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.

100. Theophany

We are preparing for Theophany tomorrow, and I’ve finally assembled a simple album of our baptisms and our godchildren’s baptisms (as well as weddings and churchings) to share with our son on Theophany and throughout the year. I used Fotor’s collage tool to assemble simple pages (one for each event) and then printed them on photo paper. I found the idea in Elizabeth White’s book. A second set was sent to godchildren and godparents – baptisms and weddings from California to Wyoming and South Dakota to Texas and Pennsylvania… It’s quite beautiful and touching to gather all of the memories into one special album!
My son has also been greatly enamored of drawing in and creating little homemade booklets the last few days. I suggested we do a Theophany booklet and he chose to draw grass (ie, basil for house blessings), an empty bowl, a censer, a bowl with water and ‘grass’ in it, and an altar cloth. It’s quite adorable. We may do another one of small paper icons pasted into a booklet. I’m astounded at how the new format of a booklet has ignited his desire to draw and then tell the stories of the booklets.
I’d love to hear any of your Theophany traditions and activities as well!

99. Hand Rolled Candles

On St. Lucia Day we rolled candles from beeswax sheets. While we mostly focused on St. Herman of Alaska on December 13, the candle activity seemed very fitting for St. Lucia Day (as well as for his recent bee obsession)! I was surprised at how much my son enjoyed it. He rolled numerous candles; all I did was cut the sheets of wax and place the wick for him. We gave the candles to his friends at church as Nativity gifts. Orthodox families can always use candles for their prayer corners! The sheets seemed a bit pricey to me, but they actually made a lot and were almost comparable in price to purchasing beeswax candles for prayer.  This could also be a good activity for the Twelve Days of Christmas.