Sister Day

On Monday June 13th (my last full day in Southern California) our sister Kathy drove out to Huntington Beach to spend the afternoon and evening with us. We went for lunch to Summer House in Corona Del Mar. When we finally got our food it was very good. We didn’t realize they were having a ‘soft opening’ after being closed for renovations. A brand new cook and only one cook and other new staff people who were all very pleasant but it took over an hour for our food to reach our table. Good thing we weren’t on a lunch break. We were on a leisurely outing. From there we hopped over to Roger’s Gardens in Corona Del Mar.

The succulent wall gardens were amazing.

We looked at all the beautiful hanging baskets and pots filled with flowers that were amazing and very expensive. The individual plant starts that you could buy were comparable in price to what I’ve seen at Wal-Mart this year.

These hanging succulent baskets were very cute.

After the gardens, on the way back to Vera’s, we stopped at 85degrees, an Asian bakery with lots of goodies. Vera was making dinner for us and I wanted to contribute the dessert. So many beautiful desserts to choose from.

Back at Vera’s bungalow she started on dinner and Kathy and I relaxed enjoying the aroma of onions and garlic and someone cooking a meal for us. Our youngest sister, Lana, arrived home from work and all the sisters enjoyed the evening meal together. Vera’s daughter-in-love joined us, too. It was good to be together.

Vera made a ‘shepherd’s pie type dish’ using ground beef, zucchini and crushed tomatoes and for the topping instead of mashed potatoes she substituted mashed cauliflower. It was very good and I suppose lower in carbs. We made up for those carbs in our dessert.

Here are the desserts we enjoyed, a chocolate cookie cream loaf and a strawberry cream tiramisu. Light and tasty.

It’s not very often that all four of ‘the sisters’ are all together in one place so we had to take the obligatory sister shots. Kristin was our photographer.

Lana, the youngest, me, Vera, and our oldest sister Kathy. A seventeen year span between the oldest and youngest. An 12 year span between me and our sister Lana.

Lana lives in Texas as of a month ago, I live in the state of Washington, Vera and Kathy live in Southern California about 20 miles from each other. Kathy lives about twelve miles from where we all grew up.

This was one week ago already. The laundry from my trip is done. I’ve mowed the lawn. I pulled a few weeds. We had our Colville kids over for a meal. Life is back to ‘normal’ here in the country.

Cali Day One

On Thursday we got up at O’dark’thirty and drove south to the Spokane airport for my trip to Southern California. It was a two leg journey for me. First leg from Spokane to Seattle which is a quick hour up and down trip with not much in the world of perks. The second leg was from Seattle to Orange County (John Wayne Airport also known as Santa Ana Airport). The airport is in the city of Santa Ana which is in the county of Orange.

I’m now in the land of Palm Trees but the sun and blue skies are not breaking through the June Gloom here.

My youngest sister works in a high rise that’s close enough to the airport to see the planes landing and she captured my plane as it came in for a landing. She was looking out for it since she would be picking me up from the airport.

Thankful for another safe landing.

Three of us ‘sisters’ enjoyed dinner out at the Black Trumpet in Huntington Beach before retiring for the evening.

The French Onion Soup was delicious and I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo before I destroyed the top of it!

Today (Friday) my sister Vera and I will have a walk along the Pacific Ocean. June Gloom is still happening here so I’m not sure what photos I’ll be snapping.

Our brother from Texas arrives tonight.

Saturday will be a day filled with many reunions with friends and family as we celebrate the life of our friend Alice.

Our daughter Katie with Alice at Katie’s bridal shower.

Our mom and our life long friend Alice. They are both in heaven now.

Memories Hodgepodge

 

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It’s Wednesday and that means Jo From This Side of the Pond is asking questions for us to answer. Thank you Joyce!

