A happy heart makes the face cheerful...Proverbs 15:13

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hello...Is It Me Your Looking For?

Hello!! After a needed break, I am back to my blogging!! We a multitude of things happening in our household. I am in school myself, keeping the boys on track with their schooling, soccer practice 4 nights a week and 2-3 games on Saturdays(some 1-2 hours away), foster babies, foster animals, and preparing for summer. Whew... In the midst of all of this I put my blogging in the backburner and turned off the heat. I have missed it. My blog is a place for me to spill my heart, my ideas, our fun, and our lives. Its a place for me to encourage and inspire others and I believe it is time to get back to it! So here I am. I have so much to catch up on. I hope you will continue to be with me on the way!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cleaning Tip of the Week

Using Vinegar in the Microwave
There are many ways to use vinegar as a natural cleaner around your home.
This weeks cleaning tip comes straight from the queen of cleaning, my mother in law, Andrea.

 Often by then end of the week there is caked on crumbs, sauces, and vegetables in our microwave. I used to just take a scotch pad and scrub it. That is until Andrea taught  for me an easier way that made this task 10 times easier.

Using a microwave safe bowl, mix 1 parts water to 3 parts vinegar. (if the smell of vinegar is to strong for you, you can lessen the amount to half and half.)

Put the bowl, uncovered, in the microwave for 5- 7 minutes. When the time is up you will notice that the steam from the vinegar water has softened any stuck on matter. You should be able to take a rag or paper towel and wipe it off with ease. If things are still stuck, just pop it back in for a few more minutes.

Warning: This will make your kitchen smell like vinegar for a little while. So it is wise to do in between meals when you don't have to be in the area.

Happy Cleaning.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting the most for your money: Frozen Chicken Breast Tenders

Feeding 4 growing, and VERY hungry boys, who seem to all play sports at the same time, has forced me to  learn how to stretch many main course items in order to make many meals. I have also learned how to adjust these items in a way that make them freezer friendly for those evenings when we need a good, but quick meal.
This week I stretched 1 bag of frozen chicken breast tenders into 3 separate, easy to freeze, meals.

Meal 1: Chicken Fettucini Alfredo:

5-7 tenders, cut into chunks
2/3 box of fettucini noodles
1 Jar of alfredo sauce or try a home made sauce
Grated Parmesan cheese or mozzarella

1.Season tenders with salt, pepper, oregano and garlic
        Bake chicken tenders at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes.
2. While chicken is baking, cook noodles according to the directions on box. *If freezing-Do not cook fully. That way the noodles have some room to cook when reheated. Otherwise they'll be mushy* Drain. Return to pan.
3. Add alfredo sauce to noodles and cook on low until sauce is hot.
(If you want to freeze this, mix chicken to noodles, place in an airtight freezer bag or container and allow to cool in the fridge for an hour or two, before placing in the freezer)
4. Place sauced noodles on plate. Top with chicken and cheese.
Serve with garlic bread or rolls.

Meal 2: Chicken Taco Bowls

1.5 lbs chicken tenders(or chicken breasts)
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
1 can black beans
1/2 lbs frozen corn
1/2- 1 packet taco seasoning
2 C dry rice
1/4-1/3 cup of water
Shredder Cheddar cheese
(optional) cilantro, Frito's

1. Mix all ingredients in crock pot, EXCEPT rice and cheese.
2. Cook on low for 4 hours(6-8 if using nomral chicken breasts)
3. When 8 hours in nearly complete, cook rice according to directions on package. (To freeze- Pour mixture into an airtight plastic ziploc or container. Allow to cool in fridge for 1-2 hours before placing it in the freezer)
4. Using a fork, break up chicken so it looks 'shredded'.It should be tender and shred apart easily.
5. Place rice in bowl. Top with mixture. Top with cheese, cilantro, and broken Frito's

Meal 3 - Barb-Q Chicken Kabobs

These tenders fit perfectly onto a kabob stick. I often use the small corn on the cob sticks as it makes handling for the kids a bit easier.

5-8 Chicken Tenders
1 bottle of your favorite barb-q sauce
Kabob sticks
Optional- onion quarter slices, cherry tomato, green pepper slices

1. Place tenders in a bowl or container and cover to coat with barb-q sauce. Allow to marinade in fridge.
    These can marinade for any amount of time! (If you plan to freeze, put chicken with barb-q sauce into an airtight freezer bag, and place in freezer)
2. After marinading,  remove chicken from bag and place 1 tender on each kabob sticks. Add any additional kabob items. My kids prefer the chick by itself.
3. When ready, cook kabobs on a grill or in a low setting skillet or griddle, until cooked completely through.

We have these over white rice with corn on the cob or with mashed potatoes and corn kernels.

So its that simple. You could make all 3 of these meals in one day in order to provide 3 meals in the following weeks.

Cost Break Down: Family of 6
1 bag of frozen chicken breast tenders-  $7.99
1 box alfredo noodles-                               .94
1 jar alfredo sauce-                                  1.99
1 jar salsa-                                               1.99
1 can black beans-                                     .99
1 bag frozen corn-                                      .99
Taco seasoning-                                         .74
1 Bag rice-                                               3.89
Shredded cheddar-                                   2.00
1 bottle barb-q sauce                                2.50
                                                              $ 24.02 for all 3 meals 
                           that makes each meal    $ 8.01 per meal
                                                                $ 1.34 a serving

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homeschool Swap

For the month of August I joined the Homeschool swap through The Homeschool Post. What a blast this was. Our children always get wonderful surprises, so it was really nice to receive something my self. So what did I get?

1. I got an awesome pink sip and stir reusable cup(Love these)
2. A beautiful batch of handmade cards.
3. A bunch of learning materials and memorabilia on Winter the dolphin.
4. A small journal
5. A picture wallet
6.A picture labeling pencil

Last but not least I got a wonderful time and a brand new friend. This really was a wonderful experience. I hope that you might consider joining on the next swap. You wont regret it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Telling God's Story- Week 1

We started a new Bible curriculum this year called Telling God's Story by Peace Hill Press. It is also fairly new as a curriculum itself. Since I have not seen many reviews of it,  I wanted to log our adventure as we go through the study. I hope that this will be a useful tool to anyone considering this study for their children.

*The teachers guide is wonderful as it helps you to understand the lesson before you bring it to your children! Read it before the beginning of each new week.

Week 1- God is Joyful over You
 Day 1- We read the parable of the lost coin from the text:
                            " Suppose a women has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And then when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin." In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

The teachers text has a wonderful explaination of the parable that helps the children to understand the reasoning of the parable.

Day 1 includes a game activity. I used painters tape to tape 10 quarters on a cookie sheet. Each quarter had a letter/number combination on it. I then covered them with dirt and the boys had to use a paint brush to search for their coins. As they found the coins they completed a worksheet in which the letter/number combinations worked to spell out a phrase.
Since we have been exploring archeology, this tied in well to that

 Day 2: We re-read the parable and asked the boys to tell me what they thought it meant.
Day 2 included a history project. We made roman coins. We used the template in the student book and printed the coins on cardstock, colored them and cut them out. There is a description written for all of the coins if your child is interested in whats on them.

Day 3: Again, re-read the parable

Day 3 included a craft project. Using an 8 X 11 felt piece we made coin pouches to hold the roman coins from the day prior. 

Day 4: Had the boys tell me their version of the parable

Day 4 included a game and a coloring sheet. We played find the lost coin. We chose a small section of the house and one child hid the coin(or the paper coins) and the other searched. (This turned into a your hot or cold game really fast!) Then we did the coloring sheet provided in the student book of the women searching for her coin.

So there you have it! My conclusion thus far: AWESOME! The hands on activities over the week helped for the memorization of the parable and the verse of the Bible which contains it. I am so excited to continue this over the year and cannot wait to see the year 2 curriculum that has not yet been released!

Does this sound like something you would consider a you Bible study for your homeschool?

Monday, August 1, 2011

First Day of School.

Back to school today! Though it is always difficult to get back to a regular school schedule, it is often more difficult to put the summer fun behind us and put school ahead.

We always want to make the 1st day back to school fun. I try to create a day that motivates the boys to get back into  the groove. Here is what we did today to get the year started.

We did back to school photos.                                                                         

We discussed expectations, schedules, and introduced all of our new curriculum.

We did spin art for a fun art project.
We created this by using an old salad spinner and acrylic paint.

We had a back to school lunch party. We had small sandwiches, fruit, veggies, chips and cake. The boys all helped to decorate by making name plates and using left over birthday supplies.

We just enjoyed the rest of the day together!!We played the WII together and a few board games. We tried to fight the heat enough to play tag for a little bit. Then we wound down with some power rangers and a bed time story!

In all today was a success! We got a great start to the school year and the boys are ready to go full speed tomorrow!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer School: Cooking Basics Wrap up

This is the first summer that we have added additional fun summer school 'courses' of sorts. I decided to add on basic cooking and basic cleaning into the summer mix. You can see the full schedule for both courses here.

We had a blast this week cooking together. I tried to do a little bit of everything.

        From boiling water and cooking noodles....

To peeling, slicing, and boiling raw carrots ....

         And even one of our favorite breakfasts: smoothies.     

Some of our other dishes included: baked chicken breast, white rice,  scrambled eggs and bacon, biscuits(from scratch),  sauasage gravy, and homemade chicken noodles soup.

I have made the choice to continue doing this every summer, and often through out the school year. The kids truley enjoyed this time. With daddy being a chef, this is also an area that he can join in on.

If you are interested in trying some cooking with your children, but you arent sure where to start,check out mixingbowlacademy.com. They offer inexpensive online cooking courses for kids.

What is your favorite dish to cook up with your kiddos?