Thursday, October 6, 2011

Changes At Breakfast Time

We have had some recent changes at our breakfast table....the first of which is me being there.  I am not a morning person, or at least I havn't been until now.  We have recently found our family Bible study time being replaced with work, school and extra curricular schedules.  It seemed that we weren't even eating our dinner together in the evenings more than a couple days a week.  Dear husband (who is typically a morning person) decided that we would begin having our family Bible study time in the morning at the breakfast table.  That would be great, except....I don't to breakfast very well, at least until now.  I am learning to like it and honor my dh as well:)  It is amazing how this little change in our day has affected the whole day.  Some of the changes I have noticed have been things like, getting to bed earlier, ease in getting teens up in the morning, and just more pleasantness in general.  One of my challenges has been what to cook for breakfast.  Here are a couple of recipes that I have implemented in our life to make my life a bit easier and this transition more permanent.

Oven French Toast Sticks - makes 4 meals for our family
2 loaves of bread, cut in quarters to make sticks
12 large eggs
1 1/2cups half and half, fat free
6 tablespoons maple syrup
12 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
4 teaspoons vanilla
Cut bread into 4 sticks per slice.  Whisk all ingredients together well.  Dip quarters into mixture, coat thoroughly but not soggy.  Place on jelly roll pan sprayed with non stick spray.  Bake in preheated 400 degree oven (375 for dark pan) 10 minutes.  Turn over and bake 6 more minutes.  Flash freeze.  Reheat in oven 20 minutes, or in my case microwave 6 at a time for 2 minutes.

Vegan Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin seeds
Grind together pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds in blender til crumbly.  In large bowl combine all ingredients.  Mix well.  Place on dehydrator sheets til dry, about 12-18 hours.  Beware, your house will smell like the best Cinnamon Roll you have ever smelled.  I make this available to mix with fruit and homemade yogurt.  

Overall, I like getting up with my family.  It causes our day to be more productive and helps us all to focus. 

The following verse is an encouragement to me.
Go to the ant, you sluggard!  Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.  How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep-so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and you need like an armed man.
Proverbs 6:6-11 NKJV

Blessings for a productive day,  Suzie

Saturday, August 20, 2011

12 Reasons to Homeschool Your Children

1. Life is not about filling in the blanks, its about learning to think.
2. Home is where you can provide your children with a Christian World View. It is actually illegal for them to recieve that in the public system, this includes public schools online.
3. God's Word can have a place of honor in your home. It can be read freely, without threat of harm.
4. No one knows your children better than you. Is there a better person in the world to teach them besides you? I should say not!
5. Your children can be confident in their role in your family unit. Activities can be done as a family most of the time.
6. God has blessed you with these wonderful children. They are a gift from him. It is difficult to mold them to His will, if they are gone 8 hours of the day.
7. You will never have to worry about where your child is, what he/she is doing or what he/she is being exposed to.
8. Your children do not need to sit at a desk for 6 hours every day to become an educated person.
9. It is not important that your child learn to be in the same environment with 20 other people their same age. This does not happen in the real world. It is said that if your child can get along with their siblings, they can get along with anyone.
10. Each child learns differently and at a different speed. Your child needs to be taught at his/her own pace, not the pace of everyone around them. Grade levels are really not necessary.
11. You will never have to worry that your child is the victim of violence. Your home is safe.
12. And lastly but certainly not least, educating your child at home will give your child a greater chance of an eternal reward in heaven.

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Duetronomy 6:4-7

Blessings as you begin your homeschool year. Suzie

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Four Alls

One of the activities that is suggested by our Tapestry of Grace curriculum is found in the book Knights and Castles by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell. The activity is called the Four Alls. It is found on pages 26-29 of that book. It's named comes from a poem found on those pages.

"The peasants who worked for all,
Prists who prayed for all
Knights who fought for all,
And kings who ruled all

I had trouble finding that many shoe boxes and we also had a Culteral Display night that we were attending with our homeschool group and I wanted the children to learn the concepts but not necessarily do all that 'creative' art, you know the kind that gets all over the house:) so this is what I came up with. A display board activity that included an overall view of the Feudal System of government and specifically addressed each class.

For each class, the children had to find pictures (on google images, please help them search with a good internet blocker like safe-eyes) that represented what that class ate, the houses they lived in, the clothes they wore, and the type of work they did. They all had to agree (among themselves) about the pictures to use. I then had my UG student write all the synopsis' and she decorated it all as well. I had my dialectic student write a description of the Feudal System (found at the top) and a short discussion about why it didn't work. We all worked together to cut out and glue the lettering. It was a fun project and the children learned a lot. When the Culteral Display night was over, we took the pictures off and displayed them in UG students history notebook.

