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) πŸ’™, Ella Aleksandriya πŸ’—, Mia Nataliya (after Niko’s birth mother) πŸ’—, Sasha Katiya πŸ’—, 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) πŸ’—, & Moses Kolya (after Niko) πŸ’™.

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 β™‘ Mama Morozov

Big Summer Cuts

Motherhood, Uncategorized

We found the BEST kids salon in the world. Seriously.

It is SUCH a cute place! Its like a miniature version of a grown up salon and everyone who knows me, knows how I feel about miniature things 😍.

Seriously though, I couldn’t get over how cute this place is! As soon as you walk in they offer you a drink; water, cold brew, or local craft beer. I can almost never turn down a cold brew πŸ˜‰.

There is a cute little gift shop with adorable hair accessories and little toys. There’s a hair product section of kid-safe products for sale as well. There’s also a play section with wooden toys in the waiting area to play with.

There is also a room for nails & glitter tattoos which is where the birthday parties are held. The receptionist was telling us about more future plans happening that will make this kids salon EVEN better! I can’t wait to see how that is even possible!

Before

During

After

Mia got one braid in the front + purple glitter. Ella got two braids tied behind like a ninja which could not be a more perfect hair style for her + blue glitter.

Mia kept her long hair just trimming off the dead ends, but Ella brought hers closer to her shoulders so that it would be a lot easier for her to maintain without taking too much length. She has very thick hair that locks up really bad. Brushing her hair has always been a traumatic event for both of us, so I am really hopeful that this new style helps. It definitely looks adorable!

This really was such a fun experience and is going to be our haircut home from now on. We have officially become that family that will only go to one place for the rest of our kids lives. Seriously though, it’s that great of a place! We will definitely be back for Mia’s birthday in August for a pamper sesh!

Until next time β™‘ Mama Morozov

Little Summer Cuts

Motherhood, Uncategorized

We went with Grandma Colleen to lunch today at Panera (I had a pick 2: Mediterranian Veggie Sandwich + Strawberry Poppyseed Salad without chicken… SO yum! The girls both had mac & cheese + strawberry yogurt) then took Sasha + Athena to get their hairs cut for summer!

We wanted to break the girls up by the big & little so it wouldn’t be as overwhelming for anyone which was a really good idea.

Before

During

After

They look so cute & behaved so well today. I was so proud of them!!

Back to mom life.

Until next time β™‘ Mama Morozov

A Year With Moses

Motherhood, Uncategorized

I can’t believe it was Moses’ birthday yesterday!! A whole year has passed since he was born. He’s my best friend. My little dude. My Mosie Wosie. We have a special connection that no one else can understand, but I’ll try to explain it to you ❀

This photo was taken the day before he was born.  I was so excited to meet my baby. We waited until birth to find out the gender.

Towards the end of the day I began feeling extremely nervous. More nervous than with any of my others babies births. A different nervous, like something was wrong. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t know the gender, or maybe it was because I was using a different doctor & hospital this time because of financial reasons. Whatever it was, my intuition is strong.

I woke up still nervous as can be. A total anxious wreck. More nervous than excited. My father in law asked if I was normally this nervous. I said, “no. Not at all.” We headed to the hospital.

Before surgery, I had a terrible feeling. During prep, I had to have my spinal done twice because the first one wasn’t done correctly. This time I felt a “pop” that I’ve never felt before in any previous c-section. I remember hoping I wasn’t paralyzed when this was all over. 

During the surgery, everything seemed to be going fine. They let me know I would feel pressure, and my husband said “it’s a boy!” The look on his face was all worth the wait. That was one of my favorite memories of seeing Niko.

They didn’t let me hold him right away. That was weird. It didn’t hit me that something was wrong yet. I asked to hold him. Niko handed him to me and took this photo of us. I began feeling really weak. I was pouring sweat. I told Niko he needed to hold him. I began feeling scared. This didn’t feel right. I asked Niko to hold my hand. I felt like I maybe wasn’t going to make it through this time.

I was told the doctor sliced my bladder and another team was on their way for a bladder surgery. I don’t remember much else until we got back to the room. My brain isn’t ready to remember yet.

