Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan - Week of Jan. 22

Dinner:
  • Sunday - Soup, sandwiches
  • Monday - Chicken teriyaki, rice, vegetables
  • Tuesday - Spaghetti
  • Wednesday - Parmesan baked chicken, mac n cheese, vegetables
  • Thursday - Italian pork chops, orzo, vegetables
  • Friday - Sloppy Joes, french fries, vegetables
  • Saturday - Little Red's birthday party
Breakfast (The rotation stays the same every week):
  • Sunday - Cereal, poptarts
  • Monday - Oatmeal or grits
  • Tuesday - Bagels or English muffins, fruit or yogurt
  • Wednesday - Waffles, fruit or yogurt
  • Thursday - Cereal, fruit or yogurt
  • Friday - Eggs, sausage or bacon
  • Saturday - Poptarts (Yes, I'm incredibly lazy on the weekends, and I let my kids eat junk. I'm okay with that.)
Lunch (also usually the same every week):
  • Sandwiches, wraps, or leftovers
  • Fruit or veggies (I like to get whatever is on sale)
  • Pretzels, chips, or goldfish crackers
Orgjunkie.com

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week in Review - January 15-21

Bible - This week we studied the ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus.

History -We studied the establishment of the monasteries in England and Ireland and how the monks helped to preserve some of the history and writings from the Dark Ages. The small people colored a picture like those that the monks drew to illustrate their writings.
We also spent time studying Viking longships.

Science - The girls and I took the week off from science while we waited for Little Red's Astronomy notebook to come in. It finally arrived on Friday, so we're going to start on Monday. The Boy finished up his lab report on his DNA project.

Grammar -The twins began memorizing the poem "A Slash of Blue" by Emily Dickinson and drew a picture to illustrate the descriptions of the evening and morning skies.

Math - The Boy started learning how to multiply polynomials on Friday. He completely understood multiplying a polynomial by a monomial. I hope he catches on as quickly to multiplying 2 binomials.

Preschool -Sassy Pants worked on letter recognition. Strangely, she can only recognize letters by using the alphabet song. If I hold up a random letter and ask her what it is, she'll sing the song until she gets to that letter. I don't know if it helps her "see" the letter when she sings it, or if she just likes to sing.

She also worked on following simple directions. I would tell her things like "Lace the square with blue lace." She does great with one-step directions. Next up, 2-step directions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Mile in His Shoes - Movie Review and Giveaway

I've said before, I'm always looking for good family-friendly movies. So when I was given the opportunity to review A Mile in His Shoes, I was super excited.


From the director of "Angels In the Outfield" comes an inspiring story about a special boy with an amazing gift, and the coach who believed. Dean Cain and Luke Schroder star in the gmc movie based on the book "The Legend of Mickey Tussler".


Mickey Tussler is a young farmer who has Asperger's Syndrome and an incredible amount of baseball talent. When Coach Murphy stumbles upon this young man with the outstanding pitching arm, he convinces Mickey's parents to let him join the minor league team. The interaction between Mickey and the team is amazing.

The small people and I watched this movie together, and everyone enjoyed it. It was fun to hear my children cheering for Mickey to do well. Ballerina commented that she really liked how the movie showed that Mickey was a Christian.

For more information about the movie, check out this website, Facebook page, YouTube, and Dove Foundation Review.

Not only did I get an opportunity to review this movie, but I also get to give away a DVD copy of this movie! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on Saturday, January 28th, and the winner will be posted on Sunday, January 29th.

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me why you'd like to win this DVD. Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

For additional entries - use a separate comment for each entry:
1) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect.
2) Share this giveaway on Facebook.
3) Tweet about this giveaway.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it  on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Plan - Week of Jan. 15

Dinner:

  • Sunday - Pizza
  • Monday - Slow cooker beef, noodles, vegetable
  • Tuesday - Spaghetti
  • Wednesday - Hamburger casserole, vegetables
  • Thursday - Shredded pork barbecue, french fries, vegetables
  • Friday - Chicken and broccoli casserole
  • Saturday - La Bamba!
Breakfast (The rotation stays the same every week):
  • Sunday - Cereal, poptarts
  • Monday - Oatmeal or grits
  • Tuesday - Bagels or English muffins, fruit or yogurt
  • Wednesday - Waffles, fruit or yogurt
  • Thursday - Cereal, fruit or yogurt
  • Friday - Eggs, sausage or bacon
  • Saturday - Poptarts (Yes, I'm incredibly lazy on the weekends, and I let my kids eat junk. I'm okay with that.)
Lunch (also usually the same every week):
  • Sandwiches, wraps, or leftovers
  • Fruit or veggies (I like to get whatever is on sale)
  • Pretzels, chips, or goldfish crackers
Orgjunkie.com

