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Showing posts from March, 2013

A Good Friday

On this chilly, rainy Good Friday I am looking forward to some quality time with my family.  We worked extra hard yesterday to get two days of school work done in one so that we could do some different activities today.

We're starting our day with a copycat version of Panera's strawberries & cream scones (they're baking right now and I can't wait to eat one!).  I have fallen in food-love with those things and I really hope this recipe can fix my craving!

Then we're going to spend some time reflecting on the meaning of Good Friday with a Grape Vine study on The Last Supper.  I'm excited about trying this curriculum with my kiddos because I'm looking into it for our next school year.  "Stick figuring through the Bible" just sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?

The rest of the day I plan to do some fun Easter activities with the family:

dye eggs--maybe like this, or thisget our some of our Easter and spring decorations (yes, I know I'm …

What I've Learned During My Early-to-Rise Challenge

Well, here it is ...the last week of the Early to Rise challenge.  And I have learned a few things about myself.  
First of all I have learned that being a night owl is deeply ingrained in me.  I absolutely love those late hours when the kiddos are {hopefully} asleep in bed--I do have a night owl daughter, too--and I can relax, watch a favorite show, work on lesson plans or another project, read a book, even make a late-night run to the store ...whatever I want to do.  Sort of like if I got up early before everyone.  And while in my mind I would really like to flip-flop this to get up earlier than everyone else, it never fails that I get this massive second burst of energy every night around 9 and the kiddos are all tucked in.  To go to bed early would literally require sleep-aid every.single.night. because even when I've gotten up extra early it doesn't make me any sleepier at night.  
Secondly, I've learned not to condemn myself if I don't/can't get up as early as…

Tasty Tuesdays: Steak & Potato Scallop Casserole

Welcome back to Tasty Tuesdays!
Today I'm revisiting a family favorite: the steak and potato scallop casserole.  It's one of Vince's favorites and since last week's menu was especially for him--since he'd been to Egypt the week before and missed American food a lot--this was definitely on the menu.  
This is a recipe that my mom made when I was growing up.  It's also one of my dad's favorites.  It's real man food!  However, I also love it and so do the kiddos.  It does have onions in it, but I slice those fairly thick so that they're easy to remove from the spoonfuls that I put on my children's plates.  

Steak & Potato Scallop
2 lbs. beef round steak, 1" thick
Flour
3 Tbls. oil
3 small onions, thickly sliced
1 cup (or so) of sliced mushrooms, optional
3 Tbls. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dash of thyme
Dash of garlic salt
2 cups water
3 medium potatoes, pared & thinly sliced
Salt
Smoked paprika ***** Heat oven to 350F. Cut meat into 1&qu…

Fun Mommy Challenge {week 4}

So, the flu has left me and I am feeling motivated to be "fun" again!  Yea!!  Last week I was ...umm....not fun.  Just sick:(  I'm so glad to be feeling human again.
This past weekend we celebrated our daughter's 10th birthday.  She has been excited about turning "double-digits" for ..oh, something like a year now and we wanted the day to be special.  
While it's pretty easy to get some fun mommy points on a birthday, they still count, right? 

She really wanted to help make her birthday cake and while it's always easier for a mom to just get it all done by herself, it was way more fun to let her help.  She's really taking an interest in cooking and I definitely want to encourage that.  She did a great job following directions and putting all of the ingredients in for the cake batter--and, of course, an excellent job of licking the beaters.  That's a tradition in our house.  Sometimes I fight the kids for the beaters, you know, because that …

Double Digits!!

This weekend we are celebrating our Princess' 10th birthday!!
It's amazing to think that 10 years ago she arrived, 8 weeks early, weighing only 4.9 ounces  with a little smashed nose from being in the birth canal for so long...heehee
She has grown into such a beautiful young lady and we are incredibly proud of her!
She has been so excited about this big day--turning 10!!--and has hardly been able to wait at all:)  So this weekend is all about her.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Princess!!!

A New Day

Well, I could look at this week as a bust.  I have not been much of a "fun mommy".  I sure have not been "early to rise".  And we are playing catch up today on school work since I had a few sick days this week.

But that's okay.

Sometimes mama gets sick, right?  It's not fun, but it happens.  And while I rarely get anything that really knocks me out of commission, this week I apparently had the flu and it took me down.  So not a good time.

