Friday, July 31
Thursday, July 30
Tuesday, July 28
1/4 cup Butter
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Milk
2 cups Blueberries, rinsed
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
Cream 1/4 cup butter with sugar; add egg and beat well. In a medium bowl, sift together 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Add sifted dry ingredients to butter mixture alternating with milk, beating until smooth. Fold in blueberries.
Pout into a greased 9" square baking pan. For topping, combine ingredients and blend well to form crumbs. Sprinkle topping crumbs over batter. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes.
Monday, July 27
We are finishing up Katherine's Holy Apostles lesson plans this week so that we can start the plans that she has created for the Mother of God on August first.
Edited to Add:
We went to story hour today and I found this book! We'll add it to our meager literary offerings this week... it looks great!
Our poor little boy took a tumble yesterday and ended up having to take a ride in an ambulance to the ER. He has a cut under his chin that wasn't too bad - it just needed a bit of skin glue to keep it together. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for inside his mouth. We aren't sure exactly what injuries he has, only that one tooth seems to have been moved and there is a deep cut on his gum. We're headed to the pediatric oral surgeon today for a 10:30 am appointment to find out what is going on. I'm mostly worried because he has been unable to eat, drink, or nurse for 14 hours now. Please keep us in your prayers.
Saturday, July 25
Things are hectic this morning because we have a showing of our home sometime between 11am and 1pm. I'm tidying up and then we'll head out to run some errands. It should be interesting because that is the time my children take their naps usually.
Wednesday, July 22
One of the best things about this book is the content. Though the book is written in easy to understand prose, it is chock full of wonderful information about the saint. The book is clearly meant for children, but I believe that this is a book that every adult should own as well.
The illustrations for The Life of Saint Brigid are beautiful Celtic style paintings. I thought that it added so much to have the traditional style of artwork used to depict scenes from Saint Brigid's life. I really liked the icons that the illustrator, Zachary Lynch, painted alongside the Celtic knot work designs and illustrations of the saint's life throughout the book.
This children's book was written for little ones aged four and up. Our eldest child is three and while this book went a bit over her head, she did get something from it. She loved the part of the book that discussed Saint Brigid's pantry being blessed by God so that she could give food away to the poor. In addition, she was quite interested in the concept of becoming a nun - something I genuinely thought was beyond her comprehension. She was very drawn to one of the illustrations of Saint Brigid after she had become a nun and was dressed in white (I think because it reminded her of an icon we have of Saint Elisabeth the New Martyr).
A hard concept for Sugar Plum to understand was the fact that many of the illustrations showed the people and animals with expressions that she described as "sad" or "angry." The style of Celtic art is to use teardrop shaped eyes which often create that sad or angry look in the pictures. I believe that this was tricky for our daughter to understand because she often uses the pictures to help her understand what is going on in the story and the way things looked didn't mesh with the words that I was reading to her. I truly feel that we had difficulty with this because Sugar Plum is only three and the book is meant for slightly older children who would be better able to understand the differences in artistic style.
I really loved this book and am so happy that we have a copy for our collection of Orthodox children's books! I am very thankful that I now know about this wonderful saint and plan on finding an icon of her to hang in our kitchen next to one of Saint Euphrosynos the Cook. The life of Saint Brigid offers so much encouragement to us all! I hope that you will read and enjoy this book as much as we did!
Tuesday, July 21
Monday, July 20
We will be reading some of Potter's books and doing a few activities for each. In lieu of reading our little Peter Rabbit book, we will use stickers to complete the pictures in our Peter Rabbit Sticker Storybook and then read the story in that. We were given this Peter Rabbit stuffed animal for Sugar Plum's first Christmas and he will be perfect for retelling the story!
We will also read The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, use our hedgehog puppet for re-telling the story. It will also be fun to follow a rabbit trail to Jan Brett's Hedgie's Surprise.
I do not think that we will get through everything we have in the basket, but I'd rather have more planned than not enough. Ideas and materials for this week's basket came from:
Sunday, July 19
I really like the idea of using themes that reflect the changes in the seasons for teaching pre-school. Expanding on Dawn's list of Kinderthemes, I came up with five themes per month that include the things that are happening during the month as well as one author that I'd like to focus on. I think that this will help my planning for my Living and Learning Lists as well as provide a focus for our week. Since I am planning this a bit far in advance, I am expecting to tweak things a bit as we go along. I am hoping to tuck the books, crafts, and ideas into a basket the week before we plan to learn about them and then we'll have a Learning Basket to work from at our own pace. I'd like this first year of homeschooling to be carefree but also a good foundation to future years when things will have to be a bit less spontaneous.