The doctor told us we were not allowed to have any more babies because my uterus & bladder are now fused together. I was told I would need to wear a catheter for at least 2.5 weeks, possibly indefinitely- just depends on how well my body heals.

After an extremely traumatic birth experience, we made it through- alive & together. He was perfect.

Because of the birth trauma, nursing was difficult for us in the beginning. Everyone around me was trying to push me to give in to the formula, but I dug in my heels. There was NO was I was going to sacrifice nursing my baby.

My husband had to be home with the girls, so I was alone most of the day + night in the hospital- that was really hard for me. Like really hard. I held a grudge about that for a long time and every now and then those hurt feelings still pop up.

My mom came as often as she could to try to keep me in good spirits and fed. Normally I love me some good hospital cuisine room service, but I’d rate this cafeteria 1 star at best.

While I was alone in my room, my emotions hit me. I was in total shock over what happened. I felt betrayed being left alone, especially so quickly, after what happened. I felt grief and loss over the fact I was told I couldn’t carry anymore children, that was not our plan at all and that decision was taken from me. I felt anger for that. I felt worried that my sadness would affect my bonding with my son. I felt guilty for being upset. I was unsure of what the outcome of this injury would be. I was worried about what our financial situation would look like since Niko had to take off work to be our primary caregiver. I was a total mess of emotions

I was stuck inside a shitty hospital, with a shitty view, and had no idea what the future was about to bring so I cried. And while I was crying a nurse walked in. She did she said nothing. She did her business then left. Then returned with a piece of paper, maybe it was a packet, and told me she needed me to fill it out. It was scale to find out if I had post-partum depression.

I didn’t have post partum depression. I had birth trauma, natural emotions, and was totally out of control of my own body & health. I had a life changing situation occur

Once we came home, I began feeling better. I don’t do so well in hospitals. Never have. Usually I’m up walking around as soon as I return to my room and beg the doctors to let me leave until the minute my discharge papers are in my hand.

I was pretty immobile with the catheter. When I laid down, all of the urine pooled until I stood up. I’d have to stand at the top of the stairs while my husband walked the bag down it to get it to fully drain. Turns out, it was put in incorrectly and wasn’t properly draining. I learned this while checking to see if my bladder healed. They strapped me to this metal table horizontally, but they had to turn the table up vertically to get it to drain at all. I’m lucky I didn’t get a serious infection.

For the first several months after I was still moving much slower than normal, but I was loving every second of getting to know Moses. We have been inseparable since his birth.

He is a total Mama’s Boy & I couldn’t be happier about it. Since he’s our baby, I try to appreciate the moments more. I try to not complain when he needs more of me than I have to give. I will carry him as long as he’ll let me. I will nurse him as long as he wants. He’s my baby & I won’t rush these precious last moments.

He’s my second chance at being a boy mom. I messed up my first time so badly & was “robbed” of my boy mom experience by my relapse after his c-section. I missed so many important parts of his life while I struggled to get sober. I so desperately wanted a second chance.

I got my second chance & this time I won’t mess it up. I was convinced for so long that God wasn’t going to let me have another chance with a son as “punishment” for not taking better care of my first. I was given another chance in exchange for my ability to have anymore children. He was well worth it.

[*Just to clarify- I do not see my girls as a punishment at all. I love them each to death, they are amazing & have taught me so much about sisterhood both at home and the broader sense of the word. They are each a piece of me and a necessary part of my life lessons, some I’m learning now & others I’ll continue to learn along the way.]

He has the sweetest heart & knows just how to melt yours. He’s a total cuddle bug. He loves music & dancing to it. He’s picky about food, but when he really likes something he makes it know with a loud “mmm” and a smack on the highchair. He’s shy around new friends, but once he opens up he has such a fun personality. We can’t go anywhere without someone stopping to comment on how beautiful of a boy he is. On two totally separate occasions, an elderly woman has walked up to him just to tell him he makes the world a better place. That can’t be coincidence.

He still nurses regularly throughout the day and at least once at night. He’s in 2T clothing already and around 25 pounds.

He has 8 teeth. 4 on top, 4 on the bottom. He’s cruising along, but not yet walking on his own. He’s starting to say a few words. He now says “stop” when his sisters are bothering him too hard. It comes out more as “op,” but it’s clear he knows what he means. He also now says “up” when he wants to be held.