For our display night, we dressed up in the costumes from our Medieval Fair and served a favorite fall soup called Chicken Barley Vegetable Soup.It was nummy (and easy, crock pot recipe)

Here is the recipe.

3 cup chicken cooked chicken pieces
2/3 cup barley
8 cups chicken stock
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons parsley

Put all ingredients except parsley in crock pot in the morning. Cook all day. Add parsley. Cook 1 more hour. Serve with bread

Fun stuff. Blessings, Suzie

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie is a summertime favorite at our house and I especially like it when the berries are on sale. Great buy today at .99 cents a pound. I try to make it at least a couple times each year. Here is what I do.

For the crust, I use a recipe that is very freezer friendly. It make 12 pie crusts at a time. I make it in my Bosch. Here is my dozen pie crust recipe.

1-3# can Crisco, I use butter flavor

1# butter, softened

20 cups flour

4 cups ice cold water

1T salt

3T sugar

In Bosch bowl with cookie paddles blend butter and Crisco. Add flour and blend til crumbly. Add salt and sugar. Now add water making a smooth dough. It may seem a bit sticky for pie crust but you will add a generous amount of flour when you are ready to use. Pull apart into 4-5 inch balls, wrapping in plastic wrap. Freeze. When needed, remove and thaw overnight. Roll out onto generously floured surface. Bake at 350 14 minutes or til lightly browned. Freezer life is 1 year. This make a wonderfully workable dough and a fraction of the cost of pre made pie crust.

After your dough is thawed and able to be worked, roll out onto generously floured surface. Roll 2 inches greater than a deep dish pie plate. Roll up and place in pie plate and unroll. Make any repairs with extra dough that is trimmed from the sides. Place any additional pieces on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon for a tasty treat. Bake as directed. Crimp top of pie plate with a fork and also poke holes in the pie crust to prevent blistering. Bake as directed and let cool completely. Now you are ready to make your strawberry pie filling. Here is the recipe:

3# ripe strawberries, washed and trimmed

4T cornstarch

2 cups sugar

2 cups boiling water

1-6oz. package strawberry jello

Your baked deep dish pie shell

Whipped cream for garnish

Place washed berries attractively in pie crust. Blend cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Combine with water and cook until thick about 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add jello. Stir until dissolved. Allow to cook but not cold. Pour mixture over berries. Chill for 2-3 hours or more. Garnish with whipped cream.

Blessings for a delicious Strawberry Pie, Suzie

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mars Study

You may note in the side bar in our blog that we use Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie Fulbright. My youngest son, 11 is really enjoying this learning adventure.

This year, I implemented the notebook that goes along with the text. I has helped the children to be more focused and organized about their science studies. I would highly recommend it.

Lesson 7 in Exploring Creation with Astronomy is all about the planet Mars. For Joshua's enrichment portion of this unit he chose to build a Mars Rover.

I considered having him use Lego's but wanted to get his creative juices flowing a bit more, so we made it an edible Rover instead. He made the list for the store which included Oreo's, Skittles, Hershey bar, chocolate icing, pretzel rods, candy Lego's, Oreo Cakesters, rope licorice and a gold chocolate medallion.

Here is the final result. He had so much fun and made a big mess. We have a small Dremmel tool that I let him use to carve/drill the holes in the Oreos and it took some trial and error, but he finally did it. We had a good discussion about building a strong foundation as well.

Blessings to Joshua on a job well done. Happy Homeschooling, Suzie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wintery Cold Day

It has been unseasonably cold and we have had temperatures lower than we normally get any year, and yes, we have had snow that stayed around more than a few hours....and yes, my children are loving it!

The boys decided that they wanted to create a snow mountain so they filled an old garbage can with snow and then the next day dumped it out to create a huge mountain.
I really have had to keep a close eye on them as the wind chills have been below zero, yikes!

So, of course when they come in, they are cold and need to thaw themselves out in front of the crackling fire.

One of our family favorites when the weather is like this is called Chicken Tortellini Soup. Here is the recipe.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

6 cups chicken broth
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or whatever you have to equal 1 cup, diced)
1 cup (or more) thinly sliced carrots
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 cups Barilla Cheese Tortellini (dry)

Boil the chicken in 6 cups water til cooked. Remove chicken from broth and let cool. Discard bones if any. I use my Bosch to thinly slice all my vegetables, all in the same bowl. Dice chicken into bite size pieces. Place chicken back in pot with broth. Add vegetables and spices, cooking til tender about 15-20 minutes. Add dry tortellini and cook 10 more minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve with fresh biscuits.