1. What’s something that makes you feel stressed? How do you cope? 

Confrontation makes me stressed. If I can I walk away, I do. One of my coping mechanisms is to avoid it altogether. That’s okay unless I’m the cause for the need of the confrontation. Asking for forgiveness is a good solution. There are other situations where being a peacemaker is the solution.

2. What’s a food you eat that evokes a memory? Explain. 

Borsch (Borscht) evokes lots of memories of growing up. I hated it when I was little. The cabbage was not a pleasant texture to my palate. Having to sit at the table until I finished my bowl is not a good memory. I sat there for what seems hours after everyone else left the table. My solution was rebellious and I suffered for it by the reprimanding from my mom. While I was alone in the kitchen I decided the solution to my problem was to pour my bowl back in the pot. This would have worked except for the fact that I had soaked lots of bread in the bowl of soup. It was clear to my mom that I dumped my bowl of soup back in the pot. Oye, was I in trouble!

I love borsch now! Here’s our mom’s recipe.

3. This week’s Hodgepodge lands on National Visit Your Relatives Day. Will you celebrate by visiting a relative? If so is travel involved? Geographically, who is your nearest relative (not counting those living in your own house)?

No, I will not be visiting a relative. Our nearest relatives live 8 miles away from us. They are enjoying sunshine elsewhere right now. I will travel to their property to water the garden and maybe check the chicken coop for eggs. Our other relatives (children, siblings, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins) live in Western Washington, California, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, New York, Illinois, Florida and Israel. Dear and my parents, grandparents, uncles and all but one aunt are deceased.

I will see some of our California relatives and friends when I travel to Southern California for a Memorial Service in June.

4. What’s your most frequently used emoji?

Probably a heart or smiley face.

Do you make more phone calls, send more emails, or mainly text to communicate with friends and family? 

It used to be phone calls and emails but now it’s mainly text. Phone calls are few and far between because our country connections are dismal.

5. Tell us the story behind a favorite piece of furniture. 

We have an eclectic collection of furniture with lots of stories behind them but one of our newer purchases of an old piece is my current favorite. I wrote about it here.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

It’s Ice Cream weather for these two! Love seeing their faces via texts!

A Bright Hodgepodge

It’s time again for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Jo From This Side of the Pond for asking the questions.

1. What do you never get tired of? 

A beautiful sunny and puffy cloud filled day.

2. My mother made the best ________________________________. 

So many things that she made were the best but I’ll choose her blintzes.

You can see our mom’s recipe and process that we learned and copied here.

3. What machine or appliance in your home aggravates you the most? Why? 

If my machines and appliances are working I’m happy for that!  That said, the oven we have in this home has a loud fan that is annoying. That is something new that we haven’t experienced with other ovens we’ve had in other homes.

4. What are three things that brighten up your day when they happen? 

An unexpected card or letter in the mail always brightens my day. A surprise visit from our kids. A photo messaged to us of our grandchildren.

5. Thursday (May 12) is National Limerick Day…write a limerick about relating to spring weather, spring blooms, or a spring event (five lines, the first two lines rhyme with the fifth line, the third and fourth lines rhyme together)

May brings with it much to discover
With growth and color to uncover
But do not neglect
and do not forget
To love and honor your Mother

and here’s another one that’s a life lesson and not just Spring related…

There is an old Book that is treasured
With worth and wisdom unmeasured
Stick to it’s truth
And value it’s worth
Or your life will be tragically severed

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

It was so good to catch up with family and friends on the Westside of the mountains over Mother’s Day weekend.

A Valuable Hodgepodge

It’s the last Wednesday in April and here’s a peek into how our backyard is shaping up. We see lots of green growth. I mowed the lawns on Monday and soon perennials will fill in much of the bare spots. We bought some solar lights that Dear installed around the shade structure. What’s fun about them is that we have a remote to turn them on and off.

Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond for asking all the volumes of questions for the Hodgepodge!

1. What does the word values mean to you personally?

Something worthy and true that will guide me on the right path.

Where did your values come from?

