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Wednesday, August 24

Back to the Books!

For this session, the books are organized in the order that I read them....kids' books and adult books alike are intermingled here.

Home Sewn (Cassandra Ellis)

This beautiful craft book features distinctive sewing projects dedicated to living, resting, eating, and sharing. Use quality materials—from rustic linen to leather—to create simple ottomans, pendant light shades, a voile bed skirt, and more. With dreamy lifestyle photography and ideas for every room, Home Sewn is a keepsake for the modern maker.

This book is fabulous for the beginning seamstress and hobbyist! The beautiful photographs will inspire you to go shopping for bolts of cloth and begin several new projects! Different sections of the book provide projects for the living area, kitchen, bedroom, and more. It explains fabrics and why each is used differently. Also, each project has a step by step guide with photographs for many of the steps. It’s very easy to follow, and the projects are shown in neutral colors. (We will probably make many of them in bold, bright prints!) Overall, it’s a great resource with many different ideas.

Great Small Things (Jodi Picoult)

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.I had been bored with the formulaic style that Jodi Picoult was using for the past several books, but went ahead and tried this one out. I’m glad to see that she’s steered back into the style of Nineteen Minutes, with more twists, and real-life situations. One thing about this book is that it will change the way you think; even if you already think you know yourself very well.

A Beauty Refined (Tracie Peterson)

Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father's plans--for the gemstones and his daughter--are not what they seem. Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie--a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom. Meeting Ian has changed everything. Phoebe is determined to stay in America, regardless of her father's plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger as the deception begins to unravel.

Once again, I’ve been unlucky enough to pick up in the middle of a trilogy, and would have loved to have read the first book first….which would allow me to ease into the characters and get to know them a bit deeper. That first book is called “A Treasure Concealed.” There is also a third book due out this September, “A Love Transformed.” They are standalone books, as they are about different characters, but they all intertwine and are set similarly. So, that said, this was still a good book. The characters were real, and the plot was believable. I loved the beautiful descriptions of the clothing, furnishings, and area…it made you feel like you were standing there taking it all in. It’s also relevant to today’s world, as there’s a lot of focus on the theme of ‘what is a lie?’ and just how far you can stretch something before it’s no longer anywhere near the truth!

The Witnesses (Robert Whitlow)

Parker House’s secret inheritance is either his greatest blessing . . . or his deadliest curse. The fresh-faced North Carolina attorney shares his German grandfather’s uncanny ability to see future events in his mind’s eye—a gift that has haunted 82-year-old Frank House through decades of trying to erase a murderous wartime past. While Parker navigates the intrigue and politics of small-town courtroom law, Frank is forced to face his darkest regrets. Then, a big career break for Parker collides with a new love he longs to nurture and the nightmares his grandfather can no longer escape. Sudden peril threatens to shatter not only Parker’s legal prospects but also his life and the lives of those dearest to him. Two witnesses, two paths, an uncertain future.

If you like mysteries and thrillers, this is a good book for you! Parker, the lead character, struggles with his past as he makes decisions and goes about his lawyering. I really liked the WWII aspect, as this is an era that intrigues me in novels. The grandfather, Frank, was a boy during WWII Germany, and is haunted by some of the events that occurred. He was gifted, though, with a sort of sixth sense – a gut feeling, which he uses in a special way. Later in the novel, he ‘gifts’ that sense to his grandson. You just have to read it… The book jumps back and forth between current day and WWII, but it’s not terribly confusing. I’d never read a book by this author, but really enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing some more from him.

Guide Me Home (Kim Vogel Sawyer)

After tragedy leaves its mark on Rebekah Hardin’s family, she plans to help her parents and six siblings honor her beloved brother’s memory and alleviate their poverty by working as a guide in the dangerous cave system. Kentucky’s renowned Mammoth Cave presents profitable opportunities in for hardworking, capable men. But Rebekah is determined and if it means presenting herself as a himself, then she’s up to the job. Under the wing of experienced guide Tolly Sanford, “Reb” begins to learn the complexities of the cave and the two are joined by an aspiring young cartographer, Devlin Bale. The university student has traveled to the hill country to map tunnels—not to fall for a girl in disguise. Can the God who designed miles of underground astonishment shape Devlin’s ambitious plans and free Reb from the weight from the past?