I'm happy to be feeling more like myself today though, even if not 100% yet, mostly better is good, right?

And today I'm grateful.

Grateful for children who have been {mostly} helpful to me while I've been sick.
Grateful for my husband who has been wonderful, even though this all meant he didn't get a home-cooked meal for four days after he got home from Egypt.
Grateful for the flexibility of homeschooling.
Grateful for a new day.
Grateful for grace.


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Tasty Tuesdays: Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Chili

I posted this recipe last fall, but it's back on the dinner plans for this week and I thought I would update it with a better photo in honor of Tasty Tuesdays.  My hubby got on a huge chili kick last fall and really developed an wonderful recipe with all kinds of good stuff in it!!  I think you should try it~it's amazing!!   

Vince's Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Chili 1 lb. ground beef 1 pkg. of smoked sausage, sliced 2 tbsp. olive oil 2 medium white onions, chopped 3 jalapeno peppers, chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp. ground cumin 2 tbsp. chili powder 2 tbsp. smoked paprika 1 tsp. oregano 1 tsp. thyme salt and pepper, to taste 2 tbsp. maple syrup 2 tbsp. dijon mustard 1 cup apple juice 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes 1 (14.5 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed 1 (14.5 oz.) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed 1 (14.5 oz.) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed ***** In a Dutch oven combine the ground beef and the smoked sausage.  Brown, drain, and set asi…

What's For Dinner? {Week of March 18th}

The child-friendly menus went very well last week.  And I didn't even get to them all!  I flip-flopped a couple of them and we had leftovers one night, so it was all good.  Mr. B's favorite night was the Individual Chicken Pot Pies and The Princess' loved the Potato Soup.

This week Vince is back in town after a week in Egypt and I am catering to him because he did not really enjoy the food there and is ready for some of his favorites (thankfully, most of these are also good with the kiddos, too).

So here goes...

Monday: Steak & Potato Scallop with a green salad

Tuesday:Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

Wednesday:French Dip Sandwiches

Thursday:Vince's Chili

Friday:Taco Pasta Toss

Saturday: {out to the Olive Garden for The Princess' birthday!!}

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.  
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The End of Week Wrap {motivation, ice cream & art}

Welcome to the end-of-our-week-wrap!  If you're dropping by today from Hammock Tracks, I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you'll grab a cup of coffee and stay for a visit.  
In our homeschool this week...
The kiddos seemed a little extra motivated!  Maybe it was the promise of spending the afternoon with their Nana ...or maybe it was me counting up how many days we have left in our year and threatening school all summer long.  Whatever it was, I was proud of how they had more initiative to get their assignments completed and even enjoyed their assignments more.  


Some homeschool-related links that I've found this week... Opposition to Obama-backed National Education Scheme GrowsThe Danger Within: Homeschooling and the Common CoreAre Parents Who Homeschool Qualified to Teach Their Kids? (I admit, I really just got a kick out of reading all the comments on this one)


Places we're going & people we're seeing...
Our week has been pretty low-key.  No big field tri…

Early to Rise Challenge {week 2 update}

Well, if week 2 of the Early to Rise Challenge is any indication ...I am just not a morning person and probably will never be.  However, I did have a strike or two against me this week.

1. My husband is out of town and I always have a harder time going to sleep at night when he's not home.  This week was no exception.  I never feel worried or afraid, I'm just wide awake.  It's annoying.  And 2. I'm wondering if taking Zyrtec late at night (bedtime) is giving me that dragging feeling in the mornings.  I'm supposed to take it for a month to clear up some fluid I have behind one ear and the doctor said I should just take it at bedtime since it makes one sleepy.  I have not personally noticed feeling any sleepier right at bedtime, but since it's a 24-hr pill I'm wondering if it's causing me to have problems waking up.

I need something to blame, right?  ha!

So here's my run down of each morning this past week:

Friday: woke up extra early to get hubby of…

A Very Pinterest-ing Day

Yesterday I had a rare afternoon all to myself.  The kiddos went over to my parents' house right after lunch and I hardly knew what to do!

I thought about going shopping, but that wasn't really what I needed to do.  So I thought why not re-visit some of my Pinterest boards and see what I can find to do!  So I did just that.

