Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homeschool: N is for Newspaper

I've been trying to plan our lessons with one week having lots of projects and activities and the next week being kind of light.  Since, apparently, lots of unexpected things seem to pop up in our life. N is our light week...a very light, two days.

N is for Newspaper.  I know what you're thinking.  Why the heck would you pick newspaper as your theme?  Honestly, I have no idea.  It was the picture on the Handwriting Without Tears workbook for N so I just kind of went with it.  When I started searching for newspaper crafts and activities I was actually surprised by what was out there.

So, this week we practiced writing the letter N, played with newspapers and ads, made collages out of newspaper clippings, and colored on newspaper. 

 The Ns aren't great but somebody wrote a pretty good P!

We, of course, have to draw on OU newspaper.

N worksheet can be found at

Next up...H.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Soup 'O the Week : Potato Soup

Potato Soup

1 medium potato for each member of your family, plus 1 extra
chicken broth, about a cup
milk, about 2-3 cups
butter, 1-2 tablespoons
sour cream
salt and pepper

Cut potatoes in to chunks and cook in water and chicken broth until soft.  While potatoes are cooking, cut bacon in to small pieces with kitchen shears and cook until crispy.  Save bacon grease.  Drain potatoes almost all the way and add some of the bacon grease, milk, butter, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until heated through and thickened.  Top with cheese, bacon, and sour cream.

I apologize for the picture quality.  We did not have a single AA battery in the house for my camera so I grabbed my iPhone real quick. 

Monday, October 24, 2011


I really wish I could perfect the foggy photo.  Here is my attempt from this morning.  By the time I found some batteries for my camera the fog had lifted a little.  Any tips are appreciated.

all things pumpkin

It's that time of year.  The time of year that everything we do and eat has to revolve around the great pumpkin.

Pumpkin Smoothies
adapted from Redhead Recipes

1 banana
1/2 can pumpkin puree
same amount of vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk of your choice
about a teaspoon each of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon
1tsp vanilla
some ice
some cool-whip for topping
some brown sugar if you need it sweeter

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and top with cool whip.

 Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

3 cups quick cooking oats
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup brown sugar (for the top)

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except the ¼ cup brown sugar for the top.
Spread into a greased 9×13 pan.
Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup brown sugar on top.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

I halved this recipe and used half a can of pumpkin for the oatmeal and the other half for the smoothies.

Here's some photos of our family's trip to a local pumpkin patch.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Soup 'O the Week : Taco Soup

We eat this soup pretty frequently throughout the cold months.  You can make it milder by buying mild rotel and taco seasoning or hotter by buying the hot varieties.  We go mild and it's still pretty spicy.

Taco Soup
1 lb hamburger meat (or one medium can chicken, or leftover shredded chicken breast)
1 can corn (or 1 cup frozen or fresh corn)
1 can rotel
1-2 cans ranch beans, black beans, chili beans, red beans (whatever your family will eat)
1 pkt taco seasoning
1 pkt dry ranch dressing mix

Brown hamburger meat in a large pot.  Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium.  Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips and top with sour cream, salsa, guac, and/or shredded cheese.

You can vary the number of servings by adding more or less beans.  For our family of 5 I usually use 1 can.  If I want leftovers I use 2 cans.

Homeschool: P is for Pumpkin

It's been another crazy week at our house!  We had big plans for the letter P but daddy got hurt at work and we had to kind of put life on hold for a few days and miss the Pumpkin Patch field trip.  We'd rather have our daddy anyway!

P is for Pumpkin.  This week we practiced writing Ps and curved lines, learned about the color orange, painted our toenails orange, tasted pumpkin bread, and colored and painted (yikes) pumpkins.

I also thought I'd share what our little work space looks like.  My awesome husband built me a custom bulletin board a couple of months ago.  It was originally intended to be a message center but we're using it for preschool now.  Each kid has their own space to hang their works of art.  It's also where I do my menu planning.

Big sister stayed home sick from school the days we painted so she joined in the fun.  It's one of her favorite activities so I'm glad she got to do it.

 We had just gotten home from Old Navy with some new threads...can you tell?

I promise not to take pics of my kids coloring next time.  They're really amazing me with their tracing and remembering the letters already though.  Kids are smart.

One of the days we were at the hospital the kids stayed home with our awesome neighbor, Mrs. Judy, and made these paper bag pumpkins.

Printables can be found at and

Next up...N is for Newspaper.  This one should be interesting.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Taco Casserole

This is my honey's favorite casserole.

