Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 8/30

What a weekend! I had fully planned sitting down and going over my menu yesterday! Well, that didn't happen! Hopefully I can share all the details later! Money is tighter than tight this week so, we're pretty much pantry and freezer eating! Thank goodness we've got lots of meat in the freezer! What a blessing! So, here is what we're having (2 repeats):

Monday- Papa's Birthday Dinner

Tuesday- Creamy Chicken and Potatoes, Rolls *

Wednesday- Pork Chops, Green Beans, Corn on the Cobb*

Thursday- Beef Stir Fry and Rice

Friday- Chicken Tacos, Rice & Beans

Saturday- Shepherds Pie

Sunday- Leftovers/ Sandwiches

*Because of the craziness of the weekend, 2 of our meals were moved to this week!

The Turkey Sausage and Spinach Pasta from last week was yummy! I had it for lunch two days in a row! It was quick and easy to prepare. My only advice is to NOT stir the Parmesan cheese into the pasta water. Just stir in the water and then stir in the cheese last. Otherwise you'll end up with a blob of cheese at the bottom of the bowl, that you'll have to scoop out (luckily I had more parm cheese!).

See you later! Have a great week!

Check out for more menu ideas!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Letter K

So, if you read my last post on letter J, you know that I don't have the pictures for letters J and K. But to my surprise a few of the pictures from week K were in my August album that I must have uploaded along with Luke's soccer practice pictures! I did go back and take a few pictures of things that weren't there! It's been 2 weeks since we did letter K so I may have forgotten all that we did! Here are the high lights:

We started off the week talking about thing that start with the letter K. The boys colored/traced their letter K's. I got these printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We typically do these every week, although I don't know if I always get a picture. I usually go over how to correctly write the letter and then Luke traces his. Then he usually colors his in. Here he is helping show Eli how to draw his K!

We also took a trip to the library and to our surprise one of the story time books was about a Kangaroo. Then all of the kids colored a picture of a Kangaroo!

We also did a Totally Tots alphabet craft, which was a Kangaroo. Luke and I also watched some videos on the National Geographic website and learned some facts about two different types of kangaroos. Did you know that kangaroos hop because they cannot move their legs independent of one another? Well, now you know! There is also a species of kangaroos that live entirely in trees!

Next we made a letter K out of popsicle sticks. Luke colored them and then I hot glued them together. I couldn't take a picture of it because a certain little guy broke it! Luke also colored two more popsicle sticks to make a Kite! Luke had lots of fun "flying" his kite around the house!

Then we read Hamlet and the Enormous Chinese Dragon Kite!

Our verse this week was "Be Kind to one another." Ephesians 4:32a. We talked about what it means to be kind and all throughout the week we pointed out different things that the boys did that were kind!

We also made homemade popcorn and did some fun measuring and sorting with some extra Kernels! I gave Luke a cup full of popcorn kernels in a bowl and then gave him several different measuring cups and spoons. We measured out basic measurements and then I just let him have fun playing and scooping them from different containers! Hello, math!

And hello sweeping up kernels from all over the floor! :)

Well, that catches us up! Next week we will start Letter L!

Letter J

Updated with the pictures from the week! Yay, I found my cartridge!

So, I'm WAY behind on posting our letter of the week projects! I'm planning on posting both today, if I have time. We took 2 weeks off, one for when my sister came home and we took a mini-vaca and then this past week I took off to get my planning finalized for our pre-k year. Basically we're doing the same letter of the week but I'm adding more things, which I'll talk about later.. you know, when I have time!

Well, I was SO disappointed when I got on the desk top to find that I hadn't yet uploaded the pictures from weeks J and K. So, I go to look for the memory card.. and it's gone! GONE! I have a feeling I might find it later considering I'm pretty sure my youngest little guy walked off with it.. and if so I'll just come back and upload the original pictures. I had changed the memory card out in my camera to upload pictures from Eli's party. I'm just thankful that I had already gotten the pictures from our trip to TN and Eli's birthday party uploaded! I would much rather have those than our crafts! So, this morning I got out most of what we did and took pictures of them.... We started off the week with a Letter J clip art collage. We talked about all things that start with the letter J!

