Thursday, September 30


We don't have a huge variety of changing leaves yet, but we needed something to divert us from the rain, so we collected some to preserve in beeswax. I melted some beeswax candle stubs in a homemade double boiler (a large can from the recycling in a saucepan with a few inches of boiling water), dipped the leaves into the melted wax, and placed them carefully on parchment paper.

While the children napped, I strung them on some embroidery thread to make an autumn garland.

We'll be going on a little trip in a few weeks to my husband's seminary. Hopefully, there will be lots of leaves changing there so we can do this again!

Rainy Days...

Tuesday, September 28

Learning Basket: Zoo...

Field Trip to the Zoo
Scavenger Hunt at the Zoo (Create a sheet of animal pictures for children to find on the zoo trip)
Play with a Barrel Full of Monkeys
Listen to Peter and the Wolf

Monday, September 27

Farm Fun...

.:Miniature Horse:.



.:Little Kids:.

.:Duck Race:.

.:Corn Maze:.
.:Straw Mountain.:

.:Hay Bale Maze:.


Observing Nature: Backyard Birds...

We recently moved our bird feeders near the screened-in porch and brought out a bird bath with the hope that the birds would come closer to the house. I also gathered up all of our birding books and folding guides, binoculars, and Audubon birds (from my father-in-law!) to create something like Playful Learning Spaces Bird Watching Station. As long as we stay behind the windows, they are happy to oblige! On Friday, an Eastern Bluebird family came to play! Sugar Plum and Little Man had fun looking through their folding guide for our area to find the birds that were visiting and Sugar Plum tried using binoculars to see them up close!

Friday, September 24

Friday's Feminine Tip: Femininity Through the Sense of Taste...

Here are some things that we can do to improve the feminine taste of things:

Make foods you know your family will enjoy eating.

Keep mints in your handbag to quickly freshen breath.

Be sure to replace your toothbrush as recommended by your dentist.

Introduce your family to a variety of different foods to help broaden their taste horizons.

Get your teeth cleaned at least twice a year.

Bring a signature dish to share at pot lock suppers, coffee hours, or to other events where food is shared.

Incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into your menu planning.

Develop a taste for your husband's hobbies and interests so that you are able to show him genuine interest.

Practice good taste when dealing with other people... whether they are in your family, friends, acquaintances, or even strangers.

Take your family's tastes into consideration when purchasing clothing, furniture, decorations, etc.

Use fresh herbs and spices in your cooking.

Thursday, September 23

The Harvest Moon...

Once the sky darkened and the little ones were all ready for bed, we surprised them by getting on their shoes and taking them for a little walk up the road to enjoy the beautiful and full harvest moon! Did you see it tonight?

Tuesday, September 21

Learning Basket: Autumn...

A Tree for All Seasons
Flower Fairies of the Autumn
Circle of Seasons (Autumn pages only)
A Child's Calendar (September pages)
Out and About (Only Autumn pages)

Crafts and Activities
Put Away Summer Decorations and Put Out Autumn Ones
Enjoy the Fall Festival at a Farm
Autumn Felt Board
Play Hide the Apple (we'll take turns hiding an apple somewhere in a room while the others keep their eyes closed and then try to find it)
Bake Apple Cake
Create an Autumn Tree (Trace a tree trunk onto large paper. Color in the tree and glue torn bits of construction paper on for leaves)

Beautiful Day Blueberry Muffins...

A beautiful day is a sure thing when you put a basket of these muffins on your breakfast table!


2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbs. butter
3/4 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine ingredients, but be sure not to over mix. Divide batter into prepared muffin cups. Combine topping ingredients to make strusel. Sprinkle over each muffin 20 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Yields about 12 muffins.

Monday, September 20

Homemade Applesauce...

We made applesauce today using Sarah's Applesauce Recipe from AllRecipes. It is so easy and delicious!
  • 4 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.

**I didn't bother peeling or coring the apples. I just cut them into chunks and proceeded with the recipe. Once the apples were tender, I put them through a food mill. It worked like a charm and was a lot less work!**

Observing Nature: Wild Kingdom...

Huge Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis in Relation to a Four-Year-Old Hand

Fresh from the Chrysalis

Orthodox Christianity on the Football Field...

With the new football season in full swing, consider rooting for Troy Polamalu!

Friday, September 17

Friday's Feminine Tip: Femininity Through the Sense of Touch...

Pastel by Degas

Here are some things that we can do to improve the feminine touch of things:

Wear clothing that is touchable. Some great fabrics are: soft and crisp cottons, soft or fine woolens, and anything soft, silky, and womanly.

Be sure to apply lotion to your skin daily to prevent roughness.

Use conditioner in your hair to promote soft, silky strands.

Add texture to your decorating by using soft blankets, throw pillows, and other linens.

Be sure to keep surfaces in your home clean and dust free.

