Showing posts from November, 2010

An Extraordinary Ordinary Day

Every time I am preparing to go take communion I am severely tempted to stay home. Each and every time. It's a spiritual battle and my flesh is often weak. A priest told me one time that the devil likes to prey on the old, the infirm, and the innocent. I'm am neither old nor innocent, but I certainly do have more than my share of infirmities. Sometimes these legitimately keep me home, and at other times I'm just tempted to give in to laziness, all in the name of "I need more rest."

I was facing such demons this morning at six when my alarm went off. I managed to get to Church anyways. It's the feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew, the First-Called. So, I walked into St. George's chapel at 7 am while it was still dark outside, and was met by the lovely glow of the lit up Church. All was gold and rosy, and the choir was heavenly. I am so glad I got up extra early today and managed to make the effort. I feel blessed. It's so good to receive the S…

My Lenten Pantry: Meal Inspirations Chunky Chickpeas

I was shopping at Costco on Saturday, and I found this little gem of a food product. Now, normally I don't go for pre-packaged food items, but the ingredients list was short and non-creepy, so I thought I'd bring them home and see what the family thought.

Here are the ingredients: Water, Chickpeas, Onions, Sunflower Oil, Garlic, Ginger, Coriander, Salt, Cumin, Spices

Looks OK to me. Bethany and Maia tried it today in a stir fry with some onions, cabbage, rice and radishes. The dish was a winner and these chickpeas with their spices were a hit. (Well, the radishes could have been omitted...)

It's like lenten, Indian hamburger helper. Especially if you love curries like most of our family does.

Check out for more ideas, similar products and a store locater.

This is a product I will keep in my lenten pantry from now on!


Unsweetened Low Carb Blueberry Muffins

These are for someone who is killing her sweet tooth, and has not had sweets in several weeks. I don't think the natural flavors would have been so pleasing were I not so strict with myself. As it is, the natural flavor of the coconut flour and the vanilla and lemon...with a few blueberries...oh, so good! After weeks of nothing but meat, eggs, cheese and vegetables, these hit the spot.

6 eggs
3/4 T. baking powder
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 lid of natural lemon flavor
1 lid of vanilla flavor
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of blueberries.

Beat all in kitchenaid. Add berries last. Bake in paper lined muffin tin at 350 degrees Farenheit for about 25 minutes.

Makes 6.

These are obviously not "fasting friendly" unless your fast know...something your doctor told you to do and your priest told you to do and....something you have a VERY HARD TIME STICKING WITH nonetheless.

It's Nice to be Home

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday gathering with my side of the family. All the usual fixings, eight adults and eight kids...good times had by all.

On Thursday afternoon I took the longest nap of my life. I laid down for a few minutes in bed after lunch, and woke up to it being dark outside and everyone having eaten most of the pies. That's just fine, since I wasn't having any pies anyway.

I stuck with my diet. I'm proud. At least not losing momentum there. We'll see if I can keep things up until Christmas.

I was happy to see that the gerbils survived our two day absence just fine. They have so much food stashed underneath their bedding that we probably won't need to feed them for a week, he he.

Our journey home took lots longer than we anticipated due to a family member's car breaking down and Wes ferrying them home while the kids and I hung out at a McDonald's and waited. It was fun. I got lots of knitting done.

Did not get as much kni…

The Cake Disaster

I ought to tell you all about my most recent fiasco, since this blog is muchly about keepin' it real.

I decided to throw a baby shower for a friend of mine and I asked another friend to co-host it with me. And then we got our friend's godmother into the loop, so it ended up being a group effort. My part was the invitation and the cake.

I had, after all, taken a cake decorating class recently. Woot, woot! A chance to practice my new found cake craftiness! I was really looking forward to doing a cake.

Since we don't know whether our friend is having a boy baby or a girl baby, and since my cake skillz are still limited, I decided to do another Hydrangea cake, but to do this one with blue, pink, and pink/blue transitional flowers on it. I had visions of piping a tiny sleeping baby out of frosting and nestling him/her in amidst the flowers. It would be fabulous! It would be amazing!

It was not meant to be.

On Friday I was tired. That was the day to bake the cake. …

Behind the Scenes

I have fibromyalgia. People often ask me what causes fibromyalgia and I usually tell them that there's debate about that in the medical community. Then I tell them the theory of Dr. Paul St. Amand, which my own Rheumatologist who diagnosed me subscribes to. In short, Dr. St. Amand, who has been treating thousands of people with fibro for over forty years, who has the illlness himself, and who is NOT selling any supplements or programs or herbs, and who has scientific studies which begin to verify that his theory is pointing in the right direction, has observed that fibromyalgia is the set of symptoms that manifest themselves when there is a disorder in energy metabolism on a cellular level...system wide, on a cellular level. I will let you, dear reader, go here to learn more about that.

