Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our cat Peyton

Here are some photos my 12 year old took. She is becoming quite the photographer. She uses Photoshop as well. I consider it part of her homeschooling curriculum.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Menu for week of March 26th-All 3 meals!


B-Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, Sliced Apples
L-Soup and Salad or Veggies and Dip
D-Turkey Burgers and Oven Fries


B-Turkey Sausage, Eggs, Toast
L-PB&J, Sliced Apples
D-Hazel's Chicken Casserole, Creamed Corn, Layered Salad


B-Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, Banana
L-Leftovers or Soup
D-Lasagna Roll-ups (make extras for the freezer), More Layered Salad, Garlic Bread


B-Turkey Sausage, Egg in a Hole
L-Sammie and Salad
D-Soft Tacos, Refried Beans, Canteloupe


B-Pancakes, Bacon
L-Leftovers or Soup, Grapes
D-New Recipe-Crunchy Ranch Chicken (extras for tomorrow too), Steam Fresh Veggies, Rice Pilaf


B-Bacon, Eggs, Toast
L-Pimiento Cheese Sammies, Veggies and Dip
D-Leftover Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Veggies


B-Homemade Muffins
L-Angel Hair Pasta with Alfredo, Salad or Green Veggies, Homemade Bread
D-Clean Out the Fridge, or Sammies

Crunchy Ranch Chicken

8-1/2 oz. pkg. cornbread

muffin mix

1-oz. pkg. ranch salad

dressing mix

1 c. milk

6 boneless, skinless

chicken breasts

2 T. oil

Combine cornbread mix and salad dressing mix in a large plastic zipping bag; set aside. Pour milk into a shallow bowl. Dip chicken into milk; place in cornbread mixture and shake to coat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook until golden on both sides, about 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until juices run clear. Serves 6.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4 servings

2 c. water

3 T butter, cubed

1/2-1 t. garlic powder

½ t. salt

¼ t. pepper

¾ c. milk

2 c. mashed potato flakes

In large saucepan, combine the water, butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; add milk. Stir in potato flakes with a fork.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


My daughter and I went to the sneak peek opening of Dollywood on Friday. We were gifted by her aunt with season passes for Christmas. We have been counting down the days until the sneak peek. Here are some photos that she took with her iPhone. She's becoming a great photographer.

Welcome to Dollywood. It was a drizzly rainy kinda day, but we had fun anyway. We saw one show, a Russian band who played and sang swing sorta music. They were very good.

Funnel cakes are a Dollywood tradition. We like ours plain with only powdered sugar. Robyn and I shared one and enjoyed every bite!Here is the gristmill. They sell yummy cinnamon bread there fresh from the oven. Nice spot to have a cup of Joe with your cinnamon bread or a homemade cookie.

Choo-choo. All aboard! We enjoyed our five mile ride around the property on the Cinderella. Soot and all!

Mr. and Mrs. Duck going for a swim.

Dollywood must be one of the most beautiful amusement parks around. There were gorgeous flowers everywhere. Robs photographed these just as we were leaving.

Walking the park took a toll on this old body of mine. My knees are killing me today. I keep saying I'm going to use one of their motorized scooters but haven't yet. I guess I just don't want to admit I'm getting old.

We will probably go back in a week or so. We enjoy the cooler spring temperatures there. The summer days are way too hot and humid for me to enjoy the park. I'll just leave those days for the young-uns.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Homeschooling Mother's Journal

In my life this week…Today we are at Dollywood. I wrote this post yesterday. This week, we were up early three mornings due to SAT testing. Had to go to bed early as well. Fortunately, I slept pretty well and even got a nap in here and there. I would love to do this every day. I get so much more accomplished when I get my day started early. I think I even sleep better if I can get to sleep at a decent hour. My knees and back have been giving me grief and I may very well be in one of those motorized scooters at Dollywood today. Yep, I'm getting old.

In our homeschool this week…we had SAT's three morning this week at our umbrella school. So I gave daughter those days off from her homeschooling. It is Thursday as I write this and we are doing quizzes and a couple lessons in Language Arts. Friday (today) we have off because we are going to the sneak peek at Dollywood. We will probably do school on Saturday though. I love the flexibility of homeschooling.

I am inspired by…warm temps. It was almost 85 on the last day of winter here. Very strange but nice.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…Dollywood!

My favorite thing this week was…spending time with family on Saturday and celebrating St. Pat's day. It was a memory in the making.

Things I’m working on…same ole same ole.

I’m reading…nothing. Boring, I know.

I’m cooking…yummy stuff. Trying a new recipe with Potatoes O'Brien in it. That would have been good on St. Pat's day too.

I’m grateful for…my husband's job and his gifted brain that the Lord has given him. He has really stepped out of his comfort zone into this new job and is learning new things every day! Also, I am amazed at my daughter's computer and photography skills which she obviously got from her daddy. She amazes me!