Use fabric softener or dryer sheets when doing laundry.

Wear soft slippers around your home during the day to keep your toes pampered and warm.

Use baskets of different weaves to hold odds and ends around your home.

Keep fluffy towels in your kitchen and bathroom.

Just as your husband gets into the shower on a cold day, toss his towel into the dryer so that it is toasty when he's ready to use it.

After going for a long walk, enjoy a hot beverage or an icy cold one... depending on the weather.

Take a cat nap in the sun and feel the warmth on your skin.

Take a long bath complete with bubbles or bath oils.

Give yourself a manicure and pedicure.

Exfoliate your lips and use a lip balm to help them stay soft.

Be gentle.

Learn to move more slowly, elegantly, and purposefully.

Walk in a light graceful manner.

Practice feminine facial expressions.

Keep your legs smooth by shaving or waxing frequently.

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

Two Conversations that took place within ten minutes of one another:

Sales Woman: How old is your baby?
Juliana: Oh, he's actually my sister's baby. He's three months old.
Sales Woman (with look of disapproval): Are those all her children?
Juliana (without missing a beat): Yes, isn't she so lucky?
Sales Woman: Uhhhh... Yes?


Shopper: Are you a princess?

(Sugar Plum shyly looks down.)

Shopper: You can't wear a pretty pink dress and pink shoes without being a princess!
Mama: Sugar Plum, say thank you.
Sugar Plum: Thank you!
Shopper (looking at Little Man seriously and a little meanly): And I know what you are... The devil in disguise!
Mama: ???

I do want to point out that though my children can certainly be naughty little monkeys, they were being quiet and very good in this particular store.

Tuesday, September 14

The Elevation of the Cross...

O Lord, save Thy people,
And bless Thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians
Over their enemies
And by virtue of Thy Cross
Preserve Thy habitation

Stained Glass Crosses from Orthodox Christian Craft Supply

Our feast day table

The cross decorated in the center of the church

Learning Basket: Harvest...

The Ox Cart Man
Hello, Harvest Moon
Winter Days in the Big Woods
Strega Nona's Harvest
The Man and the Vine

Crafts and Activities
Hand Print Wreath
Make Homemade Applesauce
Watch the Harvest Moon go from Crescent to Half Moon to Full Harvest Moon on the 23rd
Snack on Cinnamon Doughnuts and Apple Cider
Watch the Combines Harvest the Corn Fields
Make Hay Bales (Pompoms) out of Yellow Yarn for Our Toy Farm

Sunday, September 12

Changing Seasons...

All of the sudden, there is a nip in the air... the children are wearing warmer pajamas at night and pulling on sweaters over their summer duds in the early morning. The curtains are fluttering in the cool breeze and the air conditioner that has been humming for weeks is finally off. The meals we are eating and planning are warming and hearty rather than cool and light. Darkness comes more quickly now and our beds are warm and cozy. we've ditched the iced tea (mostly) for a steaming mug of tea sweetened with honey. During the day, we are still feeling the heat of the summer but it is definitely waning and autumn is on it's way! This is my favorite season!

Saturday, September 11

Friday, September 10

Friday's Feminine Tip: Femininity Through the Sense of Smell...

Here are some things that we can do to improve the feminine scent of things:
  • Pick a special scent and be sure to wear it each day.
  • Spritz paper with your favorite perfume.
  • Bake bread or a batch of cookies.
  • Light scented candles throughout your home... especially in you bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Choose a favorite shampoo and conditioner and enjoy the scent as your wash your hair .
  • Arrange a vase full of fragrant flowers.
  • Place pots of herbs on your kitchen windowsill and enjoy their fragrance and use in your cooking.
  • Purchase or make household cleaners that clean well and also smell great!
  • Be sure to wash and air out your household linens frequently.
  • Throw open the windows in the house an car upon occasion.
  • Go for long, rambling walks and enjoy the seasonal scents.
  • After eating a citrus fruit, toss the peels down the garbage disposal to freshen it up.
  • Enjoy scented bubble baths.
  • Put an air freshener into your car.
  • Use scented drawer liners.
  • Hang a bunch of lavender wrapped with ribbon in your closet to keep away odors and moths.
  • Place bowls of potpourri around the house.
  • Spritz a bit of card stock with perfume and tuck it into your handbag.
  • Put sachets into the linen closet and your lingerie drawer for a delicate fragrance.

Little Train Engineer...

Tuesday, September 7

If You Like Photography...

Peconic River Sunrise by Rachel Eager

...please consider voting for my cousin Rachel! She is a finalist in a photography contest in her hometown and it would be wonderful for her to win! Here is an e-mail from my aunt explaining how to vote:

Hi everyone!

