Wednesday, August 31

Morning Light...

Button has been waking up very early these past few mornings. Though I am not quite ready to face the day, I can't help but enjoy these little moments with my littlest one. Yesterday we ventured out to the porch in the chilly morning air and sat on the porch swing as the sun rose. Today, we saw the sparkly dew on the screens shine in the early morning light. Soon, his teeth will all be in and then my newly walking boy will probably go back to sleeping in until 8. For now, though, I'll appreciate the time that is just for the two of us.

Tuesday, August 30

Our Weekly Routine...

Along with our daily rhythm, I am hoping to follow a weekly one with the little ones. It is going to be difficult for us to have the same "drop everything and paint" attitude that we have had in the past with kindergarten lesson plans to follow and new places to be at certain times. With that in mind, I have come up with a a weekly rhythm I hope will help us find time to do all of the fun things that we enjoy each week.

Sunday: Family Nature Walk
Monday: Baking
Tuesday: Gardening and Wild Bird Care
Wednesday: Learning Basket
Thursday: Adventure
Friday: Arts and Crafts
Saturday: Library

Monday, August 29

Our Daily Rhythm...

When I first came home from the hospital after having had our little girl, I knew that I needed to have some sort of order to my day. I am, by nature, someone who waits until the last minute to do things and structure is one way that I can try to combat that tenancy.

Now that we have three children, a routine or rhythm to our day is necessary. I have found that our little ones seem to thrive on knowing what comes next in their day (though there is always room for fun surprises and little adventures!). Through the years, our routine has varied depending on what is happening in our life, and the big change of having a kindergartener who is learning at home has necessitated a revision to our routine. I spend lots of time this summer watching my children and thinking about how I want our days to flow, what I want to accomplish, and what I'd like the children to experience each day. With school starting on September first, we are going to dive right into our routine today. We are also going to have a speech class for Little Man twice a week starting the week of September 12th... so getting out of the house and getting there on time will probably be a bit of a challenge at first. I am sure that this routine will be tweaked here and there as the days progress. Hopefully though, it will help keep us on track!


  • Breakfast, Tidy the Kitchen, Laundry, Straighten the Bedrooms
  • Dress and Morning Prayers
  • Morning Walk or Off to Little Man's Speech Class
  • Morning Reading and Second Breakfast
  • School
  • Lunch, Tidy the Kitchen, Clean Up Messes
  • Afternoon Reading
  • Naptime
  • Afternoon Tea and Play
  • Cleaning
  • Dinner, Tidy the Kitchen, Clean Up Messes
  • Bathtime and Pajamas
  • Evening Reading
  • Prayers
  • Prepare for the Next Day

Sunday, August 28

Scenes After the Hurricane...

We went out for a drive this morning to check on the church and found that Irene's damage was pretty minimal. There were a lot of downed branches and several toppled trees. The only flooding we saw was very near the ocean and on side streets. Since many of the buildings are built a bit higher there, I think that they avoided damage. The church was fine (we expected at least some damage since it is so close to the water!) and all of the homes in our area look fine too! Glory to God!

Festal Learning Basket: The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist...

Commemorated August 29th

Elizabeth and Zechariah (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 162 - 163)
Mary Visits Elizabeth (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 166)
The Birth of John (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 167 -168)
John the Baptist (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 177)
The Baptism of Jesus (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 178 - 179)
Jesus and John (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 192 - 193)

Try to eat all of your food in bowls and avoid plates and platters
Avoid eating round foods (apples, grapes, etc.)
Enjoy treats made from honey (honey sticks, a spoonful of honey in your tea or on your cereal, etc.)
Make wool roving or pipe cleaner honeybees to decorate your feastday table
Light a beeswax candle at dinnertime
Use modeling beeswax to create something special


Please Note: I listed all of the passages regarding Saint John the Baptist in The Children's Bible Reader. If you are limited on time (or attention span!), the passage entitled Jesus and John is the one that corresponds to this feast.

Saturday, August 27

Prayers in Times of Storms...

O Lord Who summons the waters of the sea and again by Thine almighty power art able of hold them back and illumine all that is under the heavens, in repentance we pray Thee, hearken and, out of love for mankind have mercy.

Lord have mercy. (3x)

As the eyes of a servant look unto the hand of his master, so do our eyes look with faith unto Thee, O our God, until Thou hast compassion on us. Therefore, destroy us not with immeasurable rains and destructive winds but mercifully look upon us with good weather, and compassionately have mercy.

