A new favorite toy…..

18 01 2010

We have a new favorite toy in our home!  We are passing this on to you.  We love that this gets our kids moving and is fun.  We don’t get enough physical activity here in the winter (we haven’t seen the sun in almost 2 weeks!!!!).  The kids love this game and it can be played many different ways too.  Also, Owen (age 2) can play and Isaac (almost 6 years old) at the same time!

Twister Hopscotch  You can find it for about 15 dollars!  It is a great “let’s get moving” type of game.  🙂

You can find other family favorites under “toy reviews” under categories on the right hand side.

Fruit Slush…..

18 01 2010

Here is the recipe for Fruit Slush…..

This makes 32 servings ( I froze it in 4 ziplock bags for my family).

10 oz bag of frozen sliced strawberries

40 oz of fruit cocktail in Lite Syrup

12 oz of frozen orange juice concentrate

20 oz of crushed pineapple in a can

3 diced bananas

Partially thaw strawberries.  Mix all ingredients together including all the juices from the canned fruits.

Pour into suitable container for your family (such as freezer bags).  Allow about 1/4-1/3 Cup per child and 1/2 cup per adult.  The leftovers don’t save well so try not to have too much leftover.

Serving Directions:

You will want to pull it out about 1/5- 2 hours before needed.  It should be slushy at serving time. 🙂

Easy and so yummy!  It is a great side dish and counts as a serving of fruit 🙂


12 01 2010

Sorry for not uploading things quick (more recipes etc.) but we have been sick….well mommy has been really sick. Everyone had the stomach flu over the past 2 weeks, but I have gotten it twice! I have lost almost 10 lbs. in just 3 days of being sick 😦

This was not the weight loss program I was wanting in 2010. I am feeling better but very weak, please pray for our family. Pray the kids don’t get sick again with phase 2.

We praise God that I am able to nurse Ethan. The doctor told me that within 1 nursing session my milk will have the antibodies for the flu I just had, keeping Ethan healthy. 🙂 God is so good!!!! Also, we praise God that the kids didn’t get it as bad as me (keeping them from having to be hospitalized, they are just too little to go through this as bad as mommy had it), also we praise God that my family is close and could come and help with the kids while Dave went to work.

Here are a few…..

8 01 2010

For I meals that I freeze here are a few that we really love….( I will add more when I get a few minutes) 🙂

Heavenly Chicken

1 (10 oz) package of frozen spinach, chopped-  defrosted, squeezed to drain water

8 boneless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.)

1 cup of cooked, cubed ham (we use lunch meat)

1 cup of soda crackers (we use the whole wheat ones, but reg. work too)

1 cup of grated parmesan cheese

White Sauce:

1/2 cup of sliced green onions

4 T of butter

4 T of flour

2 cups of milk (we use skim to save on the fat)

In med. sauce pan, make White Sauce: Saute onions in butter until tender.  Stir in flour and add milk all at once.  cook over low heat, stirring constantly until bubbly.  Boil and stir for 1 minute more until smooth and Thick.

Combine crackers crumbs and cheese.  Dip chicken in soda cracker crumbs to coat lightly.  arrange chicken in pan (I do 2 13×9 throw away pans for this).  Seal leftover crumb mixture in 2 plastic sandwich bags.

Stir spinach and ham in to white sauce, spoon over chicken breasts.  Allow to cool and cover with foil and attach the crumb mixture to pan for baking day.  Freeze.

To prepare for serving: Thaw dish and bake covered in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 60-75 mins.  Uncover and sprinkle top with reserved cracker crumbs.  Bake 10 more minutes.

So YUMMY.  This recipe just make you 2 full dinners for your family.  You can add fruit and a salad as your sides.

Santa Fe Chicken

3  cups of cooked and chopped chicken

15 oz can of corn, drained

Black beans, drained/rinsed (15 oz.)

Black-eyed peas, drained (15 oz )

Ro-Tel tomatoes 12 oz can

Picate Sauce (15 oz) …we used Mild

chili powder 1 T

Cumin 2 t.

Shredded cheddar cheese (2 cup)

Mix everything in a bowl except cheese.   Put in 2 (1 gallon) freezer bags.  Seal, label and freeze.  Attach cheese in 2 (1 cup each) bags and attach to freezer bag for baking day.

Serving Day:  Thaw bag.  pour bag in greased pan (I used an 8×8 pan).  Cover with foil and bake 30 mins at 350 degrees.  remove foil and top with cheese, bake 10 more minutes.

This just made you 2 meals.  I serve with taco rice.

Chicken in a Pot:

6 boneless skin less chicken breasts

1 italian dressing mix envelope

8 oz of softened cream cheese

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 (40z) can of  mushrooms stems and pieces

Place chicken in crock pot.  sprinkle dressing on chicken.  (Do NOT add water)!!!.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  shred chicken.  Then stir in rest of ingredients. 

Freeze in 2 (1 gallon freezer bags). Seal, label and freeze.

Serving Day: Thaw.   Heat chicken mixture until hot.  ( did this in a pan on the stove).

serve over angel  hair pasta and with veggies.

This makes you 2 dinners.

A look at the first half…..

