Some Homeschool Happenings This Week

Motherhood, Uncategorized

We are really enjoying homeschool so far. We are still figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t, but the nice thing is we are allowed to adjust our days for what works best for our family.

Ella really enjoys insects a lot. She found a dead bumblebee and was asking lots of questions about them & inspecting it.

I scored this awesome poster that really adds to our Living Education Atmosphere.

Typically we just do school on the weekdays, but honestly education never ends & sometimes events are limited to the weekends. This Sunday, we went to the Ukrainian Festival & watched Ukrainian dancing, listened to Ukrainian music, planned on eating (pierogies sold out FAST & only meat options were left), & shopped for some items. I signed up to join the Ukrainian Women’s League of America.

We were supposed to see Shakespeare in the Park this Saturday, but we were rained out. We still had our picnic at the park, checked out the nature center (sad to learn it is still mostly shut down since covid with no plans to re-open at this time, and played on the outdoor playground.

Ella found a cicada which made her very happy. Cicadas are her favorite insect.

We went to the library for Family Storytime. It’s mostly geared toward the three younger kids, but the older kids still enjoy it too. They mostly go for the tech time after crafting & to pick out new books though. I enjoy picking up new cookbooks to try new recipes.

For math one day we made a “Hungry Adding Robot” that Mia picked from a math book we picked out at the library this week. We love our library trips. The kids had a lot of fun picking out projects for us to do over the course of this “term.” We also had a lot of fun making this.

I really love that we are able to do the activities together as a family, but the big girls still have their own individual work to do too.

For science one day we made Nature Journals to collect various nature the girls find. Each “journal” has 4 paper bags to fill with things they find interesting on our nature walks. We can use our Nature Anatomy books to identify new nature we haven’t seen before.

Today we took a field trip to Highfield Discovery Garden. The story in the garden today was Dragons Love Tacos & they got to pick Taco Topping Veggies from the garden. They got tomatoes, peppers, and radishes. They remembered that radishes were mentioned last week in The Tail of Peter Rabbit.

They played on the tree house playground & in the garden, spent time exploring in the nature center, picked a book each in the little library, and put on a puppet show. We also packed a picnic lunch to share in the garden Cafe. Moses really liked watching the trains go around the tree house tracks.

Overall we had a really good week. We completed all our group & individual work we had planned. Time to make dinner & get ready for Ella’s first volleyball game!

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

A Humbling Experience

Uncategorized

Good morning world 🌎

I’m going to get really vulnerable here for a change. It’s scary & embarrassing, but it’s real life, and it’s why I made this blog in the first place.

Every once in awhile I notice the lessons that the universe gives me in order to make me a stronger person. It’s honestly really cool and eye-opening. Sometimes we all need to be broken down in some way in order to build us back up, but since beginning my spiritual journey I’ve seen time & time again that you will not be left broken if you have faith.

My husband works a full time career. I am a stay at home mom/homemaker. Our family of 7 receives snap benefits and I’m not going to lie; we rely pretty heavily on that for a big chunk of our monthly groceries. Especially since March 2020, we have been receiving a second payment (called an “emergency allotment”) which has really been extremely appreciated by our family.

It’s an impossible cycle they set in place to ensure reliance on the government. The ultimate goal is to be self-reliant and not need snap benefits, but as soon as you make enough to be comfortable for a split second, they cut you off from benefits and you’re immediately back to struggling. I’ve known people to quit their jobs just to not lose their food or medical benefits for their child.

Anyway, the day it has been scheduled (from 3/20-present) to hit our account arrives and I could not be more thrilled to place our Drive Up order at Kroger. Before I place the order, I habitually check the balance, only to see $7.74. I call to hear our next scheduled payment date: nearly a month away. I panicked.

I did some research online. I saw that only some states renewed the EA payments through the end of April, and Ohio wasn’t on the list. I panicked even more. I have 5 little mouths to feed, plus my husband & I, but their little bellies are our first priority. $7 wasn’t going to work. My first instinct was to find a food bank to stock up on as many groceries as I could to supplement that payment until at least payday, then figure out an entire new budget. I was embarrassed to share my current situation with anyone. I was scared if anyone knew I was struggling with food, I would lose my kids.

