Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's for Dinner?

You might think that, being home all day, I have time to cook amazing, 7-course meals & have my house spotless with every surface gleaming. Welp...if you think that, you are a bit off, my friend. ;) Actually, with my hectic schedule, I still scramble to get dinner ready and dream daily for a housekeeper! Please honey bunny...if you're reading this, mother's day is coming up soon!! (fingers crossed)

So, I decided to post another very quick and easy recipe for those nights when you are in a hurry and need something! I'm sure any of you moms out there can appreciate this one!

Quick Stir-Fry:

-Any veggies you have on hand
(tonight I used zucchini, seeded tomatoes, and carrots because that's what I had on hand. I also frequently use broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and other various things...whatever I happen to have in the house.)

I fry them a bit in extra virgin olive oil at medium heat. I put in the hardest veggies first (the ones that take the longest to cook (carrots, broccoli & things like that) then the softer ones last (squash, sugar snap peas etc.).

I make a bit of rice in my Asian rice-cooker (they cost about $100 but are worth the extra money--it cooks up the rice so nicely). I use Calrose rice (you use 1 1/2 cups of rice for every 2 cups of water).

The thing that I love about stir-fry is that you can make it a bit more hearty in a snap! I will sometimes add canned beans such as cannellini beans or garbanzo beans (I rinse them well first to get rid of some of the salt) and some canned chicken. You have a decent, pretty healthy dinner in a jiffy. Serve with some applesauce (I get the natural one with no added sugar and sprinkle cinnamon on top), some rolls & butter and you're good to go!

I don't know if it looks good to you, but it sure tasted great! This was taken on my cell phone
camera...not great quality pics. :)

I also happened to make Strawberry Shortcake tonight for our Japanese exchange students, but I forgot to take pics! I was a bit too excited to taste it! It's really very simple. I make the Bisquick Shortcake recipe, but like my Grandma, I just make a double batch and press it into a 9x13 pan and cut it into squares to serve it. It doesn't look quite as pretty, I suppose, but I think it serves more people. While that is baking, you cut your strawberries, add a nice amount of sugar til the juices start to come out, then mash them up a bit to make them saucier. Serve your shortcake, top with berries, then I just pour heavy whipping cream (NOT whipped) over the top while it's still warm. I know most people use whipped cream, but I guess I followed in my Grandma's footsteps. If you must have whipped cream on it at my house, you get the whipping cream first, then the whipped! ;)

That's it! Dinner. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top 10...

I wish I were getting paid for saying the following, but unfortunately...I'm not. Haha! I want talk about one of my Top 10 Curriculum choices. Modern Curriculum Press (or MCP) Phonics. This is what I use for my 1st grader, Emma, for part of her language arts learning.

I like several things about these books. First, they are in workbook form. So there's no need to have a textbook and a separate notebook. This is nice for 1st graders. It helps keep them (aka YOU) organized. It also has colorful pictures on many of the pages...again, perfect for a 1st grader. The book has a multitude of different activities so they don't get bored doing the same exact exercises day after day. And most of all, I like the simple set-up. When they learn a new grammar rule, it is written in a yellow box at the top of the page, for several days worth of activities until they learn the next rule. It helps remind them what they will be doing in that day's activity. This book has several different levels, and even at a higher level my daughter is able to plug along with a bit of help. I was encouraged to choose a book that would be a bit more challenging (or just not so easy for her) so some days have been difficult. On the really difficult days, I just break it up into two days' work. Then it isn't miserable for her or me. =) And it's fine. She's still learning, but she's taking it at her own pace. One more thing I like about these workbooks is that they force the child to read quite a bit. Some days it makes the process a bit tedious and long, so I'll help read the sentence part for her while she follows along, and then she reads the word choices in the box to fill in the blanks. That way she doesn't get too burnt out, but she's still following along and has to read some of the words.

You can find these books at Learning Things, Amazon or even probably Ebay or Craiglist. I got mine through Amazon. I bought mine "used" and they were in nearly mint condition. Don't be afraid to buy some things used. Often times they are practically perfect!

Here are pics of today's lesson for Emma. The quality of the pics isn't too great (I used my cell phone...I didn't have the patience to go get the real camera.) But you can at least see it and get an idea for the style of the workbook pages. I think they're great! And in case you are wondering, I'm using Level C for Emma right now.

Nice layout!

Cute & colorful pictures.
I love the "Rule" box feature!! This is the constant reminder of what
they are studying that day! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Crazy Life of Home Schooling Family

Okay, so it's been awhile since I've posted. I came to our blog and saw that I still had a pumpkin background from the fall. =) So, in honor of the almost spring-time weather, my eldest daughter has chosen a new cute background and we're going to try to get back on the blogging track.

I think that, for me, the hardest thing about blogging is that I don't often feel like I have something to say. I mean, really. What is there to say about our day-to-day life? We wake up, eat breakfast, I yell too much about the kids not doing their morning chores, we FINALLY get through our morning before-school routine, then we start school (with at least one child always lagging behind), twins constantly disrupting the concentration (case in point: Maya thought Caitlin's glue stick was lip it entirely wrong to hope her lips might stick together for a bit?). Then we somehow get through to lunch-time and I try with all my might to get these twins of mine to stay in their seat long enough to actually consume a few morsels. Then it's happily nap-time for my cute double-trouble, science or history time for the girls and me. If we can make it to that point, I TRY to get to my office and work (I have a Hair Accessories business that is my free-time passion) while the kids have their own free time. If I get to do that for an hour, I'm extremely happy. Then it's back to a super-speedy clean-up of our daily mess, dinner-making, soccer practice (which, with 3 kids participating, we have the pleasure of attending 4 days a week, not including games) and we come home, try to get the kids into bed at a reasonable hour and melt on the couch for a bit before dragging our own exhausted bodies to bed. WHEW! What was I thinking?

So really, what is there to write about? I've pretty much summed-up our daily routine. It happens pretty much the same. Every. Day. I don't know what I could possibly write about the actual schooling that you'd care to hear. You'd probably get bored with the details of what we've actually learned. Although I must say that it was kinda cool to see something in our yard that we just learned about in science. A few weeks ago, we talked about phototropism, where plants automatically grow toward the light. I was out in the yard, pushing my twins on the swings, when I realized that one of our trees had much more growth on the side that receives more sunlight. It was so cool! I didn't notice it before because I usually view that tree from a different angle. From the swingset, though, I was able to see the growth in an entirely different way! Can't wait to show the kids!

Well, until next time, you should know that each day is a big journey in this household. But we've survived almost an entire school year. Maybe YOU could do this too. =) But you've gotta be brave, you've gotta have endurance (I'm not so sure I have it), and I'm convinced you need God! lol.

Sophia ready for rain!

The hail that came down on our girls during their game!
Let's do the wave! Oh wait, they already have one on the field!

BFFs had their first fight. Maya & her Tia (auntie) Cynthia.

This was the condition of the field all weekend.

Caitlin is the little yellow & blue in the front.

Splish Splash through the mud. 

Just kidding, Blue Giant. Caiti faked you out! ;)

Post-final game. We had already checked out of our hotel, mind you!

Ewww! Luckily we brought 3 gallons of warm water from the hotel to "shower" her.

To jump in the mud or not to jump? That is the question.

Emma, finding shelter under the big umbrella. 

This was our view leaving the field after our first game! Gotta love
those Arizona skies!!! 
Have a gorgeous day! I'm including some soccer pics from Caitlin's most recent tournament in "sunny Laughlin". Such a crazy weekend!! Let's just say it included some rain, some hail, some puddles and LOTS of mud! =)