Thursday, December 22, 2011

{phfr} A Few Nights Before Christmas...

...and all through the house...


I've been a little lacking in {pretty} or at least, I've been lazy about photographing it.  But I do think this is pretty.  Actually, there's plenty of it in progress, only we aren't finishing our decorating until tomorrow when Fr. Andrew is off and it's right before Christmas.  We don't like to decorate too early, in order to maintain the spirit of preparation and fasting for Advent.  (Sorry about the quality of these photos.  It really is time to replace our camera instead of making do with the iPhone, isn't it?)

Playing church.
We were babysitting some boys and the youngest just loves church things.  He went around the house and collected as many crosses, icons, and church things as he could find.  Then he set up this little altar to "play church." He actually wasn't satisfied with this amount and wanted more "Jesus stuff."  I'll be very surprised if he doesn't end up serving behind the altar in some way later in life.  Isn't his lectionary stand creative?  (It's a nursing footstool.)


You'll notice a theme here:

All three cuddled in, watching something on TV.

She just loves babies.  Good thing, too, because there will be more in her life!

She loves to read to John too.  Here they are cuddled around the board book basket.
It's a good thing my eldest likes babies, because she will be their second Mommy!  Most of the time, she does an excellent job—especially when anyone needs cuddling.  It works out well for her because she's such a touchy person.  I just don't have as much cuddling to hand out as she wants from me.  So she gets a lot of it elsewhere.  And it makes for some pretty cute photos.

Oh my.  I almost forgot {funny}!

So, one day, I gave the kids a bath.  I put John in his jammas.  I began to let the water out of the tub, and then I turned my back.

A tiny bit of water remains....
Guess who jumped back in.  Necessitating new PJs.

Oh, but he was proud of himself.


Anyone recognize this meal?

It's a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving lunch.  With added fish.  This was the weekend after Thanksgiving, I think.

I think the toast went largely ignored.

A new tradition?
OK, back to the Christmas prep.  I'd also like to get out of the house with the kids today.  They've been kind of cooped up all week.  I think a trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory is in order!  Let's see if I can make it a quick one!  (I'm not very good at that.)

A blessed final days of Advent to you all!

round button chicken

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

St Lucia Day Swedish Meal

Hot Mulled Cider
Sparkling Pear Cider

Cold Course
Smoked Salmon
Vinegar Potato Salad
Pickled Cucumbers*
Pickled Mustard Herring
Cole Slaw
Lingon Berry Preserves
Limpa and/or Flatbread

Hot Course
Broiled White Fish with Dill
Lingon berries
Boiled Potatoes
Roasted Beets
Swedish Brown Beans*

Vegan Rice Pudding* served with lingon berries
Saffron Lucia Buns*

*We'll see if I get around to linking any of these to recipes, but a lot of it is self explanatory and possibly even prepackaged.
**This meal would contain more meat and cream sauces, etc., if it were prepared outside of the Orthodox fasting season of Advent.  In fact, we'll have something similar to this as our main Christmas dinner, which will include a mustard cream gravy, potato sausage, and pot roast.  But I'll stop there!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Daybook: Mid-Advent

I don't often do a Daybook post.  I'm really wanting to keep up this blog, but I just don't have any great epiphanies at the moment.  Too much to do!  Must keep doing the next thing!  I'm getting to the point in my pregnancy where I cannot make it very far into the evening without a nap during the day.  This usually happens while John is napping, which is a little bit of a shift to me because I had that time slotted for Maggie and Susannah's Math and Handwriting.  However, recently, they've been insisting on doing these on their own.  This is a part of homeschooling I'd love to get into, the self-taught thing.  I mean, in addition to schooling them, I have babies to care for, the house to clean, the food to cook.  If they could get into the habit of doing some school on their own (with my checking over their shoulders, of course), that would be just fantastic.  So, maybe the timing works out....  (Ha.  I just suggested to Maggie that she do some school by herself—"I can't do it by myself!"  We'll see!)

Daybook: Monday, December 5

Outside my window...

The gray-ness of impending Winter.  Do I want to open the blinds completely to let in as much light as is available, or keep them down (but open) to somewhat mask the color of the sky?

I am thinking...

That we are over halfway through (Orthodox) Advent.  I awoke this morning, my mind buzzing with Christmas preparation lists, grocery lists, school lists.  It's a list day, for sure.

I am thankful for...

