Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yummy Cinnamon Biscuits!

Several years ago, No Greater Joy put out a yearly calendar. Each month on the calendar had something you could make. Some of them were homemade recipes for health products. Some were directions to make things such as a bow and arrow or slingshot. Others were recipes for food. My favorite thing was the recipe for Cinnamon Biscuits. They were delicious!! I lost the calendar and have been searching for it for quite a while and was so excited to find it today. I will definitely be making these for the family this weekend. I thought I'd share the recipe so you can make them too. It's a great recipe for the little ones to help with but be warned, it will be very sticky, as most biscuit batters are. I've added some substitutes in the recipe in case you don't have some of the ingredients at home.

Cinnamon Biscuits

1/2 c softened butter
2 c self-rising flour (add 1 Tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt to all-purpose flour to make it self-rising)
3/4 c buttermilk (add 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar to regular milk and let sit for 5 mins. if you don't have buttermilk)
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c raisins (craisins might be good too)
1/2 c chopped pecans (or any nut)
2 Tbsp cinnamon

2/3 c melted butter
1 to 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c cream (cream substitutes can be found here: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/cream-substitute.html)

Mix together softened butter and flour. Stir in buttermilk. Do not over-stir. Scrape out onto a floured surface, sprinkle with flour, and lightly pat down. Sprinkle onto the dough the brown sugar, raisins, nuts, and cinnamon. Fold dough over 3 or 4 times. Don't over-fold. Pat it down lightly, then, using a cup as a cutter, cut out your biscuits. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream. Pour over very hot biscuits. Enjoy!


Sunday, December 12, 2010


It's that time of year again and we here at Fortunately For You Books love it when we can give some awesome presents to our favorite people!

We are having a daily drawing of names

from fans at our Facebook Page

and Twitter followers.

Just "Like" us on Facebook


follow us on TWITTER.

That simple!

Enter at each place ONE TIME

and your name

will stay in the drawing


What's it worth to you?

Every day, a name will be chosen and the winner receives a

$20 gift certificate for

This certificate can be used

on ANY product in their store- not JUST

Fortunately For You Books products!

How awesome is that?!

Please pass the word!

Facebook: Fortunately For You Books

Twitter: @FFYBooks

RandomList.org is the generator of the daily drawing.

Winner will be announced on FB and Twitter everyday.

Winners will send us an email at

We will in turn send you your CODE for the $20 gift card

to use at Currclick via email.

Blessings to you all and may you be able to buy something

to make your teaching job a little easier!

Shannon, Heidi, and Kelly

Fortunately For You Books

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Family Journaling- Creating a postive atmosphere in your home!

Life can be quite hectic. I feel like there are a lot of days that go by and all that is mentioned are the negatives I saw all day. At the end of the day, it's not a good feeling knowing there were so many good things I could have pointed out but didn't. Sometimes we just have a crazy schedule and no one takes the time to tell each other we love them. I don't want my home to be like this and decided something needed to be done about it. So we decided to start a family journal in our home.

This journal is a way for us to point out the positive things we see, tell each other "I love you", appreciate efforts, and more. It's kind of like writing notes to each other but they are kept in one book and the writing goes back and forth between the two people. The journal is placed in a central location. This way everyone can find it and can easily read it or write in it. When someone sees somebody doing something good or perhaps he just wants to say something nice to another family member, he just gets the journal and writes a little note to that person with the date next to it and signs his name. Sometime throughout the day the journal can be checked to see if there is entry in there for you.

I can't tell you what a difference this has made in the dynamics of our home. My children really look forward to getting a note from me. My son wrote such a touching note to me today that it brought a tear to my eye. This was not something he would normally have verbalized. I may have never gotten this kind of emotion out of him otherwise. I think boys especially do a much better job expressing themselves when it's in written form. If you don't give them the opportunity to use it, you may be missing out on a lot. The kids are so happy and really feeling good about themselves. Even the willingness to work harder and longer on things in school is easier.

Children of all ages need to hear words of affirmation. In the tweener and teenage years, this becomes less apparent because they can become withdrawn and want to hang out with their friends more. Don't let that fool you! It is during these difficult years they need to hear it more than ever. They just won't admit it or want you to do it in front of others. That's why this journal is also a great way to keep the lines of communication open but in a private way. If anyone in the house would rather others not read their entries to you, you could keep a private journal for them. My children are 10 and under and they are not to the point of caring if others read what is written.