One of the things I really wanted to do this week was give my kitchen floor a good cleaning (I know, I'm weird ...but it's really been bugging me).  So I found a homemade floor cleaner that I had pinned, you know, ages ago and decided to give it a shot.  I must admit I've never gotten down on my hands and knees to scrub my floors, just used mops and wet Swiffers.  I hope you don't think less of me.  If you do, think that no more!  Because I crawled all over my kitchen and pantry floor scrubbing away with my homemade cleaner.  My shoulders and forearms are sore to prove it!  And while my floor doesn't exactly look like new, it looks sooo

Tasty Tuesday: Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Welcome to a new little segment I've decided to do each week: Tasty Tuesdays!  I often post recipes on Tuesdays, so I thought "why not make it official?".
Next week I might even do a link-up so you could share a recipe, too~would you be interested
~~~~~ 
This week I've planned really child-friendly dinner menus since my hubby is out of town.  However, I want them to be menus that I enjoy, too.  Last night we had one of my favorites, too: individual chicken pot pies.  
Now before you decide that this is just another variation of the same thing, let me tell you it's a tad bit different--it has cheese!  That's always a plus in my book and especially in my kids' books!  Two kinds of cheese, as a matter of fact!  My son (who is by-far the pickiest in our family) loves this meal and eats his whole bowl.  That makes me happy:)

Individual Chicken Pot Pies 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables 1 cup of shredded, cooked chicken
(I used turkey last night) 1 can cream of c…

Fun Mommy Challenge {Week 2}

So this "Fun Mommy" challenge has been on my mind all week long.  And, believe me, I have not felt like a fun mommy at all this past week.  In fact, once or twice I've been accused of being "mean".  I guess that's what happens when you take pms+exhaustion+sending your hubby off for a week's trip+kids who keep fighting with each other+too much on the calendar ...you get "mean mommy".  Ugh.  
I don't want to be "mean mommy" though.  Not that I can be "fun mommy" all of the time, but at least part of the time, right?  And we have had our moments.  

We have played 'Wits & Wagers Family' game a couple of nights.  We love this game--it's full of trivia and I always learn fun and random facts when we play it (and the kids do, too!).
On a warm-ish afternoon I got out the bubbles for the kiddos and they had fun on the back deck blowing bubbles for our dog to jump and "eat" (it's really hilarious to…

The Weekly Plan {March 11th}

This week I'll be making several of the kids' favorites since Vince is on a trip.  I'm still going to to my best to stretch my son's taste buds though.  His picky-ness has really been cramping my style lately.  And, yes, I've tried all the usual methods of enticing/tricking/coercing/threatening him to eat and yet he will pretty much just starve himself--he is that stubborn.

So rather than the dinner table becoming a battleground every night I do my best to have at least one thing on the menu that he really does like and will eat well so that even if I can only get him to take one bite of something new he still has something to eat.

So here's the 'child-friendly' menu for this week:

Monday:  Individual Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies(this recipe adapted to individual oven-proof bowls, with some shredded cheese in the chicken mixture and topped with a cheesy biscuit mixture)

Tuesday:Potato Soup

Wednesday:Quick Quiche

Thursday: Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken, Mash…

The End of Week Wrap {a birthday, an art museum & a new book}

In my life this week...
We kicked off our week by celebrating Vince's birthday.  We went to church, went out to eat, gave gifts, made gifts, made homemade Twinkies (& Twinkie Cake!), and wrapped up his day by watching the History channel's first episode of The Bible.  It was a very fun day!

Then the next day food poisoning hit.  It was not pretty.  Vince got really sick from some leftovers-gone-bad from the weekend.  And I was soooo tired.  I'm participating in the Early to Rise challenge and am trying so hard to get up extra early every morning to create new habits.  So far this challenge is kicking my tail.  
In our homeschool this week...
I felt a bit lethargic.  OK, a lot lethargic.  I kept thinking about taking an impromptu Spring Break-ha!  School stayed on track though.   
A couple of highlights: 
We finally wrapped up the Middle Ages in history.  We really enjoy the Story of the World books!  We are now beginning the 3rd one in the series: Early Modern Times--no…

Early to Rise Challenge {week 1 update}

Last week I briefly mentioned that I was joining in with Money Saving Mom's Early to Rise Challenge for this month.  And I thought it was time for an update (it's been a week already!).  
