"Old Calendar" Orthodox Children's Calendar


We are excited to let you know that we are going to open up a window for pre-orders for this Old Calendar version, April 10 - May 10!


A little backstory: this all started back in December of 2016, when Marian Adams literally had a dream about collaborating with Abigail Holt to create a calendar for Orthodox children-- something with activities to keep them involved, and in a format that was easily accessible to children of all ages. She approached Caroline Gann and asked her if she would be interested in jumping on board as our graphic designer, and we were off! We launched a Kickstarter to fund the printing costs, were fully funded in a week, and sold out of the amount we had originally planned on printing before we even sent it to be published. The Orthodox Children’s Calendar includes original illustrations of children interacting with their faith, saints’ days with original drawings of those saints, and it highlights fasting periods, American holidays, and church feasts. There is an additional page following each month with a craft, recipe, and memory verse that correlate with the month. Draw Near Designs is the company that we founded along with the calendar, and now it includes other educational materials for Orthodox children.

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Our original calendar was based on “New Calendar” (Gregorian calendar) dates, and one of the most common requests we got was “Is there an Old Calendar (Julian calendar) version?” So this year, we are leaving the answer to that question in your hands! In case you don't know, the Julian ("old") calendar celebrates church feasts and saint's days 13 days apart from the Gregorian ("new") calendar.




Last year, we launched a crowdfunding opportunity on Kickstarter to gage interest in a “New Calendar” Orthodox Children’s Calendar. The idea was warmly received, the Kickstarter was fully funded within a week, and before we even went to print we sold out the original amount planned!!!! It was incredible! This year we are hosting a 30-day crowdfunding opportunity to measure support for an “Old Calendar” version for 2019. We decided to offer our own crowdfunding opportunity in lieu of a Kickstarter for the simple reason that we wanted to save our supporters money. So, we will open up a month long pre-order window at our website, running from April 10 (Bright Tuesday)- May 10. If we raise $3338 in pre-orders for the Old Calendar version and donations, then we will make it! And if we don’t, then the pre-orders and donations will be refunded, and we’ll have our answer.

We will update our blog (www.drawneardesigns.com/blog) and social media weekly (on Facebook at Draw Near Designs, and Instagram @draw.near.designs) with progress towards the pre-order goal. If you are passionate about this project and would like to give a monetary donation, look for the DONATE option at the bottom our website, and any amount you put in there will go directly towards the goal. You will also be able to donate an additional amount when you pre-order the calendar, or if you would prefer you can mail a check to Draw Near Designs at 3005 Boaires Ln, Louisville, KY 40223. There will be a banner on the website to give updates on our progress, and other special donation opportunities like adding a saint to the calendar! 




Here’s a breakdown of the amount we need to raise: the total amount needed is $3338. 60% of that is the printing costs of 250, spiral bound, 52 page, full color calendars.  23% of is shipping costs (shipping the calendars to your homes). 10% is graphic design costs and 7% is taxes and fees.

So it’s pretty simple-- if there is enough support to fund a printing of an Old Calendar version of the Orthodox Children’s Calendar, we are happy to do the work and create it for you! Additionally, this pre-order window actually offers the calendars at a discounted rate ($20/calendar + $5 shipping), compared to the retail price of $21.95 + $5 shipping from last year. So all you folks who wanted an Old Calendar version-- help us make this happen! Pre-order copies as Christmas gifts for all the children in your life (they will ship to you in the fall, PLENTY of time for Christmas), tell your friends, and if it’s really important to you, consider a monetary donation. If you have any questions, please send us an e-mail at drawneardesigns3@gmail.com.



As always, THANK YOU for your support! We can’t wait to make this calendar available to even more families and children.



In Christ,

Caroline Gann, Abigail Holt, and Marian Adams






Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole (Vegan)

Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole (Vegan)


Guys. It's the last post of our Week of Lenten Recipes. I'm bummed cause it's been so much fun testing these recipes and sharing them with people all over the world! BUT next week, we're going to have more Lenten goodness for you all! We've got Instagram takeovers from:

Anastasia McAdams of Lettuce Attend - March 4

Melissa Naasko of Fasting as a Family - March 7

They're going to be sharing their Lenten tips and meals, and be a constant reminder that we're all in this, working out our salvation, together. Feel free to email or message us your questions to pass them on to them! 


I'm sharing this super hearty recipe today cause I wanted to show what delicious Lenten entrees can look like. The secret to this one is the SAUCE. Who knew just some canned tomatoes + cilantro + garlic powder could help pull together a whole casserole so beautifully?! 


Also, did I mention it's a SLOW COOKER recipe?! Yay!! Assembly takes around 15 minutes and you just set this baby aside for 4-5 hours and serve with rice. Bam. Done. 

slow cooker enchilada casserole recipe.jpg

Vegan Vegetable Sammies

Vegan Vegetable Sammies (Oil-free, or not!)

I have a friend who likes to joke about the "food titles" for different fasts. For example, the Lenten fast = the Hummus fast, the Nativity fast = the Lentil Soup fast. I think, for our family, the Lenten fast could easily be called, The Veggie Sammies fast. Every other week during lent, I make up a tupperware container of this mix and we eat it for lunches for the week. The best part is...it's super flexible! 