I headed to The Healing Place. It was very nice, everyone was super friendly. They offer free onsite childcare with background-checked volunteers while you are there so you can focus on the task(s) at hand, a free clothing/home needs store, a free grocery store with food items donated by local grocery stores such as Kroger & Costco, as well as free bicycles and/or bus tokens, free medical attention (well checks, addiction specialists, mental health services, eye health, etc.) by UC students, and so much more. It really is such a beautiful mission.

I came home feeling a mix of grateful, like a total failure, and very humbled. I hadn’t been in a place like that for myself in a long time. It’s a very humbling experience and definitely knocked my ass down a few notches, but my pride & snobbish attitude obviously needed to be put in check and I needed to be reminded that EVERYONE needs help sometimes. Getting help does not mean that you are a failure or a bad mom, it means you are human.

The next day I went to Kroger to buy a head of lettuce. Before going in I checked the balance, out of habit, knowing that it was still going to say $7.74. But it didn’t. The payment had been deposited a few hours earlier.

It was a miracle. I was seriously shocked. A total wave of relief washed over me. As well as a sobering realization that at any moment our food supply can be cut off- the government has us right where they want us- relient on them.

I now see the importance of having a bulk food & water supply in case of emergencies that our family can survive on, instead of just a fully stocked pantry that I’ve been focusing on in my homemaking.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please do not be ashamed to ask for help. With the intense inflation, many people are struggling more than they care to admit. You aren’t alone. There is plenty of help out there available to families (and single people as well), and that is exactly what it is intended for- to help in your time of need. You are worthy of help.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Terra Cotta Potters ðŸª´

Crafts & DIY, home, Uncategorized

I went to Target the other day and saw the cutest little face potters for plants that I wanted to get for this windowsill, but then I saw the price tag & said ope, nevermind, and placed it back.

I headed down to Menards and picked up a small stack of these Terra cotta planters for $0.78 each & asked my husband to decorate them for me instead. These first two he made for me are awesome! I can’t wait to see what the rest will turn out like. I want to go back and get a bunch more for the kids & I to decorate also! We have plenty of empty windowsill space to fill with our purposeful art, herbs, & houseplants.

Instead of blowing a bunch of money at Target to get what everyone else has, I was able to save a ton of money & get custom planters instead. You can do ANYTHING with these. Decorate them ANY way you want. Let your imagination run wild. They’ll end up looking way cuter than anything you can find at Target, plus no one else in the world will have the same one as you!

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Parenthood Perspectives

Motherhood, Uncategorized

I may never be the type of mom that knows how to get stains out of clothes, but I am the kind of mom that throws our stained items in a bin + throws a random “tie dye party” with the kids in the back yard every now & then.

Knowing what to use to get stains out doesn’t make you a better mother. You don’t have to be Pinterest perfect to be a good mom. Life is not one size fits all. Live outside the box & find the solution that works best for you. You are already enough ♡ & so am I.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Ukrainian Pancakes (Syrniki)

Motherhood, Recipes, Uncategorized

Sasha & I made Syrniki this morning for breakfast! Syrniki are Ukrainian pancakes made from Farmers Cheese. I didn’t have time to pick up real Farmers Cheese, so I used cottage cheese as a substitute. Next time I make these, I’m going to stop in at Marina’s European Food Market and pick up some real Slavic Farmers Cheese.

In case you don’t know us personally, I am Ukrainian & my husband is from Russia. I was lucky enough to grow up learning some of the Ukrainian/Eastern European culture from my dad & his family (his sister, Mary, & her polish husband, Vince, both who are sadly no longer with us.) I loved going to their family parties! Learning the traditions, hearing the language… I loved their accents. I’d ask them to speak to me in Ukrainian, and in Ukrainian they would say, “why should I speak it if you can’t understand it?” I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. I learned a few words growing up, but never the language.

Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to marry an Eastern European man. I gave all of my children a Ukrainian (or Russian) middle name to honor our heritage: Kaden Yuri (after my dad) 💙, Ella Aleksandriya 💗, Mia Nataliya (after Niko’s birth mother) 💗, Sasha Katiya 💗, Athena Mariyah (after my dad’s sister & my mom, both Mary… *side note: it isn’t supposed to have an “h” at the end. I’m still mad at myself for agreeing to putting that) 💗, & Moses Kolya (after Niko) 💙.

