Tag Archive | loaves and fishes

Fish heads


Here’s the song reference.

Bugaboo, Beanie and I passed a pleasant hour this morning reading the story of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes.  It’s a perennial favorite around here, partly because we are a fish-loving family, partly because it’s a good reminder that Our Lord always provides us with more than we need, but does not want us to waste a crumb of it.   The girls and Baby Guy, who was up early and making merry mayhem as his sisters worked, enjoyed slices of bread as an after-breakfast snack while they colored.

After we had finished the day’s assignments, we decided to make tuna melts for lunch, since we had been talking about the loaves and fishes.  Bugaboo piped up, “Mommy, it will be kind of like we’re having lunch with Jesus!”  It’s a favorite meal around here, and an easy one for little hands to help prepare . . . unless, of course, those little hands are busy digging through the dress-up bin.

While we ate, I asked the girls if they remembered whether Jesus had anything other than bread and fish with which to feed everyone, including himself, that day.  They both shook their heads in the negative, so I followed up by asking them what we had that Jesus did not that day.  Beanie pointed out that our fish had mayonnaise and cheese on it, and Bugaboo noted that we had yummy fruit cocktail to go with our meal.

“Girls, did Jesus complain about only having bread and fish to eat?”

“No, they story just said they had lots of leftovers.”

“Look at your plates, and think about what you just told me about our lunch.  Think about it for a minute.  Jesus provided something better for us than he provided for Himself.”

“He must love us a lot.”

“Indeed.  Can we tell people we love them by giving them the best we have?”

“Yeah, but what if we like what we have?”

“That’s okay, too, but always remember that Jesus gave us His best.  Can we remember to give our best, too, whether it’s sharing our food or doing our chores or our schoolwork?”

“Okay.  Did Jesus have to sweep the hallway?”

“I’ll bet He helped His mother, Mary.”

“Yeah, He probably did.  He was a good little boy. He probably didn’t complain about it, either.”

Our little blessings amaze me sometimes.

Later that afternoon, we set about making feathers for our annual “turkey of thanks.”  I cut orange construction paper feathers until my fingers got numb, and had to ask Bugaboo and Beanie to save some of their gratitude for tomorrow.

Turkey of thanks

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your abundant provision for us, and for little blessings who give praise and thanks to You for Your bounty. You feed us when we are weary with living bread, and quench all our thirsts with Your living water.  Thank You for never having let our children know hunger, not for food, not for love, not for comfort.  Please enrich our hearts with humble gratitude and a fervent desire to share Your blessings with all those who hunger and despair; open our eyes to their sufferings and their eyes to Your love.

 

Fish heads


While we do use a purchased homeschooling curriculum, Bugaboo has been finished with it since January, which has given me the opportunity to make up lessons for the last few months; we all enjoy the flexibility, and it also works well because Bugaboo’s (and Beanie’s for that matter) skills in several areas are a little past preschool level.  Whenever something really catches the girls’ attention, I’ll concoct some sort of theme for the following day that centers around that interest.

Since food originating in the ocean had generated so much interest on Sunday, we spent yesterday having fun with fish and anything else related to the ocean or the beach.  We started off with posters; each of the girls had a crab to color, a couple of “crab facts” sentences to read and finish, and room to draw a “crabitat,” and finished the posters by finding the four little crab stickers on a giant sheet of beach-themed stickers.

After the posters were done and the boys were awake, the five of us tried walking like crabs in the living room.  As we all laid on the floor, laughing, being climbed by Baby Guy and licked by Smudgie, I asked Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man what else lived in water or reminded them of summer (which is when we usually eat crabs).  We quickly compiled a list that included fish, penguins, and the beach, then set off to raid the bookshelves in search of titles that fit our list.  We had several good, long story breaks yesterday.

I loved that Bugaboo picked out the story about the loaves and fishes.  Everywhere we look, right?  As I was tucking the girls into bed last night, I asked them what they liked best about the day, trying to get suggestions for a theme for today.  In Beanie’s opinion, the best thing about the day was the crab-walking, and Bugaboo liked all the stories about fish; Bugaboo’s answer prompted me to inquire which fish story she liked best.  She told me her favorite was the Finding Nemo story, because she likes that his daddy never stopped looking for him, and that Nemo is a pretty fish and could we have one and she promised she would never be like Darla and shake him and . . . I had to stop her before she started jumping up and down, since the object was to get her to go to sleep.  I asked her if there was something in particular she liked about Nemo; she replied that he’s orange.  Our theme for today, therefore, is orange.

Incidentally, can anyone confirm that there is no word in the English language that rhymes with orange?