An added bonus is that your children get to practice their reading, writing, grammar, and spelling skills without realizing it. If you have younger ones, let them dictate to the older children and they can write it down for them. Or let the little ones just draw a picture for you. When a note is left for a little one, again an older sibling can read it aloud. Either way, everyone can participate and feel like they are contributing and receiving notes.

The journal itself doesn't have to be anything special. A simple composition notebook will do. However, you can decorate the outside if you like. Keeping a pen nearby or even attaching one to the journal with a string keeps you from having to hunt one down which would make you less likely to use it often.

I don't think you can go wrong trying this with your family. Everyone is going to feel loved and special and you'll be surprised how it changes attitudes. Sure it can take a little extra time writing to several children, but I usually do mine in the evening after everyone is in bed. It only takes a few minutes and it gives them something to look forward to in the morning and starts the day off on a good note. I hope you'll try it out. Leave us a note if you do and tell us how it worked.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas in Ireland

Christmas in Ireland

is celebrated from December 24th

to the

Feast of Epiphany on January 6th.

This is a Christian holiday that celebrates

the arrival of the

Wise men who brought gifts to

Jesus at his birth.

This celebration is the oldest

of the Catholic church feasts.

January 6th is specifically known as

“Twelfth Day”.

Perhaps you know of a certain

Christmas song that talks about

the twelve days of Christmas?

The song

The Twelve Days of Christmas

is Ireland’s very own song.

In the old days when it was a crime to be a catholic,

this song was written as a way to help young

Catholic children remember their faith.

The words and pictures would be a

reminder of something

Biblical to the children.

A partridge in a pear tree- Jesus Christ, the son of God

Two turtle doves- Old and New Testaments

Three French hens- Faith, Hope, Charity

Four calling birds- The Four Gospels

Five Golden Rings- The first five books of the Bible


Six geese-a-laying- Six days of creation

Seven swans a swimming- The seven Catholic sacraments

Eight maids a milking- The eight Beatitudes

Nine ladies dancing- nine fruits of the Holy Spirit

Ten lords a leaping- The Ten Commandments

Eleven pipers piping- The eleven faithful apostles

Twelve drummers drumming- twelve points of doctrine

from the Apostle’s Creed

Using this picture, can you

remember all the meanings?

The Irish put a lighted candle in the window

to show that Mary and Joseph would have

been welcome in their home on the

night they needed shelter.

The youngest family member is to light

the candle and the only one who can blow it out

is a girl named ‘Mary’. This is most likely

why there are so many Irish lassies named Mary!

The Irish started the tradition

of hanging a holly wreath on the door.

Holly is a hearty plant that thrives on the

blustery island at Christmas time,

so it was common sense to use this plant for decorating.

Even the poor could decorate well at the holiday time

by using this plant.

These decorations are taken down on

January 6th, or Twelfth Day, and it is

thought to bring bad luck if you take them

down any earlier!

Candy canes are not part of the Irish Christmas.

Instead, and I think very wisely,


are a MUST!

Yeah for the Irish!

Santa Claus is very popular in Ireland

and most people agree that he goes to Ireland before he makes his stop in the United States.

I have watched him on the Santa Tracker and

I know this to be true!

He leaves his packages to the Irish children

a wee bit differently though.

He doesn’t leave presents under the tree, he leaves then in the child’s room, often in pillowcases at the end of their beds.

Almost every family goes to church at midnight on

Christmas Eve, and when they return home,

Santa has already been there!

Here is how you say

“Merry Christmas”

In Gaelic:

Nollaig (Christmas)

Shona (Happy)

Duit (to you)

Sounds like- null-ig hunna ditsh

Can you say it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tid Bits From My Trip To Ireland

My sister and I, Maureen and Shannon (yes, lovely Irish names!)

went to Ireland to spend 10 glorious days in May of this year.

There is something about this island.

Once you have gone, you will want to keep returning!

I have fascinating stories, tales to tell, and pictures to show you!

Which way to go?

And as if that wasn’t confusing enough,

We were driving on the wrong side of the car

And on the wrong side of the road!

One of our first stops was to the

Cliffs of Mohr on the western coast of Ireland.

You have probably seen pictures of this in

books or on calendars.

I was not prepared for how high we up we were.

Birds were specks below us.

There was a woman playing a harp, the sun was shining (no small event in Ireland!), and a Keep to climb!