Lord have mercy. (3x)

Remember not our transgressions, O Master, for if Thou does consider the lawless, no one will be able to stand before Thee. But let Thy compassions quickly go before us, O Lord, for we have become exceedingly poor. Let not bad weather corrupt us, neither let it destroy our homes and towns, we pray Thee, quickly hear us and have mercy.

Lord have mercy. (3x)

O Lord let no watery storms drown us, and let it not ravage the earth and destroy us. But as Thou art good, do Thou direct the rushing of the water, and, as Thou art mighty, do Thou command that it become a moderate course with healthful air, as Thou art rich in mercies, with broken hearts we pray Thee, hear us and have mercy.

Lord have mercy. (3x)

Hear us, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth, and of those who are far off upon the sea and in the air; and show mercy, show mercy, O Master, upon us sinners, and be merciful unto us. For Thou art a merciful God and lovest mankind, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Also the following Psalms may be recited: Psalm. 50 (Have mercy on me) Psalm. 101 (O Lord hear my prayer), and Psalm. 129 (Out of the depths)

Watching the Rain...

The storm hasn't arrived yet, but it sure is wild out there already! It has been windy and rainy all day with big gusts of wind and heavy downpours at times. I am so thankful that we still have power... it meant a nice breakfast (pancakes), a good lunch (burritos and chili cheese dip), and a comfortable nap for the little ones with the fans on.

How are you fairing?

Friday, August 26

Hurricane Warning...

.:Eating dinner on the counter:.

Our house has been a flurry of activity as we prepare to be hit by Hurricane Irene in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Father John has cancelled church (something he is loath to do!), the gas tank is full, and the shopping, laundry, and dishes are done. The children have had their baths (just in case!) and everything that could possibly take flight has been stowed in the garage.

Now, we wait.

Father John and I have been furtively listening to the radio, watching the news, and repeatedly clicking on We are trying to keep things light around the little ones, but it is the talk of the town so to speak. I think that they kind of think it is a game and I hope that we can keep that atmosphere on Sunday.

I think that it is inevitable that we will loose power (and internet... Sob!) within minutes of the storm hitting, so it may be awhile before I can post! Our prayers are with everyone in Hurricane Irene's path.

Tuesday, August 23

Today's Excitement...

Within an hour, we had an earthquake (we are all okay!), had to chase a snake out of the garage, and had a cement truck bring a load of cement to our neighbor (who is building a horseshoe court)... lots of thrills for three little people I know!

Thanks for all of the Pinterest love!

The Pillow Saga...

So, we have no throw pillows on our vast brown couches. And we haven't for months. With three children, unmentionable things happened to each of them at different time and they didn't survive the washing machine. I have been looking for pillows that I like around town, but haven't found much. Father John has requested that they have removable covers that can be washed and apparently, those are few and far between. We are planning our first family vacation in four years (Hooray!) and we have decided that the souvenir we want to come home with is pillows. I am leaning towards Pottery Barn since we have several blankets from there and I have loved the durability. My hope is that they will survive daily use by our family and live to tell the tale. I really want to create a cozy atmosphere this autumn and winter with a comfortable couch with soft pillows and warm throws.

Monday, August 22

Joining the Masses...

After hemming and hawing for awhile, I finally joined Pinterest! I am still finding my way around, but I can tell that this is going to be a lot of fun! If you are pinning, I'd love to see your boards!

Saturday, August 20

Farmer's Market...

We took the trek to a farmer's market near the beach this morning and had a lovely time. We only bought some flowers, apples, and honey sticks, but we plan to go back next Saturday for milk... the best milk you've ever tasted! Oh, and yogurt from the same wonderful cows (or moos as we sometimes call them!). The dairy that sells it was all sold out by the time that we arrived, but we let them know how much we like their products. The farmer smiled and told the children that he would tell the cows! I did forget my string bags for our purchases and it would have been nice to have the stroller (Button was in the Ergo), so I'll have to remember that for next time. It is sad that this was our fist farmer's market of the season, but we live in an area where a lot of homes have little stands in their front yards for people to buy from and then there are a few farms that are nearby. I have to admit that my favorite ones are the ones that sell flowers!

Friday, August 19

A Wedding...

May God Grant the Servants of God Lee Gregory and Jamalya Many Blessed Years!

Tuesday, August 16


One year since little Button's baptism!

