Monday, April 28, 2014

Meal Planning Monday Recipe Link-Up #8

This past weekend was full of fun activities, I spent Saturday visiting with out of town relatives many of whom I had never met. I love visiting with relatives and spending time with family. Sunday after church we spent the day at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), I have enjoyed visiting OMSI since I was a child, and have been bringing my children since they were babies, such a fun place to spend the day. Today the sun is out, and the birds are singing all through the garden, I plan to spend a good portion of the day getting my garden in order. :)

It is time again for Meal Planning Monday Recipe Link-Up. This week I am sharing two classic recipes from my archives. Both of these meals are hearty, budget friendly family meals.

The first recipe are Porcupine Balls, a delicious meatball and rice dish.

The second recipe, also a rice dish, is a Spinach Rice Bake.

April's Homemaking


Monday, April 21, 2014

Classic Mac and Cheese and Chili Roasted Carrots with Kale

Last week I wanted to make classic Mac and Cheese for dinner. My mom always made a nice simple Mac and Cheese for us growing up, and I really like this recipe because it is so simple, there is no base cheese sauce to be made, no breaded topping, just a few ingredients mixed in for a rich and cheesy classic dish.

Classic Mac and Cheese

Cook and drain one pound of elbow macaroni and return to pot
Add three cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of cream (you can also use whole milk if you don't have cream)
1/8 cup of prepared yellow mustard (more as desired to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste

Stir everything together in the pot until everything is thoroughly combined, add a bit more cheese if desired, add more mustard if desired, I like the way the mustard balances the sharp cheddar cheese so I tend to add a bit more than an 1/8 cup. I like pepper as well, but my kids prefer it less peppery so I don't add as much pepper, just enough to season to taste. Add more milk or cream if pasta looks a bit dry, just a splash or two more if needed. Then pour the mac and cheese into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, and bake at 375 F. for about half an hour until the cheese has melted and the top starts to get a bit golden and crispy. If you prefer the top to be less crispy you could cover the casserole for the first half of cooking, then remove to lightly brown the top.

For an extra treat I served our mac and cheese with Lit'l Smokies, growing up back in the 70's and 80's our school lunches would serve mac and cheese with little smokies and they were always something I loved, that and the cafeteria's apple crisp! :) A nice side of veggies would round out this meal nicely.

Speaking of veggie side dishes, last week I also made a delicious rustic side dish, Chili Roasted Carrots served on a bed of sauteed Kale. It was delicious, and the whole family really enjoyed it. 

Start by washing and peeling a 3 pound bag of carrots, then roughly chop the carrots into 1/2 inch chunks, I like to cut on alternating angels to give them a more varied look rather than all uniform, but of course any way you choose to cut them would be fine. :) Then in a bowl drizzle olive oil over the carrots, I didn't measure this, just add enough to give the carrots a thin coating of olive oil. Then I sprinkled chili powder over the carrots, along with some freshly ground sea salt and pepper, then stir to make sure seasoning is spread out evenly. Just season to taste, if you like a little more spice, add a bit more, if you are cooking for people with less tolerance to spice add a bit less, the chili powder I used was fairly mild, and just gave the carrots a nice zip to balance out the natural sweetness of a roasted carrot. 

Then pour carrots into a roasting pan, spread out into a layer, and roast at 400 F. until the carrots are tender, and have some color (but not too dark). Depending on the size of carrot chunks this can take between forty minutes and an hour, stir every 15 to 20 minutes, and keep an eye on them so they don't burn, the sugar in carrots can burn quickly once they get to roasting. 

While the carrots are roasting, prep the kale, I used a large bunch of curly kale, wash it thoroughly, and then rip the leaves off of the main stem, and tear into pieces, removing any larger stems. In a large saute pan melt a few tablespoons of butter, and also add a drizzle of olive oil, over medium heat, once the butter has mostly melted I add two cloves of garlic that I press through my garlic press ( if you don't have a garlic press very finely mince the garlic), then stir that garlic a bit, and then add the kale. Saute the Kale over medium to medium high heat until it is tender. I sometimes add a little water to help steam down the kale, and to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan. When the Kale is almost done cooking I add a few dashes of lemon juice, about a half a lemon would do, or two teaspoons of the bottled variety that I keep in the fridge for when I am out of fresh lemons. 

Time the cooking of the kale to right before the carrots are done, when the carrots are fully roasted add them into the kale and toss the carrots with the Kale in the Saute pan until combined, then serve.

I served this chili roasted carrot and kale side dish with a delicious beef roast, and it was the perfect side dish for our roast beef dinner. 

I love roasting veggies, it really gives them a nice flavor, you might also enjoy my Roasted Carrots and Mushrooms side dish, which is also one of our favorites. 

Meal Planning Monday Recipe Link-Up #7

This past weekend we had a busy Easter weekend filled with various family events. It was definitely a fun family time, and I got to see relatives I hadn't seen in years, and one younger cousin I met for the first time. I love family, so meeting family I haven't met is always bright spot. As the result of all my holiday fun, I am a bit late in posting this weeks Meal Planning Monday Recipe Link-Up, as well as my new recipes for this week. I am looking forward to seeing this week's shared recipes! I hope everyone had a nice Easter weekend. :)

April's Homemaking

    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Parable of the Lost Coin and Lost Sheep Lesson, Craft, and Games

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to put together a Sunday School lesson for my daughter who is in charge of teaching children's church every time there is a fifth Sunday in a month, with the help of teens in our church's youth group. My daughter is a freshman in college this year, she has been helping me teach my Sunday school class for years, and loves children. So I was excited for her to have this opportunity to lead the youth in teaching all the children. My daughter and I decided that some of Jesus' parables would be a great lesson since it was so close to Easter. So we chose The Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

The story of the Parable of the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Lost Sheep can be found in Luke 15:1-10

Explain to the children that you are telling the story of two parables that Jesus taught in the Bible, and that a parable is a simple story that helps us understand a lesson. Then read Luke 15:1-10, I prefer the story right out of the Bible, if you are reading to very young children perhaps you can read the story from your favorite children's Bible, I like to read from an NIV Bible.

