Saturday, August 27, 2011

2nd week of Second Star Academy

In our homeschool this week…We finished our second week of home schooling and it is coming along just fine. It is amazing how much easier it is when we follow our schedule :)

Robyn is learning how to write reports using the MLA rules and she is working on a project on the meaning of names. I can't wait to read that and see which names of friends and family that she chooses.

In addition to our Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum which covers Bible, Language Arts, History/Geography, General Science and Mathmatics, we are including Bible studies by Kay Arthur and various books of fiction.

My favorite thing this week was…The topic of interest to Robyn at the moment, is Spain. Her great-great Aunt is going to take her and her daddy to Spain. I don't want to go. I know, but that's just me! Anyway, she is having fun looking at maps and learning about Spain before she goes in a few months.

Things I’m working on…still packing up things in the house. Several loads of stuff were taken to our storage unit this week. The vinyl siding on our house got a good scrubbing and pressure washing this week. It looks so good! Also, weeding and bushes trimming was accomplished. It's amazing what these things can do to the appearance of your home.

I’m reading…Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and it has been very interesting.

I’m cooking…you can read on my weekly menu the meals I cook for my family. On Monday, my menu will have several recipes included.

I’m grateful for…for family and friends who have been so kind to us and keep us in their prayers.

I’m praying for…for my husband's blood pressure which has been extremely high and has everyone worried for his health.

So that's our update on Second Star Academy. I will post more in the weeks to come.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Pam, Teacher at Second Star Academy :)

Menu for week of August 29th

I stuck to last week's menu pretty well, with just a few changes here and there. I have been trying to eat up food in the pantry and freezer but have had to buy items here and there to round out our meals. Here is what I am planning to feed my family this week.


B-Breakfast bars (I have an abundance of granola bars, Nutri-grain Bars, Special K bars, etc. that I have bought on sale and with a coupon. These are not that filling, but it is hard to pass up a good deal. Eat one of these with a banana and a cup of Joe and you feel pretty full.

L-Leftovers from the weekend (sometimes these foods are much tastier as leftovers)

D-Lasagna Roll-ups (using a partial box of lasagna noodles from the pantry and sausage bought on sale a few weeks ago). I also have the spaghetti sauce in the pantry and romaine lettuce in the fridge. I almost always have the makings for cheese biscuits as well.

Lasagna Roll Ups
-6 lasagna noodles
-1/2 lb. sausage
-chopped onions
-1 (15.soz) jar spaghetti sauce
-1 (8oz) pkg. shredded pizza blend cheese (I'll use bits of cheddar and mozzarella that I already have, and maybe some freshly grated parmesan)

-Cook lasagna noodles according to pkg. directions.
-Rinse and drain; set aside.
-In a skillet cook the sausage and onions.
-In a bowl mix 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce and sausage together.
-Spread 1/4 cup of the meat sauce onto each lasagna noodle.
-Top with 1 Tbls. cheese.
-Carefully roll up each noodle and place seam side down in an 8x8 baking dish.
-Spoon remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
-Bake @ 350 for 20-30 minutes........

I'll make an extra pan and throw that in the freezer for another meal on another week.


B-Oatmeal and some sort of fruit (maybe blueberries from the freezer or fresh strawberries)

L-Leftovers more than likely or PB&J with Sliced Apple

D-Bean Burritos (I am going to try this recipe that I found online as it is much cheaper than the canned ones I buy at the store), Blanco Queso (using up the rest of my faux Velvetta cheese) and Tortilla Chips

Crock pot Refried Beans

3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne power
1/2 tsp of chili powder (optional)
4 cups water

Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.*
Soften the beans by boiling for 10 minutes (or according to package directions) and drain.
Place the onion, boiled beans, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine.
Cook on High for 4 to 6 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
After cooking remove some water. Smash the beans with a potato masher. Add water back as necessary for desired consistency.
*To skip soaking process by increasing water to 9 cups and cook for an additional 2 to 4 hours on HIGH.
**For smaller batch use 2 cups beans and 3 cups water. You can also cut back a little on the spices.

We use about 1/4 of the batch on the day I make it. I put two jars in the freezer and leave one jar in the refrigerator for use throughout the week.


B-Cereal (bought on sale and with coupon) and milk, maybe a banana too.

L-Leftovers or some soup from the freezer (I have some mystery containers in there-why didn't I label them???)

