Archive for June, 2008

i am so proud!

I can’t believe what I have accomplished! It’s so . . . Ukrainian (to me, anyway). I feel as though another “mystery” of this culture has been unearthed to me.

We get a liter of raw goat’s milk almost daily. It costs less than a dollar. But we are no where near able to drink a liter a day! So . . . I started wondering if I could make some homemade butter. After consulting with Vitaliy, I’ve learned to make butter, sour cream, soft cheese (tvorog–very popular here), and whey (used as the milk subsitute in pancake, blini, crepe, etc. recipes–and also great for skin and hair!)

I didn’t get a picture of the separation process, so I’ll just tell you about it. It starts with a glass 3-liter jar full of goat milk.  It sits for a day or two at room temperature and separates. The bottom part is a thin, yellowish liquid, and the top half is heavy cream. This top cream is actually two separate creams. The thin top layer, visibly different, is scraped off to be sour cream, or if shaken, it turns into butter. What’s left (the majority of the cream) is put in cheese cloth, pressed for a few hours to get the whey out, and soft cheese is left.

Here is my jar of butter:


Here’s some sour cream:

sour cream

Here’s some whey:


Here’s the soft cheese (tvorog); it’s actually very white:


So I did another very Ukrainain thing–I made ‘nalisniki.’ That is, using the whey, i made up some blini (like slightly thick crepes):

blinifryingThen i put tvarog in the blini (I made two types–one batch of tvarog i mixed with a little sugar, the other batch I mixed with some salt), rolled them up, put them all in the frying pan with butter (thank you, goat’s milk again), fried them up a bit, and served some warm to Vitaliy with sour cream (thank you, g.m., again) on top .


This is all SO UKRAINIAN! Wow, I’m feeling domestic, diligent, productive, thrifty, and like I have a garden–not really a garden, just able to make my own foods 🙂


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life pie chart

One assignment is to make a graph or time line that gives a woman perspective on her childraising years–what a generally short time of her life she spends with very small children (OK, this does vary depending on how many children one has, which in Ukraine is usally only one or two). This chart assumes an average life expectancy of seventy-five years. The blue section is her first 25 years until the baby is born, then the small slices are her child growing until 20 years old, then the pink is her life after her child is an adult.

The purpose of this chart is to put into perspective the amount of time, her whole life considered, a woman will have to invest in a child. Having small children myself, I found this an interesting exercise.

average woman\'s life

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off topic

The Nester had an “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” party, and here is my delinquent entry. I just “met” The Nester thru a friend who gave me her blog link, and when i read some of her stuff, i stayed up late making the stool covers i’d been wanting to do for years since we’ve lived in this apartment. None of this furniture is ours and most of it is left over from the Soviet Union Era 🙂

I recently added these bows to the stools. It’s like a birthday party 🙂


First step (still lacked something):

stool covers

vika & covers

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This is an awesome teaching concept! One of my Charis co-students told us about it. It helps moms understand their new babies’ bellies! Look here!

A newborn’s belly is the size of a small marble! Colostrum and frequent feedings are great at this stage! By day 3, the baby’s belly is the size of a shooter marble, and by day 10, it’s the size of a ping pong ball. Be careful about rigid scheduling! Breastmilk digests quickly and the baby’s stomach is so little!

I’m going to use this great illustration in my Thursday class for new moms!

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To fulfill one of the Module 3 requirements–this was more fun than I expected, and some of this is exactly from my own births!


1 latent

1 active

1 transition

2 latent

2 active

2 transition

3 placenta

4 involution


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In Ukraine, women give birth in birth houses–a building separate from a hospital. These are run by the government and are regionally located so usually a woman gives birth in the birth house in her region. Prenatal care is done in a separate building, the regional polyclinic, and the staff that sees her for prenatal care is separate from the staff that works in the birth house.

These are photos of a big birth house in Kiev, the capitol city:

There is one large room with lots of beds where women labor.

labor room

When the woman is ready to push the baby out, she’s brought into this delivery room. This hospital had two rooms:

delivery room 1

delivery room

This particular birth house had one “family” room where the husband and wife could birth together and note the bassinet for the baby included in the room. The labor/delivery table was in this room, too, the now-somewhat-old-fashioned kind with stirrups. This lady is the head of the nursing staff at this birth house. It was she and the anesthtologist who gave us the tour and had tea with us.

family room

I believe this is the c-section room.

delivery room

These are two shots of the NICU in this birth house:



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Jennifer Vanderlaan has compiled an incredible wealth of birth information on her site, birthing naturally. You can literally spend weeks looking through all the information. The information is distinctly Christian and pro-natural birth. I highly recommend this to any pregnant couple, regardless of their birth plans!

Jennifer is a wonderful Christian woman that I’ve met personally at the Christian Midwives International Conference. She allowed me to have her Bible study for pregnant ladies, Lord of Birth, translated into Russian. It’s thrilling to have this resource for ladies here!

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