Wednesday, September 30


Autumn...  the year's last, loveliest smile."

William Cullen Bryant

Tuesday, September 29

The Things We Do: September...

Homeschooling is not just about our schoolbooks!  We also have an abundance of other activities that we take part in.  This school year, I plan to list all of the things that we participate in during the month that exceeds our book work.  

Akathist for the Church New Year
Nativity of the Mother of God
Elevation of the Cross 
Sang in the Choir and Served in the Altar
Attended Church School Classes
Party to Celebrate Ordination Anniversaries for Fathers Daniel and Steven

Letter Writing 
Postcard Writing
Leaf Rubbings
Violin Lessons and Practice
Art Classes
Made Bracelets with Name and Phone Number
Knit a Blanket (Sugar Plum)
Created with a Spirograph
Practiced New Hairstyles (Sugar Plum)
Haircuts by Papa (Boys)
Painted Wooden Toys 
Viewed Reproductions of Andy Warhol's Art at Local Gallery

Out and About
Visited Several Seaside Towns
Spent Time at the Boardwalk
Overnight Visit to See Grandfather, Grandpapa, Grandmama, Aunties, and Cousins
Farmers' Markets
Trip to IKEA
Trip to the Mall
Attended an Outdoor Performance of The Taming of the Shrew 
Made Friends with Neighborhood Girl
Speech Therapy (Little Man)
Speech Therapy Evaluation (Button)
Chose a Mum for the Porch at the Nursery
Trip to National Park (using 4th Grade Park Pass Voucher)
Several Ice Cream Dates with Friends
Local Jazz Festival
Dinner Party with Father Daniel and Matushka Dunia
Enjoyed Weekend Guests
Sneaker Shopping
Apple Picking
Autumn Festival

Entertainment and Technology
Video Chat with Best Friend (Sugar Plum) 
Watched Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella

Sports and Games
Basketball (with Papa and church friends)
Swimming in Pool
Swimming in the Ocean
Used Hose to Wash Car
Played Soccer (with Church Friends)
Played Multiple Games of Chess
Played Manhunt 
Multiple Trips to the Playground 
Gym Class at the Local University 
Learned How to Throw and Catch a Football 

Climbed Trees
Observed Stars
Examined Toads, Bats, Crickets, a Praying Mantis, and Frogs
Created Habitat for Frogs and Toads
Inspected Caterpillar
Listened to Weekly Nature Show on NPR 
Played in the Pouring Rain
Observed Wild Horses
Viewws Supermoon Eclipse

Note:  To compile this month's list, I simply jotting down the activities we did as a family and the things that the children wanted to do each day. Nothing was planned in advance and it really encouraged me to see all that we accomplished. October is right around the corner... why don't you try creating a Things We Do list for your family?

Monday, September 28

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...

Church in the Home
This Thursday is the Feast of Protection of the Mother of God.  There will be services to attend and we'll all try to wear blue for the feast.  We'll also read one of our favorite books, The Story of Mary, the Mother of God.  

I happened to stumble upon a Bill Moyer episode profiling Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon.  I've been enjoying Jane Kenyon's poetry of late and it was nice to see what she looks like and hear her voice.

On My Needles
I've been in a bit of a knitting rut of late.  Something made me need to get out the needles and yarn this past Friday night, and so I cast onto a picot-edge washcloth.  It was a satisfying knit and the children have already enjoyed their first bath with it.

Kitchen, Pantry, Table
Brin Wisdom's Fall Apple Cake showed up in my feed just as I had to make a decision about what dessert to make for a dinner party that we were attending that night.  This cake is made from simple ingredients and takes very little time to assemble.  It was a big hit at the party (lots of requests for the recipe!) and was very delicious the next day with a mug of tea.  

One of our parishioners has a daughter-in-law who tells the sweetest (free!) stories for little people.  Have a look at her website and see what I mean!

Sunday, September 27


Little Man: Button, when you ask me where your helmet is and I say, "that's not my concern," what does that mean?

Button (without missing a beat): Sin.

Saturday, September 26

Little Chanter...

Our daughter chanted the verses for O Lord I Call and the Stichera for the Apostica for the first time tonight! 

Apple Picking...


Stayman and Fuji apples were in season at our orchard today and we picked a peck.  Some will be enjoyed by us and some will go to our mission's founding priest and matushka. 

Fall Festival Fun...


Thursday, September 24



We began our new school year in August so that we could play hooky during the glorious month of October.  It is hard to believe that we only have a week and a half until our break begins!

In the meantime, we are enjoying the wonderful autumnal weather we've been having here.  I broke out my trusty corduroy skirt and brogues for the first time today.  Autumn dressing is, by far, my favorite season for clothing.  It is nice to already have everything I need to swing right into cooler weather.  Of course, the same cannot be said for the little weeds that we call children.  It's just about time to go up into the attic to see what we have and figure out what we'll need for the colder months.

