Thursday, April 29, 2010


Hubby and I were talking about some of the things we want to accomplish with school next year. Yes, I have to plan. I'm a planner. The funny thing is, once I have a plan, I usually end up chunking it and flying by the seat of my pants. The problem with that is that I usually end up showing my a$$. As long as I have an initial plan, an idea of where I want to get, the avenue to get there seems less important to me. It's more about the destination and the adventure of the journey and less about the vehicle I take. Then I had interesting conversations with some friends at the baby's dance class last night about curriculum and freebie websites. And then the question from one of the other moms made me reprioritize what we are doing.

This mom is going to school to become a teacher. She is not one of the moms that I usually hang out with, but I am friendly with. Her voice sort of annoys me so I have to take her in small doses. I know, that is wrong on so many levels, but walk a mile. She asked the question that makes me shake and quiver: "What would happen if you ever had to put your kids in public school?" That question had so many emotions running through me all at once. First there was anger. Absolutely no way in H-E-double hockey sticks will I ever do that. Then a little disappointment showed up. What if something did happen that made that a necessity? Would all the great things that we have worked so hard for go down the drain? There were many more questions that I don't have the time or inclination to post. Frankly, that is a discussion for the other blog and one I'm not willing to even think about right now. My response was that they would test my kids and decide where they should go, what grade level they should be on. Then they would get stuck in whatever grade their ages say they should be in regardless of their abilities.

All of that to say, we have changed our focus for next year. We have changed what we thought we were going to do and are focusing on what we can do. The busyness of our lives has led to alot of car schooling. Or some days we don't get done what we should so we clump it together with the next day's work. Or we work extra hard to get the work done early. That just leads to so much more stress. We all need more stress in our lives don't we? It makes a body healthy. Or not. We have come up with a plan. This is all contingent on our activities next year. I need to find out what days we will dance before we write anything in pen. I don't write anything in pen, who am I kidding? As a flyer, everything is done in pencil. Other than curriculum, nothing is set in stone in this house. Even our home has wheels.

We are not doing science and history every day. We don't have to. That is just one more thing that bogs us down. That is part of our "together" stuff. We have Tuesday co-op and veggie co-op and that's two days I know will be hectic and long. That can, and often does, change the plan for the day. I was trying to go extra light on those days when it came to lesson planning. It worked some days, but mostly it just didn't work. Or, if we are really enjoying what we are doing with science and history, we'll take a break from math or language arts. It's all about flexibility. If we need to not do school on a Thursday, then we do school on Saturday. Or skip Thursday all together. It's about finding what works for us.

My friend M was a little concerned that she wasn't doing what was right for her kids. We have had many conversations about how she schools them. Life is school is a favorite mantra for me. The biggest problem was that I wasn't living it. I wasn't walking the walk and talking the talk. It's time to start walking and talking. It is just as important to teach my kids how to get through life with joy and love and confidence than how to do geometric equations. Life is about quality and not quantity. I think all the "experts" on education have spent way too much time inside brick buildings and not enough time outside living life.

I am looking forward to more quality and less quantity. I am looking forward to teaching my kids about life. I am looking forward to talking the talk and walking the walk. I wonder if that's a good enough excuse for hubby for me to buy a new pair of shoes? Probably not.

Have a great day!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Fun

It was an awesome day at the park. I loved it. I am so glad that I have joined this group of super women and their families. We are one big family and that says alot. I stayed late with two of my friends and we talked and laughed and laughed and talked. What a great time. My kids are worn out and headed to bed, hubby is bringing me a cup of coffee and I am posting a recipe for fried wontons.

This is one from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens. So much good stuff in there. This is the recipe for the filling for our favorite won tons. It is also good as egg rolls. I like to take left overs and make fried rice with it. That's actually what I did with it. I was not in the mood for the hassle of the wontons. And, as usual, I will post my changes after. This is for you, M.

Pork and Shrimp Filling

6 oz cooked, cut up shrimp
1/2 cup finely chopped cooked pork
1/2 cup finely chopped bean sprouts
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onion
2 Tbls soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger root

Add all ingredients to bowl and mix well. Stuff wonton as directed on package.

Ok, here we go. I didn't have pork. We're trying to cut down. I did, however, have ground turkey so that's what I used. We don't use the shrimp. We don't like it with the shrimp. It gives it a little twangy flavor that's weird. Since I was making fried rice, I put on two cups of rice to cook as I cut everything up. Cook the turkey with all the ingredients to add more flavor to the meat. I let the rice cool for a few minutes, then put it in a large skillet heated with olive and sesame oil. Toss the rice with soy sauce and a little teriyaki. I added yellow bell pepper and extra onions and mushrooms to it as well. Add your meat mixture and a little more soy and teriyaki. Toss until all is coated and serve.

