the world needs more love letters

more love letters

more love letters

last spring, i ran across a movement that instantly had me captivated.  i was googling stationary and fountain pens when an image of a plain white envelope with beautiful calligraphy scrawled across the front popped up. it wasn’t the image itself that caught my attention though, it was what was actually written on the envelope that roused my curiosity.  it said: if you found this letter it’s for you.

[Read more…]

Apostles Craft: Fishers of Men

Fishers of Men

Fishers of Men

Altoids tins are the coolest, aren’t they?  I use one for my prayer rope supplies, one as a travel sewing kit and we even carry some lego guys and pieces in another one.  They’re just the perfect size for your purse, backpack or glove compartment.  That’s why when I saw this adorable idea for a little felt fishing set, I knew I’d be making one a few.  The first thing I thought of when I first saw it on Pinterest was what a perfect activity to use during the Apostles fast!

It only took about an hour from start to finish and required minimal assembly.

To make one you’ll need:

  • Altoids tin
  • sharp scissors
  • dowel rod (I cut mine into three and sanded the ends)
  • baker’s twine
  • stainless steel washers (be sure they’re not aluminum because those don’t stick!)
  • small magnets (mine are from Hobby Lobby.  there’s 12 #10 strength for $5.99 before 40% off coupon)
  • felt (you can use just one sheet and make the fish the same color or get 12 different colors)
  • hot glue gun
  • printer
  • double sided tape

Fishers of Men Supplies

The first thing I did was cut and sand the dowel rod.  Then I added a tiny line of hot glue to the end and wrapped the bakers twine around it.  Then I knotted the end and tied the other end to a washer.

Fishing Rod

Next, I cut out my fish.  I tried a few different ways when cutting them to see how they would glue best and I found that by folding the edge of the felt lengthwise and cutting the bottom from the tail up worked best.

Apostles Fast Craft

Once all twelve of my fish were cut out, I placed one a magnet in the front middle of the fish but not too close to the edge so there was room to glue.

Apostles Fast Kids Craft

Then I piped a line of hot glue all around the edge and quickly pressed it together.  The last thing I did was type up a little paper that has the verse from Mark 1:17 and says, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.”  and also the names of Jesus’ 12 Apostles.

You can click this link to download and print the PDF:  Fishers of Men Craft

The boys all love this!  Even Ace who I didn’t think would really care made sure to tell me he wanted a pole so he could play too.  :)

Our Rules to Play:

  1. Everyone gets a pole and we start with the youngest player.
  2. Each player has to name an apostle.  If he names one correctly, he gets a chance to fish.
  3. Then the next player goes and so on.
  4. The person with the most fish at the end wins!
  5. Sometimes, as an extra bonus I ask the winner to recite as many of their names as they can remember.

It’s really simple but they enjoy playing and it’s a great way to learn the names of all the Apostles.  If we’re playing at home, we finish up by reading a chapter from the book of Acts.  This has been such a fun way thing for us to do during this fasting period!  I hope you all enjoy it too!

Fishers of Men Craft

 

WANTED: Orthodox Mom Team Members!!

Join my Team!

Join my Team!

LOOKING FOR ORTHODOXMOM.COM TEAM MEMBERS! I’ll be working hard this summer to relaunch two very popular programs but I need some dedicated volunteers to help me!

If you’re interested in working with me on the Orthodox Book Club or Kid’s Pen Pal Program please private message me on Facebook or email sylvia@orthodoxmom.com.  Neither position are full-time commitments but will require periodic video conferences and organizing of various aspects of each program. Pass this along to any friends you think might be interested! Thank you!

Feta & Olive Greek Flag

Olive & Feta Greek Flag

Can you believe tomorrow is Pascha already?  Each year the time seems to move quicker and quicker.  It’s been a quiet, wonderful lenten season and though I am anxious for the celebration, part of me is sad to see this time go.

We took an eight day pilgrimage to St. Anthony’s monastery in Arizona, which as usual, was the perfect thing to do to recharge our spiritual batteries.  DH also lost his sweet Pappou Petro a couple weeks ago and we sure would appreciate the prayers for him if any of you are inclined to do so.  It has definitely been a time of reflection for us, with reminders everywhere that there is so much more to life than what we see and that every moment is to be cherished.  I’ll be trying hard to remember that all the things of this world are temporal and there is only one thing needed… [Read more…]

let’s talk darling.

