what’s in my bag?

kate spade 'all typed up'

since i was a little girl, i’ve loved to see what treasures were hidden inside a lady’s handbag and i suppose my girlish curiosity still exists.  so in case any of you are as nosy curious as me, here’s a glimpse of what’s inside my bag at the moment.

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The Benefits of Psalter Groups

keep calm and read a psalm

keep calm and read a psalm

We’re reaching the halfway point in our Psalter readings so I thought I’d post an excerpt from some of St. Augustine‘s writings on the benefits of reading the psalms to encourage us along. [Read more...]

Lenten Quinoa & Coconut Cream Pudding Recipe

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Eating healthy has been a pretty challenging lifestyle change for us.  Sometimes we do really well and other times not so much.  I’m a meat and potatoes kinda gal with a big sweet tooth (as you can probably tell since most of my recipes are desserts, lol), so it takes enormous amounts of willpower for me to stay away from all the junk I’m used to eating all the time.

I’ve had a bag of quinoa in my pantry for a long time.  I won’t tell you how long because you’ll think I’m totally gross and might call the health department on me.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  There’s no expiration date by the way so don’t judge.  ;)

Even though quinoa is incredibly versatile, I just couldn’t figure out what to make with it.  I’m not a big fan of it by itself and if I sprinkled it randomly into dinner, my boys wouldn’t touch it.  And I really, really wanted to find a way for them to eat it this incredible super food! [Read more...]

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! {OrthodoxMom.com in The Washington Post}

Extra! Extra!

Adventures of an Orthodox Mom is in The Washington Post today!

I was recently contacted by Bonnie Benwick, food editor at The Washington Post about lenten cooking.  She asked lots of great questions like why we fast, if the kids fast and if they know why the do, etc.  I thought it was really neat that she was interested in finding out more about lenten meals, and more importantly, why we cook them.  It was a pleasure chatting with you, Bonnie!  [Read more...]

Pascha Passports

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This year, along with our Special Agent Training, we’re also taking advantage of the awesome resources made available from St. Spyridon’s Church in Loveland, Colorado.  I first saw the Pascha Passports back in 2012 on Illumination Learning.  I was super excited to do these with the boys but when I went to order them, I discovered they only sold them in bulk packages.

The program was initially created for kids to do through their parish’s Sunday school or youth group programs.  When I went to the site this year though, they had them for sale individually!  Yay!  I think these are so much fun, I even ordered one for myself.  :)

If you want to order them, be sure to order the Pascha Passport AND the Sticker Set.  Otherwise, you’ll have nothing to put inside unless you come up with your own stamp system.

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The first page has a spot for their photo and your church’s seal.  Then, they write their name, patron saint’s name, baptism date, and nameday.  On the opposite page, they sign to “declare a desire to grow spiritually during Lent and to reach its final destination.”

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It goes on to explain each of the four Gospel readings during the Triodion and has and icon “stamp” to represent each of them.

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It goes on to talk about “Day Trips” they should be taking such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the Bible.  The following pages have charts for each week during lent where the child can check off which trips he takes each day.   My boys get really excited when it’s time to check things off and it was great because by the end of this first week, we saw that we did not do much in the way of almsgiving and needed to do better in our Bible reading as well.   So, I love that it’s keeping us accountable.

20140313-151524.jpgThe section after that is basically the same.  It explains each of the Sundays in Great Lent and has spots to place each correlating icon stamp.

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What made me really appreciate these passports is how they go a little further in depth with the services than most children’s resources.  It’s like most of them assume that anything more than typical Sunday services are for adults.  Whereas these booklets go on to explain the importance of Great Compline on Mondays (which we usually do at home), Pre-Sanctified Liturgies, Akathist services on Friday evenings, etc.

And again, there are icons to represent each of those.

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It also encourages them to visit “Special Destinations” such as Confession, the Jesus Prayer, Retreats & Reflections on God, Saturday of Souls, Lazarus & Palm Sunday and Holy Friday.   Pretty amazing, huh?  For such a small book, it contains a wealth of important information.

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The last section is Holy Week.   Again, it basically just goes through each day and what, why, how we celebrate it.