You can also dump all these ingredients (except the tortellini) in a gallon ziplock bag and freeze for a future meal. Its just as easy to make 2 as it is to make one. The second one I usually cook as a crockpot dinner, 4-5 hours on high, adding the tortellini the last 45 minutes or so.

For the biscuits, I often use Pillsbury Grands if I have them on hand. I only buy them if I can get them for $.50 cents a can or less. We have had many cans around here lately as I got a great deal on them a few weeks ago, at a BOGO sale. But if I don't have Pillsbury, I bake them from scratch. This biscuit recipe makes 2 dozen, so I refrigerate half of the dough for another time. It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Angel Biscuits

5 cups unsifted flour (I usually use half unbleached white and half wheat)
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
2 cups buttermilk
1 stick butter

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter til pea sized. Place wet/warm ingredients in Bosch bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix. For Bosch users, do not overmix. The mixture will be more wet than what you may be used to, that is ok. Don't get it too dry or your biscuits will be like rocks and too dry and crumbly. Turn onto floured surface and press to 1/4 inch thick. Place on well oiled baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Makes 2 dozen biscuits.

I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine does. It is warm and healthy.

Blessings, Suzie

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Edible Cell

OK, so this is my edible cell that my brothers and I made to eat on family night. It was a science activity from my new science curriculum Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology by Jeannie Fulbright.
Mom's note - We are using the notebooks for the first time for both this curriculum and Astronomy, LOVE THEM!!

The filling is lemon/yellow jell-o. Technically speaking it is called the cytoplasm. The mess you see to your right is a mixture of the lysomes (skittles) and the mitochondria (jelly beans). The green twist up at the top is the Golgi body (fruit roll ups) and the tube like thing you see going all thought the cell is the centrioles (Twizlers) If you would like to make one of these yourself here are the instructions:

1 packet of jell-o equals 3 cells.


A sharp steak knife

A spoon

A plate

A glass or ceramic bowl

Cooking spray (such as Pam)

A box of yellow colored jell-o (cytoplasm)

A box of unflavored Knox Gelatin

A few jelly beans(mitochondria)

Several skittles (lysomes)

Starburst gummiebursts (Golgi body)

A fruit roll up (endoplasmic reticulum)

Nerds or cake sprinkles (ribosomes)

Twizzler pull and peels (centrioles)

A large gumdrop (nucleus)

Just to let you know we did not follow the instructions completely so ours and yours are not going to turn out the same.


Mix your yellow jell-o according to the package but add 1 packages of unflavored Knox gelatin.

Spray inside of bowl with cooking spray.

pour your jell-o mixture into bowls

let your jell-o harden over night.

Once your jell-o (cytoplasm)

is hardened apply your candies.

Once you have finished putting your candies in your Cytoplasm gently and slowly turn your bowl upside down onto a plate. Wallah! you have your edible cell.

We forgot to spray the bowl before putting jell-o in it so we tried to turn it over on one and it fell into pieces so we just left the rest in the bowl.

Blessings, Naomi

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, Everyone!

For many, this is a time for review and reflection. As I reflect on the changes that have taken place in our family in just one year, I am humbled. As many of you know, my dad went to be with God this year. Learning to live without an earthly father is the hardest life transition I have ever made. It forces me to depend on my heavenly father like never before. We have also 'adopted' my disabled brother who will now be living with us. His name is Andy and he is a great 'kid'. His in the picture above. He is the Vietnamese kid. This has been the reason for all the construction around here, which is now comepleted with the exception of a few moldings here and there. The boys now have a very large space in what used to be the garage. Andy has his own bedroom, now as well. My mother has also been with us since the beginning of December and it has been a wonderful visit. She will be heading home in about a week or two. Please pray for her as this is a difficult transition for her as well.
We rang in the new year with a 42 party with a few couples from church. Mom really enjoyed it. It was something that her and dad would do anytime they got together with family. We proceeded to teach the children how to play, with some success. It is kinda an adult game. After all, I had to be an adult before I was allowed to play:)
I don't traditionally reserve this time only for resolutions, rather, I try to get a little better every day of the year. There are times in my life of course that I feel more consistency than others, however most of the time, I am just trying to do better today than I did yesturday.
I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 NKJV
Blessings in the New Year, Suzie