Just sending out a message to tell you that Rachel is a finalist in a
summer photo contest here in Riverhead and she needs your vote! (You
don't have to live here in order to opine...) Go HERE,
click on the camera icon that says "2010 Contest," and vote in 3
categories...Rachel is in the River Revival category. If she wins, her
photo will be displayed in Town Hall this fall! She is very excited and
we are so proud of her, since not many kids enter this (I think there is
only one other in the finals, and she is in college, not high school) so
we are really hoping she'll win. Thanks so much! I believe it's only
one vote per customer, not once a day or anything like that...

xoxo Jen

Monday, September 6

Learning Basket: Apples...

Apple Farmer Annie
Eating Apples
Apples for Everyone
Our Apple Tree
Applesauce Season

Crafts and Activities
Bake Sour Cream Apple Pie
Make Yarn Apples
Apple Printing (slice an apple in half, dip in paint, and stamp the apple all over a large piece of paper)
Play the Game Hide the Apple (we'll take turns hiding an apple somewhere in a room while the others keep their eyes closed and then try to find it)
Apple Taste Test (We'll try several different varieties of apples to find our favorites!)

Note: Since the subject we are working on this week is apples, it would be a great time for apple picking. However, we've planned that with friends for early October. I'd happily take the little ones out to do it twice, the farm is an hour away and I think that it might be too much to do this week (especially with the feast of The Nativity of the Theotokos occurring on Wednesday).

Sunday, September 5

Windy Sunday...

Today was a gorgeous day! After we came home from church today, Sugar Plum asked if we could fly a kite. Fr John dug it out of the trunk and we flew it in the backyard. It was a lot of fun and something we will definitely do again!

Friday, September 3

Friday's Feminine Tip: Femininity Through the Sense of Sight...

A Lady Reading a Newspaper, Carl Larsson

Here are some things that we can do to improve the feminine look of things:
  • Keep a tidy and well organized home.
  • Wear feminine clothing that a man would not be caught dead in.
  • Be sure to be as well groomed as possible.
  • Improve your mind through reading.
  • Work to make your movements feminine and delicate.
  • Try to see the good in everything.
  • Add a touch of elegance and beauty to your daily routines.
  • Keep a journal of all that you are thankful for and read it when you feel blue.
  • Learn to improve your penmanship and begin collecting special stationary so that you can write real letters to your loved ones.
  • Begin to work towards becoming more active and fit.
  • Educate yourself on the art of applying makeup and arranging your hair.
  • Bestow a lovely smile upon all you meet.
  • Improve your disposition, making it as cheerful and loving as possible.
  • Be sure to emanate a calm, quiet air.
  • Be as creative and thoughtful as possible when it comes to doing mundane things.
  • Decide on a signature... perhaps you always use white satin ribbon to wrap around your gifts or maybe you write letters on violet colored paper.
  • Learn what it means to be refined and work to make this a part of your interaction with others.
  • Let go of bitterness.
  • Try to learn a new skill or art as frequently as you can.
  • Look to the past to show you how feminine women lived. Use this knowledge as inspiration.

Thursday, September 2

The Calm Before the Storm...

The sunset was beautiful this evening! We are awaiting Hurricane Earl... it should be here in the early morning sometime. We spent the day grocery shopping, running errands, and bringing in anything that could possibly take flight in high winds. I am pretty sure that our area will only have tropical storm conditions tomorrow, but please keep everyone on the East Coast in your prayers!

Edited to Add: We barely got anything from Hurricane Earl, thank God! There were a few moments of heavy rain and it is a windy day, but seems much like any other rainy day in our area. Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, September 1

Living and Learning for September...

Church New Year
Nativity of the Theotokos
Elevation of the Precious Cross
Saints Juvenaly and Peter

Serve breakfast and lunch on the porch
Visit farmer's market before it closes for the year
Buy more children's hangers
Start school and establish good habits
Conquer the dishes after every meal and snack
Hang clothesline on porch
Continue knitting
Purchase chairs for table on porch
Care for birdfeeders and birdbath
Start looking through clothing for cooler weather and start a list of needed items

Tummy time
Set up baby gym for him to play with


Daily Rhythms
Outside time: Morning Walk, Afternoon Playtime, and Evening Bike Ride
Reading: After breakfast, Before Nap, and At Bedtime
Arts and Crafts

Special Days
First Day of School - 1st
Grandparents Day - 12th
+Michelle - 19th
Auntie Claudia - 20th
Full Barley Moon - 23rd
Uncle Peter - 24th
Nana - 30th

Practice being still and quiet during services and prayers
Begin Learning Baskets once more
Begin Preschool officially - Celebrate with a special breakfast and small gift
Setting and clearing the table
Tidying the floors with the dust buster
Feast day shelf and book basket
Visit the beach frequently
Weekly story hour
Sign up for one Messy Art class
Boardwalk Rides
Visit the Zoo
Apple Picking
Care for backyard birds
Visit Longwood gardens
Plan trip to visit family
Farm trip
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