Monday, May 2, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: May 2-8, 2016

How is it May already?  This year is just flying by and we are almost to the half-way point of 2016!  Time seems to just go by so fast, and I am sure it feels that way because our life is so hectic.  Thank goodness for my menu plan each week or there is no way I could keep it together enough to cook dinner most nights.  And then there are the nights where we are soo busy there is no eating at home.

Before I get to my regular menu plan for the week I wanted to take a minute to share my Kentucky Derby Menu plan for 2016 since this Saturday is the Kentucky Derby.  You can find that menu here.  

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday:  Pork loin cooked in the crockpot, Low Carb Mac 'n Cheese for Grownups, My Grandmother's Green Beans

Tuesday:  Eating Out

Wednsday:  Taco Salad

Thursday:  Eating Out

Friday:  Eating Out

Saturday:  Hamburgers, Sauteed Mushrooms, Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes, corn on the cob 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen: The 12 Most Pesticide Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables and the Fifteen Cleanest

I am not a whole food momma by any means.  You will find some processed goodies in my pantry for my kids, we eat dry cereal, and I don't always buy organic.  However, I am doing better than I used to.  I am learning more about GMO foods, the difference between organic and conventional grown produce, what raw milk is, and about RBGH free dairy.  I have changed my food habits immensely over the past few years, and I am on a journey to becoming a whole food momma, but I am not quite there yet.

In my journey I have learned about the USDA Dirty Dozen  list.  It's a list of the most pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables, and is updated each year by the USDA.  If you can't afford to buy organic all the time, you will want to consider splurging to buy organic when purchasing items on this list.  Many of the items can actually be grown easily yourself, so you could also consider growing them as well.

This year's list is out and it includes:

1.  Strawberries
2.  Apples
3.  Nectarines
4.  Peaches
5.  Celery
6.  Grapes
7.  Cherries
8.  Spinach
9.  Tomatoes
10.  Sweet Bell Peppers
11.  Cherry Tomatoes
12.  Cucumbers

This year's list also included two bonus items that don't quite meet the criteria for the Dirty Dozen list but the USDA felt we should be warned about.  Those two items are hot peppers and leafy greens (like kale and collard greens).

And in comparison to the Dirty Dozen list is the Clean Fifteen.  The Clean Fifteen includes fifteen of the cleanest produce items, where buying organic is always necessary.

This years Clean Fifteen Includes:
1.  Avcados
2.  Sweet Corn
3.  Pineapples
4.  Cabbage
5.  Frozen Sweet Peas
6.  Onions
7.  Asparagus
8.  Mangoes
9.  Papayas
10.  Kiwis
11.  Eggplant
12.  Honeydew Melon
13.  Grapefruit
14.  Cantaloupe
15.  Cauliflower

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review of

One of the joys of homeschooling
 is getting to choose which programs work best for your child.  For my youngest computer based programs have always been the best way for him to learn. is a great online program designed for two to seven year olds.  The program focuses on reading, math, science, arts and colors.

 It has a very impressive scope and sequence that covers a wide variety of information in each subject area.  ABCMouse's approach to learning is a stepping stone type approach with each lesson building on the previous lessons.  The program is designed to encourage children to acieve goals in order to achieve the next step of learning.  One of the great things is that with this program kids do not even realize they are learning but instead they think they are just playing a computer game.

Another feature that I like about ABCMouse is that it does have a built in timer which makes it easy if you want to limit your child's use of the website.

I do think that ABCMouse is a great program and is appropriate for it's target audience.  I think for ages 2 to pre-k this is an excellent stand alone program but for those in kindergarten and beyond it is more of a supplement.  Some relaxed homeschoolers will be fine with it being a complete kindergarten curriculum, so it really does come down to a personal choice.

Are you ready to try for yourself?  

Throwback Thursday - Waking Up Early When You Are a Late Riser

For this Throwback Thursday post I am sharing this post from August 14, 2013.  While it was written towards homeschooling moms the post is useful for anyone, which is why it has become one of my more popular posts.

One of the joys of homeschooling is the fact that it doesn’t have to run on the same time frame as public schools.  However, I have learned that the later in the day we start our school day, the less it seems we get done, and the grumpier my kids are.  I don’t like getting up early in the morning to start school.  I use to work third shift and getting up at 7 AM is extremely hard for me.  After talking with many other moms who homeschool I have found that I am not the only one who finds getting up early so hard.  After some work I have managed to get used to getting up early each day.  Here are some tips to help you make the adjustment from sleeping in each morning to getting up early.
Start Small
If you are use to getting up at 10 AM, try getting up at 9:30 AM for a few days, then move it up to 9 AM for a few days, then after a few days of getting up at 9 AM try getting up at 8:30 AM for a few days.  Keep moving the time up until you reach the time that you want to get up each day.
Go to Bed Earlier
You can’t expect getting up at 6:30 AM to be easy if you are staying awake until midnight. Making it a point to go to bed earlier will allow you to get enough sleep so that your body won’t keep fighting your desire to wake up earlier in the morning.
Move Your Alarm
When you set your alarm move it to the other side of the room from where you are sleeping.  By moving your alarm to the other side of the room you will force yourself to have to get up out of bed to turn it off.  Once you are up don’t lay back down, instead jump in the shower to wake yourself up completely. 
Let the Sunshine In
If your room is dark and cave-like you are going to want to hide out in it all day.  If you live in an area where it is okay you can leave the window coverings from your windows open at night so that the sun will shine in each morning.  However, if leaving your window coverings open overnight is not possible you can purchase window coverings that will allow the sunlight to stream in through them in the morning.
Get a New Alarm Clock
If you live in the North part of the country where it is dark and dreary in the morning letting the sunshine in is not always possible.  You might consider getting a new alarm clock that offers a sunrise feature.  With the sunrise feature the alarm will mimic the glow of the sunrise in the morning.
Also if you like to hit the snooze button on your alarm in the morning consider buying one that does not have a snooze button.
Don’t Sleep in on Weekends
Getting up early every single day of the week will help your body adjust to your new sleep schedule.  Sleeping in just one day can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule so be sure to avoid the temptation to sleep in on the weekend.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - April 25th to May 1st

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

As I mentioned last week, it is the season of the year when we are busy and don't eat at home a lot, despite my best intentions.  On nights when we are home I do my best to take advantage of the opportunity to cook.  This week is a typical spring week in our home, and we have only a few meals planned.

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Monday - Eating Out

Tuesday - Pizza Braid for the kids, and a yummy THM pizza on a Joseph's Pita for me

Thursday - BLT Frittata, Trim Healthy Mama cookbook page 74

Saturday - Eating Out

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up - Thunder Over Louisville, 2016

It has been said that Louisville, Kentucky is the only place where people will party two weeks for a two minute horse race.  The kickoff for that two week party leading into the Kentucky Derby is Thunder Over Louisville, which was yesterday.

My husband and I have both been to Thunder Over Louisville before but we have hesitated on taking the kids.  The traffic is terrible, the crowds are insane, and we just have never been sure that it was something we wanted to tackle with our kids (disclaimer here - I am not saying it isn't the place for kids but that we weren't sure we wanted to deal with the madness of it all).  So this year when we had the opportunity to spend the weekend at Tom Stinnett RV in Clarksville, Indiana we were excited to finally give the kids the opportunity to see Thunder for the first time in person.

It was a wonderful weekend, yes we spent the entire weekend in the parking lot to watch thirty minutes of fireworks but it was a great opportunity to spend some family time with our kids.

Here are some fun pictures from our weekend


How was your Thunder over Louisville experience?  Did you brave the crowds on the riverfront?  Or participate in a Thunder Over Louisville viewing party?  I'd love to hear about it!

Kentucky Derby Menu Ideas, Take 3

It's that time of year again when the attention in the state of Kentucky turns to the Kentucky Derby. With last night being Thunder Over Louisville, the official opening of the Kentucky Derby Celebration, Derby planning is in full swing.  Food plays a huge part in Kentucky Derby celebrations, and each year my most popular posts are menu ideas for Kentucky Derby parties.  You can see the previous two years menu ideas by visiting those older posts here and here.  And now it is time to look at the new recipes that are perfect for your Kentucky Derby party!

Kentucky Hot Brown Dip

This Hot Brown Dip from Cupcakes and Kale Chips puts a fun spin on the traditional Kentucky Hot Brown and makes it much more party friendly.

Mint Julep Lemonade

The Mint Julep is a Kentucky Derby staple and this Mint Julep Lemonade from Hot Beauty Health is an alcohol free version of the drink that can be enjoyed by party goers of all ages.

Mini Derby Pies with Bourbon Whipped Cream

No Kentucky Derby party is complete without Derby pie and these Mini Derby Pies with Bourbon Whipped Cream from Home is Where The Boat is are the perfect size for the food table at your Kentucky Derby party.

Kentucky Derby Pie Cookies

Another party friendly and crowd pleasing way to get a taste of Kentucky Derby pie onto your Kentucky Derby party menu is with these Kentucky Derby Pie Cookies from Theringers.  These cookies pack all of the taste of a Kentucky Derby pie into a fabulous finger food!

Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs

Kentucky is known for it's bourbon and bourbon is a staple of the Kentucky Derby.  These Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs from The View From Great Island are a great way to bring a taste of bourbon to your Kentucky Derby Party menu.

Derby Day Bourbon Brownies

Another fun and delicious way to bring a small taste of bourbon to your Kentucky Derby party is with these Derby Day Bourbon Brownies from The Seasoned Mom.

Woodford Pudding

Woodford Pudding is another traditional Kentucky dish and has earned a spot on any Kentucky Derby party menu.  This Woodford Pudding from The Southern Lady Cooks is a fabulous recipe and one that you will want to make.