Since the invasion, I have decided to go “full Ukrainian.” I’ve taught myself how to read & write their alphabet confidently. I can now speak Ukrainian at an elementary level. I am teaching my children as I learn so we can be fluent at home. My husband has tried teaching me Russian over the years (which is very similar to Ukrainian), and I’ve tried Rosetta Stone in the past so it wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me, but this time it just clicked- almost like it was unlocked from my DNA bank. I finally would be able to not only understand what they were saying to me, but respond too. I’m so proud of myself.

In addition to all of that, I am learning how to cook Ukrainian foods so that I will be able to pass recipes down to my children to continue embracing our culture for generations to come.

Today we made Syrniki & it turned out REALLY yummy so I decided to share it here.

Gather your ingredients.

  • 2 16oz containers cottage cheese (farmers cheese if possible)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

I have a large family & wanted to make sure that I had extra to send to my parents to try. If you have a small family; cut this in half, or make & use for breakfast prep/freezer breakfast meal for later.

Mix together.

Sasha hard at work mixing everything together in a big bowl.

Meanwhile, pour some oil of your choice on a skillet on the stove and let it heat up.

Wash your hands again. Leave them a little wet, but not dripping. Grab a smallish size amount of cheese mixture and form into a patty & place on stove. Wet hands again & repeat one by one. You’ll want to fry them until they are golden brown. DO NOT move them until you see the crust forming on the bottom & the top looks flat like pancake batter, no longer like cottage cheese (the cottage cheese will slop all over the pan if you flip too soon). Flipping is more difficult than with American pancakes.

Once both sides are golden brown, transfer to a place &…

Serve.

I served these with peaches. I had planned on making cream to go with them as well, but got too overwhelmed with the flipping that I decided peaches were enough. Next time I will definitely make the cream ahead of time because it would be a very nice treat to go with them.

Now that I made them and know what to expect, I will feel more confident making them from here on out. I am excited to try them with various toppings, especially other fruits & jams. They are more savory than sweet, so the fruits bring a natural sweetness to them. They are really, really good though- the kids even said they were delicious!

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Meatless Mexican Rice Casserole| A Taco Tuesday Alternative

Recipes, Uncategorized

When I began meal prepping, I used “themes” to help me plan meals since too many choices cause me to feel too overwhelmed. Taco Tuesday is a pretty household common theme, but even when you switch up your ingredients frequently, tacos/burritos/burrito bowls can get overdone after so long.

For last night’s “Taco Tuesday” I made a Meatless Mexican Rice Casserole just to change it up a little. It’s a super easy pantry staple meal that can be versatile depending on what you have/what your family eats.

It was really easy to throw it together and really yummy! Everyone especially enjoyed the homemade tortilla chips! I personally would have enjoyed a bit more heat, but since more kids than adults were eating it, I kept it super mild. Next time I will also add onion.

Let’s Get Cooking

For the casserole, you’re going to need:

  • 14 oz Not Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 jar salsa of choice (*I used a chunky-ish garden style)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • Cilantro (*fresh is better, but dried works also!)
  • Salt & pepper to liking
  • Cheese (*I used Monterey Jack)

For the chips, you’re going to need:

  • Tortilla shells cut into quarters (I use corn)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Sea salt

1. • Add rice and butter to pot, stir frequently until butter is all melted. • Once melted, add Not Chicken Broth & bring to a boil. • Once boiling; cover with lid, reduce heat, & set timer for 20 minutes.

2. Mix together the canned ingredients, salsa, and cilantro in a large bowl while the rice cooks.

3. • Once rice is finished cooking, move to a cold burner & fluff with a fork. Stir in sour cream. • Stir in contents from large bowl + salt & pepper until completely mixed together. • Top with cheese. • Bake 30 minutes uncovered at 375° in a 9×13 dish.

4. • While casserole is cooking, fry your quarter-cut tortillas in batches until they resemble golden tan chips (they harden more and more as they dry). • Sprinkle sea salt after each batch.

Serve casserole & chips 🌮 Enjoy!

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

What’s Been Going on at Mama Morozov’s Home

home, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Happy Monday!! It started out a sort of overcast morning over here on this day so I’m catching up on housework. I have a sort of “unwritten rule” that dreary/overcast days are for housework and sunny days are for yardwork because I don’t want to miss any time with the sun.

We had a really great Sunday Family Day yesterday. The sun was shining, the kids were playing. We skipped church since the kids have some yucky cold symptoms going on and just hung out at home together.