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week in Review - January 8-14

Bible - We continued our study of Jesus' younger years, finishing the story of the visit from the Wise Men. We then talked, read, learned about the flight to Egypt to escape the mass murder of baby boys by King Herod. We also read about Jesus' visit to the temple at age 12. We discussed how when He returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, the Bible says He was obedient to them. That even though He was God in human form, he set the example for them to obey their parents. He could have said, "I'm God, and you will listen to me. I will have MY way." But He didn't - He obeyed His parents.

History - We moved from the land of the Franks to Britain. We learned about the Celts, and then how the Celts were invaded by the Angles and Saxons, pushing them into Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. I read a portion of Beowulf to them. I never imagined, when I was studying Beowulf eons ago in high school, that I would be reading it (albeit a translation, not Middle English) to a 6th grader, 2 3rd graders, and a 1st grader. They absolutely loved it! Even Sassy Pants was able to retell parts of it to me.

Science - The girls finished their Anatomy books this week by making a mini-book about genetics and drawing the stages of development of a baby from conception to newborn.

I love the stick person baby in utero in Little Red's drawing.
The Boy also has been studying genetics in science, and he created a DNA model using pipe cleaners and beads.

Vocabulary - This is Soccer Girl working on her vocabulary assignment. She was supposed to read a passage containing this unit's vocabulary words and then answer comprehension questions about it. This assignment comes at the end of every vocabulary unit. Since we're on Unit 11, one would think that she'd be able to complete this on her own, but no. She still needs me to be right there. Even though all I do is listen to her as she talks out the answers on her own, she needs that comfort of knowing that I'm there to help if she needs it. As aggravating as it may be to me some days when I wish she would just work independently, I also know there will come a day when she won't need me there. That thought makes me sad.

Math - The Boy has spent the week learning about polynomials. First, he learned what they are and how to simplify them. Then he learned how to add and subtract them.
1st grade - Little Red continued reading in her Bible reading book, but instead of simply drawing a picture to illustrate the story, she is now writing a one-sentence summary.

Preschool - I know I've mentioned before how much Sassy loves anything to do with math - numbers, shapes, etc. We spent a lot of time this week with the peg board and pegs exploring numbers and shapes.


Independent Reading - The Boy has been reading on his own the past couple of weeks, reading 4 books. He has a goal to read at least 2 books a month, but one of them has to be non-Star Wars. All 4 of the books he's read so far are Star Wars books, so now he has to find another book to read this month.

Soccer Girl has also been doing a good bit of reading on her own. She found a series of books that are dog mysteries, and she's read 3 of them already in the past 2 weeks. 
Outside Activities - Little Red's basketball season is almost over. She's improved so much over the past few weeks. The first 2 games, she was very reserved and didn't really try to get the ball. Since then, she's gotten much better, taking a few shots each game. Yesterday she took 6 shots and made 1 basket! She was so proud of herself. Of course, Red ALWAYS has her own sense of style, so not only was she decked out in her basketball uniform, but she was also sporting a very stylish headband and some multi-colored monkey toe socks. I love this girl!






Over the winter break between soccer seasons, The Boy and Soccer Girl have been playing in an indoor soccer league in Columbia. I was able to get some shots from Soccer Girl's game yesterday. They aren't the best quality since they were taken through the glass. She scored a goal in her game yesterday too.




Friday, January 13, 2012

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

I'm working my way through the cookbook that my church compiled a few years ago and passed out to all of the ladies in the church.

I made this Chicken and Broccoli Casserole the other night with a little trepidation over how it would be received by some of the small people who live here. Ballerina LOVES broccoli, so I knew she would like it, but the others - I wasn't really sure about that. Sassy is probably the pickiest eater on the planet. She doesn't like meat (unless it's a chicken nugget or in a taco shell); she's not a big fan of vegetables in cooked or raw form. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when, not only did they all eat the casserole without complaint, but all of the girls asked for a second helping!

