Easters Past…

For my flashback this week I’m going back to Easters in the past. These are all from the 50’s. Later this month I’ll share Easter Flashbacks from our immediate family that hail from the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Black and Whites1

Black and Whites2

img604Growing up my immediate family was divided 4 x 4. My mom and dad had the four of us siblings pictured above and then there was a 7 year gap before they had 4 more children. I was the baby of the family for 7 years.


Black and Whites

img643My mom had one brother who survived to adulthood and these are my cousins on my mom’s side of the family. This photo was taken of my maternal grandmother’s grandchildren at the time. She would add 5 more grandchildren in time.

img610I was so excited when I learned I’d have a baby brother or sister. I really wanted a brother and I remember jumping up and down on our family room couch when my father announced that my mother had my baby brother Tim. Tim was soon followed by our cousin Tanya and then our brother Steve. The twins, Leonard and Lana came a few years later.



img640This last photo is of my Dear and his older brother Terry. Dear and Terry were born 4 years apart. I’m guessing this could be an Easter photo but it also could be that it was just a Sunday going to meeting photo!

Do you host Easter at your house?


It was wonderful to see so many dear souls that we have been connected to over the years at my mom’s services.

I didn’t get photos of many of the people who honored us with their presence and their words. It wasn’t easy to relax with my camera in these circumstances.

Mom's services 015Hope and I were coordinated in our outfits and had to have a photo together.

Mom's services 150After attending this little guys baby shower before he was born it was nice to finally meet him in person with his mommy.

Mom's services 151…and with his grandmother, my good friend from Bethany Russian Baptist church.

Mom's services 152Katie with Nikki and her Auntie Christina. Christina is Dear’s SIL.

Mom's services 154Here’s Dear with his only brother, Terry.

Mom's services 155My cousin Vera (from my father’s side), cousin’s cousin Shirley (on my mother’s side), my cousin Jim (on my father’s side), and Shirley’s sister Betty (on my mother’s side).

Mom's services 156More dear friends from our Bethany Baptist Days in Los Angeles.  Diane, Manya (Shirley, Bobbi and Betty’s oldest sister) Alex and Jaydee with Shirley between them.

Mom's services 157Jeanie,(married to my cousin Jim) My cousin Jim, My cousin Vera (Jim’s sister) George (who is Jim, Vera and Katrina’s 1st cousin) and my cousin Katrina (Jim and Vera’s youngest sister).

Mom's services 163My first cousin, Vera, from my dad’s side of the family. The rest of this group are all 1st cousins with each other on my mother’s side of the family. My first cousins are on the right end of this group. Valia and Tanya on the right end with my cousin Walter’s wife standing behind them. Bobbi and Shirley are first cousins to Valia and Tania.

Mom's services 161Our son Dan with our SIL Letty’s son Derek and wife Amy.

Mom's services 158Caleb and Joshua making plans to spy out the Promised Land…Strong and Courageous!

Mom's services 159Niece Melissa bonding with our latest grand nephew Thomas.

Mom's services 172My Pop with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Mom's services 166Our kids (missing Andrew) with my pop. Andrew has arrived in Afghanistan with his unit so your prayers for him are appreciated.

Mom's services 176Pop with his sons.

Mom's services 180Sons and daughters…

Mom's services 184Daughters

A very special thank you to the ladies from Whittier Area Community Church and Olive Grove Church  who contributed salads and desserts for our meal together. You blessed us abundantly and we are grateful! Everything turned out so well. We were so pleased to be able to spend time with people we have been connected to over the years. Old friends and new friends supporting each other. It’s a beautiful picture of community…

I’ll close my post with the quote my Brother in law Nick read at the graveside…

“There is nothing that can replace
the absence of someone dear to us,
and one should not even attempt to do so.

One must simply hold out and endure it.

At first that sounds very hard,
but at the same time it is also a great comfort.

For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled
one remains connected to the other person through it.

It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness.
God in no way fills it but much more
leaves it precisely unfilled
and thus helps us preserve — even in pain —
the authentic relationship.

Further more,
the more beautiful and full the remembrances,
the more difficult the separation.

But gratitude transforms
the torment of memory into silent joy.
One bears what was lovely in the past
not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within,
a hidden treasure
of which one can always be certain.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer”

Borsch Re-do…

Because it’s almost Fall and still warm here in the Northwest I decided to make Borsch and I wanted to update my photos and technique. It’s a standing joke around our house that I pick the hottest day of the year to make Borsch!

Our version of Borsch growing up was made with green cabbage and not beets. We also do not pronounce it with a “t” at the end.

