Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pancakes....Oh So Good!

I am making these pancakes as I type, just took my first bite, and oh my are they good! For a whole wheat pancake these turned out fluffy and moist, thanks to the buttermilk. I was reading the reviews, and one person said sour milk just doesn't do. It made her pancakes have a bad sour taste. So she substituted with yogurt, and 2% milk and said they turned out much better. If you want my opinion, nothing beats buttermilk so make sure you buy some before you make.

So how do you take your pancakes? I eat mine with vanilla yogurt, and grape jelly. If I am being spoiled at the moment I will buy some pure maple syrup and indulge! I really hope you make these, and enjoy them as much as we did!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pantry Cleanse

It dawned on me the other day that I couldn't find one thing in my pantry without digging around, and removing food. It is so frustrating when you are in a hurry to make dinner, and you can't find the one single item you need. Of course, the thing you need is always in the back, in the far corner you never would have thought it to be! GRRR!

So, I cleaned that mess, organized all the food, threw some stuff out, and voila!, a clean pantry!

Isn't it pretty? The top shelf is the food I buy for emergencies. You know, the months when something unexpected pops up and demands all your money? Yep, that's what it is for. The second shelf is my canned food, and the food I store in jars. A couple months ago I found these tiny moths all in my food, so now I store in jars. It took three garbage bags of bad food to learn the glass jar trick! The third shelf holds breakfast foods, and the little extras I need. The glass jar on the right is brewing buttermilk for tomorrow. The fourth shelf holds our extra food when we buy in bulk. I also store my jam and jellies here, as well as the sugar, and popcorn. The fifth shelf is.....empty! I cleared a whole shelf, and I have no clue how I will use it yet! How great is that! There is a sixth shelf, but my camera couldn't fit it. It pretty unspectacular anyway, and just holds some pans.

Hope you enjoyed my pantry! Next up, the fridge....duh duh duh!! Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


So, I knew that October was going to be a crrrazy month for me, and I had scheduled some posts to pop up, and well.....I guess THAT didn't happen! I have no clue what the heck I did wrong! I am good at that sometimes! Maybe someone can chime in and let me in on this scheduled post secret? I would be much appreciative!

Here is some of what we did for the month of October. Hope you enjoy!

This is what has been stealing ALL my time. I started a Girl Scout troop. You may be thinking how crazy I am, but it really is a lot of fun. I get to plan activities, go camping, make pretty things, and have fun with my girls! It makes all the hard work worth it!

I took my Girl Scouts to the pumpkin patch, and my little pumpkin in blue received her first patch! She was so excited!

I decided to go all out this Halloween year, and be a 1950's housewife! It was a blast dressing up! I actually have real pin curls under that fancy scarf, that were NOT easy to all! You wanna know what else wasn't easy to do? That red lipstick. It was a pain right down to the last stroke!

This little dear wanted to be an angel for Halloween, which meant Mom had to get creative. We found that cute velvet dress on the bottom of her dress up box, and those wings, and that halo were made by yours truly.

So, after waiting all day for those pin curls to set I took those babies out. The curls were literally stuck to my head, and I had a moment of panic! It's a good thing I found this video on Youtube, because I probably would have given up and started over. Or just went as "Mom" for Halloween. Yipee!

I also did a ton of cooking. I'm talking, every single day cooking. See the above picture? Do not make that! It is NOT good! Lasagna in the crock pot should never be done! What a mushy mess it was!

This on the other hand was super good....and fattening. Butter makes everything better! That, my dear readers, is a Tuna Potpie with a home made crust. I will post this recipe later on. I think you will love it!

Baking is what I do best. I made this Banana Bread and it was gone the next day. I have a secret to tell you about this bread, but you cannot tell my husband. It is low fat....and HEALTHY!

So there is a fraction of my October that I can share with you. All the other stuff is boring, and I doubt you would want to read about it. Like, who would want to read that my kids vomited three separate times last month? I know I wouldn't!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Random Ramblings and Jumbled Thoughts

More homeschool books came today! You would think it was Christmas with all the excitement! My eldest can't wait for tomorrow, just so she can start her new books. Isn't it wonderful how exciting learning can be, when you make the environment a positive one? They are constantly doing something worthwhile with their time, whether it be Legos, crocheting, or sit down work. Their little minds are always working and learning!

The books we bought are the Rod & Staff Spelling workbook, and her Bible workbook. We really like this curriculum because of the simplicity of the books, and how reasonable the price is especially when you buy from Ebay. That is my secret tip of the day! Ebay is great for discounted homeschool books! I always check there before going to the publishers website. The savings really add up, even if it's a few dollars here and there.

I have been at a loss for what to do about history. I have read that living books are great, but where do I find them, and how do you know they are good books? I was thinking curriculum, but which one do I choose? It's all overwhelming! So, what am I doing in the mean time? Watching a lot of National Geographic shows, History Channel shows, and letting the girls watch Liberty's Kids. I cannot say enough about that cartoon. I am not sure on the accuracy of historical events, but I know they are learning the basics. After each cartoon, I ask them questions, and they can answer them pretty well. Right now they are watching about the Boston Tea Party, and when they are finished I am going to do a project with them to reinforce what they learned. Homeschooling at it's finest!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Great Blog I Found

I was surfuring from blog to blog, and found myself at Simpler Living. This blog is chock-full of tips, articles, and sites for living simpler. From eating healthy, to owning only 100 items, this place has it all! I am particularly interested in the articles teaching about purging the possessions that seem to be weighing me down. I have gotten rid of quite a bit, but there is still so much around me. Especially in the girls' rooms. So, tomorrow I will be purging for the second time this week, and hopefully will get rid of more. Quite a bit more. I have a good idea where I will start (6 year old's room), and I am gonna have to be sneaky about it. She is not fond of purge day! The last time I went through her room, she was crying in the front, agonizing over her departed toys. When the time came for her to check out her room, she couldn't figure out what was gone! Yep, she has that much!

After the 6 year olds room I am going to go into my room and start. It seems that is where our dumping ground is. Right where I lay to rest and sleep! Doesn't sound like a very relaxing environment to me!

When all is done, I am going to make a conscious effort to stop accumulating stuff. I am not a shopper, whatsoever, but I do enjoy the thrift shop every now and then. I pair of shoes for 1.00 seems too good to pass up, but then I know I will never wear them! This is my downfall, and I fear that I am passing it to my eldest daughter. I better stop now while they are all still young, or I might be in for some trouble later on down the road!

Menu Plan Monday

A new week is here! What are all of your plans for the coming days? Tomorrow I will be spending time with a great friend, and her adorable children. Hopefully later this week I will have a location for our Girl Scout troop to be meeting. I have a particular place in mind, so keep your fingers crossed that I get the go ahead. My girls are getting super anxious for their first meeting!

Here is my menu for the week.

Monday- Crockpot Vegetarian Lasagna

Tuesday- Taco Casserole

Wednesday- Pear Prosciutto Pizza (make sure your pears are ripe, or you will have a dry pizza)

Thursday- Sweet Potato Chili

Friday- Split Pea Soup

Saturday- Stir Fried Rice

Sunday- Leftovers. I deserve a day of rest...Right?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Easiest Snack On Earth!

I was hankering for some garlic. Lots and lots of garlic! So I decided to do this...

-Roast a whole head of garlic
-Toast 8 baguette slices in 1tbs butter
-Rub one roasted garlic clove on each piece of bread
-Drizzle olive oil over all bread slices
-Sprinkle Basil and Pepper over the top

That's it! There was nothing to it! The only step that took 30 minutes was the roasting of the garlic. Everything else was a cinch! I hope you enjoy what I made, and if you alter the recipe and find it better, let me know!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Day In Pictures

I love to read blog posts that show pictures of what the author does. It makes me feel like they have invited me into their home, and I get to experience the way they live, and what is important to them. They have inspired me to grab my own camera and document my almost every movement. I hope you enjoy my day, and hopefully are encouraged to share yours.

The first thing I do when I get up is check on my garden. The caterpillars have devoured my tomatoes, but my bell peppers are doing pretty good!

I also had to add algaecide to the pool this morning. Looks cool and refreshing, doesn't it!

Next I have to start breakfast, and clean the kitchen. Today for breakfast is peanut butter toast, scrambled eggs, and grapes.

Clean, clean, clean!!

After breakfast is when we usually start our lessons. We are using Rod & Staff for my 5th grader, and 1st grader.

While they are working on their lessons I get started on some salsa. This snack is so fresh and yummy!

These are all the ingredients I need to make this...

and here is the final product. Doesn't it look wonderful?

After the salsa was done, I got the girls started on their lapbooks. Lexi is doing TheHuman Body, and Cadyn is doing The Ants Go Marching.

While they are doing their lessons I made a batch of Banana Chocolate Chip muffins. Let me just say that they did not last very long!

Then I have to clean the kitchen.....again! It never seems to be clean! Do you see our science project up on the window sill? It is a Venus Flytrap! It currently has one fly in it's trap, and we are eagerly waiting to see what happens when it opens back up.

After I cleaned the kitchen we decided to go outside for a little while. You know, to get our wiggles out!

The girls were worn out by this time, so we all laid down for quiet time until it was time to make dinner. Dinner was Spaghetti with home made noodles, and french bread. Sorry, but I forgot to take a picture of it. I was too hungry!

I hope you all enjoyed my day! It was a lot of fun to put together for you, and maybe I will do it again. You will just have to keep coming back to see!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Bread in the Bread Machine

This is a re-post from last month, but it is so good that I had to put in my favorites! This bread comes out moist and stays that way. Just what I like!

Perfect Sandwich Bread

1 cup lukewarm water
1 TB milk
2 TB oil (vegetable, olive, all works fine)
2 TB honey
2 TB brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp yeast

Put all ingredients into a bread machine in the order according to your manufacturer's instructions (the above list is how I add mine).
Set your machine to the Dough cycle (my machine takes 90 minutes).
After the cycle is complete, remove the dough and place it into a well-greased loaf pan.
Brush the top with a small amount of oil (optional, but gives the bread a nice shine & crust).
Cover the pan with a dish towel and place in a warm spot of your kitchen. (I put mine in an oven that I preheated to 200 degrees, then turned off).
Let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes.
Remove the towel and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rosemary Bread in the Bread Machine

I love the way this bread smells while cooking! It is my favorite snacking bread, but it goes well with soups and other saucy meals.

There are a lot of spices in this bread, but do not skimp! I promise that you will love the outcome! The pepper lends it a slight (very slight) spice, and the rosemary is perfect. I hope you enjoy this bread, and comment below letting me know what meal your paired it with.

-1 cup water
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
-1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning or Basil and Oregano
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/2-1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (dried will work fine, but the rosemary will not be as strong)
-2 1/2 cups bread flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1. Place ingredients in your bread machine according to the manufacturers recommendations. Select the white bread cycle, and press Start. That is it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chocolate Cake In the Bread Machine

When I first made this I did not anticipate it even turning out OK. I have made home made cake before, and I know the process is a little more than dump and go, which is what you do in the bread machine. So while this is baking I am thinking, "This is so not going to work", then "OK, that smells gooood!", and , "Wow, I really want to eat that! I hope it works!". Now, even though it ended up not looking like cake, and the texture was nothing compared to cake, the end product was something more! It was a not too sweet, chocolate bread that was to DIE for! You will love this bread, your husband will love this bread, your kids, your aunts, uncles, everyone!

This recipe will say to choose your cake setting, which I have on my machine. If you don't have this feature I would still give it a try on the regular setting and see how it works.

Chocolate Cake

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-5 tbs unsweetened cocoa
-2tsp baking powder
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/3 cup oil or butter
-2 eggs lightly beaten
-1/3 cup water
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

When the sound beeps add in:
-1/3 cup chocolate chips (if you don't have this feature just go ahead and throw them in. Not sure why it's there anyway)

1. Measure all ingredients into the bread pan.
2. Insert baking pan securely into baking unit and close lid.
3. Select the cake setting if you have it.
4. Add the chocolate chips after about 5 minutes.
5. The bread machine will do the rest of the work for you, so kick up your heels and relax a little!

Enjoy, from my house to yours!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bread Recipe Week......Foccacia Bread Using the Bread Machine

This week I am going to post my seven top favorite bread machine recipes. So gather your essentials, and stay tuned!

When I made this for the first time I couldn't believe how delicious it really was! We all ate both loaves in one joke! The Triple Cheese topping will remind you of pizza, and may taste a little better too. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Preheat oven to 375
Baking Sheet lightly greased

-1 1/3 cups water
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp sugar
-3 3/4 cups bread flour
-2 1/4 tsp yeast

1. Add ingredients according to your bread machine recommendations.
2. Remove dough to a lightly floured board; cover with a large bowl and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough in half. Stretch each half into a 10 by 8 inch rectangle. Dimple with flour coated fingertips. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place for 30 min. Re-dimple. Cover with preferred topping mixture (recipe follows).
4. Bake on the lowest rack of the preheated oven or hot baking stone for 20-30 minutes or until golden.

Triple Cheese Topping

-1-2 tsp olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/2-1 cup prepared salsa
-1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Romano cheese
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-salsa for garnish

1. Mix together olive oil and garlic for a more even coverage. Drizzle over the dough; allow to puddle in the pimples. Top with basil and salsa. Mix the 3 cheeses together. Sprinkle over salsa.

Parmesan Walnut Topping

-2 tbs olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
-2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

1. Mix together olive oil and garlic. Drizzle over the dough; allow to puddle in the dimples. Top the dough with walnuts and Parmesan cheese.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Real Life Homeschooling

I was thinking how cool it would be to post every week a life lesson that I have incorporated into our homeschool. I think life lessons are important for every child and easy to teach with minimal effort. These lessons will stay with a little one for the rest of their lives, and will make living away from home easier. Can you imagine how hard it would be to move away for the first time without knowing how to cook, or wash your own clothes? I definitely don't want any of my children feeling lost, or calling me on the phone to ask for directions!

The first life lesson I am blogging about is cooking. My eldest daughter(10 yrs.) loves to cook, and bake. After watching her become bored after her lessons I thought of a great idea that would take up some of her extra time. Once a week she would have to find a healthy meal, make a grocery list, budget under $10, and prepare her meal with minimal help. To assist her recipe hunt, I unearthed an old Christmas cookbook that was never touched, but is now loved! It is Molly's American Girl cookbook, and has a lot of fun recipes that are perfect for beginners. This was just the ticket to get my girl going!

For her first meal she chose meatloaf (from scratch!), and lava potatoes. I never doubted in my mind that she would fail, but she did outdo my expectations! Her meal was superb, especially the lava potatoes that were filled with cheese! You should have seen her beaming smile, while her family told her what a fine job she did! We not only taught her a valuable skill, she also felt very good about herself and knows now that she is capable. Knowing that she can cook a meal a week, and allow me to rest a little, makes her feel important and needed. Something everyone needs!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The last couple weeks have been real slow around here, and not much has been done. I was pretty sick, and we all know what happens when Mama is sick! The house goes, the kids go bonkers, and the hubby is stretched thinner than usual! It was not a pretty picture! However, I do need to give my hubby props for takin' care of business. I don't know how I would have done it without him!

So, I went to the cardiologist last week, and he doesn't think my symptoms are heart related. That's good news, but now I have to start at the beginning again. My family doctor thinks my hormone levels are out of whack, which would explain a lot of other things that I thought were unrelated. I have an appointment with my OB in a couple weeks, and I am hoping with all my heart that he can tell me what's wrong. Readers, I have been feeling like this for years! If someone can cure me I will be the happiest woman on the planet! Say a prayer for me!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It Hits Me Like A Truck

Here I am, sitting in bed wishing I could muster up the energy to get up. But instead, my body has other ideas, so here I lay. Sometimes I think my body is failing me, and other times I think it's just the doctors incompetency in diagnosing me. I have worn heart monitors, had EKG's, ultrasounds, and nothing. The only person that can hear a murmur is the nurse practitioner, but what can she really do? If the cardiologist can't hear it, then it just isn't there, I guess.

For over a year I have had irregular heartbeats, and no one can tell me why. Usually I am fine with it, but times like now, it really hits me. I thought the only trigger was alcohol, but there is obviously another one I can't see. When I have an episode I am extremely fatigued, I got my first migraine last night, my vision worsens, I can't focus, and get the occasional sharp pain in my chest. You would think the doctors would know what to do! I am just so frustrated. We are supposed to be doing lessons, going to the store, or just having a great day. I hate that I can't do that right now! I need my body to be stronger for my family. I need to put a name to my condition. I need medication to fix me. I need to feel better.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Grocery Shopping on the Cheap part 2

This is a list of what I make by hand. I try to do as much as I can, but I rely mostly on my best servant.....the bread machine! If you have never tried to make bread, you must try! It is unbelievably delicious, the texture is perfect, and you know exactly what you did, or didn't put into your bread.

-Pizza Dough
-Sandwich Bread (the recipe I am using now is down below on my blog)
-Snack Bread (Foccacia, Pretzels)
-Dinner Rolls
-French Bread
-Salad Dressings
-Tomato Sauce
-Pancakes, Waffles
-Pie Crust
...and so on. There are too many to list, but I am sure you catch my drift.

Now for what I have spent in groceries...

Ground Turkey - 4.56
Sweet Italian Sausage - 3.88
Chicken Breast- 8.09
Rice Crispies(for granola bars) - 1.75
Cocoa Puffs - 1.88
Cinnamon Toast Crunch - 1.79
Pepperoni - 3.25
Applesauce - 1.99
Tomato Paste (2)- .82
Salsa - 1.78
Cream of Chicken Soup - .76
Cream Cheese - 1.78
Vanilla Ice Cream - 2.78
Crushed Pineapple - 1.39
Mozzarella Cheese 2.73
Pizza Sauce (2)- 2.92
Parsley Flakes - 1.84
Sour Cream - 2.96
Limes - .10
Lemon - .28
Flax Seed - 1 pound for .70
Almonds - 1 pound for 3.28
Bell Pepper (5)- 1.90
Popsicles - 1.65
Green Onions - .38
Banana - 1.76
Fuji Apples - 5.00
Vanilla Yogurt - 2.75
Farmers Market - 18.00
Basil - Free from garden
Oregano - Free from garden

Grand Total= $82.75 for two weeks

We buy a lot of our food in bulk, so I still have a lot of ingredients on hand. The next grocery shopping bill will include all my ingredients for baking. We buy 20 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of white and brown sugar, and our canned goods once a month from Costco. It is cheaper to do it this way, and I seem to never run out of flour!! It used to drive me crazy when I went to bake something and I had no flour! Such a bummer! I will also restock any other supplies, such as baking powder, yeast, baking soda, ect. Also, if I see something on sale that I usually buy, then I will get quite a few to have on stock. If you look at my grocery receipt, ground turkey is on there but I didn't plan on getting it. It was on sale from 5.00 to 2.28, so I bought two. Score!!

I am looking at what I bought, and it seems we have a lot of meat on there! We usually don't buy a lot of meat, but my husband requested his favorite meals, and it ended up being the ones with animals in them. I try to make at least four vegetarian meals a week, but that's just because we like our veggies!

I will start posting all my favorite recipes for you to try. I have a few really good ones that you will love!

If you made it this far, I am happy! Please comment any questions, and blog post recommendations are always welcome!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Grocery Shopping on the Cheap part 1

I am known among my friends for feeding my family of five for very little. Some think I am a little loopy for doing it, but the others are genuinely interested in the whole idea. I get great satisfaction knowing that if something horrible happened, like hubby losing his job (knock on wood!), I would still be able to make nutritious meals and keep us healthy. Not to mention our bellies happy! Food to me is everything, and when my pantry is stocked I am happy. It's when the food gets low that I start to stress a little. A grumpy mama is no fun, let me tell ya!

Here is the menu plan for the next couple weeks. I have everyone pick out their favorite meals, and will make them until I go shopping again at the end of the month. I am going to list each meal once, but it will be the same for the next week. Also, mostly everything you see will be made from scratch, and that is the secret for keeping your cost down.

-Applesauce Muffins
-Banana Muffins
-Biscuit and Egg Sandwich (identical to the ones you find at McD's but better!)
-Toast and Eggs
-Bagel(store bought) and Eggs
-Granola Cereal (hm)

Breakfast is pretty easy. I have a list of meals, and I let the girls choose for the most part. We don't eat cereal very often, so that is why it is not on the list.

-Rice Bowls
-Meat Sandwich(when it's on sale. I like the gooood stuff from Vons, but I can't justify $7 a pound)
-Chicken Salad w/ Blue Cheese Dressing
-Cheesy Chicken and Rice
-Pesto Pasta (pesto is usually store bought)
-Empty Cupboard Pasta (kids favorite!)
-Leftovers from the night before (my favorite!)

The lunch plan is pretty much the same as the breakfast plan. We choose whatever suits our fancy.

Dinner: September 6-September 20

Monday- Spaghetti (homemade noodles and sauce), salad, French Bread (hm)
Tuesday- Shredded Chicken Tacos, Spanish Rice(need to make enough for Thursday), black beans
Wednesday- Pizza, and bread sticks (hm recipe is the best! I will post it soon!)
Thursday- Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice (from Tues.), corn
Friday- Stromboli, salad
Saturday- Taco Casserole, salad
Sunday- Meatloaf, potatoes, green beans

The dinner plan is the tricky one. If I don't write it down on paper, I get completely scatter brained and forget to even prep for dinner. So plan I must!

Snacks: I make all our snacks from scratch. It's so much cheaper this way, and healthier too!

-Salsa and Tortilla Chips
-Granola Bars
-Popcorn(air popped)
-Veggie sticks and Blue Cheese dressing
-apples & peanut butter (store bought)

I also plan my snacks since I don't buy any boxed foods(fruit snacks, Wheat Thins). The only boxed food I get is the occasional cereal treat, and oatmeal. This keeps my grocery spending way down, so if I want to spend a little on ice cream I can without feeling guilty.

Stay tuned for part two!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Craft of the Day

I don't know about you but I find a ton of broken crayons all over the house. I am talkin' under couches, between cushions, in my car, in drawers, and shoved back into that poor cardboard crayon box.

So what did we do with those broken crayons?

We tore off the paper..

broke the crayons into smaller pieces, but not too small. I would say about a half an inch to an inch...

tried to group the crayons by like colors into a muffin tin. As you can see, that didn't go so well!

Then we put the crayons into a 400 degree preheated oven until melted. Result? Wala, big colorful crayons! But before you make these I have a tip for you that is very important. Leave the pan in the oven until cooled. If you try to remove it the colors will mix, resulting in a brown crayon. Not pretty!

The kids thought these were the coolest! They colored and colored and colored to their hearts content! That is until the three year old decided they were all hers, and she shoved them into her clothes while running away! Gotta love that girl!

Stay tuned for tomorrow. My camera is going to follow me so I can show you what we do in a day! That should be fun!

What's Cookin'

I kinda forget about menu planning this week, so that is why the lack of a menu. So instead, everyday I have to figure out what to make with what I have on hand, which is no easy task. I don't have that special gift of knowing what kind of foods to put together to make a great meal. I need a recipe to work with, and if I am lucky like I was tonight, I will find one that I can make without going to the grocery store. So, here is what I made that is always a great vegetarian dinner. That is if you already have your Chinese food essentials!

Chinese Fried Rice

Makes about 8 main dish servings

2 cups water
4 cups rice ( I used brown jasmine rice)
3 T peanut oil, divided
4 eggs beaten
2-3 cups veggies (whatever you have on hand. Carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms, bean sprouts, get the picture!)
4 green onions, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic (we love garlic, so more is best!)
1/4 t crushed dried chili
4T soy sauce ( I use Tamari. I find it has a better flavor)
4T rice vinegar

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add uncooked rice, return to the boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, allowing 15 minutes for long grain white rice, and 35 minutes for brown rice.

Heat 2 T oil in a wok or frying pan. Add beaten egg and cook, without stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until set. Invert pan to remove egg; cut into strips. Set aside.

Add 2 T oil to the same pan and stir-fry your veggies until crisp-tender. Keep in mind that some vegetables cook faster than others. So, for example, your carrots will cook for a few minutes then add your broccoli. Remove from wok.

Add remaining oil; stir-fry green onion, garlic, and crushed dried chili for 30 seconds. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes more. Return egg strips and veggies to wok; add soy sauce and vinegar. Cover and cook for 2 minutes more, or until heated through. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

Three years ago I brought a precious girl into the world. When she was born we knew she had her own way of doing things. She pooped in utero, pooped all over the nurses, and still weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces. She was my biggest baby, with her chubby little legs, and angelic face. She was perfect!

Through the years we noticed her strong willed ways, and even said she took after her Aunt. She is smart, super funny, extremely strong, and knows how to run this whole household including her 10 year old sister!

This is my three year old! She is growing up, can talk all day long, and has finally found her imagination. I don't know what I did to receive such a blessing, but I sure am happy about it! She completes our family to the fullest degree!

Happy birthday Angel, we all love you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Post List Post

OK, so I didn't get everything done, but I did manage to get through lessons without any tears! Score one on the happy meter! As you all know, this is the first year going independent, and I was expecting some resistance from the kiddos. Instead I got smiles, and was told they were actually having fun! I know there will be bumps in the road, so I am going to ride this wave with a big grin while it lasts!

I am having some issues with what to do about history and science. Should I do unit studies, use a curriculum, lap books? I just don't know. I would really like to do these subjects with both children at the same time, so I don't think a curriculum would work unless I buy a book somewhere in the middle. Any advice?

Here is my to-do list from yesterday. What I did is in bold. I am happy to report that the list is almost done!

-Scour Kitchen- Yep, the kitchen is begging to have a good cleaning.
-Make Focaccia bread
-Make sandwich bread
-Make pizza dough
-Water flowers
-Wash bathtubs, and showers
-Do a load of whites
-Clean the 5 yr olds room
-Hang pictures
-Start writing lesson plans
-Dance class tonight!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My To-do List For Today

I thought it would be fun to post all that I need to do today, and then some. Whether or not it all gets done depends on my coffee intake, and the kids co-operation!

-Scour Kitchen
-Make Focaccia bread
-Make sandwich bread
-Make pizza dough
-Water flowers
-Wash bathtubs, and showers
-Do a load of whites
-Clean the 5 yr olds room
-Hang pictures
-Start writing lesson plans
-Dance class tonight!!

And there you have it. Doesn't seem like too much, so hopefully it will all get done. I am down to one bread machine at the moment, so the sandwich bread may have to wait until tomorrow. Focaccia trumps the regular bread in my house! That bread is divine!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I am back on the menu planning wagon now that school will be back in session. I have been the laziest, unmotivated mother this summer, and it has been great!! Absolutely fantastic! If I could extend our summer vacation another month I would, but the kids are begging for structure, and so I must willingly respond. When the kids say they need to do lessons, then their little brains must really be feigning for it.

So, for this week I am going to be getting out the dusty home management binder, tweak a few schedules, and begin menu planning. So, without further ado, here is the first plan for the week:

Monday: Homemade Tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, watermelon

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza (crust recipe to be posted soon) with all the fixings, breadsticks

Wednesday: Vegetarian Chili, cornbread

Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Refried Beans

Friday: Chipotle Bean Burritos, Salsa

Saturday: Leftover night with a salad

Sunday: Fried Rice with a whole lot of vegetables

So, there you have it! I am going easy this week, and utilizing all my mechanical servants to make my job easier. Gotta love it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Bread Recipe....I am excited!

If there is one thing you must know about me, it is that I love to bake pretty much anything. I don't think I have ever baked something and not enjoyed it. The process is a blast, but the actual baking part is what does me in. The enticing smells coming from the kitchen is enough to make my heart sing! A house feels so homey when there is the smell of cookies in the air.

For a couple years I have baked bread using my bread machine, and have tried a ton of different recipes. Some were good, others just OK. I have never been floored from a great sandwich bread recipe, but I would love to experience it! I happened upon a blog that posted the "Perfect Sandwich Bread" recipe that combines ingredients that I have never done before, so I am hoping this will be perfect for my family. It is rising in the bread machine as we speak, and when it is done, I will let you all know how it went. Keep your fingers crossed!

Here is the recipe. It does look perfect, doesn't it? Click on the link to view the blog, and if you like it, make sure you leave her a comment!

Perfect Sandwich Bread

1 cup lukewarm water
1 TB milk
2 TB oil (vegetable, olive, all works fine)
2 TB honey
2 TB brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp yeast

Put all ingredients into a bread machine in the order according to your manufacturer's instructions (the above list is how I add mine).
Set your machine to the Dough cycle (my machine takes 90 minutes).
After the cycle is complete, remove the dough and place it into a well-greased loaf pan.
Brush the top with a small amount of oil (optional, but gives the bread a nice shine & crust).
Cover the pan with a dish towel and place in a warm spot of your kitchen. (I put mine in an oven that I preheated to 200 degrees, then turned off).
Let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes.
Remove the towel and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Going Independent....Homeschool that is!

We are homeschooling independent, and one thing I can say is it's very scary! The thought of being on my own, and not having a teacher to be accountable to is daunting. It was easy when we used a charter school, with the free materials and extra help, but it was time.....I guess. They sent my 5yr. old a letter of expulsion for not progressing in phonics (pretty ridiculous, I know), and that was the last straw. However, when I hear my friends getting all their brown boxes, and opening up their new books, I get a little sad. I have a thing for the brown boxes! I actually had my husband send them back because I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. I know myself well!

Since our decision I have been looking, and looking for curriculum to use for my 5th and 1st grader. All the choices are super overwhelming! I wonder how anyone can choose a single book to buy when there are so many others that are just as good. We have finally narrowed it down to Abeka, or Rod & Staff. Abeka has a flashy, colorful look that I like, but my husband likes the look of R&S and thinks it will work better for our girls, so that my be just the one for us. It's also the cheapest I have found. The thing I particularly like about the R&S books is it has a retro look to it, which I know my oldest daughter will appreciate. I think this is how they keep their prices so low, but that is only a guess. Hopefully we will be ordering soon, and I can post pictures of the happy little faces and their new books! The girls have been asking (more like begging) to do lessons, so they will be very excited! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Well, obviously maintaining a blog is way too time consuming for me. I have done so much in the last 8 months that it would be too hard to write it all down. I have canned fruit, made home-made noodles, started a dance class...or two...or three, loved many, and laughed a whole bunch!!

I have been thinking a lot about blogging lately, so I will write as often as possible. We are homeschooling independently this year, so there will be a whole lot to blog about. I have some fun ideas for field trips that I will love to share with you when the time comes.