Simple Family Dinner – Cornbread Chili Bake

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The wonderful blogging network that I am a part of (Kid Blogger Network) has put together a simple family dinner recipe exchange. We love to cook in this family, so I could not miss out on being a part of this great series. It didn’t take me long to figure out what recipe to write about, of everything I cook there is one recipe that stands out. It’s the one that my husband asks for EVERY SINGLE special occasion, and every person I have ever made it for has asked for the recipe…. My Cornbread Chili Bake.

Cornbread Chili Bake

Ok.. It’s not a “pretty” meal but it’s super tasty. This recipe is great because not only is it (mostly) a crockpot meal, but it also freezes well. This recipe makes a double batch for my family, so I freeze half for a dinner later in the month.

This concept can be used with any chili recipe. I have written out my personal chili recipe out for you. I’m not sure how “traditional” it is. I’ve never followed a recipe for it. I just go by taste. It’s more bean than meat because that is how I like it (I know.. unheard of in the south) and it has diced tomatoes because I love chunks of tomato in my chili. It is also ever changing, so taste and season as you go along.

Cornbread Chili Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of meat (I use beef but you can use turkey as a healthier option)
  • Small onion
  • 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 15oz cans of kidney beans
  • 2 15oz cans of pinto beans
  • 1 bell pepper (whichever color you prefer)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 2-3 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • A few pinches of sugar (for chili and cornbread)
  • Hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 25 oz of cornbread mix

 

 

Recipe:

Cook ground beef in a pan until browned. Season with 1 tablespoon of chili powder and salt and pepper.

Dice the onion and add it to the ground beef and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, beans, beef/onion mixture, and cut up pepper into a crockpot.

Season with the remaining seasonings

Allow the chili to cook all day, stirring occasionally. Check every once in a while to make sure you are pleased with the seasoning.

Preheat your oven to 400 degress

Mix your cornbread as directed

Split the chili between 2 8×8 pans

Spit the cornbread batter and pour it evenly over the chili. Sprinkle the top of the cornbread with sugar

Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes (until the cornbread is fluffy). Uncover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the cornbread is brown.

Serve with cheese and sour cream… and be prepared for everyone to ask for the recipe.

Cover the second dish with foil and freeze. On the day you want to cook it put the dish straight from the freezer into a 400 degree oven and cook covered for about an hour. Uncover and cook for an additional 20 minutes until the cornbread is browned.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family always does!

The followings is a list of bloggers who are participating in the Simple Family Dinner Recipe Exchange. You can also check out the pinterest page to find all of the recipes:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom | Inspired by Family | Sun Scholars | This Reading Mama | Life by Ashley Pichea | In Culture Parent | Raising Life Long Learners | Glittering Muffins | Life at the Zoo | Octavia and Vicky | Kid World Citizen | Kitchen Counter Chronicles | Nomad Parents | Childhood 101 | Triple T Mum | Adventures in Mommydom | The Freckled Homeschooler | Teach Beside Me | The Chirping Moms | Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes | So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler | Pickle Bums | The European Mama | The Golden Gleam | Forever, For Always, No Matter What | Motherhood on a Dime | Harrington Harmonies | Rainy Day Mum | Jenni Fischer | Cakes and Sribbles | Toddling Into Madness | Mermaids’ Makings | Mud Hut Mama | Here Come the Girls | All Done Monkey | Small Potatoes | Little Artists

 


Booking Across the USA – Virginia

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I am so excited that I have the opportunity to take part in the Booking Across the USA series, and as a proud Virginian I am overjoyed that I get to represent my beautiful state….

Edna Lewis Virginia Strawberry Shortcake

Virginia

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You Apple Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis

By Robbin Gowley

Edna Lewis was born and raised in Freetown, Orange County, Virginia. A farming settlement that was founded by her grandfather and two other emancipated slaves. She became an accomplished chef in a time when it was extremely unusual for a woman to be a chef, let alone a black woman. The book “Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make you Apple Pie” follows Edna’s family through the seasons as they plant, harvest, and preserve food on their small family farm.

I chose this book for several reasons… It’s a wonderful book about a famous Virginian, February is black history month and Edna Lewis is a great example of a pioneering African American woman, and finally because we are coming up to planting season here on our farm in Virginia and I felt it would be a great way to get Big B excited about planning and starting our garden.

