106. Lenten and Holy Week Nature Table

This was our first real attempt at having a seasonal nature table on display. While he didn’t work with the table terribly often, my son did enjoy it when he did, and we had some thoughtful conversations about Holy Week and Pascha while he worked with the material. I enjoyed having it in the house. The stone path idea was inspired by this Advent calendar. The Pascha items were inspired by these wonderful Holy Week lessons. The wooden cross is apparently a traditional Romanian style, given to me by a friend. I found the tree/cave on etsy, and I loved using the air plants as vegetation!
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nature table lent1

nature table lent

105. Holy Week Activities

Sometimes I’m thankful for photographs because they help me remember just how much we occasionally fit into a week – such as Orthodox Holy Week!   We found some wonderful egg experiments on TinkerLab, including the Naked Egg and Egg Geodes that seemed very appropriate for the week.

We also experimented with oil before unction on Wednesday, and helped dye the red eggs at church on Thursday.

On Friday we helped with the flowers for the epitaphios.  I brought a cardboard box full of holes and silk flowers for the children to work with while the mothers were busy, inspired by this.  Next year I hope to add cardboard tube legs and a cross on top.

At home we dyed eggs, coloring them with crayons and sprinkling them with salt.  We also painted large foam craft eggs red.  Foam eggs are something I would definitely *only* buy on clearance!  A friend also shared the idea of painting wooden eggs with chalkboard paint.

Naked Eggs

Egg Geodes



We also did the super easy Homemade Lava Lamps on Wednesday afternoon.  Experimenting with oil seemed such a lovely thing to do before receiving unction that evening.


The light in our church is so beautiful in the early evening!


Dyeing eggs at church


Cardboard epitaphios, created as I was walking out the door – improvements planned for next year.


I like to do the candlestands and window sills on Holy Friday!


Projects at home

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A spot for our giant red eggs, which will hopefully be painted with various designs next year.  Free egg print  below generously shared by this talented blogger!




And, of course, an egg hunt in the backyard on Pascha morning, before the church picnic. A sweet conclusion to a blessed, full week.  Christ is Risen!


104. Color-Coded Orthodox Days of the Week for Children

My son measures days by how many ‘sleeps’ it will be until a certain event. He also asks the days of the weeks but has a hard time keeping track of them. I adapted this idea of a color-coded calendar by using the liturgical colors (this liturgical color wheel is fabulous) that we’ve been discussing all year in our pre-k class.  I tried to use what seemed like the most appropriate color for each day based upon the seven day weekly commemoration (Sunday- White for Resurrection, Monday- Gold for Angels, etc.)  I’ve been surprised at how quickly he has latched onto this idea.  Of course,  the calendar would go perfectly with the songs from the Garden of the Theotokos CD (if I can ever find my copy amongst my many piles).  I hope to find a way to improve this calendar when I have time and am open to your suggestions!  To make it, I opened a new calendar in Word, selected each column and filled with the designed color, and typed the commemoration at the end of the column.  I’m sorry I don’t have a printable to offer you, but it’s quite simple to do!

103. Woven Censer

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My son’s talented grandma made this small play censer for him. She wove a small basket and lid from reeds, spray painted them gold, and then added gold beads as embellishment, jingle bells, and a gold plastic chain. My son is using a black duplo block as charcoal. It is absolutely delightful to watch him censing his icons and our home. Sometimes we take it to our weekday church class and the other little boys also love to use it. (The girls haven’t been interested!)

102. Heaven

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My son had so many questions about heaven and death after my mom passed away last summer that I eventually started working on this project with him to have something concrete to learn from. I’m not a theologian but I worked from the biblical passages about streets being paved with gold and Christ going to prepare homes for us. I modeled the shape on a monastery as a way to make God (symbolized by the church in the middle) visible and accessible from all angles, and because the beauty and peace found at monasteries must be one of the nearest things to heaven that we can find on earth (along with the Divine Liturgy, of course!) Being a packrat sometimes pays off – I had plenty of small boxes stashed away in the garage. I wanted lots of boxes to help convey the idea of lots of little houses. I used a nail to punch holes in the boxes with the intention of adding electric tealights or a flashlight to the model at some point to add to the sense of light and illumination. We taped on a box as a gate – the tape lets it open and close like a hinge. The fact that there is a gate has led to a lot of discussion with him! My son watched me hot glue the boxes together, and then I spray painted it gold. He has helped me glue on gems as pathways and along the walls, and he added a white doormat in front of the church. We began this in December and have worked on it off and on. Eventually I would like to add small paper icon figures of angels and saints and perhaps of our deceased relatives to help him understand even more. It’s definitely not finished yet!
I’d love any suggestions you might have as well for our project.

101. The Twelve Days of Christmas

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I tried to be more mindful of the full Orthodox Christmas season this year, savoring the twelve days and trying to extend our Christmas activities beyond December 25 and up to January 6. The most we’ve done in the past is keep our lights up and on until Theophany, but with our son growing older, I wanted to try harder. Mainly, we relaxed and stayed home a lot, playing with Christmas gifts and avoiding the stores. We played Christmas music and kept all the ornaments up. We talked about some of the saints who are celebrated during this period and of course celebrated St. Basil at church, where an older woman handed out gold chocolate coins to all of us. We had a few small gifts during the 12 Days, attended the lights at the local zoo, and started working on a cardboard model of heaven that has been on my mind a lot (more about that in another post.) We started more bulbs (I’d refrigerated them for 8 weeks so they could be forced, so it took some planning), picked all our citrus before a freeze (oranges being a traditional Christmas food!), enjoyed the rare frost, and made popcorn. I assembled the family baptism book (previous post) in time for Theophany. This book was a jumping off point, and I know there are probably more ideas online. I’m glad we made a start, and hopefully we will have more ideas next year!