George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

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George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

You’ve likely munched on many potato chips in your lifetime, but do you know how they came to be?  In George Crum and the Saratoga Chip, Gaylia Taylor tells the story of the potato chip and the man who invented them, George Crum.

When George Crum grew up in the 1830s, he faced some difficulties because he was part Native American and part African American.  He met these difficulties with determination and mischievousness, qualities that ultimately led to his most famous creation.  George loved the outdoors, and when he finished school he made his living hunting and fishing to supply local restaurants with fresh game and fish.  While he was hunting, he met another hunter from France who taught him how to cook fine dishes over a campfire.  George discovered that he loved to cook!  He enjoyed experimenting with spices and seasonings and making his dishes taste just right.

George loved cooking so much that he decided to become a chef.  It wasn’t easy for him to find a restaurant that would give him a chance, but he finally got a job at Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York.  Most customers loved his cooking, but he also had to deal with a lot of picky customers who would give George and the wait staff a hard time.  One day, a lady ordered French fries, which were a relatively new dish.  George made what he thought were the perfect French fries, but the lady sent them back, saying they were too thick.  George decided he would show her how thin he could make them and sliced them as thin as he could and then cooked them in oil.  He took them out to her, hoping to enjoy the customer’s reaction to these thin potatoes, but to his surprise, she loved them!  The potatoes became a sensation!

George eventually left Moon’s Lake House to open his own restaurant, Crum’s Place, where everyone was treated equally.  George’s story, written wonderfully by Taylor, shows that many obstacles can be overcome with enough hard work and the right attitude.  George didn’t enjoy school, so he found a way to make his living in the outdoors.  When he found his passion for cooking, he pursued it until he had the job he wanted and didn’t let any difficulties hold him back.  His story provides a terrific example of perseverance!  The illustrations are bright and colorful and have an almost cartoonish feel that will draw in reluctant readers and help them enjoy this story.

So grab a bowl of chips–or try making your own!–and gather your kids around to hear the story of one of America’s most popular snacks!


Cook with Books: Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato

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Cook with Books Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and this month we have a wonderful book and recipe to help you celebrate!  Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato is Tomie dePaola’s retelling of an old Irish folktale.  Jamie O’Rourke is known for being the laziest man around, and when his wife, Eileen, is unable to dig up the potatoes, Jamie fears he will starve.  He heads to church to talk with his priest, but on the way he meets a leprechaun.  Instead of giving Jamie his pot of gold, the leprechaun talks him into taking a seed for the biggest potato in the world.  Jamie takes the seed home and plants it and soon finds that even though he’s not going to starve, he’s got a whole new problem on his hands!

This month we have a super simple recipe to share with you.  In fact, it’s so simple, I’m not sure it really can be called a recipe!  All you need are the ingredients pictured above.

hard to cutPeel your potatoes and chop them up.  This may be hard for your smaller kids to do.

cuttingWe had to switch to a kids’ knife, which was much easier to use!

choppingYou want bite-sized pieces!

mixPour some oil over the potatoes and stir; then add dry ranch dressing mix–or any other seasoning you’d like.

ready to bakePlace them in a baking dish and pop them in the oven.

finishedYou’ve got a simple and yummy side dish in just about an hour!

Here’s the “recipe” for you:


  • potatoes
  • oil
  • seasoning


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Put the potatoes in a bowl and add oil and seasoning mix and stir well.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.


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Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is celebrated to welcome in the Chinese spring. Legend has it that a monster slept throughout the year, but arose on the new year day to consume large amounts of food. The people discovered that the monster was afraid of bright lights, loud noises, and the color red. Thus, the Chinese New Year traditions of lighting lanterns, setting off firecrackers, and wearing the color red were begun.

The Chinese calendar is lunar, based on the phases of the moon. Every year is symbolized by one of twelve animals. This New Year is the Year of the Goat. Chinese New Year in 2015 begins at the new moon on February 19th and ends with the full moon on March 6th.

As Christians, we should be cautious of propagating unscriptural practices, such as astrology, focus on monetary wealth, gambling with mah-jong, pleasing “gods”, and other superstitious practices. Here are some fun ideas that are not unscriptural.

Spring Cleaning

Ok, maybe this one isn’t so fun, and unless you are actually in China, it isn’t quite spring yet. Spring cleaning is symbolic of fresh starts and new beginnings. Why not focus on an internal cleaning, referring to this verse:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Family Reunion Dinner

During the Chinese New Year, families visit together and exchange gifts such as oranges. A reunion dinner is prepared, fish being a must on the menu. Chinese tradition has it that some fish must be left on the plate. Does this remind your child of another meal of fish?

“He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.” Mark 6:37-44

Becoming New

As in America, a New Year is a time to reflect on ways to improve ourselves, and set our minds and hearts to making these changes. Encourage your children to “become new”.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Refrain from Fighting

It is a Chinese tradition to start out the New Year without any arguments or bickering. Refraining from fighting for the 15 day New Years celebration will establish a good habit for the rest of the year. Inspire your children:

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (HCSB)


Remember the monster that was afraid of light? You can make and decorate your house with Paper Lanterns, reminding your children that everything dark and evil is exposed by light.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Wear Red

While the Chinese wear red to scare off the mythical monster, red symbolizes something very real to Christians:

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14

Learn About China


Download and complete a FREE China Lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Learn About Goats


Download and complete a FREE Goat Lapbook from Homeschool Share.


Pick a picture book or two about Chinese culture to share with your young children.


Round is a Mooncake Free Unit Study


The Empty Pot Free Unit Study and Lapbook


Love as Strong as Ginger Free Unit Study


Daisy Comes Home Free Unit Study


As you learn about Chinese New Year, why not pray for our oppressed brothers and sisters in Christ, living in China. You can read about Christians in China HERE.

Enjoy your Chinese New Year,

Homeschool Share style!

Cook with Books: Ed Emberley’s Fingerprint Drawing Book

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The books we feature in the Cook with Books posts are usually stories, but this month we have a fun activity book to share with you!  Ed Emberley’s Fingerprint Drawing Book is a terrific book to bring out on those cold winter afternoons when the kids’ energy is high and yours is low.  Kids of all ages can follow the simple steps to make fingerprint pictures without much help at all, which makes this an excellent book in my opinion!  When they’re finished with their pictures, the kids can try out these easy thumbprint cookies, too!

thumbprint ingredientsThese cookies are so good and easy to make.  You’ve almost certainly got everything you need on hand!

butter and sugarStart by creaming your butter and sugar together.

eggsNext you’ll add your vanilla and the yolks of two eggs and then mix again.  My kids actually did really well for their first time trying this!

flour and saltAdd the flour and salt and mix until you get a smooth dough.  At first it will look very crumbly, like the picture above, but stick with it and a nice dough will form.  Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for half an hour or so.

jellyRoll the dough into one inch balls and then place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press your thumb down into the middle of the dough ball to make a little indentation.  Fill the cookies with whatever kind of jams or preserves you prefer.  I love that everyone can have a different flavor if they want!

messSome kinds of fillings will make more of a mess than others, but even though they may not look Pinterest-worthy, they are still delicious!

finished thumbprintsThese are so easy and make such a pretty tea time snack!

Here’s the full recipe:


  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • jams or preserves of your choice


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Add the two egg yolks and the vanilla to the butter and sugar and mix well.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
  4. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
  5. Roll the dough into one-inch balls.  (I got about two dozen from this recipe.)  Place the balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and press down with your thumb to make an indentation in the dough.
  6. Fill the indentation with your favorite jam or preserves.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.


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