What I ate in a Lent day

Breakfast: Oats, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes, dates, maple syrup. Topped with blueberries.

Lunch: leftovers and these yummy yummy nut butter balls that I can now make with my Ninja blender. (Is is bad to love a blender so much? Seriously this one piece of machinery changed my lent)

Dinner: Vegan chimichangas with lentil stuffing and the yummy cashew “cheese” sauce made with of course the Ninja.

Desert: Banana “ice cream” with cocoa nibs topping and coconut flakes.


Lesson for Orthodox Sunday

Alright everyone I thought I would share a short lesson about Orthodox Sunday that is coming up. Since Lent has started we have changed our alter cloth to purple. This goes in sync with the priest vestments in church. And now with Orthodox Sunday coming up here is a way to have a small activity of play to do in order for those little minds to get the “Lent journey” concept.

Start off by pretending to get in a boat. Have the icons at the end of the room. We are using each child’s patron saint and an icon of Christ. The “boat” is in the middle and ask the children/child to get on the boat and see what we need to do in order to get to the icons. How do we steer the boat? Who’s going to be the leader? Who is going to steer the sail? How are we going to work together to get to Pascha aka the land of Paradise?

After the time of pretend play for the kids have a short story about this time of Lent and how the boat is the church. We all need a leader who is the priest and we all need to work together and “row” and make it to the land of Paradise. This opens up a good discussion with kids regarding church. How can everyone work together? What does it mean to work together with our neighbors and friends during Lent? By prayers? Fasting? What does that look like in a family?

Talk about the icons that the boat is going towards. What do icons mean in the church and why do we have a patron saint? What qualities do the saints have that make them close to Christ?

Just some thoughts.

What’s in my fridge? Lent version

Here we are again… another Lent is upon us. So let us play the game of… what’s in an Orthodox moms fridge?

Fridge is mostly free of all dairy. Since we got a few days to go here we do have eggs and cheese for those breakfasts. I have lots and lots of veggies. I use a combination of different veggies pretty much in every meal. From eggplant to zucchini to lots of lettuce and cilantro. I also loaded up on sweet potatoes and mushrooms. I try not to use any fake cheese or fake butter or anything like that, I might later but the key is pacing yourself here people.

Along with veggies come lots and lots of fruits. I have loads of bananas cause I use them in smoothies all the time every day. Kids eat it for snacks and husband eats it with almond butter sometimes for breakfast. Apples are a great snack for me, the boys love this as a snack also. This year we are splurging in avocados for Lent. They make a difference with food tastes by a lot! The boys love eating avocados and love the food that they mix with avocados so you know… whatever saves me from a food struggle is a win for me.

Alright on to my pantry. So yes I have a food processor and it helps with making my own sauces but I am not one to soak the beans in my fridge so the pantry is a place for my pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. There’s cashews in there and trail mix for a nice snack as well. Yes that is a big box of espresso in the back. I’m a mom of three.

That pretty much covers it all for now. My boys are fairly young so I am not going to make them fast but so far they do eat the fast friendly meals for dinner. My oldest son was never a meat eater to be honest ( potential monastic? Hmmmm) this is just the start though. Everyone that’s fasting always comes to this point in Lent where all the veggies and all the fruits and all the fake stuff just doesn’t cut it anymore.

I will try to do a “what we ate” kind of post sometime soon and then later on in Lent so we can all see the persevering difference.

Homeschooling: February

Greetings everyone!

Our homeschooling journey this week took us to some artistic places. I didn’t mean to focus on art really this week as it started out with candle making but then later progressed into just painting and making lots of doodling. Here in NYC we took advantage of the MET museum and it’s beautiful works of art! We saw the Michelangelo exhibit there and it was one of those experiences in life I won’t forget. Even though Michelangelo’s sketches and paintings were beautiful I must still say my favorite was the Monet.

Candle dipping result below

It was rougher weather here in NY these days which make me look forward to spring a lot more. Recently I read a book titled “How Children Learn” by John Holt and it was so insightful into the mind of a child. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend this book to anyone that’s looking into homeschooling. From reading this book I am noticing a lot of things about myself that I do to try to push what I guess you can call my own agenda on learning even in our homeschooling setting. It is hard to do. These constant comparisons between kids and who’s kid is reading and writing and who’s kid has more music lessons and knowledge about whatever topic is a hard conversation to be a part of among women. Especially when I am going against the grain here and delaying formal education.

