Thursday, July 29, 2010

Church Potluck Recipe: Broccoli Casserole

Our church usually has one potluck dinner a month. Coming up with something to take can be nerve racking at times. A couple of months ago it was our new priest’s birthday and we had a potluck lunch given in his honor. I brought Broccoli Casserole and several people asked me for the recipe so I guess it was a hit.

Broccoli Casserole

2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen broccoli (thawed and drained very well)
1 stick margarine or butter (divided)
½ lb. Velveeta Cheese (cubed)
1 can of mushroom stems and pieces (drained well)
1/2 tube of Ritz Crackers

Put frozen broccoli in a colander and run warm water over it. Drain thoroughly by smashing it down with a piece of wax paper and patting dry with a paper towel. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan add ½ stick of margarine and Velveeta Cheese. Melt and fold mushrooms and thoroughly drained broccoli into it. Put mixture in a buttered casserole dish. Melt ½ stick of margarine in a sauce pan. Crumble ½ tube of Ritz Crackers into melted butter. Sprinkle cracker mixture on top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or 35 minutes at 325 degrees.

* I usually double this recipe and it fits in a 2 quart or a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catholic Family Blogs

I am always amazed by how devoted and creative some Catholic families are in teaching the faith. I have come across a few blogs that dedicate much of their time and effort in incorporating the Catholic faith into their family lives.

Here are a few Catholic family blogs that I really enjoy. Please add more to the list so others can enjoy them as well. Welcome! Embrace your amazing Catholic Culture by "icing" your Catholic Cake with all of these yummy "extras"! This is a place to find Catholic Arts and Crafts, Fun Food, Feast Day Celebration ideas, and much, much more! Once you have a solid foundation for your Catholic Cake, why not add some icing? :-) My greatest wish is that this blog find practical ideas to help you celebrate with your families our Catholic faith, following the main festivals of the liturgical calendar. (A Spanish blog that you can easily click on the translate button on the top to read their fantastic posts.) Here I will share a few of the blessings I treasure, as well as other thoughts about home educating, mothering and just life in general! Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness. We are a Roman Catholic Family and Warriors for Christ. We are imperfect but we begin and end our days at the foot of the cross. We try to put our faith in God first. By first loving Him, we can only hope to love one another more perfectly. What you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Art Caddy

Your students have an art project to do and you need to have the supplies ready and easily accessible. The cheapest and most versatile thing to have is an art caddy.

This colorful plastic caddy features one large and two smaller compartments for toting around all your student's art supplies such as markers, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, glue, etc. You can even put individual containers in the compartments to have lots of different craft supplies available for the students to use. (You can also use a cleaning caddy as an art caddy. They are relatively the same thing.)

*TIP: Just put what supplies the students need to make the craft in the art caddy and place it in the middle of the table. Avoid putting extra supplies in the art caddy that are not needed to make the craft. Students will probably use them and craft supplies can be limited in some CCD programs. Students will also tend to make a bigger mess when too many craft supplies are available for them to use.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My CCD Craft Storage Mess

Each of us has those dreaded piles of CCD craft supplies scattered around in various locations in the house, taking up much needed space that the family could use. Needless to say, having all those craft supplies spread from one end of the house to the other in obscure locations makes it hard to find what you need when you need it. I therefore took it upon myself to find ONE place to store all my CCD crafts so our house could go back to some resemblance of order and return to our blissful organized days of long ago.

First, I gathered ALL my CCD craft supplies. I was amazed how much stuff I had strewn about and stashed in such crazy and weird places that no person in their right mind would store something there (I even found craft supplies tucked away in the bathroom!). It was a amazing endeavor because all was not lost. Every now and then I gave out a delightful little squeal making my son think I had gone completely mad when I found stuff I had been looking for years to make certain crafts. Pleased with my fruitful accomplishment for a job well done, I rewarded myself with a much needed break and had a Diet Coke (yes, I’m on a diet, but who isn’t when they are 50 years old).

After my scavenger hunt I put things in organized piles: construction paper and craft foam sheets, general craft supplies (googly eyes, pipe cleaners, paper plates, crayons, glue, colored pencils, etc.), craft supplies to donate to the parish, samples (I have several samples of crafts to show the students so they will understand what we are making), etc. I even had a pile of games that I do with my students (not file folder games which I keep in a file folder box, but games that go with Bible stories or religious topics such as: various card games, Temple Bowling, Bop It, Ballzerko, etc.). I also have to collect certain objects to make some of the crafts (example: Welch’s Grape Juice plastic containers, toilet paper rolls, glass jars, etc.) and I had a pile for that as well.