When September comes, we will also be using the booklist from Sonlight for 3/4 for more book choices and Kumon Books for our daughter's age and skill level. For our religious studies, we'll be following along with Katherine's Learning Through the Year of Grace plans as she writes them (of course we'll be keeping things very simple for our little ones). Finally, I am planning on ordering some of the pre-school materials offered through Handwriting Without Tears. Our daughter is not ready to learn how to write her letters yet, but I want to be prepared with this program when she is.
Without further ado, here are the themes that I would like to use for our Learning Baskets this year:
12 Days of Christmas
Ezra Jack Keats
Early Spring Flowers - Forced Bulbs
Knights and Dragons
Laura Ingalls Wilder (My First Little House Books)
Nativity and 12 Days of Christmas
Saturday, July 18
Since we tend to be alone in driving, we can have some opportunities to look at ourselves and ask ourselves why we react in one way or another, and whether it does or does not conform to behavior expected of a Christian, especially an Orthodox Christian, in the light of the Gospel and our experience of the Savior. And if we are reacting angrily at such times, we might not be surprised to find that it usually is because we are angry about something else; or that, as is so often the case, we have not forgiven someone somehow, and we are consciously or unconsciously holding a grudge. Perhaps, in the solitude of the automobile, we have opportunities to see our symptoms, and prayerfully come to a better self-understanding, opening the door to our own ability to forgive, and to be healed in heart.
The Ten Commandments for Drivers
I. Always begin a trip with a prayer, making the Sign of the Cross and entrusting yourself to the Lord.
II. Never drink and drive.
III. Never try to shorten the time of a trip. If you started out late, you will arrive late. Do not speed.
IV. Apologize to a driver whom you have interfered with, even when you did not intend to. After all, when we are walking, and bump someone, we apologize without thinking. So why should there be a different ethic behind the wheel?
V. Always yield was to someone who is in a great hurry, or is driving aggressively. If you do not yield, he will pass you, but the situation will be more dangerous.
VI. Give a wave of thanks to a driver who makes way for you.
VII. Drive in such a way that you won't fear seeing a police car. Remember that God is Watching, even if the police are not.
VII. Stay as far away as possible from cars that have dents or show signs of accidents. But be careful not to judge, or you may share in their misfortune.
IX. Never speed up when another driver tries to pass you, or get into your lane. Do not treat you neighbor in a way you do not want to be treated.
X. After every trip, thank God for its safe completion. Be thankful after any trip, and not just a successful one. After all, almost always it could have been worse!
Friday, July 17
We were left to our own devices in the big garden. Mid-afternoon, one of our neighbors, Madame Regnaud, would often come with a new children's nook she was reading to her grandchildren, and she would read us a story or two in the shade of the terrace; with our eyes shut we could hear nothing but her voice over the happy chatter of the birds. Mamie would reappear around le 4 heures for the afternoon refreshment, not a gouter (snack) but a glass of lemonade she had made fresh, mindful of our need for water, especially in summer. It was neither tart nor especially sweet."
By Mireille Guiliano
Tuesday, July 14
Monday, July 13
Sunday, July 12
The Russian Orthodox Church has ordered a mobile church from the Volgograd Heavy Transport Equipment Plant, Politonline.ru has noted. The new
The church is square and olive-drab in color when it is mobile, in keeping with government standards for military vehicles. But it opens up into a chapel that meets all the canonical structural requirements of the
Saturday, July 11
One of the things that I like the most about this book is that it can be read and understood at a variety of different ages. There is a brief "Notice This" section that is perfect for younger children and a longer section to the left with more detail on each of the icons presented. The icons that the author chose for this books are beautiful and very common to the churches in America (in my experience). I think that children who read this book with their parents will be able to pick out the icons that they learn about in Pictures of God in their own parishes.
The only thing that I found disappointing was the icon of the Saints of North America. They are missing Saint Raphael of Brooklyn! This book was published after his canonization and I wish that an icon including him was chosen.
I am very happy that we added this book on icons to our collection and think that it will help our children to understand icons and notice details in icons much more than they would have without reading this book. If you are looking for a book to add to your children's library, I don't think that you will be disappointed with this one!
Thursday, July 9
Wednesday, July 8
Also, I always considered a laminator to be an unnecessary expense, but I found my Scotch one at BJ's for $20 and each package of 50 laminating sheets is $7. We really like it and I definitely think it was a worthwhile purchase!
Tuesday, July 7
The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit…
Yet, at the same time, God considers Himself constantly obligated to repay you for whatever charities you do to your fellow men.
