28 September 2015

What's For Dinner {Sept 28th}

Happy Monday, y'all!

You know what that means for me ....menu planning for the week!

And, yes, even though I've been terribly lax in posting my meal plans lately, I have actually still been making them.  My weeks just go so much better when I have a plan:)

And since we've started school again I've come to the conclusion that I must use my slow cooker on Tuesdays (piano lesson day) and Fridays (co-op day) right now ...or my family will forever be doomed to some horrible fast food on those evenings.  I'm just usually too tired/busy/all of the above to make my plan happen on those nights if I wait too long.

So... slow cooker to the rescue!

Here's what's on the plan for our dinners this week:

Monday: (a sort of clean-out-the-fridge-of-leftovers night) pinto beans, corn, green beans w/new potatoes ...and if that doesn't look like it'll be enough ...sauerkraut and wieners.

Tuesday: (slow cooker) honey-garlic chicken sandwiches w/fried potatoes

Wednesday: homemade pizza

Thursday: chicken & dumplings

Friday: (slow cooker) baked beans w/sausage rolls

Saturday: sloppy joes

19 August 2015

Our {home}school Curriculum Plans for '15-'16 {5th & 7th grades}

I love this time of year!  Having our curriculum plan for the coming school year ...and reading about others' plans is always exciting to me.  I've gotten some great educational leads by checking out what others are using.  Today I'm sharing our choices for the '15/'16 school year.

For The Princess...

...who is now....gasp!...a 7th grader!  That means we've been truly homeschooling now for at least 8 years.  Wow.  That sounds like I'm a veteran, but really I learn new things every year.  And now that we're moving into secondary education I've got a lot more to learn about.

Bible Study & Christian Character:
~The Pilgrim's Progress curriculum
~Our 24 Family Ways
~Child Training Bible

~Teaching Textbooks 7 (primary)
~Life of Fred (supplemental)
~Khan Academy (supplemental)

Language Arts:
~Learning Language Arts Through Literature Green (grammar)
~SchoolhouseTeachers.com (spelling/vocabulary)
~Total Language Plus focus guides (literature/vocabulary)
~Getty-Dubay Italics (handwriting)
~Various weekly writing assignments

Foreign Language:
~SchoolhouseTeachers.com (Spanish)
~Mango (Spanish)

History & Geography:
~{finishing}Story of the World 4
~Kentucky state history
~World geography (beginning with Africa)
~Current Events using WORLD magazine and CNN Student News

~Christian Kids Explore Chemistry
~Biology labs with our co-op

Health & PE:
~SchoolhouseTeachers.com (Health 101)
~PE class with our co-op
~Various activities with our family

~Piano lessons (from a local teacher)
~Guitar lessons (with SchoolhouseTeachers.com and local tutor)

~Various artist studies using multiple resources (books, art flash cards, online lessons, etc)

Clubs, Etc:
~Book Club (with local homeschool friends)
~Yearbook Club (with our local homeschool group)

Whew...that looks like a lot to me!  But I know that not everything will be done every day.  And that there will actually even be more that isn't listed here but that adds to her education.

Now for Mr. B!  He's going into 5th grade this year.

Unbelievable!  Seems like he should still be so little.  So proud of how he is progressing!

Bible Study & Christian Character:
~The Pilgrim's Progress curriculum
~Our 24 Family Ways
~Child Training Bible
~Grapevine Studies (Old Testament)

~Teaching Textbooks 5 (primary)
~Life of Fred (supplemental)
~Khan Academy (supplemental)

Language Arts:
~Easy Grammar 5 (grammar)
~Total Language Plus (literature/vocabulary/spelling)
~Getty-Dubay Italics (handwriting)
~Various writing exercises

Foreign Language:
~SchoolhouseTeachers.com (Spanish)
~Mango (Spanish)

History & Geography:
~{finishing} Story of the World 4
~Kentucky state history
~Galloping the Globe (geography)
~Current Events using WORLD magazine and CNN Student News

~Apologia Zoology III--Land Animals
~Entomology with our co-op

~Class with our co-op
~Various activities with our family

~Piano lessons (from a local teacher)

~Various artist studies using multiple resources (books, art flash cards, online lessons, etc)

Clubs, Etc: 
~Lego Club (Currclick.com)

And, of course, there will be more things not listed here that are a part of his total education this year, but basically that's our game plan.  I'm so glad to have it all down in writing!

