Mon, July 21, 2014

My favorite place + my favorite people = my dreams come true!

I visited Glacier National Park for the first time 5 years ago and I clearly remember hiking along Saint Mary lake and losing my breath at the amazing emerald waters, crisp fresh air and the giant mountains. I kept repeating: “I need to bring my mama here, she’ll love it so much! I have to come here with her one day!” I didn’t know how or when it would be possible, but I knew I had to show it to her.

Five years later my whole (now extended!) family and I hiked along the same lake and awed at the same magnificent view. No need to say I’m overwhelmed with happiness.

Lublyou: Glacier National Park Going to the Sun RoadLublyou: Glacier National Park Going to the Sun RoadLublyou: Glacier National Park Bighorn SheepLublyou: Glacier National Park Ground DogLublyou: Glacier National Park Logan Pass SnowLublyou: Glacier National Park Snowy Logan PassLublyou: Glacier National ParkLublyou: Glacier National Park DeerLublyou: Glacier National Park Iceberg Lake HikeLublyou: Glacier National Park Iceberg Lake HikeLublyou: Glacier National Park BearLublyou: Glacier National Park Saint Mary Lake

We stayed on the East side of the park at Swiftcurrent Motor Cabins in Many Glacier. If you don’t want to camp (or plan on arriving in the evening) and want a choice of lodging book a long time ahead if you can. We got what seemed like the last available room for a family online in early June.

I recommend stopping by Park Cafe in Saint Mary for the best huckleberry ice cream ever. Only eat at the Swiftcurrent Restaurant if you are in this part of the park at 9:30 p.m. and don’t have any food to feed a family of 5 — it wasn’t the best dinner (or value) we’ve ever had but we’ll be more prepared next time.

There is so much snow in Logan Pass in the beginning of July! Can’t hike to Hidden lake (unless you brought your skis along) but there are many sheep and very few people around, I really liked it!

Tue, July 15, 2014

Lake Pend Oreille_kayakingKootenai Falls BridgeKootenai FallsLake Pend Oreille Kayakingletterssparklers_heart

We’re in the second week of our family vacation right now, we’ve already adventured all over Montana and North Idaho and had no cell reception or wifi in most of our destinations.

Right now we’re back in Sandpoint just about to go up Schweitzer mountain to pick huckleberries. I have a few quiet minutes to post an update! Here are some photos from the very beginning of the trip: we went to Kootenai Falls, kayaked all over the Lake Pend Oreille, played with sparklers and fireworks on the 4th of July and ate way too many donuts and peas. We’re headed to the Oregon coast tomorrow!

You can follow me on Instagram for more photos and updates!

Sat, July 5, 2014

Lublyou: drive through WashingtonLublyou: Washington driveLublyou: Snoqualmie PassLublyou: Snoqualmie Pass WALublyou: Jumping Horses MonumentLublyou: Columbia River WALublyou: Sunset

It’s finally here – family vacation time! On Thursday night Ben and I started our adventure with a long drive to Seattle, where we had a $3 meatballs date at IKEA, did some shopping and then MET MY FAMILY at the airport!
The next two weeks will take us all over the Northwest, and you’re coming along – I’ll make sure to share the experiences and snaps here and on my Instagram. Let’s go!

Tue, July 1, 2014

Lublyou: Russian folk shirtLublyou: Russian Green Onion and Egg Pirozhki RecipeLublyou: Russian FolkLublyou: Russian Green Onion and Egg Pirozhki Pies

I have lots of green stuff to share here tonight! First of all, totally unexpectedly, my shiny new 10 year green card showed up in the mail! Now I feel whiny and silly for complaining about the process taking forever, my papers getting lost and my old card being taken away. I was told to wait up to 6 months, and then the next week I got this happy mail! Unbelievable. Thank you all for your nice wishes and thoughts, it worked!