That whatever is wrong with me is wrong system wide on a cellular level I definitely can feel in my body.

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is something that doesn't make me look sick...unless y…


Love this music!

My Letter to Santa

Dear Santa...(My Christmas wish list):
-I saw a pretty binder at costco for doing one's own recipe collection. I need to improve my cooking by using more/better recipes in 2011. That would be a nice gift because all the best recipes seem to be on-line these days.

-I have a huge box of pictures that needs scrap booking. DO I DARE ask for scrap booking supplies? I'm frightened of a new craft involving (gasp!) paper. I wouldn't know where to begin. But I have this yen to do something with some of them....

-nothing sparkly. I'm not in a sparkly mood this year. No jewelry this year.

-knives. I need knives...but knives are BORING UTENSILS, and I don't really want boring utensils for Christmas. (I remember the year my mom was thrilled to get a salad spinner for Christmas. I think all moms should get any kitchen item they want/need any time at all, but NOT for Christmas.

-I do NOT want a snuggy. I have hotflashes. Do they make wearable air conditioners?

But a pai…

Notes from Mother Gabriella's Friday Night Talk

Given at St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church, November 5, 2010 "Longing for God"

Disclaimer: I tried to get a full sense of what she was saying and write down as much of what she said as possible. I was not able to write down full quotations of Fathers of the Church, etc. I will transcribe the notes here and put them into complete sentences as much as I can. As a result, the words will be mostly my own, based on what I heard her say and the notes I took. Bear in mind that Mother Gabriella's first language is Romanian, and English is her second language. This comes through in some of the syntax, and I let it stand in some of the notes, and covered for it in some other of my notes.

I hope the topic is not "new" because God is always the same and our spiritual struggle is the same. But it is new because we change. As Orthodox Christians we live in the present, and there is always something new in each moment. The purpose of our earthly journey is t…

Doll Clothes

I saw a doll at Costco today and since they don't always have the same items from week to week, I decided I'd better snap it up. ;-) It's a Madame Alexander. Madame Alexander dolls and I go way back to my very first doll (Baby Huggems) which I clutched to my chest at the age of 1 and did not let go of for several years. She's been living on my dresser now, for a while, and when I got her down to compare faces with the doll I bought today, I realized her body, long ago mended by my Meemaw, was literally falling apart.

So I had to remove the head and quickly create a pattern from the body before it utterly disintegrated. I know, I probably just vastly reduced the value of my baby huggems, but replacing the body with an exact replica will make it more fun. I plan on sewing a baptismal gown for this doll at some point, after seeing a baby huggems in a baptismal gown on a Madame Alexander collector's website.

At any rate, here are some shots of my new doll, and t…

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Sitting on the Front Pew

Whenever my family is at Church, I feel like perhaps we are a bit of a freak show. Lord have mercy, but those are my feelings. We like to sit down front, so that the kids aren't as distracted by the mayhem around them, and can see the icons and hear the prayers better. Yes, the nave is that large.

But I've always been a front row kind of gal. I was the kid in school who sat up front right under the teacher's nose, and at our old parish we had our spot, close to the front on the left hand side, right under the Theotokos' nose.

At. St. Michael's we are on the right hand side. Right smack dab in front of Jesus (well, his icon at any rate).

But for the past several weeks I've not managed to stay there the entire service. Any parent of young children knows what it's like to have to take a child out during the service.

My kids aren't young, but I often still have to take a child out during the service. Week after week after week. And so we are in …

Craft Day

Doll Pascha Goodies

Today I declared it to be "craft day" and we worked on all sorts of things. I still count it as school. As an adult, I earn way more money so far with my crafting skills than I do with my math skills, and it would be a crying shame not to pass on some of my vast knowledge to my kids.

So, I've decided to teach my girls to sew. We are sewing doll clothes, to save on cloth and to be able to do projects from my fabric stash. Why did I not think of this sooner? Maia is making a "hippie chick" outfit for her 18" doll, and Ariana, of course, is making the most complicated 18th century gown she could envision with lace and ruffles and the like, in THE most difficult fabrics (lace and satin) to be found in my stash. Oh well, she'lll learn to pin things diligently, then. Har har. Bethany is making her doll a flannel nightgown, but she didn't craft much today. (She's already very crafty) because her meds are making her sleepy a…