1 tsp. Arabian 7 Spice (allspice, ground cardamom, ground black pepper, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, gound ginger)
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp Vanilla (pure)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh figs
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray Bundt pan with baking spray.
Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients together. Mix the two together until just blended. Pour into Bundt pan.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Check for doneness – insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean it’s done. If not, let bake another 5 or so minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly, invert bread onto wire cooling rack. Allow to cool completely. Slice, and serve with Rosemary honey butter.
Rosemary Honey Butter
Mix ½ cup room temp butter with 2 Tablespoons good quality honey. Mince about ¼ tsp fresh Rosemary and blend the three ingredients together until well mixed.
“A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
Holy Bible, ESV
This is exactly the story with my fig tree. I planted it, watered it. And waited. A year went by. Then two. After the third year I was sure I had gotten a dud. All it would do year after year was produce tiny green figs that would never mature or ripen. They’d just fall off the tree. I wrestled with the idea of chopping it down except it was great for shade and pretty drought tollerant. Then, this year it has decided to give me figs in abundance. The branches are literally loaded! 🙂 I call it my “snack bush” because as I am out mowing my yard, or watering my garden, or doing whatever yard work, it provides a sweet little energy boost every time I walk by and snatch myself a ripe fig to eat.
This recipe for Sweet Fig Bread is one of my favorite ways to use the summer abundance of figs. It is positively delicious all by itself, but the Rosemary Honey Butter kicks it up a notch. Besides bread, I also love fig preserves on a toasted English Muffin, and I also like to dry them and make my own Fig Newtons. If I get a bumper crop in the fall, I also like to add them to my wild rice stuffing at Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and that you are doing well, happy, and healthy. God bless you friend, and thank you for stopping by. <blowing kisses>
I just so happen to know a classroom of 2nd Graders, who are about to finish their book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and a teacher who is generous to allow an ol’ gray-headed granny to workout her party animal muscle on an excited group of fun-seeking little readers.
Like most classroom book parties, this one features decorations, games, snacks, and a movie. I did some research here in order to gather ideas, since I have not read this book.
I thought the kids might like dressing up like little penguins (large white t-shirts with long black jackets, and puffy yellow penguin-feet slippers) and then putting on some of the same acts from the book, that Captain Cook, Greta, and their adroable waddling mini-mes did, for their teacher and classmates. I’ll divide the classroom into three groups. They won’t know why until I take the first group outside in the hallway where they’ll put on their costumes and then hear my instructions for putting on a silly show. The first group will come out on stage and do some marching – which may involve the passing off of a penguin egg or baby penguin (stuffed animal), and I’m hoping they will really get into character to make the show entertaining for their audience. That group will then exit the stage, take off their costumes, and take their places back at their desks. The next group will enter the hallway, don their penguin apparrel, take their turn on stage, and have a silly boxing match with oversize boxing gloves and some silly fancy footwork. Finally, the last group will take the stage, climb up on bean bags and slide back down, to the whoots and cheers of their adoring classmates.
I’ll put up a map of the United States on one of the classroom walls, and during the movie, pause to let the kids move penguin stickers across all the places where the penguins put on their shows.
The kids will get to watch the movie and at the same time nibble on some fun snacks, which I’ll serve on penguin paper plates, with penguin paper cups and napkins.
Penguin Rice Crispy Treats
— OR — a more healthy alternative…
Penguin Banana Snacks
Snowcones in a cup – our little school happens to have a snowcone machine – hurray!!!!
You have to try this Sonic Ocean Water Recipe. Make your favorite Sonic Ocean water at home.
3 tbsp Water
3 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Coconut Extract
4 drops Blue Food Coloring
24 oz Sprite ((can be 3 cans or from a 2-liter that you can get for cheap))
Soooooo, now you know my plans. I’ll head back to this post in a few weeks and add pictures, just as soon as my little munchkin-hearts get to have their epic-antarctic party!!!! I’m so looking forward to it. ❤
Make a trench/moat in front of the classroom door using a blue bedsheet for the water.
Make a drawbridge to lay over the moat, using a long piece of cardboard with wood-board-patterned bulletin board paper glued to it. Attach paper chains, (or, I found plastic chains at Goodwill when they had all their Halloween stuff out) to each side of the drawbridge and string them up to the door frame.
Make a stone frame around the door using gray construction paper, and mount homemade torches on either side (left and right), made out of paper sacks, twisted into a cone shape, with red and orange tissue paper tucked inside to look like flames. (I used Dixie cups, spray painted to look like iron, cut out the bottoms, pinned them with thumb tacks to the door frames, and set my torches inside of them).
Hang an iron-looking portcullis from the top of the doorway, made of strips of cardboard, held together with brass fasteners/brads, and then spray painted to look like rusted iron.
Make a beautiful sign that says, “Camelot ” to hang above the door
Arrange the student’s desks into a big circle – round table, and place a small, homemade sword on the center of each desk. Make the swords out of long, wide popsicle sticks, with hilts made of smaller popsicle sticks, glued together and spray painted, then decorated with old buttons or jewels.
Make a king’s crown, queen’s crown, maiden’s head covering, lady-in-waiting head covering, magician hat, friar robe with hood and cross necklace, and some knights helmets (lots of ideas for these on Pinterest).
Set up a buffet table with simple foods: Bacon/ham/sausage, fruits (grapes, pears, apples, berries), whole raw veggies (carrots, parsnips, cabbage, sugar snap or snow peas) or a veggie pottage – like mushy peas (remember the old song: Peas Porridge hot, Peas Porridge cold, Peas Porridge in the pot nine days old?), hard cooked eggs, cheeses, various small rustic-type breads (wheat, barley, rye, with seads, etc.), homemade butter (see CRAFTS below), oatmeal porridge, and humble pie (which in reality was animal guts pie, but ours will be mincemeat).
Served on pewter plates or large pieces of flat bread (Naan).
Make a table decoration out of a small pig (toy or stuffed animal) with an apple wedged in its mouth, skewered, and roasting over a spit of fake charcoals
(Food photos from UCA Medieval Feast 2021)
BEVERAGES: ginger ale and root beer, served in golden goblets (grails)
Set up a gauntlet on the playground: First a Balance Beam, then walking on stilts (bed risers with attached ropes), followed by hurdles over alligators, then walking on a teeder-todder beam end to end, followed by having to jump high up to grab a flag, then shooting an arrow (or tossing bean bags) at targets, after that crawling through a large box with crape paper taped all over inside of it like a spider web, then walk on a balance beam again while avoiding swinging balls of various sizes, after that a leap over dragon stuffed animal, and finally pulling Excaliber from a stone
Divide the kids into small groups of 5 or 6 and give each group a different game to play. After 20 to 30 minutes switch the games to another group.
KINGS in the CORNER (2-6 players, ages 7 and up)
FIVE CROWNS (2-7 players, ages 8 and up)
Castle Panic by Fireside Games (1-6 players, kids 7 & Up)
Kingdomino Award Winning Family Strategy Board Game by Blue Orange Games (2-4 players, ages 8 and up)
Queendomino Strategy Board Game (2 to 4 players, orup to 8 players when the game is combined with Kingdomino)
3 six-sided dice are rolled: 10 and above wins double the stake, below loses the stake; after each roll the bank passes to the next player.
Probably one of the most, if not the most, ancient dice game in history. Passe-dix was allegedly specified by Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 27:35) as the game the Roman guards played under the site of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
Passe-dix is played with three dice. There’s always a banker, and the number of players is unlimited. The first gamer rolls: every time he throws UNDER ten he (and all the other players in the game) lose the specified stake, which goes to the banker. Every time he rolls ABOVE ten (or PASSES TEN–whence the name of the game), the banker must return double the stake to all the players in the game. After three losses of the roller (no matter how many wins), the roller position is passed to another gamer in the circle. The banker changes after each roll.
E.g. if there are four people in the game (remember one is the Banker, and one is rolling for everyone else) and the stake is 1 penny, then a loss will result in the banker taking 1 penny from each other player, but a win will involve the banker giving 2 pennies to each player.
❤ Pendragon, Sword of His Father | Burns Family Studios (2008) Rated G. This is a Christian, Dove Award movie set in Brittain’s dark ages with a wonderful message of faith, courage, and vision. This was my first pick for our classroom party!
❤ The Kid Who Would Be King | PG (2019) ‧ Fantasy/Action ‧ 2 hours. I liked this movie. I thought it had a thoughtful plot, great acting, and wonderful cinematography, that took from the story of King Arthur/Merlin and made it a modern message that I think kids today could really relate to. This was my second pick for the classroom party.
Walt Disney’s The Sword and the Stone (animated). This movie is a little too childish for upper elementary, in my opinion.
Merlin (1998) PG-13 | 182 min | Action, Adventure, Drama. This would be a fantastic film for upper elementary aged kids, except for a couple unfortuate scenes, which make it unrecommendable. It is a 2-disc movie that first tells the story of Merlin (disc one), and then the story of Arthur and Merlin (disc two). Reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings movies, sort of, in the type of movie that it is. This is the parent’s guide
First Knight (1998) PG-13 (for some brutal medieval battles). This again would be a wonderful film for upper elementary, if not for a few unfortunate scenes. Parent’s Guide
King Arthur (2004) the PG-13 version – NOT the Director’s Cut! Rated for intense battle sequences, a scene of sensuality and some language. This movie was alright, I guess, but I personally wasn’t a fan of the sort of manly, feminist portrayal of lady Guinevere. All the Merlin magic was absent. Reminiscent of the movie Troy in the type of movie that it is. This is the parent’s guide
Free MUSIC: (to be played while the kids eat or do crafts, if desired, reminiscent of a Renaissance Fair)
Make Butter from Heavy Whipping Cream: Fill 2 or 3 pint-sized glass jars about half way with the heavy cream. Screw the lids on tight. Have the kids take turns shaking the jars vigorously, and passing to another kid when their arms get tired, until the heavy cream separates into butter and buttermilk. Use the butter to spread on their bread. The kids can drink the buttermilk if they want, or it can be saved to make cornbread or pancakes.
Make Catapults (either using the Boy Craft Catapult Wars boxed game, or let the kids make catapults using popsicle sticks and rubber bands, erasers as ammunition, and disposable cups as targets) and have shooting duels
Create individual Coat-of-Arms using cardstock, crayons, markers, stickers, stamps, stencils, etc. These can then be transferred to clothing or made into flags using iron-on transfer kits and an iron.
Party Planner’s notes: I always tell myself, “This time I’m going to keep it simple,” but am rarely successful in accomplishing that. My imagination swirls and swoons with so many dozens of ideas and I don’t want to give anything up. I want to do it all, and cram as much as possible into a small block of time. It’s not until I’m in the middle of my ambitious plans that I realize IT’S TOO MUCH!!!! Hopefully you’re looking for ideas for a child’s birthday party, or a homeschool unit study activity, or family reunion, or something else where you can make good use of all of this stuff. Our party however will probably consist of making butter, filling plates with snacks, grabbing a beverage, watching a movie, and if we’re extra fortuitous, perhaps a game of Passe Dix or catapult wars, before the teacher wants her classroom back for educational discussion.
It’s with a heavy heart that I confess I was unable to throw this party, what with our world being in the early throes of the #CoronaVirus pandemic, which turned everything upside down, forced the shut down of schools, caused the grocery store shelves to be barren, and took a terrible toll on the health and well being of our economy and our most vulnerable citizens as well. So much uncertainty, which was not unlike the medieval dark ages themselves, where raiding Saxons and Anglos robbed the Brittons of their gardens, farm animals, livelihoods, safe homes, and personal freedoms. Terrible plagues and famine ravaged towns and villages. It almost seems apropos to be studying the middle ages in such times as this. Perhaps remembering this part of history will help us not to have to repeat it? I pray that evil will not prosper, that we will take cleanliness much more seriously, that we will be brave to stand up to antiheroes and bullying, controling governments, and be kind and generous with our family, friends, and neighbors when it is within our power to do so. It seems good to remember the value of a brave and virtuous leader, like King Arthur, the honor, chivalry, and loyalty of his knights, their courtesy, justice, and readiness to help the weak. I pray for my countrymen and this beautiful planet, that our stressful time passes quickly, without causing too much distruction to our economy and our lives, and though our weeping might last for a night, that there would be joy in the morning as we see the mighty hand of God who got us through it.
2020 UPDATE: So, the kids did not come back to school after spring break, March 2020, but unlike many schools they did resume in the fall of 2020. My grand daughter had moved on to the next grade by then and I was diagnosed with cancer, so I call it my “lost” year. BUT, in the fall of September, 2021 I got to use my decorations, which I had feared would go to total waste, for a Medieval Feast for the high school kids. The teachers decorated a room and set it up with a feast, and all the students dressed the part, ate and drank, and played all the games that were set up for them. And the 4th grade teacher asked if I would do a Medieval party for her class for the last day of school. So, yay. The decorations won’t go to waste.
The 4th graders read Robin Hood instead of King Arthur, so after Spring Break I got to throw a Robin Hood party for them. I didn’t get to use my Camelot decorations. Instead, I used scene-setters (large canvas backdrops of forest scenes) to and make a maze at the entrance of the classroom – a secret passageway into Sherwood Forest. I thought it would be fun to blindfold the kids and lead them into the classroom for the first time, to make sure they could be trusted. We had deer jerky and garden items to snack on (veggies and berries), (root)BEER and (ginger)ALE to drink, and then I made them each pay a fee for their meal, which they paid me in pencils! Lol. And then the kids played Kingdomino in two groups for the next hour or so. No movie. No robbing passing students in the hall, or getting into sword fights with the sheriff’s men, who might have come sniffing around, although that would have been fun to arrange had I thought of it ahead of time. The dollar store had nerf-type swords which would have been perfect. I could have placed them in a bucket for the kids to grab if such an occasion arose. At any rate, we had fun.
2022 UPDATE: The school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX ended the school year 2 days early for the whole district – which was definitely appropriate! I am so thankful my children weren’t in harms way, and my heart is broken and grieving for the parents and families that suffered loss. So the last day party was canceled and the decorations will just have to keep
2022 fall update… my granddaughter’s world studies class is studying the Renaissance! I get to use the decorations for her class party. Woo-hoo! And in a couple years they will hopefully get used for the other grandchild. Perhaps in the meantime I will donate them to 4th grade. BTW. I’m creating an Escape Room for our Renaissance party. If it turns out I’ll certainly blog about it!
May our LORD hedge us in with His protection, cover us with His glory cloud, and lead us through these chaotic times with His pillar of fire. May He help us not to be afraid, and comfort us in our sadness. May He suit us up with His Spiritual Armor and give us courage and faith. May He forgive our trespasses and clothe us in His white robes of righteousness. May God pour out His Spirit into our hearts until our cups and lanterns are overflowing, and May He cast out fear as we walk with Him through every storm. May we have spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear, for our adversary prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. May we find safety and shelter in the wings of our God. And may we be ready and watching for Him when He comes to snatch us away. May He bless us and keep us forever. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Praise be to God! Amen.
About this time last year the Holy Spirit put it in my heart to study the altars in the Old Testament — you know — the large stone (or pillar) or rock-pile altars that the patriarchs erected and dedicated as a testimony to God and of God’s magnificent working in their lives. I honestly didn’t realize how many of them there were until I began studying them. I studied them in great depth, line-upon-line and precept-upon-precept, and to my utter amazement the Lord began showing me wonderful and awesome things, mysteries, hidden away in each of them. Things that one only finds when they slow down enough to spend the time looking, digging, hunting, searching, praying, asking. I have been blessed to have had the time this year to do just that. It has been a magnificent journey and I want to share everything I’ve found with you, but it won’t all fit in this post. So I will share just one of these very special things, one that relates to this holiday we are celebrating.
I was reading about Jacob in Genesis, and his return to the Promised Land from his uncle Laban’s house. Jacob purchased land from Hamor, the father of Shechem, and set up an altar in probably the same vicinity as his grandfather Abraham’s first altar. Unfortunately circumstances kept him from settling down there, and he continued journeying southward with his wives (Rachel, who was pregnant), all of his children, and his plenteous flocks of sheep, towards the part of Israel where his father Isaac had lived out his last days. On the way, Rachel went into labor, near a place called Ephrathah, also known as Bethlehem. Her labor was very hard. Her baby survived, but Rachel herself died. In childbirth Rachel named the boy baby Ben-Oni, which meant son of my sorrow, but Jacob named him Benjamin, which meant son of the right hand.
Now Jacob buried his beloved wife where she died and set up a headstone for her grave, a grave that is there to this day. Jacob then traveled a little further and pitched his tent “beyond the tower of Eder.” Now, I made that bold for you because it’s the thing the Holy Spirit stopped me at, and the thing I want to talk about. I’ll bet if you were reading the scriptures (Gen. 35:21) you might have glossed right over that detail and not thought a thing about it – as I also have a hundred times. But this time the Holy Spirit made it bold for me and spoke to my heart that there was a mystery there, a prophecy right there in that tower, and in this story, that He wanted me to find.
So I looked up “tower of Eder” in my Bible dictionary and found that in Hebrew it was called Migdal Eder, which means Tower of the Flock, and it is indeed famous. Oh precious Jesus, my heart is beating so fast. Please help me to write this so that You might be glorified in spite of my fumbling words.
Migdal Eder would one day be the special place where the most special lambs would be born, the ones without spot or blemish that would be used as the sacrifices for Passover, later, when the temple was built in Jerusalem (according to the Mishnah). According to my research of various Jewish websites, these special lambs were watched over by Levitical shepherds. When the ewes of the flocks started into labor they were taken inside the ceremonially clean ground level part of the tower to birth their baby lambs. It was kinda like a cave in there. The lambs were then wrapped tightly in strips of cloth and laid in a manger to keep them safe until they could be carefully inspected by the priestly shepherds whose lot had fallen to do that. Are you starting to feel something stir in your spirit?
Here is a prophecy of the birth of Messiah in Micah 5:2
“But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” And the prophecy is remembered at the birth of Jesus in Matthew 2:6 “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.”
Luke 2:4-7 then also tells us: “Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in the manger, because there was no other lodging place for them in Bethlehem”
Many Messianic websites suggest that Jesus was born in the watchtower of Eder, not a lowly and dirty stable, as has been portrayed for years, but the very clean, bug free, and very special place where ALL the lambs were born who would become a PASSOVER SACRIFICE in Jerusalem.
“And there were shepherds abiding in the fields…” These descendants of Jacob were keeping watch in the fields by night for wolves or other predators that might try to harm their sheep when the angels of God burst on the scene. According to my research the sheep were only in the Bethlehem hills during the green springtime of the year, during lambing season. Later in the summer they would be moved to the harvested fields where they would eat the stubble and deposit fertilizer for the next crops. And then they would winter in the wilderness, as the law required. These particular shepherds were no doublt familiar with the scriptures of Genesis, Micah, and Isaiah, which said:
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people… (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you” Genesis 49:10, 24-25.
And they knew just where to go look because of the other prophecy in Micah…
“And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come. The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8
Jesus was born in the land of Judah, the land of King David, the land of Boaz – the kinsman redeemer, and was The Lamb of God without spot or blemish. He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14; Ezekiel 34:11-31; Psalm 23;) Ezekiel prophecied of whose ministry was to the lost (Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7; Luke 19:10) and scattered sheep of Israel, and He died as the Passover Lamb (Mark 14:12; John 1:29; John 10:14-16; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 4:15; Revelation 5:6) who takes away the sin of the world.
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground… Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted, but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted…He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin…by His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities…Because He poured out His soul unto death…And He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53
Do you remember what Rachel named her son? And what Jacob renamed him? They perhaps didn’t even know it, but it was a prophecy of the baby boy who would one day be born there, right there, who would be the Son of His Father’s right hand (Mark 16:19), but the sorrow of His mother (Matthew 2:18 & Jeremiah 31:15; Luke 2:33-35 & John 19:25).
And if that isn’t incredible enough, Rachel’s name even means “Ewe.”
Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” … Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!!! Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer (our Boaz from Bethlehem)! “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ Messiah comes from the seed of David (the king) and from the town of Bethlehem, where David (the shepherd boy) was from?” John 7:42. (John 10; Psalm 23).
The SHEEP GATE
Sha’ar – “gate” hasso’n – “flock” One of the gates of Jerusalem rebuilt by Nehemiah (Neh 3:1,32; 12:39). It was located between the Tower of the hundred (Migdal Meah) and the upper room of the corner (3:1,32) or gate of the guard (12:39). It is most likely the sheep gate mentioned in John 5:2; 10:1-10.
In a book, written by A. W. Pink, a minister of the gospel, p28 of Studies in the Scriptures, published 1926 – 1927, Rev. Pink writes:
“And led Him away to Annas first. The Saviour was neither ‘driven’ nor ‘dragged,’ but led: thereby the Holy Spirit informs us, once more, of His willing submission. He offered no resistance. With infinitely greater ease than Samson of old, could He have burst His bonds ‘as a thread when it toucheth the fire; but as prophecy had announced, ‘He was led as a lamb to the slaughter’ –gentle and tractable. Here also He fulfilled not only prophecy but type: each animal that was to be offered in sacrifice was first led to the priest (Lev. 17:5), so Christ was first brought to Annas. The road followed from the Garden to the house of the high priest was also significant. Gethsemane was at the foot of Olivet, on the east side of Jerusalem, beyond the brook Cedron. In journeying from there to the City, the gate through which they would pass was “the sheep gate:” (Neh. 3:1, 32; 12:39; John 5:2 and see our notes on the last). The “sheep gate” was nigh unto the Temple, and through it the sacrificial animals passed (first having been fed in the meadows adjoining the Cedron [today called the Kidron – the Kidron Valley]; so also went the true Lamb on this occasion! Note a striking contrast here: Adam was driven out of the Garden (Gen. 3:24), Christ was led!”
Isaiah the prophet wrote the words, “he was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7,8), and in the New Testament it was the apostle Philip who explained the passage to an Ethiopian eunuch, whom he met on the road to Gaza, who was reading it, apparently out loud. Philip asked if the man understood what he was reading, and beginning with that scripture, he preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:26-39).
This was Jesus’s own testimony about himself: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice … I am the door of the sheep…I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly! “ John 10:1-10 NKJV
Jesus entered the sheepfold by the same door that all of humanity entered – the womb of a woman. He entered His ministry after being baptised and confirmed by the Holy Spirit (as a pattern for us to follow) as a symbol of rebirth (John 3:1-17; Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:24; Romans 6:4-14; Colossians 2:12-13; 1 Peter 3:21). And He became the perfect Passover Lamb in the same way as all the other Passover lambs that ever were since the institution of the Passover observance. He is the door. He is the Way. The scriptures told us ahead of time, so that when such things began to pass we would know it was of God.
If I may be so bold as to ask, have you made Jesus your Ebeneezer – your Stone of help (1 Sam.7:12)? If you have please write down and share your testimony with others. I would LOVE to hear how you came to know Jesus also. You are welcome to leave your testimony in the comments section below. The Lord only knows how many hearts will be touched by our experiences with Jesus. We shall also overcome our enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimonies (Revelation 12:11)!
So, as the patriarchs did with stones, let us also memorialize Yeshua Jesus in our lives (Dt.6:6-9) as living stones being built up a spiritual house. Let us be for Him altars of testimony so that when our kids, or our friends, or our neighbors ask, “What is this faith that you have; what is this pile of rocks all about?” we can tell them of all the mighty things the LORD has done for us, knowing that if we should be made silent, even the stones themselves would cry out (Luke 19:40)!!!!! Just as the stones of Rachel’s grave and those of the Migdal Eder are surely crying out to us now in Doxology to God! Amen! Bless you so much!
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
1 Peter 1:19
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it, but narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
I have updated my post in December 2022 to share with you several others with credentials who have found this passage of scripture and researched it and taught on it, so that you may know by the witness of two or three others that this trustworthy.
I was recently blessed with the task of throwing a book party for my granddaughter’s classroom, to celebrate their finishing reading the book, The Sign of the Beaver. It was a “Dinner and a Movie” party, in which I was asked to provide the food and decorations. The party took place over their lunch hour. I set the food up as a buffet, and arranged a few minimal decorations while the kids were in PE, which mostly consisted of stuffed animals and a river. After a brief explanation of all the foods, the kids were allowed to help themselves and eat while they watched the movie. And when the movie was over the teacher did a little activity with them to compare the movie to the book. The kids were so excited, and not only did they eat everything, they asked to take all the leftovers home with them. All that was left was a little bit of stew in the bottom of the crock pot, so I would say it was a success! What a great group of kids, always so grateful and always a ton of fun to spoil.
This has become, honestly, one of my very favorite volunteer activities in the whole wide world to do, even though it is a ton of work. It is a labor of love! In order to prepare, I read the book and made a list of all the foods mentioned, as well as took notes of some decorating ideas that I hoped would kind of bring the book to life for the kids. I had never read this book before, and shame on me, because it is a terrific little book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and children’s novels are just my speed. I’m not much of a reader, for a plethora of reasons, but when it only takes about three hours to knock a book out, that’s in my wheelhouse. So, after reading it I set out doing some research to find authentic northeastern tribal recipes for the foods mentioned in the book. It couldn’t have been more perfect for this party to come during Thanksgiving/hunting season, and during the last harvests of our gardens. And for a beverage I brought two jugs of “Penobscot River water” and let the kids sweeten it with a bit of maple sugar.
I decided to center the party around the idea of the Bear Feast that was celebrated in Attean’s village after Attean and Matt encountered and killed a bear in self-defense while they were out retrieving a rabbit from one of the snares they’d set up. I also wanted to incorporate some of the wild game, the maple sugar Attean gave to Matt, and some of the fruits and berries and native foods that would have been eaten back then.
DECORATIONS: The book’s setting is in the late summer into early wintertime of the year, early/mid 1700’s Maine, and in the vicinity of the Penobscot River, where Matt and his dad cleared a tract of land, built a cabin, and planted a garden. Attean and his Indian tribe lived nearby. It was a wooded area teaming with wildlife, maple trees, and wild berry bushes. So for decorations I decided to gather up all the stuffed animals we had that would represent the animals in the forest: a bear rug/blanket, bunny rabbit, fox, deer, squirrel, fish, turtle, beaver, and Attean’s useless dog. I also gathered up a blue bedsheet that I used to make a river with the first time I threw this party (I used bulletin board paper the second time), a pile of sticks on one end to make a beaver dam, some rocks to line the river (and the second party I used the rocks to hold the tree upright), and because we’re in Texas, I used a Buc-ees Beaver the first time I threw this party to sit on top of the beaver’s sticks. I used some gorgeous, colorful, fall paper maple leaves to scatter around beside the river. I drug my little tree to the school to set beside the river and I used a Drimmel Tool to carve a beaver design into a tree stump, which I used as a decoration. The Teepee shown in the photo below was an afterthought, I wish I would have remembered to bring it to the party, but considering the northeastern Indians actually lived in wigwams, rather than teepees, t’was no biggy I guess.
In case you’re thinking of throwing this party and would like a great big bear rug to spread on the floor for your party, don’t go spend a fortune at an Outdoor store before you check your local thrift stores. I frequently find a giant teddy bear at Goodwill for $6, which would work marvelously as a rug with all the stuffin’s pulled out. I already had a bear blanket at home that I thought would work just dandy. BTW: Goodwill is a great budget friendly place to bargain shop for theme parties!
FOOD: Some of the foods mentioned in the book consisted of Johnny Cakes, which Matt’s dad made the last morning for breakfast, before he left his 12/13 year old son in Maine to care for the cabin and garden alone, while he went back to Massachusetts to retrieve Matt’s pregnant mother and sister. He left Matt with his good rifle to hunt with, and for self defense. Some of the animals they hunted were deer, rabbits, and fish with one precious fish hook.
I made deer jerky out of a couple packages of deer cutlets gifted to me by one of the parents. My sister has the absolute best jerky recipe on the planet and so I used it, and only modified it slightly, so it wouldn’t be too spicy for the kids. This is my adaptation:
Sister Geraldeen’s Beef (or venison) Jerky
1 3-lb roast, fresh, raw (it is easiest to slice if placed in the freezer for about an hour)
16 oz. Soy
1 cup dark
1 tsp Salt Lick dry rub, with garlic (equal parts cayenne powder, black pepper, and garlic powder)
Stir together in a large oblong glass baking dish until sugar is dissolved.
Using a sharp knife, slice lean meat into thin strips (1/4 to
1/8” thick and 1/2 to 1” wide). Slice across the grain for a tenderer
product. Lay the slices down into the
marinade until the meat takes up most of it.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down on top of the meat so the
marinade covers the meat completely.
Place in refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, drain off and discard all of the
marinade. Then mix together these dry
ingredients in a separate small bowl:
Tablespoon cracked Pepper
1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper flakes
1 teaspoons of Chili powder
Sprinkle over drained meat strips and toss with hands to coat evenly (I use latex gloves). Preheat food dehydrator. Lay strips of meat on each rack leaving small spaces in between the pieces for good air circulation. Stack the racks in the dehydrator, cover, and allow to dehydrate undisturbed for about 8 hours. Check the meat for doneness, and let it dehydrate more if still wet or bendy when cooled. Depending upon your dehydrator, it could take up to 24 hours or more for the meat to fully dry. Meat is done when a piece removed and cooled will break in half easily and not bend or fold at all without breaking.
If you don’t have a dehydrator you can buy a package of disposable Aluminum Grill Liners (I use KT’s Clean BBQ brand available from Home Depot) or online, and completely cover the racks in your oven with them, then lay the strips of meat on those. Also lay a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven to catch the drips. Adjust the racks to that they are placed in the center of your oven, and then set the oven temp to its lowest setting. Mine will only go as low as 170 degrees F. Prop the oven door open a little bit with a wooden spoon so the moisture can vent out as the meat dries. It won’t take as long to jerk your meat in the oven at that temp as it will in the dehydrator, so check it after about 4 hours, and then every half hour or so after that until the meat is dried as described above.
Place finished jerky in clean, sterilized mason jars, and use a Food Saver to remove all the air from the jars. Place jars in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks. For longer storage, place in refrigerator and eat within a month.
I ran out of time to make these for the the first party (poor time management the morning of the party), but I did make them for the second party, and the kids loved them, especially with real butter and pure maple syrup on top.YUM!
1 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Butter or oil for frying
1. In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking
powder, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in milk, water,
egg, vanilla and melted butter. Thoroughly mix until pancake mixture is smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled cast iron or frying pan over medium
high heat. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the pan.
3. Fry each Johnny cake until brown and crisp; turn with a
spatula, and then brown the other side.
4. Remove and serve immediately with syrup and/or butter. These can be eaten hot for breakfast, or cold as a snack later in the day.
Sisters Harvest Stew(a.k.a. Bear Stew)
1 pound beef stew meat
Kosher salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
yellow onion, diced
turkey, chicken, or beef stock, or combo (low sodium bone broth),
Season beef with cumin, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning as needed, until lightly browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl and set aside.
Add onion to pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Return beef to pan, along with stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium simmer and cook meat until almost tender. Add carrots, celery, potatoes, and bring to a boil. Cook 20 minutes, then lower heat to medium.
Add beans, tomatoes, corn, chilies and squash, and cook, uncovered, over medium heat until stew has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Add cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Three sisters is so-called because Native Americans inter-planted corn, beans and squash in the same mound. The 3 thrive together because corn provides a natural pole for the beans to climb, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, and the squash leaves shade the ground to prevent the growth of weeds, and also helps to hold soil moisture.
The Iroquois Indians made a wonderful boiled corn bread. They made flour by pounding corn into corn flour. To make bread, they mixed water with the corn flour. Sometimes cooked beans were added, or berries or nuts. The bread was kneaded and formed into small loaves. The loaves were dropped into boiling water and cooked until the bread floated. Boiled corn bread was served both hot and cold. They also used the same bread mix to bake bread by putting it on clay tablets in the fire. They used sunflower oil to fry bread. Below is a recipe for steamed corn bread with beans, wrapped in corn husks.It is remarkably similar to tamales. This was the kids’ FAVORITE food of the party. I would have bet against that. Good thing I made a big batch!
3 cups masa harina (corn flour used for tamales)
½ cup rendered bacon fat (many traditional Native American recipes use fat as a flavor element and source of vital nutrients)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup cooked beans (really any type of bean will work but small brown beans are traditional. I used great northern beans)
2 cups hot cooking liquid from beans
Dried corn husks
Set up a steamer on your stove top using a steamer basket fitted over a pot with plenty of gently simmering water.
Thoroughly rinse about 25 corn husks. Place corn husks in a large pan of boiling water. Place another smaller plate or bowl on top of the corn husks to keep them submerged. Set husks on low heat to soften while you prepare the dough.
In a large mixing bowl, combine masa harina and bacon fat. Using your fingertips (I used latex gloves), work the lard into the flour until it is evenly distributed. Add salt, baking powder, beans, and the hot cooking liquid from the beans. Use a spoon to stir mixture until a thick, sticky dough comes together, it will be about the consistency of chocolate chip cookie dough.
Use your hands to scoop ¼ cup-sized portions of dough, working quickly as dough will still be hot from the bean cooking liquid. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten slightly into a 1-inch thick oval, which is your “broadsword.” Wrap the broadsword in a corn husk, folding the husk around the dough on all sides to completely enclose it. Tear off small strips of corn husks to use as ties around the broadswords to hold them closed. Place the wrapped broadswords vertically in the steamer basket as you go. When all broadswords have been added to basket, lower it over boiling water, cover the steamer basket with a tight fitting lid, and allow broadswords to steam covered for 1 hour or more.
After 1 hour, check the bean bread- if the corn husk pulls away easily, the broadswords are done cooking.
Broadswords may be eaten hot, or stored in refrigerator to be eaten cold or rewarmed in oven or microwave.
Members of the Chippewa tribe near Lake Superior have been enjoying this sweet and savory side dish for generations.
1 small sugar
maple syrup or maple sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Cut the cap off of pumpkin and stab it about 4 times with a sharp knife. Scoop out membranes and seeds. (Wash seeds in a colander and discard all membranes. Place seeds in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon sea salt, toss and allow them to soak a bit while you prepare the pumpkin, then spread seeds on a very lightly oiled, or parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with some extra salt. Place seeds in oven with pumpkin, but check and remove seeds once they have roasted – about 15 minutes or until you hear one or two pop. Check by removing a seed, let it cool, and then eat it. If it is crispy it is done). Add butter and syrup/sugar to the pumpkin. Replace cap on pumpkin and place whole in a large ovenproof bowl . Place pumpkin in a 350 °F oven for about 1 hr. and check for tenderness. Depending upon size, and variances with ovens, it may take up to 90 minutes for pumpkin to cook fully. You know it is getting close when the pumpkin looks like it has a tan and the sides are soft to the touch. Check tenderness by piercing side of pumpkin with a fork. If the fork punctures through the skin and into the flesh easily, it is done.
Dried Fruit & Nut Cake
I’m not much of a fruitcake person, but I think it is because I don’t care for the usual candied fruits that come in fruitcake, such as pineapple and green cherries, etc. Using dried fruits is so much better.
all-purpose flour, sifted
firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 ½ sticks
of Butter (3/4 cup), softened
pure vanilla extract
1 cup each rough chopped dried: apricots, plums, figs, pears, dates, golden raisins, blueberries
1 cup each: walnut halves, pecans,
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 320°F (150°C). Spray the loaf pans (either two 9-by-5-inch 8-cup loaf pans or 8 mini loaf pans) with vegetable oil spray and then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix the first eight ingredients together
using a mixer on low speed. Increase
speed to medium and beat until batter is smooth, scraping the bowl often with a
rubber spatula. Stir in the dried fruit
and the nuts and mix thoroughly, with your fingers if necessary. Set aside.
3. Use an ice cream scoop or scrape batter into the prepared
4. Bake until the top is deep golden brown and the batter clinging to the fruit seems set, about 30 minutes for smaller loaves, 10 to 15 minutes longer for a large loaf. Insert toothpick to check for doneness. Toothpick should come out clean. Don’t let cake overbake or it will be dry. Tent loosely with foil if the cake appears to be browning too much. Cool completely in the pans on a rack.
5. When completely cool, remove the cake from the pans. The
cake keeps, wrapped airtight in foil or plastic wrap, for several weeks at room
temperature or at least 3 months in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for
at least 6 months.
6. To serve, cut into thin slices with a sharp heavy knife.
I didn’t make the fish for the first party, although I was given some trout for the party and had a wild daydream about having the kids following me outside to the park just a block from the school, where my husband could be tending a fire next the creek that runs through it, and on the way having them mark their trail just like Attean showed Matt to do in the book, so they could find their way back to class, but reality check – there really wasn’t enough time for that kind of shenanigans, and besides that, the only way to eat trout is freshly caught and properly cleaned, otherwise I think it would have been a waste of time to try and fix it for the kids. I’m sure they would all have turned up their noses and shied away from having even one tiny bite of the stinky fish, plus the teacher was surely not going to appreciate her room smelling of stinky fish for days either. For the second party I cracked open a can of Herring fillets, and to my surprise the kids ate the whole can.
This however, is an outstanding recipe for any fish. Give it a try with walleye, snapper, perch, bass, cod, redfish, tilapia, etc. If using fillets, lay all the ingredients on the fish and wrap with bacon rather than placing the bacon inside.
1 Big Fish
(Salmon, Trout, Perch)
Green Bell Pepper slices (or Jalapeno strips)
Several strips of thin sliced precooked (but not crispy) bacon
Set up an outdoor kitchen: a hot fire with glowing coals surrounded by large flat rocks; a big jug of fresh clean water for rinsing the fish, plus the knife, and your hands.
Carefully kill, gut and scale each fish immediately upon catching it, and rinse well in clean water.
Sprinkle inside of fish with salt and pepper. Place pats of butter, lemon, onion, and bell pepper slices inside the fish and lay a strip of precooked bacon down on top of them in the cavity of the fish. Tie wet string around the fish to hold the stuffings in and to hold it together while it grills.
Or, rub fish with butter on both sides and wrap tightly in a big piece of tinfoil and crimp the edges closed. Wrap again in a second piece of tinfoil.
Bake on a smooth flat rock really close to the fire (but not in it!), or if you have a grate, lay the fish on the grate above the fire. Or, fry in butter in a heavy cast iron pan over the fire.
Use a long handled spatula to carefully turn the fish about half way through cooking and also to remove it from the fire.
Note: The amount of time it takes to cook varies depending on the size of fish and how close it is to the fire. Just keep checking it, it will be done when the flesh flakes easily with a fork. May take from 15 to 20 minutes if on a grate over the fire, or to up to an hour if laying on a hot rock next to the fire.
Recipe adapted from one found by Lauren McArdle …who learned this from her Mohawk Grandmother in Saskatchewan.
“Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, the tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed…” Psalm 74:2
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)
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
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!
¼ cup Uvalde Honey
½ cup Almond Butter (I like it waaaay better with Walnut Butter, Crazy Go Nuts brand)
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
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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)
Medusa Freeze Tag
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
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
Roasted Chicken or Chickpea Gyros
Simple and delicious
Mediterranean inspired vegetarian Roasted Chickpea Gyros with refreshing
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
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
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
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!
*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
This is the best tzatziki recipe!
Refreshing cucumber, creamy Greek yogurt, and zingy lemon make it the perfect
condiment for just about everything.
The flavors become less tangy as you let them sit, so your
tzatziki might just be best the next day.
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)
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
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.
This heavenly baklava combines honey-soaked layers of flaky phyllo
pastry with spiced walnuts. It’s a great make-ahead dessert!
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
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pulse the walnuts in a food processor with the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt until well chopped.
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.
Spread 1/5 of the walnut mixture evenly on top (about 2/3 cup).
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.
Carefully cut the Baklava into squares or triangles with a buttered knife.
Bake the baklava for 50 minutes, until golden on the edges and tops.
In the meantime, bring all the syrup ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the citrus peels and cinnamon stick, and pour the hot syrup evenly over the hot baklava.
Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 8 hours (uncovered, to prevent sogginess). Then it’s ready to enjoy!
Can be served with chocolate syrup drizzled over the top of each slice.
*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
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
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.
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.
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.”
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 —
A nice 10-lb spiral cut honey
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.
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
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,
½ Red onion, diced
1 ½ cup Cheddar Cheese, cut into
pea size cubes
8 slices bacon, fried crispy and
3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
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.
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
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.
2 packages frozen rhubarb (or 5
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.
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 ½ sticks of butter, softened to
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.
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 firstplague 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 secondplague – 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.
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.
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.
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!
“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
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
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!!!!!
After a year or so I came clean with the grandchildren, telling them that it was all just a made up story. I didn’t ever want them to think Jesus was also just a made up story. I could see the disappointment in the youngest one’s eyes, and the oldest, well, she seemed okay with knowing. We talked about how it is sometimes very easy to believe a fantastical story, especially if the person telling it is persuasive. As Christians we need to be on guard against such things, and weigh everything against the word of God. So, this was a good lesson in being gullible. But also, make believe it’s not all bad. Think of all the books and movies out there. They are not all true. Some are soooo good that we want to read them or watch them over and over. Maybe this little treasure adventure will spark their imaginations to want to write non-fictional stories as they get older, like Harry Potter, or Alice in Wonderland, or the bamboo people who live in the river?
This recipe was originally featured in a McDonell-Rickards 20th Family Reunion Cookbook. I received a copy of the cookbook from my mother-in-law. My father-in-law (whose mother was a McDonell/Rickards) was friends with one of John Wayne’s stunt doubles and I’m told that’s how we got the recipe. I think John Wayne must have given it out to a lot of folks, as I’ve seen it featured in several other cookbooks and recipe collections throughout the years.
I’ve altered it slightly from the original recipe, and it is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. He requested it this year for his birthday and since it is fresh in my mind I decided it was a blog-worthy recipe to share with y’all. It is a little bit time consuming to make with fresh chilies, but they are a must if you want your casserole to pop with flavor! We like the spicy chilies the best!!!!!!!!
18-20 fresh Anaheim or Fresno (or New Mexico – Hatch) green chilies
1 stick of butter
1 very large white or yellow onion, chopped
3 8-oz packages of pepper-jack Cheese, shredded
10 large eggs
½ cup of flour (seasoned)
1 tsp salt (and ground black pepper to taste)
Fresh salsa (or warm Ranchero sauce)
Chopped green onion
I start by roasting my chilies with a propane flame torch in our fire pit. I lay all my chilies out on the rack and then light the gas torch and run it up and down each chili until the skins start popping and blistering and turn black all over. Then I use BBQ tongs to turn the chilies over and roast them on the other side. When I’m done I gather them up into a plastic bag and let them steam in the bag for about an hour. I sometimes grow my own chilies in my garden, and don’t always get very many at each picking. So after roasting and steaming the few that I’ve picked, I put them in my freezer to keep until I have enough to make my casserole. This is a great way to keep your chilies also if you buy in bulk and want to have them all winter for recipes. Don’t peel them until you’re ready to use.
Next, I melt a stick of butter in my frying pan and chop up a very large white or yellow onion. I turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, and let it sauté over medium (to low) heat until the onions are completely caramelized.
Meanwhile, while the onions are cooking I peel the green chilies at the sink. I pull off the stems, swipe out all the seeds, and stack the split and flattened chilies on a plate. This is the worst part of the prep. The chilies often cause choking – (If you are sensitive you could wear a mask). Be careful also that you wash your hands really well afterward and don’t touch your eye or something. The residue on your fingers can cause irritation.
When my onions are ready then I am ready to begin assembly. Preheat oven to 350*F.
Drizzle melted butter (from the onions) onto the bottom of an oblong glass casserole dish. Use approximately 6 chilies to cover the bottom of the dish from side to side and end to end. Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded cheese over the chilies, and then spoon about 1/3 of the caramelized onions around on the cheese. Repeat with a layer of about 6 chilies, another 1/3 of the cheese, and some more onions. Finish with a final layer of chilies, cheese, and the onions.
Break eggs into a large bowl. Add half-and-half, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the seasoned flour (I like the Louisiana brand Fried Chicken Batter mix, but if you don’t have any just add a generous teaspoon of Cajun seasoning – like Slap Yo Mama to your plain white flour). Whip with a whisk until fully combined, and then pour this mixture over the chilies in the casserole dish. Place spoonfuls of salsa here and there on the top of the casserole. Place in preheated oven and cover with a piece of aluminum foil that’s been wadded up and flattened back out again and then tented over the casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and jostle dish a little bit to make sure the egg has set and is cooked in the middle. If unsure you can remove the casserole and insert a knife in the center pulling it apart slightly to see if it is set up or still runny. If still runny, let it bake another 10 minutes and check again.
Let rest a few moments before slicing. I like to serve it with some fresh salsa (or Ranchero) drizzled on top, and also a dollop of ®Daisy! Sliced green onions and some minced cilantro are also wonderful for garnishes.
TIP: When serving, be careful not to dump your son-in-law’s portion all over the front of him in a fit of clumsiness! Wow! Besides being burning hot like molten lava to his flesh, it makes a terrible, horrible mess, ruins his favorite golf shirt, and is impossible to get out of the cracks of the furniture. Hey, I’ve invented the shirt plate! OMG, yes, this happened!
This is such a fun way to serve supper … at a family reunion – which is what we did, or with a group at church, or any group really. It would also be a great dinner to serve for April Fools, or a birthday party. You can let your guests know that you will be serving a wonderful 4 course lasagna dinner, or perhaps a pot roast supper, or hamburgers and fries. The meal is no mystery, it is how the courses will present themselves on each guest’s plate that is the riot. And that part is intirely up to your guests, bless their hearts, if they only knew what they were ordering (giggle). You may want to ask in the invitations if anyone has any food allergies, so you can accommodate.
I purchased this boxed version almost 20 years ago, and have not been able to find it anywhere since, online or in any bookstore. It was published by Oslund, Sonshine Company, Anoka, MN 55303.
For our Family Reunion, we modified it slightly. My sisters, mom, and I served the meal, and we had 25 to 30 guests. Each server was responsible for a table of guests. We placed carrot and celery sticks in a relish dish at each table, and the guests were allowed to nibble on those while they waited to be served, although some who did found out later when their meal was served without a fork or spoon that a carrot or celery stick would have made a nice utensil.
Here’s what’s in the box:
8 Invitations (two sided)
8 Menus (two sided)
FRONT (fold in half)
INSIDE (fold in half)
8 Place Cards (cut apart on dotted lines)
These each fold in half and set up like little tents
16 ID Cards
Kitchen Set-up diagram sheet
and Instructions (two sided sheet)
The Instructions are too little for me to read off the scanned page so I’ve written them out for us…
Masterminding a Mystery Dinner
New Testament Theme
“A Dining Experience You Won’t Forget”
CONTENTS: 8 Menus, 8 Place Cards, 8 Invitation, 16 ID Cards, Recipes.
OBJECT: To enjoy an unforgettable, unpredictable and hilarious dining experience.
SERVING: 1 waiter for 4 dinner guests; 2 waiters for 8 dinner guests
DECODED MENU LIST:
1. Crowd Leftovers
2. Christ’s Winnowing Tool
3. John the Baptist’s Lunch
– Grasshopper Pie
4. Prodigal’s Surprise
– Roast Beef
5 Symbol of Bitter Captivity
– Lettuce Salad
6. Circumcision Instrument
7. Christ’s Frequent Prayer Place
8. Hebrew Burial Cloth
9. Communion Element
– Wine or Grape juice
10. Evil Protein
– Deviled Eggs
11. Fruit of the Cursed Tree
– Fig Bars
12. Prodigal’s Lunch with Pigs
13. God’s Shekinah
– Glorified Rice
14. Carpenter’s Splinters
15. Fruit of the Vine
16. Baptizer’s Sweet Tooth
– Honey Nuts
(All of the food items on the above list can be purchased from the grocery store, near-by deli or take-out, which would eliminate most preparation time.)
INVITATIONS: Fill out invitation and mail two weeks prior to dinner. (Dining attire suggestions: casual, formal, biblical, etc.) (If your kitchen is near where you will serve your dinner guests, it is suggested that you conceal your kitchen with hanging sheets or tablecloths over the doorways. This way your guests can’t peek!)
Several hours before guests are expected to arrive, prepare the roast beef, pie, lettuce salad, deviled eggs, date bars, peas, and glorified rice. Refrigerate or bake according to recipe directions.
On a flat surface in your kitchen, designate a space for each menu item, in order of sequence, by using on or the food identification cards. This will help the waiters as they pick items for each course for their customers.
The table can be prepared as the host or hostess prefers. Write guest names on place cards and place cards where guests are to be seated.
One-half hour before guests are scheduled to arrive, place the following items by their respective food identification card on the flat surface; olives (in juice), grapes, toothpicks, spoon, fork, knife, and napkins. (OPTIONAL: Waiters can change into dark pants and white shirts with bow ties at this time. Also, appropriate music can be played. Provide each guest with a glass of water.)
As guests arrive, they can be welcomed to the Mystery Dinner and escorted to their appropriate place at the table.
Before delivering the menus to the guests, each waiter selects which guests they will serve. It is helpful at this point to request that the guests fill out their orders in silence. This avoids confusion and everyone discussing the menu selections. (Honestly, we allowed a little table talk.)
Hand each guest a menu and a pen. Give them approximately three to five minutes to fill out their course selections
During this five minutes, you can put the following items near their appropriate food identification card on the flat surface: roast beef (covered), bread, pie, lettuce salad, wine or grape juice, deviled eggs, bars, peas and rice.
Now it is time for the waiters to collect the menus and begin selecting items for the first course for one customer. Once all four items have been picked, the plate can be served to the respective guest. Continue with remaining guests.
After the waiters have served their customers, they go back to their first customer and remove any remaining items from the first course and begin on the second course. Make sure they do not keep utensils. This process continues until all guests have been served all four courses. IT IS AS MUCH FUN TO BE THE SERVER AS IT IS TO BE SERVED! ENJOY!
When we served our dinner we used a totally different menu; one that would be impossible to figure out. This was our menu:
And these were our 16 items, shown as the set up for our Kitchen:
You can go with a theme (Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Hawaiian, Southern Comfort Foods, BBQ, Seafood, etc.) in your food, decorations, and music. If you chose a Mexican theme, you could use Mexican items as the code words on the menu (such as: sombrero, cactus, poncho, maracas, piñata, mariachis, chili peppers, serape, etc.). You could decorate with Mexican blankets and cactus centerpieces, and play Mariachi music. In place of the relish dish, you could offer chips and salsa (people could eat with a chip if they didn’t get a utensil and were desperate). Encourage your guests to snap photos of the event and share them with you afterward. Our party was before cell phone days, but I could kick myself for not setting out some disposable cameras.
If using paper plates, remember to buy plenty. You’ll need a plate for each course for each person, so four plates per person X 8 guests would be 32 paper plates total. You can use different size plates. It would add to the humorousness having a large slice of lasagna and a slice of pie, if that’s what your guest ended up with, being served on an appetizer size plate, and equally funny to have a large dinner plate with only a toothpick, vegetable, napkin, and knife taking up space.
When the last person has been served the last course and all the plates have been taken away, that’s when servers can return each person’s menu to them and let everyone try to figure out which items were which code words. All of the servers and kitchen workers should join the guests. They will talk about how much fun that was and probably want to sit around and visit for a little while.
“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” Psalm 16:11
I was channel surfing a while back and happened upon a show (on the Travel Network I believe it was) all about famous sandwiches in America. The host, the lucky dog, got to run around the country and sample all the most celebrated sandwiches. Of course I drooled and dreamed of how fun it would be to have such an awesome job – although I may not be able to afford the damage to my mid-section. At any rate, it got me thinking, sandwiches are the perfect summertime food. No slaving over a hot stove or hot oven, hallelujah! In fact, I could serve them once a week, even make a special day for it – like “Sandwich Sunday” (sort of like “Taco Tuesday” and “Meatless Monday”). I’m really kinda digging this idea. I think my Dagwood husband would be rather pleased with the idea as well! He’s such a sandwich guy. 😉
Grilled Cheese (served with Tomato Soup of course)
Does anyone ever out-grow grilled cheese? Honestly, my sixty-something man is still tickled when I set a grilled cheese sammy and a cup of tomato soup in front of him. Great inexpensive meal that’s easy to whip up for the two of us!!!! He likes his grilled cheese ooey gooey with white American and spicy Pepper Jack cheeses on buttered sour dough. It has to be real butter though, and real sour dough. Sometimes I use Texas Toast, and that is satisfactory to him. If I tuck a slice of grilled ham in the center with the cheeses, and a few slices of pickled jalapeno he becomes especially giddy. And it’s even better with a little sprinkle of garlic powder on the buttered side of the bread. Mmm mmm good!
Our favorite prepared tomato soup is La Madeleine’s, which comes in a jar and is creamy and delicious. We also like Amy’s. They are both really good mixed together, creamy + chunky and with a garnish of fresh Basil ribbons from my garden! YUM!!!
NOTE: Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Asiago, Fontina, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Muenster, blue cheese, and soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert also melt well, Remember to remove the rind if using a cheese with one.
Grilled Cheese kicked up a notch: lightly toast 4 pieces of sour dough bread and butter them lavishly on one side. Lay the slices buttered side down on a cookie sheet. Lay a thick slice of Gruyère on each piece of toast and set under the broiler until the cheese is just melted. Lay two or three pieces of crispy fried bacon on top of the melted cheese. Toast four more slices of sour dough bread and butter them on one side. Spread a layer of chunky apple butter or fig jam on the unbuttered side and place them jam side down on top of the bacon. Blue cheese, bacon, and fig preserves is a great flavor combination, and so is Gruyère with crispy bacon and blackberry jam. Re-create the taste of French onion soup by layering sweet, soft caramelized onions with nutty Gruyère cheese on toasted sour dough. Craving a bite that’s both sweet and savory? Try combining indulgent Camembert with crisp apple slices and caramel sauce. Or try Monterey jack cheese layered with roasted poblanos and a splash of Adobo on a nice buttery egg bread. See other suggestions at Food Network.com.
PBJ (served with a big fat dill pickle and salty Potato chips)
I’ve been a “choosy mothers choose Jiff” kind of gal, on soft white bread, and with the traditional strawberry jam or grape jelly, or sometimes with creamy honeycomb honey spread over buttered bread for as long as I can remember. The sandwich in my photo above was made with crunchy Peter Pan and my own homemade Texas grape jelly. I wish you could taste how delicious it is. Best grape jelly I’ve ever had in my life!!!!! I’m telling you, that sandwich barely made it through the photography session. I couldn’t wait to lick the drizzle dripping down the front. This is a picture of my wonderful grape harvesting experience. You can’t tell in the photo, but it was about 107 degrees that day, which made picking a pretty sweaty experience. It was so worth the trouble though. Oooo man.
Okay, now the great debate: What sides go with a PBJ? Well, the old stand-bys when I was a kid were Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, potato chips, dill pickle, fruit, or raw veggies. What were yours?
And then came the day that I thought to myself, like all the great thinkers before me, “What if…” and so I tried a PBJ HOT, and you know what? Not bad. Pretty darn delicious really, and kind of like stuffed French toast! I used my sandwich maker. Remember those? Do they still make them???
MrsH’s PBJ Stuffed French Toast
Preheat sandwich maker. Dot each cavity of the sandwich maker with butter just before placing sandwich on it. Make a peanut butter sandwich exactly the way you normally would with your favorite jam (I make a lot of homemade jams or fruit compotes and some of my favorites have been South Texas Grape jelly, Bourbon Habanero Apricot, Strawberry Rhubarb, Spicy Peach, Pecan Fig with lemon rind, Crab Apple Butter, Blueberry Lemon, and these wonderful bitter little kumquat type fruits that grow on a tree in my daughter’s yard made into marmalade – with a hint of vanilla bean – oh my it’s delicious).
Use a pastry brush to spread your egg/milk (French Toast) mixture on one side of your sandwiches and then lay them in the sandwich maker. Quickly brush on egg/milk mixture on the top slices of bread, dot with a little pat of butter, and close the lid over on the sandwiches and snap it closed. Cook as directed in the owner’s manual. *The reason I don’t dip my bread in the egg/milk mixture is that I think it makes the bread too soggy.
This is an open-faced sandwich made famous for being served at the Kentucky Derby. Start with Texas toast, then layer on slices of turkey. Cover with a peppered white cheddar cheese sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar and parmesan cheese (broil to melt). Lay two slices of fresh heirloom tomato, two slices of crispy fried bacon, and finally garnish with sliced green onion and chopped parsley.
We’ve all made these, but how do you like yours? My dad liked his plain Jane: leftover yeast roll spread with butter, turkey, salt and pepper. The end!
I always liked to add some lettuce to mine. Then as I grew up I realized this sandwich could be a mini feast on bread, starting with soft wheat bread, lavished with mayo, a thin layer of stuffing, a chopped up jalapeno popper, sliced or pulled turkey (salt & pepper), maybe a thin slice of ham, a little spread of cranberry sauce, some sliced onion, and romaine lettuce. Tah-dah!
This is just as yummy on a hogie roll, or stuffed inside a pita as it is on nice soft wheat bread lightly toasted. Mayo, lettuce, onion, tomato, turkey, turkey bacon (fried crispy) and then repeat layers. Dagwood would approve!
Hot Ham & Cheese
In Paris Croque Monsieur is sold from pushcarts on streets all over the city. Croque Monsieur is a classic French ham and cheese, straight from the streets of France. Savory sliced smoked ham and Swiss with a garlic cream Béchamel sauce and baked on fresh wheatberry bread. Bake this sandwich in the oven until it is hot, the cheese is melted, and the top is golden brown. Below a hot ham and cheese on rye is shown with a bowl of Polish Sichi.
A deep-fried ham and cheese sandwich, often served with a sweet jam dip. This looks like a pretty awesome recipe from Ashlee Marie!
MrsH’s Ham Salad (Deviled Ham) Sandwiches
I usually always make this sandwich filling with leftover Easter ham (glazed spiral cut smoked ham). I have an old meat grinder that my mother-in-law gave to me, which works perfectly for grinding the ham into the perfect texture. To the ham I add mayo, mustard, horseradish, minced onion, pickle relish, and spices (cloves, pumpkin spice, allspice). These have been popular sandwiches for my Bowling League pot lucks, church pot lucks, Bunco, tea parties, baby showers, and so many other parties. My husband loves when I make a big batch of these, cut them into small triangles, stack them on a tray, wrap them up, and put them in his man-cave fridge so he can snack on them for several days. Don’t tell him but I often sneak out and steal one or two or three before they’re gone.
Click HERE for recipe from mrshlovesjesus.wordpress.com, Easter Dinner Cookbook
Chicken & Waffles
First you must have freshly made Belgian type waffles (the real authentic ones are made with yeast and pearl sugar – if you can find the pearl sugar please let me know where you got it in the US). You can add bacon and cheddar or chopped pecans to the waffle batter before making them. Season the flour for chicken breast pieces either with a Kentucky blend of traditional spices (oregano, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and paprika), or a spicy Cajun blend (basically the same but add cayenne powder and a little brown sugar). Brine your chicken breasts in a salt-water brine for a day, then cut the breasts into tenders. Dip each piece in a buttermilk egg wash and then dredge in seasoned flour mixed with a TBSP of cornstarch, and drop into hot oil in a cast iron skillet until crispy golden. Lay a waffle square on a plate and butter it. Lay three tenders on top and drizzle the whole mess with a honey maple butter dressing of one part melted butter, one part maple syrup, and one part Dijon mustard. Or serve with a Redeye gravy made with coffee, Jim Beam, and bacon. Sprinkle some chopped chives for garnish.
Click here for my recipe for this mouth watering, highly sought after recipe that will have your bowling league, your Bunco party, your Bridge Club, or the election judges and clerks you work at the next elections begging for the recipe!!!!! >>>>>>>> MrsH’s Chicken Salad for a Crowd!!!!!! Serve with a raw veggie medley (carrot, celery, cucumber slices), or seasoned cottage cheese, or your favorite chips (I am a Sun Chips gal from waaaaay back), or all three…plus a nice iced Chai latte to wash it all down!
The Yard Bird
This famous sandwich from Slows BBQ restaurant in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Smoked pulled chicken breast mixed with some mustard based BBQ sauce and sautéed mushrooms, then piled on a buttered and toasted hamburger bun that’s been spread with a little mayo, topped with 2 pieces of almost crispy Applewood bacon and some shredded cheddar cheese. Slap on the top half of the bun and there you have it! The only thing to make this sandwich better is a Faygo and a bag of Better Made. Who you lookin’ at?
Hot-off-the grill marinated chicken is tucked into thick, soft pitas, along with lots of bold but mellow garlic sauce, and freshly sliced tomato and romaine.
Italian Bread Crumbs mixed with an equal portion of Panko Bread Crumbs
Dip chicken breasts in egg, then toss in bread crumbs until coated. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or fry in oil in frying pan until golden on both sides. If baking, top each chicken patty with a slice of mozzarella cheese and keep in oven until cheese melts. If frying, place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each piece about 4 minutes before removing from pan. Remove to paper toweling.
Butter and toast Kaiser rolls in the oven or on griddle. Place a chicken patty on the bottom piece of each roll. Spoon a generous portion of warm marinara sauce on top of each, possibly some basil leaves and mozzerella and/or parmesan cheese and broil it to melt the cheese. Place the top portion of the roll on top and serve.
I make a Rosemary mayo for my BLT’s (Mayo and chopped rosemary, salt, pepper), and sometimes lay a ring or two of red onion, and slice or two of avocado on mine. I like the hardwood smoked bacon the best, fresh romaine lettuce, and black heirloom tomatoes. I prefer it on lightly toasted wheat bread, but have also made it like a giant sub using a fresh french loaf from the bakery. Good way to feed a crowd for family supper night. This is possibly my very favorite sandwich of all time. I tend to make a pig of myself with these!!!! LOL
P.S. I was in a pinch one day a couple years ago with two hungry men and nothing to feed them as I hadn’t gone to the store. I searched my pantry for edibles I could throw together quickly and ended up with a can of Bacon flavor Spam in my hand. I cut it into fairly thin slices, maybe 1/4″ and fried it crispy on both sides and made BLT’s Spam-L-T’s with it. The men loved it. They loved it so much that I make it for them fairly regular now.
Smoked Sausage (Kielbasa) Sandwich
Start with a wide loaf of pumpernickel bread sliced thin and lightly toasted. split kielbasa in half lengthwise and then into lengths that match the width of the bread longways. Lay a slice of provolone cheese on the bread, and then squirt with a spicy course mustard, honey mustard, or mustard based BBQ sauce, then layer on a pile of squeezed dry sauerkraut – preferably a German variety. Top that with two or three pieces of keilbasa that has been fried crispy. Place another slice of cheese and then bread, then butter and grill like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.
Does anybody really have a recipe for this? Honestly, I just dump everything in a bowl and mix it up. I start with tuna packed in water. I drain off all the water and sprinkle on some dill weed and cracked pepper and then drench the tuna in lemon juice and let it sit while I chop up all the other ingredients. I chop up about half a small white onion, add to the onion about 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish and 2 tablespoons of dill pickle relish. I chop up a rib of celery, half of a bell pepper or jalapeno, and maybe 2 radishes. I then mix about a tsp of lemon pepper into a half cup of mayo and add the drained tuna, and then stir everything together. If it doesn’t seem creamy enough I add a little bit more mayo. Here is shown my tuna salad on a tomato, sprinkled with a little fresh dill weed, but it is lovely on bread with a leaf of romaine.
I have also been known to lightly toast a bagel and then quickly lay a slice of swiss or provolone on the halves while they are still hot from the toaster, let the cheese melt, and then top each with a heap of tuna salad, for an open-faced tuna salad sandwich.
Aaaaaand I’ve also grilled tuna salad between slices of sour dough or wheatberry with swiss or provolone. If you like pasta salads, I’ve also mixed my tuna salad with macaroni or skinny ziti and served it with tomato, lettuce, cucumbers and a slice of toast. It’s all good!
(This is NanaBread’s Muffuletta Sandwich recipe, since she is Cajun and I am not)
1 round sourdough bread boule
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound thin-sliced deli ham (not a sweet one; use old-fashioned baked ham) (The traditional has ham, mortadella, and salami)
4 slices of provolone cheese
1/3 cup of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip, people; use the good stuff)
1 small can of chopped black olives (4.25 ozs.; you only need half of the can)
24 small pimento-stuffed green olives
2 Tbsp. of juice from the green olive jar (trust me)
3 Tbsp. Italian Olive Salad Mix (optional, but use it if you can find it)
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Start by slicing your sourdough boule horizontally; you’ll want the bottom to be about 1″ thick. Using your fingers or a spoon, remove some of the excess bread from the top, leaving a deep indentation in the dome of your boule. Drizzle one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil over each half of the bread. If you need to, use your fingers to work the oil out to the edges and into the nooks and crannies. Place both halves oiled side down on a griddle until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. (If you don’t have a griddle, a non-stick skillet works just as well.) I also like to weigh down the top so the surface is pressed down onto the griddle.
While the bread is toasting, chop the green olives, open the can of black olives, and spoon out 3 tablespoons of Italian Olive Salad mix; set aside. One quick side note about the Italian Olive Salad: you may be wondering why I use olives AND an olive salad mix together. The answer is that the olive salad mix also contains a mouth-watering mix of other vegetables (cauliflower, peppers, carrots, celery) and spices preserved in olive oil. Do you have to use it? No. But if you can find it, the olive salad will add another extraordinary layer of flavor. Trust me.
There is a recipe on the jar and it is a little different than Nana’s
Once your bread is toasted to a beautiful, crispy golden brown, remove it from the griddle and place both sides face up on a cutting board. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and olive juice and blend until smooth (it will be a little on the thin side). Dress each half of the bread with the mayonnaise mixture. Make sure you spread it all the way out to the edges. It’s imperative. Okay, really it’s just so all the olives stick. Next, sprinkle your green olives and olive salad on the top half, and the black olives on the bottom half. Don’t fret about separating friends. They’re all coming to the party in the end. You’ll see.
Layer your thin-sliced ham over the top of your black olives, making sure the ham goes all the way out to the edges again. (Remember – no honey or maple glazed ham, please! It will ruin the flavor of the sandwich. You really just need a simple old-fashioned or baked deli ham here.) Arrange your provolone cheese slices over the top of your green olives. Place both halves face-up on a baking sheet and toast them under the broiler until the ham warms and the cheese turns into this gooey, gorgeous golden hue. Remove from the broiler.
Using a spatula, flip the top half onto the bottom half to bring your sandwich together. Everyone is at the party now, and they are all getting along famously. It’s world peace in a sourdough boule. Allow your muffuletta to rest for at least 5 minutes before you cut it. It will be hard. It may even seem impossible. If you need a distraction, grab an Abita Beer, a bag of Zapp’s Cajun Crawtator chips, and a handful of napkins. Once you’re ready, grab a serrated bread knife and cut the muffuletta into wedges, like you’re slicing a pie. Mmmmm….pie.
Don’t get fancy here and attempt to serve it on a real plate. This is bar hopping food. You want to slap that sucker on a paper plate or wrap it in a little butcher paper. Then settle in with your muffuletta, your cold Abita beer, that bag of zesty, crunchy Cajun crawtators and let your mind slip away to an enchanted land of live oaks, Spanish moss, warm breezes, hot beignets and hotter jazz. Oh, New Orleans…you are unforgettable. Happy Mardi Gras, y’all.
Basically this is a juicy pork roast, ham, and Swiss cheese sandwich with butter pickles, and Dijon mustard, on a Cuban roll that is smash grilled to perfection. You can serve it with a cup of some of the braising liquid to dip the sandwich in while you eat it, and definitely it needs to be served with a side of fried plantains sprinkled with salt.
My twist on this Kentucky Favorite (recipe found here) is the addition of very thinly sliced radishes, minced sweet onion, and a little cluster of lovely alfalfa sprouts. Otherwise it is basically a shredded cucumber sandwich. I also like to use the veggie cream cheese that comes in the small tub to spread the bread with. Oooooo fancy!
2 cups dried chick peas, soaked in water overnight
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chick pea flour, if needed
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for searing
4 Mediterranean flatbreads (like Naan)
Arugula, for garnish
Cherry tomatoes, halved, for garnish
Red onion, sliced thin, for garnish
Smokey Tahini Sauce, for garnish, recipe follows
Smoky Tahini Sauce:
1/2 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
Heat a grill pan until hot.
In a bowl, whisk all ingredients until a creamy consistency is reached.
For the Falafel:
Drain the chick peas. Place in food processor along with cilantro, parsley, onion, cumin, cayenne, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Pulse until well blended. Consistency should be in the form of a paste. Place mixture in a bowl and form into 2-inch patties.
*Cook’s Note: If dry add 1 tablespoon water. If too wet, add chick pea flour.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add grapeseed oil. Add patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined platter to drain. Set aside and keep warm.
To assemble sandwiches: Add flatbread to a hot grill pan, to mark and warm on each side for 1 minute. Remove. Add 2 to 3 patties to each warm flatbread. Top with some arugula, tomato, onion and Smoky Tahini Sauce
Watch Big Daddy make this great Falafel Sandwich HERE
Grilled Portobello Sandwich
The best Portobello sandwich I ever had was from Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside, California.
I tried hard to duplicate it for a mother’s day luncheon at my house several years later. Good gracious it was delicious. I am pretty sure I found the copy cat recipe in one of those women’s magazines from the 90’s.
Make the dressing first so it will have time to cool.
Dressing: Place 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium, stirring until vinegar has reduced, for about 5 minutes. Toss in 1 small minced garlic clove and then remove from heat. Allow to cool. Add ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and about a heaping ¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Dressing may be placed in a dressing carafe to make it easier to shake and pour.
This sandwich is constructed in layers. Start by slicing sandwich size pieces of ciabatta bread (separating top crust from the bottom crust), cleaning the mushrooms, and slicing the onions. Lay the bread on a cookie sheet (crust sides down) and drizzle with olive oil. Preheat broiler (oven) and outdoor grill. Place the veggies on the grill and sear for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side until heated through. Meanwhile, place the bread under the broiler in the oven until lightly toasted. Remove bread from oven and veggies from the grill. Leave the bottom halves of bread on the cookie sheet, and the leave broiler on.
Lay a Portobello mushroom cap on top of each bottom slice of bread
Place a red onion slice on top of each mushroom
Place a slice of fontina cheese on top of each slice of onion.
Place in oven under the broiler until cheese is melted.
Arrange one or two basil leaves on top of the melted cheese
And top each sandwich with a tomato slice.
You could also certainly add roasted red pepper and avacado.
Drizzle each with a balsamic dressing (make sure to shake well for each sandwich).
Lean the top half of Ciabatta bread against the stack to serve, or place it on top and fasten with sandwich toothpicks, then slice each sandwich in half, corner to corner.
Colleen’s Pimento Cheese Salad
This is another one of those recipes I just make without measuring anything. So, here we go. To a small bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese I add about 1/2 cup of Mayo, 1 Tbsp of sweet pickle relish, 1 Tbsp of minced onion, and 1 Tbsp of pimentos from a jar. Mix it up until fully incorporated. Taste to make sure it is good. If a creamier consistency is desired add a little more mayo until it’s just right. Spread on white or wheat bread and serve with a nice tomato, onion, and cucumber salad.
Start by drizzling the flatbread or Naan with olive oil and grilling it on a hot preheated grill on both sides just until it is lightly toasted. Spread the bread with cream cheese (plain, chive, olive, or veggie flavors all work well), and then top with your favorite veggies: sliced cherry tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, arugula, green or black olives, thin sliced zucchini, thin sliced red bell peppers, chopped green onions, sliced marinated mushrooms, baby spinach, thin sliced cucumbers, sliced radishes, sliced broccoli, carrot ribbons, cauliflower, etc. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a garlic infused olive oil. Enjoy!!!!!
My Egg Salad is a LOT like my deviled eggs as far as they both have virtually identical ingredients. I have a girlfriend who puts chopped up black olives in hers. She says that’s the way her husband’s mom used to make them, and the way he likes them.
Simple enough. A fried egg, maybe some cheese, on buttered toast. Wooooooo! Makes your tummy stop growling anyways. 🙂
I think that about covers it. Can you think of any sandwiches I’ve missed? Hope your summer is carefree and delicious!!! Happy sandwiching y’all!!!!
“If you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to be served, go home and get a sandwich. But by no means risk turning this Meal (communion) into an eating and drinking binge or a family squabble. It is a spiritual meal – a love feast. The other things you asked about, I’ll respond to in person when I make my next visit.”
I grew up in a small town where there wasn’t a lot for kids to do but just be kids and play in the great outdoors. That was plenty enough though, believe me. My sisters and I made dirt houses lined with pebbles, floors swept down to the hard dirt, rocks and logs for furniture, and we served each other our fancy mud pie concoctions. We played secret maze games between the sheets hanging on the line until we got hollered at to get away with our unclean hands. We climbed Tank Hill just for something to do, and then tried to RUN down it without stumbling. Sometimes we took a picnic lunch up there and ate it overlooking the town where we could watch all the goings on. One time I climbed the tank – which was a mistake. I guess I’m a little afraid of heights I found out. My grandpa had to come and rescue me, and right after he called a welder to cut off the ladder so it couldn’t ever be climbed up by a kid again. Oh dear!
We had bikes and rode them all over a whole vast network of oilfield roads, to secret places – under bridges, the old electric plant, and to the pond to catch frogs and salamanders and horny toads by the dozens, but hopefully not see any snakes – ’causeewwww, girls don’t like snakes! We all played ball or watched the games, and we all sat on the fences at the ranch rodeos and watched the cowboys do their stuff. Sometimes they even let us run the hot-shot on the steers in the shoots, and open the shoot gates for the ropers.
Our little oilfield community had the first lighted baseball field, and the first lighted football field in the whole state. We had a bowling alley, and a swimming pool, and in the winter we had a frozen pond to ice skate on. They say we even had a golf course, but it wasn’t like any golf course you’ve ever seen – just dirt and rocks and prairie, with flags stuck in holes here and there. The clubhouse was just a corregated tin outbuilding, but it was something to do for those that are into that stuff!
If there was nothing else to do it was always fun to watch dad tinker with something in his shop, or tag along with him to his work. I got to tag along once to the Blue Creek Ranch out by Kaycee, and they let me ride an old nag of horse all day long while dad fixed whatever it was they needed him to fix. And my grandpa could be found in his massive garden most all summer. It was fun to pick and eat peas while he watered and weeded. I sometimes took my matchbook cars and made trails along the rows of corn. I accidentally sat in an ant pile once though, and that wasn’t so much fun! My grandma was always in the kitchen sowing or cooking. And when me and my sisters stayed at her house, it was fun to play secretary with pens and notebooks in the garage. Sometimes we’d nap with grandpa in the afternoons on the bed they kept out there, where the cool breezes blew through.
There was always a lady in town that taught piano lessons, and occasionally someone would travel through with gymnastics or dance classes, and our families all went camping and to the lake as often as we could. My folks had a motorcycle and a scooter and we went for rides as a family, sometimes be gone all day! And everyone in town met at the sand rocks to shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July – all of the families, and we shared our snacks and our fireworks with each other. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? It was!
We had a Girl Scouts troop and a Boy Scouts troop, and even a Boy Scouts camp on the Pine Ridge. What in the world else does a kid need? It was a wonderful life!
Girl Scouts was one of my fondest childhood memories. I remember getting to go to summer camp (Camp Sacajawea) on Casper Mountain one year. I got to ride on a bus up the mountain with a whole bunch of really nice bigger girls, singing old hippy songs all the way, and coolest of all, it was an over-nighter. We made ditty bags out of bandanas and tied them to a stick (I’ve still got one of the nicer ditty bags we were given – shown in the photo below). We filled them with snacks and water, and one of the days we used the ditty bag sticks as walking sticks and hiked to a really cool waterfall that flowed over a rock that we could walk behind (just like in the movie The Last of the Mohicans). That’s the way I remember it anyway! 🙂 I remember doing crafts and selling cookies. I remember one year being really ambitious to sell those cookies! I ❤ed Girl Scouts!
This is a throw back meal from when I was a Girl Scout at Camp Sacajawea. Very easy to make and I think it is delicious! Of course we made S’mores for dessert – I’m pretty sure that was another Girl Scouts invention too! 😉
This recipe feeds 4 to 6 people.
Peel and chop several cloves of garlic. I did a whole bulb’s worth.
Wash a small bag of yellow potatoes, and a small bag of carrots, peel the carrots and then slice both into bite-size pieces (figure on about 2 small potatoes and 1 whole large carrot per person)
Peel a yellow onion, cut in half, and slice it into quarter inch slices
Place all veggies in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzle generously with olive oil, toss to coat evenly, set aside
Mix 2 lbs of hamburger with 2 packages of dry onion soup mix, and a small minced jalapeno, a little salt and pepper, and mix well, then form into patties
Place a heaping ladle full of veggies into the center of a generous sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil
Lay a hamburger patty on top of veggies
Top with a spoonful of mushroom soup
Bring both ends of foil up and fold together to seal well on top, and then do the same on both sides. Repeat making foil packets until all veggies and burger patties are used up.
Preheat BBQ grill, or campfire (or 350 *F oven), and when coals are hot and gray lay the packets on a grate about 6 to 8 inches above them
Let packets cook for 15 to 20 minutes and then carefully and gently flip and rearrange the packets so they can cook evenly on the other side for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Open one packet and test the veggies for doneness
When done, remove the packets and serve one packet per person.
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the way of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgement. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.”