I love all of KVS’s books, and this was no exception. Both the period and the setting were well-researched, bringing the reader into an underground, historical world that seems so realistic. Reb/ekah is a strong heroine who is devoted to her family. She learns several life lessons throughout the book (no spoilers here!). Devlin, the other main character, also matures and learns about overcoming stereotypes. And Tolly, my favorite character in the book, brings the wisdom of age and a fun-loving spirit to the story. He helps to tie some of the more awkward parts of the story together, too. I have never been to the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, but after reading this book, would love to visit!


Forever Doon (Corp & Langdon)
With the witch of Doon on the throne, Jamie believed dead, and Duncan and Mackenna trapped in Alloway, Veronica has no choice but to put her grief aside and prepare her remaining followers for the impending battle against the false queen and her forces. But while on a covert mission to steal a powerful elixir from the castle, Veronica discovers her true love may actually be alive, and fighting a battle of his own. With the Brig o’ Doon destroyed and the portal fragmented, Doon’s forces are not only divided, but also isolated in different dimensions. With the help of a storyteller as ancient as the witch herself, Kenna and Duncan learn they must rebuild the bridge to have any chance of crossing back into Doon with their ragtag army. But when Mackenna insists on fighting as well, Duncan soon realizes the only way he can ensure her safety is to turn her into a cold-hearted killer. For Vee, Jamie, Kenna, and Duncan, saving their kingdom while keeping their lives intact will take a miracle.

Forever Doon is the fourth book in the Doon series, and had I realized that prior to reading, I probably would have gone back and read the first three beforehand. It certainly would have made the whole thing make much more sense!! I have only read book three before this one. Without the character background, I was able to pick up the story line within a few chapters, but never really felt connected to the characters. That probably would have been different if I had been invested in this series, but the book does not work well as a stand alone. There are good character qualities exhibited in the main characters, and they struggle to overcome some less-than-good ones as they grow through their adventures. There are many elements of magic in the story, so if you are opposed to the supernatural or magical characters, this will not be the series for you. If you are into fairy tales, and the good guys defeating the evil witches, then this could be a very good series for you. I spoke with a girl who had read the other three, and she filled me in on the backstory. Knowing that information, I’d say this was a pretty decent wrap up to the entire series. This is the last book in the series. If you’re interested, you may want to go back and pick up books one, two, and three first.

Pumpkin Patch Blessings (Washburn & East)
Pumpkin Patch Blessings celebrates fall and shows little ones there are blessings all around us, especially in the pumpkin patch! The sweet rhyming text by Kim Washburn and whimsical illustrations by Jacqueline East bring autumn alive for readers young and old as they take in the fun of the fall season and remember how much they have to be grateful for.

Pumpkin Patch Blessings captures the beauty of autumn, my absolute favorite season, perfectly! The colors are vibrant, the feel of the narrative is fun, and you can almost picture yourself surrounded by this pumpkin patch while smelling the crisp, autumn air! It is a board book, which makes it wonderful for little hands, and is written for the newly emerging reader. The illustrations are bright and very nice. It is short enough to be manageable for a new reader, or for the parent to read over and over again. Since it’s written in rhyme, you might even memorize it! Overall, it’s a great family read that will ring in the excitement of the autumn season.

Tapestry of Secrets (Sarah Loudin Thomas)
Perla Phillips has carried a secret for over sixty years. When she sees her granddaughter, Ella, struggling in life, Perla decides to share her story--then suffers a debilitating stroke before she can do so. As Ella and her aunt begin to look into their grandmother''s past, they''ll learn more than they expected about Perla, faith, and each other.

This is the third book in a series, and I have not read the other two, but definitely plan to go back and catch up on the first parts of the story. The book does work as a stand alone, but you’ll probably want to know what happens first. If you’d like to read them in order, check out Until the Harvest and Miracle in a Dry Season first. The series follows the Phillips family from the Depression-era until modern day. A little research will show that this last book wraps up some of the mysteries that were introduced in the first couple of books. The book started out at a rapid pace, like it was picking right up from where the last one left off, and then it fell into this super slow-paced, dry zone for a while. It picked back up at the end, but you have to push through that middle section. Having everything wrapped up in a neat little bow, though, is worth it. The main characters are a little bit too nice at times, and occasionally unbelievable, but overall the book has a nice, home-y feel to it. There is a lot of emphasis on family, and putting family first, as well as the church and how the family and church are tied together.