We had a really nice simple birthday celebration for him last night We ordered Larosa’s Pizza and shared cake & ice cream. He “opened” his presents and played. His real celebration will be this weekend.

I am so very grateful for Moses and this past year. He has brought us so much joy, gratitude, and so much love. He has so much love just flowing from his tiny little body. His aura is absolutely hypnotizing.

I am excited to see who he becomes as he grows. I will continue to take these moments all in and not take any of them for granted. Before I know it, these days will be a distant memory that I miss terribly, no matter how hard it gets sometimes.

We love you so much Mosie ❀ You truly do make the world a better place because of you.

Until next time β™‘ 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 β™‘ 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 375Β°

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 β™‘ 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?! πŸ€”

My father in law made & entered a “Strawberry Fields Forever” strawberry shortcake filled with real strawberries πŸ“ 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 πŸ‘΅πŸΌ) 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 πŸ„ 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 πŸ¦‹ 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 β™‘ Mama Morozov

We ❀ Our Teachers | DIY Gifts πŸŽ¨

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 β™‘ Mama Morozov

Every Day is Earth Day πŸŒŽ

Crafts & DIY, Motherhood, Uncategorized

I hope you had a Happy Earth Month!

In our family, we celebrate the Earth every day, but for national Earth Day (& month) we are going to make sure to celebrate a little extra!

We wore our flower headbands to be extra festive on Earth Day on April 22.Β 

Not Our Trash, but it IS Our Earth

One of our very favorite outdoor family activities is plogging: picking up litter while jogging. Since my kids are pretty little, we mostly just walk briskly rather than jog, but it’s still exercise for our bodies and it’s still cleaning up our Earth.

We tied a trash bag to our stroller. The park is on the other side of the train, so all of the trash collected at this point was from our walk from our home to the park alone.

I want my children to know that it’s up to them to change the world. They cannot wait for someone else to do it for them. It is our duty to leave the Earth a better place than we found it.

By the end of our walk, we had filled our entire bag.

We ended up going back out the next morning with Niko + the older girls as well. We walked back to the park, a different way, and picked up more litter. When we got there, there was actually a Community Park Clean Up going on which was really cool! They were handing out free gloves and trash bags for people to volunteer to clean up the park. I was unaware that our park offered that, but I love it!

Dirt Dessert

We made “Dirt cake” which we decided to rename “Dirt Dessert” instead since it wasn’t exactly a cake.

It was really yummy and everyone gobbled it up! This is definitely a dessert that I will be remaking with different themes throughout the year!

We talked about the Earth & why worms are good for it. In case you didn’t know, worms are decomposers!

Drive Less, Walk More

This month our weather has really started warming up, so we have began walking to the bus stop to pick up Ella & Mia and then walking home. We bring a trash bag with us each time we walk.

Nature Art

Mia drew a face on a piece of cardboard we cut from a box. Then we poked lots of holes where we wanted her hair to be.

We walked around the beautiful flower garden at Ault Park looking for flowers to use as our hair. We tried to use only flowers that had already fallen, or weeds that we thought they wouldn’t mind us picking for them.

Even though the playground distracted the kids & we didn’t end up filling all of our holes, I still think that it turned out really cute.

5 Easy Ways You Can Be More Eco Friendly!

1. Stop using plastic bags. Instead, opt for reusable insulated tote bags & mesh produce bags. It makes carrying groceries in from the car WAY easier too!

2. Use a refillable cleaning solution (like Thieves Household Cleaner). Thieves is non-toxic, plant-based, & can replace literally EVERY single cleaning product you currently own. (You can order Thieves HERE).

3. Shop at a second-hand store first before buying new. Chances are, a second-hand store will have what you are looking for at only a fraction of the price.

4. Utilize your local library. Libraries go WAY beyond just books. There are so many activities and classes that they offer, as well as information on local resources. It is a great place to bring children as well (just kindly remind them to use their inside voices.)

5. Use what you have before buying more. This goes for food, hygiene or household products, decor items, anything & everything. It helps cut down on waste & clutter as well.

