Friday, April 29

Friday's Feminine Tip: Get a New Razor!

I love taking long, hot baths. When I get the chance to, I will often bring a book or magazine in with me to read, I'll dim the lights, and draw the water as hot as it will go. Once I have had my fill of reading, I'll leisurely wash and take my time getting ready for bed. It is one of my favorite activities.

Currently, I have a little nursling who would rather that I didn't ever leave his side, and so keeping up with cleanliness is a rather hurried affair. One thing that I won't give up though, is shaving. I cannot stand taking a bath or shower and not taking time to shave. However, I have been known to hang on to my razor for so long that I might as well be rubbing a fork up and down my legs for all the good a dull razor does!

Today's tip is to evaluate your razor. If it is dull, then toss it and replace it. The next time you go to the store, buy the biggest package of razors that you can find and tuck them into a basket or drawer for future use. Then, every time you replace your shampoo and/or conditioner, get rid of your old razor and pull out a new one. Voila! You will never shave with a dull razor again!

Tuesday, April 26

Christ is Risen Flashmob...

Imagine being in this Lebanese mall when this happened!

Christ is Risen!!

Christ is Risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs,
Bestowing life!

Wednesday, April 20

Tips for Surviving Evening Services with Little Ones...

1. Feed your little ones well and with good, healthy food before church. If a child's tummy is full and they aren't thirsty, their behavior will be a lot better.

2. Limit (or eliminate) television and sweets for several hours before church. I have found that my children tend to act much more calmly if they aren't hopped up on sugar and have been playing rather than vegging out before church.

3. Be positive about going to church. It is hard to go to church at night with little ones after a long day, but children pick up on their parent's attitude. If you are feeling resentful about going to church, then everyone in your family will too!

4. Keep your children close to you. Our church has 21 children and 35 adults. The parents in our church have found that if we insist that our children stay with us and don't play or talk with their friends during services, their behavior is a lot better. We also try to allow them to play together a bit after church so that they do have some time to cultivate friendships.

5. Bring your children to church in their pajamas or bring a bag of pajamas and toothbrushes with you to change them in the bathroom or car. Having them all ready for bed once they get home makes things a lot simpler.

6. If you have a bedtime routine that is important to you and your little ones, try to still do it. When we have church at night, we have bathtime before dinner and stories after we eat... then we head out to church.

7. Don't be afraid to leave church for a little while for a break (though you should check with your priest about the best times to do so). Sometimes a little walk around the building helps to relax children... try to remain in a prayerful mindset though (i.e. no running, screaming, jumping, etc.). It will distract the people praying in the church and it will make it difficult to calm your child down when it is time to return to the sanctuary.

8. Point things out to a wiggly child. There are often many things happening in church that will capture a child's attention: the priest censing, icons on the wall, singing Lord Have Mercy, lighting a candle, etc.

9. Consider a very small toy, book, or coloring page to keep your little one occupied for a few minutes. Icon coloring pages are widely available on the Internet, the Orthodox publishing world has been doing a great job of getting new Orthodox children's books printed, and Anna has been sharing a lot of information on Felt Saints and Holy Week Learning Boxes. You can also purchase learning boxes for church through Orthodox Christian Craft Supply. Please just remember that you want these items to be as quiet as possible.

What are your suggestions for surviving evening services with little ones?

How to Put Together a Traditional Pascha Basket...

This little diagram was originally featured in my father-in-law's church bulletin and then my husband put it in ours. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

Tuesday, April 19

Festal Learning Basket: Pascha...

Pascha, The Feast of Feasts
Christ is Risen, Children!
The Resurrection of Jesus (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 257 - 258)

Set up a Feastday Shelf
Enjoy an Egg Hunt
Eat the yummy treats from your blessed Pascha Basket
Give your little ones special treats and gifts
Wear your Paschal Best all day long
Try saying Christ is Risen! every time you greet someone in person or on the telephone
Practice saying Christ is Risen! in different languages
Wear an egg pin (boys, typically) or necklace (girls, typically)

Monday, April 18

Great and Holy Monday...

.: The Full Paschal Moon:.

Lenten Cleaning: Week Seven...

Tidy Garage

Sweep and Tidy Porches

Plant and Hang Flower Baskets on the Front Porch and Mulch Flower Beds

Paschal Grocery Shopping

Great and Holy Friday


To see the Lenten Cleaning Plan for all of Great Lent, click HERE.

Sunday, April 17

Palm Sunday Chrismations...

A wonderful family of seven was Chrismated at Liturgy today! We are so happy for them and are thrilled that they are part of our parish family! God Grant Them Many Blessed Years!

Palm Sunday...

By raising Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion,
Thou didst confirm the universal resurrection, O Christ God!
Like the children with the palms of victory,
we cry out to Thee , O Vanquisher of death:
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord!

-Troparion of the Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem-

Ten Tips for Holy Week and Pascha...