Ingredients:
1 bag of frozen broccoli florets, cooked and drained
1 chicken, boiled and deboned
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can of chicken broth
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 C shredded cheese
1 tube of Ritz crackers
1 stick margarine

Spray an 8x11 1/2 inch casserole dish with PAM. Place the cooked broccoli in the dish. Add the chicken on top of the broccoli. Sprinkle cheese on top of chicken and broccoli. In a separate bowl, mix the soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and chicken broth. Pour it over the chicken mixture. Top with crumbled Ritz crackers. Melt margarine and pour over the crackers. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Notes
  • I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Since I don't care for boiled chicken, I baked the breasts and then chopped them up to use in the casserole. 
  • My children (and I) like things cheesy, so I used 3 cups of shredded cheese instead of 2.
This is definitely going into my recipe rotation! It was super easy to make and the small people liked it, so I will be making this quite often.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, LIttle Red

Happy 7th Birthday to my beautiful, dimpled red-headed girl! Your smile makes me smile. You have the sweetest personality (when you want to).

In the past year, you've started 1st grade, learned to read, started playing basketball (which I think is your new love), danced in Cinderella as a firefly, danced in the Nutcracker as an angel, and made friends everywhere you've gone.

I am so blessed to be your mama!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Plan - Week of Jan. 8

Dinner:
  • Sunday - Soup, salad, and sandwiches
  • Monday - Tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans (We ended up not having this on Saturday, so it got moved to Monday.)
  • Tuesday - Crockpot barbeque ribs, mac n cheese, vegetable
  • Wednesday - Chicken and broccoli casserole
  • Thursday - Little Red's birthday dinner - Spaghetti, garlic bread
  • Friday - Slow cooker beef, noodles, vegetable
  • Saturday - Chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, vegetable
Breakfast (The rotation stays the same every week):
  • Sunday - Cereal, poptarts
  • Monday - Oatmeal or grits
  • Tuesday - Bagels or English muffins, fruit or yogurt
  • Wednesday - Waffles, fruit or yogurt
  • Thursday - Cereal, fruit or yogurt
  • Friday - Eggs, sausage or bacon
  • Saturday - Poptarts (Yes, I'm incredibly lazy on the weekends, and I let my kids eat junk. I'm okay with that.)
Lunch (also usually the same every week):
  • Sandwiches, wraps, or leftovers
  • Fruit or veggies (I like to get whatever is on sale)
  • Pretzels, chips, or goldfish crackers

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Week in Review - January 1-7

This was our first week back to school since Christmas break. While I really enjoyed our time off to relax and spend time together as a family, I was happy for the structure that our school day brings.

Bible - We began a study of the birth and childhood of Jesus before Christmas. This week we discussed the birth of Christ and the visit from the Wise Men. They made pages for their Jesus books. While they were doing their drawings, Sassy Pants entertained us with her version of The First Noel. Instead of "Noel, Noel", her words were "No crib, No crib." At least she understood that part of the Bible story.
Soccer Girl's drawing of Jesus in the manger

The Boy's drawing of the angel announcing Jesus' birth to the shepherds. The shepherd on the right is saying, "I think I'm going to faint."
History - In history, we talked about the barbarian kingdoms that were established after the Roman Empire fell and began studying the Franks and Charles the Hammer.
Science - The girls and I are finishing up the Apologia Anatomy book. We began the last chapter about genetics. It was fun to discuss how Little Red and The Boy ended up with red hair when neither Robb nor I have red hair. We also discussed the difference between how fraternal and identical twins are formed. Soccer Girl and Ballerina found that very interesting since they are fraternal twins.

Reading - Soccer Girl and Ballerina began reading The Minstrel in the Tower, and The Boy started Redwall. Both books are set in medieval times so they will correspond with what we're studying in history.

1st Grade - Little Red is just flying through her Bible reading book and is comprehending her phonics lessons so much quicker than she was. She's finally reading well enough that I can give her some independent work every day to do while I work with the others. Yay!!

Preschool - Sassy Pants loves anything to do with numbers, which doesn't surprise me since she's so much like The Boy and he's also very good at math. This week she was using manipulatives to work out simple addition and subtraction problems. She's not as comfortable with her alphabet, but I'm not too stressed about it. She recognizes most of her letters, and she's only 4. Plus, she has an October birthday, so if I sent her to school, she'd only be in 3K. I'm content with where she is.

