Month: March 2019

Resurrection Eggs/Easter Advent Eggs

Resurrection Eggs/Easter Advent Eggs

Today we’re continuing our ramp-up to Easter with what people usually call “Resurrection Eggs” (personally I like the term Advent Eggs)– another one of my goals for this year! “Advent” usually refers to the Christmas season, specifically the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, but […]

An afternoon at the Ark

An afternoon at the Ark

There’s not a lot that can entice me to stop when I’m road-tripping it solo-parenting style with the kids. Let me re-phrase that – *nothing* sways me from my myopic goal of covering the 16 driving hours of distance between Detroit and New Orleans. Except […]

Classic Easter Books for Children

Classic Easter Books for Children

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One of my goals for this year was to make my children’s Easter collection of books more robust, or, erm, exist… We have a pretty good collection of Christmas books going that I set out for them to read during the Christmas season. But I struggled to find Easter books that weren’t all bunnies and flowers. I have nothing against bunnies and flowers, mind you, but also wanted some books with cultural and/or theological depth to them. Plus the few books I did have were geared toward toddlers, and my older children are no longer toddlers (sniff). So I’ve been scouring the internet, and searched my library’s catalog for Easter books, and have come up with several charming ones that explore the various European traditions associated with the holiday, as well as several other books that focus on the Resurrection story. Without further ado, may I present a short list of Easter books for children (and one for adults) that we’ve enjoyed!

In the European tradition section:

Don’t let the cover of We Celebrate Easter fool you. It make look like a fluffy bunny book, but it is surprisingly full of recipes, rhymes, stories, various traditions around the globe, and explanation of Easter symbolism. Slightly eclectic, but a thorough overview and introduction to the holiday.

If the adults want to explore, Rick Steves has a European Easter book that piqued my interest. It’s in my Thiftbooks cart…


Rechenka’s Eggs tells the story of a Russian grandmother who experiences an Easter miracle with her decorated eggs. A sweet tale that offers a glimpse into the tradition of gorgeously intricate eggs. Also in my cart.

That’s all I’ve currently found with an international vibe…I’d love to find more books that highlight the rich Easter traditions around the world. Please send any recommendations my way!

On the theological/religious list:

I’ve listed The Glorious Impossible first, since it kinda bridges the European and theological books. Madeleine L’Engle’s text (a retelling of Jesus’ entire life) is illustrated by Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. I’ve put it on my list to buy next year, since it looks text-heavy (a plus in my book, but perhaps better suited to slightly older children than mine are currently). Would also be a great art history lesson on Giotto!

God Gave Us Easter is one of the books we already own. It talks about death and life and promises in a more abstract/general way, and is a good reminder for younger children that candy and the Easter bunny isn’t why we celebrate Easter.

For somewhat older children, The Easter Story is a beautifully illustrated telling of the Resurrection story from the viewpoint of a donkey who is there to witness it all.

The book that I was probably the most excited to find (I ordered it last month!) is Easter Love Letters from God. There are seven stories about the events leading up to the Resurrection. Each has a pop-up letter and a scripture reference, and lines up well with a Holy Week countdown. It does not shy away from the crucifixion part of the story, but is done in a manner that works well even for young children. (I was especially excited to find this book because one of my other goals this year was to finally put together Easter Advent Eggs.  We’ll open the eggs starting on Palm Sunday, and so I was delighted to find a book that will coordinate with them. The eggs are on my list to-do this week!)

The two books below are both in my cart to add to our collection: The Story of Easter and Jesus Is Risen! I will update this post once they’ve arrived, but they look both visually and theologically appealing.

                                  

Easter has become “my holiday”, and I’m excited to finally feel like we’ll celebrate it more properly this year! Please send any other book recommendations (for adults or children) my way!

The links above are provided through the Amazon Affiliates program and we may receive a commission if you purchase books through a link. It does not affect the price you pay.

Planning a Trip to Europe: Part 5, Packing Tips and Strategies

Planning a Trip to Europe: Part 5, Packing Tips and Strategies

I feel that there has been much (metaphorical) ink spilled on the interweb on the subject of packing. I have no desire to rehash ad naseum what everyone else has said, but here’s an outline of how we pack and what has worked for us. […]

Adventures with Food: Indian Butter Chicken

Adventures with Food: Indian Butter Chicken

Welcome to another family favorite recipe! This is one of those dishes that I would never have guessed ALL my children would love as much as they do, but my five-year-old has declared it his “1000% favorite food”! (For the record, roasted tomato soup with […]

Life Lately: Wedding Weekend!

Life Lately: Wedding Weekend!

So the clan (Cahoots Crew/Krewe included) gathered this past weekend to celebrate the marriage of one of our sisters. It was a DIY wedding, and it is an indication of how hectic it was that we failed to get a single Cahoots picture to mark the occasion (except the whole family one). Le sigh.

How DIY? Michelle organized and set up and decorated, our dear sister-in-love arranged the flowers (except for the boutonnieres and corsages, which Michelle and I made. YouTube tutorial, anyone?), I made the cake and played the piano, my oldest was the flower girl, the dads and uncles did heavy duty watching the kidlets, and our father officiated. Definitely a family affair! (Not sure I’d actually recommend that level of DIY, so it probably won’t be a repeated phenomenon to that extent for the next sister, but it got done. We love you anyway, sisters!!)