Darling Magazine Review

Darling Magazine Review

I didn’t realize it until an Instagram friend pointed it out to me the other day…that even though I’ve mentioned Darling Magazine in a previous post, and have posted oodles of photos of past issues on social media sites, I’ve never fully reviewed the truly darling magazine on this blog.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 5.42.20 PM

en route with my knitting, a London Fog and Darling Magazine <3

I was first turned on to Darling back in 2013 while shopping at our local Anthropologie.  They had a few copies of Issue 3 in their fabulous clearance room.  As soon as I turned it over and read their mission statement (it’s printed on the back of every Issue) I knew it was true love.

Full-Resolution-Mission_1050It was as if everything I felt inside was put perfectly into beautiful calligraphic words. I had such deep and passionate feelings about very single sentence in that mission statement.  “Positive change…beauty apart from vanity, influence apart form manipulation, style apart from materialism…Darling leads women to practice the arts of virtue, wit, modesty and wisdom…” How encouraging is that?!  It was everything I aspired to be.  Maybe the most inspiring part of all was that there were other women who felt the same way, which thrilled me because it felt like I rarely met someone who seemed to truly understand me these days and here there was an entire community.  It was a wonderful feeling.

#darlingmovement

So I opened it up and quickly read the letter from the editor. Let me tell you!!  I was teary eyed!  I tucked that magazine right under my arm and headed for the cash wrap.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  And since I was hooked, I of course had to force encourage Mommy, Geri and Athena to subscribe.  Needless to say, they’re hooked to0.

The Glitter Guide recently posted an interview with Darling editor Sarah Dubbledam here.  I’m including a couple of the most recent letters here for you to read.  Now, if the “Letters From the Editor” are this good you can imagine how wonderful the rest of the magazine is!

 

Winter Issue 10:

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Spring Issue 11:

darling letter

Darling: The Art of Being a Woman is a quarterly magazine and is divided into sections based on personality.  In the print magazine, each section opens with a witty poem and then offers a variety or articles, craft, home or recipe ideas.  It’s wonderful.  Oftentimes, while reading I’ll ask myself which category I fit more comfortably into.  But I can never really decide.  Each day, I fall into a different one.  Some days I’m an explorer, while others I feel more like an intellectual.  I’m always a dreamer  and a hostess and on occasion an achiever.  I’m a stylist hardly ever and a confidant most every day.   I suppose it all just depends on when you catch me.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 3.35.15 PM

The only downside is it is a little pricey, $20 an issue or $80 a year which includes the print and digital editions.  I try to limit myself to a certain budget every year (because I can be a major magazine junkie) but I enjoy this one so much–I literally read them over and over again–that I didn’t renew some of the other magazines I used to subscribe to to get this one.  I really believe in what they stand for and the type of positivity they’re working hard to promote so it’s worth it to me.  Some of the photographs are a little too modern and edgy for my taste, not inappropriate in any way, just not my personal style.  I love that they have a “no retouching policy” and all of the women they feature look real!

I can go on and on about all the things I enjoy about Darling and why I think you will too, but instead of doing that I’ll just post links to some of my favorite articles online.  Of course, these don’t do the print version justice but I think it will give you a good feel for it.

Check it out and decide for yourself and be sure to stop back and let me know what you think!  As you can see, I’m quite obsessed.  :)

Saying No to Slander

 Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Create Your Own Reading Nook

How to Give and Receive Criticism Well

Photoshopping Our Souls Away

Ginger Berry Crumble Recipe

 A Return to Reading

A Fruitful Life vs. A Successful Life

The Three I’s of Prioritize (4-post series)

Happy Reading!!

 

tea & jam (giveaway)

Tea & Jam Giveaway

Tea & Jam Giveaway

UPDATE:  The winner is Penelope!  Please email your shipping info to Sylvia{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com!! Congratulations and thank you all for entering!

