Friday, April 30, 2010

House update:

We accepted the offer and are faxing the papers back to them now.  We just have to wait on the inspection and the buyers to be approved for an FHA loan.  I hate we're losing money on this (and a significant amount) but we stand to lose a lot more by waiting.  With the market the way it is, we weren't going to be coming out on top and we knew it.

All in all, a happy occasion. (c;

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dresses galore

I want to share one of my favorite drool-able websites: Sense and Sensibility Patterns.  I would love to make several of these dresses and aprons.  The problem at the moment is that I don't have my sewing machine with me.  It needs a tune-up too - the tension goes haywire.  Plus, I have these great intentions and things just don't turn out.  I don't know that I've ever had a formal sewing class.  Anyway, I can dream...  It's just fun to go through the site looking at all of the patterns and photos.  If you sew at all and like period outfits, I highly recommend it.  Plus, some of these are simply lovely and don't scream reenactment. 

Rejoice with us...

We got an offer on the house!  For the asking price!

Glory to God!

Miracle

Please head over to Chrissie's family blog and read the story of her miracle last night.  It's a stunner. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Keep the prayers coming!

Chrissie has been through some major ups and downs over the past week.  All of the "ups" are miraculous.  This little girl is still fighting!  Keep up the prayers.




Also:  please pray for my nephew Peter as he undergoes a difficult procedure tomorrow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Some prayer requests...

I just wanted to ask you to keep some children in your prayers:

Noah, 3 1/2, who has mitochondrial disease.  He has done amazingly well so far but has had some close shaves.  This diagnosis is ultimately fatal and nobody knows how long he has (although I haven't heard anything lately about that being soon).

Abby, almost 5, who has an aggressive leukemia.  She has several months left of chemo but her white count dropped last week and they're fearing a relapse.

Chrissie, 4, who has such amazingly complex cardiopulmonary issues I won't try to describe them.  Technically, I can't believe she's lived to the age of four - she should have died shortly after birth.  She had open heart surgery last Monday and died several times.  She's currently in PICU on life support but is having some miraculous signs of recovery.  She still has a long way to go.

Thank you.  Prayer can move mountains!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

With the Saints Give Rest

Please pray for the soul of Archpriest Anatoly murdered today in Russia.  Also pray for his family: he leaves behind a wife and five children.

Fun

Father pointed this out to me on Fr. Milovan's website.  How many things can you think of that would be done more often or more willingly if they were fun?


Friday, April 23, 2010

Green and White




















100 Posts!

In honor of my 100th post, I thought I'd go back and find my favorite posts.

Well, Brussels Sprouts still makes me laugh.  And I don't know that I've learned my lesson.

Likewise with I missed all the excitement

Square pegs in round holes is still very funny, especially about the pig. (Be the pig, be the pig...)

Terrible Twos is funny, especially since I'm still dealing with unacceptable church behavior.

Bright Monday is a rather action-packed story despite its benign title.

The story of how we acquired our most recent cat is a good one.

This post is not funny like the others, but I still like it.

Sometime I'll have to do another post like this.  Maybe with adult books too.

This is hillarious and true.  It seems that Alabama is stormier than Mississippi, but I have to give it a chance.

The rest of my favorite posts are too recent to post here.

Thanks for everyone who has hung in there with me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter...Dibley style

Just for fun...

Alice: You know that stuff they're selling now at the local shop?
Geraldine:Which stuff?
Alice: I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.
Geraldine:Oh yes
Alice: Well, I can't believe it's not butter.
Geraldine: Yeah, well I believe that is the idea, yeah.
Alice:Then yesterday, I went to Crookenden and I bought this other stuff, like a sort of home-brand, you know?
Geraldine: Yes...
Alice: And you know, I can't believe it's not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
Geraldine: Mmm. I'm losing you now.
Alice: Well, you know I Can't Believe It's Not Butter?
Geraldine: Yeah, you think it is butter.
Alice: No no, I mean you know the stuff that I can't believe is not butter is called I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.
Geraldine: Probably, yeah, yeah
Alice: Well I can't believe the stuff that is not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and I can't believe that both I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and the stuff that I can't believe is not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter are both, in fact, not butter. And I believe they both might be butter, in a cunning disguise. And in fact there's a lot more butter around than we all thought there was.
Geraldine: Yeah. You see, I don't know what you're talking about.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gardening...sort of

The children have been on me for quite a while to make a garden. I know they meant corn and tomatoes and such, but flowers are instant gratification. Besides, I have a black thumb.



I broke sod in the front of the house on either side of the walk. The soil itself is pretty decent (I guess...what do I know?) so we just tilled it by hand and planted the impatiens. Pickles "helped" by shoveling dirt onto the walk and putting grass on the girls' heads. They found some worms for him in exchange.



I planted some columbine and some kind of sage (I forget) behind the house in a sunny spot.




We'll see how long they survive.


Given how hard it was to break the sod by hand, I think we'll do raised beds or have a container garden for vegetables.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Train outing continued

This is the day we actually went in the museum. It was small, but packed.



The current waiting room was redone in 1901.




There was a model train in the glass case.



Father, checking out the artifacts.



We got to listen to train whistles and other train sounds, over and over and over and...



We knew that an Amtrak was expected at 3:30 so we hung around outside. At 3:45, a freight train came barreling through, whistle and all, and the conductor waved at us. I still like that. Pickles was beside himself. It looks like the train is standing still but trust me, it was moving.



Still no Amtrak. We walked all around the train again. Man, that thing is huge.



The boys couldn't get over it.



