Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy Week's Menu


I haven't been able to post my menus on Menu Plan Monday  for a couple of weeks.  And since it only takes me 15 seconds to get frustrated at computerese,  I may not this week either.  But at least I will type it up here and be able to look at it during the week!!

We have a crazy week again.  Monday we have a swim team party,  Tues I have one playing 3 v 3 soccer for the first, and probably only, time.   Thursday I am taking food to a new mom and going out to sushi with some good friends, (who also has a great crafting blog),  Friday we go over to some friends for a cookout, Saturday I only have kids, no hubby, and Sunday is potlunch. 

So how to do this?  Not sure.  Let's see what I can do.

Monday--cooking for elderly gentleman who has a sensitive stomach so maybe chicken and rice casserole for him (and freeze the rest for the new mom on Thursday!)  For us,  chicken quesadillas with homemade salsa from Pioneer Woman and ice cream from the ice cream truck rumored to be stopping in at the pool party.

Tuesday--Tuna croquettes, and with peas in a cream sauce.  Will be looking up a recipe for this in one of my older cookbooks.

Wednesday--- I think homemade pizza sounds good.  I loved the recipe from the June Southern Living.  I have fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, and mushrooms.  Oh YUM!

Thursday--kids can eat sandwiches,  I am going out for sushi with my husband and friends.  Will eat like a pig.

Friday--I will be taking watermelon and chips and corn and black bean salsa.  I probably need another side but want it to be finger foodish.  I will be searching.

Saturday--Thaw and reheat homemade cinnamon roll, bacon, and eggs.  Husband will be celebrating Kevin's 19th bday with  a guys movie night.  I hope to have the second installment from Netflix of Emma.  And maybe some homemade caramel popcorn.

Sunday--Not sure here.  It's potluck so probably a dessert and something else.

If you have any ideas let me know.  Preferably a no bake or crock pot recipe.  Or a salad.

Can't wait to check out some other sites.  I'll let you know if I find anything good.

thanks for reading,


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time Flies

I really believe 2 weeks have passed with me not blogging.    We have been busy with...with...with...well, with life.  But I also sometimes feel that what I have to say is ...plain, boring, not interesting.  Then I think about the blogs I read and what are they about?    Dogs,  food,  gardening,  homeschooling,  a days events,  a project begun or finished. 

So I blog tonight on ....  a book.   I picked this book off the cook book shelf at the library.  Sometimes I go up and down the aisle just looking for  a book to jump out at me, and boy did this one jump.  I will say I think I saw it mentioned on the the common room's   blog. 

Anyway,   the name of the book is Sixpence in Her Shoe by Phyllis McGinley.  I LOVE this book.  It is a collection of essays on begin a wife, mom, and homemaker.  She has such wit,  such great use of language,  such candor and common sense.  I have been reading portions of it aloud to my husband and we HMM together.  Here is a quote I am in love with.  Of course it is about books.

"Children, of all people, deserve the best.  At this age their tastes are forming.  From the first nursery rhyme to the last Arthurian legend, they should have what their elders do not often get in a story--accomplished style,  honest motivation, characters proficiently drawn."

Here is very good reason we use great books instead of workbooks and textbooks for school.   Here is another quote, in speaking of  the taking out  great long sentences and difficult words in children's books so has to make them more understandable to the child.

"And we have done more than smother word discovery;  we have deleted magic and fantasy from children's lives.  Most modern textbooks try to appeal to the young by talking about what they already know,  their everyday activities." 

She then quotes from a popular children's book on how Bill took paper and pencil to school and drew his neighborhood and was it north or south,  the title being "Bill Carter's Map".

"Bill Carter drew a map and took it to school.  The map showed his teacher where he lived.  First he drew Main Street.  Then he drew Indian Road.  Bill drew a small picture for his house.  He drew a bigger picture for his house.  Bill marked North and South on his map.  Is Bill's house South of the School?"

Oh MY!!!   She compares it to a story from McGuffey's Second Eclectic Reader.  (My kids love these.  We use them for read aloud practice.)

"One cold night, after Old Mr. Post had gone to bed,  he heard a noise at the door.  He went out to see what it was, and what do think he found?  He found a little babe on the doorstep, crying from the cold."

Much better beginning and even I want to know what happens now.   Good thing I have the book.

So I guess this was a book review.  If you find this book,  and I hope to find it at the used book sale in 4 weeks,  pick it up and read through it.  And be sure and look in the cook book section, and pick up a book on Gluten Free cooking cause you KNOW your wheat loving family is going to jump up and down for joy and beg you to never make homemade bread again and cook with rice flour and such.  Or better yet,  just get a cook book  on cookies,  bake some,  grab Sixpence in Her Shoe,  and eat and read. 

thanks for reading,  (if you are still here!!)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another year (almost) planned!

