Make St. Ia and Her Friends!

Saint Ia and her friends created by Kristina Wenger

My sweet and crafty friend, Kristina Wenger, sent me the cutest gift – St. Ia and her friends! Isn’t it just adorable?! I can’t believe how much they look like the characters in the book and I can’t stop looking at them. It’s one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve gotten. If you would like to make some of your own, Kristina has created instructions and templates for you to use. Below are images

She created directions for all of you in case you want to create them yourself. I can’t believe how much they look like the actual characters in the book! She has kindly written up the directions on how to make them and is letting me share them with you.

From Kristina:

“I’m a child at heart, and as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed making toys. Of late, I’ve most often made stuffed animals or dolls, chiefly to give as gifts. Occasionally, however, I create them as my natural response to someone’s gift of art. Some people write fan fiction or create artwork inspired by someone else’s work. I create fan stuffies or toys. I’ve made stuffies in response to store logos, a comic figure, and several books. 

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Saint Ia Rides a Leaf Activities

Earlier this year Melinda Johnson and I collaborated together to create the Orthodox board book, Saint Ia Rides a Leaf, which was published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. One of the things that we love is sharing the beautiful Orthodox faith with children. We came up with some activities that you can do with your children or your Sunday School classroom that go along with our book. We thought it would be fun to do a whole unit on St. Ia while also studying leaves. This will help your child make connections to the story based their real life experiences with leaves, while teaching them important literacy, math and science concepts. The following activities are for toddlers through early elementary school aged children.

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Our Kouvouklion and Epitaphios

Today as we prepare for Holy Friday services at home, we made our own Kouvouklion & Epitaphios! Please know that this was not my idea. Sotiria Stavropoulos created a Facebook video where she showed how to create it. I was so amazed by how beautiful it was and we decided to make our own! I have included instructions on how we did this. Some of the work will need to be done by an adult but there are also tasks kids can do. (more…)

Perler Bead Cross Gifts

At Christmas my kids love to make gifts for the people in our family. They are really into Perler Beads which are little plastic beads that you place on a peg board. You use an iron and a parchment type paper to melt the beads together. Today, I’m going to show you some of our cross designs.

These can be made into Christmas ornaments or necklaces. If you use glow in the dark beads, you can have your child write out the verse from John 8:12 on a tag to go with the gift: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” It can be put in a child’s room to remind them at night that Jesus protects them and keeps them safe.

Making these crosses is also a great gift idea for a child who likes to act out the liturgy at home. You could use yellow beads and I think they might make gold ones, too.

And of course, children love it when they can make something that adults can use. They can make a cross necklace for family members or themselves to wear. (more…)

The Story of St. Romanos

Saint Romanos the Melodist

Have you ever wondered where some of our hymns come from? It always amazes me that these beautiful words have been preserved for so long. It makes me feel connected to that time period. You may be wondering who St. Romanos was and what he had to do with our hymns.

The abbreviated version of his life: He was a monk that lived around 518 AD. He served as the deacon of the church of Agia Sofia in Constantinople. Back then Deacons would face the congregation and chant most of the service. St. Romanos had trouble reading and singing out loud. He had a dream that the Theotokos asked him to eat a scroll of music. When he woke up, he was able to sing with confidence. He began to sing new hymn that might be familiar to you –

“Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!
Angels with shepherds glorify Him!
The wise men journey with a star!
Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!”

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Holy Unction Explanation for Kids

Can you believe it is already Holy Week? Maybe it’s because Pascha is a little early this year but Lent has seemed to fly by. I’m  happy to share with you a piece I did for New Martyr Magazine last year. It is a one page “comic.” Not really funny, but drawings of what happens at the service. It also instructs children on what the priest will do and where they will be anointed, so they can prepare. If your children are very young, you may want to get a paintbrush out and pretend to anoint them so they can practice. This helps out a lot so they know what to expect.  (more…)

Appreciating the Kingdom of God: Melted Snow

We’ve had a LOT of snow days this year and January isn’t even over yet! This week has been better but it seems we’ve had lots of cold weather and snow. One of the things I like to do with my children are learning experiences that help us learn about the beauty of God’s Kingdom. Whenever we do science activities like this, I learn something new and become fascinated by the amazing world we live in.

This week we decided to collect some snow and see what happened when it melted.

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How to Care for Someone with Cancer

Today I am interviewing Marjorie Kunch, an Orthodox children’s book author, who is currently in active treatment for stage 3 breast cancer. You may remember her book, “When My Baba Died” and “When My Yiayia Died,” which help children understand death and the Orthodox funeral. She also has an activity book that is perfect for children that helps them review the material in the books!

She’s recently released her new book, “When Mama Had Cancer,” which teaches children about cancer from diagnosis to treatments and how to rely on their faith to get through this difficult time. She took some time to answer a few questions that I’m happy to share with you!

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