Monday, April 27, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, April 27 - May 3, 2015

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

Last week was a good week food wise.  We did end up eating out a couple more times than we had originally planned but we tried some amazing recipes, many which will be hitting the blog in the near future.  I have definitely been in the mood to be creative in the kitchen the last few weeks.  When we were at Disney World we stopped by the Columbia Harbor House for dinner one night and I had lobster mac n' cheese, it was delicious!  I have been wanting to try a version of this at home, and plan to do so this week.  

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

Monday
Brunch - Bacon, Eggs, Biscuits
Dinner - Sandwiches, Pretzels, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday
Breakfast - oatmeal
Lunch - chili dogs, baked beans
Dinner - Shrimp Mac N Cheese, corn on the cob

Wednesday
Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - ravioli, garlic breadsticks
Dinner - Chili Con Queso

Thursday
Breakfast - ham and egg sandwiches
Lunch - chicken noodle soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Dinner - Italian Sausage with Green Peppers and Onions, Baked Potato Wedges

Friday 
Breakfast - Dutch Baby
Lunch - Loaded Baked Potatoes

Saturday
Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
Dinner - Eating Out

Sunday
Breakfast - Cereal
Dinner - leftover night

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mom's Favorite Baby Finds and Must Have Items for 2015



Are you expecting a baby!  If so congratulations!  Whether you are a new mom or a mom who hasn't had a baby in a long time you may be wondering with all of the new baby gadgets on the market what are the ones that are the best buy.  Here is a look at what mom's say are their favorite baby finds and must have items for 2015.



Fisher Price Rock 'n Play
The Fisher Price Rock 'n Play seems to be at the top of many a new mom's wish list.  I had a very similar item when my fifteen year old daughter was born but it was much lower to the ground than this model.  The reason so many moms love the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play is for it's versatility.  It can easily be moved from room to room during the day for baby to nap in, it is portable enough to take with you for use when you aren't at home, and some moms even use it at night beside their own bed for baby to sleep in, as it is a much safer alternative to co-sleeping.  Babies who suffer from reflux seem to do well in it as it keeps babies upper body slightly elevated.


Nose Frida
So when I first heard of the Nose Frida I thought that it was the grossest thing ever!  The Nose Frida is a nasal aspirator that allows you to suck baby's snot out of their nose with.....your mouth.  I know!  However, the Nose Frida actually works and you don't end up with snot in your mouth.  It is much more effective than the little blue bulb aspirator that you get in the hospital.  And in the end baby can breathe, which is what matters.


My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
When I had my first child the Boppy pillow was all the rage.  I could never get it to work right.  All of the issues that breastfeeding mom's had with the Boppy seem to be solved with the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow which makes it rank at the top of many new mom's must have list.



SwaddleMe Adjsutable Infant Wraps
Swaddling your baby is an art form, and one that I had a hard time perfecting with my first child.  However, when you got the swaddling right it was amazing.  With the SwaddleMe adjustable infant wraps swaddling is made easy.



Woombie
The Woombie keeps baby warm at night and is a much safer alternative than covering baby up with a blanket for the night.  


Dr. Boudreaux's Butt Paste
There are lots and lots of diaper ointment creams on the market but this is the one that wants.  It does wonders and is an absolute must have for your nursery!



Euro Spa Bath and Changing Table
The Euro Spa Bath and Changing Table is another item at the top of many mom's must have list.  It acts as a changing center with plenty of space to store wipes, diapers, and all of the items you need for diaper changes, while also having a tub to wash baby in.  It's height is perfect for mom's, and it is portable.


Other Must Have Items 
Nail Clippers - the ones specially designed for babies are best

Onesies - in the winter you can layer them, in the summer they are perfect for wearing by themselves

Cloth Diapers - diapers are expensive and cloth diapers are a much cheaper alternative, while also being better for the environment.  There is no need for the fancy ones, the simple ones work just as well.

