building muscle, and some pretty things

One thing I’m starting to enjoy on a deep level is flour grinding. There’s something so ancient and elemental about it.

I grind in our BlendTec blender and sift and regrind what doesn’t sift

I’m starting the Curves diet again. I’ve lost muscle and gained fat the last two years because I haven’t followed their maintenance plan. Life has been stressful, so I’ve been debating which is more stressful– life responsibilities/events and using eating as a support, or the stress of gaining weight. It stresses me to gain weight.

So I’m starting their eating plan. I had lovely success last time. However, this first week was a total bust– I allowed myself some high-fat but healthy foods–homemade butter in my coffee, coconut sugar in my coffee, coffeecoffeecoffee, full-fat homemade yogurt … you get the point.

So the first week I actually lost weight, but it was all muscle and I gained fat. I’m so glad for this weighing thing that actually measures what is coming and going! Sheesh. Pulling back into strict mode with the diet.

But I just wanted to say that I’m so happy to be doing this again. And I joined their food school– a nine-week group for education, support, camaraderie. It is a lot of fun!

I love cooking in certain ways. I don’t always love it. But it’s a lovely craft that I enjoy and find beautiful, when I have time to approach it that way.

Polish pottery tea cup

eda, zavtrak, i romantika

еда, завтрак, и романтика

Последнее время, я ищу разные способы, как “добавить” романтику в моей жизни. Для меня, утром очень романтичное время. Особенно с домашной школы– мы не куда не спишим. Можем наслаждаться в этом медленное время.

Я часто хочу фотографировать свой завтрак! Для меня, завтрак очень романтично. Я люблю это время на кухня, когда маленьких ждет свой завтрак, хотят помочь мне налить, мешать, и т.д. Мы часто делаем 2 завтрака, как хоббити (помните, когда Пиппин хотел свой второй завтрак?).

Первый завтрак– что-то украинский и молочный–манка, гречка, овсяанка. Второй, что-то Американский– обычно ваффли или пэнкейки.

Скайла очень любит готовитьь ваффли. Мне очень нравится, что она все сама делает. 

Бабушка передала нам малиновое варение, поэтому, объязательно сделала ваффли!

Малина из своего сада!!! Какие они красивые! Бог так прикрасно сотворяет фрукти и ягоды!

Я на Второй Фазе диета Кервс, и мой выбор сегодня: 2 яйца с помидорами (кстати, я их сбиваю, потом налю их на сковородке для блинчиков– очень вкусно! И овсянка с малиной.

Вот, немножко романтика

designing our apartment

God’s blessed us with an apartment! It’s a two-story penthouse 😉 We’re the top floors of the building–floors 23-24. We joke that it’s a true sokol’s nest– “sokol,” our last name, means “falcon.”

It’s a new building, which is wonderful, that it’s not the standard, soviet fare apartment but one with a newer design and fresh floor plan. It has TWO larger-sized bathrooms that are one room– the bath and toilet in the same room instead of separate, as usual.

It’s 1,378 square feet (128 sq feet).

With it being a newly built building, we design and install every. single. thing. (Well, the windows and radiators are already there. and electricity for lighting and outlets. But otherwise, it’s brick walls.

Our first steps are to decide … everything! We have to figure it all out in a very detailed way so that we can know right where we electrical outlets, what ceiling lighting and where, light switches– all that will have to be wired into into the walls first. And we decide what inner walls we want to remove or build new ones.

Vitaliy downloaded this cool program so we can do all that. It works in 2D and then switches to 3D, too.  IItItsIt is such a load of brain work. I’m exhausted! and exhilarated! It’s going to take a lot of stamina to get it all done, but it will be a huge blessing once it’s all ready.

I have a great sense of intimacy with Vitaliy while we plan this. It’s such a joy to do it together, to have ideas, not yell, fight or criticize each other.

The kids enjoy it, too.

I might do something like this in a corner of my kitchen:

And studying the science of well-organizing a small space has really helped me with the apartment we live in now–to clean and organize it better.

Thank you, God.

Зимнее здоровье

Мне так интересно, как Бог сотворил еду за наше здоровье.Все так дивно усторен!

В Украине– очень сезонная еда. Лето– столько фруктов, ягод, овощей! Люди ценят их за их витоминов, укрепления органов, и также их свежий вкус.

Мне труднее была придумать, что кушать зимой, именно чтобы поддержать здоровье во время сезона тяжелых болезнях? Это зима, у меня сложилось некоторые продукты, которые помогают нам со здоровьем– хочу их написать здесь, чтобы я не забыла. Я начала их использовать все время, больной, не больной. (Я тоже исклучила сахара из диета, и это огромная разница в здоровье тоже.)

Имбир с медом— я начала пить как чай. Кипела кусочки имбира на медленном огне, пью с медом.

Сырие чеснок с луком–чистила чеснок и крупно порезала маленький лук. Мы вместе их съели с хлебом, чтобы не очень горела. (Они сильно убивают микробы.) Важно, что лук не лежала открыто долго. Его надо кушать сразу, или хорошо закрыть. (Когда открыто, он ловить бактерии, которые есть в воздухе–кстати, не плохой отчиистель воздуха– резать лук по полам, положит в комнат, потом выбрасывать когда он черный.) Вот, еще информация о полезности лука.