D-Chicken or Turkey Sloppy Joes, Oven Fries


B-One Eyed Sailors, Turkey Sausage Links and sliced Grainger Tomatoes.

L-Tortilla Stuffers (bought on sale with a coupon) and Tortillas

D-Cajun Chicken (crockpot), Noodles, Salad or Vegetable

Cajun Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts (boneless/skinless)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
cajun seasoning (to your taste ... a lot if you like it spicy)

Spread cream of chicken soup in the bottom of the crock pot. Place chicken over the top, sprinkle with cajun seasoning and cook.


B-Cream of Wheat, Toast with Jam

L-Leftovers or Egg Salad Sammies and Carrots

D-Favorite Beans and Rice

Favorite Beans and Rice

Vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups cooked red beans (or 1 can)
2 cups black beans (or 1 can)
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp chili powder (use up to 1 tsp if using a mild chili powder)
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion to soften and add garlic, being careful not to let garlic burn. Add beans (drained) to skillet. Add tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin to skillet. Heat through, lower heat to simmer. Serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with shredded cheese if you wish.



L-Egg Salad Sammies and Carrots

D-Hamburger Helper meal (bought on sale with coupon, more than likely), (I make it with ground chicken or turkey instead of beef), green veggie or salad, rolls


B-Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

2 c. biscuit mix
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 egg
1 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine biscuit mix, brown sugar, sour cream, egg and blueberries in a large bowl. Fill large muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes.

L-Pam's Chicken Dish for the Crock Pot, Rice, Salad or Veggie, Rolls

Pam's Chicken Dish for the Crock Pot

4-6 chicken breasts, pounded out thin
4-6 pieces of ham
4-6 slices of Swiss or Mozzerella cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
¼ c. milk
Put ham and cheese on chicken. Roll up and secure with toothpick. Place chicken in crock pot so it looks like a triangle. Layer rest on top. Mix soup and milk. Pour over top of chicken. Cover and cook on low 4 hours or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve over noodles with the sauce it makes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu for week of August 22nd

In no particular order, these are the dinners I am planning to make this week:

Sausage Casserole, Sauteed Yellow Squash and Sweet Onions, French Bread

Pork Chops, Hash Brown Casserole, Peas, Rolls

Mixed Beans, Turkey Smoked Sausage, Fried Taters and Corn Bread

Baked Chili Mac, Salad

Chicken and Cheese Filled Tortolini, Alfredo Sauce, Salad and Garlic Bread

Crock Pot Chicken Dish, Roasted Asparagus, French Bread

Ham and Vegetables, Fried Okra, Corn Bread

Yummy week! Also, today is my Mom's birthday. She is 80! Happy birthday Mom!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Finished first week of school--check!

We have one week of homeschooling under our belt and it went perfectly. Robyn and I now have this down pat and are hoping to stick to our assignment schedule and not fall behind. In addition to her Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum we are doing a couple of Kay Arthur Bible studies for kids and I continue to promote reading for pleasure and we are enforcing one hour fun time on the computer a day. Our treadmill is not working so she has been walking in the neighborhood to get exercise and swimming at her aunt's apartment.

She left yesterday afternoon to visit her aunt and to swim and spend the night. Last week her aunt and grandmama went to Blount Mansion for a tour, so she has already been on a field trip this school year!

Robert has taken several loads of boxes and excess furniture to our storage unit and an outdoor swing to his mother's back yard. Boxes are continuing to accumulate all over the house as we declutter, give to charity, and resale books, in our attempt to get this house listing ready. Two houses near us also recently went up for sale. The competition will be good for us, I hope.

On Monday, my mother turns 80! What a miracle she is, having beaten cancer twice in the last 12 years. My dad has been a very good caretaker and he will be 77 in October. It has been difficult watching my parents age but they continue to keep on keeping on and that does my heart good. I am so thankful that Robyn has grandparents. I didn't have any and that is a blessing I missed out on.

Today, I am getting laundry caught up and trying to decide whether to make something homemade to take to Sunday school tomorrow for snacks or just pick something up at the store. I am leaning towards the second one. Hubby an I may try to catch a matinee today while Robyn is visiting her aunt's. Tomorrow after church is a potluck (yum!) and then we are going to spend the rest of the afternoon visiting my parents and wishing my mom a happy birthday.

Have a terrific weekend!


Monday, August 15, 2011

First day of School!

Well, homeschooling for us has started back up. It was a shorter break for Robyn than she would have liked but we are going to follow the local school calendar this year and she will have days off the same as her BFF.