My values initially were instilled in me by my parents, shaped by God and then deepened by the Word of God.

What are some of the values that have guided you throughout your life? 

This verse I read at the end of Ecclesiastes sums it up:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. 

2. Your favorite vanilla flavored something? 

Haagen Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond Ice Cream.

3. What’s something you’ve seen/done recently that you found to be very difficult, very confusing, very helpful, very interesting, or very special. Elaborate. 

I’ll pick very special.

On Easter day after church and lunch we traveled to the Kettle River for a very special baptism. You can read about it here.

4. Something you own and love that is violet in color? 

Love is a strong word for what I own that is violet. This is the one display in our home that has some ‘violet’ items on it and it’s above our master bathroom toilet. The photo of me and Dear from 1973 is something I love.

5. Do you have vacation plans on the calendar this summer? Tell us more. 

Nothing set in stone of any kind but we are toying with the idea of making it to England come September.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

Speaking of the word value, I value good relationships that are tried and true. The kind that even when you haven’t seen each other for a long time you can step into easily and be in sync.

I value my role as a parent.

They are adults now and our relationship has changed as it should and it’s good to see them in loving relationships.

I value my role as a grandparent ‘baba’.

So thankful we only live 8 miles away from these two and that we have regular interaction with them.

I value my relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, three in one. The sacrifice Jesus made for mankind on the cross opened up the door of peace with God and through repentance and calling on the name of Jesus I was born again to a new life in Him. This is the most foundational and important relationship in my life. It’s value cannot be exceeded.

Well here we are in the last few days of April. Our April was filled to the brim with good things and some sad things, too. Looking forward to May flowers.

Nadia’s Kulich and Seernaya Paska

What many of you call Paska we call Kulich. This is my mom’s Russian Easter Bread Recipe that I quartered because the amount she would make is quite daunting for me. We have cut it in half in years past. Now what you need to know about my mom and recipes is that she ends up tweaking them from year to year so this recipe is for her Kulich from 2001. I have a 2009 and 2012 recipe, too. This one was easier to quarter. Here’s the link to the original. My dear mom passed away from this earth in September of 2013 so I cherish her tweaked recipes.

Ingredients:

2 packets rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon sugar

4 egg yolks
1 egg
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 ounce apricot brandy
1-1/2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of half a lemon
About 2-1/2 pounds of flour, sifted (about 7 cups)
Vegetable oil to coat the rising dough

6 to 7 one pound or two pound cans for baking. You can use loaf pans or large muffin tins if you don’t have the cans to bake them in.

Add yeast to the lukewarm water and milk and sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Make sure the liquids are lukewarm. Let this mixture dissolve and sit.

Beat the egg yolks and egg together.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand-up mixer.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture slowly mixing to combine and then beat to incorporate well.
Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm, not hot, and slowly incorporate into the creamed mixture.
Mix in the vanilla and brandy.
Add the yeast mixture and the salt and beat with a mixer.
Continue beating and add the lemon zest.
Continue beating and add the sifted flour about a cup at a time.
Once you cannot beat the dough any longer using the mixer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the remaining flour by kneading the dough.
The dough should be kneaded very well, approximately 10 minutes.
You should knead the dough until you can cut it with a knife and it is smooth without any holes.
Place the dough in a stainless steel bowl. Take some oil and pour a little on the dough and spread it all over the dough. Make sure to turn the dough so it is coated evenly.
Cover with plastic wrap right on the dough and a dish towel on top of that.
Place in a warm place away from drafts to rise. (My sister usually puts it into the oven that has been warmed slightly.

It is now time to prepare the coffee cans (1 lb. and 2 lb. cans are the best) Cut circles the size of the bottom of the cans out of wax paper. You will need four circles per can. Make sure the cans are well greased. Put the 4 circles in the bottom of the cans.

Use a empty and clean coffee can like the ones above. If there is a label make sure to take it off. If the can has a lip at the top you’ll need to use a can opener to cut the lip off the can. I hope these pictures will make the process easier to understand.