It was so good. It is simple, easy and quick. The rice takes maybe 15 minutes, and you could easily substitute quinoa or something similar. There was nothing left in the pan.

My kids are worn out. They played and played and played. We got home and I cooked while they showered. It was almost 7 when we left the park today. They were tired and a little cranky. Hubby beat us home. He started the rice and cut up most of the veggies. I'm headed for the shower and then bed for me.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

End of the Co-op Year

Yesterday was our last co-op of the year. This is where I need to insert lots of sad faces. Co-op is one of those things that keeps us going through the year. It is different from our normal, we get to hang out with our friends, we get to learn things we normally wouldn't.

This year was different in a lot of ways. We added a new member. We lost two established members. We stepped outside our comfort zones and have decided to do some new things for next year. The great thing is-we get to start again in September. Here's the wrap up.

The year started without one of our members. My friend N decided, after much prayer, that is was time to send her daughter to school. So we started without her, heavy hearted and missing mom and daughter. She had presented composers the year before, making each of us a CD with a sample of the composer's music. My kids still ask to listen to them. That was something I had never shared with my kids, and they soaked it up like sponges. So N, if you feel the need to make more CDs, call me! That's a hint by the way.

We added our friend C. C and her husband had adopted a daughter from Ethiopia. She had decided, after much prayer, that homeschooling was the best route for them to begin with. What a blessing to all of us they have been. She was nervous about presenting. I don't blame her. I'm nervous every time. I don't know why, but there it is. She started out the year presenting oceans. That was fantastic. We learned so much about oceans and the wonderful creatures that live in them. We even learned that there is a new ocean! What?! She ended the year with states and we did a great Florida lap book that was really cool. And she made it up all by herself. Way to go, C!

My friend B started the year out with states. B is the one that always raised the bar for us. Good grief, that woman is talented! She had the best PowerPoint presentations, the best crafts, and snacks like no body's business. We learned tons with her. I learned about states that I had never visited or really thought much about. She opened our eyes to what this great country has to offer. B decided after Christmas that it was time for a break. There were issues between her son and the baby and it was best for them. I understand, but still miss her. That's how C ended with states.

We learned about the kings and queens of England through my friend D. I had never given much thought to them before to tell you the truth. It had always seemed so convoluted. Not anymore. It is convoluted, but at least I understand the intertwined history of them better. The kids reenacted battles, we made a set of battle gear over the course of the year with shields and swords, all Styrofoam. We made Guy Fawkes dolls and learned about how England still celebrates Guy Fawkes day. They played dress up as kings and queens. It was so much fun.

And M. She has been our leader for the past two years. She is the one that wrangled this group together and put the schedule together and so many other things. She presented countries of the world. That was fun, too. As a Navy brat, she traveled as a child and got to see many great places. She shared her travels with us and taught us about different places at the same time. She made a passport for each child. The kids would glue a picture of the country's flag and a picture of a the country's most famous landscape or architecture into the passport. So many countries, so little time.

I presented inventors and we did a big three folder lap book. That was quite the chore, but they came out beautifully. I had never really studied about inventors or their backgrounds. As a matter of fact, I took alot of things we have for granted. But talking about how they worked for years to perfect something you learn about tenacity and self esteem and confidence. And we learned about some pretty cool inventions.

Next year, we will learn about Ancient Rome, states, discoverers and explorers, and the ancient wonders of the world. At least for now. We may all change our topics by then. You never know with us. I just know that I am looking forward to a little break over the summer, a little down time. Then we travel all next year through our country, through other countries, and through time. What a cool trip that will be.

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Guy Dolls

In our Tuesday co-op, one of our moms is presenting kings and queens of England. In our last discussion, she talked about Guy Fawkes and his unsuccessful attempt to blow up Parliament and the king. They still celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in England by making dolls of poor Guy and bonfires and fireworks shows. Some people burn their dolls.
This is our craft from that lesson. My friend D got to use up all her mismatched socks. We took the larger socks and stuffed the toes with small socks. Use a rubber band to tie off the head. Make faces with whatever you have. We used googily eyes and buttons and felt and little pompoms.
The one on the left belongs to the big girl, then the boy's, and the baby's on the right. It was fun and easy and it doesn't get better than that. I find it funny that the boy's doll doesn't have a mouth. As big as his is, you would think his doll would be all mouth. Just sayin'.
Have a great day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chicken Wings and Crazy Things

We have four more weeks of school. You can not imagine how happy I am about that. I love homeschooling, but after 34 weeks of school, I'm ready for a break. Yeah, I know, we just had spring break. It's like senioritis never left. The weather gets warm and I'm a senior in high school staring out the window wondering when I can get the heck out of this joint. By July, I'll be stir crazy and will be counting the days until I can start school without the kids turning on me. Craziness.