I served a festive dinner of steak, potatoes, and peas with peach and blueberry crisp and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top for dessert! Yum!


We are working on adding more iron to our little one's diet. Any suggestions? I have the idea of a smoothie that incorporates spinach, but your thoughts are most welcome. Remember, he has only six teeth to chew with.

Summer Pascha...

.:Rainbow After the Storm:.

.:Blessed Flowers:.

.:Blooming Morning Glories:.

Dormition was not an easy day for our family (though the by the day's end we had the best possible outcome), but we did have a wonderful morning. We spotted a rainbow after a huge downpour after church on Sunday night! Sugar Plum found it just before the service started, which was so exciting for her! We brought a pretty bouquet of flowers to Liturgy to be blessed. We also noticed that there were morning glories blooming in the grass around the church. Father John treated us to burgers, fries, and shakes at a local burger joint before we headed home. The afternoon and evening were challenging, but I think that we made the most of the! feast!

Monday, August 15

Joyous Feast!

In giving birth thou dist preserve thy virginity,
In falling asleep thou didst not forsake the world, O Theotokos.
Thou was translated to life, O Mother of Life,
And by Thy prayers, thou deliverest our souls from death.

Sunday, August 14

Festal Learning Basket: Dormition...

Commemorated August 15th

Purchase flowers to be blessed at Liturgy
Display an icon of the feast and blessed flowers on your table or a feastday shelf
Serve special foods to help break the fast. Our family is planning bacon and eggs for brunch!
Wear the color blue to Liturgy
Sing the Troparion of the feast before meals and during your morning and evening prayers
Make flowers out of different shades of blue tissue paper to decorate your icon corner or feastday table

Saturday, August 13


Sugar Plum and Little Man's godparents sent zinnia seeds as part of their Pascha gift to them this year. We planted the seeds at the end of June and now - just in time for Dormition - they are blooming! They are such cheerful little flowers, aren't they?

Getting Ready for School...

We've ordered our curriculum, gotten a backpack and art supplies, and now I am just getting our nest ready for the start of school on September 1st. I took a few minutes yesterday to sand our crayon caddy a bit to freshen it up. Sugar Plum sealed it with some beeswax polish and in a few days we'll be filling it up with new pencils, crayons, markers, glue, and scissors. I'll post a bit on what we have planned for Sugar Plum and Little Man. I know that it will be a fun year!

Thursday, August 11

On My Bedside Table...

After weeks of feeling like I had nothing to read or watch on television, I am drowning now! I have Frontier House, Joy in the Morning, Mrs. Minever,Tom's Midnight Garden, and Diary of a Provincial Lady languishing in my library basket while I devour two much anticipated reads that just landed on my doorstep, Playful Learning and The Rhythm of the Family! I am also really longing to re-read Simplicity Parenting soon. I need to finish up Tom and Mrs. Minever before I work on anything else though.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, August 9

Festal Learning Basket: Saint Herman of Alaska...

Commemorated August 9th and December 13th


North Star: Saint Herman of Alaska
The Tumbled Stone
Saint Herman of Alaska

Serve Salmon for Dinner - it is Delicious Grilled!

Hang an Icon of the Mother of God on Your Porch or in the Garden to Remember the Miracle of Saint Herman saving Spruce Island from a Tidal Wave

Spend Some Time Stargazing to See if You Can Spot the North Star

Make Russian Teacakes for a Sweet Treat to Share with Friends!

Take a Nature Walk to find Shells, Rocks, and Driftwood to Display on Your Nature Table Along with an Icon of Saint Herman

Bring a little potted spruce (or any other evergreen) into the house


Joyful North Star of the Church of Christ,
Guiding all people to the Heavenly Kingdom;
Teacher and apostle of the True Faith;
Intercessor and defender of the oppressed;
Adornment of the Orthodox adornment of the Orthodox Church in America:
Blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
Pray to our Lord Jesus Christ
For the salvation of our souls!

Monday, August 8

Lavender Farm...

After finding out about a Lavender Farm twenty minutes away from us several years ago, we finally searched it out and visited today. Unfortunately the lavender blooms Late May and into June in our area, so there was no lavender to pick and bring home. This farm was gorgeous though! There was an old-fashioned swing to try, a secret trail through the woods and lots and lots of other gardens to explore. I wish that I could have captured the scent of the air at the farm... unbelievably fragrant! It is so nice to find beautiful places in our area that will become a wonderful place for family visits as the years go by.

Sunday, August 7

Carousel Rides...

