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

Read More

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.


Cook with Books Pinterest Board

Saving the Day

Read More


What do you have as a back-up plan for days that don’t go well?

Good question! I’m sure most can relate to school days where, due to bad attitudes, illness, lack of sleep, or just plain blahs, you’d rather go back to bed than even attempt to rescue a bad day. And sometimes that’s what’s needed! But there are other ways to chase away the galloping grumps, and bring joy to a seemingly lost day.

“…whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day.”Esther 8:17

Throughout the Bible, joy and feasting went hand-in-hand. When the school day doesn’t go as planned, I put away the books and get out the pots and pans. Together, we cook up a feast. It doesn’t have to be extravagant (and usually isn’t), just plentiful. And rejoice!

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with the free spirit.” Psalm 51:12

We try to focus on what is good, get into the Word together as a family, and rejoice in what the Lord has done for us. We repent of our grumbling and ask for joy to be restored in our day.

“Then shall the maiden rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together, for I will turn their mourning into joy…” Jeremiah 31:13

Get up and dance! It is hard to have a bad attitude when dancing – try it! We sometimes put on some music or a dancing video (Sweatin’ to the Oldies is fun!) and dance the grumps away.

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24

We pray for joy. That simple.

“Make a joyful noise unto God” Psalm 66:1

As with dancing, it is hard to have a bad attitude when making a joyful noise. Turn on some hymns, sing a song together, or if you are musically inclined, play an instrument. My “noise” isn’t that joyful, I couldn’t carry a note if it was in a paper bag. But I get my children to cheer up and laugh when I try. If someone is especially grumping, I’ll start singing “I’ve got joy, joy, joy way down in my heart…” waiting for their “Where?” They will be laughing and begging me to stop in no time. 

The disciples were filled with joy when “they shook off the dust of their feet.” Acts 13:51

So we had a bad day. Get past it. Let it go. It happens. And it will happen again. So we “shake the dust off our feet” by going for a walk, getting a change of scenery, and just moving on.

“The fruit of the spirit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

We make a fruit salad! If we are short on fresh or frozen fruit, we’ll make a trail mix with raisins, dried apricots, prunes, cranberries, apples, etc. As we are making and eating it, we’ll discuss Galatians 5:22. We also discuss how “fruit” is singular in this verse, and that if we are lacking joy in our day, it is most likely because we have fallen short in another area. As we purposefully reflect on this, we discover where we went wrong. Maybe we weren’t as loving or gentle as we should have been. Or we didn’t strive for peace. Take any of the fruit away, and there goes the joy. When it is realized that being joyful is often a choice we make, by the actions we take, we have better control of regaining it.

And if all else fails, we go ahead and take that nap!