We had our after Easter Easter egg hunt at the park last Friday. That was fun. We brought stuffed plastic eggs and the kids hunted. I ate more stinking chocolate than I did on Easter. I really need to rein that in. We also did a potluck lunch. I love that part. I took a tossed salad. Yeah, not very exciting, but it was good. My friend M made brownies and they were still warm! Great googily moogily they were good with some strawberries. My friend B always brings chicken from Publix. If she changed, we'd have to kill her. We look forward to it. It is really good chicken. It's not better than mine, but I have taken a hiatus from chicken frying. Hubby took the day off. He was the biggest kid at the park. He did get on the big girl's ripstick. Know what? He was really good. He says it's a lot like surfing. I'll take your word for it. Craziness.

We were gifted with two bags of chicken wings. I'm cooking them in the crockpot. I know that's a big shocker, isn't it? I have a great recipe for a soy sauce glaze that I'm going to use. When I told my friend P how I was going to cook them, she asked for them back. Too funny. So here's the recipe. I got this one from, which has lots of recipes. This is Linda's Crockpot Chicken Wings. I don't know who Linda is, but I'll change her recipe, because that's how I roll.


12 to 18 chicken wings
1/3 c soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, minced
1 TBS honey
2 tsp. oil

Combine ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

I'm adding teriyaki, because I love it. I have more wings than that and it's dinner, so I'll have to double or triple the sauce ingredients, depending on how much chicken I have. I'm also adding pineapple and orange juice to give it a little oompf. I am not thawing out the wings, because you don't have to. Love that about a crockpot. You just have to watch how much liquid you add. I'll go a little heavy on the sauce to keep it from getting too watery. I'm serving this with white rice, but you could just as easily serve it with brown, basmati or jasmine rice. I think quinoa would be good, too. You could also add crushed red pepper flakes to add a little spice or even add some hot sauce.

That's the low down for now. We took last week off, so there really isn't much to report. The kids are hungry and want lunch. Like they don't know how to put a sandwich together. Guess that's my cue.

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Food Art

Hubby's Japanese inspired ketchup and onions.

The big girl's happy face.
You leave for one second. Just turn your back, really. What happens? Food art!
The big girl started it. She likes lots of different sauces on her burgers. This was actually a chicken sandwich, but that's beside the point. She just couldn't help it. Hubby, not to be outdone, used his onions to create a dwelling inspired by the Japanese. Not really, it just happened to look like it. Crazy people. Gosh, I love them.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


My big girl is so funny. They all are, but she is something else. She looked at me last night and said, "Please don't blog about this." She was looking at her half empty glass. I was looking at her overflowing glass. My reply was, "I was going to talk about your amazing spirit. About how you faced your fear, again, how brave you were, but if you don't want me to write about that, I won't." The response: "I wasn't looking at it like that." Of course you weren't. That's my job.

The boy is my daredevil. There isn't anything he won't jump off of, or jump onto, or jump into. You get the picture. The baby, not knowing any better sometimes, follows right behind him. I'm working on her. The big girl, though, is not so much into danger. She says she is weak and scared. That may start changing soon. Lord, help me.

Yesterday was play date Monday. The families in our co-op switched a bunch of kids around. The boy was at my friend D's house. They went to walk the dog and the boy and his friend rode bikes during this grand excursion. The boy, so you know, taught himself how to ride a bike at the park one day. Do you know what we came home with? A bike. It was the bike he rode on the dog walk. They were giving it away free to a good home. You can't beat that with a stick. It's just a little small, but it will do him just fine. He rode that bad boy around until I practically had to pull him off of it. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the big girl is watching him with her steady brown eyes.

My kids have never really ridden bikes before. Our last house was on a busy corner on a busy street. While the neighborhood was very residential, the street we lived on was a cut off between two roads. We never let the kids ride bikes in the street because it was too busy. We could have taken them somewhere and ridden, but what a pain in the butt that is. It rarely happened. They had the basics from riding bikes that belonged to other people. Most of those had training wheels. Until the boy jumped on the bike at the park one day, he had never been on a bike without training wheels.

