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.

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.

Christmas Party Centerpieces

Our annual First Baptist Church Ladies Christmas Party was on Friday December 3rd. There were 13 tables in total with chairs enough for 130 gals 4th grade and up. You could sign up to do a centerpiece for one of the tables.

Mine was #7 and my favorite was #6.

There were a little over 120 ladies/girls who attended. Everyone brought a savory or sweet holiday treat to share. The party committee planned a nice program with solos, duets and reflections on Christmas. The sound of 120 female voices singing Christmas Carols together was lovely. It was a fun evening and it was nice to have longer conversations that a Sunday morning doesn’t afford.

It’s hard to see all the details on this centerpiece but they were well thought out and executed. Table #2 won the ‘Most Fun’ award.

We still have snow on the ground. This morning our low was in the teens. We will get above freezing today so some snow will melt and the roads will be a sandy dirty snow mess. I’m off to town while things are still frozen to get our Christmas letter copied. If I drive when things are still frozen my white car avoids looking like a brown car after my 6 mile roundtrip to town. Our family decided on stocking gifts only this year so all my shopping is done. Funny thing, most of the gifts we bought will not fit in a stocking. Maybe we didn’t follow the rules.

How is the wonder of it all shaping up at your place? For myself I need to pause and spend some time reflecting on the miracles of Christmas from the realms of glory!

All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn king.

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

 

May God bless you with a peaceful gathering enjoying good food, friends and family! Count your blessings, name them one by one!!

Psalm 28:7 ~

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.

and in Russian…

Господь–крепость моя и щит мой; на Него уповало сердце мое, и Он помог мне, и возрадовалось сердце мое; и я прославлю Его песнью моею.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone…Gobble Gobble!

Homer Laughlin, The First Thanksgiving.

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.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~ Fedot

This bit of family history was shared by our brother Steve when he visited our Pop (Moisi) in 2014, February 28th.

“Spent some time with my Dad today (while my house was being inundated by a mudslide), and we talked about his oldest brother Fedot who died in WW2 after stepping on a land mine. He is buried in this mass grave in Rostov. Another one of his brothers (Mike) was in Siberia mining coal during WW2. This brother was in Siberia for 18 years (the joke being he had a two year sentence but it took 16 years for the paperwork for his release to go through). This brother, Mikhail, forever held a grudge against Americans whom he claimed stole Russia’s gold. He witnessed them loading it onto ships.”

Putting together the bits and pieces of history we’ve learned here and there.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~ Holy Moses!

The Timofey and Martha Bogdanov family (Our paternal grandparents). From top to bottom left to right…Ivan Voloshin, Oxahnya (Agnes Bogdanov) Voloshin, Uncle Mike, Aunt Anna (Nura), Timofey (our Dzedushka), Martha (our Babushka), Our Pop (Moisi), Uncle Tim better known as Jim, Uncle Bill, Alex Bogdanoff (our cousin). I do not know why Uncle Alex is not in this photo.

Our Aunt Oxahnya’s (Agnes) first husband did not come to Iran with her so she ended up marrying Ivan Voloshin. Our cousin Alex was her child from her first husband who my grandparents ended up raising after Agnes died. Agnes died after giving birth to her third child in Persia. The child also died.

This was taken in the first city in Persia where Pop’s family settled in for about 3 years. Mahshett (Holy Town). Pop said that people who lived here were called Mashti as a preface to their name. Our pop was called Mashti Moosah for quite a while (Holy Moses!) This would be in the mid 1930’s.

I’m posting this for the benefit of our kids and family history.  It’s a small world as we found out after moving to Colville that one of Oxahnya’s grandchildren, our cousin lives just a few miles from us. She was named after Oxahnya. Her American name is Cindy. It has been fun to get together and connect some of the family history dots! We all grew up in Southern California and now both she and I have settled in Colville. It was Providence that we were able to connect.

Common Cents Hodgepodge

Bible 002

Wednesday has popped up again so time for the Hodgepodge. Jo From This Side of the Pond asks the timely questions and we take a stab at answering them. Thank you Jo!

1. This week’s Hodgepodge lands on Ash Wednesday which signals the beginning of Lent. Do you mark this season in some way? If so tell us more.

We are aware of the season of Lent but we typically do not mark this season with ash on our foreheads or choosing something to give up for 40days. In the last few years I have used a few Lenten devotionals during the season but mostly stick to my daily Bible reading and meditation on what I’ve read in the Bible. 

Did you grow up ‘celebrating’ Lent?

My first exposure to Lent was at the schools I attended in Southern California. There was a high population of Catholics and I was intrigued when I first saw some of my classmates come to school on Ash Wednesday with ash marks on their foreheads. Then to hear they couldn’t have gum or candy or cuss for 40 days gave me pause.  The religion I grew up in distanced themselves from liturgical and Catholic traditions. 

Is attending church part of your weekly routine?

 Meeting together with fellow born again believers of Jesus Christ has been both my husbands and my practice since childhood which we have continued into our married life. The fellowship with other believers is an encouragement that we don’t want to miss. Worshipping God together corporately is a very important dimension of the Christian life. 

Are churches open for in-person worship where you live? 

