Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Monday

Out to eat
Chicken Chimichangas (recipe from Cook's Country magazine)
Beef stew and bread
Chicken and steak kabobs
Brats and burgers
Funny face pancakes

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken Pasta with a Creamy Red Sauce

Sometimes the ideas in my head are delicious.

2 Tbsp butter or oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2-1 Tbsp dried basil
salt to taste

Cream sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 C milk or heavy cream
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes or 2 C prepare spaghetti sauce
1 pkg pasta of your choice

Heat your skillet and melt 2 Tbsp of butter or oil. Add chicken. I used frozen chicken breasts, but you can easily substitute shredded/pulled chicken. Add 1 Tbsp minced garlic and 1/2-1 Tbsp dried basil. Add salt to taste. Cook the chicken until it's done and then take it out of the pan and set it off to the side.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter (or oil, but I prefer butter in this step) and add 2 Tbsp flour. Whisk together and add 1 C  milk or heavy cream. Keep whisking until all of the tasty bits on the bottom of your skillet have lifted. Add 2 C of spaghetti sauce. I always make huge batches of sauce and freeze it. You can use plain sauce, diced tomatoes or whatever floats your boat. Return chicken to the skillet and turn to low.

In a separate pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the package directions. Strain, dump into a medium sized bowl and pour sauce over the pasta. You can top everything with some sort of shredded cheese, but it's delicious with just the sauce too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wall Hanging Paper Organizers

I plan to hang these on the wall by my desk with wooden dowels from a broken drying rack.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Monday

Swiss steak
Toast, bacon and scrambled eggs
Chicken parmesan
Tacos with Spanish rice
Oven baked chicken
Beef and noodles

Friday, July 15, 2011

Diaper Drafting

I am very good at starting projects, leaving them and then finishing whenever I am inspired. I work like crazy until my goal is mostly accomplished and then I get bored.

I started drafting diaper patterns before baby #3, who is almost two, was born. I suppose in this case, I got busy instead of bored. Well, I have finally finished my patterns and am excited to see how they look with fabric. Of course I am out of PUL (polyurethane laminate) and suede cloth or microfleece. As soon as I stock up again, I will post pictures. The patterns aren't anything special, but I combined my favorite diapers, changed the rise, added more elastic, moved the snaps and tweaked the shape. I might order some labels just for fun. I honestly have no intention of making and selling diapers right now, but maybe I will when the kids are a bit older.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I did not plant nearly enough basil last year so I went a bit crazy this year.

I found a dehydrator at the thrift store for $5 and thought I'd give it a go with the basil. It took most of the day and I was amazed at how little basil was left when it was finished. I will definitely use the dehydrator again, but my favorite way to dry herbs is by hanging.

In the past I've hung the herbs by the kitchen sink, but my husband pointed out that that's not completely sanitary because the garbage disposal spits out junk.

I decided to hang cilantro from nails. I think they look beautiful, but I am not loving having a kitchen that smells like dirty soap. I do like cilantro in salsa, however the smell is worthy of a gas mask and rubber gloves. I gave all three of my kids a bath today in an effort to rid my hands of cilantro stench. Finally, five hours and a million hand washings later, I smell normal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Monday

Baby back ribs
Funny face pancakes
Chicken and noodles
Teriyaki chicken

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I planned our learning week by week last year for homeschooling. I based my plans off of whatever the kids were interested in at the time and, while that system worked okay, it left me feeling unorganized and sort of stressed.

My plan for this year is a bit different. I have started outlining weekly plans for the entire school year. 36 weeks of science is completely outlined and I am up to week 17 of history. I'm not going to outline phonics/reading and math the same way because those subjects are largely based on how much the kids want to do in a day. I will make an overview of things I would like accomplished, but I can operate by the seat of my pants with phonics and math since we are already working out of textbooks (Singapore and Explode the Code). 