Now to get busy with lesson plans before our start date of September 8th!

How about you?  If you are a homeschooler, do you have your plan ready to go?  Have you started school yet?  If you're a public schooler, have your children started back yet?  

17 August 2015

Back to Routine: What's for Dinner {Aug 17th}

I don't know about you but this time of the year I always begin to long for the routine that fall brings.  I thoroughly enjoy summertime and the fun, spontaneity, and flexibility that it brings.  But the planner in me loves the routine of fall: regular meal plans, morning routines, bedtime routines ...my children--especially my son--really do much better with routine.

While I have kept up menu planning through much of the summer, I haven't been posting it here and often I fail to do it if I'm not posting it.  So in the spirit of 'back to routine', I'm back to posting 'what's for dinner'.

Here's what we're having this week:

Monday:  Cheesy Stuffed Shells (from the freezer) with Salad and Bread

Tuesday:  Beans (in the crockpot) and Buttermilk Cornbread

Wednesday:  Grilled Hot Dogs, Creamed Corn, Baked Beans

Thursday:  Stuffed Peppers (maybe these)

Friday: yet-to-be-decided

Saturday: Snacks & Leftovers (a bit of a fridge clean-out!)

Ah ....now I feel better knowing the plan! ;)

23 July 2015

A Mid-Summer "hello!"

Is your summer flying by as quickly as ours is?!  I am kind of sad that it's already almost the end of July.  It has been such a busy summer for us that there hasn't been much relaxing getting done.

However, this week has slowed down for us quite a bit {thank goodness!!} and the schedule doesn't look too terribly bad through the end of August.  I think that we even have a real vacation in there somewhere!

Anyway, I thought I'd post a little update on what we've been up to this summer so far.


My personal reading list for this summer is clicking right along.  So far I've read:

  • Just RISE UP! by Sarah Francis Martin  {motivating and inspiring}
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel  {captivating story, twist in end really got me}
  • Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie  {loved ...as I love all of her books}
  • Crooked House by Agatha Christie
  • Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
  • Miss Marple, the Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak  {good story, interesting narrative}
  • Soul Friends by Dr. Leslie Parrot  {very refreshing ...review coming soon}
Right now I am currently reading Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto--excellent read so far!  And I am deviating from my original summer list and reading the second Anne book: Anne of Avonlea.   

The kiddos are doing well with their summer reading challenge although their momentum has died down a bit.   So far Mr. B has earned a total of $13.55 for his total pages read, plus numerous coupons and even a golden ticket.  The Princess has earned $31.61, plus quite a few coupons and several golden tickets.  And they're both still reading away!  Very proud of them!  At the end of the summer I'll try to remember to post all of the books they've read.  

at the Creation Museum


In June we took an overnight trip to visit the Discovery Park of America.  That was totally worth the trip~a great place to visit!  Later in June we took a church youth trip to the Cincinnati area and spent a day at the Creation Museum and a day at Kings Island.  We had a great time!  We don't have any other trips planned until next month.      

at Kings Island

Family Fun:

At the beginning of the summer we made our annual 'Summer Fun List' with all of the things we think would be fun to do this summer--although we know we probably won't be able to do them all.  

So far we have:
  • gone to see 'Inside Out' at the drive-in theater
  • gone to several ballgames to see the regional collegiate league play
  • gone geocaching (SO much fun!)
  • had a sleepover or two
  • had a blast at family VBS at our church
  • 'Camp Nana'--where the kiddos spent a couple of days straight with my mom and did lots of fun stuff, like science kit experiments

And that's what we've been up to lately.  

What about you?  I'd love to hear how your summer is going!

19 June 2015

Our Family Picnics: the Good, the Bad, and the Windy

From the archives.
This was originally published on June 27, 2013.

(just yesterday here in Kentucky)

Family picnics: these words may bring various visions to our minds depending on our families.  For my family these words bring visions of fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, mac & cheese, pickles, olives, deviled eggs....mmmmmm  Yes, as long as I can remember this has been my mom's standard picnic fare.

We ate A LOT of picnics when I was growing up.  My family owned a camper and traveled quite extensively when I was very young.  We hit every state park and national park that we could find for picnics.  And my mom would even whip up the a fore mentioned menu in our camper~amazing!

I've been hungry for one of those picnics recently and just yesterday my mom was gracious enough to make it happen (see top photo!).  She fried up the chicken and made her world's-best-potato-salad, I baked some beans and made the deviled eggs and we all packed up and headed to a local park.  The summer weather even cooperated and we had a nice cool breeze and some shade!  It was a perfect picnic day!

Which made me and my family begin to reminisce about other picnics we'd been on through the years--some not so perfect, but oh-so-memorable!

There was the summer we were in South Africa.  I was sixteen and fell in love with that beautiful country.  We made some wonderful friends there, too, and one day they took us on a beach picnic.  That was my first time to picnic on the beach (that I can remember) and it was amazing!  The men in our group all headed out to the large rocks on the beach's edge with their fishing poles while the ladies continued preparing the side dishes for our meal.  Eventually the men came back with loads of fish, which we promptly cooked over coals and proceeded to dig into one of my most memorable meals.  

It was delicious: fresh fish and Indian food on the beach!  I don't even really remember exactly what I ate (besides the fresh fish), but the experience is etched into my memory forever.  It was a wonderful day.  

Then there was the summer immediately following my high school graduation when my parents took my sister  (pictured above) and me on our first trip out West.  Even though we were no longer traveling with a camper, we still packed out cooler full of picnic supplies (sandwiches this time around) and looked for those state parks or roadside parks (in a pinch) where we could stretch our road-trippin' legs and have some lunch. 

 This particular day we had stopped at a rest area.  There were lots of other travelers picnicking there, too, and we were enjoying our meal on that lovely day ...when all of a sudden we noticed a state trooper pull in and begin stopping at each picnickers' table.  And each time he drove away from a table, they immediately packed up and began to get in their car to leave.  Strange...we wondered.  Then he came to our table, with the news that there was an armed and dangerous escaped convict on the loose in that area and we should get in our car and leave.  Which we did.  Immediately.  We weren't into any hostage situations that day. 

 Since then we have laughed about how quickly we all packed up and left because in retrospect, apparently, escaped convicts crashing your picnic is so funny.  And, of course, it's one of our most memorable picnics to this day.

A couple of summers later we were taking another trip out West and had lots of picnics along the way.  It was so lovely picnicking in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains or under towering Sequoia trees.

Just a couple of more years later we had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii, where we rented a car and bought a disposable cooler for those inevitable picnics.  This has become such a tradition with my family (and has saved us much money in the long run: picnicking once a day, eating out once).  

You might remember that I mentioned the word 'windy' in the title of this post.  Well, that was especially for this picnic (above) in Washington state.  We affectionately refer to this picnic in our family as THE picnic.  As you can see in the above photo there are no smiles that day.  This place, chosen by my father, was so ridiculously windy that a picnic was completely out of the question.  But we tried it anyway.  It ended in a huge family argument and disaster.  But we will definitely never forget it!  haha

Within a few more years, I had gotten married.  But that didn't mean our family vacations and family picnics were over.  No, a whole new round of memories were being created.  We picnicked in the West, the East, the mountains, the beach ...making more memories.

Finally our littles came along and we had a new generation to introduce to family picnics.  They didn't care if there was fried chicken or not, but any kind of yummy snack would do.  And at that time in life I sure didn't have time to make one of those huge picnic meals.  Thankfully picnics can also consist of box lunches from Heavenly Ham or takeout from Subway, even whatever you can throw together from your kitchen pantry. 

 It's really about just making it happen, getting outside, going exploring, finding a new park, and spending time with your family where there aren't ever any good cell phone signals.  

Family picnics have always been a fun and special time for me.  They can even be healing.  One of the first things that my husband and I did one year after going through a particularly traumatizing event in our lives was to visit my parents and sister and go on a full-fledged-fried-chicken-kind-of-picnic.  It was a very hard time in our lives, but spending time with family, eating soul-comforting foods in the fresh outdoors was soothing to my soul.  I'll never forget that picnic either.   

So as I looked back through my photo albums (and scanned in all of these old pictures to share with you), I've realized what a lovely heritage my parents have given me in the ability to appreciate the simple things in life.  Family picnics may not sounds like a big deal or even fun to you (they can be a lot of work), but they are a special family tradition with us and I hold them dear to my heart.  When we sit around telling funny family stories, it's amazing to me how many of those revolve around a time at a picnic table at some park somewhere.  

So grab yourself a plastic tablecloth, some Cokes, and some takeout sandwiches (or, by all means, do the whole fried chicken menu--it's the best!), jump in your car and head to your local park to create some special family memories this summer!  I highly recommend it!

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16 June 2015

Summer Scrapbooking Goals


Here I go again with my summer school scrapboooking goals!  Last year I failed miserably and got nothing accomplished other than ordering a few photos.  This year I am much more determined ...and I have a plan! :)  Anyone who knows me knows that I love to have a plan!  

My plan is to get one grade for one kiddo done each week this summer.  For instance, the first week of June I was scheduled to do The Princess' K5 pages.  This past I was scheduled to do Mr. B's K5 pages.  This week will be The Princess' 1st grade pages ...and so on, back and forth, until I'm current.  

OK.  I admit, I'm a week behind already.  

BUT I did get The Princess' K5 pages completed!!  Whoo hoo!!  And I'm planning to make up some time this week and maybe get back on my schedule :)  

I think once I get into a good rhythm I'll start moving more quickly.  Can't wait to be totally caught up!!  

A word to the wise: don't do what I've done and get 7 years behind.   

15 June 2015

My Personal {2015} Summer Reading List

So last week I shared my kiddos' summer reading plan but today I thought I'd share my own summer reading goals with you.

I'm afraid that my stack of books for this summer is a bit ambitious but I'm going to give it my best shot!

Here they are:

  1. Just RISE UP!  by Sarah Francis Martin: this is the book I'm going through with my church ladies for our summer Bible study.  I'm loving it!  Inspiring and challenging!
  2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel: I actually just finished this one this week.  It was such a good book ...and then the twist at the end really got me.  I have continued to think about it all week after finishing it.  Now I want to watch the movie.  
  3. Murder at the Manor by Agatha Christie: this is actually 3-books-in-1: The Seven Dials Mystery, Crooked House, and Ordeal By Innocence.  I'm currently reading The Seven Dials Mystery and thoroughly enjoying it.  Christie is one of my very fave mystery writers!
  4. Miss Marple, The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie: can't wait to read these!  Her short stories are always wonderful--perfect for wrapping one up at night before going to sleep:)
  5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: I've heard such good things about this book, really looking forward to it.
  6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien: I can't believe I've never read these yet, but this summer that will change!  I adore The Hobbit and I've seen all the movies (not that they follow the books...) so I'm excited to read the trilogy.
  7. The King's General by Daphne DuMaurier: her book Rebecca is one of my all-time favorite books so I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.
  8. The House on the Strand by Daphne DuMaurier: a time-travel story, should be interesting
  9. The Glass Blowers by Daphne DuMaurier: another DuMaurier read that I know nothing about.
  10. Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto: this has been on my Amazon wish list for a while now and I finally decided to order it.
  11. How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig: I've read the intro on this and am already loving it so much.  Can't wait to dig in!
  12. Soul Friends by Dr. Leslie Parrott: recommended to me by a trusted friend.
  13. Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson: I've skimmed this one and I always love her books, so I can't wait to go back and dig in deeper with this one.
...and there you have it!  A challenging but exciting stack to read one (or two) at a time (I often am reading one fiction and one non-fiction at the same time--am I the only one?).

What are you reading this summer?  I'd love to know!