2013 Orthodox Kid’s Ornament Swap {sign-ups}

Orthodox Christmas Ornaments

Whew!  It’s been a busy couple of weeks here on my tiny piece of internet homestead! Fall Favorites Swap packages were due out on Friday, Psalter Groups sign-ups began on Monday and now we’re getting ready for our annual Orthodox Kid’s Ornament Exchange!  Hooray!

Every Christmas for the past five years, our family and readers of Adventures of an Orthodox Mom have teamed up with our littles to create the most beautiful Orthodox Christmas ornaments that we swap between our families.  It is a much anticipated project, with emails starting in September asking if we’ll be doing it again this year and making sure they haven’t missed the sign up deadlline, lol.  (No worries in that department folks, I’m definitely not that organized!)  :)  Both parents and children love opening the mailbox throughout the next several weeks and finding creatively decorated envelopes filled with Christmas joy.

In our home, we have a special box reserved for all of the precious ornaments we’ve received over the years.  The boys love taking them out and reminiscing on the times they arrived and what goodies accompanied them, before hanging them on the tree.  It’s so much fun for all of us.

Last year, we made icons out of Shrinky Dinks.  You all know how much we love our Shrinky Dinks; we’ve done so many different things with them in the past and they’ve always turned out very well and held up over time, making them perfect for a project like this.

So, I placed a big pot of hot cocoa and bowls of marshmallows and peppermint sticks on the table and we got to work.  [Read more…]

Fall Favorites Swap {sign-ups}

Fall Favorites Swap

Fall Favorites Swap

Last year, we had a terrific response to our Christmas Tradition Swap but I thought I’d do something a little earlier since we also do the Orthodox Kid’s Ornament Exchange every year and the holidays are busy enough as it is.

I love everything about fall.  The sights, the smells, the tastes; anything even remotely fall-ish is okay in my book.   And I love swaps.  So, it only made sense to have a Fall Favorites themed swap to celebrate Autumn!

All you have to do is send an email with the subject line FALL FAVORITES SWAP to Sylvia{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com with your name, snail mail address and some of the things you love.  Do you love to knit?  Do you have a thing for coffee mugs?  Love Pumpkin Spice Lattes?  Anything you can think of that you think might help your partner when picking out their swap items for you.  Also, if you are not an Orthodox Christian please just add a note letting me know that so your partner knows whether or not to include religious items. **Please be sure to put FALL FAVORITES SWAP as the subject to ensure your message doesn’t end up in spam.

You can send whatever you love about fall!  Here are some ideas:

Anything pumpkin, apple or acorn related, fall colors, scents, gift cards to a coffee shop with a note telling your partner what you like to order from there in the fall, a scarf, pair of fingerless gloves, favorite candle.

It’s entirely up to you.  The only thing I ask is you meet the minimum amount requirement.  It’s not fair for someone to put a lot of time and money into your package and receive something thrown together at the last minute that didn’t even cost the same amount.   The minimum amount is $20.  If you want to spend more, feel free but $20.00 is the least you can spend.  

I love these swaps for so many reasons, one of them being the relationships that are sometimes formed between partners.  I really try to match everyone up based on interests, so please tell me a bit about yourselves in your email.  It’s awesome to hear people tell me afterwards that they still keep in touch with previous partners.  Can’t wait to see who will be joining us this time!

The deadline to sign up is Tuesday, October 29.  Once I get all the info, I will partner everyone up and email you all of their info by Thursday, October 31.

Packages must go out by Friday, November 8.   It is a little rushed this time around because I was hoping to post this much sooner but couldn’t but it still gives us plenty of time to enjoy those fall goodies!

So, do you know what you have to do now?

1.  Leave a comment with your email address just in case your email doesn’t arrive in my inbox.

2.  Email me the info I asked for above by this Tuesday, October 29.

3.  Send your package out by Friday, November 8!

4.  Post your package on our Flickr group (which I will create soon and link it back to this post).



{sign-up for} The Tradition Exchange

tradition exchange

for the past five years we’ve had swaps for the kiddos. our mailboxes overflow with fun little packages filled with beautiful little pieces to hand on our trees handmade by our precious little ones. and every year i get people emailing me asking if they can join even though they don’t have kids. the reason for this is, of course, it’s fun to swap and no matter how old you are it’s fun getting packages in the mail. so, this year, after some facebook encouragement, i decided to organize an adult swap and see how it goes. if it goes well, i’ll add it to the list of other annual traditions. if not, at least we tried!

first rule is: you don’t have to be an orthodox mom to participate. i’m opening this swap to whoever wants to participate!

second rule is: the swap package needs to total a minimum of $20.00 to keep it fair.

third rule is: package must be postmarked by thursday, december 13.

the theme is Christmas Traditions. {thanks to Jennifer of Illumination Learning for the theme suggestion. I <3 it!} I think this is a fabulous way to share a bit of ourselves and things we love with each other. Don’t you?

packages could include one of your favorite books or movies.

you should also include a note explaining why the contents of your package are a favorite christmas tradition for you.

another thing you can do is include a favorite recipe and cookie cutter.

i think the best way to come up with ideas is to first write down all of your favorite traditions. then read through your list and decide what you can expand on for your package.

be creative! just please keep the minimum cost in mind.

If you’re interested, please be sure to include all of the information listed below:

email your name, favorite things or hobbies, if you’re Orthodox or not, address and the ages of your children if you have, to Sylvia{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com. I’m asking more personal questions for this swap to make it as personalized to your personality and lifestyle as possible!