Я думаю, что у вас тоже свои методы, как поддерживать здоровье зимой с едой— пишите внизу! Мы можем поддерживать друг друга!

a minor miracle: I made whole wheat bread!

I’ve tried making whole wheat bread before…. But I don’t remember that it ever worked.

Well, today … IT WORKED!

We ground the wheat grains through the Green Star juicer. I sifted it, and ground again the pieces too large to sift through. This was important.


For the recipe, I used this lady’s video on youtube:

It includes a 1/2 cup of regular, white flour, which I think was also important to the success of this recipe.



It’s so beautiful there, like a part of the decor.





20170117_12333120170117_123312I’ve been thinking about how God made foods so perfectly for the human body–it’s so amazing to contemplate. And I’m trying to put more natural foods into my body as a way of caring for myself as I age.

baking and love

So, tomorrow (today, as I’m writing this after midnight our time on Saturday) is Zhatva at church! It’s the annual harvest celebration. This year I decided to get even more emotionally involved, in a good way.

I’ve been praying for specific ways to show love to our church. Not that they need it— I need it. I need to love our church.

So, it came together right now in baking and cooking for Zhatva. I have so enjoyed this process of making all this stuff! It’s rainy, fall weather, I turn on Christmas music, get the kids playing with flour, and here we go!

I will admit that not everything has turned out. But a lot has! … I love cooking for holidays 🙂

So, here it is in photos:

Setting up Andre to make his own flour-water dough


Here’s Una, saying hi to the world as she plays with her flour


The messy table with a thousand projects going at once


I made four chickens 🙂


I made pumpkin bread from real pumkin puree– real pumpkins are everywhere right now, so here is some, after it’s been boiled (in chunks) dripping out the excess water in the cheese cloth (like we do with tvorog).


Wow, these kids are cute!

Some pumpkin bread

20161008_140152All around, an awesome day!

a dream come true

It’s nice to have some cheap, easy dreams, though it doesn’t mean they’ll be fulfilled quickly. I’ve wanted a SMALL CD player in my kitchen for years.


What took so long? I’m not exactly sure. Trying the small computer for music. trying the phone for music.

Nothing worked really.

Once, months back, we asked in a technology store for a CD player. They said they didn’t sell them anymore.


Jaw. To. Floor.

So, I was just in that same store 3 days back, looking for an immersion blender. And guess what I saw?

Yes, there they were, on a shelf, three dinky CD players all by their lonesomes.

And I knew. It was time.

For the dream to COME! TRUE!


Bach, Hayden, Mozart ….


organization and cleaning

My old love for housecleaning is returning. After being decimated by my major life adjustments of the last 12-13 years.


I’m starting to enjoy it again. One is that the kids are older. Another is just letting myself just enjoy it and go slow. I don’t like schedules and I don’t like working fast in order to just get it done, setting a timer, etc. I like going at my own pace and just enjoying it. So, I cleaned my kitchen yesterday. Here it is:

See that shiny Big Berkey water filter? I used my purple rags (from FlyLady) to shine it. I used them mirrors, windows and cabinets, too.


Shout out to Big Berkey, too. A fabulous, high quality filter. It’s great for a large family (filters fast), portable, requires no power source (just gravity!), and the filters are accessible and cleanable. Loved it for years!


The clean floor is what I love. Kitchen floors deal with a lot of gunk, you know.


Another thing I’ve been enjoying right now is that Vitaliy and I are both talking about cleanliness and organization. I like it when we have a topic we’re in tandem about. Four kids, tons of stuff, ministry stuff, office stuff, humanitarian aid, constant travel, home school …. We both are working on making small steps to keep things cleaner, neater. It’s nice to be “of one mind” about this and we have talks about how to use this to make our lives easier and more helpful.

Hospitality Journal #6

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance and advantage, But everyone who acts in haste comes surely to poverty. AMPC

The Lord has been using the principle of planning very often the last few days. How much better things go, even spontaneous things, when there is basic planning!

And this principle blessed me in the latest hospitality opportunity. … I hosted a group of moms on Tuesday for a breastfeeding seminar, and then Thursday, a young family arrived from another city to stay with us for 3-4 days while the husband graduated from seminary.

I was kind of dragging after Tues, but I made myself plan Wed and work on Thurs (they arrived Thurs night). We cleaned and straightened the girls’ room, where they’d be staying, I had Vitaliy bring a child-sized floor mattress for one of their children to sleep on, washed and changed sheets, bought allergy-friendly foods for one of their children, bought flowers to put in their room, arranged empty closet space and small table spaces, a lamp …

And what really blessed me was when I pulled down the “hospitality bags” I’d prepared for our next guests! I’d totally forgotten what I’d put in there! Clean, new, rolled up towels! extra toothbrushes and razors! shampoo and conditioner! small bags of nuts! water bottles!


20160519_101814 20160519_101822

I was so blessed and energized by my own planning!! Thank you, God! …. And before they left, the lady hugged me and said she’d not expected such hospitality, and thank you!

And as they stayed with us, and I heard of her trials and trials and trials and seeing her faithfulness … I am just moved to tears that God blessed them in my house. They blessed me, too!


Я хочу вспомнить сегодняшний день. Я готовила ужин, и Скайла, Вика и Юна все были со мной на кухню. И я поняла, что … это была так приятно! Мы все занимались с чем-то полезно (Юна играла с водой). И мы балакали, работали, и я наслаждалась в этом моменте.