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Chocolate raspberry wedding cake

It happened to be the same church where David and Michelle got married, so memories, memories!

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Sunday morning after the wedding most of the family gathered at my (Melissa’s) house for a casual brunch; if I’m honest it was probably my favorite gathering of the weekend, because we actually got to sit and visit with everyone! Luxurious no-work brunch courtesy of 2 dozen frozen Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat). The best!!

Our kids have been thrilled to get in so much cousin time; any happy excuse to see each other and everyone else too! (Didn’t hurt that the Detroit Crew left snow behind to revel in spring weather and flip-flops.) Seeing the people we love best was icing on the cake (ahem) of a happy occasion!

Reading Round-Up: Recent Recommendations

Reading Round-Up: Recent Recommendations

                                           Those of you who haven’t met us in real life may be forgiven for thinking that all we do is dream about travel and eat. And eat and travel. Well, almost. While I must admit those are […]

Pączki Day!

Pączki Day!

One of the perks of moving every two years is getting to experience the cultural variety that the US has to offer. Whether at the World Ice Art Championship in Fairbanks, Alaska, or at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockport, Maine, we haven’t had to […]

Adventures with Food: Carbonara with Fresh Pasta

Adventures with Food: Carbonara with Fresh Pasta

Once we started making our own pasta, we were excited to begin adapting some of our favorite recipes for use with the good stuff. 😉 This one is a family favorite (I mean, who doesn’t like carbonara?) that we originally found on Simply Recipes. I’ve upped the bacon and garlic and given instructions for use with fresh pasta. Enjoy! (Printable recipe at the end of the post.)

Carbonara with Fresh Pasta

Serves 6

Fresh pasta ingredients:

  • 300 grams semolina flour
  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs at room temperature

Carbonara ingredients: 

    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 pound bacon (or pancetta), diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 5 whole eggs*
    • 1 1/4 cups grated parmesan (or pecorino) cheese
  • Black pepper to taste

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First, you’ll want to mix up your pasta, wrap in it plastic wrap, and have it resting for an hour. While you’re waiting, dice the bacon, mince the garlic, and grate the parmesan. Whisk together the eggs and half of the parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup) and set aside.

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After pasta dough has rested, roll it out using your pasta roller and hang your noodles. We prefer fettuccini for this recipe, though tagliolini or spaghetti would also work (you’ll need to adjust pasta cooking times if you choose a different noodle cut).

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

While that’s coming to a boil, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large (5 or 6 qt.) sauté pan. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat.

Cook your fresh fettuccini until al dente (about 2 minutes – taste-test it before draining). **Reserve a cup of pasta water.** Put the still-dripping noodles into the sauté pan with the bacon/garlic mixture and toss quickly to incorporate. Add the egg/parmesan mixture and continue to toss. As needed, add pasta water until you get a creamy, rich mixture (you shouldn’t need the full cup of reserved water). Top with freshly ground black pepper and the remaining parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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*Worried about cooking with raw eggs? The heat of the bacon/garlic mixture as well as the heat of the just-boiled noodles cooks them enough, and we’ve never had an issue with it. If this is a concern for you, don’t let it keep you from trying this recipe! Try using pasteurized eggs.

Carbonara with Fresh Pasta

Serves 6

Ingredients

Fresh pasta ingredients:

    300 grams semolina flour

      300 grams all-purpose flour

        6 eggs at room temperature

          Carbonara ingredients:

            1 Tbsp. olive oil

              1 pound bacon (or pancetta), diced

                4 garlic cloves, minced

                  5 whole eggs*

                    1 1/4 cups grated parmesan (or pecorino) cheese

                      Black pepper to taste

                        Instructions

                        First, you'll want to mix up your pasta, wrap in it plastic wrap, and have it resting for an hour. While you're waiting, dice the bacon, mince the garlic, and grate the parmesan. Whisk together the eggs and half of the parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup) and set aside.

                          After pasta dough has rested, roll it out using your pasta roller and hang your noodles. We prefer fettuccini for this recipe, though tagliolini or spaghetti would also work (you'll need to adjust pasta cooking times if you choose a different noodle cut).

                            Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

                              While that's coming to a boil, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large (5 or 6 qt.) sauté pan. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat.

                                Cook your fresh fettuccini until al dente (about 2 minutes - taste-test it before draining). **Reserve a cup of pasta water.** Put the still-dripping noodles into the sauté pan with the bacon/garlic mixture and toss quickly to incorporate. Add the egg/parmesan mixture and continue to toss. As needed, add pasta water until you get a creamy, rich mixture (you shouldn't need the full cup of reserved water). Top with freshly ground black pepper and the remaining parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

                                  Notes

                                  *Worried about cooking with raw eggs? The heat of the bacon/garlic mixture as well as the heat of the just-boiled noodles cooks them enough, and we've never had an issue with it. If this is a concern for you, don't let it keep you from trying this recipe! Try using pasteurized eggs.