NIrV Kids' Devotional Bible: Over 300 Devotions (Zondervan)


Complete with a year’s worth of devotions, the Kids’ Devotional Bible, NIrV will help children develop a habit they’ll want to keep. Engaging weekday devotions, fun weekend activities, interesting illustrations, and a dictionary make this a Bible they’ll want to read and apply to their lives. It includes the complete New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)—the stepping stone to the NIV—making it easier for young readers to read and understand.  Features include:

  • Short weekday devotions that help young readers apply Bible lessons for a full year.
  • 52 weekend devotions that teach kids about God’s creation through fun activities like visiting the      zoo and gazing at the stars.
  • “Got It” feature that encourages kids to find answers to Bible trivia themselves.
  • Book introductions that give helpful information about each book of the Bible.
  • A dictionary to look up words they want to know more about.
  • The complete NIrV text, which uses shorter sentences and easier words. Kids can read this Bible on their own!

This is a great book for the graduate of leveled readers.  It is written at a third grade reading level, and answers those curious questions that kids are so well-known for having about their world!  It is a Bible, with scriptures (some are revised), but it also has illustrations and explanations for those scriptures.  It includes a dictionary and an index for better understanding.  Some of the answers cross-reference other passages, and it encourages deeper thinking and exploration.  This is a wonderful book for the in-between age…the child that isn’t ready to tackle an adult Bible – or even an adult that has trouble comprehending it.  It breaks it down into manageable bits.

Moments & Days (Michelle Van Loon)
People rarely slow down to experience their days, and so they feel rushed through life even as they begin to suspect that life lacks significance. By introducing (and reintroducing) us to the feasts and festivals of the Bible, as well as the special celebrations of the Christian calendar, Moments and Daysrestores a sacred sense of time throughout our year, enriching our experience of each “holy day” and enlivening our experience of even the most “ordinary time.”

This was an interesting read. Having been raised in both Christian and Jewish environments, I felt that the book really brought out the similarities between the two and did a good job of explaining the differences.  It promotes love and tolerance, as well as slowing down to be fully present at these annual rituals.  It also explains the reasoning behind each holiday, so that the reader no longer just 'goes through the motions' without knowing the history, which brings a deeper connection to the faith.  Charts and tables help to illustrate some of this, and the book is very down-to-earth.

Saffire (Sigmund Brouwer)
For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to ‘let the dirt fly’ and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats. It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt takes that first step to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics. It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course—or bring an end to it. A love story set within a historical mystery, Saffire is brings to vibrant life the most impressive-and embattled- engineering achievement of the twentieth-century.

Sadly, this book never arrived in the mail for me to read and review. However, I am required by the review company to at least post about it - so here is the synopsis (above) of the story line.


I received some of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I don't mince words.

Monday, August 22

Pump It (Black Eyed Peas)

Imagine not having the energy to get out of bed - or to get through the day.  You try to move, but your legs feel like concrete bricks.  You try to breathe, but it doesn't feel like your body is getting the air it needs.  Your hair falls out.  Your heart begins to beat funny.  
It's scary, isn't it?  Yet, these are all common symptoms of anemia.  It's enough to make you think you're going crazy!
It's a disease I've been battling for decades now, thanks to some wicked genetics.  But thanks to our local food co-op, and a bushel of beets that no one wanted, I accidentally stumbled upon a lifesaver.  Literally.  Even if you don't have anemia, you should try some of these recipes....beets are a known detox veggie, and you'll feel like a new person!!
beetroot varieties infographic
Symptoms of mild to moderate anemia:
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
Symptoms of moderate to severe anemia:
  • rapid heartbeat
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • ringing in the ears
  • pale skin (especially the palms of your hands), pale or bluish fingernails
  • hair loss
  • restless leg syndrome
  • confusion
Cereal is my go-to breakfast staple.  I gave up boxed cereal years ago (see our basic recipe here) because there is so much junk in them!  Here is a sweet, spicy, and earthy cereal that includes lots of yummy goodness....and no, it doesn't taste like beets.  My taste testers approved!

