Children’s Time: Loving America by Learning about It

This week’s children’s time gives us some ideas about how we can love our country:

  1. We can pray for our country because we want our country to be a good country and for everyone here to be taken care of.
  2. We can take care of our country, including the land, the water, and the animals.
  3. We can learn about country. When we give our attention to something and give it attention, we show it love.

Learn some new facts about America by looking at some postcards shared by friends! Do you know:

  • Which city’s name means “City of Brotherly Love”?
  • What is the name of the highest point in Kansas?
  • Why shouldn’t you touch an armadillo?
  • Is Kansas as flat as a pancake?
  • Which state has the most national parks?
  • Which state is a desert in the summer but not in the winter?
  • Which state is the flattest?
  • Which oceans touch the US?
  • Which state’s state flower is the sunflower?
  • Where is the Statue of Liberty located?

Start at 3:40 to learn about our cities, oceans, animals, plants, mountains, prairies, and some famous people!

Children’s Time: Icons of Baby Jesus

Celebrate the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple by examining icons of Jesus as a baby and an infant and other “holy families” in the iconography of artist Kelly Latimore. Learn more about his artwork and order some prints of your own at his website.

Holy Family of the Streets  by Kelly Latimore
Latimore’s “Holy Family of the Streets” shows a man sitting on a plastic milk crate, his hand on the shoulder of a woman also seated. She holds her baby in mittened hands. They sit under a bridge decorated with graffiti.

Start at minute 4:03 to begin at the children’s time.

Some ways to enjoy leftover ham

Easter means ham, and that means leftover ham, which makes me very happy. At the request of a friend, I’m sharing some of our favorite ways to enjoy it:

  • Ham and cheese quiche. Swiss, cheddar, and muenster are all lovely. Use a potato crust if, like us, you’re meh on pastry crusts.
  • Macaroni and cheese with cubed ham. Make it fancy with asparagus (also an Easter leftover) and panko breadcrumbs on top.
  • Fry ham slices with onions and pierogies.
  • Breakfast cups. Shape biscuit dough into a cup in a muffin tin, then top with beaten eggs, ham, cheese, and ground pepper.
  • Ham loaf. Yes, I mean it.
  • Ham balls. A throwback recipe that pairs well with pineapple upside down cake and Kansas Public Radio’s Retro Cocktail Hour.
  • Ham salad. Variations are endless.
  • Potato hash. Use leftover boiled potatoes or shredded hashbrowns. Top with a jammy egg and a wilted bitter green like Swiss chard.
  • Fettuccine alfredo with cubed ham and peas.
  • Ham and potato soup–creamy, with crunchy bacon bits, sour cream, green onions, and cheddar cheese.
  • Boiled red potatoes, cubed ham, and green beans in Italian dressing, served warm or cold.
  • Ham and cheese scones.
  • Ham, egg, and cheese bierocks.
  • Grilled cheese with ham. Make it fancy with thinly sliced green apples.
  • Buttered egg noodles with cubed ham and asparagus.
  • Baked potatoes with ham, cheese, and broccoli.
  • Dutch pancake with ham and gravy.
  • Calzones with ham and ricotta
  • Black beans with cubed ham.
  • Scalloped potatoes with ham.
  • Pineapple and ham kabobs
  • Chef’s salad with ham, turkey, hard boiled eggs, and blue cheese

 

 

A little snow makes it easier to say goodbye to Christmas

I’ve been a little jealous these last few weeks as friends in different parts of the country have gotten snow and we’ve gotten warnings about snow and then… nothing. But today, a little snow landed and stuck–nothing serious, but enough to make it feel like winter for a bit. Which also means it’s easier to say goodbye to Christmas, which we’ve started celebrating through the 40th day after December 25th, because it still feels like winter (which it is).

Here are some highlights from our house this Christmas season.

We used this Advent calendar from our church to connect us to others as we each performed the same acts of kindness each day. The little felt donkey, just 1″x1″, guided us to the nativity.

Above, scenes from our Advent wreath making project. Using recycled parts but new candles, we made an Advent wreath for everyone at church who asked, about 10 in all.

During one of our weekly Christmas crafts, we made garland from paint chip samples–trees and stars.

Do you have a Christmas pickle on your tree? We used paint chips to make 3 dozen of them to share with neighborhood friends.

More Christmas crafts! Trees from a paper forest, a pinecone elf, and snowpeople made from wooden blocks.

Last year, we made every family with children at church a small Holy Family painted on tiny rocks. This year, we made every family with children a peg people Holy Family.

Some presents appear every single year: board and card games, books, and either mugs, travel mugs, thermoses, or water bottles.

Christmas Eve dinner references my life back East, so, this year, crab mac and cheese. Christmas Dinner this year was themed “traditional Midwestern,” with roast beef replacing turkey. As usual, the sides are the star. (And, yes a 1:8 lb butter:potato recipe is entirely appropriate)

We love birds in our tree–and here are some additions for the year: a felt cardinal, a knitted cardinal, and a ceramic star with a dove cut from it.

New wreaths, three on the tree (a yarn one by a friend and two woven from wheat), plus one we made from a grapevine wreath on the banister.

Our Christmas tree, overseen by Marian Zsofia, our angel.