Sunday, February 28, 2010
This is a great recipe to throw in the crockpot in the morning - it really only takes a few minutes. I don't thaw the chicken before I put it in the crockpot - I just put frozen boneless chicken breasts right in. I usually double the recipe and use my largest crockpot.
Homestyle Chicken and Noodles
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 oz. each)
14 1/2 oz. can chicken broth
16 ounce package wide egg noodles, cooked
Place chicken in slow cooker; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with both cans of soup. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours (or high setting for 4 hours), or until chicken falls apart. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred.
Return chicken to slow cooker; add broth and cooked noodles. Mix well. Cover and cook on low setting for an additional 30 minutes, or until heated through. Serves 6.
- Avatar (*****)
- The Remains of the Day (*****)
- The Christmas Cottage (***)
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (***)
- A Beautiful Mind (*****)
- Boston Legal Season 1 (*****)
- Jason and the Argonauts (Hallmark Entertainment) (***)
- Star Trek (2009) (****)
- A Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman (**)
- Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (***)
- The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey by Rosemary Sutcliff (***)
Friday, February 26, 2010
In the midst of a busy week where I hav been behind in most things, we still needed to go grocery shopping. My wonderful husband always does our Aldi shopping, which means I only have to go to a different grocery store every few weeks (for those items you just can't purchase at Aldi). The fact that Kevin goes to Aldi and purchases vast quantities of food, in and of itself, elevates him to Scottish Warrior in a Plaid Kilt status in my eyes.
Yesterday, he even surpassed his usual level of wonderfulness. Perhaps sensing my stress level (or perhaps I haven't really tried to hide my stress level) he arrived home from Aldi bearing not only vast quantities of food but flowers from Aldi.
The flowers are beautiful and remind me of just how much I'm blessed to have such a great husband.
I actually prefer these flowers to even a luxurious, expensive delivery of long-stemmed red roses. To me, the flowers symbolize all of the very real ways that my husband, even though is is extremely busy with work, helps keep our home running along smoothly. I am definitely a blessed woman.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Hopefully, we will have lots of clear nights over the course of our study where the moon is easily visible. Just in case there are nights where we can't clearly see the moon, I wanted a back-up plan. After a bit of searching, I found this great site with a Moon Phase Calculator. I printed out a copy for February and March and put them in a page protector. Now, we have a resource to help us track the phases of the moon on those cloudy nights when the moon is difficult to see.
Friday, February 19, 2010
An example of a paper bag book can be seen above and below. My daughter completed this particular book during her 4th grade English class as a way to publish her personal narrative essay. She chose to write about her experience purchasing her hamster.
Making a paper bag book is very easy and very inexpensive. One of the aspects of paper bag books that I enjoy is that it is very easy to make different sized books - just use different sized paper bags. The above book is about 8" by 8" but we have also made books with smaller bags. One can also easily find white bags or bags in different colors at craft stores. I have included links below to simple instructions for making paper bag books.
- http://www.making-mini-scrapbooks.com/index.html (This link is an absolute treasure trove of adorable and interesting book making ideas. I think they are useful both for publishing purposes and for scrapbooking!)
Thursday, February 18, 2010
As I was trying to decide between four programs that I would like to attend all offered at the same time, I thought how much easier it would be if there was only one good choice for me during each time slot. So, for example, if I only had to choose between the following topics, it would be so easy...
- Keeping Free Range Poisonous Snakes in Your Home - Educational...But Dangerous
- You CAN be SuperMom - You Just Need to Work Harder and Sleep Much, Much, Much Less
- How to Eliminate Creativity in Your Children
- Spelling and the Brain! Andrew Pudewa
- Homeschool Burnout?, Just Quit - It Doesn't Matter Anyway!
- Reading is Overrated - Just Watch TV
It would be so easy to choose Spelling and the Brain! with Andrew Pudewa because it would be the only good choice in a list of bad choices.
But, like most of the everyday choices I need to make regarding my time - I have to choose between good things. As soon as I finish this blog post, I have a block of time to fill. My husband took the kids to swim team and they won't be back for two hours. Do I tackle the mountain of clean clothes that need put away? Do I get the grading done from today's schoolwork? Do I do some cooking in the kitchen to get a head start for tomorrow? Do I work on an ongoing bigger project? Do I use the time to prep for our next unit study?
