Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan for August 31st

Here is my menu plan for this week:

Monday - Fried Chicken with rice, salad and rolls (if I get around to making them, lol)

Tuesday - Crock-pot Lasagna (this is a new recipe I'm trying and making up as I go, wish me luck!)

Wednesday - Crock-pot Chicken with rice and green beans.

Thursday - Taco Salad

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Split Pea Soup (in the crock-pot)

Sunday - Beef tips and noodles (I think I'm going to adapt this recipe to cook in the crock-pot also.)

I guess I was feeling like I was neglecting my crock-pot because most of my recipes this week use it! This wasn't on purpose, it's just what sounded good :o) For more menu plan ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Room and Organization

OK, so I don't really have a school room. Like a lot of homeschoolers, we have school in the living room and sometimes the dining room. But, thanks to my wonderful hubby, last weekend we did some major re-arranging and now have a designated school area in the living room. Here are couple pictures:

We just scored the bigger of the two desk at a garage sale this weekend! Although, now Little P thinks he needs one of his own, so I guess I'm on the hunt for another one (sigh)! The drawer thing next to the table holds our math manipulatives, unifex (sp?) cubes and pattern blocks. The tote on top holds all of Munchkins school supplies. Everything in this box is for school use only. This has eliminated the "hunt" for pencils, paper, workbooks, etc. at the beginning of school.

As you can see, wall space is also at a premium in our house. Plus, it's an old house and the walls are lath and plaster, which means attempting to hang anything usually results in large holes in the wall. So, since I didn't have space to hang our map (or the desire to put large holes in the wall, lol) I put it on the table. A year or so ago, I purchased a few yards of clear vinyl on sale at JoAnns (I think between the sales and coupon I got it for $6) which I then put over the map. It makes for great dinner conversation, especially when you have company :o) Here is a picture (sorry it's a little dark!):

In the opposite corner from the desks is my "homeschool cabinet". This is were I keep all of my supplies and teachers manuals and anything I don't want the kids to have constant access to. The top cupboard has my books and such. And the bottom cupboard holds my supplies (extra pencils, pens, glue, scissors, etc.) and bins with my preschool educational activities. Here are a couple pictures of that:

Some friends were discussing how to organize all the "extras" recently. This is how I do it. I've picked up several shoebox sized plastic bins over the years (The Dollar Store!) and have a bin for each item (crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue, etc.) They are all in a cupboard under the built in buffet in the dining room. I also have a similar setup in the cupboard on the other side with games and puzzles. Here is a picture:

This is another benefit of our rearranging. We moved my sewing stuff down to the office in the basement and then brought the recliner and table/lamp to where my sewing stuff was. Our house has some interesting "nooks and crannies" due to a remodel that the previous owners did. They turned one of the bedrooms into a hallway in order to add a master suite on to the house. So this is kinda in the hallway, but it's a large hallway, lol. I love it cause it gives me a place for my morning bible study. Here is a picture:

So there you have a little peak into my home :o) I hope you enjoyed it.



Command Center

I've posted this before, but since it is time for school to be starting again, I thought I would revisit it :o). And, Organizing Junkie is doing a Command Center round-up this week that I want to participate in :o). For more ideas on command centers, visit her site.

Earlier in the year I was feeling like my house was in chaos and feeling overwhelmed at getting it under control. The idea of someone dropping by unannounced terrified me, lol. I thought about making another schedule (MOTH), but that just made me cringe, it's so easy to fall off and not get back on. I contemplated using a schedule that had blocks of time (morning block, afternoon block, etc.) but even that seemed to restrictive. I had made a home-keeping notebook, but I rarely used it (I decided I simply didn't want to take the time and energy to open it, lol ). So I started searching for new home-keeping "tools". One of the things I came up with is the idea of a Command Center. Basically, I took my notebook and put it on the wall. Now everything is right there, visible, and I have no excuse for not remembering.

Here are a couple of pictures:

Now I'll explain the different elements :o)

The white board - I used a wet-erase marker to create different sections on the board. I have a place for the date, what's for dinner, scripture I'm working on, appointments, priorities, to-do list, things to buy and notes.

The calendar - This is where I can keep track of what's going on. The pink sticky notes are my meal planning, I write the meal on the sticky and put it on the day I want. Using stickies makes it easy to switch days if necessary.

Cork Boards - These are there to put up things like reminders and invitations.

Little wood shelf - This holds my supplies; pens, pencils, eraser, sticky notes, etc.

Wire hanging file - I made "pockets" out of scrapbooking paper for this. Both to make it more functional (things can't slip out) and pretty. I have important fliers and such in the bottom pocket. And I put the papers I did use from my notebook into report covers and those are in the top pockets.

Basket on top of wine rack - This is a place to put papers and things that my hubby needs to take to his office in the basement (as you can see, he's a little behind :o))

Big blue tub - This is the "mommy basket". As I'm tidying up, things my children have chosen not to put away go into this tub. They then have until bedtime to remove and put away anything they find in there. After bed time, I remove the items and take them to the basement for a week. At the end of the week the items are placed back in the tub and they once again have till bedtime to put them away. If they still do not get put away, then I figure they really don't need/want them and they go away :o)

Overall, I tried to make the space functional and pretty. Thus the reason for the cute signs and the flower arrangement. I didn't want it to look like an eyesore, 'cause then I wouldn't use it. It is still a work in progress and I will probably tweak a few things as I determine what works and what doesn't, especially now that we are starting a new school year. Anyway, that's what i have so far :o)


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Horseback Ridding

As my mom said, "There is nothing cuter than a 4 year old ridding a miniature horse!" And I have to say, I can't agree more! This is Peanut during her latest ridding lesson, the horse is named Mini Me. Sorry the quality isn't the greatest, but I just had to share it :o)



Monday, August 17, 2009

Menu Plan for August 17th

Well, our menu plan kinda went out the window last week because my parents decided to take my kids camping! So some of this weeks meals are hold overs from last week :o)

Monday - Swedish meat pies (these are already made and in the freezer!)

Tuesday - Fried rice

Wednesday - Chicken broccoli divan

Thursday - Corn chowder

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Burritos with beans and rice

Sunday - Potato Bar

For more menu plan ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.



Potluck Recipe

Well, the dish I took to the potluck last night was a huge hit. I think pretty much everyone asked for the recipe :o) The best part? I didn't have to bring home leftovers!! Anyway, I thought I'd share the recipe here as well. It's a recipe I found in the cookbook "Fix It and Forget It".

German Potato Salad:

6 slices bacon
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 can cream of chicken soup (I substitute a homemade white sauce flavored with chicken bullion)
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar
pepper to taste
4 cups parboiled, cubed potatoes
parsley (I didn't remember the parsley, lol)

1. Brown bacon in skillet and then crumble. Reserve 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings. Saute onions in drippings.
2. Blend together soup, water vinegar, sugar and pepper. Add bacon and onions. Mix well.
3. Add potatoes and parsley. Mix well. Pour into slow cooker.
4. Cover. Cook on Low 4 hours.
5. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Personally, I think it's better warm.)

Homemade White Sauce:
(FYI: this recipe will make approx. 2 cups of white sauce which is about a 1/2 cup more than a can of soup.)

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (or 2 cups water and 2/3 cup milk powder, mixed)

Melt butter in a sauce pan on med/low heat. Whisk in flour to make a paste (make sure there are no lumps). Slowly add milk. Bring the mixture up to a boil while whisking (it's important to keep whisking or it will burn!). The sauce will thicken as it boils. When it reaches the desired consistency, reduce heat and add whatever flavorings you want.
For a cream-of-chicken substitute add 1 tsp. chicken bullion per cup of milk.
For a cheese sauce add shredded cheese (sharp works best!) to taste.
For an Alfredo sauce add Parmesan cheese to taste.
For cream-of-mushroom add a can of mushrooms.
The possibilities are really endless, just use your imagination!



Sunday, August 9, 2009

Menu Plan for August 10th

Yeah, I got my menu plan done this week! Here is what we will be having:

Monday: Chicken Enchiladas

Tuesday: Tater-tot casserole

Wednesday: Chicken Broccoli Divan

Thursday: Potato Bar

Friday: Sub Sandwiches

Saturday: Corn Chowder

Sunday: Potluck at a friends - German Potato Salad (in the crock-pot) and Apple Crisp

For more menu plans, visit Organizing Junkie.



Funny Face

It's "Crazy, Silly, funny Face" at iHeartFaces this week. This will be my first time participating, but I thought this picture was perfect. I took this a couple weeks ago while the kids were cooling off in Mom & Dad's pool. Little P is my little ham when it comes to getting his picture taken!


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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blog Hop - Curriculum


Life With My 3 Boybarians is hosting a blog hop this month on "not back to school". This weeks topic is curriculum. And since I haven't gotten around to posting about this year yet, I figured I'd participate :o)

Munchkin will be a 3rd grader (yikes!) this year. Our spine will be My Fathers World and we will be using Exploring Countries and Cultures which is the first year in their 5 year cycle.

This is what the MFW website says about ECC: "Take a trip around the world and explore diverse countries while learning geography and being challenged by true stories of missionaries." There are also several other families in our homeschool group who will be using this program so we will get to do activies with them. We are very excited about this year!

MFW covers Bible, History, Geography, Science, Art and Music. So for the other subjects:

Language Arts: We will be continuing with Queen Homeschool's Language Lessons for the Very Young Volume 1.

Spelling: We will be switching to Spell to Read and Write. I still have to do some planning for this, so I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to incorporate it.

Math: We will be continuing with Math U See going into the Beta program.

We still don't have a foreign language yet, but I've been meaning to look into Latina Christiana. If anyone uses/has used this, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Peanut is still a preschooler :o) She really wants to learn to read, but I'm not sure she's really ready for anything formal. I have the MFW preschool package, so we'll be using that. I'll probably throw in some tot books and maybe a unit or two from Before Five in a Row. And I will probably spend some time working on reading with her and see how that goes. Other than that, nothing real formal with her this year!

Little P is at the difficult toddler stage, lol. With him, I will mostly be focusing on keeping him occupied so I can work with his sisters. I'm not 100% sure how I will accomplish this, but I'm working on it. I will probably set aside a few toys that are for "school time only" and I'll probably get him is own set of color crayons and paper so he has his own "supplies". I'm also going to look into making one of those "indoor sandboxes" that I've seen various places on the internet. If anyone has idea's they'd like to share on how to keep an active toddler boy happy during school time, I'm all ears (or eyes as the case may be, lol).

I also am hoping to have our routine firmly in place before the new baby makes his or her arival in January. I have a longer than normal recovery period, so I'm hoping if we are already going smoothly, then things can continue without too much stress on me :o) Otherwise, we may need to school over the summer!



Giveaway at iHeartFaces!

WooHoo!!! iHeartFaces is giving away a Tamaron 18-270mm VC 15X Zoom Lens!! I would so love to win this lens!! Head on over to their site and leave a comment for your chance to win!!!


Background Papers and Embellishments Created by Marie Stones