O, Come, Little Children


Oh, Come, Little Children

Oh, come, little children, oh, come, one and all,
To Bethlehem’s stable, in Bethlehem’s stall.
And see with rejoicing this glorious sight,
Our Father in heaven has sent us this night.

Oh, see in the manger, in hallowèd light
A star throws its beam on this holiest sight.
In clean swaddling clothes lies the heavenly Child,
More lovely than angels, this Baby so mild.

Oh, there lies the Christ Child, on hay and on straw;
The shepherds are kneeling before Him with awe.
And Mary and Joseph smile on Him with love,
While angels are singing sweet songs from above.

Words: Christoph von Schmid, 1794

A friend of ours faxed me the music and words for O Come Little Children in the Russian language. I learned this song by heart in Russian and it’s been fun to sing it this week. We have started the Advent Season and I’ll be posting Christmas Music for the rest of the month. Some of the words in Russian translate different than the English version.

Cherry Varenya ~ Russian Tea Sweetener

This was one of my most visited posts in 2016. I first posted this in 2008. I’m adding a photo to the top of the post. If you look carefully you’ll see a glass bowl of Varenya on the table next to the tea cups in front of my paternal grandfather (dzedushka) and grandmother (babushka).

img578The Russian immigrants I grew up around would make and enjoy this Cherry Syrup made with whole pie cherries in their hot tea. They used this syrup in place of sugar to sweeten their tea. I called my mother this week (April 2008) to get the following recipe from her to share for The-Sweet-and-Savory-of-Yummy.

This is a very simple recipe for Cherry Varenya. This is a syrup made with Cherries to sweeten hot tea with.

Cherry Varenya

1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Whole Sour Cherries (Pie Cherries)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

You would increase the proportions of this recipe according to how many cherries you have on hand that you want to make into Varenya.

Boil the water and sugar to make a clear simple syrup. When the liquid is clear add your cherries and let it boil for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how hard the cherries were to begin with) At the end of the boiling add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to help preserve the brightness of the syrup.

You may want to can it at this point. (I don’t know how to can anything so you are on your own here!)🙂

You can do this process with sliced lemons, too, to make a Lemon Varenya.

Lemon Varenya

When I was young our family would go to a Cherry Orchard somewhere near Lancaster, California in July when the pie cherries were ready to harvest. It might have been in the Leona Valley. We would pick cherries all day and take home upwards of 40 pounds of cherries. That’s a lot of Varenya. When we picked this much my parents would give about half of the cherries away to other relatives and friends who couldn’t make the trek out to the Cherry Farm. Then it was a full day of preparing the cherries for Varenya. Washing, cooking and canning.

The photos are quite dark in this post and I’ve learned a few things since 2008 about taking photos of food and brightening them up before posting them. The photo of my grandparents is an old film photo scanned.

Hope the end of the year 2016 is going well for you. Maybe a cup of tea will help to brighten your day. Blessings…

Gathering the Moments ~ September

It’s time to take a look back at September…

September was a wonderful month of gatherings, homecomings, reunions, birthdays, and completed projects.

P1050610Early in September we met up with a dear long time family friend Timi and her daughter for coffee while she was visiting in Seattle.

10291122_10152701970813919_9195842261775056651_nWe so enjoyed hearing the news that our new little nephew from the Ukraine was home in the U.S.A. with his forever family.

P1050614We celebrated Dear’s birthday with our kids on the Western side of the Cascades.

2014-09-14 Open house1I flew to Southern California to spend time with my pop and extended family on the anniversary of my mom’s death.

Persiaearly UI got to see Timi again with her sister Milla when they came to an open house at my sisters home.  The bottom of this collage is of my mom and Timi and Milla’s mom together in Persia.

2014-09-14 Open house3We celebrated this little ones birthday at the open house, too. Fun cupcake times!

2014-09-15 Molokan Cemetery1While in California I picked up my pop and sister to head to the small Russian cemetery where my grandparents and other relatives are buried. I wanted to see my grandparents headstone.

food SeptBefore I flew home two of my sisters and my niece met up for a dinner together with me. Delicious.

2014-09-28 bathroom4The long anticipated main floor bathroom renovation was finally completed. Sigh…

P1050662Other projects are well on their way at this old house. The siding and upper window are new as of September. Rows of cedar will finish off the top.

P1050665I read two Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny, How the Light gets In and The Long Way Home. I splurged and bought this one instead of waiting for it to be available from the library. I now have read all the books in this series. I feel like some of the characters are my friends…

Some other things that happened this September were soccer games, small group start up, and a new eating and exercise program. I’ll share more about the last two when I see some good results!

I’m thanking the Lord for another full and fruitful month. Thank you Cheryl for hosting Gathering the Moments.

Linking with Cheryl at Thinking About Home for Gathering the Moments.

Family and Friends in Huntington Beach…

***Please Scroll Down for Let There Be White!!

Since my brother’s family was here from Dallas for a week we had an “Open House” on Saturday for friends and family to drop in to visit.

My BIL Nick and sister Vera hosted the event. They always treat us to an amazing amount of food. We all contributed salads and dessert while Nick and Vera served turkey, chuck roast, lamb, regular potatoes, Smoked Gouda Potatoes, Gouda and Cheddar potatoes, plain rice, rice with nuts and raisins. I brought a Tiramisu cake for Nick since his birthday was coming up on the 25th!


ellen b. and my daughter Katie b. She was here for a week with her boyfriend Ben.


Katie with her cousin Hope and her cousin once removed Jackson! Jackson and Katie enjoyed playing Jedi Knights together…


Katie and her cousin Hope. Katie was the youngest granddaughter until Hope was born.

Katie and her boyfriend Ben. They enjoyed all the dizzy parks during their time in Southern California.


