Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I really loved this post on new year resolutions, and figured I'd share it. Enjoy!

Dacha Designs

As we begin a new year, I am sure that you, like me, are thinking about what you'd like to accomplish this year. I am thinking of my new home and how to keep it cozy this year. One of the ways in which I would like to keep my kitchen looking its best is to put out a clean dish cloth and dish towel each night before I go to sleep. There is nothing like coming downstairs each morning to a sparkling clean kitchen, clean dishes in the dishwasher, and a neatly hanging dish towel! What's coolest, to me, about dish towels is that they can bring out the personality of a housewife...from color variations, to seasonal towels, to favorite items...the list can go on!

And this is where I get really excited! A friend of mine has recently opened up a new Etsy shop (gotta love Etsy!), and can you guess what she is selling? Dish towels! These are one-of-a-kind at its finest, especially for a Russian Orthodox housewife! These particular towels are printed with a unique Russian old font and in some cases, a really cute picture (depending on which style you choose). I have several of these towels and so far, I have zero complaints! They wash really well, too!

Dacha Designs has also put out some reusable market totes this week! (Click on the phrase "Dacha Designs" to go to the site).

Do check out this shop if you have a second, and I promise, you won't regret a purchase from Dacha Designs!


Here we are, at the end of another year! On this new year's eve, we are feeling quite "new" already as we are in our new house and starting the new year at our very first parish! We moved in at the beginning of this week, and already, our new house feels like a very cozy home! Thanks to a few nights of early bedtimes, and help from some friends, we have managed to set up the kitchen completely, as well as the living room. We even put up our Christmas tree and other Christmas decor last night! Nothing says cozy like Christmas decor!

Looking back on this year, it seems like such a blur, but some memorable times included:
-having our third child (our second girl!) two days after Christmas;
-my husband being ordained a priest,
-a lovely trip to San Francisco for hubby, baby and I,
-our son starting preschool for the first time,
-and, moving to our new home at the tail end of the year.

With happiness always comes a fair share of not-so-happiness...and this year, it was the passing of my grandfather, my first sweetheart in life. May his memory be eternal! He is sorely missed each and every day.

Looking ahead (as much as one can) into 2015, it is exciting to know that our family will be spending it in a new place to all of us. I am still working on some resolutions for myself, which will include one resolution as an Orthodox Christian, one as a mother, one as a wife, one as a housewife, and one as a friend. I choose to make one resolution for each category because otherwise I become too overwhelmed with my goals.

Our family will be starting a new annual tradition tomorrow, but I'll keep you guessing until I share that idea on the blog (hopefully tomorow!)

Happy New Year to you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Preparing for Nativity with little ones

Though we are in the middle of a move with 3 littles ones underfoot, and not even half way packed yet, I am still trying to remember to prepare for Nativity as much as possible. The kids and I have been hard at work learning one Christmas carol (in Russian), one Christmas poem (in Russian), and one Russian song about a Christmas tree. If these three are learned well enough and far enough before Christmas, I'd like to introduce them to another carol. In the meantime, I am definitely also going to start teaching them the Nativity troparion in the Russian melody (which they will hear much less of because we are in the Serbian Church!) They will pick up the Serbian melody from church services and from our daily evening prayers (during which we sing Serbian melodies). I'm excited because they are getting really good at the carol and song!

My plan is that we will have a little Christmas performance in our house via Skype with my family on Christmas...and then again when my parents come to visit the day after Christmas!

My sister is arriving for a 10-day visit later on this week, and we'll be starting some Christmas crafts and cookie baking with her, once I have an extra pair of hands :) I have been so exhausted lately, and not ambitious enough to embark on any cooking or baking with my little ones! Looking back, last year I was in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy and somehow managed to bake with them....this year, things sure are different!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wisdom from St. Theophan the Recluse...

"The straying of thoughts, inconstancy of passionate desires and uneasiness of the heart constantly disturb us, not allowing us to do a single thing as we should, and nearly always leading us astray. This illness, although it is universal and endemic, is not natural: rather, it is contracted by us willfully. The enemy knows how much this aids him, and when attempting to entice someone, he first tries to push him into the whirlpool: that is, first of all he enters into the stream of thoughts; beneath these thoughts he kindles passionate desires, and with these he agitates the heart."
-St. Theophan the Recluse

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lenten Blueberry Corn Muffins

Haven't been writing for a while simply due to the fact that we have had a few crazy weeks. Now, we are busy packing for our move just about full-time...and I'm trying to make sure the kiddos are out of trouble while I am preoccupied frequently.

In the meantime, Christmas Lent has begun, and I wanted to share a delicious recipe for Blueberry Corn Muffins. I got it from a cookbook a while ago, but since then have modified it and made it my own.

Blueberry Corn Muffins (Lenten)
Recipe makes 1 dozen muffins


1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal (white or yellow)
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. corn or vegetable oil
3/4 c. soy milk
2 T. apple sauce
1 t. vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, or just a hint of lemon juice
1 1/4 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 deg. Lightly grease a 12-muffin tin.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, soy milk, apple sauce, vanilla, and lemon zest/juice. With a wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold in the blueberries, being careful not to overmix.
Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

Tip: To keep the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffin, toss them around in a bowl of flour to coat. That will give them some "grip" in the batter. ENJOY!!!

P.S. Frozen blueberries work beautifully for this recipe, too! I use them more often than fresh ones because usually fresh ones are very expensive.