I've already made her a cup of iced coffee to help her wake up and get started. I've already had a cup of coffee myself. Wouldn't you know it? When coffee prices go up, my 12 year old decides she likes it iced. That's really my fault for introducing her to the mocha frappes at McDonalds. Aren't those delicious!

Well, off to open up Second Star Academy for the school year and make breakfast for the family. Pray for a good school year for us.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Menu for the week of August 15th

Monday: Breakfast-Pancakes and Sausage, Juice Lunch-Leftovers, Dinner-Bachelor Bean Bake, Fresh Corn on the Cob, French Bread, Snack-Grapes

Tuesday: Breakfast-Cereal and Toast, Lunch-Chicken Sloppy Joes and Fries, Dinner-Homemade Pizza (using Turkey Pepperoni and some ham from the freezer) and Spinach Salad (with cukes, tomatoes and onion), Snack-Apples

Wednesday: Breakfast-Eggs, Bacon and Toast, juice, Lunch-Soup, Cheese and Crackers, Dinner-Wild West Baked Chili Mac (recipe below) and Spinach Salad (with cukes, tomatoes and onion), Snack-grapes

Thursday: Breakfast-Cereal Bar or Granola Bar, Milk or Yogurt, Lunch-Leftovers or PB&J with Applesauce or Fat-free Pudding, Dinner-Pam's Chicken Dish for the Crock Pot (recipe below), Green Veggie, Noodles, French Bread, Snack-Cantaloupe

Friday: Breakfast-Oatmeal, Toast and Jam, Lunch-Egg Sammie or Turkey Corn Dog and Cantaloupe, Dinner-Mixed Beans, Fried Taters, Greens and Cornbread, Snack-Apples

Saturday: Breakfast-One Eyed Sailors, Sausage, Juice, Lunch-Tortilla Stuffers, Dinner-CP BBQ Chicken, Baked Beans, Chips, Snack-Ants on a Log

Sunday: Breakfast-Muffins, Milk or Yogurt, Lunch-Potluck at Church, Dinner-Clean Out Refrigerator Night!

Wild West Baked Chili Mac

1 pkg. (24 oz.) Velveeta Shells and Cheese Dinner
2 cans (14.3 oz. each) chili, no beans
1 pkg. (8.5 oz.) cornbread mix, batter prepared as directed on package

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare dinner as directed on package. Stir in chili. Spread into 13x9 inch baking dish. Spread prepared cornbread batter on top of chili mixture to within ½ inch of edges. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown and fully risen. Makes 10 servings, 1 cup each.

Pam's Chicken Dish for the Crock Pot

4-6 chicken breasts, pounded out thin
4-6 pieces of ham
4-6 slices of Swiss or Mozzerella cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
¼ c. milk
Put ham and cheese on chicken. Roll up and secure with toothpick. Place chicken in crock pot so it looks like a triangle. Layer rest on top. Mix soup and milk. Pour over top of chicken. Cover and cook on low 4 hours or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve over noodles with the sauce it makes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do you like iced coffee?

I never thought I would. Just the thought of my hot cup of coffee going cold and then my drinking it is just unheard of. But then, I tried a recipe I found online and tweaked it a bit and oh my is it good. My 12 year old likes it too. Here is what I do.

Seems most days I still have coffee leftover in the carafe. You can refrigerate it and save it until you want to make these iced coffees or you can just use it like it is. I happen to be using vanilla flavored coffee at the moment, but plain coffee will work too. Take your nice big mug or commuter cup and add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of simple syrup. I used Vanlla flavored syrup. The kind you flavor fancy coffees with. DaVinci is the brand. Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chocolate syrup and stir both of these together. Now fill your cup about 2/3 full of crushed ice. I use the ice from my ice maker. Now poor your old coffee over this about 2/3 full and top off with half and half and stir. Put a straw in your mug and enjoy!

Don't spend all that hard earned money on the fancy coffee shop iced coffee, when this is just as good!


Where has this summer gone?