Savory Cereal (made in bulk)
  • 1 bag organic red beet powder
  • 1 bag organic cacao powder
  • 5 Tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 6 c rolled oats
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • 4 c water (more or less)
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together very well.  Start mixing in the water, one cup at a time.  You want a thick consistency, not runny.  You may need a little bit more water.
  2. Spread evenly across two pans.  Mixture shouldn't be more than 1/4 deep, unless you want to spend all day taking it out of the oven and turning it (consequently, making a mess....trust me).
  3. Bake at 250 for two to three hours.  Pull out of the oven every hour and chop the mixture to break it into crumbles.  This will help to dry out the insides, too.
  4. When mixture is thoroughly dried, pull out of oven and let cool.  Break into small crumbles and bag or jar.  This will last up to six weeks in a sealed container.
Juicing....
I've heard many great things about juicing and its health benefits!  Now, I have to be honest here and say that I've never juiced anything, but Vegging at the Shore has a good introductory post All About Juicing.  

Quick & easy beet juice recipe :

  • 1/2 beet (whole beet, if it's small)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 kale leaves
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 peeled orange
  • 1 peeled banana
  • 1/4 cup water
Wash everything first.  Then pop it into the juicer.  It has a nice, sweet taste, and you can spread the pulp over a salad, or snack on it throughout the day.


Some other fantastic beet recipes!

Friday, August 19

Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific)


This FAN FIELD TRIP FRIDAY, we're going Back-to-School!
(download free unit study in "Pack Your Bags" section)  

We LOVE using the geography curricula, like the Pack Your Bags series shown above, created by the Enchanted Homeschool Mom.  They cover both the USA and World Geography, and are great introductory unist for younger kids, as well as boosters and fun units for older kids. 

But curricula isn't all she has to offer.....Menu Planning, Book Clubs, Boy Scouts, Legos...if children like it, she probably covers it in her vast repertoire!!!  Listed below are the year-long, complete curricula offered....remember, these are only the ones that are year-long!!

As an educational printable creator, The EnchantedHomeschool Mom currently has over 600+ printables in the form of curricula, themed packs, activity packs, early learning packs, science experiments, lapbooks, and much more.

There are also lots of miscellaneous printables, covering all topics!

Complete Curricula
Come learn with two full years of fun with the Berenstain Bears Part 1 and Part 2. This original curriculum spans 23 books. Part 1 primarily focuses on Social Study topics; whereas, in Part 2 it dabbles in all of the core subjects. I did not create this to be used solely by itself or replace your core curriculum and I created both Part 1 and Part 2 to be supplemental to your learning studies. Each lesson is approximately 30-45 minutes in length, but it’s really up to you and your child.  

My inspiration for the Christmas Across the USA unit study was that we all have to teach geography and learn about the 50 United States at some point. When we learn about the states we see that we are all part of the same great nation, but we also ALL have our own traditions, especially over Christmas due to our nation’s diversity. So, as any good homeschooling mom would do I started looking to see if I could teach these different traditions and the answer, as always, is yes, but in this case there wasn’t a product that I could just buy to fit the need. So come join in the Christmas learning adventure of a lifetime!


History Rocks (a two-part curriculum) takes children on a journey through historical figures, both of past and present. My goal in creating this curriculum is to have my children not only learn about the people in the history books, but also for them to learn about some of the people that are currently making their marks on history. This curriculum is also designed to provide a fun way to teach multiple grade levels about important people in history at the same time. Every unit study in this curriculum is customized to each influential person in history that your child will be learning about. There are two editions of this curriculum, each designed to be used over the course of a year. One focused on male figures and the other female figures.