The big girl decided she was going to ride that bike. Confidence is not her strongest attribute. It took all of three minutes for her and the boy to get into an argument that had her slamming (SLAM!) the back door as she stormed into the house and stomped (STOMP!STOMP!STOMP!)back to her room. He was crying on the front steps screaming about how he was NEVER GOING TO HELP her AGAIN. That went well. Then my phone rang. It was hubby and he was on his way home. Great, you need to do me a huge favor when you get home. Thankfully, he was on his way. I got off the phone and tried to placate a steaming mad girl and an equally angry young man.

To make a long story short (too late), hubby got home and took the boy and the big girl down to the road to ride scooters and a bike. The baby wanted to stay home and I couldn't leave her alone. I missed all the fun, but the big girl came home riding a bike! I was so happy at hubby. I was even more excited for the big girl. The beaming smile, the air of can do surrounding her was so wonderful. I even teared up.

Hubby said she was bound and determined to ride that bike. She lacked the confidence to do it on her own. Hubby helped her get through whatever was bugging her and she got on that bike and rode it. And rode it. And rode it until the boy demanded she give it back. She was fine with that. She grabbed her fear, knocked it down and got on that bike. Hubby said it was awesome to watch her. She was so happy, she had to show me. "Mama, mama, watch, watch!!" At eleven, she doesn't say that to me much anymore.

I am so proud of her. She is my analytical one. She has to weigh the pros and cons. She has to over think everything before she does it. Then she's thought about it so much, she won't do it. She has faced so many of her fears. She says she's not brave, but I remind her of teaching herself how to swim, swimming across the pool at camp, riding a bike, and a million other things she has accomplished. She is amazing and doesn't even know it. She knows better now. Every fear she would bring up, I would remind her of a time when she faced it and won.

That's it for today. If I had had my camera, you know I would have posted the pictures.

Have a great day!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Beets, and Other Stuff

Talking with my park mamas on Friday, I noticed several phrases. Ooh, bullet points.

  1. "Check out my blog. I did a post about..."
  2. "Facebook me and remind me."
  3. "I'll text you that later."
  4. "I was on Twitter the other day and..."

What a technologically savvy group we are. We link our blogs to our Facebook accounts, we tag each other in pictures, we communicate by texting, we ALL have cell phones. Even some of us that claim ignorance can be pretty techy when we need to be. I just got a kick out of it and thought you might, too. Unsocialized homeschool families, my foot. We socialize the same ways as every body else.

Speaking of blogs, my friend C said she liked my recipe blogs. Tonight I have a recipe for beets. A little over a year ago, hubby had a stomach virus. Nasty little bugger that thing was. Our doctor put him on a BRAT diet. I had just picked up our produce, which included beets. The boy and I loved them, the girls thought they were ok, and hubby wanted a bite so bad, he could taste them. He asked me to make them again, and here, a little over a year later, I'm going to make them. I got this from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Of course, mine isn't new. It was a gift from many years ago. It is my favorite and is still my go to cookbook. I hope you enjoy them.

Orange-Glazed Beets:

4 medium beets or one 16 oz can sliced beets, drained.

1 Tbl margarine or butter

1 Tbl brown sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup finely shredded orange peel

1/4 cup orange juice

In a sauce pan, cook whole fresh beets, covered. Boil for 40-50 minutes or tender. Cool slighty, remove the skins, and slice. In a medium sauce pan melt butter or margarine. Stir in brown sugarand cornstarch. Stir in orange peel and juice. Cook and stir till thick and bubbly. Add sliced beets, cook and stir until heated through.

Simple, simple, simple. I use light brown sugar. Any time I cook, I use light. If I'm baking, I use the dark. Unless the recipe calls for light or dark specifically. I do use a little more brown sugar, maybe 1/2 Tbl. I like mine a little sweeter. Other than that, I don't do anything different. Strange, I know. If you have beets with greens, save the greens. They are great for a salad. Cut out the hard center vein and wash thoroughly. Shred for a salad. Yummo.

Easter tomorrow with the family. Some much needed down time is the order of the day. Of course, I'll have my lap top. Now if I only had an iPhone...I'd be a menace, which is why I don't have one.

Celebrate Easter every day. Remember that Christ died for us and through Him we have an eternal relationship with God. Christ is the reason for the season and every day. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

Have a great day!