Independent Reading - Ballerina (age 8) is participating in the Excellence in Reading book challenge this year, with a goal of reading 52 books from the lists. This week she read The Secret Garden.  Here's her review:
The Secret Garden was about a girl named Mary who moved from India to England. While in England, she met a boy named Colin. Mary finds a secret garden while playing in the gardens. She and Colin spend a lot of time in the secret garden and have adventures. I liked this book because the mystery of the garden was interesting. I recommend that you read this book.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Tiger Pride

For most people who live in South Carolina, there are only 2 college football teams that are important  - Clemson and the University of South Carolina (referred to as USC by South Carolinians but not to be confused with the USC in California). If you live in SC, you are expected to cheer for one and despise the other. Most people outside of South Carolina have probably not even heard of either school, or if they have, they don't have a strong preference for either. That's okay and completely understandable.

On Wednesday of this week, Clemson had the opportunity to play in the Orange Bowl. Sadly, Clemson was routed by a dominant West Virginia team. I've had this post swirling around in my brain for the past two days, while I've read posts on Facebook from USC fans ridiculing Clemson fans and from Clemson fans who have actually written that they are embarrassed to be Clemson fans.

Here are my feelings on the subject:
I am a Clemson fan. But I'm not only a fan of a football team. I am a fan of a university, of a tradition, of a part of my history. You see, I am a Clemson alumna.

Clemson is more than a football team. Clemson is a university with a strong military and agricultural tradition. There are some who find that agricultural background a source of mockery. I don't understand that; South Carolina and the entire Southeastern United States have their roots in agriculture. Is this something to be ashamed of? I don't think so. That military and agricultural background have grown into an outstanding educational institution with a standard of excellence.

Clemson is more than a football team. Clemson is where I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I also got my certification in Learning Disabilities through my classes there. With that education, I taught in the classroom for 7 years. For the past 9 years, I've been educating my children at home.

Clemson is more than a football team. Clemson is where I met my husband during my senior year. Robb also graduated from Clemson with a degree in electrical engineering. We have had a wonderful marriage for the past 15 and 1/2 years with plans for many happy years to come. We have 5 incredible children, and I couldn't imagine my life without any of them.

Clemson is more than a football team. When I say that I am proud to be a Tiger, it runs much deeper than a football team and definitely much deeper than a single game or even a season. I am proud to have been a part of something bigger than that. Clemson is a part of my life. My love for Clemson will be there whether the football team wins or loses. Would I like them to win? Of course. Will I be embarrassed to be a Tiger if they lose? NEVER!

I have always been, am now, and will always be - Proud to be a Tiger!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beef Stew Ole'

In my search for easy crockpot recipes, I found this one in the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook this weekend. Since yesterday was supposed to be super cold (and it was - we went from temps in the 70's over the weekend to a high in the low 40's yesterday), I figured this would be a nice warm, filling meal. This stew was incredible! Every one of the small people asked for a second helping, even Sassy who is by far our most picky eater.


Recipe:
4 carrots, cubed
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, quartered
1 1/2 lbs beef stewing meat, cubed
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 pkg dry taco seasoning mix
2 cups water, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Layer first 4 ingredients in slow cooker. Add tomato sauce.
2. Combine taco seasoning with 1 1/2 cups water. Stir cornstarch into remaining 1/2 cup water until smooth. Stir into rest of water with taco seasoning. Pour over ingredients in slow cooker.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Cover. Cook on low 7-8 hours.

I knew that my crew would probably not eat onions that way, so I used minced onions. I served it over rice. Soccer Girl, who almost daily tells us that she HATES rice, loved the rice with the stew. In fact, she asked The Boy for his leftover rice.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Menu Plan - Week of Jan. 1

Dinner:
  • Sunday - Spaghetti and garlic bread
  • Monday - Hamburgers, baked beans, sweet carrots (Robb is home today so he is grilling the burgers. The kids and I agree that you can't find a better burger anywhere!)
  • Tuesday - Beef stew ole, rice (This is a new recipe I'm trying from the Fix It and Forget It cookbook. If it turns out tasty, I'll share it.)
  • Wednesday - Hamburger casserole, cucumbers, mashed potatoes
  • Thursday - Parmesan baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, squash & zucchini
  • Friday - Baked pork chops, orzo, broccoli
  • Saturday -  Tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans
Breakfast (The rotation stays the same every week):
  • Sunday - Cereal, poptarts
  • Monday - Oatmeal or grits
  • Tuesday - Bagels or English muffins, fruit or yogurt
  • Wednesday - Waffles, fruit or yogurt
  • Thursday - Cereal, fruit or yogurt
  • Friday - Eggs, sausage or bacon
  • Saturday - Poptarts (Yes, I'm incredibly lazy on the weekends, and I let my kids eat junk. I'm okay with that.)
Lunch (also usually the same every week):
  • Sandwiches, wraps, or leftovers
  • Fruit or veggies (I like to get whatever is on sale)
  • Pretzels, chips, or goldfish crackers

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Goals for 2012

    I really did a bad job of keeping up with my 2011 goals. So bad that I have no desire to go back and look at them to see just how poorly I did.

