Banana Bread & Babies

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I had a few bananas on the verge of death and so I decided to make banana bread. I’ve been recovering from a medical procedure and I needed some comfort food! I love banana bread and so I pulled out an old stand-by recipe. It made me nostalgic and so I decided I’d share it with you.

For some reason when I think of Banana Bread I remember my babies, Joel and Katie. I think it’s because the recipe for Banana Bread that I always use is found in my old, ragged, well-loved cookbook, “Whole Foods For The Whole Family.” I got the cookbook when I was was pregnant with my first child, Joel, and working at a health food store. It was first published in 1981 by La Leche League International. It’s an organization that promotes breastfeeding.

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It’s funny, but breastfeeding back in the 1980s was considered a little radical. It was a groovy, tree-hugger, earth mother sort of activity. It’s funny to me because the 80s doesn’t seem that long but I’ve lived through huge changes in childbirth trends since those days. Even the 3 years between my son and my daughter’s birth saw huge changes. Those two births were totally different. With my son, I was in a hospital “surgery-type” room, all sterile and cold, bright lights and scrubs. With my daughter, I was in a birthing center, in a bed with lamps and anyone was free to come and go. So different! This is me and my 1st, my son, leaving the hospital. 

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I remember getting ready for my first child and I thought making and freezing food would be helpful, and it was! I did it again with #2. This banana bread recipe freezes great and was such a comfort. It would be great to make some, freeze them and give them to a new mom.

Let me warn you, it’s a “healthy” recipe which translates to “not very sweet” haha! You can bump up the sugar if you want something that’s sweeter.  This photo is of me pregnant with #2, my daughter. 

I don’t think the awesome cookbook is being printed anymore, but there are a few used

copies on sale on Amazon, here’s a link.

Whole foods for the whole family: LaLeche League International Cookbook

Enough nostalgia, here’s the recipe for

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1 cup mashed bananas

1/3 cup oil or melted butter

1/2 cup honey or brown sugar (add more if you want it sweeter!)

2 eggs, beaten

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I substituted all-purpose and it’s fine)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

(You can add 1/2 cup chopped nuts if you want to. The original recipe calls for it. I just don’t like nuts in my banana bread.)

Beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, mix well. Stir in bananas. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with hot water; mix until smooth.

Bake in greased 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pan at 325 degrees for 55 -60 minutes or until center tests done. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing. Freezes well.

Enjoy!

St. Patrick’s Day Gifts & Stuff!

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve

I know it’s a little early but as distance grandparents, we’ve got to think ahead! We have to have time to get gifts and cards in the mail.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my family’s favorite holidays! We are part Irish and we love to celebrate our heritage as well as that famous Saint, Patrick.

We have some things that we did every year when the kids were younger and they have continued some of them with their own families. One thing was I always cooked some classic Irish dishes like Shepherd’s Pie and Soda Bread and we’d watch one of our favorite Irish movies! Darby O'Gill And The Little People

 

The Quiet Man

 

Here are a few fun things you can order for your kids and grandkids on Amazon.com to remind them to be proud of their Irish heritage or just to have fun! Order them now and have them shipped before the Day Of Green arrives. And don’t forget to add a box of Lucky Charms cereal or treat bars for more fun!

Just click on the photo to be taken to Amazon!

 

Tee Luv Lucky Charms Raglan Jersey - Lucky The Leprechaun 3/4 Sleeve Shirt

Lucky Charms Gluten Free, Breakfast Cereal, Large Size, 14.9 Oz

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland

 

 Intimate Boutique Women's St Patrick's Day Irish Long Sleeve Shirt         

DII Cotton Holiday Dish Towels, 18x28" Set of 3, Decorative Oversized Embroidered Kitchen Towels, Perfect Home and Kitchen Gift-St Patrick's Day

Pete the Cat: The Great Leprechaun Chase: Includes 12 St. Patrick's Day Cards, Fold-Out Poster, and Stickers!