Also maybe inquiring about it so much and driving to Spokane a bunch of times paid off…?! We’ll never know but, it feels great to be documented and all around legal again. Bonus: my photo on the new card (quickly snapped by an officer on Monday morning in Spokane and not shown to me at the time) looks great! So much better than the previous photo. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a photo on a document!

On to the next exciting thing: Ben and I finished our second Whole30! It was not as grand as the first one, but the celebration included Russian green onion and eggs pirozhki, so no one complained. These little pies are Ben’s favorite and they only usually happen around here in May-June when we have lots of green onion in the garden.


  • 1,5 cups milk
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 30g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-2 tsp. yeast
  • 2,5-3,5 cups flour

Warm up the milk to room temperature, add 1 Tbsp. sugar, a pinch of salt and all of the yeast, let it sit for 20 min. in a warm place. In another bowl beat up an egg, softened butter and the rest of the sugar and salt. Add the milk and yeast mixture. In a large bowl place 2.5 cups flour, make a hole in the middle, pour the yeast mixture there and start kneading the dough for about 10 minutes. If it’s too sticky add more flour. Cover it with a towel and let it rise for 1.5h in a warm place.


  • 2-3 bunches of green onion
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, cut in small pieces
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp. oil

Cut onion in small pieces, fry in oil until soft and bright green, add eggs, sprinkle with salt to your taste.

When the dough is ready, put it onto a well-floured board, pinch off pieces approximately the size of golf balls. Shape each into a small circle using your hands. Place 1 1/2 spoonful of filling in the center, fold the sides together and pinch to seal. Flatten the pirozhki slightly to make them a more even size.
Fry on a hot oily pan for a few minutes on both sides until golden.

Сегодня у меня сплошные зелёные новости! Во-первых, по почте прилетела моя новая 10 летняя гринкарта (да, она действительно зелёная), которую мне обещали не раньше октября-декабря. Я и не жалуюсь, особенно радует, что на фото я получилась прекрасно, что весьма не характерно для документов.

Отпраздновали мы мои новые документы пирожками с зелёным (тут особенный акцент!) луком и яйцом. Это Бенины любимые пирожки, тесто у меня каждый раз получается разное, так как я забываю записать рецепт, но тут главное – начинка. Сегодня в тесто пошли следующие ингредиенты: 1.5 стакана (360 мл) молока, 6 ст.л.(70г) сахара, 30 г сливочного масла, 1 яйцо, 1 ст.л. растительного масла, 1 ч.л. соли, 1-2 ч.л. дрожжей, 2.5-3.5 стакана (400-600 г) муки. Теперь, наверно, запомню.

Thu, June 26, 2014

Wednesdays are kind of fun since they are mini-Fridays but at the same time, too routine, like the cup of tea I’ve been sipping for a while now which is getting cold, but I can’t see the bottom yet.  This Wednesday wasn’t so regular. There was something funny about it from the morning and I knew it required impulsive action.  Right after work and before dinner I did it – I got a new hair cut!

It’s a big deal around here. I usually only cut a bit every now and then and it’s totally unnoticeable. This time as the weight of the hair was falling off of my shoulders I felt like summer cheerfulness and bounciness had arrived. I also loved the reactions: Ben’s mom just said “Hooooolly cow!”, my mom noted what a pity it was to let go of so much hair, my co-worker couldn’t believe I just chopped off “all of those long locks?!”  The little rebel in me is really enjoying it.  My brother and Ben both agree that they like my new cut, so the opinions are balanced here.

Mon, June 23, 2014

Sandpoint ArtWalk 2014Sandpoint Food CourtSandpoint Farmers' MarketSandpoint Saturday MarketKaren Robinson Art at the Sandpoint farmers' marketLublyou: Idaho Lavender Huckleberry Jam

It was a long and wonderful weekend. On Friday night after work we headed downtown for Ben’s first art show reception – “ArtWalk” – where he has 5 of his recent pieces hanging. Ben has a post about it on his blog, too. If you’re in Sandpoint this summer you can see it at Bricks&Barley. Try their thin crust pizzas, too, — my favorite in town!