1. Make participation at the Services a priority.
2. In our homes we should strive to “keep out the world” and enter into the peace, solemnity, and theology of the events of the last days of our Lord.
3. Be sure to read the last chapters of the Holy Gospels that speak of the Passion, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ.
4. If you are visiting another parish and wish to receive Communion, make sure that the priest knows who you are and that you are prepared. This should be done in advance by phone, email, or any other way.
5. Last year’s palms and pussy willows should be placed outside in an area to decay where they will not be disturbed. They are holy and should not be simply thrown out with the garbage.
6. Before venerating Holy Objects, such as the Cross, the Chalice, Icons, or the Winding-Sheet, make sure to wipe off your lipstick or chapstick. Reminder: we do not kiss the face of our Lord, His Mother, or the Saints; in-stead kiss the hands or feet.
7. If you haven’t yet made your Confession during Great Lent, try to make it during the beginning of Holy Week. Speak with your priest to arrange a time.
8. Try to make amends with those we may be upset with or those who are upset with us, so that on Pascha we can joyfully sing, “Let us call brothers, even those that hate us, and forgive all by the Resurrection!”
9. Try to stay after the “Midnight Service” on Pascha morning for the blessing of baskets and festive meal. Let us share in the joy of the Lord’s Resurrection with fellowship and love.
10. During Bright Week, sing or read the Paschal Hours instead of your “normal” morning and evening prayers. Let the joy of praising the Lord’s Resurrection accompany you throughout Bright Week, the Paschal season, and your whole life.

Taken from Fr John's Sunday Bulletin

Friday, April 15

Festal Learning Basket: Holy Week...

Lazarus Saturday
Lazarus (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 227 - 229)

Palm Sunday
The Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem
The Entrance of Jesus into Jerusalm (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 230- 232)

Great and Holy Thursday
The Man and the Vine
The Woman and the Wheat
The Mystical Supper (The Children's Bible Reader, Page 240)

Great and Holy Friday
Great and Holy Friday
Readings for Great and Holy Friday ((The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 242 - 256)

Great and Holy Saturday
Great and Holy Saturday

Bake Lazarakia on Lazarus Saturday
Learn how to make a cross from palms on Palm Sunday
Decorate your icon corners with the blessed palms and pussy willows from church
Burn, bury, or place them outside to decay where they will not be disturbed
Plant Wheat Berries in a pretty basket or pot on Palm Sunday so they'll sprout by Pascha
Bring a few battery operated candles for your little ones to safely hold during the evening services
Prepare your family's Pascha basket for blessing on Pascha
Plan some treats for your children on Pascha (we do an egg hunt and some gifts... it is the Greatest Day of the Year!)
Dye Eggs (traditionally, the reddest eggs you can make!)
Try your hand at making Kulich or Cheese Pascha (An Easy Cheese Pascha recipe coming soon)

Feminine Friday: Inspiration from the Movies...

My favorite movies are set during the 1930's. I really love the fashion, femininity, and elegance of that time period. This past Sunday, I watched Upstairs, Downstairs on Masterpiece Theater and was so inspired! What is your favorite time period in the movies? Do you look for ways to add the style of that time period to your modern, everyday attire? Please tell me that I am not the only one!

Learning Basket: Farms...

Our Farm
A Big Treasury of Little Animals
Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm and The Year at Maple Hill Farm
The Big Red Barn

Set up a Farm Scene with Play Animals
Visit a Farm
Buy Food and Flowers at a Farmer's Market
Try to Spot Tractors and Other Farm Equipment in Action
Make Homemade Butter
Sample Different Dairy Products (sour cream, goat milk, cheese, cream, cottage cheese, skim milk and whole milk, honey butter, buttermilk, and eggs cooked different ways)


Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

Tuesday, April 12

The Sweetest Sound...

Our littlest one said his first word: Mama!

Lenten Cleaning: Week Six...

Launder Spring Bedding

Launder Winter Bedding

Wash Glass Doors and Windows

Clean Car

Paschal Shopping (Outfits, Pascha Baskets, and Egg Hunt)


To see the Lenten Cleaning Plan for all of Great Lent, click HERE.

Monday, April 11

Week of April 10...

1. Purchase new sunglasses... my favorite pair is a $10 Walgreen's buy, but it didn't survive getting stepped on. I'm hoping that I can find the same ones.

2. Plan our first vegetable garden.

3. Start thinking about sandals for the warm weather.

4. Catch up on correspondence.

5. Plan for our Holy Week and Paschal Learning Baskets


Please join me in making a Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in one's life each week without much effort! 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!
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.

Saturday, April 9

Upstairs, Downstairs...