My child who will be in AOyr 4 in the fall is my easiest child to homeschool.  She learns so much on her own,  does her work quickly and with the least amount of fuss.  I think I could put anything in front of her and she would take it and work with it.  Such a pleasure and I don't appreciate her enough.  I need to tell her so.....

Ok,  I'm back.  She will actually be in "grade 5"  but I learned with my first two to take it slow and wait until the child is really ready for "school" to begin.  So with this one we did Five In A Row an extra year and then began.  I think it made her year 1 so much easier. 

Here is what I have for her this year.  I am following AO yr 4 pretty closely.  I have learned to combine history and science so I only have to understand and keep up with 2 time periods instead of 4.  It SEVEN YEARS for me to understand what  I needed to do  and at least 2 yrs to figure  out how.  I'm not slow...just stubborn!

Copywork: We will work on writing 2 sentences a day, mainly from her dictation passages. 
Dictation:  One paragraph prepared each week from her readings in science, history, etc.  We will focus on seeing the words in the mind.  ( I did NOT do this well with my first and see now  how it has hurt her.  Teaching attention to detail flows into  attention in reading,  narration and other areas..)
Grammar: We will begin FLL level 4. I have learned to gently introduce nouns, pronouns, verbs, sentence types, commas, and such from second grade to third grade.  I finally bought FLL level 1 to help me know WHAT to teach and some ways to use our copywork for grammar also.  I will do this over 2  yrs, spreading it out to learn it slowly but surely.
Typing:  We use Mavis Beacon and all my kids have enjoyed it so far.  This child is so excited to learn to type. It's something she's talked  about all year.
Math:  Continue with Delta and begin Epsilon sometime this year.  She picks up math concepts pretty easily.
Spanish:  Again, something to look at as this child and my youngest are finished with the series they were using this year.
Plutarch:  I will be using this book for Plutarch.  I think this child and my son will be the ones who end up loving this.  My eldest...well,  I went about it wrong in the beginning and set her up to dislike the stories.  Maybe we can draw her in with these.
Shakespeare:  We will continue to use this to read Shakespeare. 
Geography:  Tree in the Trail and Seabird, both by H.C. Holling together with my youngest.
Poetry:  Tennyson, Dickinson, and Wordsworth, using the Young Persons Poetry series.  They are wonderful!
Literature: Age of Fable---I have learned that this should be read aloud and discussed.  Don't leave your child unattended.  They won't get the point of the readings and MAY get too involved with the stories.  Robinson Crusoe, probably using this free online service.  I love audios for some of the readings.  The kids like to listen and I need a reading break. Kidnapped.  I will probably read this to her because I haven't read it yet.  I saw the BBC movie and loved it.  We will watch it together when the book is finished.  Incredible Journey, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Paul Revere's Ride, and Rip Van Winkle.
History:  Isn't this were we all head to first as homeschoolers?  Cause if we get this right,  all else seems to fall into place.  Well,  being the bit of rebel I am,  I am going to figure this out LAST.  When I DO figure it out,  I will let you know.  I can tell you we will be studying 1850-right after WWI.  AND I am using Truthquest History Guides with the oldest 3  for help in tying it all together.
Science: Sticking with the together theme,  we are studying whatever the eldest is studying and that would be...Chemistry.  So for now I am using AIG's God's Design for Chemistry and Ecology,  The Mystery of the Periodic Table, and a Van Cleaves Chemistry for Kids book.  I also have a Science in the Kitchen book I will throw out there if someone wants to try something in it. 
I also want to be more nature oriented.  I am probably very naturey by nature,  HMMM,  but I want to be more specific.  So again,  going with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.  We are supposed to observe and draw a geranium,  but my stinkin' chickens ate the flowers.  I guess we can observe all the OTHER aspects of this wonderful flower and watch for the blooms to come back.

Free reading,  NOT FREE.   These are must read books that they can read in any order.  I usually have them pick out 3 or 4 at a time,  they read these over a few weeks, and then we get more.  Some they can download to their mp3 player and listen to, but others they must read.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
A Book of Golden Deeds by Charlotte Yonge
Bambi by Felix Salten
The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
Little Britches series by Ralph Moody
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight
Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
Return To Gone Away by Elizabeth Enright
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia Hale; 22 chapters; The Complete Peterkin Papers has a few additional chapters, but each chapter can stand alone. These were originally printed as serials in a magazine.
** Calico Captive (girl interest) or The Sign of the Beaver (boy interest) by Elizabeth George Speare
*** Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Tree of Freedom by Rebecca Caudill
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
*** The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery (British view of revolution)
Justin Morgan had a Horse by Marguerite Henry

This was a long post,  again,  but when you are working through something,  you gotta get it down or it flies out the window.  Also,  I know it looks like a lot, it is spread out over 36 weeks, using this as my guide. 

thanks for reading,


Monday, June 13, 2011

Crock pot week

Two things about cooking this week...