Stock Ingredients:

1 Chuck Roast or 7 Bone Roast
1 onion
1-3 celery stalks with leaves
2-3 carrots
2 bay leaves
5-10 peppercorns
Salt to taste

Using a large stock pot, cover rinsed meat with water. Add all the remaining stock ingredients and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer. Simmer until roast is fork tender.  Remove Roast to oven safe pan. Strain the stock.

While stock is simmering prepare soup ingredients.

Soup Ingredients:

1 onion diced
1 bell pepper diced
2-3 stalks of celery diced
1 Jalapeno diced (optional)
1-2 tablespoons cooking oil

2 cans (approx 15 oz. each) stewed tomatoes, blended

1 head of green cabbage cut in shreds
3 carrots grated
2-3 potatoes peeled and diced
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1/2-small bunch of dill chopped or more according to taste
1 handful of chopped Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste
optional – 1 can of Garbanzo beans rinsed and drained

At this stage you can season the roast well and put in 350 degree oven to cook further and infuse some flavor into it to serve along side the Borsch.

Saute onion, bell pepper, celery, and jalapeno (optional), in oil. When these ingredients are soft blend them in a blender with the 2 cans of stewed tomatoes. In the photo above I used an immersion blender to blend the sauteed vegetables with the stewed tomatoes. I think it is more efficient to use a regular blender. Add this mixture to the prepared stock and then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until all the vegetables are done.

Serve the Borsch with good bread, a dollop of sour cream, and slices of the prepared roast. I really went overboard and made a huge pot. I ended up freezing 7 containers to share or have at a later date.

We grew up eating borsch. I’m sad to say I really hated it when I was little. I’d sit in front of the bowl trying to get it down and it was difficult. One of the reasons why was the chunks of tomato that were in the soup. That’s why this method is much preferred to me where you blend a lot of the vegetables and eliminate many of the chunks in the soup. Today I don’t mind chunky soup but for Borsch I still prefer this method. There are many variations of borsch. Some people chop up or shred the meat and put it into the soup. My mother always prepared the meat from the stock pot to the oven and added some potatoes to cook with the roast. She then served it on the side. At this point if you wanted to add it into the soup you were free to do so. Instead of adding the sour cream to the soup growing up we’d spread the slice of bread with sour cream instead of butter to eat along with the Borsch.

B is for Borsch!

It’s time for Alphabe-Thursday with our dedicated teacher Miss Jenny. We are at the very beginning …a very good place to start. Today is the letter B! I’m going back to my humble food beginnings.

When tempted to buy a head of cabbage it must be time for borsch. This is a soup I grew up on and only learned to love from my high school years on. When I was little I can remember having to sit in front of a bowl of borsch until I finished it. Left alone at the table I’d dump the bowl back in the pot and then get in double trouble. My mom would be very upset that I spoiled the whole pot with my bread laden bowl of soup. I would dunk as much bread in the soup as possible hoping the soup would disappear…

The broth for this soup is made with a 7 bone beef roast. While the vegetables are cooking I season the roast and put it in the oven for additional cooking. Pieces of the roast can be added to the soup to make it a heartier soup.

Borsch is also served with a nice dollop of Sour cream and good bread. Here’s a recipe for borsch!

Friday’s Fave Five! ~ Easter Edition…

Time to sit down, take a deep breath, and consider the blessings of this past week. Now visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story to join in or to see some favorites. Thank you Susanne for hosting this great exercise…


Easter, Easter, Easter! I love Easter. I love that our Faith is defined by what Jesus did on the cross on our behalf. The whole Lenten Season culminating on Resurrection Sunday and now the days leading up to Pentecost are great days to focus and be refreshed. So here are my 5 favorites from this past week…

1. Getting together with my sister Lana G! and keeping our Russian Heritage traditions going by baking the Russian Easter bread and making and molding the traditional sweet cheese spread. I have to get more cans to bake the bread in by next year. Someone at our Easter table let it slip that she might have some in her garage. Along with these traditions watching my daughter color the Easter eggs is always a fun time.

2. The night before Easter I went to the opening Sounders Soccer game. I went to a nearby park and ride that was offering special buses to take fans to Qwest field. My bus ended up being real special as I was the only one on it!! The bus driver and me. I thought of you Thom! This was one of those really big metro buses, too. I had to chuckle. Too bad our team lost…ugh. On the bus trip home there were more people but the bus driver recognized me right away…

3. Easter was such a nice day of celebration for us. We went to a baptism of 2 little sisters we know. So sweet. We came home to get ready to host our Easter meal with my DIL’s family. There were 12 of us and we had a good time eating, sharing and laughing.

