Mrs H’s Fried Ice Cream

Standard
Mrs H’s Fried Ice Cream

This is an easy version of your favorite Mexican Restaurant dessert! Hooray, right? We all love EASY! This can also be made up ahead of time for an easy dessert for company, or to carry in for a pot luck supper at church. You can serve them all fancied up, or let your guests decorate their own.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Half-gallon Vanilla Ice Cream (I like the less sweeter varieties; read the label; my favorite has 11 g sugars under Carbohydrates.  Some have 20 g and that is just too sweet for my taste)

6 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed

½ cup (1 stick) butter

3 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ cup honey

Chocolate Ice Cream sauce

Whipped Cream (in aerosol can)

Maraschino cherries (with stems)

Large size muffin wrappers (paper)

Latex gloves

5-Step procedure

First, place a muffin tin in your freezer and allow it to get ice cold (about an hour).  Use an ice cream scoop to dip ice cream from its container.  I use my other hand (with glove on) to heap ice cream up over the ice cream in the scoop and then press it into a ball shape, before ejecting the ball into a well of the muffin tin.  Continue until all 12 wells are full, or ice cream is used up.  Place muffin tin back in the freezer and allow ice cream balls to set and freeze hard (about an hour or two).

Meanwhile, make the crust: Crush the corn flakes cereal in a gallon size zip lock bag, using a rolling pin. Add the cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven size pot, toss in the crumbs and cinnamon and stir fry about 2 or 3 minutes until it begins to smell wonderful.  Be careful not to let it burn.  Drizzle with honey and toss to coat.  Remove from heat and let it cool.  NOTE: I have substituted other cereals, namely Cinnamon Toast crunch and it worked great, as long as the cereal was ground into fine crumbs in a food processor.

Remove Ice cream balls from freezer.  Use a large spoon to remove a ball from its well in the muffin tin. Drop ball into crumb mixture and roll with gloved hands around in the crumbs, pressing crumbs into ice cream with hands until all sides are coated.  If you are having trouble getting the crumbs to stick to the ice cream try squeezing a little honey over the crumbs before rolling the ice cream into it.  Place balls on paper muffin wrappers and then set them on a cookie sheet or baking pan.  Once finished with coating all the balls, return them to the freezer to set and harden.   They can remain in the freezer for a day or two if you want to make them ahead.

To serve:  Remove an ice cream ball from the muffin wrapper, place on a serving plate.  Drizzle chocolate syrup decoratively over the top.  Spray a nice size dollop of whipped cream on top, and garnish with a cherry.  Pretty as a picture!

   * * *

“The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey.” Exodus 16:31

   * * *

MrsH’s Original Bit-O-Honey Pie

Standard
MrsH’s Original Bit-O-Honey Pie

They say there is nothing new under the sun, well, I beg to differ. The idea for this pie popped in my head after stumbling across a Bake-off contest on social media. I looked and looked for a recipe, figuring someone out there had surely invented such a thing already, but nope, I couldn’t find a single one. Sooooo, having my creative kitchen muscles stretched a bit, I humbly present to you my prize-winning entry!  Okay, I didn’t really enter it in their contest, only because of a ban on refrigerated items, but my taste-testing family all gave me thumbs way up and a great BIG fancy blue ribbon, I mean hug. Perhaps next year the committee that decides such things will make an exception and allow refrigerated items, and then I’ll get to enter the Honey Festival bake-off challenge, officially, with this pie!  Until then, you get to enter it at your supper table festivals for a whole year ahead of its grand appearance at the BIG SHOW! And this way all your little resident foodies can help me decide if it’s worth entering in the contest next year!

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup Uvalde Honey
  • ½ cup Almond Butter
  • 1 cup chopped slivered almonds  (divided)
  • 1 Tsp. Almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp. Molasses
  • 1  8-oz pkg Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 small tub Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup dry malted milk powder
  • 1 Vanilla wafer crumb crust for 9” pie

DIRECTIONS

Make crumb crust: Preheat oven to 375 *F.  Whirl approximately 2/3 of a box of Nilla Wafers and ½ cup slivered almonds in a blender or food processor until fine crumbs. You should come close to about 1½ cup of crumbs.  If you end up with a little bit more, save the extra for a garnish on top of the pie.  To the 1½ cup of crumbs add 6 Tbsp of butter, melted, and mix together well in a large bowl.  Transfer the crumbs to a pie plate and press into place evenly along the bottom and up the sides with your fingers or a large metal spoon.  Bake 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Pie Filling: Using a mixer on low speed, beat together first nine ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined and creamy.  Scoop into crumb crust and spread until smooth on top.  Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 day before cutting and serving. 

Garnish with remaining crumbs, slivered almonds, a small piece of real honeycomb, and artificial bees from the hobby store, attached to the pie with toothpicks.

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

Our Big Fat End-of-the-school-year Classical Academy Toga Party

Standard
Our Big Fat End-of-the-school-year Classical Academy Toga Party

Costumes

  • Togas  (made from white sheets and king-size pillowcases), with golden rope for belts
  • Laurel wreath head garlands – given as prizes for Olympics  (made from green posterboard and spray painted with gold glitter paint)
  • Sandals  (made from cardboard and ribbon)

Decorations

  • Classroom door:  Pillars on each side, sheer white curtains draped over the top, and a “Phi-Beta-Kappa (ΦΒΚ) TOGA PARTY HERE” sign hanging crooked on the doorknob.  *P.S. Phi Beta Kappa means “Love of wisdom is the guide of life” or “Philosophy is the governor of one’s life.” (*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phi_Beta_Kappa)
  • Food table (in center of the room):  Push all the desks together to make a table and cover it with layers of colorful tablecloths and draped tulle.  Make a centerpiece of tall candlesticks and metal vases with flowers.  Set finger foods around on the table like a buffet.  Set out fixings for Gyros.  Set out platters of cheese curds or cubes, almonds, and varieties of olives; figs, dates, pomegranates, artichokes, and pedestal-bowls heaped with green, red, and purple grapes spilling over the sides.
  • Chase lounge chairs covered in sheets or cushions:  poolside or lawn lounge chairs are what I had in mind.
  • Music CD:  Animal House Soundtrack (some of it is fun and useful), and if you have a computer, or even better, a Roku and TV available there are some marvelous Greek instrumental music (You Tube) videos (some up to 2½ hours long) out there that offer both music and a slide show of Grecian landscapes that are awesome for ambience. 
  • Photo Booth props with backdrop:  Amazon.com

Food

  • Greek “grazing” table (grapes, olives, figs, pomegranates, artichokes, almonds, gyro ingredients: flat bread, Tzatziki, roasted chickpeas or grilled chicken pieces, grape tomatoes, spinach, and cucumbers, Fava dip, *cheese curds, white or purple grape juice in wine bottles, and Baklava for dessert
  • Wine goblets with handles on both sides (like sugar bowls w/o lids), which you can later use to explain an ancient Greek men’s game of throwing out the dregs.