Journey into the World of Folktales is a comprehensive curriculum that is just over 770 pages. This curriculum covers 80 folktales from 75+ countries around the world.  This curriculum is perfect for children and students in grades Kindergarten through 5th.  Personally, I would say this curriculum has a lower end of advanced kindergartners because by their nature, some folktales cover topics that might not be appropriate for your kindergartner. As the parent and teacher you are the only judge if your child is ready for a folktale when you start learning about them. This curriculum is designed to be modular, meaning none of the 80 chapters require you to do them in order.  Also, this curriculum is not all arts and crafts either, as there are other components that stress language arts and creative writing as well.  Younger children and students can focus on certain parts that are at their level, while older children and students can independently work on the units, lessons, projects, and studies. Each folktale also has some sort of activity that is themed to the folktale in a manner that is fun and reinforces what they just learned. I created this curriculum so that it can be taught to different grade and skill levels at the same time while not requiring each child or student to complete all the components if it doesn’t match their learning or your teaching style.


In this series you will find 20 different and unique stories that will help your child recognize, read, spell, and say all of the Dolch 1st Grade Sight Words.  Each story contains a unique theme that allows your child to recognize and learn each one.  This is accomplished through a hands-on approach of cutting and pasting the letters of each sight word to have your child spell the words correctly.   Then, at the end of each story reading comprehension questions are included for you, as the teacher, to quiz your child to make sure they are not just memorizing the stories, but rather, they are in instead reading, learning, and comprehending the stories.  To further enhance your student’s comprehension of the sight words they are learning there is a section at the end of each story for you to have your student trace and write the sight words on their own.  To tie-in all of the components of each story I have included a unique book mark that your student can use to track their progress in each story while on their learning adventure. The Reading in 1st Reading Series does not stop at the stories though.


This fun and original curriculum is based on a science book that can be used to bolster your child’s science knowledge. Then, I created a unique series of chapter tests to quiz my children on the books concepts, facts, and theories.


I created this fun and unique original curriculum to help teach art to children through storybook artists. This curriculum teaches children art skills and techniques through the artists that create them and how they create them. There are 92 lessons in this curriculum that vary from illustrator to illustrator that teach techniques, art skills, and other art related topics.


This 150+ page Weather Detective science curriculum is filled with 12 units and a glossary.  Each unit provides different elements that teach about the science of weather.  Some of the learning teaching elements are mimicked in each unit, but you will find the following learning elements throughout this curriculum: Weather Terms Practice, Weather Diagrams, Weather Symbols, Crosswords, Science Experiments, Weather Instrument Building, Daily Weather Logs, Unit Quizzes, Weather Terms Glossary, and much more! This curriculum covers the topics of The Atmosphere, Temperature, Pressure, Wind, Climate, Clouds, Fronts and Forecasting, Thunder and Lightning, Rain, Snow, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes.




Pack Your Bags Monthly Lapbook Series
Journey to sixteen different countries!  Each lapbook contains the following components, themed to the country :
  • Fun Facts
  • Map the Country
  • How Seasons Affect this Country
  • Flag / Money / Population / Languages Book
  • Geography Book
  • Wall Card
  • Create a Travel Brochure
  • Encyclopedia Search Skills
The entire Pack Your Bag series is as follows :
  • Introduction Pack  (Download a free introductory pack, plus printable 'helpers' we have created to accompany the series.  Only found at Gypsy Road!)
  • Lesson 1 United States 
  • Lesson 2 Mexico 
  • Lesson 3 Argentina
  • Lesson 4 Brazil
  • Lesson 5 Egypt
  • Lesson 6 Greece
  • Lesson 7 Italy 
  • Lesson 8 Spain
  • Lesson 9 France 
  • Lesson 10 Germany 
  • Lesson 11 Switzerland 
  • Lesson 12 United Kingdom
  • Lesson 13 India 
  • Lesson 14 China
  • Lesson 15 Australia
  • Lesson 16 Canada

US State Study of the Week Series
The newest geography curriculum in her series is the US State Study of the Week.  Cover all 50 states, in-depth, over the course of a year.  Includes stories, printables, and craft ideas.






And remember, to get all of the original curriculums and access to all the printables on the E.H.M. Member’s Only Website all you have to do is join the E.H.M. Member’s Only Website. You can find out how to join the E.H.M. Member’s Only Website HERE for a low one-time, lifetime fee of $15.00.
http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/shop/?ap_id=sportz79

Thursday, August 18

Summer Side of Life (Gordon Lightfoot)

One of the best things about summer is the natural sweets that are in abundance!  Blueberries, blackberries, peaches, cherries, plums, strawberries....my mouth waters just thinking of it!  Today, we're making these natural sweets even sweeter with a couple of 'summer cakes' straight from the garden.  Bon Apetit!