Cut sheets of wax paper long enough to line the sides of the can and tall enough to be 2″ above the rim of the can. Use Crisco to seal the ends of the paper.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it over.
Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. Punch it down again.
Now the dough is ready to put into the prepared cans.
You will take a portion of dough about 1/3 the size of the can. Knead it and form it into a smooth ball that you can easily drop into the can.

Let the dough rise again inside the can until it is at least double in size.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top.(approximately 30 minutes or more depending on your oven.)

Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely standing up. Some people cool them on their sides turning them often to keep their shape. We found this time that they cool just fine and keep their shape standing up so we didn’t bother with that step!

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To go with this bread my mom always makes a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes. For my mom’s Sernaya Paska (cheese spread) recipe click here.

We like to serve the kulich with the spread and strawberries.

This blast from the past was probably our first Easter in Washington State, 1989.

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I’m not sure if I’ll be trying this Kulich/Paska recipe quartered at the end of this week. I’ll let you know if I do and how many coffee can shaped loaves it makes. We got seven loaves out of this recipe although we shorted some of the cans.

Are you preparing for Easter?

Vinegrette ~ Russian Potato Salad

Although the Russian name for this salad is Vinegrette it shouldn’t be confused with the salad dressings called Vinaigrette. This was a traditional salad that we enjoyed growing up. It could be our version of potato salad. I’m sharing an easier version using canned beets but you can also cook and julienne your own beets. The photo is my sister Lana’s.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15oz.) julienne beets (partly drained)
  • 2 cans (15oz.) kidney beans (drained well)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sauerkraut (drained and squeezed)
  • 3 boiled potatoes
  • 3 large kosher dill pickles, diced
  • 1/4 onion, grated
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pickle juice from the jarred dill pickles

Method:

  1. Dice potatoes while warm then salt and coat with oil and chill.
  2. Once the potatoes are chilled add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine, add enough pickle juice to taste.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Serves 8-16

Our family prefers using the Clausen Dill Pickles found in the refrigerator section. You will find some versions of this Russian salad using carrots and not kidney beans. This is the version our family has always enjoyed.

I’m making this salad for an event here on Sunday for our vegetarian friends who will be attending.

The Decades of My Life

The first decade of my life was from 1951 until 1961. Born in East Los Angeles, moved to Montebello Gardens and then at the end of this first decade we moved up to Montebello. Warning up front that these decade posts will be a photo and information overload for many of you.

Somewhere in East Los Angeles possibly on Humphreys if my memory serves me right about the street name from our Pop. My sister Vera is telling me to shush. My brother Fred is not happy about me crying.

Yikes, I’m crying again. My little babushka is standing behind my mom. My parents good friend Zena Katkov next to her and my Uncle Paul holding my cousin Valia and then my Aunt Nina with my cousin Walter beside her. The lady sitting next to mom is a friend from San Francisco (Mrs. Hamzieff) with her son. Not sure who the lady is between her and my Aunt Nina.

These next photos are from our home in Montebello Gardens/Pico Rivera, California.

My sister Vera’s birthday party with many of our cousins on our Father’s side.

Camping in Big Bear, California with our maternal cousins.

The paternal side of our family.

Our cousin Johnny’s birthday on our Pop’s side of the family.

Maternal side of the family on Easter. Our Babushka with her grandchildren.

That’s a pigeon on my head.

Paternal cousins on another Easter.

Berry picking somewhere in southern California.

Paternal grandparents.

Our brother Tim was born and he usurped me of my title of being the youngest in our family.

My seventh birthday.

Cracking up at the way I lay my hands for photos.

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I’m on the rug in front of my sister Vera, sister Kathy holding our new baby brother Tim and our brother Fred with the accordion. Love my goofy expression!

Easter 1958. We always got new clothes and shoes for Easter and Christmas.