Our first letter J project was a J covered in Jewels! Confessions of a Homeschooler has some great alphabet printables that you can cut out and use in crafts!

We also did a Totally Tots letter craft- Jaguars! We picked up a book at the library and read all about Big Cats!! Especially jaguars!

This was a fun craft! I drew out the simple shapes for Luke and then he practiced his cutting. He cut most of them out by himself, but asked me to cut out the circle and the red rectangle! Then he glued them all together to make a Jack in the Box. It was a great way to practice cutting and review shapes and colors!

Here is Luke working on his Jellyfish! We learned some interesting facts about jellyfish this week! I don't have a finished product picture but it was easy to make. Cut a large circle out of wax paper. Use glitter glue on one side of the circle and then fold in half. When dry hole punch holes alone the folded edge and tie curling ribbon to hang down for tentacles!

We also had some fun with Jelly Beans! I put some jelly beans in a jar, a very small jar, and we all guessed how many there would be! Then we counted them. I think there were close to 80 in there. Then we tasted them and guessed what flavor they were! Luke and I both agreed pop corn flavored jelly beans are gross! We also read a book about counting jelly beans!

This verse is one of my favorites that we've memorized so far!

"I will rejoice in the Lord, I will Joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:18

What JOY there is in knowing Christ! And how exciting to be able to share that joy with my boys!! We talked about the difference between worldly 'happiness' and the joy we get from knowing God!

Well, that's all I can remember. I'm sure we did more.. but without pictures, I just can't remember.. it's been almost a month!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yummy Treat: Homemade "Starbucks" Frappuccino

I found this recipe over at Women Living Well and tried it out yesterday! YUM! I love Starbucks but we don't go often. It is a very special treat when we are able to pick up a coffee out! Well, when I found this recipe I had to try it... and then try it again today.. ahem. I'm promising not to try it again for a while! Here is the recipe:

Mocha Frappuccino

3/4 cup chilled, double strength coffee
2 TBS sugar (Courtney's calls for 3 but I've found that 2 is good for me! Always trying to cut back!)
3 TBS Hershey's Syrup
2 cups milk
2 cups ice

Pour all into a blender and blend until smooth. This makes two servings!

Today, I left out the Hershey's and it was yummy! I think my hubby would like this one best! He tried the mocha one yesterday and liked it! We don't have a blender but we do have a stick immersion blender and it works fine! You can also sub caramel syrup for a Caramel Frappuccino. Use decaf if you want!

I made 6 cups of coffee, with a full scoop (for 12 cups) then just chilled it a pitcher in the fridge. This will last about 3 days. We use a 1/3 measuring cup for a full 12 cup pot of coffee. My mom taught us this... and it kind of makes me wonder how others measure out their coffee.

I highly recommend you checking out Courtney's blog. I really love it! She writes a lot on marriage and how to love, respect and submit to our husbands the way the Bible teaches! I've watched many of her videos and she is such an encourager too! She's also a homeschooling mom!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Tip & Review

Of course just planning out your meals is the BIGGEST tip I could ever give but here is a tip that will help save a little money. Pick one ingredient from a favorite meal and use it several times. This won't always work but it does pretty often for me. For instance, this week I wanted to try Parmesan Chicken Subs. They turned out great but did take me about 40-45 minutes to prepare & cook. I used chicken tenderloins, which did help on the cook time of the chicken but I still couldn't get it done in the 25 minutes they said! Anyways, this chicken sub calls for spinach. And since you can buy spinach pretty reasonably (a little over 3 $) in large bags, I thought I'd just find another recipe that uses spinach. So, tonight we'll be having Turkey Sausage and Spinach Pasta, which calls for quite a bit of spinach. Then we will be having ham and veggie omelets later and I'm planning on saving a handful or two to throw into our omelets. Instead of the pasta and egg dishes I could have planned a spinach pizza or spinach lasagna rolls. I love spinach salads too but the Hubs prefers it cooked! It's healthy and can be put into many dishes.
From that same chicken sub meal, I also used about 1/2 cup marinara sauce. So, what do I do with the rest? Make spaghetti! The pizza & lasagna rolls would work here too! You can also freeze jarred marinara/pizza sauce. I can't tell you how many times I've made a pizza and only used a little sauce, only to put it in the fridge and then have to throw it out later! Just make it a habit to pour it into a freezer bag in 1/2 cup increments!
Edited to add- While making the Turkey Sausage Pasta last night, I was reminded that I'm also using the turkey sausage in 2 meals this week! We'll be having turkey sausage in our spaghetti, too! The 16 oz of turkey sausage was $2.88, I believe, not too bad to get two meals out of it! I browned it all with garlic and halved it. Then, I froze the one half to throw into the spaghetti sauce this weekend!
By putting a little thought into your meals, you can save a little. And a little here and there adds up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan 8/23