At the end of the book there are 5 recipes (strawberry short cake, corn pudding, apple crisp, pecan drops, and nut-butter squares) that include fruits and vegetables that are harvested during the book. Big B loves strawberries and I am a bit of a sucker for strawberry shortcake, so I decided that we would do the strawberry short cake recipe after reading the book…

Strawberry Shortcake

Filling:

  • 7 cups of strawberries (1 of these cups will be used for garnish)
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 pint heavy/whipping cream
  • Sugar to taste

Shortcake:

  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk

Recipe:

  1. Rinse and hull the strawberries. If you have large strawberries half or quarter them. Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar. Allow the mixture to stand for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Booking Across the USA Virginia 8
  2. Chill heavy whipping cream in the fridge. The instructions call for you to put the cream in a metal bowl, but we do not have one, so we used a glass bowl.
  3. Set oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Grease a baking sheet with butter
  5. In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, cut-up butter, baking powder, and salt. Lightly process until the mixture resembles coarse meal and lumps the size of peas. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  6. Add milk and pulse until the dough is just mixed. Do not over process.
  7. Scoop dough out of the processor (once blade is removed) onto a floured surface. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  8. Gently pat the dough into a 4×8 rectangle. Handle the dough as little as possible in order to insure a fluffy shortcake. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  9. Dust a knife with flour and cut the dough into 8 squares. Place the squares onto the greased baking sheet.
  10. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkled with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry shortcake
  11. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the squares are golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  12. Whip the chilled heavy cream with an electric beater. Add the sugar until you reach the desired sweetness.
  13. Serve by splitting the shortcake. Spoon a generous helping of the sweetened berries over the bottom half of the shortcake. Cover with the second half of the shortcake and top with the whipped cream. Finally garnish with the fresh berries.

Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake

Seriously.. How amazing does this look? And it tastes just as good.

http://growingbookbybook.com/sample-page/

Here is a complete list of all the blogs that are participating in this series:

Alabama: Everyday Sanpshots

Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days

Arizona: Simply Kinder

Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas

California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom

Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now

Connecticut: The Teacher Park

Delaware: Mama Miss

Florida: Teaching Stars

Georgia: Fabulously First

Hawaii: Teaching With Style

Idaho: True Aim Education

Illinois: Growing Book by Book

Indiana: Teach Preschool

Iowa: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary

Kansas: KCEdventures

Kentucky: Chicken Babies

Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog

Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care

Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes

Massachusetts: Mama Smiles

Michigan: Play DrMom

Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory

Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

Missouri- Ready. Set. Read!

Montana: The Honey Bunch

Nebraska: The Good Long Road

Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts

New Hampshire: Elementary Matters

New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing

New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

New York: What Do We Do All Day

North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog

North Dakota: ND HealthWorks

Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog

Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher

Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time

Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade

South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom

South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory

Tennessee: No Monkey Business

Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen

Utah: Teach Beside Me

Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog

Virgina: Once Upon a Story and The Freckled Homeschooler

Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama

West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me

Wisconsin: Reading Confetti

Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle

USA: The Corner on Character

 *** This post contains an affiliate link ***



The Northern Lights Lesson

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One of my biggest goals with the homeschooling, aside from giving my children the education they need to excel in life, is to give them a life long love of learning. With this in mind I don’t shy away from exposing them to things that they might not fully understand. I believe showing them the exciting things that science and nature has to offer will spark the desire to explore, even if they don’t totally understand the science behind it. That is why I decided that I wanted to expose Big B to the Northern Lights during our Arctic Unit. The science behind the Northern Lights might be too far advanced for Big B to understand, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy them…

Northern Lights Lesson

I found this great article that explains the Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) in simple terms.

I started by giving Big B a very simple explanation of what the Northern Lights are, then showed him this National Geographic video:

Amazing Northern Lights Time Lapse

Northern Lights Lesson

After watching the video we did a fun project where Big B got to create his own Northern Lights…

Materials:

  • A tray or large container
  • Milk (I know it bothers many when people use food for play. It’s not something I like to do often, but this milk was “off” when we opened it, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. If it bothers you, you can use water. The milk just shows the colors nicely)
  • Food coloring
  • A dropper

Northern Lights Lesson

Pour the milk into the tray or container and make a bowl for each Northern Light color. I can never seem to find liquid food coloring anymore. Our grocery store only seems to carry the gel. So I had to mix the gel with a little warm water.