With the bad weather here there was lots of chances for games in the house, lots of boys energy bursts and lots of fighting. We do have some epic LEGO creations going here though. Hope your week was good! Lent is almost here! Meatfare Sunday is tomorrow!

Painting with blue this week

Finally got Stockmar block crayons

Russian picture chalkboard update

Messy messy paint day

LEGO fun

Being thankful for the sun at least

The Publican and the Pharisee

Tomorrow in the Orthodox Church we read the reading of the Publican and the Pharisee. Each week as we get closer to Lent we have special reading to help prepare our hearts for the season of fasting and repentance. This one was a hard one to explain to the boys since the Publican was a tax collector and a “bad guy” so they had a hard time understanding the word “pride” associated with the Pharisee. In the end our final understanding was that pride= thinking of oneself before others and that we want to be like the Publican.

What you can do at home:

Read the story about the Publican and the Pharisee in Luke’s gospel. Try to see where they are at with asking them questions about the story and see if they understand who the “good guy” was. Explain the word “pride” and why it is bad and how the Pharisee was prideful. Relate it to the tax collector Zaccheus in las weeks reading and how the Publican was also a tax collector and how people didn’t really like him either. Then discuss the prayer that the Publican prayed and how we pray that prayer every day still. Draw a picture of it in a book or on the fridge like us! Discuss it on Sunday!

Homeschooling: Mud

Oh what to do in this New York winter? Go outside and play in the mud! Let me just say that it is hard to get kids all geared up and go outside in the cold. It makes me want to give up every day. My only motivation is the fact that all these seminary walls close in on me more and more if I stay inside all day. So my boys found some mud and it seems to be the place they want to play all the time. Yes they get SUPER dirty… but it is worth it for me to see them so happy to experiment with it. We have been going on a lot of walks in this cold as another outing. Looking at birds nests and looking for ice is a great adventure. Once in a while we will come across interesting animal tracks and try to guess the animal and where they were going. Sometimes it turns into story time about the animal tracks and the animal associated with it.

For Waldorf kindergarten this week we continued our Waldorf Essentials curriculum. This week was making stars. What we decided to do was have a painting day and use those as our window star paper later in the week. They turned out really nice and Mr. 4 has fun cutting and folding the star shapes.

We also did some baking using coconut flour. I have a hard time with this flour since I feel like it has a weird texture but have a ton of it so it’s a constant coconut flour experiment at my house. This muffin project was a fail. I honestly didn’t even think to take a picture since it all burned and crumbled. We still ate it but it was like eating crumbled bread. My kids did not complain which is an up. What was our moral of the lesson? Sometimes things burn when you bake it boy. Sorry mama tried.

Getting through our Russian with more and more vocabulary everyday. My next goal is to get a story for kids in Russian and try to actually incorporate those words into their rotation. Yes they do not like it so much but not to sound like a total mom but… they will thank me later.

Hope everyone is still going strong in their homeschooling journey. We are gearing up for Lent here with this Sunday the reading of the Publican and the Pharisee. I will post about that lesson later.


Well greetings friends!

Finally back here from our California adventures and ready to finish off our last semester here in NY. We all had such a great break and bypassed the whole winter storm in NY. We did feel a bit bad when everyone of our friends was freezing and we were at the beach with swimming trunks and flip flops. I guess thats why people leave NY for winter.

It is already mid January and I was thinking about making slower homeschooling plans this month and swinging back in February. Still planning on doing Waldorf Essentials for kindergarten and maybe modified stories from “Tell me a Story” for the rest of January.

During our vacation my husband still did a lot of work for the church. For Theophany we blessed the Pacific Ocean! The turn out was great with the ocean being warm that day and all the kids playing at the beach afterwards. For Orthodox Christians it’s a tradition to throw the cross in the water and the person to first get it will have a fruitful year. We were glad to serve the community and heard that it was so cold in NY the creek that is usually used in Theophany service was frozen! Bbbrrrrr…

Here are snippets from our break! As you can tell we spend a lot of time at the beach.