I’m praying for…a cousin who has desperately been trying to get disability for years and keeps getting turned down, friends who are have problems in their marriage, that my husband has the energy to not only spend long days at work but energy to get the things done around here to get our house market ready. Yes, we still want to sell the house.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come back again. Have a terrific weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Best Banana Bread

My husband really likes bananas and my daughter and I really like Banana Bread! I made some today as I had some very ripe bananas in my fruit basket. I substituted some half and half that was expiring for the buttermilk. Seems like I never have buttermilk unless I especially buy it for a specific recipe like buttermilk biscuits. I used pecans and dark chocolate chips in mine. Here is the recipe and photos à la Robs, my daughter.

Best Banana Bread

1 c. brown sugar

½ c. soft margarine

Cream together. Add and mix well: 2 eggs, 2 ripe bananas, 2 c. bread flour, ½ t. salt, 1 t. b. soda Add to above alternately with ¼ cup buttermilk. Mix in ½ cup nuts or ½ c. chocolate chips or sprinkle top with mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar. Pour in greased loaf pan and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu for the week of March 19th

Taco Soup (from the freezer)

Tuesday: Chicken Tetrazzini (from the freezer), Salad, Bread

Wednesday: Hammy Hashbrown Casserole, Roasted Asparagus, Bread

Hammy Hashbrown Casserole

1 (2 pound) package frozen hashbrown potaoes with peppers & onions, thawed

8 oz. sour cream

1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups diced ham

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup French's fried onions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan.

In a large bowl, combine, potatoes, sour cream, soup, cheddar cheese and ham. Gently mix and pour into prepared pan.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes of cooking, add enough parmesan cheese to just cover the top and sprinkle the french fried onions over that. Put back in the oven and continue baking the remaining 15 minutes!

Thursday: Wild Rice Chicken Casserole, Salad, Rolls

Friday: BLT's, Mystery Soup (from the freezer), Root Beer Floats

Saturday: Chicken Fajitas, Rice

Chicken Fajitas

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

* 1 large onion, sliced

* 2 green peppers, sliced into skinny strips

* 1/4 cup salsa, or several shots hot pepper sauce

* 3/4 cup tomato juice (I prefer canned diced tomatoes for this)

* 2 cups cooked chopped chicken (I prefer strips)

* Goodly Dash Pepper

* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 8 small flour tortillas

* 1 cup shredded cheese (I like a colby and monterey jack blend, but cheddar works just fine)

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and peppers. Saute until he vegetables begin to become a little tender and the onions become translucent, or see-through. Add the salsa, tomato juice, chicken, pepper and salt. Stir it all up and let the tomato juice simmer a little bit. The chicken will absorb the tomato product, and the whole mixture will take on a juicy filling-like texture. Heat the tortillas by wrapping them in tin foil and placing them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400°. Spoon the fajita filling onto the tortillas and top with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Fold in half and serve hot.

Sunday: Crock Pot Pork Chops, Steam Fresh Veggies with Potatoes, Salad, Rolls

For 100's of menus, every Monday, go to

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day

Here are the recipes I used on St. Patrick's Day:

Punch: I mixed 1/2 gallon of Fat Free Lime Sherbet with one large can of Pineapple Juice and one 2 Liter of Diet 7-Up in a punch bowl. We all loved it except my 12 year old. I think the pineapple was a little tangy for her taste. Next time I'll just put the sherbet in a glass and pour the 7-Up over that.

I made this soup:

I cut up two pounds of smoked sausage, chopped up about 8 or 9 Yukon potatoes, two bags of shredded cabbage (too lazy to shred my own), and one cut up onion in a pot. I added about four cups of broth from the freezer and a couple cups of water and cooked all this. When the veggies were tender I added three cups of milk with 3 teaspoons of flour added for thickening. I seasoned it with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, I added several cups of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. It was very yummy and made a big pot of soup.

I served brown multi grain rolls with this.

I made confetti popcorn. I popped two bags of butter popcorn and spread it on two sheet pans. I drizzled about 1/2 package of melted white chocolate bark over this and M&M's. It was a big hit.

I also took Mint Oreos and regular Oreos and dipped them halfway up in melted white chocolate bark and sprinkle them with green sugar sprinkles. Delicious!

My MIL brought a much needed punch bowl for me to use, cupcakes, sausage rolls (yummy) and scones. Aunt Pat brought veggies and dip.

Needless to say, we were all stuffed by the end of the afternoon. We enjoyed watching the Quiet Man the the Lady Vols beating UT Martin. It was a nice day.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Menu for week of March 12th

Monday: Pintos, Salmon Patties, Fried Taters, Cornbread (yeah, we're hillbillies!) LOL

Tuesday: Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken for Buns, