Friday, October 31, 2014

November Menu

This menu is not clear...not sure how to go about doing it so if someone has a suggestion let me know.  I went ahead and did an extra large image and then it's off centered on the post but....I would  need to research solutions and the little I did...I saw most were kind of "blurry" also.  So, for a clearer the link below for the .pdf.

I've talked and talked and would get a week planned and such but never did a whole month.  So, I took the time to create a basic menu for the month of November.  

Reason 1) I find I have little time on my hands.  Just KNOWING what I'm going to make for lunch and supper goes a long way!  Also I can pull the meat out and have it prepared.

Reason 2) My grocery bill is out of this world.  My goal over the next few weeks is to cut it down.  I found a blog, Po'Mans Meals.  She has created meals with a "per dish" cost attached.  I'm going to start being more aware of how much the meals I serve cost also.  I chuckle because most blogs with posts about inexpensive meals only include the main dish or have a recipe for a family of 4, etc.  Po'Mans Meals does not use sale prices, supposedly and her recipes have all been for 6 servings.  I really want to see how much I'm spending as a whole including our side dishes.  All the green dishes are from her site.  The black are either from All Recipes, or recipes I've made enough that I don't need a recipe for.  If you are using this calendar and need a recipe that in black font....just ask! 

Reason 3)  I'm bound and determined to start shopping at a meat market and see if that helps.  So, in doing that, I want to be able to go just once a month or so and get what I need and freeze it.  We'll see how that goes and if it saves me money.  It'll definitely save me time and stress!

Reason 4) a printed menu gives me a place to keep all our family's 'review" in one place so that when I go to choose meals on the next go's not so difficult.  I'm planning on finding some really good meals that we all like and rotating.  It also gives me a place to write down how much the meal cost . I did not include side dishes in the menu as those will just be whatever is handy...not planning ahead produce.  So, with a printed menu, I can write down the side dishes.

So, I'm finding with a lot of "inexpensive" meals...there is a lot of pasta.  To be truthful...I'm not a big pasta fan.  It seems like a "filler" and kind of empty.  Guess that's why it is cheap.  But this month, I went ahead and included it because yes, a box of pasta at $5/5 and we only use have the box so that means only 50 cents for the pasta portion of the meal for a family of 5 (or 6, if you include baby who is starting on table food)...that is pretty good.    

At the top of the calendar I put labels- that was to help me plan.  I moved some things around so we weren't having potato, rice or pasta twice in a row so it may not be exactly what is in the column...but in general.

There is a blank day of the week, Sunday.  I consider that "open".  I'm hoping that ham or turkey goes on sale.  We have roast and I think even steak in the freezer.  I'll go with the flow with that.

There is also a day or two a week that really was hard to find something and I decided...that is just fine because there will almost always be left overs from Sunday so...we will not be wasting!  

Saturdays there is only one meal planned.  This is going to be our "planned" left-over day.  I also didn't put anything for breakfast on Saturdays.  Typically it's a "left-over/what do you want" day or my husband makes breakfast.

I really like having the planned breakfast.  It allows the kids to be a bit more independent.  I plan a grain and they add a side dish of their choice.  They can always have cold cereal if they do not want what is on the menu for that day.  However, Saturdays are the ONLY..."whatever you want" mornings.  We do not have time for trying to make up mind about what to eat for 2 choices....what's on the menu or cold cereal.  :-D

EDIT:  I uploaded a new calendar as I found an error.
Also, the original had blanks for Sunday.  Typically we have popcorn and cold cuts so I added that in for supper but still left the dinner blank.  Why?  Because something ALWAYS comes up on Sunday.  :-D  For example, we had a potluck this past Sunday.  Who knows what will happen next Sunday.  It's one day I really don't know what we are doing.  So, again, I do have turkey and hope to get a ham on sale.  We also have roasts and steak in the freezer due to purchasing a side of beef.  I'll slip it in as I go.  :-D

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Learning From People of the Past

I often come across pictures, quotes and so on and I think...boy, I could learn from this and my kids too!  Some I take with a grain of salt because the use of photo shop is prevalent and I know some people add "quotes" to pictures.  :-D  However, there is one individual that has come up in our history/literature multiples these past couple years with schooling at home and he is an individual we could learn much from!

Mr. Benjamin Franklin!

Here are some I found and most do not have original "authors" attached.  
I do not claim any of these images as my own.  If you are an original author of one of these, feel free to comment and I'll add your info under the pic.  :-)

Love this one!  Goes good well with schooling at home!



Good thoughts!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pulled Pork That ALL 6 of Us Liked!!!!

Wow!  Isn't that saying something...ALL SIX OF US...said we'd eat this again.   :-D  Most of us are not big BBQ sauce people so this was a recipe with out it.

Wow, that post has a lot of detail!  Even has the coleslaw and bun recipes.  I used the coleslaw recipe but not the buns...might try that another day.

I have never had coleslaw on my sandwich before.  My husband had heard of it but this northern lady...nope...never heard of it.  Guess what!  It's good! :-D  This coleslaw is not sweet.  Miracle whip, celery salt, ground mustard, and rice vinegar when normally I use Miracle whip, sugar and rice vinegar.  Works perfectly for this sandwich!

My goal these next weeks is to really be careful with meals and grocery bills.  Seems like it's one area I should be able to control a bit more so I'm trying to be very conscious of what we are spending.  This meal  I would put under relatively inexpensive.  

I happen to have a half of roast that I had cut into chops awhile back.  (Isn't that the first step...use what you already have in the pantry and freezer?) The chops were really too big for what I needed so I stuck it in the freezer to use for something else.  I never got around to it so now it's been in a freezer a little while and one could needed a crock pot.  :-D

Here's how I did the meal to make it quicker/easier for me.  I'm all about cutting steps because, seriously, when we school at home...there just isn't the time!

I cut the onion and placed in bottom of crockpot.
Layered the pork chops.
Covered liberally with brown sugar.
Mixed the  Worcestershire Sauce (I've NEVER been able to pronounce's the W sauce) and apple cider vinegar and poured over chops.

Crockpot, High for 3.5 hours, shredded meat, added catsup and let it continue cooking until time to maybe 45 minutes.  Since I didn't take the time to thicken the sauce...then we just used a slotted spoon when serving.    

It served us all, most kids went back to 2nd servings of kids size.  I'm putting about a gallon bag full into the freezer for another quick meal.  Plenty for 2 meals for our family.   So, being able to make 2 meals out of it...helps cost wise.

Let me know if you try it yourself!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Excited mom alert!

Guess what?!  E, 10.5 months is finally getting the hang of "more" in sign language and a couple times she even did something that looks very similar to "all done".  

So, this is my 4th kid...why am I so excited?  Because this mom is getting old and this youngest girl is a loud mouth. :-D  Not quite sure where she gets it from.  HA HA HA HA!  Anyway, most people think she's so so quiet.  Um, not really.  Wait until all you "strangers" are out of the way and boy oh boy...this girl knows how to let her feelings be known!  

Doesn't matter if she just ate or not...if we are at the table...SHE is going to be eating too.  And when she gets there she's going to make this very deep and loud yelp when she sees something she wants.  :-D  So, yes, doing a version of baby sign for more is VERY exciting for these poor parents' ears!

So, what about you all?  Did you teach your baby sign?  Did you keep it up?  I've always loved sign language and have used it in every job with kids.  It's so helpful!  I've always wanted to learn it fluently...but if you don't have someone to sign with...yes, you lose it.  

With Missy Mouse starting her baby sign's causing an interest with my boys.  So....let's see if we can slip that in to our overstuffed schedule.  :-D  Might look around and see if there is anyone that teaches around here, preferably family style and relatively inexpensive.  In the mean time we can do it on our own.

I have always loved this book:

I checked it out so many times as a teenager that the librarian told me that if they ever decided to get a new copy they would give it to me.  Didn't happen but I did go out and purchase it for myself and it has gotten quite a bit of use.  :-)  It's more for adults but that's okay.  

My kids enjoyed Signing Time DVDs when they were younger...maybe we'll get to watch them again this time around.  :-D  Local library has a big selection of them and they are free to check out!

I see she has Baby Signing Time.  We've never seen those.  I'm not big on babies with screen time and really I don't know when we'd slip it in with her but...we might consider it.

Opinions?  What did you do to help your children learn sign?  Wish K12 offered a sign language course!  :-D

Monday, October 27, 2014

Exploring School Spaces

Ah, there are such wonderful "ideas" out there and when we were planning on moving, I was browsing all sorts of pics of "school spaces".  I was so so excited with the thought of having a separate school space.  Why?  I had a small house and lots of kids in the house!

My first year with MVCA, a K12 run online public school  I had these kiddos....
the next year I had these... with a baby included by December. 

Where ever we were...we filled up the room.  Most days there were children in all rooms of the house and the bathroom/laundry room was covered in art projects.  We had to clean up at every transition,  AM snack, lunch, supper (in which we needed to find homes for all the materials until the next day).  Things would go from table to counter to floor to table to counter to floor, etc. It was a hassle.  Couldn't walk across the living room without stepping on something or someone.    It was a house bursting at its seams.  However, that being said, this fall when I was entering into applesauce season...I really missed schooling in our kitchen!  I can't supervise school and wash/slice and cook those apples when the kids are in the basement!  LOL  And, yes, the kids do much better with an adult presence.  In the old house, I could be anywhere in the house and hear and know just what was going on and they could hear me.  However, in this house and them in the basement.  Ha! really cuts down what you are able to do during "school hours".  I'm a pretty good multitasker....but set up really makes a difference.  Ha!  Ah, well, as I always say....


So, back to the "new" house.  We are "making do".  It's lovely to have space where I don't have to clean up and move things every time I turn around.  I really can't put stuff up on the walls like I wanted because of the dampness, temperature at night etc.  Just like at a school I use to work at.  By morning, most things were on the floor.  Oh well.  We were bumbling along.  I'm mainly was with T., the kinder most mornings and I was constantly knocking things off his desk and complaining about lighting so this weekend I got to work and moved this half of the basement around to look like this.

There isn't a perspective to get the whole side...there are shelves along the right side that you can't see...I decided to go ahead and bring in the filing cabinet (even though I don't like it in there) so we had a magnetic surface to work on, right next to the kinder's desk.  :-)  Practicality weighing over appearance.  

I put a table along the back I would stop knocking everything over.  I moved T.'s computer to the other side of the room so that the lights were directly behind us.  His desk was on the right side but as you can see....the lights were not placed in the middle of the room.  Isn't that interesting? :-D  Today was our first morning like this.  It's not what I ever imagined...some day we'll get custom shelving in there and all the mismatched shelves gone.  More organization but until then...I can live with it.  :-D  I could see everything and I had no issues with knocking things over . That table in the back I just set all his phonics activities in a line and we went from one to another.  No pushing things to the floor to make room for something else, no shuffling through the pile trying to find what I need.   All at our fingertips!

The dry erase board got mounted!!!!  This was a $12 find at a sale this summer!  YIPPEE!  
My bet is that it's going to get a lot of use!

* This is one side of our basement.  The stair case goes down in the "middle" and so the room is broken up.  On the east side it is mainly storage cabinets and my two older son's desks/computers.  A bit more cozy, but it works.  The kids all play on the west side though....more floor space.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 2014

Greetings all!  It's been forever long since I posted.  Life happened!  

I've been contemplating starting back up with more of a sharing blog to include posts about life in general, schooling at home, and so on.  Since Pinterest has become so popular, I find myself not really following blogs much anymore but really want to make time to do so since it use to be so enjoyable.  My "break".  I plan to use this blog as a journal of sorts so whether there are those following or doesn't matter.  Maybe someone will stumble along and be helped by just the notion that there is someone else bumbling along as they are and take encouragement.  

So the most exciting thing that has happened is that we moved!!!  Thanks to these lovely people who helped up pack up and unpack!  Wonderful friends!

We now live in a home that is about 3 times the size of our old one.  :-D  
Pros and cons there!

I love the space but boy is it hard to keep clean!  I miss my other students and sometimes wonder about taking on a couple but I really don't know anyone in this area where that might be a possibility.

So, for now I have a
4th grader


6th grader  and a  Kinder

Making life interesting each day are 

baby, almost 11 months


One would think with schooling at home with only my own would be easier...but I can't say it has been yet!  Dynamics have surely changed and mom is still adjusting.  :-D

Here's the family-Aug 2014