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My Town: No school, no problem! Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

My Town: No school, no problem!  Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

During the winter break from school, many students will pack away their books and turn their attention away from learning. 

To help ensure your students are still learning, statewide virtual learning school, Michigan Connections Academy, is sharing activities you can do as a family to keep your young students busy and their brains active over the break.

1.       Practice math while baking holiday cookies. Students struggle with fractions and always want to know when they will “use math in real life.” The perfect time to practice fractions is while you are baking cookies. Two-thirds of a cup plus 1/3 of a cup equals one whole cup, which your child will see as you work on making those cookies, helping develop a real life connection to what they are learning in school.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk Dec. 13 - Be there with bells on your toes

Jingle Bell Run/Walk Dec. 13 - Be there with bells on your toes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Be a part of the largest holiday 5K race to fight arthritis!

This is your chance to wear a holiday themed costume, tie jingle bells to your shoe laces and raise funds to help beat arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability.

Registration for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk closes at 8:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 12. Walk-in registration will be available during packet pick-up on Friday, Dec. 12, from 12 p.m.  to 6 p.m. at Gazelle Sports, located at 3930 28th Street in Grand Rapids.

Walk-in registration is available right before the Jingle Bell Run on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Grand Valley State University in the Eberhard Center, located at 301 W. Fulton St. EC 210. Doors open at 7:30 a.m.

Cost:

My Town: Sixth grade students face off in Cupcake War

My Town: Sixth grade students face off in Cupcake War

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The baking battle is over, and the winner is West Michigan charities.

Wednesday, sixth grade students from Blandford School, Zoo School and CA Frost Environmental Science Academy competed in their own Cupcake War to raise money for local charities.  The students worked in teams of four to create a cupcake that would take top ratings in theme, appearance, design and taste.  They also had to incorporate a special ingredient.

The Best of Show award went to Blandford School.  Zoo School sold the highest percentage of their cupcakes, and CA Frost Environmental Science Academy sold the most cupcakes.  Altogether, the schools raised $656 selling their cupcakes, which will go to the schools’ charity of their choice.

In the Kitchen with Kal: Pastry Cream - the versatile dessert

In the Kitchen with Kal: Pastry Cream - the versatile dessert

If you are looking for something unique for a dessert during the holidays, here is a versatile dish. I had a basic recipe for this pastry cream, but tweaked it to my liking. I think it is a fairly easy recipe. I certainly recommend using a double boiler when making a filling like this.

This cream would really look nice in a pretty stemware glass with fresh berries on it along with the other suggestions I have at the bottom of this recipe.

PASTRY CREAM                        Makes enough for a deep dish pie crust

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Diocese of Grand Rapids has hired two more people to ramp up enrollment for its Catholic schools.

Dan Plachta will serve as an admissions enrollment field consultant, guiding the diocese’s 29 schools in outreach and recruitment. While supporting current students, the diocese plans to focus on traditionally underserved groups who could take advantage of school tuition assistance, which is quadrupling to $1,000,000.

Plachta is an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament School (now All Saints Academy) and Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids.

“As a graduate of Catholic schools in the diocese, Dan brings a personal passion for the importance of Catholic education in West Michigan,” said David Faber, superintendent of Catholic schools.

My Recipe of the Month

My Recipe of the Month

I don't know about the rest of the world but I love apple butter on my toast or on a fresh slice of homemade bread.

For the first time, I have found a recipe to make this delicious spread in a Crock-Pot! It turned out so good and with very little fuss on my part. It is just a matter of assembling the ingredients, letting the Crock-Pot do its thing and then enjoying the results.

My mom made this when I was a kid and I have carried the tradition on with my kids. It's always a treat. Maybe it will be for you too.

HOMEMADE APPLE BUTTER

Makes about 6 cups

  • 5 ½ pounds of apples, peeled and cut up (I use a variety)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Put all the apples in a Crock-Pot and top with the remaining ingredients and stir to coat the apples.