Christmas 1958

Another photo from Christmas,1958. I’m on the left at seven years old. Our little brother Tim was 11 months old. There’s a reason I’m the only one who isn’t dressed in their Christmas clothes in this photo. I had some medical problems that I can only remember as some kind of kidney infection that I was hospitalized for. I ended up having to have a teacher come to our home for a couple months in the new year, (1959). By Valentine’s Day I still wasn’t back to school because I remember that my home school teacher brought me Valentine’s Day cards from my classmates.

Easter 1959

My birthday in 1961 and our last year in Montebello Gardens. Our next little brother, Steve is on the left barely in the photo. Cousin Vera and Johnnie on my Pop’s side of the family. Our cousin Valia, Tania and Walter on our Mom’s side of the family and my two little brothers, Tim and Steve and older brother Fred who is not quite visible.

My 5th grade photo. I sent this photo to Paul Kushnerov when he was in the service. His girlfriend at the time asked me to write him while he was serving our country in the 50’s. This little act inspired me to be more of an encourager with letters and cards. It was always a joy to receive something in the mail. Paul and Vera were married and would be our youth leaders for a time at Bethany Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Paul’s son shared this photo he found in amongst his parents keepsakes after Paul passed away a few years ago.

At the end of my first decade I was still in elementary school. We were living in Montebello and we walked to school crossing busy Whittier Blvd. There were six siblings and our parents living in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home. In my next decade our family increased.

Because I skipped a grade (2nd or 3rd). I’ve always thought it was 2nd grade that I skipped but now with a little detective work I think it was third grade since I do not have a school photo for the third grade nor do I remember a teacher from the third grade. Now I’m also wondering a lot about 3rd grade. What is 3rd grade known for? 4th grade you have multiplication. From 4th grade on I was a year younger than most of my classmates.

In this first decade of my life my parents socialized mostly with our relatives or Russians who we went to church with. Both of the churches we were a part of had services in the Russian language. Our pop made friends that were non-Russian at work but not lifetime friends. Work is where he picked up most of his English. My mom became friends with an Italian lady who lived across the street named Lucille. Lucille gave me simple jobs around her home and paid me. She made the best Italian cookies. She would let me have some out of the oven, delicious! She baked them for weddings and I remember them iced green and pink and stacked on every surface of the house! When I cleaned the detached room that 2 of her sons lived in she said if I found any money under their beds I could keep it. I did find some! Maybe that was a way of getting me to clean thoroughly. My mom learned a lot of her English from Soap Operas. As the World Turns. Lucille helped her, too.

There was another friend across the street who had an Avocado tree in her backyard. We learned to really enjoy Avocado on toast in the 50’s long before the current trend.

We had a lot of Hispanic neighbors. Rosie was my next door neighbor who’s dog bit me on the mouth. Not a fan of Boxers to this day! Her mom seemed to have a pot of beans simmering on the stove most days I visited inside the home. It was an aroma I had never experienced. Rosie and her cousin betrayed our friendship one day by jumping me and beating me up and ripping my favorite blouse when we were walking to the store. Our friendship ended. Needless to say I didn’t smell beans simmering after that day until high school days with my very good and faithful Hispanic friends!

Speaking of being beat up there was a day that I angered someone at school who let everyone know they were going to beat me up when we got off the bus after school. There was more than one school bus stop in our neighborhood of ‘The Jardines’ and at the last minute I jumped off the bus at the stop before our stop and ran home avoiding the fight.

We would watch TV as a family. Shows like Art Linkletter, Micky Mouse Club, I remember Chucko the Birthday Clown (popular in L.A.) because I went on the show for Victor Katkov’s birthday party. I would like to have footage from that show. I ended up winning a prize on the show, too. Can’t remember what it was. Other L.A. based shows like Engineer Bill were popular, too. “On the green light you go, on the red light you stop because no engineer would ever run a red light” They used that to get kids to drink a glass of milk. Sheriff John was another popular show and here’s his birthday song!