I have recently been working on a daily schedule for the boys and I. I love the idea of a schedule and I can't tell you how many times I've written one up. I've just never found one that works for us. So, I made one up about 3 week ago and have been tweaking it since. I also talked with the Hubs about things like dinner, bath, and family time, since he's home with us then. Since we will be homeschooling next year, I want us to be use to a routine. But I also want flexibility and I do think you can have both! That is one of the benefits of homeschooling and being at home with your children. I wanted the Hubs involved in our schedule, particularly the evening part of the day! I have a desire for things to run smoothly (ha, that makes me laugh!) and for things to be orderly (ha, again) when he gets home. I know if I do my part during the day with the boys and the house, things do go easier in the evening! There is less 'to do' and more time for us to spend as a family!

So, the reason I say all of this is that in my attempt to schedule I asked the Hubs what time he would like dinner to be ready and he said 4:30. And I'm happy to do that for him! It really will work out well for us! It will give us more family time in the evening and will hopefully result in the boys an earlier bedtime! Then the Hubs and I will have more time together too! I just have to plan better and start dinner earlier. My attempts at a 4:30 supper start tomorrow! And because of this I've been thinking about and searching for quick, healthy meals. I love to cook, but I don't want it to take up so much of my time in the evenings! I was talking to some friends over the weekend and we all agreed that it's difficult to cook a healthy meal with real food quickly. So, I'm on a mission to find quick, healthy real meals in 30-45 min time range. I'm trying 3 new recipes this week! Two are suppose to be 30 minute meals and one is a slow cooker meal! And you know, I am so ready for fall. I love it for so many reasons but one of them is that I can use my Crock Pot more for soups and things like that! I will let you know how they turn out and if they were time savers! I'm also assigning my meals to particular days so that I know what I'm cooking on what day. I'm hoping this will help me save time as well! But like I said, I'm flexible... if my mom wants to cook for us one night.. I'm okay with that! ;)

Monday- Chicken Parmesan Subs, Carrot Sticks with Ranch Dip

Tuesday- Turkey Sausage and Spinach Pasta, Fruit Salad

Wednesday- Veggie & Cheese Omelets, Fried Potatoes and Onions

Friday- BBQ Pork Chops, Green Beans, Corn on the Cobb

Saturday- Spaghetti, Salad

Sunday- Leftovers/Sandwiches

Check out for tons of menus and recipes and for great real food menu ideas!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Letter I

Letter I was so much fun! I usually try to start off the week a letter collage. This helps Luke to see the letter we're going to learn about and we also talk about all of the words that our letter starts with!

After naming off lots of letter I words, we did a fun science experiment! Luke had two bowls, one with hot water and one with cold water. Then he put two ice cubes in each bowl! Which ice cube melts faster? He had so much fun with this and it was a great way to talk about solids and liquids/hot and cold. Lots of learning!

Then, we took some Ice cubes outside and played with them on the hot pavement. We intended to do some ice drawing on the driveway but it had just rained. Luke still had fun watching the ice melt and playing with it!

When we came back in we compared one of our ice cubes we had been playing with with a fresh one from the freezer!

We also decided to make juice ice cubes! Luke poured the juice into the ice tray and we put them in the freezer!

The first thing he said when he got up was that we had to get the ice cubes from the freezer! I'm glad he remembered because I probably wouldn't have until later!!

Both boys got in on the action for this project! I took empty paper towel rolls and let the boys paint them. Once they were dried, I cut them into rings. You really only need half of a paper towel roll for each one (or one empty toilet paper roll per child). I left one circle for the head and then cut all of the other circles to staple together.

Then we glued eyes and and poked two holes on top and weaved pipe cleaner through for the feelers! Cute Inch Worms!

Next we learned all about Iguana's and did an alphabet craft from Totally Tots! Did you know iguanas can lose their tails just like smaller lizards and they will grow back?

We made yummy homemade Ice cream which I decided to do a whole post about. It was really fun and tasty!

Next, I cut out an igloo from white foam and then made it into a puzzle for Luke to piece together. It was actually harder than it looks! We used cotton balls for the snow and snow flakes!

And of course we did a letter I search! (Yep, there is the winter puffy vest again!)

Our verse was "May my prayer be set before you like Incense." Psalm 141:2. We had some great discussion on what it means to worship God and all of the different ways we can worship here!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream in a Plastic Bag!!

For our "Letter I" week we made homemade ice cream!! And to make it even more fun we made it in a plastic bag! Luke had a blast making the ice cream! It was a great hands on experiment for him! And the end results were so tasty! Here is how we did it:

1. Grab your ingredients/supplies:

1/2 c milk
1 T Sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
6 T salt
1 quart size bag
1 gallon size bag

2. Here Luke is mixing in the vanilla. Pour milk, vanilla and sugar into your quart size bag and seal tightly.

3. Next fill your gallon size bag half full with ice and add 6 TBS of salt to the ice. Add the small quart size bag into the large bag and seal the large bag.

4. Now shake! We shook our bag for about 7 minutes and the ice cream was pretty hard! Luke shook for about 2 of those minutes and I shook the rest! And it's cold, very cold. I reccommend wearing gloves or wrapping the bag in a towel!

5. Now take the small bag out of the larger bag and wipe it off (it will be covered with salt water and you don't want that in your ice cream!). You can either snip the end of the bag off and squeeze the ice cream out or just cut it open. We had to cut ours open because it was so hard it wouldn't squeeze!


I got the idea from this video that give all of the instructions!

Menu Plan 8/9

I'm in a hurry but I wanted to quickly post our menu!

Sloppy Joes, Homemade Baked French Fries, Steamed Veggies

Salmon Patties, Green Beans, Biscuits and Gravy

Lasagna Rolls (making this up as I go!), Salad

Sauteed Chicken and Rice (sorry Hubs!), Green Peas

Roast w/ Potatoes and Carrots, Rolls

I think I saw some roasts on sale but if that doesn't pan out, I'll just do pancakes or something! :)

I also subbed a recipe this week. Instead of meatballs we had steak fingers. My mom had bought us a pkg of cubed steak and they turned out yummy! Usually, I cook it to death and they are super tough but this time I soaked the cubed steak strips in buttermilk before battering them (about 30 minutes while I was frying okra)! Buttermilk is a great tenderizer! I just battered them in a mixture of whole wheat flour, salt and garlic powder! Then fried them in an iron skillet. Yes, some of the batter did come off.. but most stayed and they were great! We had them with potatoes & onions and fried okra! Even my little Eli liked it!

Alrighty, time to get busy! I'll be posting letters I and J this week!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm writing this on Saturday night and scheduling it to post on Monday morning. :) I'm taking a little break from the computer for a week! I'm really looking forward to it! I'll let you know more about it next week! Anyways, here's what we'll be eating!

Chicken Salad, Carrots and Ranch Dip, Canteloupe (moved over from last week)

Homemade Pizza... I'm thinking BBQ Chicken

Crock Pot Meatballs, Baked Potatoes, Peas

Spaghetti, Salad

Soft Tacos, Beans, Rice

See you in a week!