My gardens have come along so much this week! There’s still tons to be done though! I’d like to get mulch down this week before the crazy amount of weeds return!

I filled my basket planter with these adorable trailing white flowers that will hang down under my Ukrainian flag. I’m really excited to see how far they grow!

I weeded & mulched this small garden bed this week. I used 2 bags and will still need to add at least one more bag here. This space was very low down compared to the grass around it and since it had probably never been mulched before I really want to get a good few layers on so the weeds don’t come back as heavy next year.

We brought our grill back out and bought a few needed grill tools for it.

Niko made hot dogs, vegetarian hot dogs, and the most delicious corn on the cob. I heated up the vegetarian baked beans & brought out watermelon, chips, and potato salad.

I planted this clematis in this planter. I’m so excited for the vines to take on a life of its own on this along the tower’s shapes. It’s going to be so beautiful especially when it has more purple flowers growing up it.

My ranunculus flowers are blooming and they are SO beautiful! One day I will have a much larger container filled with these beauties, but I’m SO happy with my start.

It has been so hot out lately & summer break is coming up so I decided it would be fun to get this inflatable pool for the kids to use this summer. It’s a lot of fun and the kids had a blast playing in it all day long.

Anyone have any tips on how to keep an inflatable pool clean all season? They always seem to get so gross after the first use.

I spoke with my neighbor last night and she gave me the compliment that my back yard is very pleasant to look at. That made me really happy. My hard work is making a difference for not only my own family but for my neighbors as well!!

It is my goal that while we are living in this home in Deer Park, someone nominates us for a Beautification Award. Her compliment made me really hopeful that could actually come true one day! I’ll just have to keep beautifying it for now.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

My Favorite Vegetable Pot Pie

Recipes

Happy Monday! I know I’m the odd man out here, but I LOVE Mondays! Especially if the weather is as beautiful as it was today.

Monday is the start of a brand new week. A fresh slate. Getting back to my 4:30-5 am routine that I honestly enjoy. I’ve recently given myself permission to sleep in on the weekends which really helps restore my soul more than I knew I needed.

Anyway, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Mondays. So I wanted to share my very favorite Vegetable Pot Pie recipe with you in case you need a super mindless (& meatless) meal to make.

You will need:

  • 1 box of store-bought pie crust (2 included), thawed to room-temp
  • 2 (10.5 oz) cans of Cream of Potato Soup
  • 3 bags of Frozen Mixed Vegetables, heated
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt, pepper, & thyme to your liking

First, preheat your oven to 375°

In a large bowl mix together 2 10.5 oz cans of Cream of Potato soup, 3 bags of Frozen Mixed Vegetables (I heat before adding to mixture), a half cup of milk, salt & pepper to your liking, throw some thyme in that bowl, and mix it all up.

Put 1 thawed-out, store-bought pie crust in your pie pan (you’re welcome to make your own if you want, but we’re going for mindless over here). Slowly scoop in your mixture until it’s all in there nice.

Place your second pie crust right on top and squish it around gently until it looks pretty. Add a fun design or letter (I like to do M for our last name) if you want, or just a slit works too. Beat an egg, brush it on top and pop that in the oven for 45 minutes.

When it comes out, let it cool for a few minutes. Cut into slices, dish it out, & enjoy.

There ya go! A super, duper easy and affordable weeknight meal that is both kid & meat-eating husband approved. You can add cheese or other spices if you want as well. It’s also a meal that is easy enough for older children to learn how to make on their own!

Helpful tip: use the cooking time for homework or chores. Try to get as much of your to-do list crossed off before the timer goes off. The more you can get accomplished before dinner, the less you’ll be left with at the end of the night.

What is your favorite mindless meal 🍽 to make on the weeknights?

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Mother’s Day 2022

Crafts & DIY, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Happy Mothers Day to all the mama’s out there! I hope that today was wonderful for you.

I started Mothers Day weekend off at my parents house. My dad made a French toast, fresh fruit, and potatoes breakfast for my mom & I on Saturday.

After breakfast, my mom & I went to our favorite local flower farmer annual plant sale. I am so happy about my picks. We got them planted today (Sunday) and I cannot wait to see them grow! I swear her flowers just take root so much better than anything I’ve gotten anywhere else around town!