1.  We have ANOTHER busy week

2.  It is too hot to cook much inside. 

I read somewhere about cooking in the crockpot on the porch,  so the heat stays outside.  I tried it last week and it worked GREAT.
So I am going to try it again for most nights this week.  We also cooked pancakes and toasted bagels out there.  I like eating on the porch anyway so it was a win/win situation.   Here is what we MOST LIKELY will have.  he he  You know it changes to fit my taste!!

Mon.  Baked potatoes with leftover Barbacoa with sugar snap peas from the garden.  (That was thrilling just to type!) 

UPDATE:   The barbacoa didn't make it past Kevin tonight.  I will have to find something else to put on my potatoes.  Leftover bacon and bits of this and that. 

Tues.  Nachos.  I will cook the meat in the crock pot and use cream cheese, salsa, and cheddar cheese instead of velveeta and pour it over the chips topped by  whatever is in the fridge that looks good.

Wed.  Caribbean chicken on rice

Thur.  Grilled fish with whatever veggies are current in the garden

Fri.  Momma Nell's mac and cheese, salad  (preparing for a swim meet, need carbs)

Fri.  Eggs, bacon, cheese cooked in a muffin tin, homemade cinnamon rolls.  YUM YUM!!

That's all.  Haven't thought as far as Sunday..oh yeah,  Pizza with the church before THEY all head out for camp!!  Sweet!!

I am off to see other's menus and get ideas for next week.  I need, easy and frugal.  May go check out Hillbilly Housewife recipes. 

thanks for reading,


Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Bucket Lists

I have been seeing these pop up in the cyber world this spring and I had to see what it was.  I LOVE lists.  I make them all the time.  What needs to be done today,  grocery,  books to read, to buy,  list of school things,  clothes lists, project lists,  thankful lists.  They make me happy.  And when they are ALL crossed off,  I throw them away.  There's finality in throwing things away.

Oh yes,  bucket lists.  So the other day my children were acclimating to summer/swim team schedule and not sure what to do or think.  I have school year lists all over the house and these were not working for the time being.  So I perused the internet and found some examples of bucket lists people had made.  I gave the children paper and pencil and told them to create their own.  They could choose 10 things each,  and they could NOT all be going to Florida  (although that is tops on MY list!!)

Here they are and if I can figure it out,  I will put in on the side of the blog and cross them off as we (try) to accomplish them.  I need direction and I hope this will help.

12 year old Son!!

1.  Made tie-dyed t-shirts
2.  Make homemade ice-cream
3. Play flash light tag
4.  Make a bird feeder
5.  Pick berries and make jam
6.  Go to an early bird dollar movie
7.  Write a story
8.  Build a fort
9.  Build a mini golf course
10.  Go on a bike ride to the creek

(he has more but we have to stop somewhere!)

9 year old girl

1.  Have a girls night with friends
2.  Camp out in the club house
3.  Go camping
4.  Stay up til midnight
5.  Make a magazine
6.  Make a movie
7.  Write a book or play
8.  Make a doll house
9.  Write a song
10.  Collect animals and have a zoo (charge an entrance fee to neighborhood kids!)

7 year old girl

1.  Go to the pool just to play
2.  A week of being not me
3.  Go crawfish catching with the family
4.  Sleep in the club house
5.  Have a family cook out
6.  Go to the zoo
7.  Have a color day where we all where the same color
8.  Have a craft day
10.Play tag in the dark

What I loved about these was the simplicity.  I think we can handle this.  We began today by doing something we had talked about but didn't write down.  We made chocolate covered frozen bananas.  I will post pictures soon.

thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 9, 2011

This and That

I am soooooo tired.  This week has been incredibly busy and will be for another 5 days.  Almost depressing to think about. 

We have been swimming,  fixing meals,  going to see a working steam engine,  dr's appts.,  dress fittings for a reenactment,  building a pond,  and the other life issues which come up.  Here are a couple of random pics since my brain can't make a full cohesive post.

I officially DON"T LIKE digital film.  This picture, and many, many others,  are still on my phone and computer.  Who else misses taking 32 shots,  pulling out the film,  mailing it off, getting pics in the mail and then scrapbooking that months prize photos?  Now I have to have an official "put pics in order, compare with what's been printed, and order pics" day.  I may need lots of Twizzlers for that!!

I am really missing a little of this.  I think we could have an indoor ski slope or snow machine for those really hot days (like this week!).  We could pay to play in the snow.  HMMM.  Maybe I should look into this..