And what a week it has been!  Not much has gone according to plan and there has been sickness (stomach but) to deal with.  But isn't any week that you give yourself a challenge like that?  If something can go wrong it will, right?  Or at least it seems like that sometimes.
And being the dyed-in-the-wool night owl that I am it has been a very tough week of waking up for me.  I must confess that I feel like more mornings have been failures than successes.  It's just plain ol' hard for me to go to bed early and wake up early.  The mornings that have been successes have been very enjoyable though.  
Being married to a night owl makes it a bit harder to even want to change, too.  I don't like going to bed at night alone and I really enjoy spending time with my husband in the eveni…

Twinkie Cake & A Birthday!!

Is anyone else out there mourning the loss of Twinkies like my husband is?  We didn't buy them very often (me--not at all), but occasionally he would bring home a box of one of his favorite foods.  
Since his birthday was coming up I suddenly remembered a cake I had made for him on the first birthday of his that we celebrated together: Twinkie Cake!  That was about 17 years ago!  I thought it might be time to bring it back, but then there was the question of Twinkies and where to get them.  Pinterest, of course!  And by that I mean a good copy cat recipe.  So I started the search and found a great recipe that I could tweak a little.
So to make a delicious Twinkie Cake, first make your "Twinkies".
Twinkie Cupcakes 1 box yellow cake mix (get the kind that has pudding in the mix and calls for oil as an ingredient)
1-1/4 cups water 1/3 cup canola oil 4 egg whites 1 large jar marshmallow creme ***** Preheat your oven to 350F.  Next mix the cake mix, the water, and the oil in a…

Gourmet Gnocchi & Cheese

In the past year or so I have discovered a delicious new-to-me food: gnocchi!  Some of you may find that hard to believe, but I just didn't grow up eating those amazing little potato dumplings.  In fact, I think I first heard of them by reading and watching Martha Stewart.  And then, of course, watching the Food Network made them sound delicious.  It's a good thing we don't have cable because I'm pretty sure I could watch the Food Network 24 hours a day--and then I would want to eat 24 hours a day!

So after falling in love with gnocchi in our favorite local Italian restaurant I decided it was time to try it at home.  No, I didn't make gnocchi from scratch, but I did buy it in a package:)  And the recipe turned out AMAZING!  You must try it~it's the ultimate comfort food!

Gourmet Gnocchi & Cheese 1 lb. purchased or homemade gnocchi 2 tbsp. butter 2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour 3/4 cup milk 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese,…

A Fun Mommy? Me??

My friend Nancy at There Is Grace has recently challenged me about being a "fun mommy".  So I've been giving that some thought.

I know I'm not a barrel of fun most of the time to my kids.  There just so much laundry to do, meals to plan and cook, errands to run, lessons to plan, schoolwork to do ....the list goes on and on.

But while I don't always participate in the fun, I do allow fun in our home:)  I have learned to let myself look the other way for a little while when they drag out ALL of the dress-up clothes and play one make-believe scenario after the other.  And just last week I let them dig up a whole pile of worms and helped fix them up in a little jar with some yummy paper for them to compost for a day or so.  And they both still have bug jars with their current "pet" crickets ....in their rooms!  I mean, my mother would never have allowed that.

So, yes, I do let them do fun things.  Things that sometimes make messes--to which I have a seriou…

The End of Week Wrap {crickets, maple syrup, & rising early}

It's that time again~where are these weeks going?!  This one was particularly busy.

In our homeschool this week...

We persevered!  Yea!  It was a good week--one of those weeks that when you look at the planner you feel a sense of accomplishment.

The Princess began her final Total Language Plus study for this year, The Cricket in Times Square.  Ironically, this is also the week that the kids have "adopted" some pet crickets.



This week has been filled with things like crickets and worms and mud and ...now snow.  You never know what the weather will be around here these days!

We also finished up our science chapter on "eggs" by watching March of the Penguins.  I felt like such a mean mommy as my children cried throughout the movie.  It's such a great film, but those penguins definitely have a hard life.

Places we're going & people we're seeing...

Last weekend The Princess was so excited to attend a Purity Ball hosted by a local crisis pregnancy m…