Socks - these seem to get lost so easy, so having plenty on hand will be a blessing.

Baby Carrier - There are all kinds of baby carriers available on the market and the kind that works best will vary from individual to individual.  I have to add a word of warning will come with these, if you decide to breastfeed while wearing your baby please be careful.  My sister had a very close call with my niece who fell asleep while breastfeeding in a baby carrier.  

Swing - the time that baby spends in the swing is the only relief that some new mom's get.  For many babies the soothing rocking of the swing is the only thing that will comfort them, or let them sleep.

Lanolin and breast pads - if you are a nursing mom these are a must

Formula - even if you plan on breastfeeding exclusively it is recommended that you keep some formula on hand in case for some reason you have to have it.

Wipes Warmer - this is especially important in the colder months but I used mine all year long

Hands Free Breast Pump - When your hands are full of a little one all day, having a hands free breast pump will allow you to read, surf the internet or even fold clothes while you pump.

Infant Night Gowns - You will be changing your baby's diaper a lot during those first weeks, and you will be sleep deprived.  Using night gowns instead of sleepers means you have no zippers or snaps to mess with when changing diapers.

Hats - Babies lose the majority of their body heat through their head.  No matter what the season is baby hats can help keep baby warm in the winter months or in the cool air conditioning.

Convertible Car Seat - while infant seats can be tempting a convertible car seat will last you much longer than a newborn seat making it a much better investment from the beginning.

Gas Drops, Teething Drops, Baby Tylenol - These are items you will want to keep on hand, as they are not things you will want to be running out to the store at 2 AM to purchase.  Purchasing ahead of time won't be a waste of money - you will use them at one point or another!

Behind the Ear Thermometer - Less invasive than other thermometers, it works quickly and is great to use with a fussy baby.

Are you a mom on a budget?
Check out our post - Tips for Saving Money During Baby's First Year






Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Saving Money on Groceries at Meijer Without Clipping Coupons


I have mentioned time and again on this blog that I am on a tight budget when it comes to grocery shopping.  I am always looking to save as much as I can when it comes to groceries.  While I still clip coupons I don't use many of them because they are for foods we don't eat.  The majority of the coupons I use are for laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, household items, and health care.  One of my favorite stores to shop at is Meijer.  Meijer offers a mPerks program that you can use in addition to coupons, or you can use if you don't use coupons.

In the last month I have saved $56.34 by using mPerks.  My weekly food budget is $125 so this is nearly half of one weeks grocery budget for my family.  

You can sign up for mPerks by visiting Meijer's website.  Once you sign up for this free program you simply go online to chose from Rewards and coupons that you digitally clip.  To use these coupons and rewards at the store, you enter your phone number and pin on the credit card pad at checkout.  

When you sign in to mPerks you can choose from Rewards or Coupons.  My favorite part of the program is the Rewards part.  When you choose the Rewards tab you can choose Rewards that you want to start earning.  These are both generalized rewards and specialized rewards.  You have four weeks to earn these rewards.  The Reward that I use each month is $6 off your shopping trip when you spend $175.  The $175 does not have to be spent in one trip, it can be tallied up over multiple trips.  Specialized rewards that I am earning this month include $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $30 on fresh vegetables in the produce department, $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $30 on Cleaning and Laundry Products, and $5 off your shopping trip when you spend $40 or more in Garden and Floral.  

When you chose the Coupons tab you can digitally clip coupons.  Some of the coupons are similar to those you would find in the Sunday coupons, while others may be a percentage or dollar amount off a certain department purchase.  One coupon currently offered on mPerks is 10%  off your General Merchandise purchase.

Another nice feature of mPerks is that it digitally stores your receipts for you and that you can create your own shopping list with it.  

I am linking this post up to Works for Me Wednesday at Giving up on Perfect.




What I Wore Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The last couple of weeks have been warm, and I was able to wear some spring styles.  This past week however has cooled back off, and it's back to trying to keep warm.  It sounds like we have a couple more weeks of chilly weather before it warms back up for good.