The craft for this lesson is a simple lift a flap paper craft mini book. I printed out verses in a Papyrus font, and cut around them, you could also let the children do this if you have enough class time, in this case we pre-cut the verses, and shapes for this book.

First glue on the title to the front of a blue sheet of construction paper folded in half.

The inside of the book will look like this-

The first page is the Parable of the Lost Sheep- Cut out a simple bush shape with a tab at the top to glue down, only glue the tab down so the bush can be lifted to find the sheep. For this page I chose two verses, the children can glue them on with a glue stick.

'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' Luke 15:6b (NIV) and For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10 (NIV)

Under the bush the children can put a sheep sticker. If you can't find a sheep sticker it should be fairly easy to trace out a sheep shape to cut out of construction paper.

The second page of the book is The Parable of the Lost Coin. (I have done a craft before for this parable, and made a similar mini book for this a few years ago- Parable of the Lost Coin Craft Post) Cut out a broom shape from brown construction paper, and cut fringes into the broom straws, and only glue down the broom handle, so the coin can be found underneath the broom. I also chose two verses for this page.

'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin." Luke 15:9b (NIV) and In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10 (NIV)

The children can glue a little silver coin under the broom. 

I made the silver coin from aluminum foil with a single hole puncher.

The lift-a-flap book craft was a fun and easy craft, I like the simple images in the book that will help the children to remember the story later. Encourage them to share their story book with their family.

For game time I came up with two fun relay race style games, one for the lost sheep, and one for the lost coin. In advance, for the lost sheep relay, I first traced a sheep outline onto black construction paper, and using a cutting mat and craft knife cut out the sheep shape from the center of the paper. (I have the green beneath so you can see the shape cut out.)

Remove the center of the sheep from the black construction paper. Make two or more of these, one for each relay team.

Then you will need for each relay team's sheep, a sheet of sticky back craft foam. Just before the race, peel off the paper and keep the sticky side of the foam face up.

Lay your sheep cut out over the sticky surface. The green sheep is now sticky, and ready for the race. Hang up a sticky sheep for each relay team across the room on a wall.

Then provide each team with cotton balls, line up the players, and when the relay race starts, the first runner form each team grabs two cotton balls, runs across the room, and places the cotton balls on the sheep.

Then the player runs back, and the next person takes a turn, and so on while the sheep is being filled up with cotton balls.

The first team to finish their sheep is the winner. The kids really enjoyed this game!

The second relay race is for the Parable of the Lost Coin. Place a bin of rice between both teams, and little buckets or cups across the room. Hide twenty five dimes in a bin of rice. The first players from each team dig in the rice until they find a dime, then run across the room and place it in the bucket, when they return the next player goes, and so on until the first team to have ten dimes in their bucket wins. This was also a fun game, but be ready with a broom, because the rice can be a bit messy. :)

During the lesson there was also a time to discuss the story and ask the children some discussion questions.

Here are some of the simple discussion questions ideas, with answers, you may need to modify some of these for a younger class.

Is everyone a sinner? (Yes)
Do we need to repent (say sorry) to God for being sinners? (Yes)
When we repent, and say sorry to God for all of our sins, and ask Jesus into our heart to be our savior, what happens in heaven? What do God and the angels do? (They rejoice, just like the person who found his lost sheep in the parable did, just like the woman who found her lost coin did.)
Have you ever lost anything? (Let the kids give examples of things they have lost)
Where you happy when you found it? (Yes)
Are we lost from God when we are sinners and don't say sorry and ask Jesus to be our savior? (Yes)
Does it make God happy when we repent? (Yes, very happy!)

Include a time for prayer. We also enjoy snack time and singing time during our children's church as well.

This was a really fun lesson to put together, and I saw great pictures of our youth, along with my daughter having a fun time teaching all the children.

This lesson, along with my other Sunday School crafts and lesson ideas, is part of my new Simply Sunday School Series, located in a link on the side of my blog for easy reference. :)

Simply Sunday School

I love being a Sunday school teacher. Teaching the bible and its truths in the simplest forms is so enjoyable to me. Sometimes children's Bible curriculum can be overly complicated, I prefer to keep things simple. The Bible is full of wonderful stories, and through these stories we can easily learn biblical principles and good character traits.

I have shared a few of my simple Sunday school crafts and lesson ideas over the years on this blog, and I hope to start sharing more. I thought it would be nice to have them gathered into one post for easy reference.

Old Testament:

Creation Story Sequence Cards and Mini Book Craft

Adam and Eve 

Cain and Abel

Noah's Ark Paper and Stamp Craft

The Tower of Babel Book Craft

Abraham Take Home Story Card

Jacob and Esau Take Home Card 

Joseph & His Coat of Many Colors

Moses Lapbook

Jonah and the Big Fish Paper Craft 

Jonah Needle Felt Craft

New Testament : 

The Greatest Gift (Christmas Story) Craft

Nativity Needle Felt Craft

Christmas Angel Craft

Star of Bethlehem Craft

Jesus is the Light Christmas Candle Craft 

Parable of the Lost Coin Craft

Parable of the Lost Sheep and Coin Complete Lesson

Palm Sunday Palm Leaves

Palm Sunday Mini Book Craft

He is Risen! Mini Book Craft

Jesus' Ascension Craft 

Miscellaneous Bible Fun: 

Bible Verse Sensory Bin Activity 

Valentine's Day Sunday School Craft

Link to my favorite resource for mini book printables.