 

FIBEROMANCE St Patricks Day Pillow Cover 18x18 Green Clover Farmhouse Happy St Patricks Day Decorations Lucky Decorative Cushion Cover Pillow Case for Sofa Couch Spring Home Decor F108

 

Threadrock Distressed Green Shamrock Unisex Raglan T-Shirt

         

KWUNCCI Celtic Hold Moon Dangle Drop Earrings with Sterling Silver plated Fashion Jewelry for Women/Girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.925 Sterling Silver Traditional Claddagh Celtic Ring

Whaline St. Patrick Costume Set Include Sequin and Shamrock Suspenders, Bowtie and Necktie, Adjustable X Back Elastic Suspenders St. Patrick's Day Party Accessory    The Little Celtic Knot Coloring Book: Ireland, Irish Pride & St. Patrick's Day coloring for ages 8+                                7 ate 9 Apparel Boy's St. Patrick's Day Vintage Baseball Tee

 

BANBERRY DESIGNS Shamrock Candle Holder with a LED Candle - Stained Glass Shamrocks and a Flameless Candle - Irish Candle Holder

 

The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm

 

Roman Petite Standing Cross Celtic Irish Blessing

St. Patrick's Day Activity Book: A Magical Workbook Full of Lucky Leprechaun Coloring Pages, Dot to Dot, Mazes, Word Search Puzzles and More

Find Your Grandchild’s Love Language

find your grandchild's love language

You may remember back in the 1990’s that a book came out by Gary Chapman called, “The Five Love Languages” and then in 1997 “The Five Love Languages of Children” By Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. There was another one, as well, called “The Five Love Languages of Teenagers.” I remember these books to be very interesting to me because I love finding ways to know myself and others better.

I found “The Five Love Languages of Children” to be very helpful when I was teaching 5th and 6th grade. Whenever I had a student who was a behavior problem or just proved to be difficult, I would go back to Dr. Chapman’s book for suggestions on how I could show love to my challenging students. Because, once I showed them love, a door of communication would open which allowed me to address a world of other things.

“Once I showed them love, a door of communication would open which allowed me to address a world of other things.” 

So, now that I’m a grandmother, I thought I’d revisit this super helpful book for ideas on how to identify and show love to my grandboys. We all want to be seen, understood and loved. As grandparents, we don’t always have a lot of time to spend with our grandkids. Sometimes we are so far apart that our time with grandkids is minuscule. If you’re like me you want every minute, every word and every dime to communicate how much I love them and how awesome I think they are! Identifying our grandchild’s love language could help us get to our grandkid’s hearts quickly and efficiently

“If you’re like me, you want every minute, every word and every dime to communicate how much I love them and how awesome I think they are!” 

So, while I’m rereading this book, I thought I’d summarize Dr. Chapman and Dr. Campbell’s suggestions on how to identify your child or grandchild’s love language and then I’ll give you suggestions for how to express love to them. Even though I’m giving you this information, I encourage you to get the books yourself and find your love language as well as the love language of your spouse, kids, and grandkids. It really does work and is SO helpful!

What are the five love languages?

  1. Physical Touch
  2. Words of Affirmation
  3. Quality Time
  4. Gifts
  5. Acts of Service

If you have never heard about the Five Love Languages, that list may make you chuckle. All kids like ALL of those things, want ALL of those things and need ALL of those things. However, when you discover what your grandchild’s primary love language is, you will be able to express your love to them in a way that is deeply satisfying and meaningful to them. If your grandchild’s primary love language is physical touch and all you do is buy them gifts, their hearts won’t be as filled as it would be if you would sit them on your lap and read a book to them. If you want to reach the heart of your grandchild, then try to identify their love language and love them in a way their heart understands. They will remember you forever!

“Identify your grandchild’s love language so you can communicate directly to their heart.” 

How to identify your grandchild’s love language

Authors Chapman and Campbell suggest that you don’t tell your grandchildren what you are doing since kids are masters at manipulating situations to get what they want, haha! As grandparents, we know how that is and we are willing participants! Here are the ways you can secretly observe them to identify their love language.