My husband's jobs.  He works hard and provides for our family.  May God help me to manage what we have well.

From the school room...

Regularly, we do prayers, reading (Bible or saint story, poems, a fable, and either Beatrix Potter or James Harriot), handwriting and math, and a focus book.  (I'm not sure what else to call it.)  Right now we are working through Paddle to the Sea.  Oh how I would love to finish it before Christmas!  It's the part of the day I so often forget to do.  Maybe we should do it first for a while?

From the kitchen...

Fasting food:  Tuna Tettrazini, veggie pizza (cheese-less, which my weird kids actually prefer, although, theirs doesn't even have the veggies), hummus (so much hummus), pasta with red sauce (Johnny's favorite), broiled salmon and baked sweet potatoes, tomato soup, mushroom shrimp pasta.  This week?  Hmmm... I think everything on my menu is missing a vital component, which means I either need to go shopping or make a new menu or both.  Low on tp, here, so the shopping is a must!

I am creating...

I'm a little embarrassed to say... friendship bracelets!  No, actually, I am not embarrassed at all.  It's just that I don't have anything much to do with what I create.  I was at a fabric store for something else and was wandering the aisles (very dangerous, however, turns out they have a lot of nice wooden toys and other creative, longer-lasting type toys... who knew?), and I happened to spot a friendship bracelet pattern book for about $6.  I used to do these when I was a kid, and I am enjoying the repetitiveness of making something with a pretty pattern.  I would love to be working on something more useful (quilting, please?  Someone teach me!!) or trying to knit or crochet, but there's a lot of sharp things involved.  Friendship bracelets only require the thread, a pattern (most likely stored in my head), and a safety pin.  That's about all I can handle with my little kids running around right now.  I'm hoping it will lead to bigger and better things in time.  At least, I can use them as bookmarks.  We always need another bookmark.

I am going...

Not many places.  There is so much to do around my house that we go to church, an occasional store, and we stay home a lot.  Not for everyone, but it works for me!

Well, actually, I take that back.  This week, I'll have a prenatal on Wednesday with a stop at Trader Joe's afterward, a trip to IKEA for some Swedish Christmas fare (family tradition) and some household basics, and hopefully, I'll be able to make it to Vespers on Wednesday.  I decided last week that I'd like to try to get our family to weeknight Vespers, at least for the season of Advent.  There are no extra services at our parish like there are during Lent, and I think the kids are all old enough (and going to bed late enough) that we can manage this.

I am reading...

Hmmm.  What am I reading?  Most often, Like Mother, Like Daughter and Praying With My Feet.  But I think of this question as referring to a book or some type of great literature.  Most recently, I finished Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, went on to Little Men, and finished with Jo's Boys.  Very much enjoyed them all, though I think I preferred the first.

I am hoping and praying...

For Mat. Anna in the loss of her baby at around 12 weeks gestation.
For a families at church going through deaths, extended hospitalizations, and other hard times.

I am hearing...

The pitter-patter of John's little feet as he runs around the house.  He was sick for a couple of weeks and it makes me appreciate having him healthy again.

In the music department, we've been playing hymns to St. Nicholas, the Akathist of Thanksgiving, Handle's Messiah, and other Advent-y type things.  Right now, though, it is silent.  That might be the first thing I'll need to do today is pick a soundtrack for the planning I have to do today.

Around the house...

Oh the house.  This is an exhaustive list, isn't it?  Bathrooms need attention.  The floors need to be swept.  The girls room needs to be sorted once again.  It takes so much upkeep, and while they can help, I am the one who needs to spearhead the organizing efforts.  Make me want to hide it all in a closet.

A few plans for the rest of the week...

Monday: Lists and planning; laundry/housecleaning; school.
Tuesday: Possible visit from a friend; or IKEA trip; school
Wednesday: Prenatal, with glucose test.  Blech.  At least I get to drink real juice instead of that watered-down orange pop stuff; Trader Joe's; Vespers.
Thursday: Bulletin; school.
Friday: Possible visit from a friend; school.

Here are some picture thoughts I am sharing...

Sorry this is soooo blurry.  Maybe we'll replace our camera soon.  The iPhone camera is just not cutting it.  Anyway, this is Susannah asleep in a chair, and Maggie cuddling with her while watching TV.  It's the only way Susannah will consent to cuddling with Maggie (most of the time)—by being asleep.  :)
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