Taco Casserole aka Mexican Lasagna
recipe from Aunt Janie

1 lb hamburger meat
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can chicken and rice soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small can tomato paste (or sauce)
1 can ranch style beans
1 pkg cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
2 TBS picante sauce (or salsa)
1 pkg tortillas

Brown meat.  Add taco seasoning.  Mix all other ingredients together except cheese.  Cut (or tear) 2 tortillas into 1 inch squares.  Add to mixture.  Add meat to mixture.  In a casserole dish, layer (like lasagna) 2 whole tortillas, meat mixture and cheese until you've used it all up.  Top with another tortilla.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Sometimes I forget to add the salsa.  Sometimes I forget to buy cream of chicken soup.  Sometimes I forget tonight.  But it still tasted the same.

Random quotes from my crazy kids

Here's a sampling of some of the silly things my kids have said lately.

K: "abutthole!" (abajo) while watching Dora.

A: "I know how bees make honey. They get pollen from flowers then take it home and mix it with milk and sugar and bake it in the oven."

A: "Did you start the Xterra today? Good, 'cause I'm gonna drive it when I'm 13." asking about our spare vehicle.

K: "My feets hurt because I don't have to wear shoes at Grandma's"

L: "Mom! I need you to wipe my butt! I have macarena!" (diarrhea)

L: "Look! I'm like a monkey! Or a bird! Or a butterfly!" on the frog jumper at the zoo

A: "I'm thankful for my Grandma. Because she makes me cookies." from the school newsletter

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Soup 'O the Week: Cheddar Broccoli

Broccoli is my FAVORITE vegetable.  I'll eat it any way you put it in front of me.  But for some reason I've been afraid of making broccoli soup.  This recipe is SO easy.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup
adapted from The Little Girl's Guide to Sugar and Spice

3 tablespoons butter
2 cups broccoli (about 4 small heads) cut into very small pieces (I used the amount of broccoli in the picture.  I didn't measure it.)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1 cup grated colby jack or cheddar cheese ( or 2 cups )
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, add broccoli, cook for one minute, then add the chicken stock and salt and pepper and cover. Allow the broth to come to a boil, and cook until the broccoli is soft ( It needed to cook a lot longer than I thought.  You want it kind of mushy.)

Whisk together flour and milk until combined. Add this mixture to the pot, stirring gently. The soup will thicken and once it's thick and creamy looking, add the grated cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste, serve with crusty bread.

I basically omitted that silly soup trinity.  Not sure why everyone does that.  Oh, and more butter.  And more cheese.
We were going to have our soup in bread bowls but Walmart wanted three bucks a pop for a round loaf that could have fed a small village.  So, I just bought a loaf of french bread instead for $1.60 that will last 3+ meals.  Much more practical.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Homeschool: Fire Station Field Trip

We tagged along with our local OPAT group (Oklahoma Parents as Teachers...great program) to tour a fire station today.  The girls learned all about fire safety, smoke detectors, fire gear, fire trucks, fireman's living areas...when they weren't clinging to my legs.  I apologize for the picture quality.  I used the auto setting on my camera thinking it would be easier and they turned out blurry.  Go figure.

 listening intently

They even got to walk through the big engine.  I had to go with.

I finally got L off my leg long enough for a picture.  I think she was yawning.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Remember the I'm Sorry Store?

Remember the I'm Sorry Store?  Yeah, mommy got too tired to deal with all that this summer.  And one of those days I was sick on the couch the kids raided the store and ate all the candy.

Since I'm now a full time stay at home mom I've taken over ALL of the household duties...all the indoor duties anyway.  My hubby still mows the lawn.  We were sharing the housekeeping almost 50/50 but since I'm here all day every day I've picked up more responsibilities.  Which means the kids are picking up more responsibilities.  Because I still CAN'T do it all by myself.  Nor should I have to.  I'm not the maid.  So, we have to come up with some sort of bribery...I mean reward get them to help out.

I saw this on Pinterest (I know...again with the Pinterest) and it's actually a product from an Etsy shop.  A forty dollar product from an Etsy shop.  So, we're going to try to figure out how to do it ourselves.

{ Photo by More Than a Memory AK on }
She has some cute stuff...check it out

At this point we don't require the girls (6, 3, and 3) to do any mandatory "chores".   But we do expect them to clean up after putting their dirty laundry in the hamper, picking up their toys off the floor, taking their plate to the sink, etc.  We'll still have the store so they can immediately spend some of their chore money on instant gratification like candy but we'll also stress that if they save it they can use the money to buy things at Target or to do the extras at the Zoo like the train or to buy snow cones at the park or snacks at school or play the vending machines at our local Mexican restaurant...all of which we will stop funding.  Wish us luck.

Homeschool: E is for Elephant

We had sort of a weird week last week with some of us catching colds then having to spend part of the week shopping for and baking a birthday cake, so last week's theme has carried over to this week!

E is for Elephant.  Yep, we spent an entire week learning about elephants.  Why not?  When you homeschool your kids you can teach them anything you want...especially when they're three.  And elephants are cool.

