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Archive for July, 2014

The idea of having a home has been a somewhat painful topic for me ever since we married. …Β I won’t get into all that. Take my word for it. So I just want to say that … I think I’m finally emotionally attaching to a place and making itΒ our own.

(How long we will have it, how long we will live here and not in Kiev, will it be bombed in a war … well, we’ll leave all those speculations aside for now.)

I won’t take time to describe all of what this house was like, but one of the first things V did was put in running water–that means, kitchen sink, bathtub, toilet, bathroom sink. … Are you tired yet? πŸ™‚ It gets better!

The huge storage room we converted into a bathroom. It has our washer and dryer in it, along with the other things, including a pump for accessing well water.

In the main room, we eventually removed the huge pechka–that’s a huge brick, clay, dome-ish wood-heated stove. (We did bake/cook in it for a while, and that was cool πŸ™‚ )

The second room is our sleeping room. I won’t go into that for now. When we started the rehab center 3-4 years ago now, the guys lived in this house. A year or so ago, we started building a new building on this property, behind the house, and the rehab center is now there– the first floor is done.

Anyway, all that to say! As of today, in our house, we have modern windows and doors, and we bought a new stove. I’m going to put before/after pictures here:

First, the back door. Do you see this window behind me, to the right of the frig?

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It is now this:

gorgeous? Now we see the back yard/rehab center, and we'd like to put a porch here, maybe add another room on, through this door.

gorgeous? Now we see the back yard/rehab center, and we’d like to put a porch here, maybe add another room on, through this door.

This stove–on the right, black and white? with drawers beside it?

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It’s now this! A 5-burner, wide, Georgian-made gas oven/stove. (thanks to my friend who encouraged me to get the big stove πŸ™‚ )

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With the drawers/counter moved, I’m using this pechka jar for my utensils– I think I’ll paint it– and this mostly-unused tray to hold it all with salt, pepper, etc.

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I also, after all the construction work, finally wiped down all the display shelves, so here’s one that I decorated, with the real spindle (found in the attic, I think) that we display underneath:

that metal thing to the right is our Berkey water filter-- one of the best things we've ever bought!

that metal thing to the right is our Berkey water filter– one of the best things we’ve ever bought!

I am exhausted, so that is all for now.

Thank you, God. I’ll enjoy it while you’ve given it to me to enjoy.

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today I tried ‘nalistniki’ (basically blini/crepes with ground meat/fried onions inside).

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I fried up ground meat and cut-up onions together for the filling, then made up the blini/crepes. After putting the meat inside the blini and folding it up, then I lay it in the frying pan with butter and heat them up ^^^^

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Oh, for breakfast I made pancakes with mulberries and even homemade syrup (just molasses, water, sugar, something else … )

my helper ... he said the batter is good :)

my helper … he said the batter is good πŸ™‚

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I love this little creamer pitcher– when we bought this house, it was left here along with some other pieces of the set, so I thought this was a good way to use it— I should use it as a gravy pitcher too …

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These days, my day alternates between lying down and working in the kitchen, lying down then working in the kitchen …

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documents

Once we had Andre, Vitaliy started doing documents. Before this, he hated it so much, he didn’t do stuff. But with a third child, it became “worth” the work.

So we get baby money from the government here– with each child, the govt pays the family some money and the sum grows from the first 3 children– after the 3rd, the sum stays the same.

Also, with 3 children, the family has the legal status of “many-children family.” And if you do the paperwork, you can get lots of discounts and free stuff. Like the kids can travel free on trains and buses, all the house utilities are cut by half or something.

So Vitaliy did all the paperwork, and voila– it’s a lot cheaper to do ministry in our village house. He’s a good steward with money.

Today he had to stop at a govt office, and here’s what it looks like:

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And here’s a thing I love about Ukraine– out of the building come 2 women who apparently work there, and they head to the fruit tree with a bowl, shake down some fruit, then head back inside πŸ™‚ ❀

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Vitaliy is great about doing outside stuff with the kids. I’m so glad … it is so not me.

Today he took them kayaking down a little river, the Teteriv– I’m astonished to find it on Wikipedia! It runs near our village. Vitaliy swam and fished in it as a kid. I’ll clarify, that V was in his little kayak and the girls in this air boat.

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Which got a big leak, so they stopped early and swam while I came to pick them up in the van. Drove through some new nearby villages where I’d never been before!

Β 

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yesterday was a record day– we got back to our village at 4pm! It’s usually closer to 9 or 10pm. But we had no meetings, the apt we were going to look at was taken the night before, and the bridal shower I learned was at 3pm, I skipped so the guys wouldn’t all have to wait around for me. that was sad to miss 😦

So we went right to Ashan (huge, super-Walmart-type store here), did our shopping and came home. V took the kids out on a bike ride while I slept, and when I awoke, I had the energy to try lazy vareniki.

Lazy vareniki are just dough made with tvorog (soft type of cheese), no filling like usual vareniki have. Here’s A helping me stir. I didn’t get a photo of the finished product yet, though. I made some last night–just boil the dough/tvorog pieces. The rest of the dough is in the fridge, probably for tonight.

oh, how he loves to be involved.

oh, how he loves to be involved.