As a child, I can remember my parents popping us into bed in time to tune into the airing of Upstairs, Downstairs. In my teen years, my parents bought the dvds and we all watched the episodes with great interest. Sunday night, PBS brings back Upstairs, Downstairs in three parts, continuing where the series in the 1970's left off:

When the master of 165 Eaton Place, Sir Hallam Holland, carries his wife across the threshold of their new home, Lady Agnes exclaims with pleasure, "What a ghastly old mausoleum!" Neglect has strewn cobwebs everywhere and furred the surfaces with dust. But with a sumptuous renovation and the help of the indomitable housekeeper Rose Buck (Jean Marsh), the iconic address so beloved in the original series Upstairs Downstairs
is soon restored to its former glory.

It's 1936, a tumultuous time in Britain, and within the walls of 165 Eaton Place, characters from an orphanage, a damp Welsh castle, the heart of the British Raj and elsewhere together will face a changing world, not just upstairs and downstairs, but side by side. Written by Heidi Thomas (Cranford, Madame Bovary), Upstairs Downstairs stars co-creators of the original series Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins (Cranford, Bertie and Elizabeth). Also starring are Ed Stoppard (Any Human Heart), Keeley Hawes (Wives and Daughters), and Claire Foy (Little Dorrit).

Remember, you can watch online!

Saint Matthew Passion...


I absolutely love Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev's Saint Matthew Passion and wish that I could find it on cd or mp3. I am hoping that since there was a concert at Saint Vlad's recently, that it will be produced once again. If anyone knows where I can purchase a copy, I would be grateful!

Thursday, April 7

Her Very Own Little Bedroom...

And when she opened the door... she saw...

Her own little cot-bed with the green coverlet on, just inside. And the little square window with the green curtains blowing in the wind, And a yellow pot of nasturtiums on the sill. And the little green chest of drawers with the robin cloth on it. And the little green mirror hanging on the primrose wall, with Milly-Molly-Mandy's own face reflected in it.

And then Milly-Molly-Mandy knew that the little storeroom was to be her very own little bedroom, and she said, "Oh-h-h-h!" in a very hushed voice, as she looked all round her room."
Joyce Lankester Brisley


Sugar Plum and I have been reading The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook recently and have been so enjoying the quaint, wholesome stories. There are a few books that we read over and over, never growing tired of the tales. This is one of them.

Wednesday, April 6

Living and Learning: Rain...

Who Likes Rain?
The Cloud Book
It Looked Like Spilt Milk

Puddle Jumping (if it rains!)
Organize Rain Jackets, Rain Boots, and Umbrellas
Make a Rain Gauge for Your Backyard
Make a Rain Stick


The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

One Misty, Moisty Morning
One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man
Clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment,
And I began to grin,
How do you do?
And how do you do?
And how do you do, again?

Monday, April 4

Lenten Cleaning: Week Five...

Clean Front Door, Sidelight, and DVD Cabinet Glass
Wash Throw Rug

Wipe Down Washer and Dryer
Organize Utility Shelf
Organize Shoe Shelf
Sweep and Wash Floor

Vacuum Steps
Dust Bannister

Dust Loft and Bannister in Hallway
Vacuum Loft and Hallway

Drop Off Recycling
Drop Off Unwanted Items to Goodwill


To see the Lenten Cleaning Plan for all of Great Lent, click HERE.

Sunday, April 3

A Peter Rabbit Tea....

Our favorite local bookstore held a Peter Rabbit Tea today! It was such a treat for the Beatrix Potter fans in our family! I loved the real tea sets at each table... Sugar Plum and Little Man really enjoyed pouring the Apple Tea into their cups all by themselves. I can see more tea parties in our future!

Saturday, April 2

Living and Learning: April...

Saint Mary of Egypt
Palm Sunday
Great and Holy Week
Bright Week

Lenten Cleaning
Meal Planning & Weekly Shopping
Prepare for Pascha
Confession for Father John and Me
Paschal Food
Paschal Clothes
Paschal Baskets, Egg Hunt and Decorations
Begin Indoor Herb Garden
Utilize An Orthodox Kitchen
Find window covering for front door
Potty learning for Little Man
Speech evaluation for Little Man
Research and buy a baby gate for the steps
Plan Garden
Hanging Flower Baskets on Porch and Mulching

Rocking and crawling!

Knights and Dragons

Nighttime when there is an evening church service

Practice Being Still and Quiet during Prayers and Services
Learn the Trisagion Prayers
Festal Learning basket for Palm Sunday and Holy Week
"April Showers Bring May Flowers"
Learning How to Put Away Laundry
Nature Table Scene
Book Basket
Listen to recorded books
Learning How to Draw Books
Saint George
Magnetic Lenten Calender
Puddle Walks
Children's Garden
Holding Candles in Church Carefully (with Adult Supervision)

A Rainbow of Flowers...

This was such a fun project for a dreary, rainy week! We had a bunch of white carnations left over from decorating the cross last Sunday and so we added a little dye in each cup of water to see what would happen. The children we thrilled with the result and now a bunch of rainbow flowers resides on their bedroom windowsill (in un-dyed water, of course!).
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