I want to share some products with you that I’ve been enjoying almost every morning since the beginning of lent.  It has been on my bagels, english muffins and even at the bottom of my teacup.  I just love stumbling across things that I think you’ll enjoy as much as I do!  The two companies I’ll be introducing you to today not only offer top quality products but are family owned and operated, which most of you know by now are my favorite kind of company to support.  It makes me proud knowing that even amongst all the major retail giants, the little guy still exists.

nicoletta's jam

The first company is Nicoletta’s Food. Nicoletta’s offers a large variety of homemade, all natural jams and marmalades.  I think the thing I like the most about their products is how natural they really taste vs. store bought products.  Even some of the organic jams I’ve tried are excessively sweet.  Nicoletta’s jams have just the right amount of sweetness that enhances the natural flavor of the fruit.  They’re really delicious!  Even my boys have been eating them and that speaks volumes because they typically will not come within 10 feet of anything even slightly resembling a jelly.  They had their first taste of it a couple weeks ago after we went to see Paddington Bear at the theater–a rare treat for them!  During the movie they asked what marmalade was.  So when we got home I made them chocolate hazelnut and orange marmalade sandwiches.  They loved them!  They’ve taken them to school several times in their lunch since the fast began.  It’s wonderful!

Perhaps my favorite thing about Nicoletta’s Food though, is their dedication to helping their church and community while all the time giving God the glory.  Right now, they are working on a project that will allow them to convert the dining area of a local shelter into a 5-star restaurant complete with table linens, fancy tableware, waiters, music, a Maitre D’ and a professional chef who will prepare a delicious 3 to 4 course meal!

You can learn more about the Progress Place Project by visiting their Go Fund Me page.  Or if you’re in the Silver Springs, Maryland area and are interested in helping at the actual event please contact tonyalexiou@nicolettafoods.com. 

View their full line of products here.  Keep an eye out for their limited edition Fig Jam coming soon!  (I can’t wait for that one.) :)

It’s such a blessing to be able to get great quality products for our families while helping others in the Faith! 

greekzoe.com teas

The next company I encourage you to check out is Greek Zoe.  Darling Hubby and I have used several other products of theirs for awhile now (like this and this) and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them, but this line of teas they just started carrying are so delicious that I couldn’t not share them with you.  I know my fellow tea lovers will really appreciate them.

All of Greek Zoe’s products are imported from Greece and other places in Europe but unlike most importers today, they only bring top quality products.  Several of those products earned awards from the European Food Administration.  I also love that I can get some of the products I’ve enjoyed overseas but can never find here in the States!

The Tea Odyssey line includes 3 different flavors; Navsicca (Peppermint), Penelope (Chamomile) and my favorite, Ithaca, which is a blend of Greek mountain tea, Salvia, Mentha and Rose Petals.  It is divine!  The moment you set it to steep you can smell the unique blend of herbs.  And they are certified organic and come in biodegradable pyramid bags, which is nice too.

tea odyssey from greekzoe.com

Be sure to check out their other great products like their honey, olives, pastas and more at Greek Zoe.com!  Greek Zoe also travels around the east coast to different fairs and festivals so be sure to take a look at their special events calendar to see if they’ll be in your area anytime soon!

Want to win?

 

I love both of these products so much that I’ve arranged a giveaway for one lucky reader to try them both!  The winner will receive a sampler box of jams, that includes 4-2 oz. jars of their four most popular flavors, and a box of tea from the Tea Odyssey line in the flavor of their choice!

It’s simple to enter!

  • Just visit both Nicoletta’s Food and Greek Zoe‘s websites and come back here and tell me which product (from both sites) is your favorite!

To earn extra entries:

  • Share the giveaway photo (top of page) on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and/or Twitter and hashtag #orthodoxmomgiveaway!  You’ll get an extra entry for each post! Be sure to use the hashtag or leave a link in the comments so I can verify your post. 

I’ll use random.org to choose a winner!  Winner will be announced on St. Patrick’s Day!

 

snow days.