I really like the books that Sonlight uses for history and science so I am combining those with a bit of A Beka for history and Lesson Pathways for science. I was originally going to order the instructor guides for Sonlight's history and science, however as I was looking at some of the sample weeks, I realized that I would do a lot of tweaking so I decided to just make my own plans. 

I am excited to see how this year goes and am looking forward to being more organized.

Garden Harvest

The kids have been asking me to pull up a few carrots so I finally did today and was pleasantly surprised. I was also happy to see some green beans and lots of Swiss chard and kale.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Entrance Help

This is the door that is the most used in our house. The coat hooks are at kid level and work, but I have no idea what to do about shoes. We all have 2+ pairs around the house or by the door at any given time. I put the basket there to toss the shoes in, but digging around for shoes is not easy, fast or fun.

I've tried various shoes organizers, but we are not a shoe organizer kind of family. We like to pile. I am okay with piles, but I want organized piles. I think the basket needs to go since it's the wrong size and a bottomless pit of crap. What should I do? I would like this area to look a bit nicer, especially since I just finished labeling and reorganizing all of the bookshelves and toys. Should I have a shoe basket for everyone? Should I put the baskets on the floor? Any organizational products I should try?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Snack Time

I gave the kids a snack and this is how Oren was sitting.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

6 Weeks

The bunnies are six weeks old and I am convinced they can only do two things: eat and pee on each other. Peed on white rabbits aren't very pretty.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Boy and His Drill

Tools are special treasures that should be held tight and kept away from moms.

Not even two and he's already giving me a look that says he knows more about a drill than me.

Putting in reverse. Honestly, it was only recently that I figured that out. 

Fixing the floor. 

Fixing his sister's chair. 

Carrying the drill like he's been doing it for years. 

Pure joy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Menu Monday

Burgers and Brats
Quiche Lorraine scones with poached eggs
Spaghetti and meatballs
Black beans and rice with sausage and tortillas
Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Herb Crackers

1 C flour
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp milk
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
2 Tbsp freshly chopped chives

Combine in a food processor. Dough will be crumbly. Dump onto floured surface and form into a ball. Roll out, prick dough with a fork and cut into rectangles. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes.

Boy Pants

I love these pants. They are so easy to make and an XL men's shirt is the perfect size for 4T/5T. I'm trying not to go overboard since my boys don't need many pants, but I like the cut of the pants and I like that I can use light, summery fabrics.

Homeschool Organization

I am a very visual, organized person, although you might not notice this about me if you were to see my house in it's "natural" state. Anyway, I like organized piles and I like making lists.

Last year I tried a few different ways to organize my homeschooling plans.

1. I bought the kids workboxes because I loved the idea of everything having a place. Unfortunately, we are not a workbox family. Try as I might, my kids did not always want to do the activities I put in the workboxes and it was a bit too formal for my liking. We still have the workboxes and use them to store crafts and projects that are in progress.

2. I tried using a portable file folder box and each day had its own file. This was too much work for me and wasted too much paper. I also hated that I couldn't see what was in the file folder.

3. I kept a college ruled notebook and wrote out detailed plans for each day. This was my most successful way of organizing. I could easily see what I needed to prepare daily and I had all of my notes right in front of me. The problem was that I sometimes needed to add or adjust my notes and had no where to write. It also bugged me that I couldn't easily plan more than one week at a time because I didn't know how fast the kids would learn the material or if they would even be interested.  I tweak as I go and try to follow the direction my kids take with a subject.

I think I would like to use a binder to organize my plans, but I have no idea how to organize the binder.  Do any of the three people who read this blog have suggestions or links? I am in the process of planning our first week in detail, but I need to have one place where I can write everything down and adjust it as I go.

ETA: I found a few planning pages that might work. Here and here. I still need suggestions on how to organize a binder. I think I'll have a two page spread for my weekly planner, but I also want a space to write down our library books for the week and other notes. I'm going to need to take a trip to Staples. It's a shame I hate school supplies.


 Maeve asked to borrow the camera one day and this is what came back to me. She posed all of her Littlest Pet Shop animals.