Demonstrate for your child how to collect the food coloring in the dropper and drip the color into the milk. The color will move and swirl around within the milk.

Northern Lights Lesson

Northern Lights Lesson

I allowed Big B to play with this for a while because he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. He transferred the color into the milk, the mixture back into the individual bowls, and back again. He made quite a mess.



Preschool Penguin Unit

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We are continuing our lessons on cold climate animals with one of Big B’s favorites – Penguins.

Preschool Penguin Unit

Books: The library is always our first stop when we are starting a new unit. The following are a few fun, educational books that we found:

Movies: There are GREAT penguin movies for kids. I am sure you are familiar with them:

Science Projects:

  • The Cold Climate Animal Experiment that I did with my Hibernation Unit will work with the Penguin Unit as well.
  • The penguin’s feathers are made waterproof by an oily substance. This protects the penguin’s body from the frigid temperatures of the water. I found a great experiment that demonstrates how water is repealed from the penguin feathers on the Perpetual Preschool - Cut feather shapes or even a penguin shape (like we did) out of construction paper and have the child color the entire paper with black and/or white crayon, then drip water onto the paper. The paper will soak but the areas with the crayon will repeal the water. The waxier the crayon the better.
  • Preschool Penguin UnitPreschool Penguin Unit
  • Penguins also stay warm by huddling together. If you are teaching the unit to a group of children, and it is currently cold where you are located, you can show the kids how huddling helps provide warmth. Take the children outside and have them stand separate from each other. Talk to them about how even with their coats on it still feels cold. Then have the kids huddle together  in a tight group for a short time. Ask them if they are warmer huddled as a group. Explain to them that penguins huddle together in order to stay warm.

Physical Activities:

  • Waddle like a Penguin! Recently Big B has enjoyed pretending his is different animals. After reading our first penguin book my husband demonstrated the penguin waddle for our son and they had a great time waddling around the house.
  • Place a ball on top of child’s feet and have them waddle around like a daddy penguin protecting his egg. You can also set up races where kids waddle with the ball on top of their feet.Preschool Penguin Unit
  • Preschool Express has a version of the “Penguin Hookey Pookey.” It’s a really cute idea.

Art Projects:

Footprint Penguin – White paper, Construction Paper, Paint

  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot and make a print on a piece of paper so that the toes are facing down. We didn’t have black paint so we used blue
  • Cut a circle shape out of white construction paper for the belly and a triangle out of orange construction paper for the beak. Once the paint is dry glue the shapes onto the penguin footprint
  • If you have goggly eyes glue them above the beak. We didn’t have goggly eyes, so I make eyes out of construction paper

Play:

  • A great way to reinforce the fact that penguins swim and can’t fly is by playing with penguin toys during bath time.

Snacks:

  • Penguins eat krill, squid, and fish. Give your child a chance to taste what it is like to be a penguin. If you have an adventurous eater attempt to cook a whole fish for your child to try. If not, make a tuna and mayo mixture for them to try on a cracker. This was not a great experience for Big B. He is not a fan of tuna however, Big B loves squid. We get calamari every time we go to a restaurant. Take your child out to try calamari at a local restaurant (unless you are talented enough to cook it at home).

I hope you and your children enjoy learning about penguins as much and Big B and I have!

*** This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links ***

 



Hibernation Unit

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Our preschool science curriculum features both season and animal units, so with winter here it’s the perfect time to study the change in the season and animals who are either greatly effected by the winter weather or are cold climate animals. We started out this winter season with a hibernation unit.

Hibernation Unit

It’s amazing the things that I have learned while homeschooling my son. I was doing research and learned that bears don’t “technically” hibernate under the original definition of hibernation. Animals who truly hibernate go into a very deep sleep and cannot be disturbed. They can be moved without even being aware of it. Bears however sleep for weeks at a time and can be disturbed. Animals who hibernate include; badgers, bats, chipmunks, dormouse, ground squirrels, hamsters, groundhogs, hedgehogs, nighthawks, prairie dogs, raccoons, and skunks.

