The Other Side of the Story

Teaching kids empathy can be a great joy and struggle in parenting. We are all self-centered by nature, and showing children how to be other-centered takes some stretching. Helping a child understand how to “put himself in another person’s shoes” can be a great way to teach empathy.

What about looking at Bible stories in a new way? In the book The Whale Tells His Side of the Story, author Troy Schmidt imagines what the whale felt like with Jonah hanging around in his belly. (The subtitle, Hey God, I’ve Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up, pretty much says it all.) In the same vein as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Frog Prince Continued,  Schmidt rethinks Bible stories. He’s also written the following biblical “other sides”:

Even if you aren’t able to purchase these books, having your child imagine another side of a Bible tale is a good way to spark imagination and explain having empathy. It can be a funny activity or a serious talk.

What “other sides” can you imagine?

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Making Meals with 5 Ingredients (or Less!)

5 ingredients or less

One of the easiest ways to cut back on meal costs is to simplify your ingredients. If you can make a tasty recipe with fewer ingredients, you will probably spend less money. Often this involves slow-cooking, which intensifies flavor and tenderizes less costly cuts of meat.

Here are some great recipe links to get you started. All the recipes have 5 ingredients or fewer, not counting salt and pepper. Add an easy side dish, like a frozen vegetable and rice, and you’ll be able to save (or give!) more money and spend less on food.

*If you don’t use alcohol in your cooking, you should skip these recipes.

And here are a few fun recipes from our friends on Facebook.

Cabbage skillet: brown 1lb. hamburger with chopped onion, then add 2 cans drained Rotel and one small green cabbage sliced into ribbons. Add salt & pepper, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender. Serve over rice, with or without a slice of American cheese melted between. – from Nicole H.

Caramel Apple salad: Core and chop 4-5 Granny Smith apples, add 1 medium can of crushed pineapple with the juice & mix together. Sprinkle 1 box of butterscotch instant pudding (regular or sugar free), stir together. Stir in one 8 – 12 oz tub of cool whip. Chill before serving. (I don’t peel the apples but you can if you need to do so.). – from Becky M.

Have a favorite 5-ingredient-or-less recipe? Leave it for us in the comments! I’d love to have a few more in my arsenal for dinners.

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Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at JessieWeaver.net.

 

Family Devotions

 

I always thought having a family devotion time sounded kind of intimidating. But knowing that we want God to be the center of our family, we decided about a year ago to start a very simple one as part of our bedtime routine. At the time, our kids were 4 1/2, 2 1/2, and an infant.

Our time consists of reading a story from a Bible storybook, going around and having each person tell what he or she is thankful for, and singing a song or hymn together. This is about as long as my little ones can sit still. (And really, it’s pushing it for my middle child, who ALWAYS seems to be thirsty when it’s Bible story time.) While they don’t always listen intently, it is consistent. They are hearing the Bible. And we are meeting together as a family every night and praising God. Even our baby, Joshua, who is now 15 months, joins in and makes a joyful noise some nights.

So far, we’ve used these Bible story books:

Some other sources you might find helpful as you begin or continue a family devotion time:

Do you have a family devotion or family worship time? What does it look like?

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Eat for Cheap: Black Bean Nachos

If you have a hungry family (that’s all of us!), you probably spend time searching for low-cost, high-nutrition recipes like I do. Beans are a great cheap protein, but it can be difficult to find new ways to cook them that your family will enjoy. Recently I made these delicious black beans and served them over tortilla chips with toppings – cheese, cilantro, raw onion, guacamole, and sour cream. The meal was absolutely delicious, and it was a great change from our norm.

 

Black Beans in Pot
source: muyyum via Flickr Creative Commons

Smoky Black Beans

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped carrot
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ham hock, ham bone, or 1/2 c. diced ham
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lb. dried black beans, rinsed

In a large skillet with a lid or a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and saute 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so. Add ham hock, cilantro and beans to the pot. Cover with water (about one inch above beans). Bring to a boil; then cover, turn heat to medium-low, and cook until beans are very tender. This will take about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Check often after an hour and stir occasionally during cooking time.

To serve, strain beans out with a slotted spoon. Serve over tortilla chips with Mexican toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, more cilantro, and chopped onion. You could also serve beans over steamed rice with cheese.

Freeze leftover beans and use them at another time to make Crunchy Black Bean Tacos.

 

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Princess Gabby Girl and the Sparkly Dress

princessgabbygirl

 

 

Like pretty much all 5-year-old girls, my daughter, Libbie, LOVES princesses. Our home echoes with Frozen songs, is coated in glitter and sequins, and Libbie’s bedroom radiates pink. She is a girly-girl all the way.

So when Camilla Battaglia’s team sent us this new book, Princess Gabby Girl and the Sparkly Dress, my daughter had it open and was looking through it before I could even touch it myself. It doesn’t hurt that one of my daughter’s best friends is named Gabby, so Libbie recognized that word.

Princess Gabby Girl is a moral tale about a young princess who finds a gorgeous sparkly gown in a secret wardrobe. She’s told by Miss Marvelous, an only semi-creepy woman in a mirror, that to keep her dress sparkling, she must be kind and do good deeds. Based on Matthew 5:14-16 (You are the light of the world), this very pink tale is a nice alternative to traditional princess paperbacks.

If your child is as obsessed with pink and princesses as mine is, you should grab up a copy of Princess Gabby Girl and the Sparkly Dress. It will incite some good conversations about being the light of the world and shining brightly with kindness.