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake
  • 1/2 c butter (softened)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/2 c yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 2 c blueberries
  1. Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, cornmeal, salt, soda, and powder.
  3. In another bowl, mix the honey and yogurt.  Then add to flour mix.
  4. Pour the butter mixture into a pan.  Then pour the second mixture on top of it.
  5. Sprinkle blueberries all over the top of the pan.
  6. Bake 30 minute at 375.  Cover with tin foil and bake another 10-15 minutes more.
  7. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Molasses Cake
  • 1 c mashed sweet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 c butter (softened)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Mix all ingredients together.  Spoon into cupcake liners.
  2. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350.
  3. Serve with cream cheese frosting!  (Sprinkle with cinnamon for extra oomph.)

Wednesday, August 17

Groovy Giveaway!

giveawayhop

Berenstain Bears Holiday Cookbook (Berenstain)
Be part of the fun and join Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear as they cook up holiday favorites and some unique eats for friends and family with the all-new The Berenstain Bears Holiday Cookbook. Filled with traditional holiday favorites like Frosted Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Pie, Hot Apple Cider Punch, Cranberry Stuffing, and some unique and fun recipes like Papa Bear’s Paw-Licking Good Chicken Wings, this kid-friendly cookbook will help Bear Country families, and families and friends everywhere, have the most wonderful year of eating ever!  Young cooks and their adult assistants will find recipes for beverages, meals and sides, and sweets and treats.

There are six holidays covered in this cookbook, each with its own section  : Valentine's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Fall Festivities, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  The sections are headed by scripture and pictures.  Each of the recipes also has a color photo of what is being made...and they all look tasty!!

The ingredients lists are clearly stated, and the recipes themselves are easy to follow.  Most of the preparation can be done by children, but they will need supervision.  Older and / or more experienced children can handle most of the cooking (with supervision) called for in the book.  Cooking together is always a great hands-on opportunity for learning measurements, nutrition, and food prep.  It's also a great bonding time...at least, in our kitchen it is!  

The Berenstain Bears’ Country Cookbook is well suited for our elementary aged children (6 & 9 years old), although aspiring chefs in the tween range will love it as well.  Although these recipes will require adult supervision and assistance, this is a great book for any Berenstain Bears fan family.  The fact that the cookbook is in full-color, beautifully made, and reasonably priced makes it a great gift option!


We are teaming up with The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island for a giveaway hop!  Use the link below to enter to win a copy.  (And if you can't wait, pick up a copy today!)

Sunday, August 14

Freezer Cooking : Back-to-Home-School Lunch Basics


Love to freezer cook?  Check out our new book : Freezer Cooking Through the Year!!

Baked Chicken Nuggets
  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into even bit sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp. seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. panko
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil spray

Directions :
  1. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  2. Place olive oil in a bowl and combine the panko, breadcrumbs and parmesan in another bowl.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then place it in the bowl of olive oil so that it coats the chicken pieces evenly.
  4. Coat the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture and place it in the baking sheet.
  5. Spray the top with an olive oil spray, and bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Flip the nuggets and bake for another 4-5 minutes.
  7. To freeze : Let cool, transfer to a cookie sheet, and flash freeze for 30 minutes to an hour. Place in freezer bags and freeze.
  8. To serve : Place on baking sheet and bake in 8-10 minutes on 425.


Be sure to check out our 2015 Back-To-School Recipes... 

Outside-In Cheeseburgers
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1'/z tsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions :
  1. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients just until everything is evenly dis­tributed. Don't overmix, as that will make your burgers tough.
  2. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. Form each portion into a flat ham­burger patty.
  3. To freeze : Place the patties on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Remove the frozen pat­ties from the sheet and place them in a freezer bag.  (You may choose to separate rows of burgers with wax paper.)
  4. To serve : Remove the desired number of patties from the bag.  Place the frozen patties on a hot grill or in a skillet. When the tops of the burgers appear wet, flip them over. Continue cooking until the burgers are done. Serve on buns with veggies and condiments.