Books

I started by reading Big B lots of books about bears and hibernation. Our library has an entire section of science children books on animals. I got a few books that teach about bears and other animals who generally hibernate. I also got a few story books where the animals (mostly bears) are preparing to hibernate.

Snacks

Hibernating animals build up fat reserves (and in some cases store foods) to sustain themselves through the winter. They will eat things like berries, nuts and other vegetation. Offer some of these foods to your child as snack (considering allergies) and talk to them about how these foods help the hibernating animals make it through the winter.

Cave Building

We talked about how animals build or seek out shelter to protect themselves while they are hibernating. Big B and his dad built a cave for him play bear and act like he was hibernating.

Preschool Hibernation Unit

Fat Storing Experiment

I ran across this Animals in Winter science experiment from Preschool – What Fun We Have. I felt like it was the perfect way to show Big B how animals store fat to help them stay warm during the winter.

I started out with two bags, shortening, and ice.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

I covered Big B’s hand with one of the bags and then handed him a few pieces of ice

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

I then liberally covered his hand with the shortening and covered it with the second bag. I handed him the ice again.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

The shortening represents the additional fat that helps protects the animal from the cold weather.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

Big B now has a better idea of how and why animals hibernate.



Cooking With Your Kids: Gingerbread Cookies

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So, I am a day late with my “Cooking With Your Kids” series post. On Friday Big B and I made gingerbread cookies, but they needed to be refrigerated for 3 hours and we wanted to wait until Dad was home today to decorate them. We wanted to make it a family event.

Gingerbread Cookies

I’ve never made gingerbread cookies before, but I thought it would be a fun holiday activity to do as a family. I found a really great recipe from Food Network here. The link has directions for Royal Icing that I have not including since we used store bought cooking decorating icing. It allowed us to have multiple colors, and they came in nice neat bags that made it easy for Big B to use.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg
Whenever we do more difficult recipes I will premix all of the seasoning into a very small bowl so Big B can just dump them into the mixture all at once.

Gingerbread Cookies

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper and set aside.

Gingerbread Cookies

Using an electric mixer at high speed beat the butter and vegetable shortening together until well-combined. Add the brown sugar and beat for about 2 minutes. Finally beat in the molasses and egg.

Gingerbread Cookies

 Big B was not a fan of the constant loud “beating” of this recipe.

Gingerbread Cookies

Using a wooden spoon this time gradually mix in the flour mixture until it forms a stiff dough.

Gingerbread Cookies

Divide the dough into two disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled. About 3 hours. The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

Gingerbread Cookies

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Deal with one disk at a time allowing it to warm for about ten minutes before trying to roll it out. If you attempt to roll it out too soon it will crack. Lightly dust the counter with flour to prevent the cookies from sticking. Roll out the cookies to about 1/8 thick.

Gingerbread Cookies

This is where my camera battery died, so I don’t have any images of the cutting of the cookies. Use the cookie cutter and put the gingerbread men onto a non-stick cookie sheet about one inch apart. Once on the cookie sheets Big B and I added raisins to the cookies. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely.

Gingerbread Cookies

 Now the fun part… decorating! This is the example I did for Big B…

Gingerbread Cookies

 

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

We had a great afternoon decorating cookies together as a family! I think this will be a new holiday tradition.


Preparing for Big B’s First Dental Cleaning

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Big B turned 3 a few months ago and I have been meaning to take him to his first dental cleaning. He has been to the dentist for a check up before, but at that appointment they simply looked at his teeth. Big B is generally well behaved at doctors appointments. He does what his doctor asks, has no trouble answering her questions, and never puts up a fight when it comes time for shots. The difference is that he is very familiar with his doctor and nurse. He has never been to this dentist, and has never had a teeth cleaning, so in order to help this appointment go smoothly I devoted some time to explain what was going to happen and to teach him about dental health.

Preparing for Dental Visit and Learning About Dental Health

The week leading up to his appointment Big B and I talked a great deal about dental health. I allowed him to brush my teeth and well as his sister’s, so he could get a better look at what he was doing. I even finally got around to doing a great dental health activity from Sense of Wonder that I ran across a while ago and have been meaning to do (there are other dental health activities on her post that I didn’t do, so you should check it out).

For this activity I created a mouth using a piece of cardboard and an egg carton. I took the bottoms off the egg holders and glued them in the shape of a mouth on the cardboard. I painted the teeth white and the tongue area pink. I then stuffed the spaces between the teeth with green tissue paper.