  1. Observe how they express love to you. Do they always tell you that they love you or thank you for doing things for them? Their love language may be words of affirmation. However, kids learn quickly that if they say the right, sweet words, they can often get what they want. So, you’ll want to make more careful observations.
  2. Observe how they express love to others. A child whose love language is giving gifts may always be interested in giving gifts to his teacher. When they are with you, notice how they express love to their parents.
  3. Listen to what your grandchild requests most often. All children want to be noticed and praised, but notice if your grandchild focuses on requests for your time. If they want you to play games with them or read with them or do activities with them they are requesting quality time. If your grandchild is constantly soliciting your praise about their artwork or music performance or the clothes they are wearing they may be requesting words of affirmation. Of course, all children will ask for your compliments every now and then, but a constant request could be an indication of their greatest need.
  4. Listen to what your grandchild complains about. All kids complain, so frequency and a repeated pattern are what you’re looking for here. It might be especially effective as you observe your grandchild and their parents. Do they complain that their parents spend too much time working and never have time to take them to the park? Maybe your grandchild is crying out for quality time. You can give that to them. Not to replace the parent but to show love your grandchild.
  5. Give your grandchild a choice between two options. You could ask your grandchild if they’d like for you to bake cookies for them (acts of service) or take them to the park (quality time). Would they like to lay on the couch and watch a movie (physical touch and quality time) or go to the store and buy something (gifts)?
  6. Ask the parents what they think their child’s love language is. Not only will this help you but it will also help the parents think about ways the can more directly and better show their child love. Not only that, but how they can better love their spouse and others. And that’s what it’s all about, showing love to the whole family!

Some suggestions for showing love to each love language

The expression of each love language will change as your grandchild grows older. You will need to find age-appropriate ways to express your love. You will also have to find ways to fit your grandchild’s unique tastes and preferences. However, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Physical Touch – If you find that your grandchild’s love language is physical touch and you’re not a touchy-feely person, then get over it. I hate to be direct but a hug or pat on the back for a physical touch person will mean more than any gift or word of affirmation. If your grandkids are young it’s easy. Hug them, kiss them, hold their hand, rub their backs. Sit them in your laps, wrestle with them in the floor, swing them around, dance and play contact sports. Scratch their backs, stroke their hair and let them lay on your while you’re watching TV.

If you’re a distance grandparent and you can’t touch your grandchild, then buy them a blanket or pillow. Buy or make a sweater that they can wear that will remind them of you.

Words of Affirmation – While this love language is easy to express, we don’t always take the time to be deliberate so it is often overlooked. Make a point to tell your grandchild you love them without it being connected to a need or request. Make sure your words of praise are true. If they are exaggerated or flat-out untrue, the child will not take it to heart and relegate it to mere flattery. Pay attention to your grandchild’s real strengths and praise them for it. Try to find that hidden treasure in your grandchild and praise them for it. Praise them for their kindness, not just that they look pretty or handsome. Praise them for being patient with a younger sibling or persistence in finishing a difficult task.

If you’re a distance grandparent you can write letters, send notes and cards with words of affirmation and love. Engage your grandchild in phone calls and FaceTime calls and ask them about what they’re doing and express your pride and excitement about the things in their lives.

Quality Time – Quality time is often what people think of when they think of time spent with grandparents. However, in this busy world and distracted life, quality time can practically disappear. Quality time is doing things together while focusing on each other. It’s not so much about the activity as it is the talking, laughing and sharing. Create little traditions with your grandchild where it’s just time for the two of you. And be present! Look them in the eye. Listen to what they say and respond to them. When they visit, take them to get an ice-cream cone. Work in the garden together, not to get a task done, but just to hang out together. Share family stories, look at family photos, do anything as long as it’s together.

When you’re a distance grandparent, FaceTime, Skype and any video communication is your best friend. Be prepared to spend a lot of time just sitting together, maybe in silence, just to be together. Read books together, let them watch you bake cookies all the while laughing and talking, then mail them to your grandchild.

Gifts – For a child whose love language is gifts, gifts are more than just material objects. “They are tangible expressions of love that speak deeply.” For this child, the loss or misplacement of such an item is devastating. This child will make a special place in his or her room for those gifts. How a gift is wrapped is important and the ceremony around unwrapping the gift will also be important. Make sure the gifts speak to the interest of the child. Be thoughtful and deliberate.

For the distance grandparent, this love language is the easiest. However, since our presence and voices will not be as frequent as our gifts, we need to be sure to send our love in words and also make visits. The meaning behind the gift is that you know and love your grandchild. And if they don’t really know you, they won’t get the meaning.

Acts of Service – You can express your love to your grandchildren by “doing things they may not yet be able to do for themselves.” By doing things for them that they can do for themselves is just spoiling them. And while that’s what grandparents are known for, we really want to balance it with teaching them how to do things for themselves. Teaching your grandchildren how master basic skills is a great opportunity to spend quality time, give them words of affirmation and physical touch, too. You can show your grandchild love by fixing a broken toy, helping them with homework, and fixing their favorite food when they come to visit. When you perform an act of service for your grandchild, you are also modeling for them how to serve others.

