This is so not a food blog that it almost cracks me up that I’ve put about three recipes up in the past month. But since I got several inquiries as to what in the world these are, I present you with the recipe for Poppywiches!

1/2 C butter
1/4 t horseradish mustard (I use whatever brown, spicy mustard I happen to have on hand)
1/8 t Accent (this is like some old school salt alternative. Think salt would be fine)
1/4 C chopped onion
1 t poppy seeds

Melt butter, mix all that together, then spread on buns. Add shaved ham and swiss cheese. Wrap each sandwich in foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. I’ve substituted the cheese with all manner of other cheeses and have used ham that isn’t (gasp) shaved, though I really like the shaved texture. I always double this recipe and doubled it makes about 8 sandwiches.

To do these in the crock pot, I used my biggest pot that has a “keep warm” level just below “low.” I put them on low for about 15 minutes and then switched it to keep warm and they stayed in the pot for 5 hours and were fine!

This recipe comes courtesy of Craig’s mom and they’ve been on the menu for ten years now.

Will You Still Love Me If I Confess That I Like Country Music?

Just curious.

I’ve found myself listening to the local country station more than the pop station lately. I just added Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts to my Your Music queue and am (sheepishly) excited about it coming soon. In the past few months I’ve iTuned Jesus Take the Wheel, Boot Scootin’ Boogie, This One’s For the Girls and just flatt out bought an entire album of Rascal (pun only for those who have any idea of what I’m talking about…).

Oh, and last month I started drinking coffee for the first time too. And I sort of like it.

What’s happening to me???

My High School Experience in About 300 Words

I’m working on my reading log for class tonight and wrote this:

What The Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

Chapter 1 – Introduction: Defining the Best

On page 7, Bain says, “A teacher might scare students into memorizing material for short-term recall by threatening punishment or imposing excessively burdensome workloads, but those tactics might also leave students traumatized by the experience and disliking the subject matter. Any teacher who causes students to hate the subject has certainly violated our principle of “do no harm.”

This idea is particularly poignant to me for this reason: I can think back to specific instances in my own schooling career in which I began hating certain subjects because of the way they were taught. I have held on to the belief for many years that I really don’t like particular subjects when now, as I’m learning them again with my own children during our homeschooling, I’m finding that I do enjoy them after all. I may not enjoy them to the level of pursuing a master’s education in them, but I certainly don’t hate them.

Yet the intensity with which they were taught to me and the expectation of mastery over material I was, before then, never exposed to, painted me back into the corner of disregard. I did not master the material according to the instructor’s intention, therefore I failed (or in my case, earned a “C”). In a culture which placed such a high emphasis on grades, a “C” was as good as an F (or as bad as an F, as the case may be). Knowing that praise comes from mastery, and mastery from a report card full of “A’s,” I learned to avoid the subjects in which I would not be able to earn those “A’s,” due to insufficient mastery of the material. I learned to believe I was not good at those subjects. I learned to think I hated them.

There. I just summed up my high school experience in about 300 words.

Celebrity Week

In addition to meeting Margie Haack last week, I was also priviledged to meet with the one and only Martha Brady (not to be confused with Marsha Brady…)

She was in town for a weekend conference at Covenant and we agreed to meet over her lunch break. So imagine how dumb I looked wandering around a very packed Edwards Hall looking for someone whom I’d never met nor even knew what she looked like. So dumb that I grabbed a plate of lunch provided for conference guests just to look like I sort of belonged in that room. (Yes, I did confess this to someone who is in a position to tell me whether or not this was a big deal. He said it wasn’t, so I’m done feeling guilty over it.)

Anyway, half-way through my stolen lunch, she spied me and what relief! We chatted for the next 45 minutes or so and it was a lot of fun. Thanks for spending your only long break of the day with me, Martha! You are welcome around here anytime.

Me and Martha Brady

I am the Paparrazi

Earlier this week Craig came home and casually mentioned that he’d run into Travis Scott that morning and also met Margie Haack. My eyes got big and I went over to touch his hand. “YOU MET MARGIE HAACK?” I said, very not-so-calmly or casually. He grinned and and nodded. He knows I love her even though I’ve never met her. He knows that I want to know her and so he rubbed it in, just a bit. He was nice about it though, and only rolled his eyes half-way when I ran over to touch the hand that had shaken the hand of Margie Haack.

My exposure to Margie (and Denis) Haack goes back to October of 2004 when I met Andi Ashworth (my one and only claim to 6 degrees of fame). She mentioned the ministry of the Haacks to me and I subsequently subscribed to their newsletters and have been a raving lunatic major fan ever since.

So today I was in Edwards Hall with the two younger half pints while the two older half pints were in choir rehearsal down the street when I looked over and saw Travis Scott. He, once again, was with Margie Haack and when I saw her I lost all restraint. “IT’S MARGIE HAACK!” I said in my not-so-calmly or casually voice with a Pee-Wee sized grin on my face. I began gushing. I just LOVE your newsletters. I [wanted to say that I just love you!] but just said, I… just love them. Still grinning.

So there I stood, acting all cool, chatting there with Travis and Margie like it was something I did every other day when all of a sudden I realized I had my camera with me. I looked at her, I looked at the camera, I looked at Brooke, Travis’ wife, and then back at Margie. “Um… would you mind taking a picture with me so I could put it on my blog?”