My eldest daughter,  MISS CREATIVITY, made this for me for Valentines Day.  It is cut from fruit and bread.  My own bouquet.  She is a delight.

Who would have thought that this could go to ...

in 4 short months.  I am amazed each morning I go out and check on my plants.  I can't believe the Lord took the time to make these grow.  He is AWESOME!

And these little cuties have gone from this to...

in less than three months.  I will be looking for an egg in 8 weeks.  Yes,  I am counting.

Swimming is early tomorrow so I am off.  I will try to take that new camera of mine to the pool.  I bet it takes great shots. 

thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On a Roll

I have been super charged to get things done around here.  We have projects lying around,  half finished or in the planning stages for YEARS!!  And after awhile I get sick of it. I am also learning to let others in my home enjoy their day the way I want THEM to let me enjoy mine, without TOO much condemnation on my part.  Which means I just get in the car and go to Lowes or Wal-Mart and get what I need and get going.  Or fish around in the shed or garage and see what's their. 

You've seen the garden.  I need to post a new pic because it is so FULL.  I love going out in the mornings and looking, picking, eating, pinching, fiddling.  It is soothing.

You have also seen the headboard.  Still loving it!!

Last year I began, with the help of my trusty yard boy Kevin, my mom, and a couple of kids, building a pond.  It all started when I asked a retired gentleman in our church, who owns and loved to drive a small tractor, to come help dig out a tree we did not want.  After it was uprooted I noticed the hole was about the size of a small pond. I LOVE the sound of water,  little fishies swimming,  plants growing, so I headed over to Lowes to see what they had.  I found a prefab pond and almost screamed.  It was $14.00.  I had heard they were VERY expensive so I didn't ask questions,  just took it up to the counter and paid for it.  Yup,  you guessed it.  It was missed priced, but because it was not me but them,  I got it for that price.  Now I screamed.

I called up my handy helpers and we dug and set and filled and planted a couple of plants.  But it was not FINISHED!  Here is what it looked after a winter of kids thinking it was THEIR personal toy.

Yes, that is green slime/sludge.  Yes, most of the rocks were THROWN into to the pond by many little hands.  Yes,  those are to pitiful looking hostas.  and weeds.  and did I say really green slime?

Here is the after-4-solid-hours-of-word-in-extreme-heat pond.

AHH,  much better.  The pump we couldn't figure out but will go in tonight.  Fish in a couple of days.  Can't wait to here the trickling of water and the splashing of fish tails.  Here is another view.

And another cause I am VERY proud of this. 

I could not have done this without my engineer Kevin, and my landscaper Mom, and my sidekick Noah.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

thanks for reading,


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I tried something today..

A few weeks ago I went into the Goodwill Clearance center looking for a cheap cabinet to make into a temporary bird coop for the meat birds (that were eaten THREE days after I bought the cabinet.  GRRR)   I found a headboard and  the seat part of a high chair.  All three pieces cost me $6.50.  If I couldn't do something with them,  I could burn them cheaper than buying wood!

Now,  if you have read this blog ANY these past few months,  you know I am NOT a crafty person...I don't like it,  not good at it,  don't want to.  But I wanted a headboard after not having one for 9 yrs.  And for $2, how could I not try?  So I called a friend who works with spray paint often,  Kelly over at Creative Chickadee and asked her to H..E..L..P!!

Not only did she say she would, she wanted to bring lunch.  Am I a blessed woman or what?   She made this wonderful sauteed fresh mozzarella salad from a new vegetarian cookbook at Pamper Chef.  Here is what we ate...

It was summer goodness with lettuce from the garden and other stuff (not worth mentioning because it came from a store.)

And here is what we did.  Don't look for a tutorial because if mostly consisted of Kelly spraying and me spraying and me asking if this is right and her saying it's hard to go wrong and me asking again if this was right and her saying just spray like this and get the picture.  I was very insecure. 

I forgot to get a picture of the whole thing prepainted,  but here is what the  unfinished leg looked like. 

This is after "WE" had sprayed one side and I remembered I had not taken a picture.  If you are wondering what kind of paint I used,  it was a cream color from Wal Mart. 

Here is it is with Kelly finishing up the last bit of painting.  I didn't want a clean coat over it all.  I liked seeing the texture come through and it looking a little cottagy.

Here is what Kelly was doing while I whined  sprayed  the headboard.  She was making a tack board for Kevin's graduation present.  I wish I had taken pictures of THIS process,  but I was a little stressed  busy. 

Here is what the headboard looks like in my room.  I LOVE it.  Not sure how to attach it,  but that will come. 

I must say,  it was easier than I thought and now I have a few more ideas as to what could use a coat of paint. 

thanks for reading,