WELCOME!

Welcome! I am using this blog to share our family's homeschooling thoughts and experiences.

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2016-2017): We will be using a variety of different curriculum this year, with Notgrass' Uncle Sam and You as our main History, Bible and Literature focus. Our oldest, EL, is in 12th grade this year, but has special learning needs due to autism. JJ is our youngest, an active boy with Tourette Syndrome. He is in the 8th grade.

Please feel free to follow along....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What We Eat For Breakfast, and My Favorite Blueberry Muffin Recipe

At our house, I do not normally cook a big breakfast. I prefer quick and easy, less stress, and less mess. It works out well for us because everyone usually wants something different to eat so, with the following choices, they are able to choose and prepare what they want. It has provided the opportunities to teach them how to make their own choices, how to prepare their own meals, and how to clean up after themselves.

BREAKFAST CHOICES include:
  • Cold cereal with or without milk (my daughter eats it dry)
  • Oatmeal made with Quick Oats and brown sugar (made in the microwave) 
  • Occasionally, I will make a large pan of Baked Oatmeal and we will have several days to eat through it.
  • Frozen waffles warmed up in the toaster
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Toast with a variety of toppings (Peanut Butter, Sunbutter, Butter and Honey, Butter sprinkled with Cinnamon/Sugar, or Jam)
  • Muffins (I make a variety of these ahead of time and freeze them. We just take one out of the freezer and heat it for 35 seconds in the microwave)
  • Breakfast cookies (made ahead of time)
  • A piece of fruit 
  • Occasionally, on Saturday mornings, I will make pancakes
  • And, on rare occasions, we will have Toaster Strudels and Yogurt, like we did on our first day back to school this year.

Here is my favorite Blueberry Muffin recipe. They are low in sugar, and freeze very well.


BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
2 and 2/3 cups unbleached flour (or do half whole wheat)
1 and 1/2 cups oats (Quick Oats or Old Fashioned)
2/3 cup white sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups milk (your choice)
1/2 cup oil (your choice, I use Canola)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 
(Raspberries or Blackberries would work, too)

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. Mix ingredients together until combined, then fold in the blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. 

Makes 2 dozen


Friday, August 21, 2015

HOME EC: Beef Noodle Bake



I have made a goal this school year to rotate between the two kids and have each of them help me with preparing our evening meals. My daughter, EL, was the first to help out this year. We made a simple, economical casserole that the whole family enjoyed. It is a great make-ahead meal that can be made a day before, then popped into the oven when you are ready...


BEEF NOODLE BAKE
16 oz. Egg Noodles
1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
1/2 tsp. Minced, dried onions
4 1/2 cups Pasta Sauce
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
2 cups Cottage Cheese
1 8-oz. pkg. Lite Cream Cheese, softened

Directions:  Boil noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef and onion together. Drain any fat. Stir in pasta sauce and garlic salt. Let simmer while you mix up the cheeses. Soften the cream cheese in microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir in the cottage cheese until blended.

In a greased, 9x13 casserole dish, layer half the noodles, half the cheese mixture, and half the meat sauce. Then, repeat.

Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Uncover and bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, until heated through.

Here are all the main ingredients, except for the ground beef. The recipe calls for 4 1/2 cups of pasta sauce. You can make your own, or use purchase in a jar. I used a 23 oz. jar of Ragu, and a 14 oz. jar of pizza sauce, because that is what I had on hand.

The ground beef is cooking, and the noodles are boiling.

EL mixed up the cheeses while I cooked the ground beef.

The final, layered casserole, ready for the oven.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School 2015: A Peek Into Our Day


Today was our first day back to school for the 2015-2016 school year. I kept it light and fun today, as it was mostly just to get us back into a routine. Here is a little peek into what our day was like:

7:00 a.m. - EL and I made our beds and took our showers
7:30 a.m. - JJ's wake-up call
8:00 a.m. - Breakfast and Devotions (We used Growing with Jesus by Andy Holmes)

I usually allow the kids to choose something special for our first day back to school breakfast. In the past, the most asked for choice has been PANCAKES. But, last year, they decided to have BAKED OATMEAL. And, this year, the choice was TOASTER STRUDELS and YOGURT. Very simple, and something they love.


8:30 a.m. - Clean up breakfast, brush teeth, then free time until 9:00.
9:00 a.m. - Exercises (Today we marched and moved to Lego Lord's Army)
9:30 a.m. - School Time (Seat Work)

For our seat work today, we went over a brief overview of our schedule for the year, the kids filled out some "All About Me" pages for their notebooks, did an August back-to-school word search, practiced A's and B's in cursive, and did a little Math:  EL worked on a couple pages in our Usborne Dot to Dot Book, and JJ reviewed his multiplication (1's - 4's) in a Twin Sister's Wipe-Clean workbook.


11:30 a.m. - Seat work done for the day, and time for Lunch
After lunch was chores and free time.

Day one done and all went well.  (We'll see how things go once the seat work gets a little more challenging.)

Have a great and productive school year!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Making Plans for 2015-2016 School Year

Summer is mostly over, and we are getting ready to start back up with school. My plan is to start back on August 20th, starting out slow with just Math and English. Then, after Labor Day, we will be using My Father's World: EXPLORING COUNTRIES AND CULTURES. 


I started this blog 5 year ago in August of 2010, and ECC is the program I first started blogging through. EL was 12 at the time, and JJ was 7. Here is the post from our first day of ECC back in 2010: DAY 1 OF EXPLORING COUNTRIES AND CULTURES - August 2010 

This time around, the kids are older, so we will be digging a little deeper and exploring a little more. I'm excited to see the finished notebooks at the end of the year so we can compare them from 5 years ago. 

Along with ECC, which covers Bible, History/Geography, Science, Music and Art, we will also be using the following:

MATH & ENGLISH:  ACE paces for both kids. If the subject matter gets too difficult for EL, I may need to switch her back to using Kumon workbooks for Math, and Queen Language Lessons for English. Explode the Code is another good option we have used in the past. 

CREATIVE WRITING:  Writing Strands book 3 for both kids. We started this last year, but didn't finish it.

SPELLING and VOCABULARY:  Spectrum Spelling Workbooks for both kids. This is a new one for us this year, so we will see how it works out.

SPANISH:  Rosetta Stone for both kids. This is our first year doing this one also. I snagged a good deal on Levels 1-5 earlier in the year, so I'm hoping the kids do well with it. 

TYPING:  Typing Instructor for Kids for EL, or maybe a FREE online typing program for JJ. Every year, I have this in my plans, but never seem to get around to doing it. I'm hoping this year it will finally work out, as I think both kids could really benefit from it.

Plus, we plan to add in Book Reports, Exercises/Sports, Independent Skills, Speech/Developmental Therapies, Volunteer work, Boy Scouts, Field Trips, and a Wednesday evening program at our church.

It looks like a LOT, and it is, but we don't do it all at the same time. It is spread out throughout the year, so hopefully we will fit it all in.... but we will see. I always have great aspirations for our new school year, but tend to wane off a bit as we get further into the year. At least we have a plan in place, and will try to stick to it as much as possible. 

Our School Record Book, where I keep track of attendance, test scores, lesson plans, books read, field trips, our main schedule, and more.