We were able to go to Disneyland shortly after it opened. We also would get in our jammies and load up in the car to go to the Drive-in to see all the latest Disney releases. Bambie was sooo sad. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for the sad parts.  Falling asleep in the car on the way home was a regular occurrence. Knott’s Berry Farm was another experience we enjoyed. If my memory serves me right the first time I ever ate in a restaurant was at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Chicken Dinner restaurant.

Many families that we knew had a story about one of their kids falling out of a car from leaning on the door or from the door opening going round a corner. No seat belts and no car seats in those days.

This post is an ‘all about me’ historical post and if you made it all the way to the end congratulations. Maybe my grandkids will enjoy reading about their Baba in the future when I’m not around to answer all the questions.

Happy Birthday to me and I thank the God who loves me and called me, Jesus who saved me from my sins and the Holy Spirit who indwells me, Three in One, that I have made it to my 7th decade 8th decade and to my 71st year. Thank you to Anneliese for noticing I’ve entered my 8th decade!!

A Fun Memory Popped Up…

This memory popped up on my Facebook page and I wanted to document it here on what could have been our parents’ 78th wedding anniversary.

In September of 2012 when talking with my parents they talked about the fact that they were married in April of 1979 just after Josh was born because they didn’t have an official wedding license from their marriage in Iran in 1943. They confused the judge but he re-married them with my Aunt Anna and Uncle Jim as witnesses and then they had to go get blood tests…LOL! I had forgotten or wasn’t aware of this or maybe because I was a very busy first time mom totally spaced it out. They celebrated 69 years of marriage in 2012! Our mom died on their 70th wedding anniversary on September 13, 2013. She was determined to make it to their 70th wedding anniversary and then peacefully entered her heavenly home. Our Pop followed her 5 years later in June of 2018.

Hope y’all have a very good week.

Knott’s Berry Farm in the 50’s.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~ Aunt Anna (Тетя Нура)

Our Pop’s sister Anna was called up to heaven last Wednesday May 20th at the age of 96. She was ready to go home. She was Moisi’s last surviving sibling. She outlived all her siblings and all her own children, too.

An earlier photo of Aunt Anna with her husband Pete. My Aunt Anna was always kind to me. I had my reservations even as a youngster with Uncle Pete. My reservations were substantiated through the years.

Uncle John, Aunt Anna, Our Pop, and Uncle Alex at our parents 60th wedding anniversary party.

Another photo from the 60th Anniversary party in Downey, California.

These photos aren’t in order. This Bogdanoff family photo is from the 1950’s. Aunt Anna has the white flower on her dress. I’m in the 2nd sitting row third from the right.

This is another photo from the 50’s. Aunt Anna is the right bookend of the upper row and our dear mom is the left bookend.

A great photo of Russian immigrants in the 50’s. Aunt Anna is at the top with a flower on her dress, again. She has glasses on. Our pop and mom are on the bottom row with Pop (Moisi) reclining and Nadia. I’m going to make the bold observation that Aunt Anna survived all the people in this photo.

Aunt Anna is sitting on the grass with all her brothers, sisters in law and mother in this photo. She survived all of them. I had my favorites of our Pop’s siblings. Aunt Anna and Uncle Alex earned my favor because of my experiences with them growing up.

Aunt Anna with her brothers.

Since today May 25th would have been our Pop’s 98th birthday I’m including this photo of him hitting the pinata at his great granddaughter’s birthday party a few years back.

Sister and brother. They were close friends.

Aunt Anna at Pop’s funeral.

She managed walking up the hill to sit for the graveside service. Her granddaughter and grandson in law cared for her in their home for several years before she died.

The last time I saw our Aunt Anna in person.

This will be the cemetery where she will be buried.

This is the plot where she should be buried. Her husbands information is on the headstone. He died February 2nd, 1978.

Looking forward to seeing you again in heaven.