I said it just like that. Because I am pathetic just like that. But I have no regrets because I am now in possession of this:

Me and Margie Haack

And if you want to I’ll let you touch my hand too. And I won’t roll my eyes.

Review: The Jesus Storybook Bible

We have a lot of storybook Bibles. A lot. And pretty much one is just like all the others. Ho hum, cutesy pictures, same stories pulled out and watered down, ya da ya da ya da.

But I just got this one after Craig sent me a link to it the other day as it promised to be different. It is. I LOVE it. It is exactly what I’ve always hoped someone would do, only didn’t really know that I hoped that until I got it in my grubby hands: The Jesus Storybook Bible. The tagline is: Every story whispers his name. It was written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago. My kids even noticed the difference when we read it this morning. Here’s a taste:

“Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose), they get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!”

I’d so like to go on and type in the whole thing, but I won’t. This book is so well done and we’ve just started. I can’t wait to keep reading it. My girls were totally amazed too. My oldest picked it up later in the morning and asked if she could keep reading it. (Umm, sure thing, Sweetie!)

Anyway, I just wanted to share. This book was worth every penny.

Math I See

Math U See

True Confessions: I use my fingers to count. I always have and I’ve never been proud of that, but well, there you have it. After contemplating yet another curriculum switch a little while ago, we made the plunge (and for anyone who offered us their old stuff, I would still love to have it because we’ve got more kiddos coming up behind that will need it!).

Today we all the girls learned how to add 9 the easy way. Because of course 9 always wants to be a 10 and so he s(u)cks one away from the other number to become a 10, leaving you with, say 10 + 4 instead of 9 + 5. Because of course 10 + 4 is so much easier to add in your head than 9 + 5. Well, for me anyway. I find myself now saying that 9 s(u)cks one away and I can add 9 so much faster than I could. And yes, I’m 33 years old. And yes, I got A+ grades in trigonometry and calculus in high school. I still use my fingers to count. But hopefully that won’t last much longer. I may now make it a goal to not use my fingers in counting by the time I’m 34. Think I can do it?
It seems to be working for the girls too. They just brought straws in with these little gem things they found somewhere. They were s(u)cking them to the straw for fun. Then they’d say, “The straw is a 9!” and then s(u)ck away to make him a 10. Because straw + gem of course equals 10.

So anyway, math you see, math I see. It’s a win-win.

A Postmodern Lecture

Here’s what I presented to my class last night:

Our culture has made a postmodern shift in the way we engage one another and in the way we assimilate information. Religious and secular communities alike have noticed this trend, and the need to address it within their own educational contexts. While both groups have begun research on this topic, neither has yet to draw any definitive conclusions. After hearing this lecture, those listening will understand the importance of helping the church begin to engage its children within a postmodern context.

Two months ago I was asked to sit in on an exploratory committee in my church to begin talking about ways we could change our structure to better align our children’s ministry to fit a postmodern society. We’ve met four times so far and the question we ask each other every time we get together (as well as the question I brought to my research on the articles in practice is): What does a postmodern shift in our culture mean for the church’s ministry to children? We have yet to discover that answer.

The Journal of Research on Christian Education says that, “Postmoderns, generally speaking, are storytellers first, believers second. There is, after all, little in the postmodern world that is certain enough to confess as absolutely true. There are, however, a multitude of stories to tell.”
For 50 plus years, we’ve been drilling into our children the do’s and don’ts of following God’s law. But do we only confess this truth to them, or do we also honestly live it out before them?
Current children’s Sunday School curriculum is designed with the cute, cartoon, clip-art feel in mind. One of the programs our church uses is called Gospel Light – which it is, light on the gospel, – as the stories are more value-driven than gospel-centered. The folder I take home each month with information about the lesson I’m to teach, holds 50 years of notes. 50 years. And we still use it because, well, it worked then. And yes, the Bible is the same today as it was 50 years ago, but the presentation methods our kids respond best to have changed, for better or for worse. Don’t we need to respect that change?

In a 2005 volume of the Journal of Teacher Education, the researchers point out how the computer and the Internet have transformed social relationships, providing children and families with new means of communicating and learning.

Postmodern views of knowledge and discovery are disrupting the up until now taken-for-granted relationship between child development knowledge and the preparation of early childhood teachers, meaning that what is being taught to teachers is not what they need to transfer knowledge to their future learners.

In order for postmodern perspectives to be incorporated into programs of teacher preparation, we have to overcome two challenges: the first, overcoming heavy dominance of developmental psychology in the classroom; the second, and perhaps more debilitating, is that there simply isn’t anything from which to teach these teachers about the use and relevance of postmodern ideas in daily classroom practice.

The Journal of Teacher Education says, “There is not a lot of information available that can assist students and teacher educators to access postmodern ideas in the context of teaching young children.”

Likewise, Research in Religious Education says, “The turn of the millennia is an exciting time for research in the field of religious education. The need for understanding how various streams of religious education are responding to a changing world is critical,” These statements effectively affirm the need, but then don’t offer any solutions for application.

Secular and Christian educators both agree that there is a need to make a change in the way we teach our children, but nobody knows what this should look like or where to begin.

One question each of us should consider in light of this is how can we work to influence change within our own churches for helping our children’s ministries take a more critical look at their methods and practice of teaching children in this postmodern age.