Monday, October 4, 2010

A Favorite Recipe for Busy Days

I have no idea what really possessed me to post a recipe on here, but I just thought it would be a nice thing to do since we all want to "change it up" sometimes. This one is EASY and just calls for a crockpot. If you don't have one, you should invest in one. Mine has changed my life! Let me just say that we didn't do crockpot cooking when I was growing up. We did it the old-fashioned way; from scratch and in an oven. I received a crockpot for my wedding and didn't really know how to use it, so I sold it at a yard sale. Years later I was inspired to try again because a friend of mine frequently used one and her food was always moist and scrumptious! I got mine at Costco for less than $40 and it is amazing.

Without further ado, here is the recipe (passed on from my older bro & his wife):

Curry Chicken:
-Chicken of your choice (I either use 4 of Trader Joe's frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs or 2-3 fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts)
-3-5 Red potatoes, washed and cut into chunks (I have used Idaho on occasion; it's just about the same)
-1 onion, cut into chunks
-Several carrots, cut into chunks
-2 jars Trader Joe's Thai Yellow Curry Sauce (YUMMY!!! They also have a Thai Red Curry Sauce, which is very good, but a little on the spicy side for my kids. Also note**my twins don't normally care for this dish, but last time I added sour cream to theirs as I served it and they LOVED it!)

Put all ingredients in your crockpot and add two jars of sauce. (You can put the thighs in frozen, but if you use chicken breasts, put them in after they've thawed.) You can cook on high for 4 or 6 hours or on low for 8 or 10 hours if you have enough time (before you leave for work).

Serve over rice. Enjoy!! Happy crockpot cooking!! =)

It's Okay to Go Back!

While I was talking to my aunt (who has very successfully homeschooled 8 children...well, some are still in the works) and my hubby, I came across a little gold nugget! The gold nugget is this: it's okay to go back! What in the world does that mean?

Well, it's along the lines of what I spoke about in my last blog post. I have been trying to encourage independence in the girls' studies when possible. They seem to be able to do certain things well on their own, so I let them and I am nearby to help when they have questions. It has worked okay in some areas, but like I said before, one of my girls was having trouble in one area. However, I had a hard time deciding whether or not I should really sit there and go through a whole lesson with her; for some reason it felt like doing that would take a step backward. I just wasn't sure. However, I was frustrated and so was she. So I had to call in the pro (my aunt) and ask her what she would do. Now listen; it may be her personality, or it may be that she gets distracted easily. Whatever it is, I'm hoping we can work through it.

While I was telling my hubby about the conversation I had with my aunt, he commented about something I said that struck him. I mentioned somewhere along the way that in school they just keep on going forward (think MATH!), but here we have the liberty to go back if necessary. That's another area that one of my girl's needs help in. I don't feel like she's strong enough at her basic facts (she doesn't know her basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division facts quickly enough). Well, we are "going back" and strengthening her knowledge in those. We are moving forward in one sense; we are still progressing in a math text, but we are doing basic math flashcards to get better at the basics. Something she should already "have" but doesn't.

I just wanted to pass along our golden nugget for the day: IT'S OKAY TO GO BACK!!!  You have my permission! (I know it sounds silly, but even though I was considering "going back" in a few areas, I didn't have the peace of mind to do it until my aunt told me to. I don't think I'll have a problem in the future, but I sort-of needed "permission" because in this world we are taught to just keep going. I think I'll change that notion. I'm pretty sure we can get further ahead by sometimes stepping back.)

Happy Homeschooling!! =)

Life is Hard

Ever since last week, it seems like my kids are determined to attend the "School of Hard Knocks." **sigh** After our last field trip, we somehow lost focus, and have been struggling to get through our days, with school and everything else. Even the twins have been extra difficult this week. My husband is extremely busy with work, we have soccer or church every night. Soccer again on Saturdays. Church meeting on Sundays. We are busy from about 5:30 or 6 in the morning, until WAY too late at night. Not to mention, I'm trying to get my Bows-n-Berries business off the ground...if for no other reason than it relaxes me. It's a great stress-reliever. But it still takes time...a precious commodity in our home!

In addition to the "busy"ness, I am working through the difficulties of homeschooling. One child seems to be particularly slow at getting things done. Not that she can't do it. She has proven on other occasions that she is quite capable of doing this type of work. For awhile I was worried about reading comprehension. She was having a hard time reading something and answering questions about it two minutes later. After a couple weeks of this (she usually has at least one reading comp. activity/week), she read a chapter book from the library. I asked her what the book was about, and she told me every last detail. I thought she'd never stop talking! But what a relief!! She "gets" the whole reading comprehension thing. Which means she either thinks the "school stuff" is boring, or she is just easily distracted. I think she is easily distracted...and who wouldn't be in this mad house? So now I know in what direction to move. I think I will read it with her for awhile, and let her answer the questions with me. This will help her learn to focus.

I have some other thoughts too, but this blog post is too long already. Maybe that will be my next post. =)

Our First "Official" Field Trip

Our first field trip was to Chuck E. Cheese's. We learned how to have fun there. Our first OFFICIAL field trip was to the L.A. Arboretum! We happened to have lots of fun there too! Here are some pics from the day...until I broke my camera! Hmph. I'm STILL not happy about that. I loved that camera! =)

There were many beautiful peacocks strutting around.

My girlies!

I love these little trumpet-shaped flowers. I forgot their name!

I'd hate to be the bird who lands on this leaf!

They had some really bright, pretty flowers in the greenhouse.

Here's another one!

My girls being silly!