My daughter was sick this week, and I spent Saturday night with her in the ER.  Sleep was not a friend of mine this week as she kept me up most nights.  So I am exhausted in most of these pictures!


Wednesday - School and Shopping
Cardigan - Merona at Target (only plus size left here)
Tank - Merona at Target (here)
Shoes - Macy's (here
Necklace - Amazon (here


Monday - school and grocery shopping
Cardigan - Mossimo from Target (here
cami - old
Pants - Gap (here)
Shoes - old (similar here




Tuesday - date night with my husband
Sweater - same as Orange above Merona at Target (only plus size still available here
Dress - TJ Maxx
Shoes - old


We went out to dinner and to see the play Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  It was such a cute show!  And no we didn't mean to match, it just happened!


And I was even wearing Orchid Ombre Jamberry Nail Wraps (available here).  Which also was not planned!  I guess I am just really liking this color right now.

 
Wednesday - Taking my daughter to tennis lessons
Top - Daisy Fuentes from Kohl's clearance
pants - Gap (here
Shoes - old (similar here

I am linking up to 



and 




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Will Your Kids Still Homeschool if Something Happens to You? Time To Make a Plan!

Death.  It's inevitable.  However, it also something that we don't like to talk about.  Many of us have wills in place.  Many have life insurance plans.  Many know who will become guardians of our kids should something happen to both parents.  But what about homeschooling?  What would happen to your kid's education if something were to happen to the primary homeschooling parent?  What would happen if something were to happen to both parents?  

This is a topic my husband and I have been recently talking about, and is also a topic that came up today on a homeschooling forum I frequent.  I used to not worry about things like this, I used to think bad things couldn't happen to me.  Then my husband had his car wreck.  The car wreck that left him disabled and unable to work.  It hit home that bad things can happen to me.  So as much as I don't want to think about what would happen if something were to happen to me or my husband it is something that I definitely need to think about.

Sorry, hoping for Mary Poppins to show up in a pinch is not going to work.

What if something happens only to the primary homeschooling parent?
This is something that I have given a lot of thought to.  If something were to happen to me there is enough life insurance to cover tuition to an online homeschooling program, or tuition to a private school.  The online homeschooling program is my first choice, but a private school would be an acceptable alternative.

What if something happens to both homeschooling parents?
For us the same plan is in place for our children's education.  The kids will go to live with their selected guardian, and the life insurance will cover tuition to a private school or online homeschooling program.  

For other families this plan may be different.

Many of my homeschooling friends were homeschooled themselves so the grandparents would take on the responsibility of continuing to homeschool, as they have already done this.  Other homeschooling parents have siblings who are homeschooling their own children.  So the kids in those families would go to live with the aunt or uncle who homeschools and would continue homeschooling with their children.  

Other families are extremely close to their homeschooling friends.  In fact many families have selected another homeschooling family to become guardian of their children if something were to happen.  In this case the students would be able to continue homeschooling with their friends.

Then there are families with no options but to send their kids to public school.

Make a Detailed Plan and Make it Known
Not only is important to discuss your plans with your spouse but it is important to let those who are selected to care for your children after you are gone know of your plan.  After all, they are the ones who will be implementing the plan you create.  And discuss your plans with your kids, this can be done in age appropriate conversations. 

Instead of having generalized plans, like private school or online homeschool programs have detailed ones.  If something were to happen to you there will be a lot for the new guardian and your kids to deal with.  Having detailed plans to implement will make the transition much smoother.  Do your research and update it annually.  Research online homeschool programs, the costs, the enrollment steps, and everything that will be needed.  Then research the private schools in the area that the children will be living in.  Find out what the costs are, what the enrollment guidelines are, and find out what they will need to accept a homeschool student.  Write down this information and place it in a file for the future guardians.