We planned to be here for one hour, but it turned into three.

How could you leave? It was so peaceful and majestic at the same time.

This is called Brian’s Keep.

Not quite a castle, but still regal to us.

Before we left this wonderful place,

we went into the little tea shop.

Every place of interest has a tea shop and one is always in the mood for “a spot of tea”.

Proper tea pots, cups, cubes of sugar and real cream.

We were always served with cups, linens, silverware,

and some sweet and savory pastries.

We Irish know how to make any

place feel cozy and warm.

Tea and scones.

Works every time!

After we were all warm and toasty, we would venture out

into some cold and primitive settings.

When we are driving in our country, sometimes we

pass old barns or old buildings.

In Ireland, we passed old castles.

There they sat, all crumbled, covered with moss,

in total disrepair and looking quite lonely.

As you are driving down your little sheep lined road,

out of nowhere, something this magnificent would appear,

and we would to stop and just absorb the moment.

There are no crowds, no loud noises…

It is just a castle sitting off the path.

It is Ireland and it is beautiful.

We were able to tour several castles and in one castle

we were given a teaching tour.

A wee little man talked about the family

that had lived there, how they lived, and

what had become of them.

Several hundred years later, this home a man

built to protect his family still stands.

It was solid and the foundation was sure.

Needless to say, we learned lots of life lessons on our trip!

Old churches were as common as old castles.

We loved the old cemeteries- except for one.

It was really creepy.

Ireland is an old, old land.

I do not mean it is any older than the earth you

stand on now.

I mean the history of the island is old.

We could see old cathedrals, old cemeteries

and just when you thought things were old enough,

We came across something even odder and even older.

Bee Hive Huts.

Primitive little forts made 500 years before

our Lord was even born amongst us.

Not only bee Hive Huts,

but Druid Circles.

The best food I have ever had in my life

Was in Ireland.

The cuisine from this island is well known and respected.

If you like seafood- well, remember you are on an island and

the seafood is fresh everyday- everyplace.

We were adventurous in our menu picks.

One can dine very well for limited funds.

Here is a small variety of some good eats.

The BEST Thai food I have ever had in my life.

A traditional Irish breakfast.

Tomatoes are served on every plate.

Nice way to start the day, no?

And never to be forgotten was the

Common Fish and Chips.

They eat this meal like we eat

Happy Meals.

Although Fish and Chips, in Ireland

sitting on a bench by a pier,

watching the ships come in and out

made me happier than any Happy Meal ever can.

Maureen and I went to this place

because we are Irish.

Our family heritage is here.

Our own mum came to America from Ireland

when she turned 18 years old.

No one in our family had ever gone to see this homeland.

If you want to learn more about this trip we took,

We have more pictures and stories on our blog (see link below).

Our blog was how we communicated with our family every day.

Phone calls were too expensive for us so loading up our day’s adventures onto a blog was a perfect way to share our adventures.

Be sure to practice your writing and

sharing tales as much as you can.

If you are ever able to travel, you will want a recording of all that you saw and what you did.

Thank you for sharing your time with me.

I could talk of Ireland all day!


Shannon Coe

Fortunately For You Books


Thursday, December 2, 2010

The American Patriot's Almanac

This book is visually appealing to me. The rough edged papers, the creamy tone of paper, the muted ink, old clip art....all work together to make me feel like I am reading Ben Franklin's own Almanac.
I carry this book around the house and pick out to read to Jesse in spare moments. As all almanacs are, everything is listed by dates. That isn't holding me back and I will not conform to reading only one allotment a day! There is one main subject per date with a "parade" of other events that happened during different years on this given date.
The information is interesting, very interesting. I was prepared for perhaps boring, but I see time was spent picking subjects of value for this book. I should have known. William Bennett does have a good reputation for passing "twaddle" and giving us fascinating delights to read about.
The book is big...thick (almost 2 inches), bigger than a normal size book or Bible. Filled with "mystic chords of memory" as the back cover says. And I find that true. There were readings where I had bits of knowledge about something, and the daily reading would take these wee bits and expand and explain more about the facts, people, events, or the place.
Any higher level student (jr. and sr. high) could use this book, but I would not limit this book to only them. Keep near the breakfast or dinner table. Grab and read aloud to all. Better yet, have a student take a day and let them read on their own. At the next family meal, they can share something interesting about this date in our American History.
Fantastic resource!