On Saturday we woke up late and went to the farmers’ market, where I got a souvenir for someone very lucky back in Russia — a jar of Idaho Huckleberry-Lavender jam! We visited Ben’s mom’s booth where she sells her watercolor prints, circled a few times around the food court and promised ourselves to come back in a week when we’re done with the Whole30. It’s a whole other post, but my second experience with the program is quite different.  I’ll write about it next time.

In the afternoon we drove to Spokane for Brian&Amanda‘s Solstice BBQ. It was just what we needed: good food, old friends, new faces, kids’ laughter, golden light, fun conversations. But the longest day of the year was not that long after all and we headed back when it started to get dark. Oh, and I didn’t take any pictures even though I had my juice box film camera in the purse. Sometimes I have too much fun and forget about pictures.

Всем привет, мне кажется, самое время для краткого обзора новостей за выходные. К нам наконец-то вернулось лето, все дни были жаркими и солнечными, у нас даже носы, лбы и плечи обгорели.

В пятницу после работы мы отправились на презентацию выставки Бениных работ на ежегодном мероприятии ArtWalk – Искусство-прогулка? Народу было много, Бен со всеми общался, а я ела свой салат с прошутто и виноградом и с гордостью за всем происходящим наблюдала.

В субботу мы встали поздно и решили заглянуть на фермерский рынок. Там я купила баночку чернично-лавандового джема для кого-то очень счастливого в Москве, мы навестили Бенину маму в её шатре с акварельными этюдами, пооблизывались на ларьки с барбекю и мороженным и пошли обедать по whole30 домой.

После обеда поехали в Спокэн к друзьям на вечеринку в честь летнего солнцестояния. Вот и прошли самый длинный день и самая короткая ночь в этом году, хотя в Айдахо тут свои порядки, и в 9 вечера было всё равно темным-темно. Только щёки продолжают гореть от обилия солнечных лучей, как напоминание, что лето тут еще только начинается.

Wed, June 18, 2014

no more green card (plus goose eggs!)

Posted by Katie

benkatie_filmLublyou: Spring ForsythiaLublyou: goose eggs for breakfast

Floral photos - 35mm taken with a Holga

I don’t have a green card anymore! Yep, they took it away. Here’s the story.

I mentioned it earlier here, my 2 year temporary card was going to expire in July, so I applied for a new one in April. In return all of the applicants get a letter with a receipt and a one-year card extension while the documents are being processed.  Well, I didn’t get it, it probably got lost in the mail. At my biometrics appointment a month later at the Spokane USCIS office I was told not to worry and wait.

Another month later we went to Spokane again to stamp my passport, as I read online, to give me some proof of being legal after my card expires. A very nice lady officer took all of my documents, looked me up on the computer, put a stamp in my passport and when we were almost done she said: “Oh, and I keep this, haha!” taking away my green card. I didn’t expect that. Usually people get a receipt in the mail and carry it around with their expired cards. Not only did I not get one but they also took away my green card!? I mean, thinking about it later, it makes total sense, why do I need it if it expires in two weeks anyways? But as I was leaving the office I was so lost and upset that I just wanted to cry. A few tears even rolled down my cheeks, to Ben’s confusion.

I guess being an immigrant for the past 2 years has made me super paperwork- and document-conscious. I need to always know where my documents are, what expires when, where to check the status, when to reapply for stuff, what to carry around with me and how to explain to people what this or that card says or means. When I left my residency card behind I felt bare and vulnerable to even walk down the street. It took me some time to calm down and convince myself that nothing has changed, it was just a card, I’ll get a different one sometime later. Hopefully before my stamp expires, haha.