We celebrated getting better with carousel rides! It was so wonderful to be outside again!


Photo from Jordanville Monastery on the Feast of the Holy Apostle Luke

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Saturday, August 6

Joyous Feast!

Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God,
revealing Thy glory to Thy disciples as far as they could bear it.
Let Thine everlasting Light also shine upon us sinners,
through the prayers of the Theotokos.
O Giver of Light, glory to Thee!

Friday, August 5

Festal Learning Basket: Transfiguration...

Commemorated August 6th

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
God shows Who Jesus Is (The Children's Bible Reader, Pages 218 - 219)

Take a trip to the market to purchase grapes (and even other fruits) to be blessed after Liturgy. Purchase as many different varieties of grapes as you can (last year we found Green, Red, Champagne, and Midnight Beauty - all seedless) and have the children wash them and arrange them in a basket. If you have enough baskets for each child, allow them to bring their own basket of grapes to church.

Wear white to Liturgy. If you don't have an entire white outfit (we don't!), don a white sweater, shirt, or even a hair bow!

Sing the Troparion of the Feast for the prayer before meals.

Display the Transfiguration Icon on your feastday shelf or table. If you don't have one, print a coloring page and color it in!

Serve a special meal. Feature the grapes and other fruits that were blessed at Liturgy. Use your best linens and dishes. Have the children create a special centerpiece.

If possible, do something special together: go to the park, take a trip to the beach, go as a family to the playground, rent a family movie, etc.


Talking with Children About the Feast of Transfiguration

The Orthodox Church celebrates many special feast days throughout the year. One of the very special ones falls on August 6/19 and is called the Transfiguration of Our Lord. "Transfiguration" is a long word that tells us about something wonderful but hard to understand. To be transfigured means to be changed or glorified; on this day when Jesus was transfigured He showed Himself as God to three of His friends. How did He do that? He let them see Him changed, shining with light. After a little while He looked the same as before, but they still understood better Who He was. What a beautiful day that was!

On that day Jesus wanted to go up on a mountain to pray. It was called Mount Tabor. Jesus had 12 disciples, but He only chose three to go with Him: Peter, James and John. Why do you suppose that He didn't take all of His disciples with Him? Maybe Jesus didn't think that Judas should see Him in His divine glory, because Judas later was going to go to the people who wanted to kill Jesus and ask for money to show them where Jesus was. All the same, Jesus loved Judas and didn't want to leave him alone at the bottom of the mountain, so He left some of the other disciples to stay behind with him.

Have you ever climbed a mountain? Peter, John and James had a long climb as they went up the mountain with Jesus. They must have been tired! But with Jesus leading the way maybe they were so excited that they didn't even notice. What do you suppose they were thinking as they climbed higher and higher? They must have known something really special was going to happen!

They were all dusty when they got to the top, but they didn't care. Jesus began to pray. As He prayed, the way He looked changed. The disciples could hardly believe their eyes! The face and clothes of Jesus shone brighter than the sun. Have you ever looked up at the sun? You know how hard it is to look at the sun when it is shining; you have to quickly look away or your eyes will hurt. Jesus was even brighter than this. Maybe you wonder how this could possibly be? Because Jesus is God, He wasn't just FILLED with light, He IS Light! The disciples had to cover their eyes. Some icons even show them falling over and losing their sandals because they were so surprised at what they saw.

That was not all that happened. When they opened their eyes a little, Peter, James and John saw two holy men were talking with Jesus. They recognized Moses and Elijah and hardly knew what to think: Moses had been dead for a very long, time and Elijah had been taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot. What were they doing there on the mountain? The Gospels tell us that they were talking to Jesus about His death, which would bring all men the salvation they needed. Peter was so happy he didn't know what to say. He just knew he wanted to stay right where he was with Jesus, Moses and Elijah. So he said, "Let's make three little houses here..." But as he said this a big cloud came and covered them all. The disciples couldn't see anything and were afraid. They didn't know what was happening. Then they heard a voice coming out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him." The cloud disappeared and Jesus was alone.

So much happened that day; on the way down the mountain, the disciples must have been very quiet. What they saw was so special, Jesus told them not to tell anyone about it until after He rose from the dead. Were you ever asked to keep a secret? This was a very beautiful secret!

::from Life Transfigured: A Journal of Orthodox Nuns, Vol. 22, No. 2, Summer 1990, pp. 15-16. (The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, P.A.)::
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