Monday, October 17, 2016

Blog moving...

Praying with my Feet now has a new home! It's still under construction, but it's nice to be blogging again. Read the explanation here.

(And don't miss my review of Blueprints for the Little Church!)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Local Things

It's September! And that means... more heat. Hahaha. I'm jealous of all of the fall posts I see online from friends in the more privileged temperate climes. We're still staying indoors a lot to escape the blistering sun, torrid heat, and wilting humidity. Fall will come, yes, but we get our fall closer to Thanksgiving. Here are some things I'm looking forward to doing when the great outdoors less resembles the surface of the sun:

Old Town Spring

(all photos from the Old Town Spring website)

I've driven through this a few times on the way somewhere else and it's enchanting! It's the genuine old downtown of Spring, TX and the houses have been converted to myriad shops and cafes. One of the more interesting (to me) places:

Cupcake Fabrics & Quilts

I want to wander in, look at the quilting fabrics, inquire about getting the proper machine quilting implements for my sewing machine, and get inspired!

Mercer Botanical Gardens and Arboretum

(All photos from the Mercer Arboretum website)

(From their website:)
The arboretum and botanic gardens are divided by Aldine Westfield Road. On the east side is the botanic gardens where over 20 acres of beautifully maintained gardens feature bamboo, color displays, daylilies, endangered species, ferns, gingers, herbs, tropicals, to name a few. The east side also has an extensive walking trail system, a Remembrance Walk for memorials and honorariums, ponds, a visitors’ center, courtyard plaza, plus much more. 
The arboretum on the west side of Aldine Westfield features two playgrounds, a picnic area nestled in a woodland setting with 58 picnic tables, two barbecue pavilions, hickory bog, boardwalk, cypress swamp, maple collection and several miles of walking trails that wind through beautifully preserved woodlands.
Mercer employs a team of experienced botanists, horticulturists, and gardeners who offer a wealth of knowledge and information, and will gladly assist you in anyway they can during your visit.

And it's all free! :)

I intended for this to be a longer post, but I have spent so much time lingering over the local events (the free fall concert series in The Woodlands, etc.) that I have run out of time. Laundry calls! Have a great Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2016


This week has been busy. Two days ago our parish council president, Lex, who had been suddenly and mysteriously ill, died. Father had been visiting him daily in the hospital. Now we're preparing for a funeral. 

(This photo and the next two were taken by me and edited with the Brushstroke app.)

The family is not Orthodox but to our great relief they are on-board with an Orthodox funeral. This is the first funeral St. Cyril's has done in their current location and there are details to be worked out. Tonight we're meeting to practice the music. 

I am making some dessert to take to the mercy meal after the funeral tomorrow. Gooey Butter Cake is easy to cut into squares and easy to serve. We really don't know how many people to expect. 

Currently a few of our children are sick with colds, most importantly, the two babies. Mittens is more-or-less attached to me every minute of the day. She is happy for a few minutes but is otherwise miserable. Miss Moppet is cranky and her behaviour is two-year-old squared. This makes it hard to get anything done.

She enjoyed some frozen watermelon a few days ago. Frozen watermelon is what happens when you run out of room in the fridge and figure you'll just pop the half melon in the freezer to cool off for supper. 

And then forget until the next day.

I finally finished the last of the eight censers ordered this week and got them to the post office just now. 
The next project in line is a set of five miniature phelonia in liturgical colors for a church school. 

I had a bright idea to make a cake yesterday although it didn't turn out exactly as hoped. I mixed up a regular chocolate cake and put half of the batter in a bundt pan. Then I mixed up some peanut butter, confectioners sugar, cream cheese and a bit of whipping cream (just to thin it a bit). It was like the filling of a Reese's Cup. I spooned it into the bundt pan in a ring on top of the cake batter, then added the rest of the cake batter on top. I think it would have worked better if the peanut butter mixture hadn't sunk to the bottom of the pan (top of the cake). As it was, it was still pretty good and we ate it while it was still really too hot to eat.

Duchess and Flopsy had their first pep rally today at school. The theme was "overalls." Neither like overalls and refused to shop for something they didn't like and wouldn't wear. Duchess had this good idea instead and wore this today:

Get it? 

I have bread in the oven to have with supper tonight.

And so it goes. 
Life is messy and complicated but still has joyful moments.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


An alligator naps on the landing, biding his time. 
Everyone is fooled, 
not suspecting that this is no innocent 
"stuffed animal". 
He will choose the perfect moment 
to slowly rise on his powerful legs, 
his upper jaw opening as steadily and inexorably 
as a missile silo. 
The brief space of time 
before the balletic twisting of the neck, 
the tiny glint of light on a razor-sharp tooth, 
will be remembered as quiet, 
even gentle, 

But for now, he waits.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book review: Let There Be Light!

I was so delighted to see this book by Alisa Rakich Brooks previewed on Facebook. After reading the description I decided I would order it at the earliest opportunity. That opportunity came in a slightly different form than I was expecting: I was asked to review it! I was honored to accept and the book arrived yesterday. I read it immediately but didn't have a chance to publish a review until now.

Let There Be Light! is the first in a projected series of books exploring the six days of creation. The union of science and theology is explained in a way that is easy to understand for elementary age children. This first book discusses the first day of creation and looks at some of the scientific principles of light (particularly the spectrum of visible colors).

The dialogue between the mother and daughter is very realistic and enjoyable. The mother in particular does a good job modeling the method for leading a child to arrive at a solution herself rather than delivering a lecture. I was happy to see that science and theology were presented as an effortless continuum.

The illustrations by R. E. Bursik are lovely and fit the story perfectly. With the book emphasizing light and the beauty of God's creation, good illustrations are critical!