See, all of those choices are good things. All of those choices would bless my family in one way or another. All of them would be in line with my responsibilities here at home. Choosing between good things is hard.
So, how do you choose between all of the good things in your life that vie for your time and attention? By the way, I'm going to tackle the laundry because it is REALLY out of hand and then the grading...
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
- DVD - The History Channel Presents: Last Stand of the 300, The Legendary Battle at Thermopylae (My FAVORITE video - excellent to watch with an older child.)
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: The Labor of Heracles
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: The Journeys of Odysseus
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: Defying the Gods
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: Nature Myths
- DVD - Greek Mythololgy for Students: The Trojan War
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: Theseus & the Minotaur
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: The Gods of Olympus
- DVD - Discovery Education Ancient Greece
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: Perseus & Medusa
- DVD - Greek Mythology for Students: Constellation Myths
- DVD - Clearvue & SVE History Alive for Students Living in Ancient Greece (very just OK)
- DVD - Ancient Civilizations for Children - Ancient Aegean
- DVD - Beyond the Movie: Troy (Excellent to watch with an older child)
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (movie)
- You Wouldn't Want to Be a Slave in Ancient Greece! A Life You'd Rather Not Have by Fiona Macdonald
- You Wouldn't Want to Be a Greek Athlete! Races You'd Rather Not Run by Michael Ford
- Olympia: Warrior Athletes of Ancient Greece by David Kennett
- Usborne Beginners Ancient Greeks
- Percy Jackson & The Olympians Book One, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
- Percy Jackson & The Olympians Book Two, The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
- Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad by Rosemary Sutcliff
- The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey by Rosemary Sutcliff
- Magic Tree House #16, Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
- Magic Tree House Research Guide #10: Ancient Greece and the Olympics: A Nonfiction Companion to Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne, Natalie Pope Boyce, and Sal Murdocca
- Usborne Internet-Linked Greeks
- D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
- D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Student Guide by Cheryl Lowe and Leigh Lowe
- The Nature Company Discoveries Library Ancient Greece
- Eyewitness Reader Trojan Horse: The World's Greatest Adventure by David Clement-Davies
- The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky
- D'Aulaires' Greek Myths Teacher Guide by Cheryl Lowe and Leigh Lowe
- History Pockets Ancient Greece
- Literature Pockets Aesop's Fables
- Hands of a Child Ancient Greece Project Pack
- Hands & Hearts Ancient Greece and Rome Discovery Kit
- Color and Learn Ancient Greece (Edupress)
Monday, February 15, 2010
Molly's Money Saving Digest, January 2010 Edition included many delightful articles including:
- An excellent tutorial on making pie crusts and pies filled with beautiful pictures, recipes, and handy tips. (I particularly liked the idea of making and freezing pie crusts.)
- A list of items typically on sale in January and a list of special dates
- 5 forms for a household management binder (month-at-a-glance calendar, daily to-do list, a form for tracking expenses, budget planning form, clothing inventory). Throughout 2010, more forms useful for a household management binder will be included in the monthly editions.
- Two lovely ideas for displaying scripture in one's home
- 5 dinner meal plans with a complete shopping list
- Instructions for a children's craft - making a piggy bank
- Tutorial on opening a checking account complete with a check register and checks for a young person
- Ideas for picture and jewelry storage
- An article about evaluating, prioritizing, and organizing your time, money, and stuff
- A directory of all hot links is included at the end
I plan to use one of the ideas for displaying scripture to creatively frame a picture of my children that I took in the woods years ago. While the ideas were wonderful to use for displaying scripture, they were equally as useful for displaying photographs or other art around your home in a frugal fashion.