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At the end of the book there is a section for Notes and Reflections and the Prayer of St. Ephraim.

I keep the passports and stamps in a folder in my purse and whenever they reach a different destination, they are quick to remind me to stamp their passports!

Children will naturally feel the grace and blessings of the lenten season, with all of the beautiful services we incorporate into our daily schedules but I also think it’s important to do simple activities with them to help keep them involved and interested in what we’re preparing for!

To order your Pascha Passport visit St. Spyridon’s online store here.  And don’t worry about it being late, they arrive quickly and are super easy to just jump right into! 

Lenten Chocolate Chip Cookies {version 2.0}

lenten chocolate chip cookie recipe

We baked up a giant batch of Lenten chocolate chip cookies over the weekend. I was in the mood for a thicker type of cookie and decided to make them in our tart pan like we did these cookies. They turned out super yummy and I was glad we took the time to make them when I enjoyed a few with my tea this morning.

lenten chocolate chip cookie recipe

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Blessings Beyond Bars

Blessings Beyond Bars

Some of you may remember a post I wrote around Christmastime about the wonderful hand soap made by the monks at Holy Cross Hermitage that was being sold and part of the proceeds went to The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry.

I mentioned in the post that I thought prison ministries were easily overlooked, they were sort of hidden in the shadows of other charity works like feeding the poor, providing for orphans, or gathering materials for disaster victims.  And while all of those causes are of the utmost importance, prison ministries are too.

It was then that I realized how little thought I’d really given prison ministries and I knew I wanted to get more involved.

A few weeks later, I was asked if I would be interested in creating a simple lesson plan and DIY project for The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry this Lent.  It was the perfect opportunity to both introduce the concept of helping those in prison to my children and also provide something that may help other families do the same.

So, we teamed up and are so excited to bring you Blessings Beyond Bars!

Blessings Beyond Bars

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Prison Shoebox Project

We talked about how everyone makes mistakes and even though punishment is necessary when we are disobedient, it also makes us feel better and stronger when we are reminded that God still loves us and forgives us.  I also explained to them that prison is a dark and sad place and that it is our responsibility to “let our lights shine” even in those dark prison cells by helping people like The OCPM help those in prison.  Then, with God’s help, those people have a second chance to learn about God and His love and their prison cells don’t feel quite as sad and lonely with the presence of God and His saints.

It was a really nice afternoon, filled with their sweet thoughts and questions.  The craft is really simple and easy to do requiring few supplies and really giving you an opportunity for quality conversation about sharing the love of God with even those behind bars.

To view the entire lesson plan and DIY instructions, click here.

Matthew 25:36

Psalter Group Assignments {Great Lent 2014}

Psalter Reading

It is Great Lent again!  I can hardly believe it, it still feels like Christmas was just yesterday.  How the days fly…  I spent my first morning reading my kathisma on my front porch.  This is my favorite time of year to lie on the porch swing and soak up the early morning sun while the breeze still has a chill to it.  Just right for a cup of hot tea and the Psalter.

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Special Agents of Christ: Spring Training {lenten activity for kids}

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It’s been awhile since I’ve come up with new activities for the boys during Great Lent.  We always do our Lenten Treasure Chest, which is really quite fun but I could tell last year the excitement about the activity wasn’t there. So, this year I decided to use one of my favorite books, Special Agents of Christ by Annalisa Boyd, and create an “Agent Training” program.

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**Note:  If  you need a copy of Special Agents of Christ, you can order one from Orthodox Christian Children at 15% off.  Just be sure to mention Adventures of an Orthodox Mom (the discount amount will be refunded immediately back to you since paypal doesn’t offer a ‘coupon’ option). [Read more...]

Let us begin the journey…

garden_of_eden

“The sun hid its rays, the moon and stars were turned to blood, the mountains were afraid, the hills trembled, when Paradise was shut. Adam departed, beating his hands upon his face and saying: ‘I am fallen: merciful Lord, have mercy on me.” -Vesper service of Forgiveness Sunday

As we begin our journey toward Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, I humbly implore your forgiveness for anything I may have done through word or action to offend you. [Read more...]