I recommend this book for children aged 5-10, but older or younger children should enjoy it as well. Naturally the older children will be more likely to grasp the scientific concepts.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Purchase the book from Sebastian Press here.

See what other books Sebastian Press has to offer here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Little Ballerinas

'School has started' and other updates

Monday we went with Duchess and Flopsy to register them for school. I will spare you the gory details and just sum up by saying we were there six hours (and had Mittens with us, thankfully not Miss Moppet!!) without food or drink. In the end, they are both, thankfully, enrolled in the ninth grade with 1200 other ninth graders (!) and started school yesterday. They have block scheduling so their eight classes are divided between two days. Today was another "first day" because of that. This afternoon we head to the store to get school supplies. *girds up loins*

Homeschool for Ribby, Ginger and Pickles will commence around the beginning of September. I'm going through their previous work and designing the curriculum for the coming year. Because Ginger will almost certainly enter ninth grade at the same school next year, I will be keeping that in mind when working with him this year. He's already on track to be prepared for it, so that's convenient. Ribby is entering her senior year and we will probably make it a 1.5 - 2 year process, integrating some classes at the local community college during the second year. There is a local Shakespeare festival (two plays every summer - free admission!) so we are going to try to work in one of them as soon as I know what they're producing the summer of 2017. (We're doing Shakespeare anyway, but the traditional reward for working on the "boring" parts is to get to see a play!) She takes the ACT for the first time in a couple weeks.

Miss Moppet has somehow learned her colors, most of her shapes, and can count to 20 just by getting up every morning and breathing in and out. This is usually the best way. I might let her have some fun putting objects in different categories this year and letting her continue to color, etc. She loves to sing (reminds me of Herbert in Monty Python's Holy Grail) and her favorite song is Jingle Bells. Regardless of season. Her repertoire is expanding and will will be adding more as time goes on. She will also get a tricycle for either her third birthday or for Christmas (I'm voting for birthday). We have sidewalks and a park with a sidewalk all through it now. It's a perfect place for her to ride. Come on, fall!! :)

Mittens is trying VERY hard to crawl. She can get on her hands and knees and rock a bit. She creeps reasonably well when trying to get something she wants. We've introduced mashed banana and apple which she received dubiously. She favors tastes of ice cream and watermelon instead (no, it wasn't me). No teeth have made an appearance, but she's practicing her piranha skills wherever she can.

Not that they're in school, but since I'm doing updates, I'll mention the cats. Genevieve found a new home with friends back in McComb. She seems to be very happy prowling around their jungly backyard and has already chased off all of the strays. We brought Indy and Smokey with us, but Smokey disappeared the day after we arrived. I have posted notices online in several places including several online neighborhood groups. There have been a few sightings reported but nothing has panned out. I hope he has found a family he is happy with. Indiana is still with us and has decided to be an exclusively indoor cat. He is happy being an only-cat for now, and has renounced his wandering ways. We're grateful to still have one furry member of the family.

We're getting into the swing of things at church. The past few weeks have been spotty because so many people were taking advantage of the last weeks of vacation to go out of town, but now that school is back in session the ranks have swelled a bit. I'm on the prosphora schedule and the boys are serving in the altar. The girls and I are singing with the choir here and there, getting used to some new music. We're enjoying getting to know people and are looking forward to the next several months.

Blessing of students before the new school year

Friday, August 19, 2016

Getting Settled

We're moved! It's been a complicated and busy process, but we're more or less settled (a little less, but you know how it goes). Since I'm finally getting my head on straight I figured an updated blog post was looong past due.

Saying Goodbye

Our last Liturgy at Christ the Saviour was July 31st. The choir sang several pieces they had been working on for weeks and they did a beautiful job. At the end of Liturgy the parish council presented an icon of St. Benedict to Father, hand-written by Cheryl Pituch. It's gorgeous. We were very touched. After coffee hour Father did a blessing for all the children (and teachers) before starting the new school year.

The presentation of a "special award", hahahaha. (c;

Monday, we said our goodbyes to a different group:


We packed the truck on August 2nd and drove that evening to the home of parishioners and friends. Unexpectedly, they served a bang-up dinner that night and breakfast the next morning to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary! It was very sweet since we hadn't celebrated, being busy carting things out to the truck. We are forever grateful to the friends who showed up in the extreme heat and humidity to help out that day.

A little of what it looked like in the days before we moved.

Putting the car on the trailer.

Two cats in carriers, and a baby in a car seat. Exactly how we moved to PA exactly 17 years before.

Not. Happy.

Almost gone...

Heading out.

The next day we drove to Texas, arriving early that evening. Some parishioners assisted us in unloading 2/3 of the truck that night. The next day we unloaded the rest and returned the truck and trailer.

The Pituchs didn't want us to leave!

We drove through areas that only a week later would be inundated with flood waters.

Arriving in TX!

Getting Settled

I don't have many photos of the house because I figured I'd just go around and take photos when it was all unpacked and settled. Here are a few photos taken around the house:

The view of Father's office from my chair.

Craft room shelves. We need more shelves.

We have a nice view of storms coming in from the southwest.
For the past six days, this view hasn't changed much.

The game room is quite roomy and the little girls have enjoyed having the tent up.

Local Exploring

The week after we arrived we made a trip out to St. Paraskevi Orthodox Monastery (Greek). We stayed for Vespers and Paraklesis. The nuns were very kind and hospitable, and they have clearly worked very hard on the grounds and buildings.

The refectory in progress...

This past Monday we headed to the mall in The Woodlands, just up the interstate. The boys wanted to see the Lego Store. Amusingly, Godiva was located immediately across from Lego. I also saw a Build-A-Bear, which will be perfect for Miss Moppet's third birthday!

That's about it for now; more posts to come!