Interestingly, my review process of this money-saving e-book started with my own money-saving revelation. The e-book is lovely and filled with great pictures. But, at over 50 pages, I shuddered to think of the ink and paper involved in printing it out. Instead, I downloaded the book to my laptop and curled up in bed with my laptop and read the magazine! I have actually often shied away from purchasing e-books due to the cost of printing them out but downloading the book to my laptop worked perfectly. Reading e-books on a computer rather than printing them:
- Saves BIG on ink costs if you use an ink-jet printer
- Saves paper
- Creates less clutter
Also, Molly's Money Saving Digest includes hotlinks throughout the e-book. It was great to just click on the links and follow them as my interest led me.
I really enjoyed reading Molly's Money Saving Digest and will most likely purchase another monthly digest in the future. The monthly e-books are currently $4.95 and can be purchased at The Old Schoolhouse Store.
As well, the Econobusters website is filled with useful articles. After enjoying the e-book so much, I visited the Econobusters website and signed up for blog updates and a free e-newsletter. As a gift for signing up for the newsletter, I received a free Menu Planning E-book.
This review was written as part of the audition process of becoming a TOS Crew member. Molly's Money Saving Digest, January 2010 Edition was provided to me free of charge but no other compensation has been or will be given to me as a result of my review. The review contains my own opinions and experiences with the product. Your opinions and experiences may vary.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Before the individual lessons are presented, there is quite a bit of information included at the beginning of the book that I found helpful. The different parts of the curriculum are clearly explained, including how to use the program with children of different ages. There are also several pages that show how to make different kinds of mini-books.....
The detailed curriculum review that I wrote about "Great Science Adventures - The Human Body and Senses" has been posted at Curriculum Choice today. Please head on over to the Curriulum Choice to read more.
Friday, February 12, 2010
We had a few hands-on highlights this week. My children all did an excellent job drawing examples of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. All three of them became engrossed in the assignment and concentrated on doing a careful drawing of the columns.
After reading about Ancient Greek plays, each of the children made their own mask. Again, this was a very simple assignment that the children all concentrated upon and tried to do a great job. For the assignment, they were given a cardboard cake circle and they were allowed to use whichever art supplies they would like.
I particularly liked my daughter's creative use of crepe paper to make roses for her mask's hair. Other hands-on fun over the past two weeks included a media exploration art project in which my children made their own handmade stamps.
We didn't have an art lesson today because I took my older two children on a field trip to see "The Lightning Thief." The movie fit in perfectly with our study of Ancient Greek Mythology! Even though the movie didn't follow the book closely, we all enjoyed it tremendously. The special effects were especially well-done.
We have started a few new things over the past two weeks. In preparation for the standardized tests my children will take at the end of April, each of them is working through a Spectrum Test Prep book for their grade level. Needless to say, nobody is thrilled about the addition to their workload but nobody is complaining about it either. We do find the practice useful to develop efficient test-taking strategies.
As well, I have added another Spanish curriculum to my oldest daughter's study of Spanish. We have been using Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish Level 1. While we do think the program is excellent, we both reached a point where we found ourselves quite confused about the proper conjugation of the verbs we were learning. As well, neither one of us was happy with our level of retention. So, we've slowed down and are focusing on understanding less content better. We are using The Easy Spanish and spending two weeks on each lesson. Right now, I am unsure if we will start Rosetta Stone again from the beginning with a better understanding of basic verb conjugation or just continue to move forward slowly. If anybody has experience with using Rosetta Stone, I would love to hear about your experience.
With my children's swim team schedule, they often do not have much free time during the week. One day this week, we finished with time to spare before swim team. I am always amazed at how quickly my children find fun things to do to fill any spare time that they have. I was happy to see Duncan playing a Veggie Tales computer game that he hasn't played in a very long time.With a bit of extra time before swim team, Amber immediately camped in front of the fireplace with her iPod and knitting. She was just finishing a new hat for herself. I wanted to snap a picture of her in her lovely new handmade hat but... she wasn't at all cooperative!