PLEASE put “THE TRADITION EXCHANGE” in the subject line so you’re email doesn’t get lost in my inbox!

Deadline for sign-ups is December 7, 2012.

2012 Orthodox Kid’s Ornament Exchange {sign-ups}

orthodox christmas ornaments

Every Christmas for the past four years, here on Adventures of an Orthodox Mom, a fabulous group of moms and kids team up and create the most beautiful Orthodox Christmas ornaments and swap them between our families.

We have a special box full of the precious ornaments that we’ve received over the years.  The boys love taking them out and reminiscing on the times they arrived and what goodies accompanied them, before hanging them on the tree.  It’s so much fun for all of us. [Read more…]

Orthodox Kid’s Ornament Exchange 2011 {Sign-ups}

We will be doing our annual Orthodox Children’s Ornament Exchange again this year! 

The rules are posted below, so please leave a comment if you would like to participate. It is only one ornament per family and last year, I believe we ended up making a total of nine, which included one to keep at home. If there is a bigger turnout than expected, I will divide the families into groups.  [Read more…]

Special Delivery

All of our ornaments have officially been delivered! What beautiful little ornaments everyone made! It was so much fun seeing all of the creative ways they were each made. There ended up being two groups of participants, so I can only post photos from the group I was in but if anyone wants to send me a photo of Group 2’s ornaments, I’d love to see them.

We had a great time making this years ornament (below) and the boys had so much fun getting the mail every day and opening their packages!

Thank you again to everyone who participated!

Orthodox Children’s Ornament Exchange {Sign-ups}

We will be doing our annual Orthodox Children’s Ornament Exchange again this year! In past years, we’ve done book exchanges as well but I think everyone really had fun with the ornament exchange and I received several emails asking if this is something we’d be doing again, so I went with that again this Christmas. [Read more…]

Orthodox Christmas Ornaments {2009}

The ornaments from our Orthodox Children’s Ornament Swap have been arriving all week! The boys have had so much fun running to the mailbox every morning and opening their packages!

These are the ones we’ve received so far (minus the magazine in the background of course) :

The packages were filled with lots of fun treats and beautiful cards. I love seeing our tree covered in more Orthodox ornaments too! I love when they are made by children; they always seem to somehow capture their innocence.

We made our ornaments out of printable Shrinky Dinks.

First I found an icon and re-sized it to fit 4 per page. Then I lightened the color to 50% (it darkens as it shrinks) and printed them on the special paper.

Here is a before and after photo to get an idea of how much they shrink.

Then we cut them out, leaving a thin white border for the boys to color. After that we punched a hole in the top center of each one, placed it on a paper bag (they stick to metal) and baked them.

Here’s what they look like in the oven:

After they cooled, Ace colored the border with metallic silver Sharpie marker and I sprayed them with a clear gloss coat of spray paint. I wrote their names and the year on the back too.


Lastly, we strung a piece of ribbon through them, wrapped them in tissue and placed them in a little red & silver velvet pouch. I thought the pouch would be a good place to keep all the ornaments from the swap in.

Thanks again to all of you who participated! We love each and every one of them–I can’t wait to see the rest of them!


Orthodox Ornament Exchange

Here is the list of families participating in the Orthodox Children’s Ornament Exchange:

01. Sylvia

02. Maria

03. Olena

04. Maggie Annie

05. Mirjana

06. Kathy

07. Sarah

08. Jennifer

09. Christine

Ladies, please email your shipping address, and the names of your children, to Sylvia{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com. Please make the subject line ORNAMENT SWAP. Once I receive everyone’s address I will forward them to the entire group.


  • Each family will make one ornament for each participating family (total of 9 including one for home).
  • Ornaments should be homemade and should have an Orthodox theme.
  • Ornaments, along with a card stating who it is from, should be postmarked by Wednesday, December 16.

Some ideas for ornaments are:

Cookie clay ornaments

Cinnamon ornaments

Color or cut an icon out and place in an ornament frame

The Crafty Crow has a fun list of kid-friendly ornaments

You can pretty much “Orthodox” any ornament idea by adding an icon or something. Old catalogs are perfect for cutting out icons to use. They are the perfect size and there is usually a great selection. The Conciliar Press catalog is my favorite one. Whenever a new one arrives, I look forward to cutting up the old one and making something fun with the boys. :)

If anyone has any questions just ask! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!!


Orthodox Children’s Ornament Swap

Last year we had our first annual Orthodox Children’s Swap. We swapped books for the children and they each included a handmade card in their package. It was a lot of fun and we shared some terrific books and cards!

This year, I’d like to do an ornament swap. The way it will work is depending on the number of participants we will divide into groups and swap within our group. So plan on making about 6 or so ornaments. If there aren’t that many people who sign up we’ll just all swap with each other.

The rules:

01. Each child will make enough ornaments to send one to each member of his/her group. ORNAMENTS MUST BE HANDMADE.

02. Include a card (handmade or not) making sure that their name is legible.

03. Adding other trinkets, candies, stickers, etc is a nice gesture but it is not required.

04. Packages must be postmarked by Friday, December 11, 2009 to ensure time for the children to enjoy their ornaments before Christmas.

If you would like to participate please sign up a.s.a.p. as I will be posting partners on Friday to give one full week to make the ornaments!