The children and I are excitedly looking forward to a trip to the apple orchard on Saturday.  One of our favorite ways to mark change of seasons is to venture to different farms and orchards to pick fruits.  Though our favorite apple orchard is quite is a hike, we always have a lovely time and are so glad that we went.        


Late September Beach...


We went to the beach with our dinner and wood for a bonfire, but it was so windy that it was hard to breathe, so we scurried back to the car and quickly hurried home with three very disappointed children.  We'll try again another day! 

Monday, September 21

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...

Jane Kenyon's poetry was recommended to me this weekend and I was able to read a little of her work in Otherwise, a collection of her poems that were published posthumously.  Often, her poems are about domestic life and nature and I look forward to enjoying more of her work.

In the Garden
For the next few weeks, the children and I are planning to choose different daffodil bulbs on our weekly shopping trip for planting in November.  We have two or three varieties that we planted last autumn and are hoping to add a few more.  Spring will be glorious at the rectory.  We chose a package of 20 bulbs of Daffodil Replete for this week's selection.

I very much enjoyed watching Arthur and George on Masterpiece these past three weeks.  It was a bit suspenseful, but very enjoyable.  Though the first season is already complete, the three episodes can be viewed on the Masterpiece website for the time being.

Kitchen, Pantry, Table
Last week, Ina Garten posted her favorite recipes for bar cookies on her Facebook page last week.  I made blondies last Tuesday and plan to try her brownie recipe this week.  You can never go wrong with Ina!

In Season
It's almost apple time in our neck of the woods.  We take a trip to an orchard not far from our home for u-pick apples, the most delicious apple cider doughnuts, and a fun autumn festival with children's activities.  We look forward to going every year!    

Sunday, September 20

Sweet, Sweet Boy...

I found a video of our middle son (just a few weeks before he became a big brother!) trying to say his big sister's name...  My heart!

Living in the Body...

Going to church for worship is one element in living life as a Christian.  Being church means making an active contribution to the Church's life, being a vital organ in a living body.  

The first step in being church is being connected to others in our parish by:
  • Cultivating Community in "the fellowship of the Holy spirit."  Get to know one another in a more than casual way.
  • Treating others as brothers and sisters in the family of God in Christ.  Give others the time and attention we would give to our blood relatives.
  • "Above all, clothing yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Colossians 3:14).
We nurture the relationships in the parish when we:   
  • Share Our Lives - Authentic fellowship calls for more than coffee-hour courtesies.  Grow to the stage when you can share your troubles as well.  
  • Learn Together - Take part in adult formation, retreats, or workshops to encourage others as well as to improve our own spiritual life.
  • Work Together - Join in parish projects or committees to support the work of others as well as to make our own contribution.  "So then, whenever  we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith" (Galatians 6:10).  
  • Encourage Each Other - By supporting their efforts, praying for their concerns, and building them up in the eyes of others.  "Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor" (Romans 12:10).
  • Bear One Another's Burdens - Be accepting of the weaker community members.  There is no "perfect" church:  every parish is made up of "saints" who are sinners, each with their own weaknesses and infirmities.  "Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
  • Admonish One Another - Do not shrink from confronting "family members" who are hurting others by  promoting conflicts, pettiness, and legalism.  "My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit, should restore such a one in spirit of gentleness.  Take care that you yourself are not tempted" (Galatians 6:1).
  • Protect the Unity of the Church - by avoiding gossip or cliques, and speaking ill of others.
  • Restore Broken Relationships - when they occur by admitting our faults.  No project or program is worth harming the family's inner life.  "If anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive" (Colossians 3:13).
From Father John's Bulletin

Saturday, September 19


Lou Maytree's height and stillness made her look like a statue.  Her fair hair and her white skin's purity contrasted with the red she wore year-round to cheer the scene."

Annie Dillard

Semi-Sweet Treats...

A few weeks ago, we found ourselves in a little local ice cream store for the first time.  The special thing about this tiny shop is that the ice cream is made from the milk of local Jersey cows and the taste is simply amazing!  On the day we visited, the special flavor du jour was coffee ice cream with mini chocolate chips and on a whim, I tried it.  Oh my!  It is my new favorite treat!  

We went back today for a little mid-day dessert, and though the coffee chip wasn't available, it was easy to recreate.  I admit that I do have a tiny pint of coffee ice cream tucked into the freezer and a bag of mini chocolate chips in the pantry for a little after bedtime treat for one night this week! 

Friday, September 18

The Beach in September...


The children and I took our visiting friends to see the ocean today!  The water was calm and warm and shallow enough that the little ones were able to swim a little bit.  September is truly the best time to be at the seaside.  The water is glorious, the crowds are gone, and it's not too hot.   

Thursday, September 17

This Week's Menu...