That was our past two weeks in review! If you would like to read about what other homeschoolers have been doing, check out the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. As well, if you are interested in entering my drawing for a free license to use SpellQuizzer, you have until midnight tonight to enter the drawing.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
After using SpellQuizzer, I have to admit that I would have thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread if I had not already discovered SpellingCity a few months ago. SpellQuizzer was very easy for me to use. I was able to record my sons' spelling lists for the week, complete with sentences to go along with each word, in about 10 minutes. Then, from that point forward, I was free from the time-consuming task of reading spelling lists to my boys for practice and testing purposes. We use Spelling Workout which consists of a pre-test and end of the week test. I also like to quiz my children over their spelling words mid-week so SpellQuizzer did the work of giving 6 spelling tests/reviews with my boys over the week!
For me, though, I am already used to using SpellingCity and I don't have to record the spelling lists there, so it was a bit more work for me to record my own lists. Dan, from SpellQuizzer, very politely pointed out three advantages of his product over SpellingCity:
- While SpellingCity requires that a child be on the internet to use the program, SpellQuizzer is installed on one's computer so no live internet connection is needed to actually use the program on the child's part. With concerns about internet safety, I think this is an important consideration.
- SpellingCity is limited in the spelling words that are recorded and available to use. While I have had no problems when using the spelling lists from Spelling Workout, there were a large number of words from the spelling list I made up for my daughter from "A Christmas Carol" that were not included on their database. So, if you regularly create your own spelling lists from the literature that your children are reading, SpellingCity may not be particularly useful. You can also use SpellQuizzer to quiz other facts - you are limited only by what you can type in and record.
- Once you purchase SpellQuizzer, it is yours to use indefinitely. SpellingCity may become a service that is not free or might cease to exist.
I found a few advantages of SpellQuizzer over SpellingCity while using it in our homeschool.
- When a child misses a word from their spelling list on SpellQuizzer, the correct spelling is given immediately after missing the word. At the end, the child can try only the words he or she has missed again.
- The program is SO easy to use! My youngest sometimes struggles getting to the correct list on SpellingCity but SpellQuizzer was easier for him to use.
- I could make up funny sentences and include my children's names in the sentences.
- SpellQuizzer is quite versatile. I can use this product to quiz my children on other facts, other than just their spelling lists. For example, I could record, "What city in Ancient Greece is know as the birthplace of democracy?" My child would type in - Athens.
Overall, I would recommend SpellQuizzer as a useful product for homeschooling parents. You can try SpellQuizzer free for 30 days by visiting SpellQuizzer's website and downloading the free trial.
Dan has generously agreed to give away one free license to use SpellQuizzer. If you would like to enter the drawing for a free license to SpellQuizzer, please leave a comment letting me know you would like to be entered in the drawing. This contest will run until 11:59 PM (EST) Friday night. At that time, I will use a random number generator to pick one of the comments and send the contact information directly to Dan. Dan will contact the winner with the information she needs to download her free license to use SpellQuizzer.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
“What grade is your daughter in?”
“She’s in 7th grade now.”
“Where does she go to school?”
“Actually, I homeschool my children.”
“That’s great, wow! Oh, I could NEVER homeschool my kids. You must be so… insert word of choice – patient, organized, energetic“ (This statement is said with a mixture of wonder, amazement, and outright horror passing over the mother’s face).....
To read the rest of this article, please join me at The Homeschool Classroom where I am writing today.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
During our unit studies, I try to incorporate as many academic subjects as I can into our daily lessons. I also try to include lots of hands-on projects. While my children enjoy most of our hands-on projects, some are definitely enjoyed more than others. Sometimes, the projects that my children really "get into" and enjoy surprise me.
Yesterday, they completed an Ancient Greek columns drawing activity after we talked about different styles of columns. Using a drawing guide from the Hands and Hearts Ancient Greece and Rome Hands-on-History kit, all three of my children concentrated on their drawings and were pleased with their results. They used a charcoal pencil for the outlines and charcoal sticks to blend the sides and make them look more rounded.
