecasted for 11 to 17 inches of snow!
We will see!
I am excited and hopeful for the best
and glad that we have all we need.
Pray for us all,
as storms always endanger lives and 
I can't imagine being homeless or unable
to get what is needed to prepare for a storm.
Lord have mercy!
Also, three people connected to my Ottawa parish are
sick to gravely sick, can you say a prayer for them?
May God bless and have mercy on us all,
and save us! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

12th day of Christmas and Theophany Morn'

The first blessing of the waters, 
after liturgy on the Fore-Feast of Theophany...
Nuns from a nearby Greek Monastery gave this Cross to our priest,
it is one esp. for Theophany... 
Our beloved Christ, He blesses these waters...
on the day we have Theophany, 
which means the day that God showed Himself...
Theo (God) 
phany (appearance/revelation, similar to Epiphany but specifically of the manifestation of God) ...

I still need to ask about the two people small in this icon under Christ.
I know that the large slabs in a Cross under Christ's feet have to do with
how later He will die and rise again, 
breaking the gates of hell forever. 
It always goes towards what Christ came do to,
Womb & Tomb,
going beyond both, 
saving us. 
The first liturgy a family with 5 kids, who I love, 
were there and they had so much fun.
They are well behaved and their laughter at being sprinkled after the 
blessing of water that was after the liturgy
was so joyful and so infectious... just beautiful. 

Vigil that night.
We had the honour of taking our munchkin out to eat before at a local
restaurant,.. home-style noodles, shrimp, and vegetarian sushi were 
all enjoyed greatly... 
and to vigil that day and it was lovely.
We heard of a snowman, made with 3 big marshmallows, whipped cream for glue,
oreos for the base, pretzel sticks for legs and arms and a surprising sharpy marker
used.  Surprising because the Munchkin ate it, with marker marks and all.
I treasure that story, that memory, as I do many....
The bread made for the vigil has sugar in it,
dipped in the wine used, it has to be about the best thing
I have ever eaten, I do love it.
And that was the 12th day of Christmas...
We stayed overnight in a nearby hotel, 
going to liturgy again on Theophany....

It is beautiful there, early in the morning for these vigils... 

Christ is Baptised!
In the Jordan! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

11th Day of Christmas

Chocolate and Chai tea was my fuel for the day ;)

A good friend brought the cheese platter for the hors d'oeuvres.

Cleo was ready for the party!

Everyone had a place setting tag.
I worked hard trying to arrange people in a good table setting! 

The beef roast turned out well!
Used this recipe, had talked to a lady at our local church about 
how to do a pot roast and her verbal instructions were very helpful...
brown the meat, use butter, (I added a bit of extra virgin olive oil at the end), 
cook for a good long while, at least 2 hours. 
Then, an hour before the meal, add the vegetables.
Don't add strait wine, it will burn, add water first.
For whatever reason, the beef roast recipes were seeming a bit
incomprehensible to me. 
Once I heard her speak of it, it all made sense.
I added only pearl onions, already peeled from our grocery delivery service,
added about 3 cups (3/4th of the Cabernet Sauvignon bottle) of wine.
(The additional wine was based on reading Julia Child's cookbook and a recipe
that called for 5 cups of wine, though some of it boiled down by half).
I added 2 cups to start, with some water first.
Used my best flake salt and pepper. 
Sprinkled thyme, marjoram and basil on top, according to the recipe.
I cooked it in my Dutch oven, covered the whole time.
I wanted lots of left overs so I added 1lb of organic stewing beef
on the sides surrounding the beef roast.
My goal, as funny as this sounds, was to have
a lot of left overs for easy meals for the rest of Jan-February
so that I can do other things...

Since I had St. Basil's bread,
I had his icon with a candle lit on the buffet as well. 
Menu in full:

~Cheese platter
~Roast beef with red potatoes and carrots, with pearl onions, spices and red wine
~Mashed potatoes (pre-made via grocery delivery service)
~Cranberry stuffing (also premade)
~Salad that A. brought
~Hot fruit salad, made day of
~St. Basil's bread (N. got the coin, happy for her!)
~Cheesecake with caramel sauce and chocolate bourbon sauce 
~Tea: my guests choose Lemongrass Tea and English Breakfast
It was a good 11th day of Christmas and I thank God for
everyone who was able to be at our table this year!