🌍 I hope you had a good Earth Month. What did you do to celebrate the Earth this month?

I can’t believe tomorrow it will be May! Mothers Day is coming up as well as Moses FIRST BIRTHDAY!! How the heck has it already been a year?? Then after that it will be SUMMER BREAK β˜€οΈ! So many exciting things coming up! Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of it!

Have a beautiful rest of your weekend 🧑

Ukrainian Pysanky πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦πŸ₯šπŸ£

Crafts & DIY, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Ella came home from school last Friday with a new school project: Economics Market.

All of her classmates will be opening their own “shops” at their desk where they will be selling a paper item that they make. They will be decorating the shops, telling a bit of information about the shop/what is being sold. Ella will be selling Pysanky, otherwise known as Ukrainian Easter Eggs.

Ella is Ukrainian- we all are. Her grandfather, my dad, is a Ukrainian immigrant. Needless to say, even though we are living in America, I feel the deepest connection to this war currently happening in Ukraine.

I’ve always been extremely proud to be Ukrainian, but the amount of pride and gratitude I have for my heritage now is immeasurable. I grew up being taught that Ukrainians are strong people; the strongest in the world. I had no idea that I would ever have to witness the magnitude of their strength in my lifetime.

My dad & I on his birthday last year (April 2021) after celebrating with authentic Ukrainian cuisine including pierogies & borscht.

I know that we are very lucky to be living in America, yet I feel the strongest yearning to be there. If my dad never came to America, this war would be our lives right now and that is a scary thought. Yet I still for some reason feel as if that is where I belong. 

That isn’t possible at this time, however, so for now I’ll just continue to embrace the culture at home with my family, even more so now. We’ll become fluent in the language and carry the traditions. One day, when it is safe for my small children, we will travel there. Today, we will make pysanky.

Pysanky

Pysanky is the word for Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Pysanky are believed to hold great power for peace & love in the world. They were originally used in Spring ceremonies to thank the glorious sun for warming the Earth after the cold, hard Winter.

The designs and symbols that are decorated on pysanky have significant meanings- usually a wish of good fortune for the person you are gifting your pysanky to. On Easter Sunday, you would gift your pysanky and kiss the recipient on each cheek for good luck.

There is an old Ukrainian folk tale that Evil (a vicious monster)  is chained to a cliff. Each year his helpers go around the world and report back to him the number of pysanky that have been decorated.

If only a few eggs are made, his chains loosen and evil flows throughout the world. However if many eggs are made, his chains tighten; allowing love to conquer evil.

With all of the evil going on in the world, we are going to need a LOT of eggs.

Setting Up Shop

First, we found pysanky coloring pages on Pinterest then printed them out. Ella colored each egg and then wrote a wish for each egg on the back of them.

Next, we colored the pages for her shop and we cut them out and assembled them.

“At Ella’s Ukrainian Eggs, you can find Ukrainian Easter Eggs which are believed to hold great power for love in the world. Each egg has a special wish for you. Ella made these to support her Grandpa from Ukraine.”

“If you love ❀️ Ukraine, you should get one of these Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Plus they’re great for Easter and it is to be believed that these Eggs hold great power for love ❀ in the world 🌍.”

Her shop turned out SO cute! I’m very excited to hear how her project and “shopping” day goes. I am also excited to hear what the other children made for their shops. I really loved doing this project together with Ella. I loved that we were able to incorporate our heritage and culture to make it more meaningful to share with her friends at school.

Easter Celebration

My dad’s birthday coincided with Easter this year (the day after) so we went over to my parents home to celebrate both Easter and his birthday with an Easter Feast from the Wodka Bar. They offered a special, limited Easter menu which was perfect.

The pierogies & kolachi were SOOO yummy! I cannot wait to try more food from there from the regular menu! I also am going to learn how to make delicious kolachi at home so I can eat it alllll the time!

Mia also made a pysanky for each of us. I loved mine so much!

Overall, this was a lovely Easter weekend and my heart feels very full & blessed. We got to spend time with both sides of our family. We did an Easter egg hunt for the kids and they received nice spring time gifts. We had lovely food that I didn’t have to prepare or clean up. We truly are so blessed in this life on Earth.

Happy Easter y’all.