Sunday Dinner

Mum thought I should post Sunday’s lunch, because it was so very good.Feb. 21-March. 1 048

It was Chicken and Spike seasoning; Romaine Salad with Bell Peppers and Tomatoes; Sweet Potatoes Rubbed with Olive Oil and Salt; and Asparagus Sautéed with Bacon and Garlic.

Daddy made the Chicken, Kristina made the Salad; I rubbed the Potatoes and made the Asparagus.

Mother said the Asparagus was the best she’d ever eaten.

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Not to toot my own horn, but, well, “Toot! Toot!”

The Conservatory

Sometimes, when Mum needs a break from six people needing her attention, she asks Daddy to take us out for the afternoon. This time it was to The Conservatory, or the “Mechanical Garden” as Chad calls it.

The plants were, as usual, beautiful.

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Due to the snow, the place was practically deserted.

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I thought the geometry beautiful.

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They had switched up some of the blown glass.

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As for us, Kristina matched the flowers,Feb. 21-March. 1 075

Katya smelled the flowers,Feb. 21-March. 1 052

Chad and I saw cute things in the gift shop,Feb. 21-March. 1 090

the butterflies were almost morphed,Feb. 21-March. 1 094

and Katya had snow on her eyelashes.Feb. 21-March. 1 101

It was a nice time.

Valentine’s Day

We’ve spent our holiday quietly.  Yesterday I passed my drivers test (Yay!) and Katya had a party at school. When we told her she was going to have a party at school, she was distressed, until we explained it would be a small party. Due to the many special needs and food allergies represented at her school, they don’t do food or candy at their parties, so Katya came home with her bag loaded with Valentines, stickers, and other cute things. She wore this skirt, from “Sew Sweet Handmade Clothes for Girls” by Yuki Araki. Here’s the link to the other skirt I made. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit)IMG_2942

Katya’s party hair, hastily taken.



Katya was very personable and “age ten” after school, and was game to take some selfies.



Today was spent more quietly, with a sleep in and then cleaning. I made rice-crispy treats with red sprinkles. It was nice and quiet. So quiet that instead of putting on my noise-reducing headphones and listening to music all evening, I sat on the couch and read a library book– “The War that Saved My Life” by Kimbery Brubaker Bradley. I thought it was topping, with a true-to-life depiction of the terror of learning to trust.

Then I popped popcorn and we watched “The Boxcar Children”. As you can see, we decorated our tree for Valentine’s Day.  Katya made the heart with eyes.IMG_2953

It was a nice day.

The February Woods

It was so warm Sunday afternoon that I took Chad and Kristina for a walk in the wood.

We had lessons in creek jumping. Kristina kept getting stuck.IMG_2911

I was fascinated by the snowy stream.IMG_2916IMG_2927IMG_2921

Chad identified the tracks of a Meadow Vole– only he called it a “Meadow Vobe“, until we figured out what he meant and corrected him. How this boy knows these things is beyond me.

I found some vines–“telephone wires” we always have called them– and some seed pods.


It was a nice walk. It always amazes me how even the relatively bleak winter world is still so beautiful. The wood’s skeleton is so sophisticated.

Early February

We were sorting through Katya’s Corner, and found some nice artwork.  Here you see Two Guitars. Katya’s music teacher has been teaching her a bit of guitar, which I suppose is what inspired her.


Here is a Mosaic Lion, made from snips of construction paper.


Funny story about Katya– last night while she was taking her bath we heard her thumping, so I go in to check. She’s fine, but when I ask her what’s wrong, she blows in my face. I say, “What, Katya? Why are you blowing in my face?” Katya blows some more. I think, “blow –> air –> wind –> fan” and so ask “Fan? Do you want the heater off?” and Katya, bless her little heart, says (with her mouth!) “Duh!” complete with intonation!

The Science Center was holding a sensory viewing of Frozen on Friday night, which means that they left the lights on dim and turned the sound down a bit.  We all went, except Kristina, who opted to go to a sleep-over.  Chad, who adores Olaf, dressed up for the occasion. He even made himself a nose!


We had loads of fun. Katya whipped her little head around when the airplane in the pre-show cartoon popped out of the screen and the surround sound took over. She was startled, but understood when I explained about there being lots of speakers.  Even Todd liked it. We went to Menchies afterwards as my birthday treat, which was great because it also happened to be National Froyo day (I hadn’t even known there was such a thing!) and they were giving away 6oz of yogurt free per customer!  Chad and I also got to walk around the shopping mall while Katya got some one-on-one with Mum and Dad at Trader Joe’s. The folks at Trader Joe’s are nice, and let Katya ring stuff up and bag it.  We all really needed the fun.

Kristina had a birthday, and turned fifteen. Her birthday dawned cold and clear, with wood smoke over the valley.  It was lovely.


Pink is so easy to do this time of year. I made her coconut chocolate pudding.


So far February has been good.


Snips of Life

Chad pretending to be a penguin:


Chad holding his nose because someone burnt eggs:


Katya in one of her usual hangouts:


Chad with his reward for finishing a work-book:


Italian style “Meatloaf Cupcakes”:



Winter light over the valley:


Ukrainian Carols

The Ukrainian Christmas season is a little later than ours, which is why on the 11th we were able to go to a Carol Service at a Ukrainian-Catholic church.

It was a beautiful building. Having been raised both Mennonite and Wesleyan Methodist, the church buildings of my youth never got any glitzier than maybe some gold curtain rings. Actually, for awhile the Methodist church did have some gold glitter worked into the ceiling plaster. I used to stare at the sparkles and imagine that the reflected points of light were little pinholes that angels were looking through– hence the light. Of course, gold sparkle had nothing on this.IMG_2789We made sure to sit in the back, so that we could slip out in event of a meltdown.  It was cozy under the choir loft. We figured Katya would feel more secure under a ceiling.

We got there maybe 15 or 20 minutes early, but were not bored. Singers and some audience members wore traditional Ukrainian or traditional-inspired clothes, I saw some truly envy-worthy fur coats, and over it all was a soothing wash of Russian and Ukrainian.  Katya happened to see some very cute children in very cute Ukrainian costume and suddenly looked a little insecure, and touched her skirt self consciously. I reminded her that she too was dressed very pretty, and was wearing great boots and a large hairbow, and Katya cheered up. She can wear her Ukrainian clothes next year.

Isn’t she cute? (Disclaimer: Mum *has* to sit like that because of her trifocals.)

IMG_2804The music was lovely. It was so good to hear Ukrainian and Russian again.  Katya really enjoyed the music, and sometimes acted as if a song was familiar.

IMG_2792We really had a lovely time.