On a good note, the same day, Ben and I ran out to get some whole30 snacks at the nearest healthy foods store, and Ben found something that made me jump to the ceiling with excitement – goose eggs! I carried them each in one hand all the way back to work and then home, like a treasure. I shouldn’t have worried about their safety so much, they are actually pretty hard to break, I had to struggle for a bit this morning. They are so huge and I liked their taste better that the duck eggs we had back in April. Next on my egg list – pheasant, emu and ostrich eggs. Any ideas where I can get them? I also read somewhere that in some Scandinavian countries and in Great Britain people eat gulls eggs. I’m thrilled.

Не прошло и двух лет, а у меня уже забрали грин карту. Правда, я тут всё ещё легально, у неё истекал срок годности, и новая карточка должна прилететь через пару месяцев-полгода. Но всё равно, без гринки сейчас себя чувствую, как без одежды. Я даже прослезилась при расставании, потому что оно было для меня неожиданным, и я такая эмоциональная. Так странно: мы всегда и везде были вместе, а теперь мне не нужно перекладывать её из сумки в сумку, показывать в ресторанах и аэропортах и переживать, что я там на себя не похожа. Теперь снова возвращаюсь к российскому паспорту, там у меня новый красный штамп, где написано, что я резидент.

Чтобы мне было не грустно, судьба мне послала неожиданную встречу в магазине – гусиные яйца! Мы уже наелись утиных в апреле, так что само собой размер должен со временем увеличиваться. Гусиные яйца не разочаровали, они мне даже больше понравились. Такое яйцо даже разбить – целое приключение! Следующие в списке – эму и страус. Где бы их взять?

Sun, June 15, 2014

It’s been a little less than a full year since our trip to Glacier National Park with our best friend Sam. I’d say it’s the right time to start getting nostalgic about our past adventures and at the same time excited about the new summer.

This film might have never been made because I kept putting it off and then my laptop died with everything on it, including the videos. BUT someone has an amazing husband and a helpful brother, and when they unite, miracles happen — after much struggle and frustration, the videos (and most of my photos) were recovered and I didn’t waste any more time getting around to it, here’s the film!  It makes me want to drive far away, take lots of photos and explore the mountains, rivers and valleys.

Благодаря замечательной командной работе моего мужа и брата, которые каким-то чудом спасли файлы с моего погибшего жёсткого диска, я могу вам сегодня показать коротенький фильм с прошлогодней поездки в национальный парк Глейшер. Снято в июле 2013, смонтировано сегодня вечером. Мне уже не терпится снова поехать куда-нибудь далеко в горы, но завтра мне нужно в офис. Всем удачной недели!

Tue, June 10, 2014

Lublyou picnic Lublyou: a squirrel in Manito park in Spokane WALublyou: picnic in Manito parkLublyou Jenny's Diner Spokane WA Lublyou: Jenny's Diner Spokane WA

The stupidest thing happened to me earlier this week, well, just like pretty much every week for the last few months  - has anyone out there cursed me by any chance? Please, take it back, I’m getting tired of it.

I was in the garden when Uno the cat came by and started rolling in hay between the raised beds. A straw got stuck in his eye and he couldn’t get it out, I was worried he’d poke himself, so I rushed to help. I got the straw out of his eye eventually, but the cat poured all of his rage on me instead of the hay stick and scratched my hand. No big deal, I’ve been scratched by cats a thousand times in my life! I decided to go home and wash it with soap just because it all happened in the garden and there was dirt everywhere. Washed and forgot. Till the next day when my hand got all swollen, red and miserable. WHY?!

Ben didn’t let me wait for too long – the next day we went to a doctor and I got my jar of antibiotics. I’m doing way better now and I’m avoiding the killer cat. He also dug a huge hole and left his stinky treasures in my flower box today. The killer cat must be confused, we used to be friends!