When you’re a distance grandparent, use FaceTime or Skype to help your grandchild with their homework. Order a pizza online and have it delivered on a weeknight just because it would be fun. If your grandchild is not feeling well, order some soup to be delivered and rent a movie for them to watch.

It will be worth it!

I can tell you from experience that identifying and expressing love languages is worth it! It’s an easy and sure way that your child, spouse and grandchild KNOWS that you love them. When they feel loved, they are more settled, satisfied and peaceful. When their “love tanks” are filled, they can then go into the world and love others.

What a great gift to give your grandchild!

Here are links to the books on Amazon. They will give you so much more help than I did!

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love lang child

love lang teens

If you would like these FREE, handy Love Language Printables, just download  Finding your grandchild’s love language now!

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Bread Baking With Pam from “The Office”

If you don’t follow Jenna Fischer on Instagram, stop right now and go follow her. She is a hoot! So funny and so real. (msjennafischer)

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She’s not afraid to look totally crazy…

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and she shares a lot about what it’s like to be an actor from getting a spray tan to the struggles of picking up her kids from school on time. She shares behind the scene things from her new show, “Breaking Up Together.”

She also has an obsession with baking bread that she developed after reading Bonnie Ohara’s book, “Bread Baking For Beginners.” 

And I totally get it. Bonny owns her own cottage micro-bakery in Modesto, California called “Alchemy Bread.” She has worked with dough so intimately that she can explain the process freely and easily. It’s easy to get addicted to making the recipes in the book. Not to mention her cottage micro-bakery is the coolest and grooviest and I wish I had thought of it.

So, Jenna is making these recipes and filming it and posting it in her InstaStories. Her stressing about her dough babies is hilarious. Trying to figure out if she has time to pick up her kids from school between risings is so real I feel like she’s my best friend.

So, two things: go follow Jenna and buy “Bread Baking For Beginners.” I think you’ll like both!

Peace and Bread for the world!

Jill

The Jolly Roger & John the Baptist?

So, yesterday I posted about my interest in pirates, legend and lore so I thought I’d tell you about something I just heard about the origins of the Jolly Roger.

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The Jolly Roger is the name given to the pirate flag. It’s the flag with the black field with a white skull and crossbones most often associated with pirates.

So, I was watching “Curse of Oak Island” and an author by the name of Gretchen Cornwall along with a descendant of a Templar Knight suggested that “She believes that some Templar’s became pirates and outlaws, connecting the Jolly Roger symbol of the pirates with the ancient Templar symbol. She says the skull and bones represent Saint John the Baptist, the famous Christian Saint, who was beheaded.” (from www.foreignpolicyi.org) She went on to say that the Templar’s had possession of John the Baptist’s skull at some point.

I’m not a historian and I don’t study this topic extensively, but I do keep an ear peeled for this sort of information and this is the first I’ve heard of any connection between the Templars and pirates.

I had always heard that pirates would fly a black flag to indicate that if the ship they were attacking surrendered without a fight they would be allowed to live. If the pirates flew the red flag – “jolie rouge” the “pretty red” flag – then no mercy would be shown.

Well, thank you so much Oak Island and Gretchen, now I have to read up on the Templars.

Well, Santa, you can add Gretchen’s book to my list along with the metal detector. Thanks.

Are you ready for Christmas? I’m going to share with you some treats that I made for the Grandboys!

Peace,

Jill

Wow! Thank You!

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I wanted to try to sell a few of my books so I posted on Instagram and Facebook that I could inscribe and sign my books if anyone wanted one. I was overwhelmed with the response!

Thank you all SO much for your interest and your purchase!

I hope you all have a great holiday season!

Peace,

Jill

Little Visit

I’m really enjoying the little visits we’re getting from our kids and grandkids now that we live closer. A few days ago, my daughter-in-law, her Mom and Manny came for a visit while my son was in Mexico shooting a wedding. We had great fun just hanging out and doing Christmas-y things.

