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This Is New!

I’m sure you’ve all experienced that rush of adrenaline when something you’ve been working on for a very long time finally becomes reality!  It’s heady and exhilarating, right?  Well, that’s where our little staff at Fresh FACS is right now!  For a little over four months, we’ve been working on the development and launch of our 2018 catalog and it’s finally complete and ready to share with all of you and we’re very excited.

Now you’re probably wondering, what’s the big deal, right?  We publish a standard catalog of our products every year, so how is this any different and why should you, our FACS friends, care?  Well, I’m glad you asked!  We decided to take an entirely new approach to our catalog this year.  We wanted to make it more than just a showcase of our products.  We wanted it to be something that FACS teachers would enjoy perusing–more like a magazine than a catalog!  So that’s exactly what we did!  We created an attractive publication in which we hope you will find tons of useful and interesting information!  And, oh yes, you will also have access to information about our entire product line of fresh ideas for the FACS classroom!

The cover image of our magazine/catalog appears at the top of this post.  If you’ll look closely at the text on the chalkboard image, you’ll see five project titles listed:  Pizza Perfection, Pasta Engineering, Sweet Architecture, Idea to Icon and Stories and Stitches.  These are five brand new FACS activities outlined in the magazine/catalog that are free for you download to use in your classroom.  Here’s a summary and description of each activity.


Pizza Perfection–The Science and Style of Pizza

Through this activity, students will explore the science, math, history and style of this incredibly popular dish.  This multi-faceted activity includes:

  • Top Your Own Pizza Recipe
  • Pizza Dictionary
  • A Slice of Pizza History
  • Pizza Personality, What’s Your Style?  An exploration of the most popular styles of pizza and their characteristics.
  • Pizza Style Investigation
  • Pizza With Style, Beyond the Basic Recipe–An exercise in pizza recipe development

pasta salad for blog

Pasta Engineering–Engineering the Perfect Pasta Salad

This activity will introduce students to the science and engineering of developing the perfect pasta salad.  The activity includes:

  • An introduction to pasta shapes in Pasta Salad Varieties–ID, Please!
  • Selecting the pasta for and original pasta salad recipe.
  • Cooking secrets for perfect pasta salad.
  • Steps and options for developing the perfect original pasta salad recipe.
  • Pasta Salad Dressing Options
  • Engineering the Perfect Pasta Salad Planning guide.

malibu gingerbread house

Sweet Architecture–Engineering a Not So Classic Gingerbread House

This activity is designed to provide students with experience in the application of the principles of the science of baking; observation of the fundamentals of engineering a stable structure; and identification and replication of the elements of specific architectural styles.  This is definitely not a quick holiday activity!  The activity includes:

  • An introduction to ten architectural styles.
  • An Architectural Elements Research Guide
  • Gingerbread Backstory, Hansel and Gretel and Beyond.
  • Engineering a Gingerbread House
  • Gingerbread Glossary
  • Recipes for Construction Gingerbread and Edible Icing Mortar
  • Testing the Mortar, Assessing the Structural Integrity of Edible Mortar options.
  • Gingerbread Hints and Hacks


Stories and Stitches

This activity combines reading, crafts, sewing and identification of developmental stages into one comprehensive and fun activity.  The project includes:

  • Guidelines for Selecting Books for Preschoolers
  • Benefits of reading in early childhood development
  • Sewing Cards as a Developmental Tool
  • Project outline to guide students through the steps in creating a set of original sewing cards based on a book of their own selection.
  • Sewing Cards Design Activity Evaluation Rubric


Edible Art Exhibit

Hosting an edible art exhibit can be an excellent opportunity to showcase students’ culinary and artistic skills.  Creating an original work of edible art requires the application of concepts related to:

  • Knife skills
  • Garnishing
  • Cake decorating
  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Food preservation
  • Food selection and purchasing
  • Cost management
  • Food photography
  • Structural design
  • Presentation

This activity will guide you and your students through the process of designing edible works or art, as well as planning and coordinating an edible art exhibit.