Yay! Amtrak arrived...45 minutes late. The children were ecstatic all over again.



We watched the porters open the doors and help people disembark and embark. The children were very interested. The passengers seemed amused to see us.


I remarked on the way home that I'd love to arrange child care and take off on a train to Chicago with Father for a few days. In the Fall. Sigh.


Maybe one day.

70 inch wheels

We went to the local train museum the other day. Well, actually we went two days in a row because the first day the museum proper wasn't open yet. The children were in no way disappointed because they were able to walk all around (and touch, no climbing) a REAL train. This is a 200 ton steam locomotive, one of two remaining of the largest class built for the ICRR. It is BIG.







Just so you have some sense of scale, here is Duchess, who is not lilliputian:





Those are 70 inch wheels.



The traditional caboose:



Pickles called this "Cranky the crane" after the Thomas character. He really thinks it's Cranky.



I managed to line everyone up. They weren't thrilled.


Hey, 80% were looking at the camera!




In another post: day two of our train expedition...

Bright Monday

Sunday, April 18, 2010

OrthPhoto Debut!

This is so cool. I posted a photo on OrthPhoto, an international Orthodox photo blog, and it's in the gallery. Not that there is a contest or anything, I mean, anyone can post. But still...neat! And our little tiny parish is represented! If you've never gone to OrthPhoto, it's worth a trip. You can spend hours there.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pysanky, revisited

After I made the grand total of two pysanky eggs, I made some gift bags for them. Don't be impressed: I found some nastily adorable bunny bags at the store and cut off the tops (i.e. the bunny). The handles I made from baby ribbon threaded through holes in the tops. Then I filled them with some shredded paper. The eggs nestled right in. Here's the second egg.

Orthodox Celts

I've got to put a plug in for this neat group. The Orthodox Celts are a music group that - no surprise here - sings/plays modern Irish music. But here's the catch: they're Serbian. They sound Irish - nice brogue - and everything is sung in English. It's kind of hard to wrap your brain around. Apparently they're wildly popular in Serbia. Unfortunately, I can't buy a CD. They don't sell them in the U.S. Several of their music videos are on YouTube. Here's one: Here's another, a bit different:

Redecorating

Redecorating the blog, that is. I decided to spice things up a little and add a live traffic feed and traffic map. I also changed my labels list to a tag cloud. I like that soooo much better. I found a fantastic tutorial for it here. I'm not tech-savvy at all so it was kind of neat to play with the code on the HTML. I also updated the family picture and did my usual seasonal color change. It feels much more pleasant now. I might actually post more often! BTW, any suggestions are welcome.

Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen!

We're still well in the Paschal season so I don't feel too bad just posting about Pascha now. It is our first Pascha at our new parish and we had a lovely time. I have no pictures from the Holy Saturday night service but I have some from Bright Monday and I'll post those later.

Here is a picture of the children before church that night. They look remarkably cheerful given that it is about 11 PM. Ginger served in the altar so he had already gone with Father.



The tomb Holy Saturday morning:





Here's a remarkable sight. I really have no idea where this takes place, but clearly in a Slavic country. They're saying "Khristos Voskrese! Voistino Voskrese!" which translates, "Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen!" Wow.



Pysanky

After the not-so-successful venture with natural dyes, I allowed the children to use the pysanky dye I had just received from Mom. I was going to do it anyway, but hadn't planned on the children using it. It's rather potent.
Here are a few of their eggs. The trick to dying perfectly red eggs is to use brown eggs. White ones will tend to turn pinkish.
I'd never done pysanky before and it seemed miserably hard. But Mom sent the kit and I figured it would be fun failing anyhow. I'd left several eggs out all day so they'd be room temperature. The little blue and red-handled tools are called kistka. It's essentially a stick with a little metal cup/funnel at the end. A small amount of beeswax (never paraffin) is placed in the cup part and it is held over a candle flame. When the tip of the kistka is placed perpendicular to the egg surface, liquid wax comes out by capillary action. Rather like writing with a quill. The wax tends to be blackish because of the candle soot. This is helpful because you can see it better on the egg.
But first you have to draw a pattern on the egg. Well, you don't have to but I didn't trust my freehand.
Then you just start putting wax wherever you want the original color of the egg to show through. This can be a little or a lot. After that, you put the egg in the first color. You tend to do lightest to darkest, but actually I've read that you can do pretty much whatever you want and the results are surprising. However, I wasn't looking to be surprised.
I was so excited I forgot to take pictures of the egg after putting it in the yellow dye. Once you take it out and dry it off, you begin again with the wax, now putting it wherever you want just the yellow to show through. Then you put it in another color and just keep repeating the process until you're done. Here are a few stages:
After you've dried it off the last time, it looks pretty messy, mostly covered with blackened wax. Now you take the wax off. There are several methods to this, but I chose the most simple and frankly, probably the most gratifying. You hold the egg in the side of the flame, moving it back and forth a little (if you let it stay in one spot too long, you'll cook the egg or explode it - neither one advised). As the wax melts, you wipe it off from time to time with a clean paper towel.
When the wax was all off, I was amazed. Frankly it was hard to believe I'd made the exquisite little creation in my hand. You're supposed to cover it with polyurethane at this point, but I substituted olive oil. This adds shine and protects the surface.
Interestingly, you actually don't have to blow the eggs. They naturally dry out through the shell if kept in a well-ventilated place and turned occasionally. I eventually blew this one because I intended it for a gift and didn't feel like I wanted to include instructions for keeping/turning it.
I did another egg the next day. Both of them turned into Pascha gifts. I'll show them in another post.