Monday, February 8, 2016

IF:Gathering 2016

Friends - please find some time and watch some of IF:Gathering today - it's free through midnight. 

Look in "Archives" - session 4 - David Platt is a life changing message! "When will unreached people become intolerable in our churches?"  

Session 3 (look for the beautiful sari) will impact your heart in a whole new way!  IJM is an amazing organization that you will want to get involved with.  

 Trust me, it's worth the investment of some time - better yet, share it with your family too!! LIVE.IFGATHERING.COM

We exist to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.

Southern Snowmen

I realized that my poor southern children do NOT get to make snowmen!  So,  I discovered this adorable idea and we made our own "Southern Snowmen".

All you need:

  • A jar (we used canning jars - pint size)
  • Fiber filling
  • Buttons for eyes and "buttons"
  • orange nose (ours was felt, but you could use craft foam or even paper...)
  • Sticks for the arms

Simply stuff your jar, slide in your buttons, nose and arms, and close!  No mess - no melting.

We read this fun book - "Snowmen at Night" about what snowmen do at night that leaves them looking worn down come morning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Mitten

This week's literature project:  The Mitten by Jan Brett

First, I printed out cute coloring pages from her site here.

Then, we made our mittens.  I wanted something with some texture, and more durable than plain paper.  I had a bunch of shelf liner here, and I thought it would be an easier way for them to sew than using fabric.  It worked perfectly!

Once the colored the animals, they cut them out and could use them to retell the story with their own mitten.   They turned out very cute... and everyone got to sew too :-)


Monday, January 11, 2016

Family Fun at its Finest!

During our Christmas break,  we had plenty of much needed downtime.  We read books, did puzzles, had a super-mega Star Wars marathon.

After a week - we needed a change of scenery.  We decided to finally use the family pass to the San Antonio Aquarium.  I have NO IDEA why we waited so long!!  It was small, but completely interactive.

We touched the octopus - Yes, you get to touch!!

I absolutely love watching jellyfish in the black lighting.  They look magical!

 Essie found a mermaid and a lizard!

We hand fed sting rays-

We tried to feed the sharks...they were too picky of eaters!

Maybe we should have fed them something a little more tasty....

The birds were the best - they were all over us...

We are already planning a return trip!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Owl Moon

We're back in action!  After a peaceful break...we were excited to get back into the swing of school.

For my Co-op literature class, we read Owl Moon (a favorite!)by Jane Yolen

I found this adorable idea for pinecone owls!  Finally,  I was able to use my "super special" pinecones that have made 3 moves with us, for a super special craft!    I may have some "hording issues" - but, it turned out well in this instance :-)

Super simple:

Pinecone - stuff with cotton balls, add googly eyes and pipecleaner wings and beak.  Done!  Barely any cleanup too!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2016 is going to be a great year.

It only took four tries to get a "good" picture!  I am so very blessed,  I pray you are too!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Stollen - a family tradition!

Merry Christmas Friends!

The Bentz Bunch is full of food traditions...  I have one to share with you.  We have this each year with our Christmas morning Fruit Soup and Christmas Stollen. (can you tell we're Germans?)

German Stollen

1 package of active dry yeast or 1 cake compressed yeast
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk, scalded
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
4-3/4 to 5 cups sifted enriched flour
1 egg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup chopped mixed candied fruits
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
Soften active yeast in 1/4 cup warm water or compressed yeast in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water.

 Melt butter in hot milk; add sugar, salt and cardamom; cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups flour. Add egg and beat well. Stir in softened yeast, fruits, peels, and nuts. Add remaining flour to make soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface.

Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Knead 5 to 8 minutes or till smooth and satiny. Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. 

Cover; let rise in warm place till double, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down; turn out on lightly floured surface and divide in 3 equal parts. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

Roll each part into a 12X7 inch rectangle. without stretching dough, fold long side over to within 1 inch of opposite side to make typical stollen shape; seal edges. 

Place on greased baking sheets. Cover, let rise till almost double, about 30-45 minutes.

Bake in moderate oven (375) 20 to 25 minutes, or till golden brown.

While warm, brush with butter; sift confectioners' sugar over; or glaze as below.
 Makes 3 loaves. 

To glaze stollen use about 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, add 1/4 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon butter. (I put almond flavoring in my glaze)

It looks like a lot of work...but it's so worth it!!  Family traditions are our way of saying - "I love you" - Merry Christmas!