4. Whoohoo! I finally got to meet some of the Mennonite Girls from MGCC face to face on Tuesday. Five of the Canadian Mennonites had a field-trip down to the Skagit Valley to see the tulips and we all met up for lunch in La Conner. It was like we were old friends. Each gal is so unique yet so cohesive in the group. I don’t know if that’s the right word but I hope you understand what I mean…

5. Tulips, tulips, tulips! I love tulips. To see these lovelies like the sea before your eyes is absolutely amazing. I praise God for creating tulips and I’m so glad those immigrants from Holland settled in the Skagit Valley and grow them for our pleasure and for their livelihood!

Keep scrolling down to the next post if you’d like to see some tulips in the fields…


Have a great weekend everyone!

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Blue Monday ~ Aunt Anna’s Stuff…

Last Thursday I popped in to see my mother and father. They live in a Senior Apartment complex and my Aunt Anna decided to move in a few doors down from them. Aunt Anna is my father’s only living sibling. When I was there Aunt Anna wanted me to come over and see some things she wanted to give away. Her granddaughters had no interest in these goodies. I gladly took a few things off her hands and let her know they would be used and appreciated.


This is a Blue Danube tablecloth with 12 napkins to match. I recognized the pattern right away since I have a few Blue Danube pieces including the teapot pictured.


She had a few things that my paternal grandmother had made and I was happy to nab this. I was also happy she had this photo of my grandparents to give me.


These were all from my Aunt, too. She made the apron. I really enjoy the old fashioned cut glass pitcher and glasses to match.

It’s always fun for a Thrift Store Junkie to shop for free!

Thank you to Smiling Sally for hosting Blue Monday. Please click over to join in the Blue Monday Fun!

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.

Blue Monday~ Miss Hope with Baba & Deda!

Thank you to Smiling Sally for Blue Monday! Our sweet niece Miss Hope has been visiting from Dallas and I got some shots of her with my parents with lots of blue for Blue Monday. She only sees us a few times a year but she knows she belongs to us and embraces all of us. It is a sweet blessing from our God for all of us and her grandparents!!





This was a really busy family week. On Saturday we had an Open House celebration in Huntington Beach and on Sunday we had a shower for my niece in Orange. I have lots of photos to upload and share during this next week. I’ve been on the L.A. freeways a lot this weekend and am looking forward to a somewhat relaxed week.

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.

Give Me My Babushka’s Cooking


For Foodie Friday I’m posting this paragraph my daughter wrote about her Babushka’s cooking and a recipe and how to make my mom’s Borsch following it.

  • Gimme my Babushka’s cooking and I’ll be content

  • The sort of Russian/Persian cuisine that my Baba (Grandma) makes… I would be a happy camper for a year with yummy borscht, galupsi, kulyich, syrny paska, lapsha, varenky, shashlik, and a million other treats that I would butcher just as badly trying to spell in English…I can say most of them but they’re sure hard to type. Just make sure you give me a good supply of sour cream, and can I bend the rules to include my Mom’s “green borscht” which is spinach soup we chop up hardboiled eggs in? I was never entirely sure where that soup’s origins really lay…I could never get sick of all the lamb and cabbage and butter filled goodness, heck I even like the Russian candies my Deda (Grandpa) keeps around though none of my cousins do. My mouth is watering already. ~ Katie
  • borsch-snoqualmie-001
  • Many Borsch recipes include beets in them. The familiar Borsch that we grew up with and that we had at Molokan Church Meals did not have beets in it. Here is my mother’s recipe.

    Nadia’s Borsch

    For the Stock:
    1 Chuck Roast (with bone would be good)
    1 onion
    1-3 celery stalks with leaves
    2-3 carrots
    2 bay leaves
    5-10 peppercorns
    Salt to taste

    In a big stock pot, cover chuck roast with good water. Bring just to boil. Take roast out of water and discard the water. Put chuck roast back in pot and cover with fresh water again. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook until roast is fork tender. Strain the stock. Reserve the roast.

    1 head of cabbage shredded (green is what we use)
    1-3 carrots grated
    1-2 onions diced
    1 bell pepper diced

    2-3 stalks of celery diced

    (saute the bell pepper, onion, celery and jalapeno then blend before adding to stock)
    2-3 potatoes diced
    2 cans stewed tomatoes blended in blender (we have those that don’t like chunky tomatoes)
    1 can tomato sauce
    1/2-small bunch of dill (to taste)
    1 handful of chopped Italian parsley
    salt and pepper to taste
    optional – 1 can of garbanzo beans
    option #2 – add a small jalapeno diced to the saute group above.

    Put the strained broth back into a stock pot. Add all the above ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer until cabbage and carrots are tender. Taste and see if the soup needs more salt or pepper at this time.

    The Borsch is ready now.

