Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easter, 2012

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 Orthodox Easter in United States

Many Orthodox Christians in the United States celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. The Orthodox Christian date for Easter Sunday often occurs at a later date than the Easter date observed by many western churches. The day is also known as Pascha, Easter and Easter Day.

What do people do?

Many Orthodox Christian churches, including the Greek Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox churches, celebrate the “miracle of Easter” on the Easter Sunday date in the Julian calendar. Many people see Easter as the most important event in the church calendar. Orthodox Easter preparations begin with 40 days of strict fasting prior to Easter Day. Many Orthodox Christians attend liturgies during the Holy Week that leads up to Easter Sunday.
Some Americans who are members of the Russian Orthodox Christian community still practice the tradition of laying Easter eggs and Easter bread on dead relatives’ graves. This practice is a way of greeting the dead with news that Jesus Christ has risen. Many Greek Orthodox Christians buy Easter bread, known as tsoureki, and prepare lamb for the Easter feast.
Another tradition observed in many Orthodox Christian churches is the blessing of food baskets. The baskets are usually filled with bread, cheese, meat, eggs, butter, salt, and other types of food used for Paschal celebrations. The fasting period has ended and meat and dairy products can be eaten.

Background

Many Orthodox churches base their Easter date on the Julian calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar that is used by many western countries. Therefore the Orthodox Easter period often occurs later than the Easter period that falls after the time of the March equinox.
There are different types of Orthodox churches that are well established in the United States. Some of these churches include the Greek Hellenic Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church in North America can be traced back to the late 18th century, where a Russian church was built on Kodiak Island in Alaska during that period. Alaska was previously part of Russia until the United States bought the land.

Symbols

The Easter egg is hard-boiled and often dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. It was an important symbol connected with spring fertility rituals in many early civilizations. Many Greek Orthodox Christians rap their eggs against their friends' eggs and the owner of the last uncracked egg is considered lucky.

What we did

Coloring Eggs

Boil eggs
Prepare color pallet
Cover working area
Stickers I found at Walgreens are an amazing time saver! Your toddler can participate!
Just put the egg inside the sticker
Using a wooden spoon, slowly insert the egg into the boiling water, hold 3 seconds and your egg is ready!
Within a minute we got them done
I decided to color the white out, but you don't have to. They look very pretty as they are in stickers.
Dying more eggs
Put some glitter on them :)
End product!
Cute Center Piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Basket for Lucas

1 small basket with a bunny in it
1 large egg with 2 small cars in it
1 "soccer ball" egg that lights up
3 pencils with Easter details on it
1 sound making stick
1 hand-made carrot full of candy (that he didn't get to eat)
1 necklace/bubble maker carrot
little egg toys
My creation :)
Basket put together

Close view










Cupcakes (All wrapped up and ready to go!)


Easter Cupcake

Easter Video

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chicken Veggies Stir Fry

(In this recipe you marinate the chicken for about 40 minutes and it turns out SO deliciously flavorful -  you will have trouble putting your plate down!)

The recipe itself turned out to be a little random. I wanted to use up some of the groceries I had left in the fridge. You can use other vegetables if you like.

Ingredients:
2 gloves of garlic (not in the picture)
1 green pepper
1 cauliflower
1/2 package of frozen broccoli (not in the picture)
1/2 package of shredded carrots
Rice for a side dish
Beans for a side dish (I never ended up making beans)


2 chicken breasts
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp stir-fry sauce by Kikkoman (not in the picture)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar  
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper


Cut chicken in stripes 
Combine 4 tablespoons oil, 2 tbsp stir-fry sauce, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp vinegar, salt and pepper in the bowl and mix it well together
In the plastic bag combine chicken and sauce mixture together. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, I put frozen broccoli in the water and microwaved for about 3 minutes, then discharged water 
Add 2 tbsp olive oil in the frying pan and squeeze 2 garlic gloves. On medium high heat fry for about 2 minutes or until light brown 

Add carrots and brown for about 5-7 more minutes or until soft







Add broccoli and cauliflower 
Reduce heat to medium, add 1 tsp of vegeta to the vegetables 
Cut green pepper in stripes







Add green pepper and fry until veggies are soft and ready

 






Drain and discard marinade from the bag
In a large skillet, saute chicken in 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 8 minutes on medium high heat
Make sure all the pink is gone
This is what it looks like when its ready
Add vegetables to the chicken and mix really well
 







Serve on the bed of rice. Enjoy!



Monday, April 2, 2012

What an 11 month old can do?

  •  Your baby understands surroundings very well at this age and knows when you talk about him
  • Makes animal-like noises and imitates words and intonations 
  • Knows exactly what to do when you give him simple tasks like: "give me", "sit down", "bring me", "drop it", or "pick it up"
  • Waits for your praise and approval of the actions
  • Nods affirmative for "yes" and negatively shakes head for "no"
  • Waves at people when saying good bye
  • Repeats the same action over and over in order to improve it
  • Tries to eat with a spoon; good at drinking from a cup
  • Climbs stairs up and down and actively crawls
  • Makes an attempt to walk 
At 11 months old most babies change their sleeping schedule. They play a lot more now and sleep a lot less. The best schedule that worked for us:
  • Wake up at 8:00 am
  • Breakfast at 8:30 am
  • Play time at 9:00 am
  • Lunch at 12:00 pm
  • Nap at 1:00 pm till 3:00 pm
  • Play time 
  • Dinner at 6:30 pm
  • Going to bed at 8:00
Your child loves to impress you and make you happy. It feels amazing to throw away his own diaper, bring your slippers to you, or point out body parts on you or himself over and over again, just to see positive emotions it brings to you. 
Sadly for me, at 11 months old Lucas was getting intrigued by the toys less and less. Sadly - because I LOVE buying him toys! At this age, any adult thing found around the house is a new toy! Especially the ones he knew he couldn't have, they become most desirable. Time for childproofing you house? I think it is :)
You child wants to copy anything you do! He will pretend to brush his hair or teeth, or press buttons on TV remote, and etc. That's a good time to start involving him into some of your daily activities. While you are cooking - let him play with pans and pots, while you washing your dishes - let him splash teaspoons in a bowl of water, while you are shopping - let him put groceries in the cart for you and so on. Doing that will help to build a strong base for your child as he grows.
Another very important thing I noticed about Lucas at 11 months old, he became extremely interested in other children. Every time we had a play date his personalities would come out the way they never did before! Lucas was getting bored in the house by himself, but if there is another child he could be restless playing and communicating with him. I suggest it to any other moms out there, play date - is an amazing tool for your baby to develop! Try to let them interact with each other, they need to learn to play with each other without your help, but don't leave them alone and always watch them.

Video of Lucas at 11 months old


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