I then threw away the bad stuff (dried up paint, markers, glue, etc.) and during my foraging expedition for hidden craft supplies I found a place to store my CCD stuff in one secure location (some place that hubby would not get into and make a total mess of). After careful deliberation and thoughtful examination the selected location turned out to be one end of the closet in the den. I know it isn’t much, but beggars can’t be choosy. My designated CCD craft/game area was only 63 inches high, 23 inches deep and 23 inches wide and I was determined to make the most of it regardless on the limited space I procured.

I wanted to make this little project cheap. How cheap you ask? Cheap is my middle name so I went about looking for what I could use that was already in the house to make my “dream closet” that would be the envy of every CCD teacher on the planet (yeah, right).

So my priorities were simple:

1. My “dream closet” would be cheap.

2. Items would be stored in a fashion that made sense to me regardless of what others think my “dream closet” should be.

3. My “dream closet” was definitely not a waste of time and worthless.

4. Everything would fit in my “dream closet” or hubby will surely get rid of it.

5. I will be able to find things quickly and easily.

I found an empty closet basket organizer thingy in the attic from the dark ages that had 4 wire drawers (3 deep and 1 shallow) and I literally had to shove it inside the small area that was designated to be my “dream closet”. I then put small craft supplies (such as beads, shells, googly eyes, etc.) in ziploc bags to make it easy for me to grab and take to CCD.

I needed something to put all the crazy little bags in so I bought some clear plastic boxes (6 qt. size) at Target for $1.29 each (I wanted to use old shoeboxes but I only had one on hand). I then organized the ziploc bags in the plastic boxes and labeled each box on the lid and front using blank sticky labels that I already had. These little plastic boxes stack nicely in the wire drawers and since each one is labeled I can find what I need easily.

I also labeled each drawer with the contents of each with plastic sleeve name tag thingies left over from hubby’s various conventions and meetings that he goes to. I just removed his name card and used the back of the card to write down what was in each basket and slipped it inside the holder. Each name tag holder has a clip on it to attach to your collar or pocket and I used them to clip to the wire basket.

Drawer #1: Construction Paper, Craft Foam, Contact Paper, Staplers, 3 Hole Puncher

Drawer #2: Craft/Desk Supplies & Samples

Drawer #3: Paper Plates, Cups, Paper Bags, Yarn, Craft Foam shapes, Fiber Fill

Drawer #4: Games, Collectable Craft Objects

In a spare spiral notebook that I found during my frantic craft supply invasion all over the house I wrote a list of all the supplies that I have, how many of each item, and where they are located in my “dream closet”. Yes, hubby said this was over kill, but it is my “dream closet” and I wanted it organized and I wanted to know what I had, how many of the supplies I had, and where they were. Since I’m getting up there in age I sometimes forget where I put things and how many I have (remember the stuff stored in the bathroom and also finding items that had been lost for years?) and I thought this was extremely prudent for me to do so.

*All in Drawer #2

Box #1: Samples & Extra Cut Out Crafts
3 Mother’s Day craft foam heart frames
11 Mosaic Crosses
2 Our Father popsicle frames
7 Our Father prayer printables
4 craft foam fish
19 stained glass cross frames

Box #2: Desk Supplies and Paint Pens
3 boxes crayons
1 box Hi Impact Markers
2 rolls Scotch clear tape
1 box colored pencils
1 box paint pens (12 various colors)
3 large paint writers (gold, red, and green glitter)
4 small glitter containers (red, green, gold, silver)
3 small fabric writers (1 green, 2 glow in the dark)
2 glue gun refills

Box #3: Beads, Tissue Paper Sequins, Jewels, Googly Eyes, Shells
3 bags pony beads (various colors)
40 wooden beads
1 small bag of 3 prong beads
1 bag sequins
1 bag acrylic jewels
37 medium googly eyes
1 bag small googly eyes
1 small bag sea shells

Box #4: Craft Supplies
2 containers cupcake liners
9 tea light candles
2 rolls crepe paper
7 clothes pens
1 metallic braid
1 thin white ribbon
1 bag grass seed

With everything done this is my “dream closet” that cost only $5.16 to create. (If I had more shoeboxes it would have cost me $0.)

I even have room to put shelves above the closet organizer when the need arises for more storage. I also found a shoe holder (canvas with pockets to put shoes in) that I hung on the back of the closet door and I could label each pocket if the craft supplies become larger.

Thinking of how organized I will be I just can’t wait until CCD starts so my students can make some crafts and do some activities so they can learn about our Faith in a fun and educational way.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Religious Classroom Bulletin Boards

Need to do a bulletin board for your religious classroom? Here are several sites to give you some ideas.

Classroom Displays and Bulletin Boards- Pages and pages of Christian bulletin boards Christian Themed Bulletin Boards Creative Christian bulletin board ideas to brighten up your children's Sunday school classroom.

Bulletin Board Ideas- Scripture & Character boards (scroll down for these) Bulletin Board Displays For Sunday School Just click on Holidays, Seasonal or Themes Several bulletin boards posted as well as some links