    Instead, I'm going to jump right into my 2012 goals with the desire to be more intentional towards them this year, and actually review them at the end of every month to see how I'm doing.

    Bible (reading and studying, memorization):
    • Read through the Bible - Our entire church is planning to study through the Bible in Sunday School this year. We have a reading guide that goes chronologically through the Word, reading 6 days a week. This is perfect for me because it allows me to have a day to make up my reading if something happens without me feeling like I've fallen behind. I figure if I'm on track, I can always read a Psalm or a chapter in Proverbs on that 7th day.
    • Memorize 12 verses - This is only 1 verse a month, which I should be able to do.
    Obedience to God (attitudes or character issues that need to improve):
    • Not raise my voice to discipline - I hate when I yell at my children, yet still I do. I don't want to do that anymore.
    • Ask myself – True? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind? – before speaking - There are so many times that I speak first and think afterward. Then I regret what I said. Unfortunately once the words are spoken, it's like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.
    Relationships:
    • Set aside 1 night each month for a date with Robb - I didn't do such a good job with this last year. I want to be more intentional with it this year.
    • Spend 1 evening a week with 1 child - With 5 children and a very busy schedule, it's easy to find that no one gets quality time with me. I know that I can easily schedule 1 evening a week to do something special with one of the small people one-on-one.
    Learning (school, independent reading):
    • Complete 2012 Eclectic Reader challenge - You can check out my post here about this one.
    • Grade kids’ work at the end of every day and prepare their folders for the next day - By the end of the day, I tend to find other things to do and put off getting school stuff done. So many times this fall, I've had to hurry to get it done early in the morning before we start the day. I really don't like having to do this at 5:30 in the morning.
    Home:
    • Declutter 1 room a month - My house has more stuff that it needs. Actually there's more stuff in my house than 2 or 3 houses need. It needs to go.
    • Make a menu plan each week - I hate not being organized about meal planning. I hate feeding my family fast food and junk because I didn't get my act together and plan meals for those busy days that we have. So many evenings we don't get home from our activities until right at dinner time. If I plan better and make better use of my crock pot, this will help keep us from eating poorly.
    Hobbies:
    • Complete Little Red’s Christmas stocking - I finished Ballerina's stocking in time for Christmas 2011. Thank you to Tina Boyle for helping me get the finishing touches on it! I've started the cross stitch for Little Red's, but it is very detailed and I will need to work hard to finish it this year.
    • Knit a scarf - I don't know how to knit. My aunt tried to teach me a few years ago, but apparently my mind is like Swiss cheese and all of that information fell through the holes. Robb and the kids bought me Knitting for Dummies and some other newbie knitting things for my birthday this year so I want to teach myself to knit. I figure a scarf is a simple enough project to start with.
    • Take at least 1 photo a day - I want to be more purposeful in using my camera this year. I will be posting the photos at Soccer Mom Photography, my other blog.
    Personal:

    • Weigh 120 lbs - Robb and I started P90X on December 1st. In the past month, I've lost one half pound. I'm trying really hard not to be depressed about it and am focusing instead on the fact that my clothes don't seem to be shrinking anymore.
    • Fit in size 8 jeans - When I married Robb, I was a size 2. Fifteen years and 5 children later, I am no longer a size 2. Far from it. I don't even want to get back to that size; I'll be happy getting into a size 8.
     Last night, Robb and I sat down with the 4 older children individually to help them set their own goals. Their categories were similar to the ones I have, with some slight variations.


    One of Ballerina's learning goals is to read 52 books from a book list. She will be participating in the Excellence in Reading challenge.





    What are your goals for this year? Are you willing to commit to check in with me at the end of every month to evaluate our progress? Will you help hold me accountable so that I'm not too embarrassed this time next year to see how I did?


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