Activities/Games

Foot & Hand Washing

I provided a tub of clean water on a mat beside the classroom entrance, and paper towels, for the kids to wash their own feet and hands.  As soon as they entered the room – with their correct “first” foot, I asked them to remove their shoes and then explained the custom of foot washing.  And then, since food was often eaten with hands, the Greeks also had a custom of hand washing before meals.

Symposium

I introduced several Table Talk discussion topics while the kids were sitting around in the recliners eating (I have a Box of Table Talk cards that I use for dinner table discussions – Food for Talk by Julienne Smith, which the teacher said she also has, that her mother sent to her. It must be a grandma thing! 😉 Too funny!).

Indoor games

I introduced Marbles, Dice, and KnuckleBones (which are available on Amazon: “Gogo Jacks, Rainbow Jacks, Osselets – New Vintage Game of Jacks Full Set of 5 with Instructions.” by On The Go) to the kids, explaining how each is played, and also…

Guess Who? (Family Box game, but replace caricatures that come in the game with my Greek versions – Greek teachers, philosophers, historians, artists, poets, playwrights, etc.  I made sheets of these which you can download and print for free).

I broke the class into 4 groups of 2 or 3 kids.  Each group started at one of the four games.  I gave them about 10 minutes to play their game and then signaled them to stand-up and move clockwise to the next game.

Crafts

I was prepared for two craft projects:  Making sandals, and Making earrings, but we ran out of time to do these.  (They were honestly a back-up plan for inclement weather anyway). 

Olympic games (Outdoors), End-of-the-school-year theme

  • Lunch box discus throw – I filled a lunch bag with dried beans to give it some weight
  • Pencil javelin throw – I used an old broom handle, painted it, and sanded a tip on one end
  • Long jump –  I used full plastic water-bottles for the weights, the larger the better
  • Alarm clock shot-put – I painted a clock face on a rock
  • Reading/Writing/Arithmetic Foot Race Relay – stack books up as obstacles on the track
  • Chariot/horse racing – I made stick horses, but wrap-around cardboard chariots where my other plan  “I have finished the race…”
  • Thumb or Arm Wrestling  (after a popsicle break, the kids can pair up at the picnic tables)

Alternative Outdoor games

  • Medusa Freeze Tag

Story Time

  • Gracee read to the kids for the last 15 minutes out of Aesop’s Fables (FYI: Aesop was born in Greece).

These are some wonderful books that offer tons of ideas, games and crafts a few of which are featured in this post ( I purchased my copies used from online booksellers):

RULES TO GAMES

  • Knucklebones:

The game of knucklebones, also known as astragaloi in Greek and tali in Latin, can be played in several different ways. The simplest and perhaps most common form of this game, played by children, is comparable to the modern-day game of jackstones: all five small pieces are simultaneously tossed into the air, the goal being to catch as many as possible on the back of one hand. Another variation of the game involved players throwing one or more of the pieces into a small dirt hole in the ground or into the opening of a small vessel. He or she with the best aim would win.

  • Marbles

Marbles is a fun game that has been enjoyed for thousands of years.

Setting up the Game

Use yarn to make a circle on the carpet about 3 ft in diameter.

Place 5 of each players (usually three players) small marbles inside the circle, near the center, and arrange them in an X pattern.  The one big marble in your set of marbles is your “shooter” marble.

To determine who goes first have each player sit about 10 feet from a wall and shoot or roll their shooter marble to see who can get the closest. The closest player goes first. Next closest goes second, etc.

Taking a Turn

To take a turn the player kneels outside the ring and then To shoot your marble correctly, tuck your thumb, pinkie, and ring finger into your palm. Wrap your pointer finger around the marble, holding it against your thumb knuckle. Then, with your “knuckles down” on the ground, use your thumb to flick the marble from your finger towards the group of marbles in the center of the circle.

The first shot must be taken from the edge of the circle, but the next shot can be taken from the spot where the shooter landed.

Pick up all the marbles you knocked out of the circle and place them beside you, then have another turn. If no marble is knocked out of the circle, the other player then gets a turn.

Winning in Marbles

When the ring is empty of marbles the game is over.  The player with the most marbles at the end of the game is the winner.

Marble terminology

Taw – shooter marble. It’s usually a heavier marble than the ones in the center so it can knock them out of the circle.  Other names for the shooter marble include Aggie, boulder, Steele, king, and middleman.

Mibs or Kimmies – the marbles in the center of the circle.

Lagging – shooting or rolling the marble to a line to determine who gets to go first.

Mibster – marble player

If you and your friends have sets of collectable or keepsake marbles and you are pretty good players, you may choose to play for “Keepsies.” Most of the time Marbles are played “for fair,” which means that every player keeps their marbles, but sometimes players keep the special marbles they win. One of the first things you want to decide is if you are playing “keepsies” or “for fair” before you begin a game.

  • Yoyo

Here’s a great website for learning Yoyo tricks: https://yoyotricks.com/yoyo-tricks/beginner-tricks/

I picked up the cheap yoyo’s from the toy section at Walmart and they were kind of frustrating for the kids to use. The string wasn’t tied tight around the center of the yoyo, so it made it hard for them to get it wound back up again once the string came unwound. Grrrr. Maybe you can figure out a solution for this?

  • Guess Who? – Greek version

I made cards to replace the cards that came with the game. 

Click HERE for the FREE PRINTABLES I made, so you can make your own Greek Guess Who game.

How to Play Guess Who?

To play this game, first choose your game board and then flip all your frames upright by tipping the game boards.  Players sit facing each other so they can’t see the other player’s frames.  Shuffle the MYSTERY cards and place them face down where each player can reach them.  Each player chooses one MYSTERY card and places it in the slot in the front of their game board.

Notice the differences in each of your 24 faces.  Some are girls, some are boys, some have a red, or black, or yellow background, some are wearing hats, some have beards/mustaches, some are wearing clothes, some are looking to your right, etc. 

The youngest player ALWAYS goes first.  On your turn you may ask ONE yes or no question. Example: Does your person have a gray background?  Your opponent must then answer either “yes” or “no.” If they answer “yes” you may flip down all the faces on your board that do not have a gray background.  After you ask your ONE question, and flip down any faces you can, your turn is over. 

If you are an expert on famous Greek people in history, here are some questions you may want to ask for this special GREEK VERSION of the game:

Is your person a…

Sculptor…doctor…poet…politician…artist…philosopher…mathmetician…author… historian…playwright…astronomer?  

When it is your turn again, and you think you have figured out who the MYSTERY person is, you may guess.  Example: Is your person Archimedes?  But don’t guess until you are sure, otherwise if your guess is wrong you will lose the game.  If your guess is right you win the game.  When you win you may slide your game counter over one point for each game you win.  Begin a new game by flipping all your faces back up, and drawing a new MYSTERY card.   The first player to win five games is the champion.

Recipes

Roasted Chicken or Chickpea Gyros 

from LiveEatLearn.com

Simple and delicious Mediterranean inspired vegetarian Roasted Chickpea Gyros with refreshing tzatziki sauce.

 Prep Time 10 minutes

 Cook Time 20 minutes

 Total Time 30 minutes

 Servings 4 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas or 1 ½ cup soaked chickpeas if starting from dry, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp paprika*
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned, skin removed, and chicken cut into bite size chunks
  • 6 pita flatbreads
  • 1 cup tzatziki  (see below)  **This can be purchased ready-made.  Look for it in the deli section at Walmart (they carry it at mine, so it is likely at yours as well)**
  • 1/4 red onion cut into strips
  • 2 lettuce leaves roughly chopped – I used baby spinach
  • 1 tomato sliced – I used grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • I sliced and chopped additional cucumber as a gyro topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat dry chickpeas with paper towel, removing any skins that may come off. Gently toss chickpeas with oil, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. – I poured olive oil over the chickpeas in a zip bag, and then I mixed the spices together and sprinkled over the oiled chickpeas and tossed them in the zip bag to coat.  This method worked very well!!!
  2. Roast: I oiled my baking sheet and let it get hot in the oven BEFORE I spread the chickpeas on it.  Spread chickpeas onto greased rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned but not hard.  I tested, tasted, tossed, and let my chickpeas bake for about another 10 minutes.
  3. Assemble: Spread some tzatziki onto one side of the pita, then sprinkle in ¼ of the chickpeas and add veggies. Fold in half and enjoy!

NOTES

  • *If you don’t like spicy foods, halve the amount of paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Taste a chickpea before baking and adjust flavors as needed. The yogurt does mellow the spiciness of the chickpeas.
  • If your pita breads crack when you fold them, cover them with a moist paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Assemble your sandwich immediately after microwaving.

World’s Best Tzatziki Recipe  

from LiveEatLearn.com

This is the best tzatziki recipe! Refreshing cucumber, creamy Greek yogurt, and zingy lemon make it the perfect condiment for just about everything.

 Prep Time 5 minutes

 Total Time 5 minutes

 Servings 3 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, can use dairy-free
  • 1 cup shredded or diced cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Thicken yogurt: Strain yogurt using a cheesecloth or paper towel for 30 minutes to 3 hours to remove excess moisture (can skip this step if you’re in a hurry).
  2. Prep cucumber: Meanwhile, sprinkle a pinch of salt onto shredded or diced cucumber and spoon into cheesecloth or paper towels. Let sit for a few minutes then wring it out to draw out moisture.
  3. Mix: Mix together yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic, and lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

NOTES

  • Add a touch of extra-virgin olive oil for flavor and shine.
  • Serve with pita, veggies, on Roasted Chickpea Gyros, or really anything!
  • The flavors become less tangy as you let them sit, so your tzatziki might just be best the next day.

Fava Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry yellow split peas, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Paprika for garnish (optional)

Instructions

1. Place the split peas in a large saucepan with 5 cups of warm water. Set the burner to high heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Skim any foam that forms on the surface of the liquid, then add the red onion, scallion, and garlic. Return the liquid to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peas are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Once the peas are tender, turn off the heat and add the olive oil and salt. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture (or process in batches in a tabletop blender). Taste and add more salt as needed.

3. The fava will thicken as it cools. Serve topped with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika; provide crusty bread and/or sliced vegetables for dipping.

Baklava 

from fifteenspatulas.com

This heavenly baklava combines honey-soaked layers of flaky phyllo pastry with spiced walnuts. It’s a great make-ahead dessert!

Ingredients

For the Baklava:

  • 16 oz walnuts
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (plus a pinch of ground cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 boxes phyllo dough* thawed
  • 1 cup butter melted

For the Syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup good quality honey**
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 strip orange peel
  • 1 strip lemon peel

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor with the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt until well chopped.
  3. To assemble the baklava, place 8 layers of phyllo dough one-by-one on the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan, brushing each lightly with butter.
  4. Spread 1/5 of the walnut mixture evenly on top (about 2/3 cup).
  5. Add another 5 layers of phyllo one-by-one, brushing each with butter, then add another layer of nuts. The total sequence should be phyllo layers of 8,5,5,5,5,8, with nuts in between those layers. 
  6. Carefully cut the Baklava into squares or triangles with a buttered knife.
  7. Bake the baklava for 50 minutes, until golden on the edges and tops.
  8. In the meantime, bring all the syrup ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the citrus peels and cinnamon stick, and pour the hot syrup evenly over the hot baklava. 
  10. Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 8 hours (uncovered, to prevent sogginess). Then it’s ready to enjoy!
  11. Can be served with chocolate syrup drizzled over the top of each slice.

Notes

*Note fifteenspatualas said: “My 1-lb box of phyllo said it had 18 13×18″ layers, so I cut them in half, and had 36 sheets total for my 9×13 pan.” but I (mrshlovesjesus) had a 10½” X 15½” pan and I used 1 1/2 boxes of Phyllo.

**I cannot overstate how important it is to use a good honey here. If it comes in a bear shape bottle, probably steer clear. Ideally look for raw honey.

Print the following schedule and have it handy to review as you conduct your party

Party Schedule

11am               Set-up and decorate classroom (food table), lawn loungers, put CD in boom box, set Olympic games stuff by back door  (Remember to bring CAMERA and take pictures)

11:45am          When children arrive have them take off their shoes at the door and “wash” their feet and hands with wet paper towels.  Give them each a TOGA to put on and then let them pose and take Photo Booth pictures – serious faces and silly faces.

12:15pm          Symposium (let the kids help themselves to gyros, fruits, nuts, and “wine,” and while they are eating introduce a few discussion starters that we can all talk about from my box of Table Talk cards.  After the kids have eaten lunch let them get dessert – Baklava.

12:45pm          Indoor games (Yoyos, Marbles, Knucklebones, Guess Who?  Explain how each toy or game is played.  Divide the group into sets of 2 or 3 kids.  Give each group a toy/game to play with.  After 5 or 10 minutes have each group rotate to the next toy)

1:30pm            Crafts (make sandals & earrings) followed by Dancing to LouieLouie, and Twistin the Night Away.  At the end of that give the youngest kid in the group the Olympic torch and let him/her lead us all to the playground for the games.

2:00pm            Outdoor Olympic Games:

  • Lunch box discus throw
  • Pencil javelin throw
  • Water-bottle weights long jump
  • Alarm clock shot-put
  • Foot Race (books stacked as hurdles) -or- Horse/chariot Race (stick horses)
  • Thumb or Arm Wrestling

Demonstrate how each event is done and give each child a chance to practice a few times before competing. 

Give the kids a Popsicle break after they’ve completed the series of events, and then after that we will conduct a Pentathlon where each kid will do the whole series of events by themselves to see who can complete it in the fastest time. 

All competitors will be given a laurel wreath head garland in an awards ceremony.

3:15pm            Kids will return to classroom and prepare for dismissal, while Gracee reads to them a few Aesop’s Fables.

PARTY TIPS: I don’t know about you, but I am usually so forgetful about taking pictures.  I just get so busy keeping the party moving that I don’t think to stop and take pictures.  I also often forget to eat and get to the end of the party so famished that all I want to do is collapse in exhaustion!  So, if you are like me and want to have printed memories of your party, prearrange for someone to take pictures of everything from the table to the party itself – EVERYTHING, and also, make sure you eat something that will stick to your ribs BEFORE the party starts!!!!!  So you have energy to be your best, joyous self.

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (KJV)

* * *


The “Hofols” Celebrate Easter/Passover

Standard
The “Hofols” Celebrate Easter/Passover

This past Easter we celebrated the holiday a little differently.  In actuality, EVERY Easter is just a little bit different from the one before it – a side effect of my vexatious A.D.D. I suspect!!!  This year my “passion” blossomed out of a “cavernous” fancy to “resurrect” (puns all very much intended) the Jewish roots of our Christian holiday and blend them altogether.  I wanted to celebrate Jesus, our Passover Lamb, especially since this year Passover fell on Good Friday (2019). Perhaps you’re looking for ideas how to celebrate and you’ll find something here that trips your trigger?

The “Steady Eddy’s” of our holiday usually include new dresses/outfits for church + shoes to go with them + the same basic food & drink (except this year I added LAMB to the menu) + an Egg Hunt. And there is always some sort of fun activities to follow. So, let’s get started with the menu, and then we’ll work our way on down to the ever-evolvingfun stuff at the end…

.

— THE MENU —

.

HAM

A nice 10-lb spiral cut honey smoked ham. 

Make a Chamoy glaze of apricots (2 cans plus the syrup), honey (1 cup), and spicy chili peppers (2 or 3 fresh green Cayenne peppers finely chopped/ground – or ½ tsp Cayenne powder).  Place glaze ingredients in a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Let simmer until reduced and thickened.

Heat ham in the oven, wrapped tightly in foil for about 1 hr and 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Place ham on serving platter and pour glaze over ham just before serving.

LAMB CHOPS

6 Lamb Chops

Preheat outdoor grill with charcoals, preparing to add mesquite or applewood chips just before grilling.  While the charcoals are getting ready prepare the sauce and the lamb.

Sauce:  ½ cup Olive Oil, ½ cup chopped onion, 3 cloves peeled and sliced garlic. Sauté in a sauce pan until onions are translucent, and then remove from heat.  Place onions, oil, and garlic in a blender (I use my Bullet) also adding 2 Tablespoons low sodium Soy Sauce, 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar, 1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary needles, 2 Tablespoons course ground mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and about ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Blend until thoroughly emulsified.  Set aside.

Rub lamb chops with salt and pepper.

Separate charcoals and sprinkle with wood chips.  As soon as they begin to smoke, place chops on grill about 6 inches above heat and close the lid.  Let them grill undisturbed for about 4 or 5 minutes.  Lift the lid and flip the chops over to the other side.  Close the lid and let grill for another 4 or 5 minutes.  Lift the lid and check the internal temp of each chop.  Continue flipping and cooking until each chop reaches an internal temp of 135 degrees (medium rare).  Don’t eyeball it – use a thermometer for perfect results.  The moment they reach temp, remove them from the grill, placing them on a dish.  Let them rest for a minute or two, then drizzle each with sauce and serve with a sprig of Rosemary for garnish. 

NOTE: I wish I could remember where I found this recipe so I could give them credit and kudos!!!!  If you know, please let me know in the comments. And I’ll tell you, I am not a fan of lamb…  (I just don’t care for the gamey flavor.  I don’t like goat or goat cheese for the same reason) …BUT THIS LAMB was a wonderful surprise.  My family LOVED it and have begged if I will make this every year from now on.  So, if you don’t really care for lamb either, you might want to give this recipe a try.  I promise it will change your mind.

TATER TOT HOT DISH

32 oz. bag of Tater Tots

1 cup onion, chopped

1 16-oz container French Onion Dip

1 jalapeno, minced

2 cups shredded Colby cheese

1 10-oz can Cream of Chicken Soup

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

1 can French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a large casserole dish.  Mix together the Onion Dip, jalapeno, cheese, soup, garlic powder, and salt.  Toss in chopped onion and frozen tots.  Use hands to mix tots and sauce all together.  Arrange tot mixture in casserole dish.  Top with French Fried Onions.  Bake in oven about 60 minutes.

SWEET PEA SALAD

2-lb package frozen sweet peas, thawed

½ Red onion, diced

1 ½ cup Cheddar Cheese, cut into pea size cubes

8 slices bacon, fried crispy and crumbled

3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped (optional)

½ cup Sour Cream

¼ cup Mayo

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix together the sauce ingredients and carefully stir them into the thawed peas.  Add the red onion and cheese and carefully incorporate.  Taste to make sure there is enough salt and pepper.  Place in serving dish and top with bacon for garnish. 

DEVILED EGGS

1 dozen eggs, hard boiled (place cold eggs or fresh eggs in cool tap water in a pan big enough to fully cover the eggs with water, bring to a rolling boil on high heat on the stove and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes and then pour off water.  Let eggs cool.  Eggs can then be peeled and placed in a zip bag in the refrigerator overnight.)

Cut eggs in half, remove yolks to a small bowl.  Mash yolks with a fork.  Add about ¼ to ½ cup of Mayo or Miracle Whip to them until a thick creamy texture is achieved.  Also add 1 to 2 teaspoons coarse ground mustard, and 2 Tablespoons each finely diced onion and sweet pickle relish.  Stir until well combined.  Drop dollops of yolk mixture into the split egg-white halves.  Sprinkle with sweet paprika.  Garnish each egg with finely chopped green onion or chives.  If you have sweet pickles, slice into “pennies” and press a penny into the center of each egg.  Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.

HOT CROSS BUNS

I usually use a hot roll mix and follow package directions, except to add a 1/3 cup of dried currants and 2 Tablespoons of orange zest to the mixed dough.  Bake as directed.  Let cool completely.  Mix an icing of 1 cup powdered sugar and about a Tablespoon of milk (thin with additional milk a tiny drop at a time until desired thickness).  Place icing in a zip bag and cut the corner off.  Pipe a cross on top of each roll.  Garnish with a few more currants and some orange zest.

This year I cheated and purchased frozen cinnamon rolls, and added the currants and some orange zest as a garnish after icing.

RHUBARB CRUNCH

Filling:

2 packages frozen rhubarb (or 5 cups fresh)

2 granny smith apples peeled, cored, and chopped

½ tsp. salt

Splash of lemon juice

½ cup of sugar

Stir together and place in a buttered casserole dish.

Topping:

2 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1 cup oats

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 ½ sticks of butter, softened to room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla

¼ tsp salt

I sometimes mix this all together in a gallon size zip bag the night before and let sit on the counter until baking time.  It saves me time later and gives the butter time to soak up the flour and oats and lends a nice crispiness to the finished product.

Serve warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

.

.

Beverages:


Sweet Tea, Lemonade, Lemon water, or wine

.

.

.

.

.

Sunday Dinner is usually served immediately after the egg hunt.  The children give the blessing and then we all start stuffing our faces. 

.

— THE EGG HUNT —

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.”  Jeremiah 19:13

This year’s egg hunt mostly consisted of plastic eggs strewn all over in the yard, all the way around the house. A few were perched in the limbs of the trees and some other slightly more difficult hidey spots. As per grand-daughter’s request I hid special GOLDEN eggs (1 per kid) in the more difficult places. They got to redeem those for one special prize each – their Easter Baskets!  I put a little note inside each golden egg which told the kids where to look for their “special surprises.”  The special Easter Baskets were filled with a few candies, some little toys, jewelry, Knick knacky things, and a pretty journal and fancy pen for each girl, which they’ll get to use as journals all summer.

.

— THE FUN STUFF —

Food – done….. Egg Hunt – done….. Let the games begin! As I said earlier we did a PASSOVER theme. Our Passover activities commenced down on the banks of the little brook that weaves a path by our backyard. It was the perfect setting for our first activity, saving baby Moses!

Saving Baby Moses

I made each girl a little bamboo raft (we have so much of it growing along our river front, it was a ready material that cost me nothing).  Walmart had perfect little 6” baby dolls for about $2 each – I bought one for each girl. 

Our youngest granddaughter wasn’t feeling well, so she went down for a nap while we did all the activities with her sister.  But later, when she awoke, we did the whole thing all over again for her, exactly as we had done for her sister. 

The girls wrapped their baby Moses in a blue blanket, laid him in his raft, and then walked down into the river and placed him on the water and let him float away as we all looked on.  As baby Moses floated away we all prayed that God would save baby Moses’ life, just like in the Bible! 

It really worked out that the one granddaughter was napping when the other granddaughter did this, so it seemed to each child as if there had only been one baby Moses.  If they had both been involved for the shared experience, we would have only floated one baby Moses.

Little baby Moses slowly floated away and when he was finally out of sight I told the story of how Moses was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, how he then grew up to be a young man, and then found out that he was a Hebrew. He accidentally caused an Egyptian to die and then in fear ran away and lived with a Midianite priest and his daughters in the desert. That’s where he met God on a mountaintop in a burning bush, and God told him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Hebrew slaves go free.

The Plagues and Pharaoh Games

(I had prepared each of the plagues days before and had them ready in a box for this exercise).

I told the children how Moses went to Pharaoh to ask him to let the people go, but Pharaoh said, “NO!!!!!”  I instructed the kids to yell, “NO!!!!!” whenever I asked them if Pharaoh let the people go.

The first plague was to turn the Nile River into blood:  I poured water into a glass for each kid and added red drink powder to it.  Then we tossed in some Swedish Fish to represent the fish that died.  Then I asked, “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!”  – and I pointed to the kids to say, “NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So God sent a second plague – Frogs:  I had purchased some sticky frogs from Walmart and put them in a big jar.  I handed the children the jar of frogs and let them take the frogs out and stick them to us and squish them and play with them for a bit.  Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and I pointed to the children who said), “NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So God sent a third plague – Lice:  I used confetti eggs, called Cascarones here in south Texas, and divided two dozen of them between each of us and we all got to break them on each other’s heads.  This always causes lots of laughing.  Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and I pointed to the children who said), “NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So God sent a fourth plague – Flies:  I used black pipe cleaners, cut into about 4” pieces and twisted them into wings and a body shape and I filled a glass jar full of them.  I took the lid off this jar and dumped the flies in the kids’ hands and let them put them on us grown-ups, in our hair, down our shirts, etc.  They then had fun picking them up off the ground and tossing them around some more.  Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and the kids yelled), “NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So God sent a fifth plague – the dead animals:  I found a cheap container of farm animals at Walmart. I pulled it out, opened the lid and dumped the animals out, instructing the children to put all the animals on their backs with their feet up in the air, which they happily did.  Some would fall over as they were setting others upside down so it took a while to get them all to “die.”  I talked about how stinky that must have been.  Pee-Yoooo!  Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and the kids yelled), “NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So God sent a sixth plague – Boils: Now, I know you are probably going to think I’ve lost my marbles on this one, but I cut up about 6 panty-liners into 3 pieces each and wrote “BOILS” on each piece with a Sharpie marker.  I put them in a jar.  I opened this jar and let the kids take the BOILS out one by one and peel the paper off the back, and stick them to all of us on our bare arms and legs and faces, and we stuck a bunch of them on the kids as well.  The sticky is sort of irritating to the skin after a while so it produced a decent effect, but it didn’t hurt to pull them off later. Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and the kids yelled), “NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So God sent a seventh plague – Hail: I had purchased several boxes of ping pong balls (6 balls for $1 at Walmart).  I gave each person a handful of balls and on the count of three we all simultaneously tossed the balls in the air and let them fall on our heads.  We then picked them up and tossed them at each other for a little while until I said, “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said…“NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So God sent an eighth plague – Locusts:  For this plague I produced a zip bag with a leaf of romaine lettuce per each person of us.  Since locusts are veggie eaters, on my mark we would have a lettuce eating contest.  1-2-3-crunch, crunch, crunch!!!  Hey this is one way to get kids to eat their veggies.  Ha!  And then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said … “NO, NO, NO!!!” (-muffled through their mouthfuls of lettuce).

So God sent a ninth plague – darkness: For this one I had purchased a game of Blindfolded Twister.  It wasn’t a good thing to play outside, where we were at the time, so I improvised and had the kids cover their eyes and try to find mommy, then daddy, then grandpa, then grandma, then sister.  (We did play the Twister game later, in the house and it was perfect).  Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said … “NO, NO, NO!!!” 

So Moses informed Pharaoh that if he didn’t let the slaves go that God would send a plague of death of the firstborns among the Egyptians.  Moses told all the Hebrew slaves to kill a baby lamb and use the blood to paint on their doorposts, then cook and eat the baby lamb with unleavened bread.  And that night when the spirit of death came to Egypt it PASSed-OVER the houses with the lamb’s blood, but the Egyptian firstborns all died, including Pharaoh’s son, which made Pharaoh sad and mad enough to say “GO, GO, GO!!!”

Here’s how we did this next part…

I told the girls that Jesus came to set us free from our slavery to sin.  The Bible says that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). In the history of mankind there has been no one who was without sin – only Jesus.  And that is why He was the perfect Lamb of God – to take away our sins.

John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

I gave each girl a little lamb, a nail, a Popsicle stick cross, and a hammer, and we nailed their lambs to their crosses.  I explained that if that lamb was a real lamb the nail would make the lamb bleed. 

I then gave each girl two hearts cut from foam board that I had punched holes in all around the edge.  I gave them each a needle and thread so they could stitch the two pieces together to make a pocket.  As they stitched I explained that we all have to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus (which means we have to turn from our sinful nature and open our hearts up to Him).  Once their hearts were sewn together I gave the girls red paint, representing the blood of the lamb, and we used a clump of weeds to paint the “blood” on their hearts.  And then we asked Jesus to come into our hearts – which was represented by placing the lamb-crosses inside the pockets of the hearts they made and painted.

I explained that we all have a body and we all have a spirit.  Because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden our bodies will someday die, but our spirits will either go on to live with Jesus in heaven or with the devil in hell.  If we prepare our hearts and let Jesus come in to us, even though our bodies die, the second death – the death of our spirit – will PASS-OVER and we’ll get to live with Jesus in heaven forever.

Communion

At the Last Supper, Jesus said His body was broken for us, and He took bread and broke it and asked His disciples to eat of that bread in remembrance of Him.   

I took a saltine cracker and broke it and divided the pieces with everyone.  Then we partook of the Lord’s body which was broken for us.

Jesus, at the Last Supper, then took the cup of wine and said it represented His blood that was shed for us for the remission of our sins.  He asked His disciples to drink of it in remembrance of Him until the day that He comes back for all of us.

I then poured us each a little cup of wine, and we partook of the Lord’s blood that was shed for us. 

The little one wasn’t a huge fan of “real” wine! Ha! So she chased it with a swig of bloody Nile water.

Family Movie Time

After our riverside adventures, we all got a heaping helping of dessert and snuggled up on the couch in the mancave to watch The Ten Commandments (w/Charleton Heston) together as a family.  This was always a tradition in my son-in-law’s growing up life to watch that movie at Easter, and what a lovely tradition to continue. 

A Craft Nightcap

We girls left the mancave for one final thing – crafting the Red Sea.  After asking Jesus into our hearts, the Red Sea event is kind of like a water baptism.  First we are saved by Jesus, then we are baptized.  After that, our souls make the long journey to our heavenly “promised land.”

And that was our Easter/Passover of 2019! I hope if you have the chance to do this with your family for your next Easter that you are as blessed as we were by the experience. All glory to God!

He is not here for He [Jesus] is risen!

Risen indeed!

“I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and recieve you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3

.

.

.

Leprechaun Traps

Standard
Leprechaun Traps

Ms Treva, since this was totally your idea and I had never heard of such a thing, I wanted to share with you how it all turned out. Please bask in all your craftsmanship my dear friend…

I am a big fan of Saint Patrick’s Day. I suppose it could be the corned beef and cabbage simmering in the crock pot and the family gathered around the table to share in its deliciousness, or the multitude of Irish blessings being passed around and spoken in a make-believe Irish accent all day, of course. Maybe it’s the promise of spring just starting to round that corner from the long cold winter, or the warm, lavish rains that promise to bring forth life in the plants and trees. It might be the colorful rainbows and puffy white clouds that decorate the blue skies above. Perhaps its the hope that I’ll finally find a 4-leaf clover in spite of my life-long futile search (I’m convinced they don’t exist), but I love that our lawns are begining to turn green again and I don’t care if it’s mostly clover and weeds so long as it’s green! And what can be more visually appealing than the beautiful wildflowers that clothe the meadows as chirping birds and mischievous squirrels hail that it’s time to reset our clocks (gosh what a stupid practice – I’m so bloody tired).

So, my Bestie and I were chatting by phone a few days ago and she suggested a fun something to do with the grandkids this Saint Patrick’s Day —– Leprechan Traps. Have you heard of them? I never had. She told me all about them and I decided it would be a fun, not a lot of hassle, way to bring some fun to the holiday and pass the hours bonding with my two favorite people out in the beautiful sunshine.

First we goobled some dinner…

…And then the girls and I sat down to make our Leprechaun traps.  We used some old shoe boxes I found out in my garage, plus some construction paper, glitter paint, and wooden kabob skewers.  We sure could have made them a whole LOT cuter, but we were in a bit of a hurry, anxious to hopefully catch one of these little creatures. So once the girls had hastily constructed two traps each, we were ready to go find some good places in the yard to set them up, hopefully some places with clusters of lush, green clover. 

We hoped to make up for our lack of decorating panache by dusting the grass and shamrocks with lots of glitter, as Leprechauns are attracted to things that sparkle (so I am told).  The girls decided they would fill their empty glitter tubes with water and leave them under the traps to draw the Leprechaun’s attention.  We tried to be very quiet and sneaky in case the Leprechauns were watching us and listening. 

Since a watched trap never catches anything we went back in the house and granny Googled to see if anyone had ever gotten a picture of a Leprechaun, so we could see what they looked like.  Alas, we were pleasantly surprised to find someone had.  They sure must have been sneaky, and had a really really nice camera with a big telephoto lens to catch this little guy taking a siesta on a tree branch.  Isn’t he cute?  How lucky for us to get to see what one looks like!

To pass the time we decided to watch a movie and give the leprechauns some time to be lured to our traps.  About halfway through the movie we checked outside the window and found one of our traps had been sprung (thanks to grandpa who was secretly in on the charade ;)).  Oh how exciting!!!  The girls and I could barely get outside fast enough, and when we did we found all four of our traps were sprung.  We were a little bit nervous at first to lift the boxes, sure that one of the little guys would dash out and maybe kick us or try to bite us as they ran away.  But we mustered some bravado and carefully lifted each box (in retrospect a person standing back with a fishing net would have been good for effect) hoping to have caught a leprechaun, but darnit, not a one. Shucky darns!!!

But, to our utter delight, our sweet little guy must have appreciated the clover in our yard, or the glitter we sprinkled all over, or perhaps felt sorry for us for our shabby looking traps, because there were little presents under each box.  The leprechauns must have left them. Each had a small black kettle filled with either gold nuggets gum, or gold foil covered chocolate coins.  We gathered up all the little gifts and as we were walking back to the house, we spotted a big black kettle by the well house with even more little surprises inside. The girls squealed!  How awesome was this?  Our sweet little leprechaun had left the girls some fun little craft projects to do, along with some hair ties, and candy necklaces.  He must have liked their giggles as he spied us setting those traps.

We spent the rest of the day doing our little crafts, eating second helpings of dinner, making an Irish whiskey cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries on top, using the freshly picked strawberries we picked the day before from a farm outside of Poteet.  It was all very delicious. 

Gosh, what a fun Saint Patrick’s Day!  Who knew you could catch leprechauns in south Texas? 

Of course, everybody knows there’s no such thing as leprechauns, right?

* * *

“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself toward godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe — Narnia Party

Standard
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe — Narnia Party

I thought I’d share a recent school party that I did for my granddaughter’s class. She and her classmates have been reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and as the kids were nearing the end of the book their amazing (and I do mean A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!!) teacher asked if I would like to put together a party to help them celebrate finishing the book. “Well heck ya,” I told her! “I love that stuff” (which I’m fairly certain she already knew 😉 )! Anyway, I’m sharing with y’all, just in case someone else out there has the opportunity and would like some ideas.

The Wardrobe Doors

I made a fairly crude set of wardrobe doors to decorate the classroom door entrance, out of a large cardboard box (I think it came from a furniture store). I measured the classroom door and then cut the cardboard to fit using a square and a utility knife. Then I painted the cardboard with some mahogany colored varnish I had leftover from a furniture refinishing project I did a while back. I let the cardboard dry for about a week and then I cut the doors in half lengthwise. I didn’t have a lot of time to make these doors, otherwise I would have put a lot more thoughtful detail into them, but at least I gave them handles.

Since the door frame on the classroom was metal, the only way I knew of to be able to attach these doors was to use clear packaging/shipping tape all along the henge edges to tape the doors to the door frame. This worked fairly well. Perhaps Duct tape would have been better??? Of course, the doors wouldn’t stay closed once they were hung, so we had to use a small cardboard dowel rod and insert it in the door handles to hold them closed until all the kids arrived and could walk in together to discover the transformation of their classroom. Their teacher kept this all a total surprise!

I used an inexpensive shower curtain rod (purchased from Walmart for about $5) to hang some long robes and long dresses on. Beings this is south Texas nobody had long coats we could use, and I wasn’t sure how much weight that rod would hold either. Anyway, as soon as the kids opened the wardrobe doors, all they saw was a closet full of clothing which they had to walk through.

It’s Always Winter in Narnia

Once inside it was a winter wonderland. I had cut out about 25 paper snowflakes and hung them to the ceiling with string and push pins, all over the classroom.

It’s not a party without food…

Soooo, I thought it would be fun to celebrate all the foods featured in the book/movie:

For the White Witch’s table I made a White Hot Chocolate in a large thermos and had glass mugs for the kids to drink it out of. I glued little snowflakes on each mug. Next to that was a round box filled with Turkish Delight, tied with a green silk ribbon!

I used quilt batting to cover the table in “snow.” I placed a framed quote from the book, and a large sample box of a big variety of flavored Turkish Delight, which I ordered from amazon.com about a week ahead of the party. Oh my gosh! It’s delicious. I had never had it before, have you? I want to order another box just for myself. Then again, I’ll just eat the whole thing and it does nothing for my girlish figure, so I probably better not!!!

The Beaver’s table needed to feature fish and potatoes, and marmelade roll-ups. But, as much as I love “fish n’ chips” I didn’t figure the kids would be as big of fans – so I went with Swedish fish and Goldfish crackers, and potato chips. I thought the ones with skins on would be the coolest so I went with TGIFriday’s potato chips. I served the little morsels in these perfect little wooden bowls that my husband made for me several months ago. And I covered the table in a brown fur table cloth.

Now if you are familiar with the story, the Beaver’s had beer with their supper. But they also had tea, which is a bit more kid-friendly. I went with iced tea. And after trying, and failing, to make the little sandwiches into roll-ups, I decided to just cut them into triangles. I was surprised that the kids liked marmelade, but they ate the whole platter!

Finally was Mr. Tumnus and Lucy’s Tea Party table. I set this table with real teacups, and a spread of “sugar topped cupcakes” and TOAST with honey butter. I brewed a big pot of tea and set out sugar cubes and lemon slices so the kids could doll up their cups as they wished.

I made the honey butter using a stick of real butter and added about 1/4 cup of honey and a tsp of cinnamon to it. And the cupcakes I made with a yellow cupcake batter and a brown sugar buttercream frosting that is out of this world. I found it when I went looking for a frosting I could make without powdered sugar. OMG! They were beyond delicious!!!!! In fact, this might be my favorite frosting of all time!!!!! You must try it! Once I frosted the cupcakes, I sprinkled them with sugar sprinkles. They turned out pretty!

So there you have it…our party in a nutshell! The kids were so excited!!!! It was all the reward I would ever need to get to watch their faces as they entered the classroom with wide-eyed wonder and awe. They saw the snowflakes and started jumping. They wanted to keep them for souvenirs, which of course I obliged. And I even promised to come teach them how to make them some afternoon. They ate everything there was to eat and some of every beverage. And when it was all said and done, they each wrote notes thanking me for all my efforts, and telling me how much they loved the party and will never forget it as long as they live! Well, if that doesn’t make your heart go pitter pat, I don’t know what would. I must be the luckiest ol’ gal on the block to have such a wonderful opportunity to lavish love on this precious group of kiddos. I feel so very honored that their teacher trusted me for this task.

The kids drank and ate their fill while they watched the movie version of the book. And when the party was over, the kids found their way back to the real world by the soft glowing light of the street lamp!

What a blast! And there you have it!!!!! You could make this a classroom party for your kids, as I have done, or you could use it for a theme birthday party, or even celebrate summer book reading with a theme party. The kids will remember it forever!!!!

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the LORD and not to men.” Colossians 3:23

Grandpa’s Treasure Hunt Conspiracy

Standard
Grandpa’s Treasure Hunt Conspiracy

My husband has let me in on a little covert operation he has been planning for his granddaughters, and it tickles me so much I’ve decided to blog about it.  He’s been scheming this thing in his head for months.  The first thing he did to get the ball rolling was hunt for an appropriate treasure box, which he found at Hobby Lobby, except that it needed a sturdier bottom.  It didn’t take much to just attach a piece of wood.  He then began filling it with treasures: handfuls of pennies that he spray-painted gold and silver, and a few other miscellaneous discarded junk jewelry pieces that once belonged to his mother – probably things she found at garage sales and never did anything with.  

And then this is where I became involved in the delicious conspiracy.  He wanted some help coming up with some sort of little story, not a treasure map, but a story that would pique their little interests and ignite some spontaneous junior sleuthing.  He thought it would be neat if the story was written on parchment paper and then rolled up and tucked in a bottle with a cork in the top.  He planned to place this bottle in a sort of inconspicuous place somewhere along the path by the river where the girls could stumble upon it while outside adventuring with their grandpa.

Now mind you, grandpa has already been out and surveyed where he plans to bury this treasure, and deposit the bottle with the message inside, and he’s also done a fair amount of trail grooming through the tundra of bamboo we have growing along the banks of our river.  In fact, as he took me on a tour, he pointed out the clever touches he’s added — like putting googlie eyes on some random stalks of the bamboo, so he can say to the girls, “Do you get the feeling you’re being watched?” And then wait for them to get it!  Ha! Ha!

It was this curious little detail that sparked my imagination for a story.  I sat down with my trused computer and after a few minutes, this was what I came up with:  

THE TRAP HAS BEEN SET!!!!!!!

We are both so excited about this and hoping we can pull it off.  Our imaginations are spilling over with delirious day-dreams of how the girls will react.  Will they truly believe they’ve found an old old letter in a bottle, and that it leads them to a real buried treasure?  I think both our hearts might just burst with excitement.  But we’ve got to play it cool.  We’ve got to both stay in character, as if nothing whatsoever is up.  In fact, I’m just going to stay indoors the day they come over (if I can possibly contain myself) and let grandpa do all the clever charades.  I’ll just try to act surprised when they come screaming into the house with stuff in their hands, and talking so fast I can’t even understand them.  Hee hee!!!!  And we’ll sit down on the floor and I’ll let them tell me all about the letter they found and I’ll let them read it to me, and I’ll let them explain how they looked for the treasure box and where they ended up finding it, and we’ll sort through all the stuff in their box, and I’ll take a group selfie with my cell phone and probably post it on Facebook (and here later, of course), and it will all be grand!  Just grand!!!!!    (I hope!) 

“Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward.”   Psalm 127:3

“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty warrior; so are the children of one’s youth.  Happy are the [GRANDPARENTS] whose quiver is full!”     Psalm 127:4-5



UPDATE: The plan turned out better than we could have ever anticipated. The girls were delirious with excitement. Oh the sweet faith of a little child to so easily believe … almost makes a person ashamed to exploit it. But how fun to see them with so much enchanted enthusiasm, and to listen to the little wheels turning in their minds trying to solve a puzzle, trying to uncover a mystery, embarking on an epic adventure, and to hear them share their little theories with each other for where to look and why. It was as delightful an experience as any storybook or children’s film that’s ever captured your imagination. Sooooo much fun!!!!!