So, we practiced the letter E, learned about different kinds of elephants and where they live, learned about the different body parts of elephants (like tusks), talked about the color gray, and visited our local zoo to see real elephants up close.

For some odd reason I forgot to take pictures at the elephant exhibit at the zoo.  We were too busy watching them play I guess.
Worksheets can be found at and

P.S.  If you haven't caught on yet we're following the Handwriting Without Tears workbook.  Next up is "P".

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dixie Pie

I'm a sucker for anything with chocolate in it.  Or anything resembling a pie or cookie.  This is kinda like all three of those things.  Yum.

Chocolate and Pecan Dixie Pie
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

1 unbaked pie shell
6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of chopped walnuts (original recipe calls for pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the bottom of the uncooked pie shell and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and flour, until well blended; add the eggs, one at a time and blend in well. Add the vanilla and walnuts, mix and pour evenly into pie shell on top of the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, remove and place strips of aluminum foil around the crust edges to prevent overbrowning and continue baking for 30 to 40 (or 25) additional minutes, or until set. Let cool completely (LOL!). Serve plain, with a dollop of whipped cream, or even better, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This is kind of like a chocolate chip pecan pie but much, MUCH easier!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Soup O' the Week : Buffalo Chicken Soup

This week's soup is Buffalo Chicken Soup.  (Last week's was brown beans.  Didn't want to bore anyone with that.)  I found this recipe on latest addiction.  The original recipe can be found at

2 lbs chicken
2 TBS butter
1 carton chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp bottled hot pepper sauce ( I added more and it still wasn't very spicy )
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/4 cups crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 cup all purpose flour

Cook chicken in broth.  Remove, cool, and chop.  Add butter, milk, and hot pepper sauce to chicken broth.  In a bowl, toss together mozzarella, blue cheese, parmesan and flour.  Gradually add cheese mixture to soup stirring until melted.  Add in chicken and heat through.  Top with more hot sauce if desired.  Serves 6.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

diy 4x4 pumpkins

I saw these on Pinterest.  I usually prefer to put a few real pumpkins on my front porch but the past few years my dog has decided that I've left them there for him to eat.

Step #1:  Find your husband, dad, boyfriend, brother, neighbor.  Unless you know how to use power tools.

Step #2:  Find or buy a 4x4 piece of lumber.

Step #3:  Cut 4x4 in to various lengths.  I think these are 24", 18", and 14".

Step #4:  Find a tree branch.

Step #5:  Cut branch in to 3-4" lengths.

Step #6:  Give leftovers to the dog.

Step #7:  Drill holes in 4x4s and tree branches and insert these double-sided bolt things.

Step #8:  Paint 4x4s orange then lightly sand them to distress them a bit.

Step #9:  Screw branches on to 4x4s

Step #10: Find some baling wire and wrap it around branches to look like vine and around the 4x4s to secure them together.

I took it a step further and turned it around and drew jack o' lantern faces on the other side.  Halloween and Fall decor in one.

Original idea can be found at You Craft Me Up.

I linked up to the Motivational Monday party at Three Mango Seeds.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Homemade Fair Food

We are not fans of the fair.  We might want to go every 10 years or so.  I don't mind the little town or county fairs.  I'm talking about the HUGE state fairs.  Too many people and too expensive.  And I always have this fear of losing a child or two in the madness.  The best part of the fair is the food anyway and you can make that at home for A LOT cheaper.  Our favorites are Indian Tacos, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, and Funnel Cakes.  Mmmm Mmmmm.

Indian Tacos
   Fry Bread
       2 cups flour
       1 TBS baking powder
       1 tsp salt
       1 cup milk
       oil for frying
     Mix dry ingredients then add milk.  Add more flour if necessary to be able to handle the dough.  Kneed on floured surface for at least 5 minutes.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.  Shape dough into 4 discs and tear a small hole in the center to prevent too much puffing.  Fry until golden, turning only once.  Drain on paper towels.  Top with taco toppings of your choice.  I like mine simple....spicy beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and salsa.

   Follow the 1:1:1 ratio.  1 cup sugar (more or less to taste), 1 cup lemon juice (4-6 lemons), and 1 cup water.  Heat water on the stove and dissolve sugar in it, cool.  In a pitcher, combine sugar water, lemon juice and enough ice and cold water to make 6 servings or 1 1/2 quarts.

Funnel Cakes
     1 egg
     2/3 cup milk
     2 TBS sugar
     1 1/4 cup flour
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 tsp baking powder
     Oil for frying
   Beat egg and milk.  Mix dry ingredients in a seperate bowl then slowly add to the egg mixture.  Beat until smooth.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and squeeze in to hot oil in a criss-cross pattern.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  We like personal sized funnel cakes.  No sharing here.

I know this is too much fried food and sugar for one meal.  But fair food only comes to town once a year!