Now that we’re living so far from shopping and restaurants, I’m doing more cooking. So, while they were here I cooked Shepherd’s Pie (my recipe) and Joanna Gaines’ Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (with a few changes based on what I forgot at the store and what I had in the house, haha!) It’s from her Magnolia Table Cookbook. A great cookbook, by the way. It’s full of good and real food that you would actually cook and eat.

 

I also grabbed a Grinch Gingerbread Kit at the local H-E-B and Manny had fun decorating the Grinch’s house.

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But I think Manny’s favorite time was spent with Papa. They played and played and wrestled and wrestled.

I think they just like being together.

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Hope your holidays are full of little visits and special times with family and friends.

Peace,

Jill

 

Advent Resources!

I’m in a Facebook group where a mother was asking for help about celebrating Advent with kids. So, I put together a list of resources that caught my eye. Just click on the blue text to get the link.

This is a great resource from LifeWay with a free downloadable Advent guide.

Advent, advent candles, advent wreath

This is a list compiled by my friends who are Pastors at Faith Methodist Church in Georgia

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This is from Coffee Cups & Crayons and it gives you ideas for “24 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.” Cool ideas for doing nice things for people during Advent.

Free printable Random Acts of Christmas Kindness calendar for 2018! December version available too! #24racks #actsofkindness #kindnesscalendar #christmasactsofkindness

 

Here’s another service-oriented Advent idea which I love! It’s from Nourishing Joy. It gives some really unique ideas for serving others during Advent.

Wanting an Advent calendar that helps your child connect to the larger purpose of celebrating Christmas? This DIY Advent Calendar provides simple ways to serve throughout the season - and can be used again throughout the year!

 

If you have time and you just need a calendar and not the readings or ideas to go with it.  AND you love Legos, how about building a Lego Advent Calendar? This is so creative and awesome from Frugal Fun 4 Boys, but I’d have to get my son to build it, haha!

Here’s one more link to Kids Can Light The World Advent Calendar from Mother’s Niche. More great daily ideas to celebrate Advent.

And one more. If you’re into sharing your family stories and want your kids to know your family history, I’ve written an Advent Celebration just for you! Yes, I’m shamelessly plugging my own book! Haha!

raising disciples advent cover

 

I hope that helps! Enjoy the Advent season!

Peace,

Jill

 

Christmas Celebration Resources

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I would shamelessly promote two of my books.

The first one is a family Advent celebration. I’m so passionate that families know their family heritage, that I wrote this Advent celebration around that very idea. I thought while we’re remembering Jesus’ birth story, why don’t we take some time to get to know our own family’s story? Each week I give scripture reading suggestions, a devotional to read and then ideas on how to creatively share family stories. I’m excited about this celebration and I hope it can bring families closer than ever before! You can buy it here. 

raising disciples advent cover

 

The second is a Christmas musical template. What that means is that I provide the script and you provide the music. I wrote this about 15 years ago and had such a wonderful experience collaborating with musicians, dancers, and craftspeople that I wanted to share how to do it with others. I wrote this script about Joel, a boy who made the manger for baby Jesus who grows up to make the cross that Jesus died on. You can get this resource here. 

 

I truly hope that these resources will help you have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Peace,

Jill

Advent Celebration, Planning Ahead

I know it’s a little early to be talking about Advent and Christmas, but I wanted to remind you all that I wrote an Advent celebration last year and in case you didn’t get it, you might want to check it out for this year.

I wrote this Advent celebration for families because I have a passion for families to be close, stay close and teach the next generation about their heritage. I want kids to know their family’s stories!

It’s so important for kids to know where they came from and the great people from whom they come. And so I thought while we’re remembering Jesus and the story of His birth, let’s remember our family’s stories, too.

When God calls people to be His followers and servants, He calls the WHOLE family. In doing family research I have found that many families have generations of pastors, church planters, worship leaders, Bible teachers, and the like.

And if you think you are the first generation Christian in your family, then use this celebration to celebrate the beginnings of your faith and the new direction your family has taken.

Begin to influence future generations of your family to follow and serve Christ and impact the world!

Here’s the link to my celebration Raising Disciples Family Advent Celebration. 

It’s only available digitally at the moment, hopefully, you can get it in print in the next few weeks. I’ll let you know.

Please share the link to my blog: www.jilllibramento.wordpress.com with anyone who might like this resource. I appreciate it!

 

raising disciples advent cover

Peace,

Jill