For example: If your family is eating oil this fast, you can sub out the red wine vinegar in here for olive oil. I usually add in any random leftovers that need to be used up. These usually include: white beans, zucchini, canned tuna... you get the picture. I usually keep the tomato-cucumber-pepper base and alternate the other mixin's. For our family, this mixes it up juuuuust enough that we don't get completely sick of the recipe by Pascha, but it still makes the recipe effortless. 


Plus, LOOK at how fresh and delicious this mixture is. Boom. 

Hop to it, y'all here's the recipe!

Vegan Veg Sammies.jpg

Greek/Lebanese Green Beans

Greek/Lebanese Green Beans

I'm sure some of you guys don't even need a recipe for this one, but I wanted to share because this recipe is crazy simple, filling, and of course, Lenten. 


So in case you haven't seen a theme here, we're trying to keep these recipes

1. delicious for the kiddos,

2. Simple by using as few ingredients as possible, 

3. filling and nutritious. We are trying to avoid your kids needing a snack break every hour. Cause to me, that seems to defeat the point of the fast. 



I also wanted to take the time today to add a little note reminding everyone that this is a judgement-free zone. It's between you, your family, and your spiritual father to decide what is the best way to go about the fast. Plus, there is a HUGE learning curve for the Lenten fast... I'm not just talking about the food part. I've heard several priests say that it took them nearly 10 years before they could fast "completely". That was a nice reality check for me.  

Full disclosure: I am not doing the full fast since I'm nursing, but I'm trying my best and will maybe have one meal a week that's non-lenten. I can be kind of legalistic and tend to overdo the fast, especially since I've only been at this for 4 years now. I call it "that convert zeal"! Because of this, I've learned so much from listening and heeding the advice of other people in the parish (for me, talking with moms who've been pregnant/breastfed before has really helped), who keep me in check, keep me from getting sick (most of the time), and cope with my stubbornness - ha! Also, shout out to my mother-in-law, the Gypsy, who two years ago, basically made me eat a burrito during the fast when I was pregnant and still trying to fast. You've really helped me keep things in perspective. I learned a lot from that moment. 

I told you, I'm stubborn. I''m working on it. Love to you all! My God bless us all this lent as we struggle together to grow closer to him by overcoming our desires and negative habits. 

Greek Green Beans.jpg

Coconut Whipped Cream (Vegan + Oil Free)

Coconut Whipped Cream (Vegan + Oil Free)

Yes. Vegan. Whipped Cream. In under 10 mins. Let's go. 

"the good stuff"

"the good stuff"

I love this recipe because it's so easy to make, the kiddos love it, and you can really easily adjust the sweetness level to suit your family's preferences. Yes, if you haven't figured out by now, I'm the crazy mom who tries to limit her children's sugar intake. (Sorrynotsorry!)


I just love this recipe during Lent. It helps remind me that we can treat ourselves without being extravagant in what we eat and without making a recipe that takes forever and sucks up time that we could be spending in prayer or with our families. 

My favorite way to serve it is in a bowl with fresh fruit. If I'm feeling so inclined, I'll top it off with some maple syrup and serve it with those lovely Cardamom-Lemon Biscotti we made earlier this week! 

Also, if you're feeling really fancy, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of either cinnamon or cardamom (seeing a theme here?) to the bowl when you add in all the ingredients. It will be so yummy and simple!

*BONUS* Save the coconut milk that you drain from the can and use in smoothies for breakfast. Or, just drink it straight! It's crazy good for helping you stay hydrated! Have fun!

Coconut whipped cream Recipe.jpg

Vegan White Bean "Fondue" Dip

Vegan White Bean "Fondue" Dip with Veggies

I usually do my best to stay away from what I call "cheater" recipes during Lent. By that I mean trying to replicate an everyday recipe in a vegan fashion. I don't really have a problem with it, it's just not how I cook in general. 

This recipe is one of my few exceptions. I don't really consider it a "cheating" recipe because we never have fondue in our house, so to us this is just a neat way to eat bean dip- ha! However, I think the nutritional yeast in the recipe kind of screams [PRETEND CHEESE] haha. Sounds like I'm in denial, right? 


I love how the dip all comes together so quickly! You can assemble the whole thing in 10 minutes. Again, this allows for more family or prayer time, and less time that your toddler can spend clinging to your leg asking to be picked up. ha!

This is another recipe from my girl over at My New Roots. I love everything she makes because it's always simple, mostly vegan and cheap! One amazing thing I've learned from reading her recipes is that white beans are a fantastic way to make your recipes creamier, denser, and richer in protein all in one go! That handy-dandy trick is showcased beautifully in this recipe!


Some ingredients you may or may not have seen before:

Nutritional Yeast: This is a flaky, deactivated yeast that is frequently used as a natural cheese substitute because of it's cheesy flavor. You'll see shortly! You can find in almost any grocery store nowadays - it's usually in the health-food isle. 

White Miso: This is a fermented soybean paste that is actually great for your digestive system and can be used to make miso soup! I like to keep a little jar on hand and drop a tablespoon or two into some warm stock when my family starts to get sick - it's very versatile! You can find this in the refrigerated section of your health food store.

If you don't already have these in your home, I highly recommend purchasing them for this recipe and playing around with them! They really make this dip special!


To serve:  

I usually serve this dip family-style on the table along with a big bowl of dipping items. These include things like:

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Slices of baguette
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers

Honestly, just chop up whatever is easy and you know your kiddos will eat! Have fun!

white bean fondue Recipe.jpg