Idea to Icon

Many of the products we use every day have very interesting back stories.  This timeline project is designed to guide students through researching and creating a timeline for one of a dozen iconic consumer products:  commercial sewing pattern, breakfast cereal, blender, disposable diaper, commercial baby food, recliner, pizza, fast food, car seat, blue jeans, sneakers, or flip flops.  The activity includes:

  • Research guidelines
  • Timeline examples
  • Presentation options
  • Evaluation rubric

There’s so much more to learn and do in the 2018 Fresh FACS magazine/catalog!  We hope you’ll check it out.  You can page through the entire catalog by clicking on the image below.  To request a hard copy of the magazine/catalog, send us a request on this blog or by private message on Facebook.  Be sure to include the address where you would like your publication mailed.

Family and Consumer Sciences Day, For the Love of FACS, Reading in the FACS Classroom, Save FACS

Fast & Easy Lasagna

Everyday lasagna 2 Dining In logo

Everyday Lasagna is the next recipe in my collection of Favorite Weeknight Dinners.  I made this yummy dish last night and, as always, it was a huge hit!  It takes about 15 minutes to assemble—not a bad investment of time for such incredible results!  The baking time of 55 minutes total leaves a nice period of down time for relaxing or (sigh) grading papers.  Add a simple salad and some garlic bread to this main dish and you’re set!  Enjoy!

Everyday Lasagna

1 pound lean ground beef
4 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce
6 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 ½ cups (10 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup hot water


1.    Preheat oven to 375° F.

2.    Lightly grease an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. 

3.    Cook beef in large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.

4.    Stir in pasta sauce.

5.    Spread one-third of meat sauce in baking dish.  Layer with 3 noodles and half each of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses.

6.    Repeat procedure; spread final one-third meat sauce over mozzarella cheese.

7.    Slowly pour ¼ cup hot water around edge of dish.

8.    Cover tightly with 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

9.    Bake for 45 minutes; uncover and bake 10 minutes more.

10.    Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Yield:    6 to 8 servings

This recipe is featured in Four Course FACS, our FACS literacy resource based on the young adult novel Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous.

Children and Families, For the Love of FACS, Historical FACS, In Stitches, Reading in the FACS Classroom, Save FACS

FACSessorize It Friday

Facsessorize logoHappy FACSessorize Friday, Everyone!  Today our FACSessory topic is log cabins.  Everyone is familiar with this symbol of Americana, but here are a few FACS facts the you and your students might not know.  Feel free to share! 

lincoln logs 

Fascinating FACS Fact:  2016 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most iconic and enduring of all American toys, Lincoln Logs.  Did you know that Lincoln Logs were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, John?  Who knew, right?  This would obviously be an interesting fact to share in a child development or parenting class, but it has connections to other FACS content areas as well.

Here are some related FACS facts:

  • The log cabin is one of the oldest forms of shelter.  Historians believe that the earliest log cabins were built in Northern Europe around 3,500 B.C.  This sturdy structure was probably brought to America by Scandinavian settlers.  History of the log cabin.
  • Several American presidents claim to have lived in a log cabin.  This list includes Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant and James Garfield.  Of course, the president most closely associated with the log cabin is Abraham Lincoln.
  • The Log Cabin Quilt block became popular in the 1860s.  A simplified version of this iconic quilt pattern is a great introductory sewing project because it uses all straight, short seams and can be constructed from fabric scraps.
  • The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder was published in 1932.  This book and the others in the series that followed it are an excellent depiction of home life on the American frontier.  This would be a good novel to incorporate into a FACS literacy program.
  • Cooking in a log cabin presented many challenges.  Many of the recipes from this era produced  colonial recipes that have become American classics.

Hope you will share some of this information with your students! 

FACSessorize 1

This blog entry is an example of the content you will find in FACSessorize!, the latest resource from Fresh FACS, available January 2016.