And back to…

Blessed week to come!

Homeschooling wrap up

It snowed! We are so excited that it snowed before we leave for our vacation. Homeschooling this week was an easy one. We had a blast celebrating St. Nicholas feast day and did some modeling with clay correspondent with our story.

Mr. 4 is doing an awesome job using clay and forming it to what he wants. We also drew with block crayons this week. Still no recipe for us this week with the fast in full swing so we are continuing just the little ones helping me cooking.

I am reading so many posts about the frenzy holiday season and how to take care of yourself. I feel like this is vital to homeschooling mothers. There are expectations from us from our family and sometimes we forget to take care of the person that holds it all together … you. We hold so much weight as mothers and taking realistic time for ourselves is a must. Whatever that looks like for you on a realistic level I hope you take the time this season for yourself.

This year of homeschooling has been such a blessing to me. I hope it was the same for you. I will be taking a holiday break here myself. Merry Christmas everyone! Looking forward to 2018!

Homeschooling week

Greetings homeschooling world!

I am so excited to finish up this first semester here in seminary and also with our homeschooling before the holiday break. This past week we decided to continue with our waldorf story book using the story about the birds and changing seasons. It tied wonderfully with our weather here outside and all the birds coming to our bird feeder recently.

We continued to model and Mr. 4 is getting really good at beeswax and molding things into something his mind created. It’s really beautiful to see the transformation of the will in a child. We made a little cardinal from felt as well by using a Pinterest idea I saw with felt birds. Mr. 4 helped me stuff the bird and tried his hand at weaving during the process. I noticed he’s enjoying the process of actually retelling the story using the props we created and plays way more afterwards. We have not really be baking recently because of Orthodox Nativity fast but everyone has been super excited about helping in the kitchen so I allow them to help me with regular fasting meals while I cook. The dinner table presents a lot of questions about where things come from and it’s nice to discuss after they see the food that’s being put into their meal.

This week we also did another tinkergarden activity using left over play dough with the kids looking for nature treasures to put into their play dough. It’s getting colder here in NY so it’s nice to have an activity for the kiddos when we go outside since they tend to just want to go back inside if we do not. It seems like the community is wanting their kids to be outside more this winter in comparison to our first two years so it is nice that we are not the only ones that feel like fresh air is benefiting for kids. We also had a few birthday celebrations here which we celebrated outside!

The end off Fall has been so beautiful as always. I will sure miss this if we get placed somewhere without seasons.

Next week is St. Nicholas feast day! What will you be doing?

Catechism for children

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share with you a little more about the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum and catechism for children. It has been really hard for me to incorporate catechism for my boys as part of my homeschooling, mainly because I feel there is so little time to get everything done. The church is such a part of our lives since we are in seminary, I always feel like I do not need to do much since the boys are living it everyday with their father being a priest. However, recently I was watching a YouTube channel of a homeschooling mom of 8 that is a Christian and got really inspired by her teaching and reading the Bible with her kids everyday and memorizing verses. Reading the Bible has been a big problem for me, simply said I do not do it often even though the Church provides daily reading schedule for us that are not that long. So this week I decided to start reading the Bible with my kids to at least start talking about Christ and who he was.

The Garden of Theotokos curriculum provides a really great way to introduce certain concepts. For example, the kiddos are still going over the days of creation and are on day 3. It seems like the kids are actually getting it and are enjoying the a Waldorf style of learning with this curriculum. I have also been trying to do the Sunday gospel reading lessons with my oldest son getting the lessons from the Antiochian archdiocese website and just doing the lesson with him separately. Since we are in seminary I feel like there is no consistency with Sunday school, we do not have a consistent parish we go to so this is hard, so I felt like it was up to me to have them learn about the gospel readings and this was the easiest way.

I like the little added activities attached to the gospel reading and questions they have according to the level of the child. For example, this weeks reading was about the man that stored up treasure on earth in Luke 15, the activity for kids was to take some toys and explain it as stuff and then do a small game trying to discern between scenarios if it is a treasure in heaven or earth.

Overall, this has been an interesting experiment but I do see more of a discussion in my house about Christ now. I am curious about what others are doing in terms of catechism for their kids? Maybe there is a great curriculum out there I am missing. Let me know in the comments below!