Friday, November 16, 2018

Advent: Thanksgiving

This Advent during the five full weeks in the middle of Advent, we're going to discuss one advent-related virtue per week in school, especially in our music class. I'm collecting each week's materials here.

Week 2: HOPE
Week 3: PEACE
Week 4: JOY
Week 5: LOVE


1. American Thanksgiving: Read about the pilgrims and how Thanksgiving became a U.S. Holiday. Learn "We Gather Together."

2. Psalm 105: The Israelites gave thanks to God by recounting his great deeds throughout their history. Read Psalm 105, then fill in the blank space on the activity page (between the opening and closing verses of Ps. 105), either remembering God's deeds listed in the psalm or recording God's wonderful works in your life.

3. Grateful RemembranceThanksgiving is to participate in grateful remembrance. In the Eucharist, we share again in Christ's sacrifice, partaking of his body and blood. Draw pictures of the things we remember:

4. Learn "O Give Thanks unto the Lord," or other hymns of Thanksgiving.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Memory Cookie Challenge for Sunday School

This is a Sunday School memory work project we've been doing. All the credit goes to my mother who came up with this great motivator. Each child gets a chart with 12 things to memorize, and they are allowed to recite a maximum of one thing per week after the class lesson (or coffee hour if we run out of time). When you learn all your memory work, you get your own personal cookie, that looks like the chart, but is about 12" around. The kids get excited about the prospect of their own giant cookie, and its a good reward for all the hard work. Of course, to make this work, you have to have someone committed to making the cookies whenever someone finishes the chart. When my mom was doing it, she made it easier on herself by using store bought cookie dough, icing and m&m's delivered on cake boards. That recipe is below.

In our church school, all the kids ages 5-12 are in one class, so everyone is advancing at different rates, and that's just fine. We're cheering each other on, not racing, and they can take as much time as they need to finish. My mom teaches at a bigger church, where she just has one grade level for a year, so her list of memory work would be adjusted for the age group and for the limited time span.

Pillsbury sugar cookie dough + 1/3 cup flour (so that it doesn't spread as much)
bake on 12" pizza pan at 325 for 24 minutes.
cool completely.
Decorate with store bought icing and m&m's.

Our Memory List (with references to look them up)
1. Our Father (Matthew 5:3-12, prayer book pg. 5, 6)
2. O Heavenly King May be sung or recited (prayer book pg. 5 )
3. The Creed (prayer book pg. 7, 8)
4. Troparion of St. Nicholas* or the Beatitudes May be sung or recited (Matthew 5:3-12)
5. The 12 Great Feasts (prayer book pg. 32, 33)
6. The 12 Apostles May be sung (Gigi Shadid song) or recited (Mark 3:16-19, Acts 1:21-26)
7. “Rejoice O Virgin” May be sung or recited (prayer book pg. 14, from Luke 1:28,43)
8. “Christ is Risen!” May be sung or recited, any version 
9. Prayer before Communion (prayer book pg. 52)
10. Books of the Old Testament May be sung or recited 
11. Books of the New Testament May be sung or recited 
12. Prayer of St. Ephraim (can be found here:

This is our list. Because we have a wide age range, we also have a wide range of difficulty levels for the memory work. The idea is that the little ones can participate now and move on to the harder ones as they get older. The first Sunday we started almost all of the kids wanted to sing, "Christ is risen" to earn their first sticker, and, honestly, having 12 small children sing it to you is the best ever. [*St. Nicholas is our church's patron saint, so you might want to use your patronal hymn - or if you sing the Beatitudes, that would be a lovely choice, too. I gave my kids the option of either one.]

Download my Cookie PDF

Saturday, March 3, 2018

New Pascha Basket Cover

I mentioned my new Pascha Basket Cover last month, but its just now available on spoonflower. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. If you want one, buy this fat quarter, but if you want to buy multiples, its better to buy this by the yard. Remember this is just fabric, you'll have to finish the cloth yourself.

Updated to add: You know I can't help myself, and I made a few new designs. My kids have each claimed one for their baskets. You can view them all here, although it takes a few weeks to print and ship, so its too late for this year.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Lenten Crab Cakes

1 cup bread crumbs (or about 3 slices of bread toasted on both sides and processed)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 yellow onion diced finely (or processed in food processor)
1 6 oz can of crab meat
6 saltine crackers

Mix first 5 ingredients together, then fold in crab meat. Crush 1/8 cup of saltine crackers (about 6). Make slightly flattened balls from crab mixture and dip in cracker crumbs (about 6-8 patties depending on size). Heat a skillet with a little oil, and place patties in skillet when hot. Cook patties 5 minutes per side. Don't put in before oil is hot, or smush patties too much, or flip too often lest they will fall apart.

I had to look at a bunch of recipes to get the proportions right while leaving out egg and mayo. No picture, but they turned out pretty tasty! I think they'd be nice for weekends or Annunciation potluck!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Prayer of St. Ephraim Printable

I printed these for our sunday school class. The image is a little smaller than a full sheet of paper, so you can cut a piece of cardstock into fourths and glue these neatly onto the cardstock. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Akathist Printable

We have the book "Rejoice, Panagia" which is a beautifully illustrated book about the Akathist. I do really love it, but the translation is different than what we use in church, and it uses the greek letters. Those things make it harder to explain the alphabet acronym to my kids. So, I've been meaning to put together a printable for several years, and finally got around to it. My kids will take it to the Akathist tonight to follow along, along with the pretty book. It uses the version of the Akathist from the Antiochian liturgical guide.

It fits on one page, front and back, and should be folded in half like a book. You can color the letters, but its mostly for readers who will be paying attention to how the verses follow the alphabet. Drag the jpgs to your desktop, or download or print the pdf embedded below.