On a good note, the photos are from our weekend in Spokane with Lanette and Ben. We had a huge picnic feast in Manito park. The park is amazing, it’s huge, green and has those perfect hills that let you hide from the walking paths and have a meadow all to your own party. The same night we were in the center of a detective scene: there was a car that hit a tree, lots of police lights, sirens and “Stay inside your homes, stay away from the windows” announcements, dogs chasing people – everything right under our windows! This definitely added some urban spice to our calm getaway from Sandpoint. I hate to admit it, but it was exciting! The next morning we had our last huge breakfast before the whole30 at a diner. They knew how to cook a good French toast!

Наконец добралась до фотографий с позапрошлых выходных, которые мы провели с друзьями в городе Spokane штат Вашингтон. Не знаю, Спокэн или Спокан – последнее звучит глуповато, но Википедия настаивает на “а”.

Но это не важно, а важно то, что у них превосходные парки, особенно Манито, напротив которого живут наши друзья. Этот парк очень зелёный, просторный и холмистый, в нём легко можно найти спокойное и солнечное место для пикника вдали от посторонних глаз (и детей!)

А воскресное утро мы провели за завтраком в американском дайнере, где готовят прекраснейшие французские тосты. Я вообще не понимаю, как можно заказывать “одно яйцо, две полоски бекона, две сосики”, когда ты оказываешься в дайнере. Нужно непременно брать французские тосты с голубикой, клубникой и сиропом, ну или хотя бы вафли или оладья! У меня очень хорошее воображение, и я за такими разговорами уже проголодалась. Пора спать, чтобы завтрак скорее настал. До связи!

Mon, June 9, 2014

Lublyou: Russian peach cookiesLublyou: Russian cookies 'Peaches'Lublyou: Russian Peach CookiesLublyou: Peach Cookies Recipe

I remember always seeing these peach-like cookies in the pastry shops in Russia. I never bought them, though.  I usually got “Oreshki” instead – cookies that resemble nuts, but also have dulce de leche filling in the center.  I think it’s my favorite sweet filling of all!  It doesn’t even need to be a filling, when I was younger I used to just open a can of “varyonaya sgushenka” (its name in Russian) and eat it all with a spoon in one sitting.  I think I can still do it.  Maybe.

Since Ben and I are doing our second Whole30 right now, I thought it’d be only fair for me to bake something that looks like a fruit, makes sense?  We still didn’t eat any, Ben didn’t fall for the trick.  I’ll make sure to bake them again in a month.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp flour
Later add:
4 1/2 cups flour

1 can Dulce de Leche / cooked sweetened condensed milk
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sugar
red, orange or peach food coloring OR carrot and beet juices

  • Mix together eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar/vanilla extract until combined. Add oil, stir to combine. Add flour & baking powder, mix to combine and let sit for 1 hour.
  • Add 4 1/2 cups flour into the runny dough and mix thoroughly.
  • Take a tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball and set onto parchment paper.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes in a pre-heated oven, at 350F. Cookies should remain white.
  • Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  • With a small ice cream scoop, remove the center of each cookie.
  • Whip the butter until white and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add dulce de leche & vanilla extract and whip again for about 1 minute.
  • Fill each half of the cookies with the filling, slightly overfilling.
  • Fill 2 bowls with 1 cup of water each. Add red food coloring to one cup, and yellow/orange food coloring to the other.
  • Quickly dip each cookie, into the yellow cup and then only half of the cookie into the red cup.
  • Roll in the sugar. Place on the tray.
  • Allow to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. Do not leave in a closed container, it’ll make the cookies soggy.
  • Insert the hearts of mint to make the cookies look like real peaches.

В июне даже выпечка получается летняя, сегодня у нас вот такие персики на столе с начинкой из варёной сгущенки. Хотя у нас на столе они надолго не задержатся, я их скоро понесу на работу угощать коллег (особенно рыбака, который нас с Беном всё своим уловом подкармливает).

Есть тут кто-нибудь, кто меня по-русски читает? Не знаю даже, переводить рецепт или не стоит. Пишите, если кому интересно или полезно будет – с удовольствием переведу!