My BIL Steve (Lana G!’s husband) and my better half…Dear.

Lana G!

Lana G’s twin, Hope’s daddy, both dressed in seersucker!

Our sweet Miss Hope!

The Bagdanov sisters…Lana G!, ellen b, Vera, and Kathy.


Niece Michelle and our daughter Katie.

My nieces Michelle and Melissa, sisters…

The girl cousins! Debbee, Katie, Michelle, Hope, and Melissa.


Our dear friends. I love the matching expressions on Svetlana and my brother Steve’s face. Our celebration had a time of great singing at the table of good old hymns in Russian and English and some modern worship songs. Good ole 4 part harmonies. Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Peace Like a River, It is Well with my Soul, How Great Thou Art, O the Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus, The Good Shepherd is Seeking (A favorite Russian song of ours).

After all this excitement on Saturday we were up bright and early on Sunday for an airport run (4:30 am) to deliver Katie and Ben for their 6:30 am flight and then a drive across L.A. for my niece Michelle’s baby shower. Thankfully Dear did the airport run while I packed the car for the shower. Dear stayed home during the shower and when I got home at 8:00 PM he had the condo all cleaned up including washing all the bedding from our overnight guests. What a guy!!

I’ll be posting photos from the Pink and Brown Tea Party we had for Michelle and Ryan’s baby girl who is due to arrive somewhere around September 21st.

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I stored on their site from 2007-2015 hostage replacing them with ugly grey and black boxes and asking for a large ransom to retrieve them. It is a slow process to go through all my posts deleting the ugly boxes.

Three or More ~ Russian Lacquer Boxes

Today for Three or More Tuesday I’m showing my Russian Lacquer Boxes. My heritage is Russian and I’ve always loved these boxes.


Dear bought me this first lacquer box for an anniversary of ours in the 70’s.


My parents brought us this one from one of their trips to Russia.

This last one was purchased at Goodwill.

Tam at The Gypsy’s Corner is the hostess for Three or More so if you’d like to join in head on over and sign in on Mr. Linky.

Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage unless I pay them a lot of money. I’m slowly cleaning up many posts from this time period and deleting their ugly grey and black boxes with a ransom request. Such a time consuming bother.

Aren’t They Cute?


Our drive to and home from the funeral on Saturday was quite treacherous at times with rain squalls that turned the freeways into rivers. We saw a few cars that had hydroplaned and ended up in the medians or in accidents with other vehicles.


But we made it there and home again just fine and it was worth it to see these cuties, my mom and dad.


Here are the song sheets from the funeral with the same songs in Russian and English side by side.


A closer look at the same song here in English and below in Russian…


I was pleased that I understood most of the Russian message at the funeral service. The English message delivered by my brother Steve was challenging…

Welcome to my bi-lingual world…

Some of you asked if Dear is Russian and the answer is no. He took Russian in college and he can read Russian. He sang with our Russian choir when we were dating. Dear is half Swedish and half English, Welsh and Cherokee. :0)

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage unless I pay them a lot of money. I’m slowly cleaning up many posts from this time period and deleting their ugly grey and black boxes with a ransom request. Such a time consuming bother.

Thankful for Extended Family

***Please scroll down for Fridays Fave Five…

Thankful in November

I am thankful for family and friends that go back to Russia, escaping to Iran, and finally by God’s grace immigrating to the U.S.A. Our families used to be more connected when they all first arrived as immigrants to the USA after WWII and through the 70’s. After the first generation kids got married we drifted off from each other. We always enjoy getting together for big events and reconnecting.



This photo was taken in Iran in the late 1940’s after my parents and sister Kathy had left for the U.S.A. The two families represented here are the Shvetzov Family (my mother’s family) and the Katkov Family (my Uncle Paul’s wife’s family). My Maternal Grandmother and Grandfather are seated on the right. My Uncle Paul and his wife Nina are standing on the right. My cousin Alex is at my grandmother’s side. The rest of the family are all Katkov’s and their spouses. The little girl standing on the left is the lady in the collage below with the yellow mickey mouse hat on. :0) The gal with the red and white polka dot hat on is the little girl being held in the top row of the photo from Iran. She was 5 when her parents immigrated to the U.S.A. The three young girls in this photo from Iran are the only ones still living, Tamara, Vera, and Zena. My cousin Alex died almost 30 years ago in a car accident.


Dear and I traveled across L.A. to Mission Viejo for a Nifty Fifty birthday party for Tanya, my youngest cousin on my mother’s side of the family. My mother had one brother Paul Shvetzov and he married Nina Katkov. My uncle Paul and Aunt Nina had 4 children. We were able to spend a few hours reconnecting with my cousins Valia and Tanya and some of their Katkov cousins and aunts that we all grew up with. It was great to get together for a fun celebration because we’ve had our fair share of funerals in the last few years. One of our Shvetzov extended Kasimoff cousins was there too (Hi Helen). It’s confusing people and that’s why we called everyone our cousin and our aunt or uncle growing up!


Aunt Nura is the oldest surviving Katkov. All her siblings except for her two youngest sisters, Zena and Vera have all gone to be with the Lord. She’s not in the photo from Iran either because she married a U.S. soldier and came to the U.S. before this photo was taken, too. Top row is Tamara, the daughter of Nura’s brother Vasilli, (Tamara is the little girl in the photo from Iran being held by her mother Zena in the top row) Valia (my cousin) the daughter of Nura’s sister Nina, Michelle (Valia’s daughter) and Shirley (Nura’s youngest daughter). Shirley and I have some fun history together from our teen years.


This is my side of the family that attended the celebration photographed with the birthday girl Tanya in the middle in red.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and demanding a ransom for me to access them. I’m slowly cleaning up many of my posts where PB have added ugly black and grey boxes where my photos used to be. So frustrating!