Saturday, April 8, 2017

Holy Week Calendar for Children

Also, if you are looking for some activities, memory verses, hymns, and coloring pages, here is an Orthodox Christian Holy Week link.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Getting the Kitchen Ready for Holy Week

Rubbing my head while looking at my shopping list and our church calendar, I asked my husband, "how can I feed our family next week?"

Yes, traditionally adults fast even more strictly this week, as we walk with Jesus through His last days on earth, but those children need some nourishment if we are going to expect them to have energy to put into behaving at church.

So back to my question - what can I feed them when I will not have time to cook large or complicated or even small-but-time-consuming meals?  The Deacon suggested I feed the kids cereal, granola, and oatmeal for supper all week, since that is a quick meal to get in before heading to church. The children were actually excited about that! But if I don't get more protein in them during the day, that cereal won't be enough.

So, here is my plan. It is not a perfect plan, but perhaps it will inspire you to make your own.

Breakfast Ideas:
Protein Powder Baked Oatmeal (I use Katie's recipe but sub vanilla protein powder for the sugar)
Chickpea Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
Peanut Butter Cinnamon Toast
Life Changing Loaf of Bread - oats, seeds, nuts, flax, chia - super healthy and filling
Pumpkin Muffins (a box of cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree) with Seed/Nut sprinkles

Lunch Ideas:
Noodles with Margarine and cooked and drained Lentils
Taco Soup from freezer (Love this Pioneer Woman recipe - I just sub beans for chicken during Lent and do NOT add the tortillas if you are going to freeze it.)
Beany Cheesy Quesadillas or Soft Tacos - Melissa Naasko's book Fasting as a Family has this great little recipe for Beany Cheesy Spread, which I make (use the smoked paprika!) and keep in a glass jar in the fridge for when I need to fill that craving!

Supper Ideas:
1. Stock up on cereal. (We eat it with orange juice or oat milk).
2. Break down and buy some Veggie Burgers and buns.
3. Popcorn shrimp from the freezer section (they were on sale BOGO last week)
4. Lots of bags of frozen broccoli, green beans, peas, cauliflower - that I can microwave without pulling out the cutting board and knife.

1. Dried fruit, nuts, crackers
2. Make yet one more batch of hummus! (Thanks for the recipe, Daddy!)

This recipe lives on the inside of the cabinet where I keep my food processor

Of course, at some point we'll find time to make Cheese Pascha and Kulich! Almost there....

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lazarakia for Low Sugar Grown-ups

Or, how to take a wonderful Greek dish and totally change it to fit your needs at hand. I am actually taking two Greek dishes and blending the ideas: Spanikopita and Lazarakia.

Image result for lazarakia
This is not my photo; please click here for the lovely original source.

Why? Because I'm not supposed to be eating sugar right now and I want something to make with the kids that I can eat too. We'll do one gigantic bread instead of many little ones. (Maybe we'll make a second one with marshmallows and strawberry preserves inside for the kiddos and Deacon.)

How? Easy, I'm going to use this recipe for a spinach filling for my dish. But instead of making Spanikopita, I'm going to fill a braided pastry,  probably using a Whole Grain Spelt Pizza Crust Dough. If you've never made a pastry braid, it is very easy and that linked video is only one minute long and will walk you right through it. This is supposed to be a respectful nod to the braided breads representing Lazarus all wrapped up in burial cloths. I may or may not try to shape a face for him.

I'll post pictures, Lord willing, once I make it, but I thought I'd go ahead and post the idea now in case anyone else might want to start thinking about it.

Or, don't make this for Lazarus Saturday. Make it any night this week.

If your house is anything like ours right now after five weeks of no dairy, no meat, no eggs, etc., you might have fallen into the rut of cooking the same thing over and over. I'm not talking about an intentionally planned diverse weekly menu that you repeat 7 times. No, I'm talking about bean burritos for lunch, beans and rice for supper, peanut butter and jelly for breakfast and then peanut butter and crackers for a snack. Surely your house has not gotten so bad as mine! We had a Lenten Retreat right on the heels of the Canon of St. Andrew this past weekend and were barely home. We ate well at the retreat, but once it was over and we walked back into our unattended kitchen....  Cooking well requires some planning.

Good news! You can plan to make this pie, even if you just purchase phyllo or puff pastry from the freezer section, along with some bags of chopped frozen greens. It's got the magic of caramelized onions and is sooooo good.

Sunday of Orthodoxy Activity

As a private and public junior high and high school teacher for ten years before becoming a homeschool teacher of grades pre-k and up, I can basically offer something for ALL of your kids, no matter who your are! (smile)

When I post learning material I hope that you can see yourself using it whether your kids learn at home or also in a traditional school. For instance, today's COPYWORK on the Sunday of Orthodoxy can be used several ways once you print it out:

  • Do you help with Sunday School? Include it in your lesson this week, along with this coloring page found here.

  • Work on it with your child Sunday afternoon, between your own parish's service and the Pan-Orthodox service later that evening*. Ask your child to listen for the words when you attend that evening service.  I love the knowing look my five-year-old gives me when he hears something we had talked about before the service. 

  • If you homeschool, use this for handwriting practice on Monday as a way to review Sunday's events.
Don't try to click on me - I'm just for show!

  • If it is appropriate in your parish, you could allow your smaller child to quietly color the line drawing and practice the letters on the manuscript page during one of the bed time evening services this upcoming week.
For the file, click on the link at the bottom of the page :)

But, why copywork? Isn't that sort of like busywork, that pointless time-filler many teachers who didn't know better used in order to keep little hands occupied?

Actually, the process of saying words aloud and then writing them with one's hand accomplishes several benefits beyond improved handwriting.

First, your child encounters an idea in those words, an idea that is nourishment for the mind and soul. In this case, your child gets to spend a few minutes with an idea that is foundational to our Faith. You can talk about it together. As he writes, time is provided to chew on and digest something from this important day, making this year's Lenten journey a little more meaningful.

Second, writing can be an elaborative rehearsal device. What is that, you might be thinking? It is a technique that moves information from one's short-term memory to one's long-term memory by providing opportunities to repeat that information and link it to other encounters. In this case, you are linking the encounter of the Church service to the copywork.

Third, writing and speaking the same words uses three of our five senses: we see them with our eyes, hear them with our own ears, and "touch" them as we form our lips, tongue and teeth to say them and touch the pencil with our hand. The only senses missing are smell and taste, which your child will receive at church with incense, beeswax candles, kissing the icons, and Holy Communion. 

Why does it matter to use our senses? When I taught Speech and Drama students to memorize their material, I instructed them: imagine your brain receiving a message from one of your senses; your finger touches something and a little pathway is created from the tip of your finger to your brain. Now, what if more than one sense were traveling down that pathway? You write the word and say it with your mouth and the pathway is made wider, stronger, more like a road to your brain. The more times the path is traveled the stronger it gets. The stronger the pathway, the better you remember.

This is perhaps why Katherine Johnson included so much copywork of Scripture and hymnography in her Orthodox Curriculum, Ages of Grace. We want our children to remember the important things about our Faith.

On to the file: it is a pdf file with a page for cursive, a page for elementary manuscript, and a page for easier manuscript.

I hope you can use it!

* (Okay, I realize because I have been there that some of you don't even have one parish within an hour drive, much less two! Thanks be to God you have that one you can get to sometimes! If you have to, you can do your own procession around your house and shout together the lines of copywork.)