Our church has been meeting since June of 2020. We still offer online services and we have a ‘mask only’ room at the church during services and we have a ‘social distancing’ room available, too. In our main sanctuary you will find those who wear masks and those who don’t. 

We ceased meeting together from March until June of 2020 when the first mandates were instituted. When we returned to meeting again in June you could feel the corporate joy. It was overwhelming and good. 

2. When is the last time you sat beside a ‘real’ fire?
In our son’s backyard sometime in the last year? Most of our fire experience since we moved to the country has been tending our burn piles in Spring and when the local fire danger is low and burning is permitted. 
Do you have a fireplace in your home? Wood or gas logs?
Our country bungalow does not have a fireplace. 
Favorite thing cooked over a fire? 
I’m not a fan of smores so I’m going to say a hot dog.
3. Something that’s currently got you fired up? 
All forms of wickedness. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t want to get anyone else fired up. 
4. February 17th also happens to be National Cabbage Day. Who knew? Do you like cabbage?
Is cabbage on your menu Wednesday? Of the following cabbage dishes which is your favorite-coleslaw (mayo or vinegar?), sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, cabbage soup, kielbasa and cabbage, grilled cabbage, bubble and squeak, kimchi, or haluski? 
Cabbage is not on the menu but if it was it would be Golupstzi (Russian Cabbage Rolls), or Borsch (Russian Cabbage Soup). I love these dishes now but growing up I’d pull the cabbage off the cabbage rolls and I hated the cabbage part of Borsch. 
  • borsch-snoqualmie-001
5. Do you hang on to pennies?
Not recently but back in Dear’s early years he started coin collections and we still have those.
He has pennies from 1918 to 1993 in this collection.
What do you do with them?
Nothing. Funny coincidence is that we just retrieved Dear’s coin folders from the filing cabinet in the garage on Monday before these hodgepodge questions were posted on Tuesday. 
Last thing you purchased for $1.00?
A Valentine’s day card at the Dollar Store.
Last thing you purchased for $5.00? 
A Costco rotisserie chicken for $4.99 last Thursday. One cent shy of the $5. 
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

GOTW-practice035

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

Even though we don’t observe Lent with ashes or fasting we do read and meditate on God’s Word and read sections of scripture that lead up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus to fix our minds on what Jesus did for us and why we celebrate Easter, Christ’s Resurrection Day. Our Easter celebration is one of our grandest along with Christmas. 
My photograph of the sculpture above (Jesus washing Peter’s feet) was taken at the Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, California back in 2011. 

Our Mom’s Roolyet (Russian Nut Roll)

Roll the “R” when you try to pronounce the name of this nut roll that is a family favorite from my childhood and adult life, too. Our mom’s Roolyet was the best. We’ve just managed to perfect a recipe that brings back the memory of our mom’s roll. I think she would give us at least an A maybe not an A+ yet. Our pop got teary eyed when he bit into his piece because it reminded him of his beloved bride who died four years ago. (Since I published this post back in 2017 our dear Pop was called up to heaven in June of 2018.)

My sister Vera and I perfected this in 2017 while I was visiting in Southern California. I posted this recipe on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog but decided now to add it here for my own easy access.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 cup milk, scalded
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks (set aside egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, reserve 1 tablespoon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup flour

For Rolling Surface:

  • 1/4 cup powdered/icing sugar

For Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups ground walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg whites

Method:

  1. In a small bowl dissolve the 2 teaspoons sugar with the scalded milk, add the yeast and mix well.
  2. In medium bowl mix the 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, melted butter minus the tablespoon you set aside, and vanilla then add in the yeast mixture and mix well.
  3. Sift the 1 3/4 cup flour, salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar together.
  4. Add sifted ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly while mixing, the dough will be sticky.
  5. Prepare kneading surface with a light dusting of flour.
  6. Knead the dough adding as much of the 1/4 cup of flour needed during this process to make the dough less sticky, knead the dough for 10 minutes then form into a ball.
  7. Place the dough into a lightly greased stainless bowl that is 3 times the size of the dough and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot without drafts.
  8. Leave the dough to rise to double its size, 1-2 hours.
  9. While dough is rising prepare the filling by mixing the 2 1/2 cups ground walnuts, egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, mixing well.
  10. Divide the filling into two equal portions.
  11. Once the dough is doubled in size prepare the work surface where you will be rolling out the dough, dusting it with the powdered/icing sugar.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  13. Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 equal portions.
  14. Roll each portion of the dough separately into a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick.
  15. Spread the filling evenly over the rectangle of dough leaving 1/2 inch free of filling along the edges.
  16. Starting at the long edge fold over the dough carefully and keep rolling into a tight roll.
  17. Pinch the seam well and pinch the ends to prevent the filling from leaking.
  18. Place the roll seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  19. Repeat the process for the second roll and add it to the baking sheet keeping the rolls at least 3 inches apart.
  20. Use the reserved tablespoon of melted butter to brush the tops and sides of the rolls evenly.
  21. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  22. Let cool and cut into slices to enjoy.

Yield: 2 twelve inch long rolls

Notes: We found that 3 cups of whole walnuts make 2-1/2 cups of ground walnuts.
We used a slightly warm oven to let the dough rise in.
Use a serrated/bread knife to cut the roll.