Menu Plan

Sep 26, 2011

Autumn is officially here and we're kicking it off with some of our cool weather favorites. I love Fall! Homeschool co-op classes and cub scouts make Thursdays our busy day each week, so that will be my slow-cooker day. Since Papa Bear is off on Sunday, I'll let him treat us to his special legs...grilled chicken legs, that is. They go great with Sunday Night Football!

Monday: Beef Stew, homemade bread
Tuesday: Baked Potato Bar (leftover taco meat, steamed broccoli, baked beans, cheese, Greek yogurt, etc.)
                 Prep: Boil chicken & stock

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie (extra one for friend)

Thursday: Barbeque Chicken Sandwiches, potato salad (made with leftover baked potatoes)

Friday: Turkey Sausage Minestrone

Saturday: Salmon patties, pasta salad

Sunday: Grilled chicken legs, broccoli rice, corn-on-the-cob

I'm linked to Menu Plan Monday and Plan It-Don't Panic.

Army Birthday Party

Sep 22, 2011

Eight years ago today, my middle son was born. One day past his predicted due date, on my maternal grandmother's birthday. She never had the pleasure of meeting any of my boys, as she died right before I found out I was pregnant with M1. She would have loved them all so much and they would have adored her. I would have been especially fond of her because my grandmother was a great hugger and she loved to laugh. :)

Last weekend, we had an Army themed party for IB and he LOVED it. Most boys love all things military at this age, especially when their father is in the military. A few weeks ago, I dropped a hint to my mom that IB had a growing wish list at, so she bought him a gift card. Since we were having an Army party, it only made sense to get IB some new BDUs, WWII replica rifle, wallet, and medic bag. He wore his BDUs for three days before the party day!

Keeping it real...this is a real boy's party. When I announced it was time for cake, there was a mini stampede to the kitchen door (AKA the Mess Hall).

The most expensive part of the party was food, especially the bakery cakes. I usually make my own, but I thought I'd give myself a break this time. They were simply two white-iced cakes that the bakery keeps on hand for last-minute people like me, that had been sprayed to look like camo. I had planned on setting up plastic soldiers on each cake facing each other, but there was no time for that once I mentioned cake. As any smart mom does, I planned the party between lunch and dinner, so I could just serve snacks. Mostly green ones, of course. Broccoli, celery, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, pickle spears, pretzels, chips, and  ranch dip

WalMart has camo plates, cups, napkins, and party favor dog tags for less than a dollar per pack, which is a steal compared to the party store prices. It took just a few minutes to print signs to hang up, like "Latrine", "Mess Hall", and "Restricted Area" (for the big boys' rooms), and Certificates of Completion. Party favors were in plain brown lunch sacks and contained goodies from the Army Recruiter, camo band-aids, and an Army coloring sheet.

The backyard was the happening place with an obstacle course and shooting range. No real guns were used, just plastic pellet guns, under close adult supervision and with proper gun handling instruction. Papa Bear set up the obstacle course with old tires and boards. The neighborhood boys stayed long after the party was over. I have a feeling that we'll have another Army party in the future.

Just in case you were wondering, here are a few sites I visited for inspiration:

Turkey Sausage Minestrone

Sep 14, 2011

Here is one more use for my homemade turkey sausage and, boy, is it good! Everyone loved it and had seconds. The original recipe came from The Mother Huddle, but I made a few adjustments, mostly due to ingredients I had on hand.

Turkey Sausage Minestrone
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey sausage
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 tsp jarred garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
8 cups chicken broth
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1 15 oz can dk. red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
2 c kale or spinach, stems removed & chopped coarsely
1 c ditalini or other small pasta, like shells or bowties, or cooked rice

In large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown turkey sausage, if not already done. (I usually mix and brown a few pounds at a time and freeze it. If you also do this, then add sausage after sauteing veggies.) Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano, cooking until veggies start to get tender. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer and add pasta, cooking until al dente. I had to add a little water to make up for the pasta soaking up some liquid. (You could cook pasta separately and add in, but I prefer to only use one pan.) Then add beans and kale or spinach and simmer until greens are wilted. Serve with crusty bread for a hearty meal.

Linked to What's Cooking WednesdayHomemaking Link-up, and Simple Lives Thursday.

Little Soldiers

Sep 13, 2011

We've been preparing for IB's army themed birthday party for this weekend and the boys are gearing up. Yesterday, I stopped by the local Army recruiting office and asked if they would be willing to "donate" some promotional items for us to give away as party favors. They were more than willing and gave us more than we needed, including some really cool items for the birthday boy. Thank you, Recruiting Officer F!

When I saw how excited the boys were with all of the free Army loot, I decided to let IB have part of his gifts early. He has been wearing his new BDUs all day. I won't be surprised if  he wants to sleep in them. Thank you, JM Cremp's! Of course, since he was outfitted, the rest of the boys had to join in. Well, except for M1 because he's too old for that now. :( NG and LJ put on every bit of army garb they could find and they even had M2 sporting a cover (that's a hat for the civilians). Little did their neighborhood friends know that when they knocked on our door this afternoon, they would be recruited and immediately put through rigorous training exercises. NG set up an obstacle course and weapons table in our backyard and proceeded to instruct the rest of the boys on weapons safety. Papa Bear is so proud!

2011-12 Homeschool Curriculum

Sep 1, 2011

Thankfully, my slump has passed and I am operating at normal speed again for this school year. Not to say that I don't still feel overwhelmed at times or want to quit. That comes with the territory. Last year was rough for all of us and we have some catching up to do. Also, keep in mind that the following list of curriculum is subject to change at any point if we find that it isn't working.

For our study of Ancient History, I'm using A Child's History of the World as my spine, along with the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia and various other books. I still have A World of Adventure, but I will probably only use it as a resource. At this point, I have researched and seen enough history studies, that I feel okay winging it. My biggest issue is keeping to a time frame. 

IB ~ 2nd Grade
Math Mammoth


A Reason for Handwriting

Considering God's Creation - I used this with my older boys when they were younger also and we love it. IB will also be participating in an elementary science co-op class twice a month.

NG ~ 7th Grade
Math Mammoth - NG needs to master a few more basic math skills before we move on to Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals & Percents.

Learning Language Arts Through Literature: Tan - I'll probably continue to supplement with Easy Grammar curriculum that I've had for years.

Apologia General Science - He'll attend a co-op class twice a month for labs.

M1 ~ 11th  Grade
M1 will continue to fulfill elective credits by researching and working on his car (Auto Mechanics), by expanding his knowledge and experience with his expensive camera (Photography), and by learning many vital life skills (Practical Living Skills).

Streams of Civilization I - This is the spine M1 will use for Ancient History and I'll be adding supplemental books, especially classics like the Illiad.

Life of Fred Beginning and Advanced Algebra - Yes, he has been doing Algebra for a while, but he hit a wall with Teaching Textbooks and we are back-tracking with Life of Fred to help him master it. If it works for him, then we may continue with LOF Geometry.

Apologia Chemistry - We may get together with a couple of other families.
Forensics Science - I was having a very difficult time deciding on science for this year, but one of the homeschooling fathers in our group is teaching this co-op class and M1 is really interested in it.

The Art of Argument - Yes, I want my teenage son to learn how to argue...better.

Excellence in Literature: British Literature  - He'll attend a co-op class for book discussion.

The Money Mystery & Solving the Money Mystery, The Clipper Ship Strategy & Applying the Clipper Ship Strategy - We have been using the Uncle Eric books from Bluestocking Press for Economics and Mason really enjoys reading them. He has also read Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career, and Financial Security and Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?

Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) & Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses

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