5 01 2010

Wow!  Are we really almost half way through our first full year of homeschooling or home educating our children?  Time to reflect if you ask me.

First, curriculum…..

We love our choices this year!  Sonlight level K with readers 1 for Isaac and readers K for Grace.  Handwriting without tears Level 1 for both the kids and Math U See for both as well.  Hooked on Spanish for foreign language and daddy does his own thing for Bible (which is neat if you ask me, right now we are going from the birth of Christ to the Resurrection, from Christmas to Easter).

Second, Schedule…….

OK, this one had to change and change fast!!!!  Our schedule wasn’t working for us.  So our first change was mommy to get up eariler……yes, I now set the alarm for 7:30.  Okay, don’t go crazy on me, but my kids sleep til 8 and then they get up and play until we would get up. Dave works til about 1 am or so, so we weren’t in bed til really late!  That is working much better for us 🙂

Next we felt like we weren’t getting all that we wanted in during the week.  We got the basics in but wanted to add more fun stuff like painting etc.  So we know have a monthly schedule that hangs over the school table.  Dave and I can both see what didn’t get done and do it.  We also can see where we will be at the end of the month!  We like this a lot.  It is color coded for each child.

Now we need to see if there was anything our children were missing that we wanted them to learn.  And we discovered that they didn’t know the location of most of the states.  I thought this was important so we added it to our school room.  I took a map ( I purchased it at Target in the dollar area) and placed it on the table and covered it with clear contact paper.  After we learn the states well we will switch it with  a world map and work on the different countries.

Cooking…..How do I get that done along with everything else?

4 01 2010

I have had many people ask me how we cook our meals in our home.  I have started doing a concept that has you cook once a for month or a couple times. 🙂  It has saved us sooooo much money and it has also saved me TONS of time.  Because of cooking with this style I have had more time to do other things…….like homeschool, read, clean and even workout. 🙂

Here is how we do it………

First I make my list of the different meals we are going to eat.  I find these Online or in a cookbook.  (We use Once-a-month Cooking by Wilson, The Freezer cooking Manual by Slagle and several others if needed).  I make 20 meals every 4 weeks.  We go to church and eat on Wednesday nights and we eat at my moms on Sundays.  I usually make 10 different meals ( I double each one to make 20 meals). I plan for 3 chicken type meals, 1 beef and one other (pork or vegetarian) for each week.  Every time I have done this we end up with enough meals for almost 5 weeks.  Something always comes up during the month or I find something on sale and we eat it instead of a pre made meal.

I then make my list of all the things I need to buy for these meals.  Yes the list is LONG.  I then separate the list by store (we buy all our meat at Sam’s Club) and make a list of the things I need to store the meals (for example, I buy the throw away metal containers for Lasagna etc., other than that I freeze everything in heavy duty Ziplock bags).

Now do your shopping!

NOw comes the fun part…..Cooking day!!!!!  I start with getting all my stuff laid out.

THen I start to cook the things that need to be cook.  FOr example I made Chicken and Rice and White Bean Chicken Chili.  Both call for cooked chicken so I cooked all the chicken together in the same pot to save on dishes and time.  🙂

I then start everything that needs to be in a crock pot ( I have 2 crockpots and both are always going during this day). 

THen I start things that go into the freezer uncooked (for example we do Heavenly Chicken, the meat is frozen raw until I choose to use it, I just assemble on my big cooking day).

I label all meals with the instructions!  This way Dave or I can just pull it out and we know what to do.  We don’t have to go look through a cookbook trying to figure out how to cook it etc.).  Also, he can make dinner with little to no help from me :).

Here is a pic of the labeled bags for Fruit Slush (a side dish).

I allow my meals to cool (if they need to) before putting int he freezer for a little bit.

NOw it is time to freeze your meals. YOu don’t need a lot of space for this!  I freeze all the meals laying flat in the freezer and just pull one out when we are ready to eat.  I then thaw it and pour it into the pan to cook 🙂 Very easy!!!!

Now the not so fun part!  Cleaning up.  Here are all my dishes I used ( and yes I made 20 meals so not too bad if you ask me).  Dave usually does the dishes for me 🙂

Here is a list of the meals I made for this month…..

Traditional Beef Stew ( 4 batches, we really love this in the winter with some warm bread)

Chicken in a pot (2 batches)

Sante Fe Chicken (2 batches)

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (2 batches)

Cranberry Chicken (1 batch)

Pizza Pasta Pie (1 batch)

Heavenly Chicken (2 batches, we LOVE this.  It has a lot of steps, but because I do it on my cooking day it doesn’t seem like so many because I have so many other things going on at the same time.  Had I not made it on a cooking day it would have seemed like a lot of work)

Chicken and Rice (2 batches)

Green Chili enchiladas (2 batches)

spinach Lasagna (2 batches)

and Four batches of Fruit Slush ( a side item to go with a meal once a week).

I then bought 10 bags of frozen veggies, a bag of potatoes, cornbread mix (a few of these) and 3 desserts (a pie, ice cream and cookies)  for under 100 dollars!!!!!!  Yup that is 25 dollars a week to feed my family (five eating people, our baby doesn’t count yet) for dinner.  And our dinners are yummy and filling! 

I will post some of the recipes that we use in the next post 🙂