It sure has been a hot summer here in the south and many parts of our country. It keeps you inside where the air conditioning is nice and cool. I've barely stepped out of doors because of that. I've also done very little around the house as well. I take medication for my back now everyday. Twice a day. It keeps me pain-free. But the side effect is that I am very numb-like, sleepy, tired, and unmotivated to do work that needs to be done. It it's not one thing, it's another! But I am vowing to push through this curtain of sleepyville and make myself do something! I thought I would start with a plan and see if that helps me to accomplish some things. Here is my plan for this week:


Clean kitchen (I mean, thoroughly)

Continue to pack things for our storage unit

Read my Bible every morning and maybe, even every night

Continued prayer for my husband to find work

Cook good meals for my family

Continue to pray for and motivate my husband to do the things he needs to do to get his family out of this house and into the lake house so that we can put this one on the market

Attend church

Buy groceries

It's a start. Some of you may be thinking "I do this every week." Well, for me, it has been difficult of late. So, I'm starting with baby steps to get back on the road to life and trying to be a good help meet.

School starts next week. That will take up a good portion of my day and the rest of the day should be spent in feeding my family, doing laundry, and packing more stuff to make our house pretty!

What are your goals? Please share.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Menu for the week of August 8th

This is the last week before we start home schooling again. I need to get some things done while I can. Here is my menu plan for this week:

Monday, August 8

B-Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
D-Sausage Casserole, Green Beans, Rolls

Colleen's Sausage Casserole

1 lb. hot sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 ¼ cup instant rice
8 oz. sharp grated cheese

Crumble sausage in skillet and brown, drain well. Mix sausage, onion, and pepper in a large bowl. Add uncooked rice and then soup. Add cheese last, saving a little to sprinkle on top. Pour into casserole and bake 325 degrees for 1 hour uncovered.

Tuesday, August 9

L-Soup and Sammies
D-Wiggly Piggly Spaghetti, Salad

Wiggly Piggly Spaghetti

1 pound bacon
1 pound spaghetti
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 T olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook bacon until crisp; drain well; crumble. Prepare spaghetti. Process garlic cloves through a garlic press, combine with olive oil.

Toss together spaghetti, bacon, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. 4-6 servings.

Wednesday, August 10

B-Toast, Eggs, Bacon
D-Chicken and Noodle Dish, Rolls

Chicken & Noodle Dish (Feeds six)

Three half boneless chicken breasts cut in bite-sized pieces
1 med. onion chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. oil
1 tsp. dry basil
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
8 oz. wide noodles
1 package of chicken gravy which makes 2 cups gravy. (kosher)

In Extra large saucepan, brown onions in oil. Add garlic after onions are transparent. Allow to brown and add chicken. (In separate saucepan fill with water for noodles. Turn to med-hi. When it begins to boil add noodles. Cook 8-10 minutes or until just about done.) Brown meat until it just begins to caramelize. Add peas and corn and basil. Add 1 1/2 cups water. In small bowl add 1 cup water and gravy mix. Now add to Extra large pan with chicken, peas, corn, basil. Next add the noodles and allow to simmer about 15-20 minutes so all ingredients blend. Add pepper to taste. I never salt my food, so you may want to salt after you taste.

Thursday, August 11

B-Cereal and Toast
D-Bachelor Bean Bake, Corn Bread Muffins

Bachelor Bean Bake
(Telephone Pioneers of America)

½ c. onion, chopped
2 T butter
2, 16 oz. cans pork and beans
½ pound wieners, cut int ½ inch pieces
1/3 c. ketchup
1 t Worcestershire sauce
½ t. dry mustard

In ½ quart saucepan, over low heat, cook the onions in butter until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients, pour in 1 ½ quart baking dish. Bake 400 degrees 30 minutes or until hot. Stir thoroughly before serving. 4-5 servings.

Friday, August 12

B-One Eyed Sailors, Sausage Links
L-Chicken Chili, Bean and Cheese quesas
D-Homemade Pizza (Ham and Turkey Pepperoni) Salad

Saturday, August 13

D-Grilled Chicken Burgers, Veggies and Dip, Cantaloupe

Sunday, August 14

L-Crock Pot Lasagna, Salad, Garlic Bread

Crockpot Lasagna
servings | 10
estimated POINTS per serving | 7

1 lb of lean ground turkey
1 onion chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2-15oz cans tomato sauce
1-6 oz can tomato paste
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1-12 oz carton of fat-free cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
12 oz lasagna noodles - uncooked
12 oz shredded non-fat mozzarella cheese

Brown ground turkey and onions in a skillet. Add garlic powder, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano. Cook long enough to get it warm.

In a bowl mix the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the crockpot. Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodle (break to fit) and top with cheese mixture (you may have to use a knife to spread it). Repeat layers two more times.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.