Snow Day

Snow Day

i have to admit, i love snow days.  maybe even more so than my kids.  i love having my boys home with me and being able to run around and play outside in this gorgeous winter wonderland.  i love coming inside and snuggling up on the couch and warming up our frozen toes with a roaring fire and giant mugs of hot cocoa.

this past snowfall was the most beautiful one yet.  it was just so soft and glittery and just really felt magical.  we sledded and built snowmen and forts and had snowball fights.  we’ve had soup and sandwiches for lunch in the living room while reading books like The Mitten, The Snowman and Stranger in the Woods and totally took advantage of the lazy restful time that glorious snow provided. [Read more…]

Psalter Group Assignments (Great Lent 2015)

Psalter Group Assignments

The other day I was in the kitchen and it had just begun to snow.  The snowflakes looked so beautiful behind the fresh tulips I just brought home and set out on the table.  Immediately, the anticipation for Pascha rose up inside of me.  The way everything is so bare and empty outside right now, the bright colors of those blooms against the white snow instantly made me think of new life.  And that, of course, made me think of the Resurrection.

I still can’t believe that we are in Great Lent already!  I love this time of year so much.  I love the slowing down of things, social media sabbaticals, hushing of the television.  We spend more time cuddling up with our favorite books and just spending time together as a family.  Ace actually told me the other day that we need to “do this more often”.  And by “this” he meant us not allowing them on the t.v. or video games and spending quiet time together.  It’s amazing how we can all be in the same room but with everyone sort of doing their own thing, it doesn’t really feel like we’re spending time with eachother.  I told him I totally agreed. [Read more…]

Orthodox Lenten Study is Available for Purchase!

lenten study draft

Orthodox Lenten Study Cover

The Orthodox Lenten Study is now available for purchase!  With the Advent Study, I had to manually email the file to everyone who purchased one which was really difficult, so hopefully this time the link will work and you will receive it when you complete your checkout.

It is a 128 page Study that includes a weekly themed devotional reading, a G.R.O.W. page–which is a daily Scripture verse and prompts for reflection, a couple Lenten recipes, a basic run down of Holy Week and also some basic guidelines for Bright Week.  I’m really excited about the writings I was able to include this time around–they’re some of my favorites–and I hope you benefit from them.

It is very simple to use this study.  Simply print it out and place the pages in a binder or folder.  You can take it with you wherever you go!  Grab your Bible and do your daily reading and responding with your morning coffee, in car line or while waiting in the doctor’s office, or at night after everyone else is fast asleep.  It’s completely up to you!

I’ve made it as affordable as possible at only $6.00.  The only thing I ask is that you please only print enough copies for those in your household or if you know someone who truly cannot afford to purchase one of their own.  Please do not send copies of the file to those who have not purchased their own or reproduce it in any way without my written permission.

© This eBook is copyright of Sylvia Leontaritis and Adventures of an Orthodox Mom.  You may download anything on these pages for personal, non-commercial use. For any other purposes please contact Sylvia{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com. 

Click here to purchase.

Psalter Group Sign-Ups {Great Lent 2015}

psaltersignups

psaltersignups

Great Lent begins the day after tomorrow!  Tomorrow is Forgiveness Sunday, which is my favorite Vesper service of the year.  If you’ve never been to this service, you should definitely make the effort to attend tomorrow evening, it is a very humbling service and the perfect way to begin Great Lent.  That being said, I want to ask forgiveness from all of you for anything I may have said or done to offend any of you.  I know I touch on some sensitive topics sometimes but know that offending anyone is never my intention.  <3

Guess what else it’s time for?  It’s time to sign up for the Psalter Prayer Groups again! Yay!  I can hardly wait to start tucking that little green book in my bag again.

This is one of my favorite things during the 40-day fasts.  It is a quiet time that I can look forward to each day.  And by quiet, I don’t mean the things around me are quiet, those things rarely are, but rather the hush that comes over my soul whenever I open my Psalter and read.

The last few times, I periodically posted some various writings on why reading the Psalms is so beneficial and I’ll be doing that again this time as well.  There are some really beautiful thoughts on this.  God-willing they will strengthen and encourage us as we prepare to receive the Bridegroom and as we trudge the rocky roads of our Lenten journeys.  So please keep an eye out for those!

You may also want to check out this post on The Benefits of Psalter Groups.

So if you’re interested in joining please leave YOUR BAPTISMAL NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS in the comment section of this post. If you’re new to our groups, click here for all the details…

I will have the groups and everyone’s assigned readings up sometime on Clean Monday!  But don’t worry, if you stumble upon this post after the fast has begun, you can still sign up.  It’s never too late to join in!

You can purchase a pocket Psalter or full-sized one here.