Charlotte's Somewhat Random Blog

This blog is somewhat random, but not totally random. My posts fall more or less into four categories — posts about life in the Orthodox Church, recipes, book reviews, and everything else. You can start on this page if you just want to explore. Or click one of the links if you want to browse posts in a particular category. And if you are looking for something that’s more closely related to Pascha, use the menu at the top of the page.

St. Helena and the Cats of Cyprus

We all know the story of St. Helena and the True Cross. But St. Helena and the cats of Cyprus? That's a story I've only just recently learned! After St. Helena found the True Cross in Jerusalem, she headed back to Constantinople. On the way, she stopped by Cyprus. She...

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Mr. George Baker: A Review

I’ve really struggled, trying to write a review of Mr. George Baker. The problem is that, as soon as I’ve written a paragraph or two, I’ll go back and read what I’ve said, and it sounds totally, absurdly, ridiculously over the top. This is just a picture book, right?...

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The Righteous King Tamar of Georgia

During her life, St. Tamar of Georgia styled herself, “By the will of God, King of Kings and Queen of Queens of the Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Arranians, Kakhetians, and Armenians; Shirvanshah and Shahanshah; Autocrat of all the East and the West, Glory of the World and...

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Beautiful Rainbow World: A Review

Beautiful Rainbow World is a book full of gorgeous photographs of adorable children. The book has words, too. Most of the words are the lyrics to a song by Daria A. Marmaluk-Hajioannou. It’s a brief song, and Suzee Ramirez added some verses to make a longer book. But...

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14 Ways to Use Catherine’s Pascha

We’re just a bit more than halfway to Ascension. Most of us have caught up on our sleep. We've gone back to work and school and all the other obligations of our lives. But it’s still Pascha! If you’re a homeschool family, here are some ways you can use Catherine’s...

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The Suitcase: A Review

The Suitcase is, according to the subtitle, “A Story about Giving.” And it is that, I suppose. But more than that, it’s a story about Thomas. “He was maybe just a little bit different, this child named Thomas.” Thomas doesn’t build with his blocks. He lines them up....

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Are You an Echo? A Review

Back in late winter, I was meeting one of my kids in Seattle after work, so we could ride the train home together. The Kinokuniya bookstore is near the train station, so she popped in to browse while she waited for me. And while she was there, she spotted a book that...

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St. Mark’s Day: Winged Lions and Roses

I disappointed a little girl right before Holy Week. She had been reading Catherine's Pascha, and she wanted to know more about Catherine's family. Specifically, she wanted to know the names of Catherine’s mommy and daddy. So she got out her toy phone and called me to...

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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Date-Sweetened Banana Bread

I didn’t think I’d ever have banana bread again. But this recipe for date-sweetened banana bread – oh, my goodness, is it good. And it’s made without any of the things I’m not supposed to have. It’s sugar free. It has no added sugar, no honey, no maple syrup. Just the...

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Saint George and the Dragon: A Review

Children all know stories about fair maidens and fierce dragons and knights in shining armor. They know the dragon eats people, and the knight kills the dragon, marries the maiden, and lives happily ever after. And when they first encounter the story of Saint George...

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Christ is Risen, and I Need Sleep

If you’re not Orthodox, it can be hard to understand what your Orthodox Christian friends have been doing for the last week, or why they’re so bleary-eyed today. Let me see if I can explain it. To imagine Pascha, think of what it would be like if you combined the...

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Easter Books for Toddlers

When I’m looking for Easter books, I want books that show people celebrating Easter. There aren’t enough of them, as far as I’m concerned. But if you’re looking for Easter books for toddlers, and if you take an expansive view of what it means to be celebrating Easter,...

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