April 14, 2015


Bright Monday after Liturgy...everyone in our family...there are 20, soon to be 21 in 4 more months!
One of the boys in my art class gave me a pomegranate seedling.  It's been growing, from 4 leaves to 8 leaves right now.
I'm knitting a sweater for the baby...
 Olivia mowed the lawn with help from Dad.
 All ready to hunt for eggs hidden in the backyard...
 The mothers of little ones, testing their arm strength.  They tied...and it was intense.
Here is a picture of me...21 weeks along!

March 26, 2015

Eggs from yarn!

We made eggs to decorate the light above our dining room table, just in time for Pascha - or Easter.  Basically, we used this tutorial:, but instead of using round balloons, we bought water balloons.  I poured half a cup of Elmer's school glue into an old plastic container and half a cup of water and then measured about 6-7 yards of yarn (I used 100% cotton yarn Sugar n Cream) for each one, and set the yarn in the container to soak up the gluey stuff.  Then, tied the end to the end of the balloon to anchor it (if it wasn't so slippery I'd omit this step, because getting the balloon out is hard, I ended up cutting the yarn and balloon off a few).  Let it dry outside, in the sunshine, or inside hanging, with newspaper under, because it will drip.  Then the next day, you can pop the balloon!  And voila! 
When I was young, we made these in elementary school and our class hung them on the school Christmas tree.  I've also seen a BIG balloon wrapped in yarn, and then made as a "lamp shade." There are so many neat ideas out there!
Also, we planted wheat grass 5 days ago...and look how fast it's growing! 
I really love teaching art class.  For one of the classes, I brought fresh flowers and put them in several different vases on the tables and the students used pencil to draw it and then watercolor paints.
 Below, this boy, wanted to create a modern looking flower:
It's definitely spring here in Ohio, still cool weather, but our grass is finally starting to turn green!

March 19, 2015

Big bowl of pho

Yesterday was St. Oliva's day.  Olivia's name's day!  We went to a Vietnamese restaurant and got spring rolls (had mushrooms, lettuce, cilantro, mint and rice noodles in it) with a peanut sauce, and also pho...
Actually this is only the medium size bowl of mushroom pho...our first time having pho, which is a Vietnamese rice noodle soup, with green onions and cilantro and mung beans on the side, which I piled onto mine.  Yum.
Hannah got bamboo shoots in hers, too, she said it tasted like wood, if it weren't for that, she would've loved it.
Rob finished his whole bowl (he got medium)!  I got a small bowl, which I finished, too, but it was plenty for me. 
We'll be back for more, it was a nice way to celebrate.

March 6, 2015

My art classes

In January I started teaching art classes.  For this class on still life painting, I brought real fruit in...after, the kids gladly ate it up.
I love teaching these children, between the 3 classes, I have only 13 students right now, so the class size is small, which is wonderful.  They are so creative, just need me to provide inspiration and art materials, and they go...

February 23, 2015

Blessed Lent

Still very cold here and everything is covered in snow.  It makes me realize how God is in charge of all nature, the beauty of it, and in this time and age when we think we can control everything, it's a reminder - we can't.

"He is my Helper and Protector, and has become
my salvation. This is my God and I will glorify Him. My
father's God and I will exalt Him. For gloriously has
He been glorified.
" (Exodus 15:2,1; Psalm 117:14)

This week, each evening, we read the canon written by St. Andrew of Crete.  It's very repentant and beautiful, many references to the Old Testament:

We've stocked up on nuts, grapes, clementines, plums, beets, onions, potatoes, avocados, lettuce...and are trying to eat simply during Lent.  Do you have any favorite vegan recipes to share?

February 16, 2015

Sunday school

Yesterday in Sunday school, we played 2 games, first one I asked the kids one by one to pick a letter and I filled in the blanks:          _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _  _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _*

Then,we filled in the prayer with the correct words:

"Now lettest thou thy servant depart in_____, O Master, according to thy word:
For mine _____ have seen thy _________,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all ______;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."  (from Luke 2:29-32)
For next week, we are going to focus on the prayer of St. Ephraim, as we are ready for Great Lent:
O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition and vain talking, grant me not.
But a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love, bestow upon me, thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.
*Answers:  Prayer of Saint Symeon,  peace, eyes, salvation, people

February 2, 2015

Divine Liturgy checklist for kids

O "Blessed is the Kingdom."  Cross yourself and bow.
O  The Great Litany. How many petitions are there?  ___  Sing "Lord Have Mercy" along with the choir.
O  The First Antiphon.  Psalm 102, "Bless the Lord, O My Soul."
O  The Little Litany.  How many petitions are there?  ___  Cross yourself when you hear "Most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary."
O  The Second Antiphon.  It starts with "Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit," then Psalm 145, "Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord in my life."  How does the 2nd part start?  ______________________________
O  The Little Litany.  How many petitions are there?  ___  Sing "Lord Have Mercy" along with the choir.
O  The Third Antiphon.  "In Thy kingdom remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom" from Luke 23:42, followed by 12 verses, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" from Matthew 5:1-12.
O "Holy God."  Cross yourself and touch the floor each time you hear "Holy God!  Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal!"
O The Epistle.  What book is being read today? __________________________
O The Gospel.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet during the Gospel.  Listen for the priest or deacon to tell you what Gospel is being read.  Today it is from __________________
O The Litany of Fervent Supplication.  Cross yourself when you hear different people being mentioned:  The Metropolitan and bishops, the president, and even the names of people you know!  Sing along with the choir.
O The Litany for the Catechumens.  Are there any Catechumens in your church?  Pray for them during this Litany!
O Hymn of the Entrance.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet.  Sing "The Cherubic Hymn" along with the choir.  Watch for the priest and servers to come out of the altar.  Do you see what the priest is carrying?  He is holding the chalice and diskos that have our gifts of bread and wine in them.
O The Litany of Supplication.  How many petitions are there?  ___ Sing "Lord Have Mercy" with the choir.
O The Creed.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet.  Chant "I believe..." with everyone.
O The Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer.  This is a very solemn part of the Divine Liturgy.  Try to stand very still and be very quiet during this part of the service.
O The Hymn to the Theotokos.  Sing "It is truly meet" along with the choir.
O The Litany Before the Lord's Prayer.  How many petitions are there?  ___
O The Lord's Prayer.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet.  Sing "Our Father."
O Prayers Before Communion.  Time to line up for Communion, stand still, cross your hands over your chest.
O The Litany of Thanksgiving.  How many petitions are there?  ___
O The Prayer Before the Ambo.  This is the prayer when the priest comes out of the altar.  
O The Dismissal.  Is the sermon done before or after this?

I couldn't figure out how to get little boxes to check, so we are using circles.  This past week, we tried this out after Liturgy, during Sunday school with kids ages 6-10 and it went pretty well, we watched a video on YouTube about the Liturgy after talking about each item, and noting key words to listen for.  For the future, I would make a simpler one, for the 6 year olds...  This next Sunday our priest gave the kids permission to use the checklist and pencils during the Liturgy (only this once, as it could be a distraction, or cause the kids to draw, definitely not an appropriate time/place)!

Thank you to Emma for inspiring this: