*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Menu Plan Week of December 26, 2010

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know.  This is a few days late; however, with the holidays, it’s taken me a while to figure out our meals for the week.  We’re also trying to revamp our eating with the New Year, so I’m trying to take all of that into consideration.  Here’s what’s cooking this week at our house:
Sunday – YOYO
Monday – Date Night
Tuesday – Parmesan Chicken Tenders, Steamed Veggies, and Homemade Bread (this will be my first attempt with the new bread machine Brian bought me for Christmas)
Wednesday – Frikadellen with Gravy, Pasta & Vegetable Medley
Thursday – Sauteed Chicken with Rice & Vegetable Medley
Friday – YOYO
Saturday – Spaghetti and Meatballs, Steamed Veggies, Homemade Bread
What’s cooking at YOUR house this week?  Any changes for the New Year?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The BEST Sugar Cookie Ever…

I do not pride myself on being a baker at ALL!  In fact, it’s just not something I really enjoy.  Cooking…yes, I enjoy it.  But baking…just not my thing.  However, I think I’ve found my “go to” recipe now for cookies.  When we were in VA for Thanksgiving, we dropped by to visit with the Price Family (Dave Price is Brian’s best friend, and his folks live down the road from Brian’s folks).  So, it’s always a nice treat to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Price, Tom, Cindy, Dave, Wendy, the kids, and all the other friends who drop by for a visit.  Well, Mrs. Price had made these sugar cookies, and she gave us the recipe.  It was actually a recipe she got out of the paper for prize-winning cookies.  Brian being Brian…he lost it.  But luckily, Tom was there to save the day…I sent him a FB (Facebook for those that don’t know that lingo) message asking for the recipe.  He obliged, and today was the day I got to baking these lovely treats.  Here’s the recipe, and a few pictures just to tempt you into baking them yourselves!
Mrs. Price’s Sugar Cookies 2 eggs
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp almond extract (I use 2, and yes, that IS tablespoons)
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup powdered sugar (plus more for rolling cookies in later)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 cups flour
Mix wet ingredients together, and then mix in dry ingredients (in increments to avoid overloading the mixer and blowing flour everywhere).  Chill for about an hour.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Form the dough into balls (I used the smallest scoop from The Pampered Chef) and roll into powdered sugar.  Press with a glass and bake for 12 minutes (I had to bake for 16 minutes because I bake on Pampered Chef Stoneware).  This will yield about 6 dozen or MORE cookies. 
Now, we didn’t decorate ours, but you can.  I think they’re yummy just as they are.  The almond extract is the key, and it’s almost like a shortbread.  Let me know if  you give it a whirl…your family is sure to love them!
Tomorrow we’ll make some Peanut Butter Blossoms, and that’s about all the baking I’ll do.  Now, that one I can’t take any credit for.  I just use the roll of Peanut Butter cookie dough and follow the directions on it.  LOL!  They’re still yummy!
What are YOU baking this Christmas?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Menu Plan Week of December 19, 2010

With Christmas coming up on Saturday, our menu looks pretty scarce.  I’m hosting Christmas dinner for my family, so I don’t want to overload the fridge with too many extra leftovers.  With all of that said, here’s what’s cooking at our house this week:
Sunday – Taco Fiesta Soup (this freezes well, so I LOVE to make it several times each winter)
Monday – Kielbasa Vegetable Saute’ with Noodles and Gravy
Tuesday – Homemade Beef Chimichangas (these freeze well, too, so they are a GREAT meal to make and freeze for YOYO nights)
Wednesday – YOYO
Thursday – Appetizer Night with The Zepp Family
Friday – YOYO
Saturday – Christmas Day Dinner – ham, turkey, dressing w/gravy,  macaroni ‘n cheese, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, English peas, deviled eggs, congealed salad, cranberry sauce (whole berry and jellied), and crescent rolls, brownies, and cheesecake.  ***I’m responsible for the bold items***
What’s on YOUR menu this week?  Are you hosting Christmas this year?  What’s on the menu?
We’ll also be doing a bit of baking this week.  I know we’ll make more peanut butter blossoms, and we may attempt sugar cookies again (last year’s didn’t turn out very well).  With all of the apples still left in the fridge, we may try to make something using those…we’ll see!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Second Grade Weeks 27 & 28 in Review

We are DONE with schooling for 2010!  I’m so glad that we got all of our work done, and that we can take a break before starting back up in January.  Here’s how the past two weeks (really just 6 days of lessons) went for us:
Science – We learned more about plants by discussing the importance of the leaves.
Social Studies – In Geography, we learned the location of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  In Social Studies we discussed America’s Pioneers.  We talked about Daniel Boone and the life of the pioneers.
Health – We talked about being thoughtful.  Caleb was re-introduced to The Golden Rule!
Reading – We read the following book:
Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully
English – Caleb finished up his friendly letter, and we finished the chapter by doing the review and chapter test.
Math – We discussed subtraction by 4 and 3 or adding up by 6 and 7.  Caleb took his Unit Test and scored 100%.  He also took his Alpha Final Test and scored 100%.  We finished up math by reviewing the clock.  We’ll start Beta when we start back in January.
I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season!  May your holidays be filled with lots of love, laughter, health, and happiness!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

German Frikadellen

Being as Brian has German heritage, I like to try to incorporate some of the German traditions and foods into our lives.  Well, we’ve been married for 10+ years, and he’s made Fridadellen a couple times, but I’ve never ventured to make it.  However, I wanted to try.  So, when he gave me the recipe, I was set.
Believe it or not, it was very tasty.  We all enjoyed it, and I know it will now be a staple in our house.  In fact, I think I quite prefer it to my Italian meatballs.  Here’s the recipe I used in case you’re willing to give it a shot:
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (plus more to roll the patties in)
1 egg
dash of Grill Mates hamburger seasoning
salt and pepper
oil (I used Canola; however, I will use Olive Oil next time…we were out)
Saute the onion in oil until it is translucent (I sprinkled it with salt/pepper while it was cooking).  Meanwhile, add the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and seasoning to a large bowl.  Once the onion has cooled, add it to the meat mixture and mix it all together well.  Form patties in the shape of your liking (traditionally, they are oval and oblong I think) and then roll them in breadcrumbs to coat.
Heat up some oil in a large skillet (medium heat is probably best) and cook the patties until they are brown on each side.  You may either continue to cook them in the skillet until they are no longer pink or pop them in a 350-degree oven until they are cooked through (it was about 10 minutes for mine).  ***I had to transfer mine to the oven to finish cooking through because otherwise they would have burnt to a crisp in the skillet***
Now, Brian says the proper way to eat them is with lemon and ketchup; however, I much prefer gravy.  So, I served it with gravy, egg noodles, and some steamed veggies.  He still ate his with lemon and ketchup!  Smile
Let me know if you try it and what you think.  And Omi – let me know if I need to make any changes to the recipe.  I did the best I could…LOL!

Second Grade Week 26 in Review

Thankfully, we’re getting our school work knocked out.  Here’s how week 26 went for us:
Social Studies – In Geography, we just reviewed the location of all the states we’ve learned thus far.  In Social Studies, we finished discussing The Colonists.  We learned about how they wanted their freedom from England, and they were willing to die and fight for it.
Science – We learned about flowers of the field.
Health – We discussed the importance of respecting your flag and HOW to respect the flag.
Math – We worked on subtraction by 5 or adding up by 5.  Caleb is finally grasping this subtraction, and that’s making things go a lot smoother.
English – We started a writing chapter where we will work on writing a friendly letter.  We discussed addressing an envelope, the parts of a letter, and the reasons for a letter.  Caleb began planning his letter, and we’ll continue to work on it.
Reading – We read the following books:
Caterpillars on the Move by Abby Klein
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
”Do You Know About Whales?” by Evan-Moor
The Case of Hermie the Missing Hamster by James Preller

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Program Gone Awry…

Micah’s preschool had their Christmas program yesterday, and we were all so excited to see him perform.  However, we had no idea how he would do.  Well, he followed in his brother’s footsteps and eventually freaked out.  LOL!
When he came into the sanctuary, I knew something was wrong.  He was supposed to be wearing his Christmas shirt; however, he was still in his shirt I sent him in.  He also had his Mr. Piglet in tow (Mr. Piglet is his security, and he usually stays in the bookbag at school). 
He got in place on the stage, and he sat there with pig in hand and thumb in mouth most of the time.  I was busy trying to take pictures, and at some point he recognized that we were there.  That’s when he LOST it.  He started crying, “Mommy, Mommy.”  He was no longer interested in sitting there, and he continued to cry.  I kept asking Brian if we should ignore him or just go get him.  Mommy gut lead me to go get him so that his crying wouldn’t ruin the rest of the performance, so that’s what I did.  He was fine at that point, but he wanted nothing to do with the rest of the program. 
When it was all over and done, he was happy and content.  Oh well, we’ll try again next time.
***All of my pictures were dark, so I had to adjust them.  I have no idea what the problem was.  Sorry for the poor quality, but you’ll still get the idea.***

Micah walking into the sanctuaryIMG_6981
Sitting there in bewildermentIMG_6983
Biting his nails…IMG_6986
Trying to use the “jingle bells”, but not really interestedIMG_6990
Poor,pitiful boy…broke my heartIMG_6991
This is the shirt he should have been wearing…IMG_6992

Second Grade Week 25 in Review

Caleb and I are working hard to get all of our school work finished up so we can take a couple of weeks off and enjoy the holidays.  We’re hoping to be done at some point on Sunday.  He’s been doing two days of lessons each day, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.  Here’s how week 25 went for us:
Science – We discussed the world of plants by focusing on the parts of plants.
English – We finished up our chapter by discussing plural pronouns and possessive nouns.
Math – We learned subtraction by 6 or adding up by 4.
Reading – We read the following books:
The Yellow Yacht by Ron Roy
”Snowman” poem by Evan-Moor publishing
We’ve got 2 more days left, and then we’re done with week 26.  After that we’ve got 6 more days of lessons.  I’m really hoping we can stick to our plan and knock it all out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Silly Boys…

I was cleaning off my memory card for the camera, and I realized I hadn’t posted some pictures of our goofy boys.  So, without further ado, here are some pictures for your entertainment!  I’m sure they’ll bring a chuckle or two…

Caleb pushing Micah in his shopping cartIMG_6412
Our little clownIMG_6413
This is what we found one night as we tucked Caleb into bed…that’s his bear “Softy” holding his Nerf gun…LOL!IMG_6831
Micah, the “Huperhewo”IMG_6888
Look at him…he’s got powers!IMG_6889

Monday, December 13, 2010

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas…

Our house has been decorated for about two weeks now, and we’re enjoying all of the Christmas cheer.  I like to get our tree up before Thanksgiving so we can enjoy it longer; however, that didn’t happen this year.  Oh well…now that it’s up, we’ll enjoy it as long as we can. 
Even though our tree is artificial, it looks absolutely real.  I LOVE that, too.  It is my favorite tree, and we’ve actually bought it twice.  LOL!  We bought one when we moved into our house in 2005, and then we sold it when we thought we’d be moving to VA.  Once we decided NOT to move, I wanted the same tree…so we bought it again.  It’s a 7.5 foot Pre-Lit Glacier Pine Tree. 
Now, for those of you with pre-lit trees…what do you do when the lights stop working?  LOL!  I was having that conversation with a friend last week, and I have no idea what we’ll do.  Do you sit there and try to figure out which light needs replacing?  Do you spend hours replacing every single bulb?  Do you pull the strands of light off and re-wire it again with lights?  Hmmm…I honestly don’t know!  Maybe it’s time to do a Google search…
I have been playing with our mantle a lot this Christmas…but now I think I have it decorated just right.  We actually bought new decorations for the mantle this year, and I’m loving it.  We’ve also added a few other decorations, but nothing major.

Christmas treeIMG_6964
Left side of mantleIMG_6965
Right side of mantleIMG_6967
Center of mantle (This is behind the tree, so you can’t really see it.  However, it looked bare without anything, and you can see it from either side of the tree)IMG_6968
This is our “window” between the kitchen and living room…the garland was added this year as an extra touch.IMG_6970
Christmas plates on the rack in the breakfast area (where we eat EVERY meal…I change these plates out for every season, and I finally found these that are more “Christmas-y” at Pier 1).IMG_6972
Advent calendar that Caleb made at in his arts ‘n craft class at Co-OpIMG_6974
Nativity…my mom and I searched all over to find the right one, and I LOVE this one.  It goes with our color scheme so well, too.IMG_6977
Top of entertainment shelf…I bought the snowman plate either when I was pregnant with Micah or his first Christmas, and I think it represents our family of 4 quite well.IMG_6978
Wreaths on the doors to the gymIMG_6979
Boys’ tree in the playroom…they decorated it themselves, so there are lots of bare spots.  LOL!IMG_6982
So, are you all decorated for the holidays?  When will you take your tree down?  Do you go artificial or real?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

1st Annual HSCMGA Co-Op Christmas Party

The Co-Op we started back in the fall just celebrated it’s 1st annual Christmas party.  It was a good party, and I know that my boys both had a BLAST!  I’m thinking all of the other kiddos did, too!
The Coordinators (myself being one) tried to turn the lunchroom of the church into a Christmas wonderland.  We decorated a tree, hung some garland, bought a fireplace display, hung a wreath, and added some other decorations.  It all turned out so nice, and I think it added to the excitement of the party.
Each of the children had the opportunity to participate in an ornament exchange, complete a Christmas photo frame craft, and enjoy lots of yummy goodies.  In order to do the ornament exchange, we had an “ornament walk” – think cake walk, but only for ornaments.  I think the children all enjoyed it.
We’re very pleased with how the Fall session went, and the Christmas party was a GREAT end to a wonderful year.  We’re already making plans for the spring, and we’re hoping to have just as much fun!

Menu Plan Week of December 12, 2010

Here’s what’s on our menu this week:
Sunday – Beef Tenderloin, Jasmine Rice, and Steamed Veggies (I know…this has been on our menu for weeks, but I promise…it will be cooked TODAY)!
Monday – Steak Fajitas
Tuesday – Homemade 1/2 Ham/Pineapple and 1/2 Pepperoni/Peppers Pizza
Wednesday – German Frikadellen, Noodles, Gravy, and Steamed Veggies
Thursday – Tacos and Mexican Rice
Friday – YOYO
Saturday – Hopefully dinner out with friends and a night of looking at Christmas lights
So, what’s on your menu this week?  Are you stocking up to cook a big Christmas dinner or do you get a BREAK that day?  We’re hosting Christmas dinner for my family this year, so my mom and I are sharing the cooking responsibilities.  I’ll share more on that in a later post!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Second Grade Week 24 in Review

Week 24 wasn’t really a week I guess…it was only 2 days.  These being the two days that would have been our schooling before the Thanksgiving holiday.  However, we’re just now getting them done.  LOL!  Here’s how week 24 went for us:
English – We worked on pronouns, and Caleb learned how to use “I” and “me” properly.
Reading – We read the following book: 
Second Grade Pig Pals by Kirby Larson
Math – We worked on subtraction by 7 or adding by 3.  Caleb surprisingly grasped this week amazingly well…I don’t know what  made the “7’s” so different from all the rest.  LOL!  Oh well, at least he got it!
We’ve got about 3.5 more weeks of schooling before we’re done for 2010.  So, look for more posts soon!

Friday, December 10, 2010

St. Nikolaus

Did St. Nikolaus drop by your house on the eve of December 6th?  He came to our house.  The boys made sure to put some boots (they chose Daddy’s big snow boots) by the door in hopes that St. Nikolaus would leave them an indication of what to expect on Christmas.
Much to my surprise, they were each left goodies as opposed to nothing.  So, I guess that Jolly Ol’ Saint Nicholas will be visiting on Christmas Eve, too.  Smile  Darn…I thought we’d get off easy this year…I’m ONLY kidding!
St. Nikolaus is a German tradition, and we enjoy implementing it each year for the delight of the boys.  I hope it’s a tradition that they will carry on with their children. 

The boots filled up with goodiesIMG_6901
Micah with his goodiesIMG_6904
Micah enjoying his new Buzz Lightyear gunIMG_6905
Caleb with his goodiesIMG_6906
Caleb reading about his Cabela’s Big Game Hunter for the WiiIMG_6908

Second Grade Week 23 in Review

We finished up another week of schooling here at Childress Academy.  We’re still behind, but at this point, it’s okay.  As long as we get caught up by the time we start back in January, then I’m fine with being behind.  Here’s how this week went for us:
English:  This week we started working on another chapter in our English book.  We discussed capitalizing proper nouns, and we worked on abbreviations.
Social Studies:  This week in Geography, we learned the location of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa.  In social studies, we discussed school in colonial times.
Reading:  This week we read the following book:
The Dog That Pitched a No-Hitter by Matt Christopher
Math:  We worked on subtraction, the extras (7-3, 7-4, 8-3, 8-5).
Thanks for following our home school journey.  I know our updates aren’t that great at this point, but we’re doing the best we can.  I hope you all are continuing to have a great year!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looking For a Great Book to Read????

Are you looking for a great new book to read?  If so, then let me share a brand new book with you.  It’s called Wounded Spirits by April W. Gardner.



On the frontier, Adela McGirth’s life is simple, rugged, and exactly to her liking. Her greatest concern is whether to marry the settlement’s most eligible young officer. When a distant war among the Natives spills over into a nearby skirmish, life takes a perilous turn. Deep in enemy territory Adela must choose between the man she loves and a baby that has yet to be born; will she be strong enough to wait on God's provision?

A peace-loving yet loyal Creek warrior, Totka is forced to align with the extremist Red Stick faction whose purpose is to eradicate the Whites from Creek soil. In the midst of battle, Totka is assigned to protect those he is expected to hate--and kill. Life was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a quiet strength and dignity he cannot resist.

Having lived a life plagued with death and loss, Zachariah McGirth is a man on a mission - he'll have his revenge or die trying. Blinded by grief, he can't see his way clear of yet another tragedy. Why has God taken everything from him...or has He?

Their lives molded by the course of history, can these Wounded Spirits learn to rely on God's grace during one of the bloodiest conflicts in the South?

***April is my IRL and fellow home schooling friend, and here’s her bio:

April Gardner has been a military brat, missionary's kid, and military spouse. After 21 years in various countries overseas, April happily resides in Georgia with her USAF husband. A home school mom, she fills her mornings talking fractions and phonics with her two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

Librarian, reviewer, and avid reader, April adores anything books. She writes a weekly column for the joint blog, Reflections in Hindsight, and is the founder and senior editor of the website, Clash of the Titles.

This is April’s first novel.

April loves to hear from her readers at: aprilgardnerwrites@gmail.com

So, head on over to Amazon, and order her new book.  I can’t wait to read it myself, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!  Happy READING!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Menu Plan Week of December 5, 2010

I know it will probably seem as those my menus are starting to repeat themselves.  I promise they aren’t…but if you do see something that was just posted the week prior, then you know we didn’t get around to making it.  LOL!  Life always ends up throwing us a curveball or two each week, so we modify accordingly.  With all of that said, here’s what’s cooking at our house this week..
Sunday – YOYO (I have an Essential Oils training show)
Monday – Flounder, corn, broccoli
Tuesday – Homemade Pepperoni, Pineapple, and Mushroom Pizza
Wednesday – Parmesan Chicken Tenders, Broccoli & Rice Casserole
Thursday – Homemade Hamburger and Pepperoni Pizza
Friday – Beef Tenderloin, Jasmine Rice, and Steamed Veggies
Saturday – Hamburgers and Chips
What’s cooking at YOUR house this week?  Is your December as busy and crazy as mine?  I feel like someone adds an activity to my calendar on a daily basis; however, they aren’t telling me about it.  LOL!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mountain Getaway…

Well, I guess it’s better late than never time for me to finally post about the mountain getaway we took back in October.  We rented a cabin up in Ellijay, GA with the Barreto family.  Andre, Naomi, Ashton, and Ariana have become great friends of ours since we started home schooling.  The kids get along well most of the time, and the parents enjoy each other’s company as well. 
We enjoyed lots of fun times while up in the mountains.  The wildlife was neat for the boys…we saw wild turkeys, squirrels, deer, and scorpions.  The scorpions freaked us out, and we were NOT prepared for them at all.  Luckily, the kids stayed far away and no one got hurt.  The boys also spent lots of time catching and releasing trout.  We were able to pick and eat apples straight from the orchard, and we saw some HUGE pumpkins.  We hiked at Amicalola Falls, and it was beautiful.  The weekend was an enjoyable time for all of us, and we thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
Feel free to skip through all of these pictures…there will be LOTS!

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