I have a love/hate reaction to A being in the kitchen with me. Sometimes I love it, it's so fun and cute and messy. Other times, it makes me batty.

I have a love/hate reaction to A being in the kitchen with me. Sometimes I love it, it’s so fun and cute and messy. Other times, it makes me batty.

Today, I braved making pelmeni–kind of like vareniki, but the dough is thinner and it’s a meat filling.

Make up the dough, let it sit for an hour:

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make up the filling: ground meat on the bottom, then I blended an onion and when I read that fat makes it more tasty, I blended up some of the leftover pieces of salo V bought yesterday. And salt and pepper, then mixed it all up.

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roll dough thin, cut circles– I started with the bottom of my vareniki maker, but the circles were too big, so I went to a cup. Put meat mixture in center.

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Folded up the edges

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Bring sides down and pinch ends’ dough together

raw pelmeni

so cute! easy to do!

Everyone got involved πŸ™‚

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We made 69! I have dough leftover, but the meat ended.

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Plopped in the boiling water, stirred several times so they don’t stick, and when they started floating, theyΒ boiled 10 minutes.

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eat hearty

eat hearty

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V said that they are awesome, though we both saw that some of them had too much dough … but that comes from Little Helpers,Β  and it’s OK πŸ™‚ Freezing the ones I didn’t boil. They freeze well.

It is S.O. H.O.T. that I have a popsicle factory going from a batch of cherry compote/syrup. I fished up every type of popsicle form I have collected over the years.Β I want to hide and eat them all, but I’m sharing with the kids b/c they love them, too πŸ™‚

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the stick part on these broke, so I'm improvising

the stick part on these broke, so I’m improvising

Cherry compote

Cherry compote

My SIL gave me these awesome push-up popsicle, things and I love them! I just stand them up in tall cups and they freeze great :)

My SIL gave me these awesome push-up popsicle, things and I love them! I just stand them up in tall cups and they freeze great πŸ™‚

Two sweet things:

Wildflowers the girls bring me– Andre usually follows with about 2 crushed up little flowers to give me, too ❀

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Learning to write is awesome ❀

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Once outside of Kiev (which usually takes an hour– to get outside of Kiev), our village is a little over 70 km away (43 miles). So here are some shots from today’s drive there and back.

hauling a load of sheep

hauling a load of sheep

I splurged on this cup in Earth Fare (in the States), and I'm so glad! It's like a French press on wheels-- has the circular filter on a plunger and a car-friendly top. Great for taking fresh coffee or leaf tea on the road :)

I splurged on this cup in Earth Fare (in the States), and I’m so glad! It’s like a French press on wheels– has the circular filter on a plunger and a car-friendly top. Great for taking fresh coffee or leaf tea on the road πŸ™‚

a market we pass driving through one village

a market we pass driving through one village

that's quite a load of hay there

that’s quite a load of hay there

bottom of tree trunks painted white--I think to protect them from bugs?

bottom of tree trunks painted white–I think to protect them from bugs?

When entering the village limits, the name is on a sign like this

When entering the village limits, the name is on a sign like this

when leaving village limits, the sign is the same, with the name crossed out

when leaving village limits, the sign is the same, with the name crossed out

These signs help you know the speed limit, which is not posted on signs usually. You just know–in a village, speed limit is 60km, outside village is 80 or 100 (I’m not sure myself πŸ˜‰ ). We drive through about 10-15 villages. Most of the road looks something like a variation of this theme:

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Here, we’re nearing Ivankov, the main village near our smaller village– Vitaliy was born in Ivankov and his mom lives here. We lived here our first year of marriage ❀

This is people who've picked berries or mushrooms in the forest-- so plentiful in this region-- and they sell them on the side of the road. V's mom's been doing this a lot this summer.

This is people who’ve picked berries or mushrooms in the forest– so plentiful in this region– and they sell them on the side of the road. V’s mom’s been doing this a lot this summer.

As we drove by today, we saw a police car with two officers coming out– not sure if they were checking people or what …

Ivankiv is a regional center (Ivankivski Region) so it has a big sign

Ivankiv is a regional center (Ivankivski Region) so it has a big sign

Today we drove around Ivankov (instead of driving through it) to get to our village

bad photo, but that white egg seen through the window is a Chernobyl time capsule to be opened a few years from now

bad photo, but that white egg seen through the window is a Chernobyl time capsule to be opened a hundred years from the explosion date

the egg is in the middle of this traffic circle

the egg is in the middle of this traffic circle

pulling into our driveway:

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white well on the right--V put in a pump this summer and we use well water--great rains this year and saves money. Small shed is the summer kitchen which we use for rehab storage.

white well on the right–V put in a pump this summer and we use well water–great rains this year and saves money. Small shed is the summer kitchen which we use for rehab storage.

Some day soon, I want to take you on a photographic tour of our little house πŸ™‚

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a stork

I was waiting for Vitaliy today and noticed this stork, so I got some close-ups. They have the funniest legs!

toothpick legs and knobby knees

toothpick legs and knobby knees

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