B: Coffee Hour
L: Sandwiches, Pickles, and Chips
D:  Leftovers

B:  Liturgy
L:  Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwiches and Chips
D:  Leftovers

B:  Eggs and Bacon
L:  Bagel Sandwiches
D:  Salad with Grilled Chicken

B:  Oatmeal and Bananas

L:  Spaghetti and apple slices
D:  Tuna Sandwiches and Chips

B:  Eggs and Bacon
L:  Chick-fil-a

D:  Baked Ziti, Meatballs, and Salad
B:  Apple Pie Oatmeal

L:  Grilled Salmon, Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Salad
D:  Dinner Out with Friends

B:  Eggs and Bacon

L:  Salad with Grilled Chicken
D:  Church Supper of Pizza and Salad  
Ina Garten's Blondie Cookie Bars

Dish of Shepherd's Pie, Bowl of Blackberries, and Platter of Sliced Mozzarella Cheese for Coffee Hour

Wednesday, September 16

Clean Up, Clean Up...


  I've been slowly cleaning my way through the house these past few days in preparation for a visit from dear friends this weekend. As I tidy, I've been tucking little autumnal hints into nooks and crannies around our home.  I was so happy to find a pretty beeswax candle in the shape of a pumpkin in our local health food store on Saturday afternoon.  It's a cheerful addition to our table and I'm looking forward to the next rainy day to light it for the first time.  I only have a little more cleaning and a bit of cooking to do tomorrow before our friends arrive and then the weekend can begin!  It will be fun to show them some of our favorite spots around here!    

Monday, September 14

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...

 Church in the Home
Today is another Twelve Great Feast, The Elevation of the Cross.  Father John made Litya loaves for Great Vespers last night and also decorated the Cross with carnations.  It was also the 63rd Ordination Anniversary for our Pastor Emeritus, Father Daniel.  Such a special day!

Keeping Home
With September nearly halfway over and cooler weather on the way, I have finally placed an order for a new tea kettle.  The lid's knob on our last one broke and it was so difficult to use that I gave in and recycled it.  It will be nice to have our new one!

Disney's live action Cinderella is being released tomorrow...  Sugar Plum and I can't wait!

I am starting to plan my autumn wardrobe (despite the summery temps forecast this week).  I tend to be a plain dresser who relies on the same outfits over and over, so last autumn I spiced things up with a few different pairs of dangly earrings.  Now that the earrings have become part of my everyday attire, I want to start accessorizing daily with cowls, scarves, and shawls to add a bit of pizzazz.  I already have a few favorites...  I just have to wear them!

Kitchen, Pantry, Table
One of our favorite breakfasts this time of year is Apple Pie Oatmeal.  It is easy to make lenten by using water rather than milk, and we tend not to brulee the top. 

Sunday, September 13


I was holding Button (age 5) and couldn't resist taking a small nibble from his upper arm (because I was born a Straut). In retaliation, he bit my shoulder (because Straut blood runs through his veins) and I said, jesting, "No, no, no. You don't bite your mama." He replied, "But you bited me and the Lord says not to bite people!" 

Have you ever read anything about that in the Scriptures? I sure haven't!

Saturday, September 12


There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it."

                                                                                                        Gustave Flaubert

Friday, September 11

This Week's Menu...

B: Coffee Hour
L: Leftovers
D: Dinner with Friends

B: Cold Cereal and Fruit
L: Salad with Roasted Chicken, cucumbers, apples, Monterey Jack Cheese and Honey Vanilla Yogurt
D:  Chicken Quesadilla Roll-Ups with Sour Cream

B:  Cold Cereal and Fruit
L:  Hot Dogs and Cheeseburgers on the Grill, Chips, and Pickles
D:  Leftovers

B:  Toast and fruit
L:  Tuna Salad Sandwiches on Toast, Pickles, and Chips
D:  Leftovers

B:  Bagels and Leftover Plumcot Torte
L:  Sausage, Yogurt, Fruit, and Green Salad
D:  Shepherd's Pie, Peas, and Cranberry Sauce

B:  Apple Pie Oatmeal
L:  Mac and Cheese (or spaghetti with tomato sauce) and veggies
D:  Peanut Butter and Jam, Chips, and ruit

B:  Pancakes and Bacon
L:  Leftovers
D:   Ham Sandwiches, Chips, and Pickles


Plumcot and Blueberry Torte

Pinwheel Sandwiches and Honeydew Melon for Coffee Hour

Thursday, September 10

Signs of Late Summer...


I accidentally came upon an almanac website for our area (connected to NPR) that is an absolute goldmine for nature information for our location.  The children and I listened to two radio shows this morning before school and compiled a list of Signs of Late Summer to identify for in our woods and our favorite beaches. I plan on using this nature show often as part of our science curriculum.  I wish that I had found this resource sooner! 

Signs of Late Summer 
  golden cornstalks
warm ocean swims
twilight beach bonfires
ruby-throated hummingbirds
red-tailed hawks
sawhett owls
peregrine falcons
northern bobwhite quails
white ibis
devil's walking stick
poke weed
trumpet vine
partridge pea
morning glories
dune mallows
jerusalem artichoke
joe pye weed
purple aster
golden rod
monarch butterflies
black swallowtails
spice bush swallowtails
buck-eye butterfly
eastern blue
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