All of their drawings turned out very well, and hopefully, they will be able to identify different kinds of Greek columns when they see them incorporated into the architecture of buildings.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I didn't have the styrofoam wrapping material that was used in the art lesson to make the prints, so I used Fun Foam instead. The Fun Foam worked quite well! Each of my children made two stamps to use in their painting. They drew the shape on the Fun Foam first and then carefully cut it out. Then the stamp was glued to a small piece of cardboard for easy printing.My oldest, Amber, was particularly pleased with the way her crab stamp turned out!After the stamps were all ready, the children were free to choose the color palette for their pictures. Rather than dip the stamps in paint, the children painted the stamps and then carefully pressed them to their paintings.My youngest child really enjoyed this lesson primarily for the sheer pleasure of making the prints on the paper. He made a fish and a rock for his stamps.My middle child, Mason, first stamped a puzzle background on his entire paper. He chose to do a desert scene and created stamps of cacti and a baked chicken. I didn't get it at first, but it's so hot the chicken just cooked in the sky. I thought it was pretty creative.Lastly, my oldest daughter, who is always thinking of the water, created an underwater scene in her painting. My daughter was so pleased with her crab stamp, she created another picture with the stamp over the week-end.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Casey was a delight with which to work. She was unbelievably fast in designing my new look and willing to work with me on the tiny details. I also think her prices are more than competitive with other blog designers.
In addition to the great new look, Casey also added a navigation bar for me. Hopefully, this tool will help you to find content you would like to read more easily on my blog.
I am in the process of slowly going through all of my posts to make sure that they are linked up to the navigation bar if they should be. As well, she added a page about me (About) and a page which will list in detail the curriculum we are using each school year (Curriculum). Both of those pages are currently under construction by me.
Thanks again to my husband and Casey at Hot Bliggity Blog!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
When my oldest was in 4th grade, we completed a Tall Tales unit study. I used Evan-Moor Literature Pockets Tall Tales as the primary component for the study. At the end of the unit, Amber had to write her own tall tale. Her story was delightful and I thought it would be fun to publish her tall tale as a truly tall tale. I cut a piece of poster board into strips, typed the story she had handwritten, and glued the papers to the poster board. She added illustrations throughout the story. Lastly, we folded the tall tale up like an accordion for easy storage in her "Books by Amber" box.
Her completed project used to be taller than her when she was in 4th grade! Now she's taller than her tall tale and me!
Another source of inspiration for publishing student writing can be found in a lovely company, Bare Books. Bare Books sells very reasonably priced hard cover blank books that are perfect for publishing student writing. They also sell blank game boards which my daughter has used to make a Middle Ages game and a Germs game. Below is the "There Was a Sad Peasant Who Swallowed a Pheasant" book that Amber created as part of our Middle Ages unit last school year.
Monday, February 1, 2010
We ate one and I put one in the freezer. I used the ham cubes which were left from the ham we had for Christmas.
- Sunday - Baby Back Barbecued Spareribs in the Crockpot, Cheesy Potatoes, and Baked Beans. The ribs were incredible. I almost took a picture of the pile of bones that were left after my family finished devouring them. This was the first time I made the recipe and I will definitely make them again. I put the spice rub on the ribs the night before and I think that helped to make the ribs even more flavorful.
- Monday - Taco bar for early lunch, Ham and bean soup (I have this all prepared in the crockpot. I just need to get it out of the fridge and turn on the crockpot in the morning. I'm using the bone from our Christmas ham.)
- Tuesday - Chicken Tetrazzini
- Wednesday - Manwich, chicken nuggets, and fries
- Thursday - Homestyle chicken and noodles in the crockpot
- Friday - Broccoli cheddar casserole and frozen pizza
- Saturday - Steaks, baked potatoes, salad
Lastly, I made a tray of these yummy treats over the weekend. Note that I couldn't even get a picture of a full tray of treats before somebody snagged some!
These are super quick to make and are so yummy! One of my daughter's friends brought these to swim team over the summer and she was kind enough to give me the recipe.
2/3 cup Karo syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 1/2 cup Cheerios toasted cereal (I used the Aldi brand.)
1. Mix Karo syrup and brown sugar together in heavy pan and cook until it bubbles. I used a medium-high heat and stirred constantly.
2. Take off heat and add peanut butter and stir well. Add Cheerios and stir well.
3. Put in buttered 9 x 13 pan and press down really hard so they won't fall apart when you cut them. You can put them in the fridge to harden quickly or just let them sit on the counter to cool and harden.