After the plant sale, Niko & I took the kids out to the annual Chili Cook Off & Dessert Auction at church. I REALLY enjoyed the vegetarian chili. My mother in law told me that she would ask the woman who made it for the recipe for me.

The dessert auction was fun. I couldn’t believe how much some of these families paid for these homemade desserts! One cake went for over $1000! It was to raise money for the Youth Mission Trip. (My father in law let us know today that the entire trip is paid in full thanks to the auction!) Next year I really want to enter a dessert or two into the auction. I wonder how much mine would go for?! 🤔

My father in law made & entered a “Strawberry Fields Forever” strawberry shortcake filled with real strawberries 🍓 and topped with a homemade strawberry glaze. He bid on & won that for us all to share. It was SO yummy! My mother in law bid on chocolate chip cookies for us to share. We also ended up bringing home a red velvet & cream cheese frosting cake.

Gifts

We bought plain white photo frames. I wrote Happy Mothers Day in the center & the girls signed all of their names and colored with Sharpies. After they were finished, we printed out photos of Moses & the girls and put them inside of the frames.

Mia & I had gone to Trader Joe’s the afternoon beforehand to buy several bouquets of flower arrangements. I took the arrangements apart and I laid all of the flowers on the table for the girls to make new bouquets for the Babas (Ukrainian word for grandma 👵🏼) except for the roses (since they had thorns) which I split 3 ways evenly.

They ended up turning out really cute! I thought this was a super fun way for the girls to be involved. I loved doing this with Mia at Findlay Market last year and really wanted to be able to make it possible for all of the girls to create real bouquets together to gift to their Babas for Mothers Day and thought this would be the easiest and less stressful way to accomplish that.

We assembled all of our gifts together and packed them up for each Baba.

I wish I would have gotten a picture of all of the completed bouquets. They were really pretty. Both my mom & Ali were really impressed with the girls work. I really hope that we made them feel special today.

Mia & Ella each made me a few things. Mia made me a cupcake 🧁 at The Mad Potter & a really cute card. Ella made me a mushroom 🍄 at The Mad Potter, a clay bowl in art class, a bouquet of paper flowers each listing different reasons why she loves me, & a box of “coupons” for me to cash in for various things like hugs, a walk around the block, or helping me out around the house.

Noah, Ella, Luda, Mia, Ali, Niko & Moses, me, Athena, Kevin, Milana, Sasha

We went to church, then out to lunch with my husband’s parents, sister, & her two children: Noah & Milana.

The cousin crew! Ella, Sasha & Moses, Athena, Mia & Milana, Noah. I can’t believe how big they are all getting.

One of my favorite gifts I received (from Kaden) was my Ukrainian mosaic butterfly 🦋 to add to my garden.

Of course I have my Ukrainian flag flying proudly. Then I added the sunflowers for the bad-ass Ukrainian woman who was giving out sunflower seeds to the occupiers so when they die sunflowers will grow. I moved the blue & yellow flower over to this space to go along with the Ukrainian tribute to my people.

I love love love the way that it looks! The butterfly really pulls it together. I got my new plants into the ground and I can’t wait to watch them grow through the season.

Well, after this busy weekend, I’m so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open to finish writing this so I’m going to call it a night. 5 am will be here in the blink of an eye.

What was the best part of Mothers Day for you?

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

We ❤ Our Teachers | DIY Gifts ðŸŽ¨

Crafts & DIY, Motherhood

As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end I just wanted to share with you our small DIY gifts the girls made for their teachers.

Ella made a clipboard for her teacher, Mr. Vample. Mia made a clipboard for her teacher Mrs. Mcgahan.

They also made a clipboard for our “bus mom,” Mrs. Mace, because she is just the sweetest and has helped our girls (and many other kiddos) get safely to & from the bus stop each day which we certainly appreciate.

We bought each clipboard at the Dollar Tree for $1.25 each, and the rest of the materials we had at home already.

Getting teacher gifts doesn’t have to be pricey. It doesn’t have to out-do any of the other parents. You don’t have to break your budget. It isn’t a competition to be the “favorite” student, or parent. Your kid can color on a rock, or put nature together to form a portrait of their teacher. They can color a card. Kids are so creative- the possibilities are endless if you let them take the lead.

Your child just showing their teacher they care and appreciate them enough to take the time out of their busy play to make them a small gift is ENOUGH. Gifts are meant to be from the heart & that’s exactly where a homemade gift comes from ❤.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov