Saturday, November 28

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
-C. S. Lewis

Sleeping Beauty, Jessie Wilcox Smith

Friday, November 27

Happy Thanksgiving!

And as (Jesus) entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
-St. Luke 17:12-19

We began the day with a Thanksgiving Moleben at my father's church and ended it with a sing-a-long around my parent's piano! I hope that your day was as wonderful as ours was!

Wednesday, November 25

Beeswax Ornaments...

I found this craft at Homemade Serenity via Frontier Dreams withing the past two weeks. I knew immediately that this was how I wanted to use up the beeswax candle stubs that we had been collecting for months! Since we were using leftover beeswax, the craft was pretty cheap. I bought two of the candy molds at Michaels ($1.99 each) and some hemp twine (I think that was around $3). The directions at Homemade Serenity are really helpful and very clear. The only thing that I would add is that taping the twine to the mold helps a lot. I think the best part of this craft is that you can keep melting and re-melting your beeswax until you get ornaments that you are happy with. I am definitly going to be doing this again!

Oh, if your church burns beeswax candles, you might ask your priest if you can have the stubs from the candle stand. I *think* that you can strain the sand and string out of the wax. I am going to try this and let you know.

Monday, November 23

Learning Basket: Thanksgiving...


The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple...

After the success of our St Michael's Day Party earlier this month, Fr John and the parents of the children in church decided that it was time to start church school. Aside from one seven year old, the rest of the children are three and under. Because of this, we've decided to make our church school a sort of co-op where we all help out and there isn't just one teacher.

Yesterday was our "official" start and the topic was the Feast of The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, which we celebrated on Saturday. We had the seven year old read Mother Melania's book and then I read The Story of Mary the Mother of God to everyone while they worked on coloring the icon for the feast (the younger children didn't do much, but the older ones did a beautiful job and we had the seven year old try to copy the colors that were used in the real icon of the feast. The children had some of the Litiya bread leftover from the Vespers on Saturday night. Finally, we decorated candles with colored beeswax and the children will light them the next time that they are in church. Our next session is for St Nicholas Day on December 6th!

Beginning Week Two...

We finished up the first week of the Nativity Fast on Saturday night. Things have gone pretty smoothly with the readings, coloring pages, and candle. We've found that reading before bedtime is not working out too well. Our children are really quite wild right before bed and are not able to listen and concentrate on serious read-alouds. I am going to try reading to them before naptime this week and see if that helps (they are both often much calmer at 11:30 am right before being tucked in for naps!). I printed two copies of each of the coloring pages for this past week and have discovered that Little Man is just not into coloring yet. Sugar Plum really enjoyed coloring after dinner or when she is relaxing before bed, so that's what we've been going with. Finally, I was much too frugal with our candle this week! I am going to try to light it when it gets dark at about 4:30 or 5 and let it burn until Fr John lights the lampadas in our icon corners in the evening.

Saturday, November 21

The Manhattan Declaration...

Joyous Feast!

Today is the preview of the good will of God,
Of the preaching of the salvation of mankind.
The Virgin appears in the temple of God,
In anticipation proclaiming Christ to all.
Let us rejoice and sing to her: Rejoice,
0 Divine Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation.

-Troparion for the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos-

Tuesday, November 17

Troy Polamalu...

Despite being Giants fans, our favorite player is Troy Polamalu.How can you not love someone who has a great personality, plays well AND is an Orthodox Christian unafraid to share his Faith?!

Monday, November 16


When it comes to window treatments for this house, we've been pretty stumped. We really like the shades that were left in this house from the previous owners, but they left the top of the windows bare. Fr John thought of cornices, searched the diy network's website, and found directions. These two beautiful cornices are the fruits of his labor on Friday night and Saturday morning. We hung them last night and that was the trickiest part! I'd like to do the rest of the windows downstairs this way.

Do you think that is overkill?

The Ocean in November...

Friday, November 13

A New Favorite Book...

Since we've moved in, there have been several little projects we've tackled in our home: a leaky pipe, fixing the drywall from the water damage from the leaky pipe, moving the chandelier, hanging office doors, etc. Both of the children have loved this. Little Man has his little wooden toolbox permanently glued to his hand and Sugar Plum has discovered Papa's Home Improvement 1-2-3 book. This book is "read" every night before she falls asleep and I caught her in this picture sitting in a little chair with her feet up on a kitchen chair just chillin' with her book. She is so cute!

Doors Equal a Happy Husband!

Fr John finished the doors (with help from our handyman) and can now work in peace and quiet in his office!

Thursday, November 12

Preparing for Nativity...

I've been working with Mary for the past few weeks on plans for The Tree of Jesse. Our goal was to make the daily Bible readings accessible for little children. Our first step in this was to go through the Children's Bible Reader to find the correlating passages. Most of the readings were available and can be found in a very handy spreadsheet that Mary has come up with.

We also wanted to try something a little bit different from the the typical Jesse Tree and Ornament set. After brainstorming, we came up with something similar to Mary's Most Holy Theotokos Candles. I chose eight beeswax candles (You could also do one large one) and am adding the small Jesse symbols for each week to one candle. I've been forming the symbols from decorating wax and Bendaroos (Wikki Stix).

In addition to the daily readings and candles, Mary and I have created a coloring page for each day. The pages show the symbol or story for each passage and will help children remember the reading for each day.

When the Nativity Fast begins on Sunday (November 15), we will light the candle for the week, read the Bible passage for the day, and color the coloring page for the day. I anticipate the best time for this will be after dinner, but we will have to see how things go. I'll keep you updated.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this lesson block!

Wednesday, November 11

One of My Greatest Fears...

Sylvia just posted about Fr Alexios, her priest at Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Tampa, Florida. He was attacked because he was mistaken for an "Arab Terrorist." I have to admit that this is my greastest fear with my husband's beard, pony tail and cassock. Lord Have Mercy.

Here's the article: Marine Reservist Attacked Greek Priest He Mistook for Terrorist

and YouTube Video:

Tuesday, November 10

Commitment to Loveliness: No. 51...

It's time for another Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in our lives each week without even trying! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!

Here is my list for this week:

1. Plant bulbs so we have lots of flowers in the spring.
2. Store bath toys in a way that is functional for the children, but but also beautiful.
3. Take a family walk at the State Park
Celebrate St. Martin's Feastday on November 11th
5. Take the time to pluck eyebrows!

Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and let us know in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

Sunday, November 8

Thanksgiving Dinner, Part One...

Chili Cheese Dip

The Grown-up's Table

The Children's Table

Sugar Plum Digging In

Little Man's Plate

Birthday/Namesday Pumpkin Pie for Uncle Nectarios


Chocolate Cheesecake

Wednesday, November 4

Peter and the Wolf...

For many months now, Peter and the Wolf can be heard from our car's cd player each time we venture out. Recently, we were out browsing in a bookstore near the ocean and came across the book, translated by Maria Carlson. PBS also put out an animated version of the story awhile ago. I watched it tonight on YouTube and found it to be quite good! Please preview it before allowing your little ones to watch it though. They might be scared during some parts!

Tuesday, November 3

Living and Learning for November...


Archangel Michael

St Nectarios

Saint Martin

Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos

Kursk Root Icon


Purchase last bits of warm clothing for the cold weather

Plan for our Thanksgiving Feast with my in-laws on the 8th

Set up Reading Room

Plan Cleaning List for Nativity Fast

Plant Bulbs

Buy Pansies

Feather the nest with down blankets for the beds, warm throws for the living room, pajamas and slippers, candles, slippers and a stock of teas and cocoa

Read Alouds

Henry and Mudge Books



Winter Beds



Laura Ingalls Wilder Books (My First Little House)


Establish a Firm Evening Routine for After Dinner: A Craft, Games or Puzzles, Bathtime, Prayers, Books, and Bed

Special Days

2nd Full Frosty/Beaver Moon

9th Uncle Nick’s Namesday and Birthday

11th Veterans Day

17th National Bread Baking Day

20th Uncle Gregory’s Namesday

26th Thanksgiving


Plan for The Tree of Jesse Lesson Block

Little Man’s Namesday, St Nicholas Day, Little Man’s Birthday, and Nativity Gift Planning and Buying


Practice Being Still and Quiet during Prayers and Services

Singing – “Our Father”

The Sign of the Cross for Little Man

Tidying up Toys after Play

Tidying the floor after meals using the dust buster

Nature table scene and book basket

Visit the State Park


Go to Story Hour Weekly

Messy Art at the Local Bookstore

Lacing Cards

Caring for Our Fish

The Tree of Jesse – Christmas Preparation

Thanksgiving Vacation Fun (?)

Sunday, November 1

Saint Michael's Day Party...

Today, the Sunday between Halloween and the Feast of Archangel Michael and the Bodiless Powers, a St. Michael's Party was held for the children of our parish.

Each child dressed up as an angel or saint, and the adults of the parish had to guess who they were dressed as. The children dressed as angels, St. George, St. Peter the Aleut, and St. Alexandra the Royal-Martyr.

Then Fr. John carved a "Christian Pumpkin" with a special lesson on how God carves out the bad stuff in us called sin and replaces it with His light. The pumpkin has eyes shaped like the Cross, a triangular nose to represent the Holy Trinity, and a smile because we we are filled with God's grace we become truly happy.

I apologize for the awful pictures! I was distracted today and didn't do a great job... the ones I took of Sugar Plum were terrible, so she posed for me at her table when we got home from church... note the bedraggled hair minus a halo!
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