What if the guardian works?
If you do have a family member who is willing to continue homeschooling your kids in the fashion that you have been homeschooling there are still things to consider.  If the guardian works and will need to quit their job, can they afford it?  Whether they can afford it or not, it is a good idea to build a salary for the future guardian into your life insurance.  This will allow them to quit their job to educate their kids without having to suffer financially.

Keep Records and Have Them Accessible
One thing we as homeschoolers don't often do is share pertinent information with our spouses, let alone the future guardian.  If you have a special needs plan in place for your child, it is important that this information be shared with the person who will be homeschooling your child.  They will also need access to school transcripts, grades, etc.  It is important that you keep detailed records and keep them in a file that is accessible to the future guardian.  This will make the transition much smoother, and will be even more important if they have to enroll your student in a public or private school.

Trust Your Guardian
Even with great plans in place it is important that you trust the future guardian to make the best decisions for your student.  While it is important that they understand how important the plans you have made for your child is, it is important that you also know you can't plan for everything that may come up.  You must be able to trust that they will make the best decisions for your child if they can not stick to the plans that you have set or if something unexpected were to occur.




Healthy Stuffed Green Peppers Using Ground Turkey

Five years ago I posted a stuffed green pepper recipe (here) that was full of cheesy goodness, and while it is still a great tasting recipe this stuffed green pepper recipe is for a healthier stuffed green pepper.  Which is exactly what I need right now! 



Ingredients
4 Green Peppers
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups brown rice
1 jar marinara sauce (or even better use homemade sauce)

Directions



1.  Remove the top and seeds from green peppers.  Brown ground turkey and cook brown rice.


2.  Mix together ground turkey, brown rice, and marinara sauce.  This will be your stuffing mixture.


3. Fill green peppers with stuffing mixture and place in a greased casserole dish.  Bake for 40 minutes in 375 degree oven.

Trim Healthy Mama - use a sugar free marinara sauce and this is THM compliant.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, April 20-26, 2015


This week is going to be a busy week and this week I am cooking on a budget so my menu will be based around what I have at home, along with inexpensive meal ideas.

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday
breakfast - cereal
dinner - chicken noodle soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Tuesday
breakfast - oatmeal, fresh fruit
lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
dinner - turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, corn

Wednesday 
lunch - chili dogs

Thursday
breakfast - ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches
lunch - potato soup

Friday
lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
dinner - salmon croquettes, macaroni and cheese, baked beans

Saturday
breakfast - cereal
lunch - chicken fried rice
dinner -pork chops and cabbage

Sunday
breakfast - oatmeal
dinner -sandwiches, pretzel, applesauce



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gingham Apron Sew Along - Progress Report



My favorite apron pattern has come up missing!  I have no idea where it has gone!  Luckily, Joann Fabrics had Simplicity patterns on sale 5 for $5.  I knew I wanted a vintage inspired apron, so this is the pattern I chose.  I am having a hard time deciding which one to make though.  I prefer full aprons and bought the fabric for a full apron but I am loving the ruffled half apron.....


Unfortunately Joann's didn't have any gingham fabric.  What?!?!?!  I had assumed it would be easy to find gingham fabric.  I guess I was wrong.  

So off to Hancock Fabrics I went to find some fabric.  They did have a small section of gingham and I decided on yellow because we are in the middle of redoing our kitchen and the color will be yellow.


I actually have a lemonade theme picked out for the kitchen, and pink is going to be an accent color.  I am trying to decide now how to add a little pink to my apron to break up the yellow a little.  I am planning on sewing it next week so I have a little bit more time to figure it out.

Of course this wasn't the only pattern and fabric I picked out.  That little piece of fabric and pattern ended up costing me over $50!  Well....sorta.....  I had taken Sunshine to tennis lessons and while we were in town I decided it was a good time to go shopping for the fabric and pattern.  Which meant I was taking Sunshine shopping with me.  BIG MISTAKE!  She is loving maxi skirts right now so we ended up with several skirt patterns and some fabric for her.  And all I wanted was some gingham fabric and an apron pattern!



Friday, April 17, 2015

The Perfect Mother Lie



The words were so sweet and so well meaning, “I really admire you.  Seriously, I really admire you as a mom and am amazed by what you do.”  Those words.  If only she knew.  If only she knew about the times when I am screaming at my kids because I have already asked them twenty times to pick their shoes up out of the living room floor and they still haven’t done it.  If only she knew how I stayed up late at night worrying that I wasn’t good enough.  If only she could see me as I was losing it while shopping for Easter dresses with my kids and my daughter was having an epic meltdown.  If only she could hear my nagging.  If only she knew how hard I struggled to be a good mom.  I bet if she had a glimpse into those scenarios she would think I was the worst mother in the world.

Sometimes being a mom is hard.  Let’s be honest, everything about being a mom is hard.  It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom.  Everything about being a mom is hard.  You have to make decisions about their education, whether or not to vaccinate them, should you let them join social media sites, can they go to a sleepover, the list of decisions goes on and on.  Even when you are 99.9% sure (because you are never 100% sure) you are making the right decision you still agonize over it, what if it is the wrong decision, what if the worst happens. 

Then there is the judging.  If you are strict on your kids you are overprotective, if you are lenient with your kids you are a bad mom.  You have to send the perfect healthy lunch to school because if your child has even one item that could be deemed as unhealthy you will be judged as an unfit mom.  And you wouldn’t dare let anyone know you feed your child McDonalds from time to time because that is just the worst thing ever. 

And then there is the sacrifice.  The sacrifices your kids aren’t even aware you make.  You give them that last piece of cake when honestly you had been daydreaming about eating it all afternoon.  You wear clothes that are from two seasons ago just so that you can buy them new clothes.  You scrimp and save just so that you can give them that vacation they are dreaming of.  Then you get upset with them when what you give them isn’t enough.  They want more.  They always want more.

The thing is being a mom is also wonderful.  It is the most rewarding job in the whole world.  You get rewarded with sweet baby giggles when they are young, messy toddler hugs when they are young, and every now and then you get the slightest hint of a smile from your teenager.  You get to be their hero, their best friend, and their confidante.  And that makes every moment of being a mother worth it. 

And sometimes you get notes like this.


And while I know I am not the best mother in the world, I also know that I am not the worst mother in the world.  Although my kids have told me quite often I am the meanest mother in the world.  The important thing is I am their mother, and I am the only one they have.  That makes me the perfect mother for them.  Every moment of heartbreak, sacrifice, and grief is worth it to get to be their mom.


So if you are the mom who sometimes loses it, who feels as if they are never good enough, or are secretly longing for bedtime so that you can finally have some quiet, know that you are not alone.  We are all there with you in the trenches of motherhood, and having those moments of our own.  That perfect mom you think you might know isn’t so perfect.  She is just like you and me. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Has Sprung

This last couple of weeks has been hit and miss with rain.  In fact it looks like the next few days are going to be the same way.  However, today we were able to get a little break from the rain and while the sun was out we decided to go outside to get some yard work done.  I haven't felt well all week and today was the first week I have felt good so out we went.  

We mowed the yard and found time to climb in trees.


I transplanted strawberries that had been planted directly into the ground and were being taken over by weeds to a raised bed.  I am hoping they will do better in the raised bed.  I also uncovered my mint bed for summer, and pulled the weeds.  Then we set up two new flower beds and planted some iris plants in the new beds.

I have plans to set up two more raised beds to set up for vegetables.

The kids were exhausted and went to bed early tonight.  I think I need to get them outside more often!

Fudge Brownie Recipe


As I mentioned in my Menu Plan Monday post I fell in love with cooking again last week.  Which means I want to cook all the time again.  Needless to say my husband and kids are loving it.  I haven't made brownies in forever.  I had forgotten how easy they were to make!  These brownies are a rich fudgy cake like brownie.  You can't eat too many because they are so rich but the ones you eat are absolutely wonderful!

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
powdered sugar

Directions

In a mixing bowl mix together sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla.  In a second bowl stir together cocoa, salt, and flour.  Slowly add cocoa, salt, and flour to the mixing bowl.  Once fully blended pour brownie mix into a greased 9x13 cake pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until baked completely through.  Once brownies have cooled dust with powdered sugar before serving.



Throwback Thursday - Italian Herb Rolls

These Italian Herb Rolls were one of my first bread machine recipes and they have been a staple ever since.  This recipe was originally posted here on August 11, 2009.  I have changed the recipe just a bit since it was first posted, I now omit the sugar in the original recipe and the results are still the same - nice, fluffy rolls.  The original post was also written well before Pinterest so there were no pictures, and I have included pictures in this post.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
1/2 cup Warm Water
1/2 cup Warm Milk
1 Egg
1/3 cup Butter Softened
1/3 cup White Sugar  I no longer include this when I make the recipe
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Each of Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Rosemary
3 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 (.25 Ounce) Packet Active Dry Yeast

Place all ingredients in the pan of the breadmaker in the order suggested by your manufacturer. With my breadmaker I put them in the breadmaker in the order that they are listed. Select the Dough Cycle.


Once the Dough Cycle is through turn dough out on a lightly floured surface.  (I have started using a well greased pan instead of a floured surface when working with dough). With a rolling pin, roll the dough out. Using a biscuit cutter cut out your rolls, and form into smooth round balls. Place cut out rolls on a greased cookie sheet. 


Place rolls in a warm place, and let rise for about an hour.


Bake rolls in a preheated 400 degree oven for ten to fifteen minutes or until golden. Brush cooked rolls with melted butter.






Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fresh Green Beans Recipe

I've mentioned on this blog several times before that when I met my husband I had no idea how to cook.  I mean NO IDEA.  I used to have to look up recipes for simple things like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and green beans.  So sometimes I post simple recipes, recipes that most people think everyone should know how to cook but the reason that I post them is for that young wife out there that has no idea how to cook or where to even begin.  And this is one of those recipes.


Ingredients

1-2 pounds fresh green beans
1/2 an onion, diced
1 beef bouillon cube
water

Instructions

Break green fresh green beans and place them in a pan.  Cover green beans with water.  Add in onions and beef bouillon cube.  Cook on medium heat for about an hour or until green beans are soft.  Add more water if necessary.




Using Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in Homeschooling


I like variety when it comes to homeschooling.  We read a lot of living books, and I think literature is very important.  However, I think watching documentaries or movies on a subject can be equally important.  There's something about seeing history or science on the screen that can really help it click in a kid's mind.  Videos don't make up a large part of our school week, we will watch an hour or two out of the entire week.  

There are three video streaming resources that we use those are Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.  Netflix and Hulu are each less than $10 a month, so the cost isn't a large amount.  Amazon Prime is $99 a month which equals less than $9 per month.  We use Amazon Prime less than Hulu or Netflix but I find that the free Prime shipping justifies the cost, and the Prime videos are just an added bonus.

Finding which movies you want to watch can be the biggest hurdle.  The first place I look for movies is in the textbook themselves.  Many textbooks and unit studies offer video suggestions.  I simply look these titles up on the different streaming services and add the available ones to my queue.  

If there are no suggested videos I will look keywords up on each site, in an attempt to find suitable titles.  I find searching on my laptop instead of on the device I will be streaming the videos on to be the easiest way to find available movies.  If you are unsure of the movies that you are finding you can look the title up on Amazon and read the reviews for them there.

Another place that I find suitable videos is on homeschooling Facebook groups that focus on Homeschooling through videos.  Christian Homeschooling with Netflix, Amazon, You Tube, Roku and MORE! and Homeschooling with Netflix are two groups that I find very helpful when it comes to finding videos to use.  The members of these sites are extremely helpful and are willing to help you find the videos that you need.

I am linking this post up to:



and




What I Wore Wednesday, April 15

I haven't felt well this week so I don't have that many outfits to share.   The weather has been nice but it is still chilly so I stuck with long sleeves and pants. 



Saturday - grocery shopping
shirt - thrifted
pants - Gap (here)
shoes - old similar here


Sunday - church
sweater - Target similar here
tunic - Target (last season, couldn't find similar)
shoes - same as Saturday


Monday - school and errands
shirt - New York and Company (from winter, couldn't find anything similar)
pants - Gap (here)
shoes - Macy's (here)


I am linking this post up to 


What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy

and


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Baked Ranch Parmesan Pork Chops


So a few of the pork chops in the picture look burnt but I promise you they weren't.  In fact they were absolutely delicious!  My whole family loved them, which is something that doesn't happen to often around here.  What's even better though is that they were extremely easy to make!

Ingredients

Pork Chops
2 eggs
3 cups of flour
3 tablespoons of Ranch powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesan

Directions


1.  Break eggs into one bowl, and mix dry ingredients in a second bowl.


2.  Dip pork chops into eggs, and then dredge pork chops through the flour mixture.  

3.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for thirty minutes or until pork chop breading is golden brown.


Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day in Your Homeschool and an Earth Day Booklist


Earth Day is April 22nd and it's only a week away.  I love incorporating holidays and important events in our homeschool, and there are so many unique ways you can incorporate Earth Day into your homeschool day.  Here are some of my favorite ideas for teaching my kids about Earth Day.


The Lorax Unit Study on Homeschool Share
The first unit study that we ever completed was The Lorax unit study on Homeschool Share.  This was seven years ago, and the kids still talk about what they learned in that study today.  The unit study has activities for all subjects and a majority of the activities deal with pollution, making it a great study for Earth Day.  You can find this free unit study by visiting Homeschool Share



Disneynature Movies
Each Earth Day Disneynature releases a new film.  This year's film is Monkey Kingdom, and there is an Educator's Guide to go with it making it a perfect Earth Day study.  You can get the Educator's Guide and learn more about Monkey Kingdom by visiting the Disneynature website.

Create a Recycling Station
Earth Day is the perfect time to teach your kids about recycling.  Take time to read a book about recycling with your kids and then create a recycling station to use in your home.  One of my favorite books about recycling is The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle.



Take a Nature Walk
  One way to learn about our Earth is to enjoy our Earth.  Take a nature walk, go hiking, visit a state or national park, just get out and enjoy nature.  Talk to your kids about what you see along your walk.

Visit the Zoo
Another great way to celebrate Earth Day is by visiting the zoo on Earth Day.  Check with your local zoo because several zoos offer free admission on Earth Day, in addition to offering many Earth Day activities.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
Teachers Pay Teachers has a great Earth Day Scavenger Hunt that would make a great Earth Day activity.  You can download it for free by visiting the Teachers Pay Teachers website.

Earth Day Booklist









Dairy Free Bread for the Bread Machine


It seems like we always run out of milk.  It doesn't matter how much I buy it is never enough.  My Yummy Dinner Roll recipe was the result of running out of milk and this bread recipe is also the result of running out of milk.

Sunday morning I had lunch going in the crockpot for after church and wanted some bread to go with it.  I had my bread machine out, and my recipe ready to go when I discovered we were out of milk.  So, that called for some changes on my part.  The result?  This bread machine recipe that is made without milk.

Ingredients
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
3 tablespoon of sugar or 2 packet of Truvia (if you want sugar free)
3 cups bread flour
one packet or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Directions
Place all ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed.  Start bread machine on the white bread cycle to cook.

Optional:  If you want to cook this in the oven, turn your bread machine setting to dough.  Once the dough is ready, remove it from the bread machine and put it in a greased bread pan.  Allow bread dough to rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bread crust is golden.