    My mother doesn’t include this in her recipe but when she made borsch at my house once I saw her add a half a cube of unsalted butter at the end. :) My mother mashes most of the potatoes to thicken up the soup a bit.

    You can bake the chuck roast with a little of the stock, salt, pepper, and sauteed onions to serve alongside the borsch with a good loaf of bread and of course…sour cream. This was my welcome home meal for my kids on one of my trips back to Seattle a couple years ago.

    I hope you enjoyed this post from my archives. I think it is high time I make borsch again and take some new pictures.

  • 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.

Sophie Wozniuk ~ December 25, 1913-July 9, 2009


What a wonderful celebration of Sophie’s life we had at her funeral on Wednesday. Sophie is my oldest sister Kathy’s MIL. Kathy and her husband Len cared for her for several years right up to her death last Thursday night. Sophie was a spunky hard working lady. She has 3 daughters Lil, Laureen, Ruth and one son, my BIL Len. Len charged us from the beginning of the memorial service that we were going to rejoice with his mom who was finally in heaven. Sophie loved her Savior Jesus Christ.  Heaven was her theme and desire for the last 20 years. This last year it became her daily prayer to God, for Him to please take her home.


Len and my sister sang a duet in Russian and English. Len’s sisters Ruth and Laureen, 2 of my sisters Kathy and Lana G, my niece Michelle, and an lifetime friend Diane sang a sextet of Psalm 121 put to music. My father gave a word from Micah. My nieces shared some stories about their Baba. The oldest grandson Phil (Lil’s Son) read her Eulogy. Another Grandson Greg (Laureen’s son) spoke of remembrances of her and read her favorite Psalm 121. My brother Steve spoke and wove a wonderful message about Sophie’s Song using some great old hymns and referencing the songs of women in the Bible.



Len was our choir director at Bethany Baptist Church in L.A. (A Russian Baptist Church) many years ago and we were led in song again by him at the funeral. It was a great reunion of so many of our Russian friends and relatives who have all gone their separate ways. Fun times looking at a face we recognized but forgetting the name attached to it. Wozniuks, Semenchuks, Leonovich, Katkovs,  Menns, Bagdanovs, Titovs, Shvetzovs, Kudraves, Kaluzny, Goncharenko, Rudametkin, Kowalski, Wlasiuk, Poulsons, Kuzichev, Moure, Philipchuk and more.  We sang at the service, we sang at the graveside and we kept singing at the dinner reception afterwards.


My nieces are trying to sneak a photo of me taking photos but I caught them!


All Sophie’s grandchildren that were at the funeral released a balloon for her…


My niece Michelle with her husband Ryan and their son Jackson. Doesn’t she look so cute pregnant. They are expecting a little baby girl in September. I got my sister Lana G! to pause a moment to get a photo taken with Michelle. The case that this bouquet of flowers are in belonged to Sophie’s husband Tony.


My cousin Jim and his wife my friend Jeaneen and my friend Heidi and her husband Ken. Heidi and I met and became friends at the Russian Baptist church. I met Jeaneen in college and introduced her to my cousin Jim.


Shirley, Bobbi and their mom Nura Menn. Shirley is another one of my buddies from the Baptist church. Her mom Nura is my Aunt Nina’s sister. Phil Semenchuk (Phil’s mom is one of Sophie’s daughters) with his fiance Anna. Milla and Susie. Milla’s father was our aunt Nina’s brother. Milla’s parents were friends with my parents in Iran and remained close when they both immigrated to the U.S.A. Milla’s sister Tamera was at the funeral, too, but I didn’t get a good photo of her. We always called their parents aunt and uncle.


My brothers Steve and Fred with my sister Lana G!  This is the very first current photo you’ve seen on my blog of my brother Fred. I was happy to see him at the funeral.


My brother Fred and my cousin Jim with my nieces, nephews and SIL Kelly in the background.


My partner in travel and crime in my early college years…



My cousin Jim, sister Kathy, brother Fred, sister Vera, our Aunt’s niece Milla, ellen b, my sister Lana G!, and my brother Steve.


Kathy, Vera, Fred, Ellen, Lana, and Steve. (Tim and Leonard are the two siblings missing in this photo)

I have found that people are so loving and attentive at funerals. It’s as if our mortality sinks in for a time and we take care to let each other know that we love them and care for them. It truly was a great time of reunion for me. We ended our time by singing  “God be with you till we meet again”

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He Is Risen Indeed!

Christos Voskress! Voistina Voskress!

Христос Воскрес!

Воистину воскрес!

This is one of my favorite Easter Hymns that we used to sing every Easter at Bethany Baptist Russian Church in Los Angeles!

Low in the Grave He Lay

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!


Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!


Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!