I talked to Big B about how the green tissue paper represented the nasty germs that get stuck between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach, and that you need to use floss to get rid of them. It was also good that the egg carton I used had crevices throughout them so I could explain how our teeth have lots of peaks and valleys and that you have to be very careful when you brush to make sure that you got them all. You could use the same mouth, dirty the teeth and teach your child how to clean them properly and throughly.

Preparing for Dental Visit and Learning About Dental Health

Preparing for Dental Visit and Learning About Dental Health

A day after I introduced this activity to Big B I found him in the dinning room/classroom doing it on his own. I asked him what he was doing and he said “getting the germs out of my teeth”

Preparing for Dental Visit and Learning About Dental Health

Big B did a great job at his appointment yesterday. I held his hand while the dental hygienist cleaned his teeth. I was so proud of him. I think the time we spent going over the the procedures helped him the most. He was confident going in, and there weren’t any surprises.

If you are interested in reading more about first dental appointments and how the parents prepared their children check out these links:



Snowman Family Display

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The Snowman Family Display is our third, and final winter window display for our classroom/dinning room. First, we had the Popsicle Stick Snowflakes. Then we had The Three Jewels (which can be found at the bottom of the Bodhi Day post).

Snowman Family Display

This fun display features an image of each of our family members’ faces on the head of a snowmen. Each family member made their own snowman (except for Little B, who is too young to participate), so that personalities were able to show.

I didn’t get a lot of photographs of the process of this craft. We were having too much fun. I realized after all was said and done that I just had a huge mess and no pictures… Although Big B was very happy to pose for a “process” picture for me.

Snowman Family Display

Materials:

  • Pictures of each family member. Make sure the images are relatively the same size.
  • Glue (stick and bottled)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Random art supplies that can be used to decorate the snowman; buttons, beads, string, etc.
Start by making the background scene on your window or board. I did a snowy ground with a winter tree. I put everything up with tape. I did use the glue stick to keep the skinny branches on the window. I am sure you could use the glue for the whole display though. I have seen people use glue stick glue effectively on glass before.
Snowman Family Display

Cut the faces out of the photographs

Snowman Family Display

Cut three circles out of white printer paper or construction paper, making each piece larger than the last. Do this for each family member. Keep in mind the size of the person in real life, and make the snowman family proportionate… as best you can. To put the snowman together use the glue stick and slightly overlap the circles.

Decorate your snowman. For paper decorations use the glue stick. It will hold the piece stronger, dry faster, and wont cause the paper to wrinkle. For heavier decorations use the glue from the glue bottle. It holds the heavy decorations more securely.

Snowman Family Display

Allow your snowman to dry completely. If you put it up too soon the heavier decorations will fall off.

Snowman Family Display

Add your snowmen to your background. I put them up with tape.

Snowman Family Display

As you can see my husband got a little carried away with his snowman. He rarely gets to do our crafts or homeschool activities with us because of his work schedule. He liked getting the chance to join in on the fun… I think I might have to plan more crafts for times when he is home.

Snowman Family Display



Celebrating Bodhi Day

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I love learning about other cultures’ and religions’ holidays, so I thought some of my readers would be interested in hearing about a holiday that is important to our family. We are Buddhist. Our friends and family all know this, but it’s not something I often talk about on the blog or online in general, but I did want to share our family’s celebration of Bodhi day.

Celebrating Bodhi Day Buddhist Holiday

Bodhi Day is a holiday that celebrates the day that Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. This holiday is celebrated on the 8th day of the 12th month (December 8th on our calendar).

Prince Siddhartha left the luxuries of his life in order to search for the root of suffering, and how to be liberated from it. Siddhartha spent six years living as an ascetic under six different teachers. During this time he was unable to find the answers that he was searching for, so left his practices as an extreme ascetic and vowed to sit under the Bodhi tree until he found them. He meditated under the tree for a week and on the 8th day, upon seeing the morning star, he reached enlightenment.

There are many ways to celebrate Bodhi Day, and it generally picks up traditions that are common for the area of the followers. Many use this day for remembrance and meditation. For our Bodhi day traditions we also try to incorporate activities that are interesting and engaging for our children.

