Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nativity Fast Calendar (40 Day Advent) Printable (with magnets!)

I'm using my Advent Calendar from last year again, but I fancied it up a wee bit. Its included below, and you can still just print one page for your fridge and x off the days if you want. The second page has a baby you can paste on now or on Christmas, or just leave it out. Easy.

But if you want to make it reusable, you can laminate it (or use contact paper, like me).

And if you want to make some fun magnets to go with it, you can laminate the figures, too, and stick magnets on the back.

You could also try printing them on cardstock, or draw a cave and paste all the figures into the picture. Use them however you want. :)

So here's what I did:

Print both pages. Put contact paper on the front and back of each.

Cut out all the figures. Cut a slit on the black line of the manger if you want to put
the baby in the manger (otherwise you can just put the baby on the manger).

After cutting my slit, my baby kept slipping through, so I just taped a
piece of paper over the slit on the back. This baby doesn't have a magnet, so it
sits in the manger. If you put a magnet on the baby, you don't really need to cover the slit.

We had stick on magnets, so I stuck them on the back of my figures. The circles are
for moving along down the path toward Christmas.

And here it is all on the fridge. A little extra work, but we can reuse it for next year.
I'm using the star to count the days, but you could also use the little
circle with Mary and the Donkey if you prefer.

The extra figures are just around it on the fridge for fun.
You should be able to grab these images and drag them to your
desktop to print full size pages. If it seems too small, try dragging the image to
another tab, and then saving it to the desktop.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Twelve Great Feasts

We're memorizing the 12 great feasts in church school, so I wrote this little poem to help. It can sort of be sung to the tune of the itsy bitsy spider.

JPG is full size, just grab and print at 100%.

Friday, October 6, 2017

St. Phanourios and Fanouropita

I'm late late in sharing this one, but I want to remember this recipe from Serious Eats that turned out better than the ones I've used in the past. This one was lovely, with great texture and flavor, not too sweet. I put it together before Liturgy, not because I had lost something, but I realized it was his feast day. Still, I said a prayer for something we've been looking for, and was not disappointed. :)

3 3/4 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 with oven rack in middle position. Grease and flour a round pan. I used my spring form pan.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Add olive oil, orange juice, and vanilla and stir to combine. Batter will be very thick. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until golden and a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes then release springform and continue to cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.

A Prayer to Christ with the Holy Great-martyr Phanourios by Nun Isidora
Master Lord Jesus Christ our God, the maker of light and source and fount of wisdom and knowledge, the cause of all that is good, the fullness of goodness and the incomprehensible sea of compassion, Who does excellent things and works wonders in His Saints, by whom Your magnificent and All-holy Name is glorified, Who reveals to us the ways of salvation by the knowledge of Your holy commandments, O Good One, and shines upon our souls with Your gladsome and un-waning light, You Whose grace is wondrous through all Your Saints, Your chosen and faithful stewards, to all those who call upon them with their whole heart, who through Your all-working power working awesome and paradoxical wonders, of which there is no number, Who through your Holy Great-martyr Phanourios the newly-revealed, revealed that which was hidden from us and reveals them speedily, Who teaches us to ask faithfully in humility, that richly You may give according to Your compassionate and all-merciful nature, Who wishes that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, Who said that “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life”. Do therefore now, all-good King and Lord of all, by this Your Holy Great-martyr Phanourios the wonderworker whom we entreat, bestow upon us who faithfully honor him, an intercessor towards You armed with Your strength, and grant to us the illumination of Your grace, make us worthy to walk in the paths of Your commandments, to come to the knowledge of Your good and complete will, reveal to us the paths of salvation, show to us the way of repentance, that pleasing You through these, Who works what is beneficial to our souls, reveal to us the treasures of Your knowledge, that to those seeking these, we who entreat You in faith, make our heart the dwelling of Your bright Holy Spirit and a receptacle of Your grace, so that with all Your Saints from the ages we may glorify You O Light-giving Lord, who in these is glorified and to You do we offer up honor and worship, together with Your beginningless Father and Your All-holy and Good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Welcoming the Christ Child: Family Readings for the Nativity Lent

The weeks leading up to Christmas, what we call the Nativity Fast, are full of some of our favorite Advent traditions, most especially our Jesse Tree. My kids and I invested a lot of time putting together our Jesse tree set - using resources from an old yahoo listserv - which means its really hard for other families to join in on this tradition.