Here’s the song reference.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for a day spent snuggling up with Your blessings and a huge pile of stories in between romps in the yard.  Thank You for books that teach us and entertain us, and for the wisdom to find Your presence in most stories, and to note the misery wrought by Your absence in a few.  Your book of love letters contains many stories about fishing, and You called some of Your disciples with an invitation to become fishers of men.  Please help us always hear Your voice in the rolling of the tide, and to praise You richly for the abundance of fishes You created for food and for beauty.  Please use the awe in our hearts for the ocean’s majesty to kindle in us a desire to be good stewards of the waters You made, and the land You separated from the water.  Thank You for the love we share, and the love You freely share with us.

Gershon Kingsley, eat your heart out


Yesterday seemed made for a certain Seussian feline, as the weather was entirely too cold and rainy for even my little tribe of stalwart mud fanatics to spend an appreciable amount of time outdoors.  Fortunately, we are blessed with an abundance of books and art supplies, and the makings of both chicken soup and spaghetti with meat sauce, both of which are foul-weather favorites around here.  Baby Guy followed his usual rainy day custom of taking his nap at ten in the morning and sleeping until sometime after two in the afternoon, while Mr. Man was permitted to opt out of his nap and join his sisters and I in our hour of quiet time after lunch.

Among the titles in our collection is this little gem from Tomie de Paola; it gives the history of popcorn, along with a host of fascinating popcorn facts, in the context of two brothers making popcorn on their stove.  This is yet another book I recommend highly.  At any rate, while we did not read The Popcorn Book today, the kids ate dinner at a sufficiently early hour to justify a snack during our evening Spider-Man social.  While Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man were busily putting toys back in boxes, bins, and cupboards, and Baby Guy was cheerfully crawling back and forth in pursuit of Smudgie’s wagging tail, I decided to make a quick batch of stove-top popcorn.

I’ve never actually made popcorn in a pan on the stove before, mind you, but I’d seen it done by older relatives over thirty years ago.  We always had popcorn machines as a child, then a microwave, and I’ve used a very noisy air popper for the last couple of years.  However, since we’ve read about the old-fashioned way, it seemed worthwhile to show the midget mob that the method of which they had read was, in fact, possible.  I heated the oil, melted a little real, unsalted butter (the kind that has cream as its sole ingredient) in a saucepan, then tossed a test kernel into the hot oil.

Thankfully, I managed to duck out of the way of the flying popcorn before it smacked me in the eye.

After I located the lid for the relevant pan, I poured in the rest of the kernels and gently shook the pan until a fluffy mass quietly billowed forth; half a cup of popcorn kernels yielded just enough popcorn to fill my handled mixing bowl.  By the time I sprinkled over a fingertip pinch of salt and tossed in the butter, our three oldest children had assembled on the living room couch and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.  I put Bugaboo in charge of the bowl, helping myself to a handful of warm popcorn while reminding her to keep hold of the handle.

If you know anyone who would like an air popper, he or she can have mine.  That’s the best popcorn I’ve ever eaten, and the tribe agrees.  After the tribe was abed, I made another batch to share with my husband, and we have added him to the list of old-school popcorn devotees.

From a stewardship perspective, there were exactly six unpopped kernels out of a half cup of corn, which meant significantly less waste than any other method I’ve used.  It’s fluffier and sweeter, too.  Once the tiny people had finished watching their show and demolishing the popcorn, I asked them what they thought the popcorn did in the pan.  Bugaboo and Beanie responded by gleefully jumping up and down and making popping noises; after a moment’s skeptical observation, Mr. Man decided to join in the fun, while Baby Guy watched, smiling and laughing at his siblings’ silliness.

In The Popcorn Book, Mr. de Paola mentions that early European settlers ate popped corn with cream for breakfast.  Bugaboo remembered this as she was helping herself to another handful, and asked if we could have that for breakfast tomorrow.  I replied that while we don’t have any cream, we have whole milk, which should work just as well.  I’d rather have them eat that than most breakfast cereals!  It will be a good opportunity to teach them about this gift the native Americans gave to the Europeans, and to talk about how food brings people of all backgrounds together.

For those mystified by the title of this post, this may be helpful (link will open in a new window).

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for the simple gift of popcorn to share with Your blessings, with the laughter and happiness it brought.  Some of Your greatest miracles involved food and drink, from the wedding at Cana to the loaves and fishes; You remain with us in bread and wine at every Mass.  Please help me teach Your blessings that sharing a meal, or even a snack, brings us closer together, and to praise You always for the bounty You provide for us to eat.  Please remind us to share that bounty with our neighbors who are hungry, and help us teach the lesson of Your friend Martha, that preparing food can be a ministry if it is done in Your service.  As we prepare our meals today, Lord, remind us as you reminded Martha that the food is less important than the love it fuels our bodies to share, and let us serve in all ways with glad hearts.