Eating Vegetarian

Many Buddhist are vegetarians, but this is not something we practice in our everyday lives. We do however, eat vegetarian on the Buddhist holidays.

Rice and Milk

Rice and Milk is an important tradition for Bodhi day. It’s said that Sujata offered rice and milk (or Rice-Milk, which I am assuming is a mixture of rice and milk) to the Buddha in order to help him regain his strength. For one meal on Bodhi day we consume rice and milk in remembrance of that gesture.

Celebrating Bodhi Day Buddhist Holiday

Celebrating Bodhi Day Buddhist Holiday

Our Holiday Tree

Many religions incorporate a tree into their holiday traditions this time of year. It all started with the pagans for winter solstice, and was later pick up by the Christians. Generally Buddhist decorate a Bodhi tree with multicolored lights to represent the many paths to enlightenment, but we do not have access to the Bodhi tree and because we celebrate some of the secular traditions associated with Christmas we use an evergreen tree instead.

We talk to Big B about how Buddha was sitting under the Bodhi tree when he reached enlightenment. We explain to him that Bodhi trees are very common in India, so children in India are able to decorate the Bodhi tree. Evergreen trees are common for our area, so it is easier, and makes more sense, for us to use an evergreen.

Candles

At the end of the day we light a series of candles at our main Buddha alter. We have three candles set up behind our Buddha. Each one represents one of the Three Jewels; The Buddha, The Dharma (Natural Law), and The Sangha (The Community). As we light the candles we explain what each one means. We have one candle sitting in front of our Buddha. This candle symbolizes enlightenment and is lit each day for 30 days starting on the 8th.

Celebrating Bodhi Day Buddhist Holiday

Jewel Craft

I wanted to do a Bodhi Day craft with Big B to represent ‘The Three Jewels.’ We recently did a popsicle snowflake window display. I loved the way they turned out, and I thought doing something similar for our jewel craft would be nice in one of the other windows in our classroom/dinning room. I made three jewel shapes with popsicle sticks and had Big B paint and glitter them. I then put a layer of tissue paper on the back so they would be pretty and colorful when the light shined through.

Celebrating Bodhi Day Buddhist Holiday

Celebrating Bodhi Day Buddhist Holiday

The Buddha

Finally, PBS has a documentary on the life of The Buddha. Each year we end the night watching this documentary. It’s beautifully made and narrated by Richard Gere.

This is such a wonderful time of year with all of the different holidays. I hope you enjoyed learning about one of the holidays that is so important to us.


Cooking With Your Kids: Banana Bread

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Banana Bread is one of my favorite things to bake. It’s something that I make often, and because of this I already have a “go to” recipe, but since we have been cooking out of my favorite childhood cook book, Alpha-Bakery Children’s Cookbook, I decided to use the recipe out of the book instead.

Cooking with your Kids: Banana Bread

I do have to give a little disclaimer when it comes to the banana bread recipe in the Alpha-Bakery book; when I make banana bread, or really any bread for that matter, I mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another, then mix everything together. It allows you to mix all the ingredients thoroughly. This recipe however, instructs the baker to mix everything in one bowl. I’m assuming because it’s a recipe geared towards children, and they want it to be as easy as possible. We decided to go along with the recipe and mix everything together in one bowl, and when I was eating a piece later that night I got a nice bite of what was either baking soda or baking powder… not pleasant. Determine what is best for you and your child. Either mix everything in one bowl or mix the wet and dry ingredients separately first, but know that with one bow you will have to take extra care while mixing.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Cups of Mashed Banana (About 3 large bananas)
  • 3/4 Cup of Vegetable oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Nuts (Optional. We didn’t use nuts)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Preheat oven to 325

Grease a loaf pan – 9x5x3 or 8.5×4.5×2.5

Mash bananas

Cooking with your Kids: Banana Bread

Mix sugar, bananas, oil and eggs in a large bowl.

Cooking with your Kids: Banana Bread

Mmmmm… Smells good!

Cooking with your Kids: Banana Bread

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Stir well, especially if you are doing all the mixing in one bowl. Then pour into pan.

Cooking with your Kids: Banana Bread

Bake until a toothpick poked into the bread removes clean, about 60-70 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.

You can’t go wrong with banana bread! It would be a great gift for your child to make for friends, family or neighbors.