-Saint Basil the Great
Sunday, July 5
- Causing meekness, humility and love to dwell in thy soul,
- Thou didst earnestly serve the suffering,
- O holy passion-bearer Princess Elizabeth;
- Wherefore, with faith thou didst endure sufferings and death for Christ, with the martyr Barbara.
- With her pray for all who honor you with love.
We weren't able to go to see the fireworks, but the little ones and I baked a flag cake... it was really good and is doubling as a cake for Sugar Plum's namesday.
Saturday, July 4
Well, religion can be a lot like that too. What with podcasts, websites, newsletters, sermons (yes, you might as well include this article), we seem to have become inundated with, dare I say, too much of a good thing. Not a day goes by without some church dispute hotly debated on a blog or some “expert” dispensing insight on how we should live our life. Really, it’s all become just too much.
Sure, we rush from website to podcast trying to absorb as much as possible, but we never have any time to actually live it all out. Besides with all the resources at our disposal, you would think that our faith in God would grow by leaps and bounds. But I am more convinced than ever that the opposite is true. I think we have to admit that all this wisdom and knowledge has not lead us to “progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly” (Philippians 3:10 AMP). In our hurried quest for knowledge we’ve left no time to taste that the Lord is good.
God created us for His glory. St Paul says that all things were created through Jesus and for Him (Colossians 1:16). So if we’re going to start savoring Christ in order to become more and more like Him, we need to stop filling every moment with something, even if that something is religious. In Psalm 46 we read: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (v.10). The key word in this short but powerful line is the command to “cease.” It is translated alternatively as: Stop! Calm down! Be still!
We need more than just moments of quiet. We need whole periods of time when we aren’t searching to debate church issues or solve ethical dilemmas. We need silence from striving to learn how to be better Christians. In short, we need hesychia—to keep stillness. St Gregory the Theologian wrote, “it is necessary to be still in order to have clear conversation with God and gradually bring the mind back from its wanderings.” If everything we do is supposed to bring us closer to God and make us more like Him, then striving after a quiet mind, St Gregory says, is the first step towards our sanctification.
Stillness as Communion
St Basil the Great said that it is in silence that we return to our true selves by slowly moving towards God. It is in these periods of quiet solitude that the essence of who we are and the mystery of our relationship with God is truly felt. After all, is this not the same call that Jesus heard time and time again as he retreated to the deserts of Judea, to be still and to be with God? The early Christians also felt this desire for a place of quiet—even stillness from the busyness of church life, to find communion with God, true communion. Because as St John of the Ladder wrote it is in stillness that we worship God.
Even in this age where knowledge can be had and discarded so easily, God still listens to us in silence. It is in silence that we get to know who God is and it is also where we discover who we are. When we “go away by [ourselves] to a quiet place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31 NLT) in the stillness of God, that is when God speaks to us the loudest.
A Gentle and Quiet Whisper
So, how can silence and stillness do so much? It’s hard to say. You can chalk it up as one of the mysteries of godliness. But there is a wonderful story in the Old Testament about the prophet Elijah that perhaps explains it best. Elijah was one of the greatest prophets of God. He was strong, faithful, and determined to do God’s bidding with a people who lost their way more often than not. In one compelling instance, Elijah was called upon by God to defeat the false prophets of a phony god by the name of Baal. Elijah did just that. But as a result, his life was soon threatened and running for his life, he escaped to the desert. Exhausted and despairing, Elijah asked God to take his life! He bemoaned how the people of Israel had turned away from God, destroyed the places of worship, murdered the true prophets and now were out to get him as well. Then, in Elijah’s moment of silence and solitude, it all made sense:
“Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by. A hurricane ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there” (1 Kings 19:11-14 MSG).
God didn’t speak to Elijah in the thunderous noise of an earthquake or fire but rather in the quiet of a gentle whisper. It is in these quiet moments, kneeling in silence, that we hear God. And it is also in those repeated moments, with our ear constantly to God that we become able to, as St John of the Ladder said, “live outwardly with men but inwardly with God.”
I know we tend to like a different way of doing things—more engaging and provoking—perhaps prodding others to move towards God. But even Jesus gave us a very different example. Remember, how He alone slept (on a pillow no less!) in the boat with the disciples during a violent storm? It was Christ’s stillness that calmed the waters (Mark 4:35-41). When we learn to also be still and silent, face to face with God, then I believe we too will be calm in the presence of the demands and expectations of this hurried life; we too will project our own inner stillness to a confused and noisy world.