So I am really excited to see Elissa Bjeletich's new book and ornament set. Its a beautifully bound and illustrated, ready-to-go, 40 day Jesse Tree set. Its one of those books that's just lovely to hold. Since we already have a couple sets of ornaments, I only ordered the book. But Jelena Jeftic's illustrations are absolutely gorgeous [look at that coat of many colors!]. And the ornaments are printed on durable plastic - so I hope another set is in our future.

 The lovely coat of many colors

Each story is brief and easy to read, with the scripture reference and a few questions at the end. I love that it focuses on telling the story, and then gives you the space to respond to it anew. The discussion notes show how the stories point to Christ, and succinctly draw you back to the gospel message:

Christ will deliver us from death. 

God loves everyone. 

God joins us in difficult places.

Esau's bowl of stew

Really its more flexible than just a Jesse Tree set. The 40 readings aren't numbered and there aren't any instructions, so you can use it how you see fit - one reading a day for the 40 day fast, a couple of chapters a night throughout December, or stretched into a homeschool unit over the 36 week year.

So, I'm totally thrilled with it, and I can't wait for November 15!

King David, the psalmist

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I'm having a show in September/October mostly full of landscapes, but I've got a few other interior paintings that I'll be including and I thought I'd share some of the particularly Orthodox ones here. You can buy prints of Baptism, Procession with Icons, and Nameday Table on Fine Art America, and more will be in my etsy shop in November.

House Blessing
This one was very quick and loose, but I still like it.

Another loose, but not so quick one. Our godchildren!

Procession with Icons

Nameday Table

My husband and oldest daughter didn't like this composition very much, but, I enjoyed it. :)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Solar Eclipse Resources

Before August 21:

  • Read Psalm 19 and 139
  • make or collect viewers
  1. some cereal box instructions:]
  2. envelope with mirror in it: 
  3. collander full of holes!
  4. make a card with a 3mm hole punch in center

On August 21:

  • Look up your location to find the best times for viewing the eclipse (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the link to the map):
  • Use various viewers to watch sun from below
  • Use glasses to look at sky
  • Watch for stages: 
  1. C1 (moment when sun and moon touch)
  2. an hour or so later C2 (moment when moon covers sun -totality)
  3. only 2 minutes later, C3 (moment when sun pokes out from behind moon again)
  4. an hour or so later C4 (when sun and moon stop touching) 
  • Watch for partial phase phenomena between C1 and C2, and between C3 and C4:
  1. temperature and lighting changes 
  2. animal reactions
  3. shadow bands
  4. Diamond Ring, just before C2, and after C3
  5. Bailey's Beads, bumpy edge of the moon makes dots of light, just after Diamond ring before C2, and after C3

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy feast of Ss. Peter and Paul!

We had so much fun making our Apostles postcards! I went out of town the last week of the fast (and missed the feast with the kids), so we didn't quite make one for every day. But we learned about some new-to-us saints, and some new details about familiar apostles, and I found that my kids really like cut-paper collage. I'm hoping the postcards actually went through the mail successfully. :)

I am really enjoying my own growing understanding of the continuity of this fast/feast with what we've been thinking on through Lent, Pascha, and Pentecost - the Apostles work and our own carrying out of Christ's gospel into the world. I'm so grateful for the cycle of feasts and the way they are educating me in faith.

I'm keeping the other 28 postcards we didn't send in our homeschool cabinet, so I'm all ready to go for next year! I might improve on my apostle's guide between now and then.

Our 12 completed postcards

Apostles Timothy and Ananias of the Seventy

St. Mary Magdalene, Equal to the Apostles; and St. Patrick Apostle of Ireland

Ss. Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavs;
and St. Nicholas of Japan, Equal to the Apostles

St. Zacchaeus of the Seventy Apostles;
St. Olga Princess of Russia, Equal to the Apostles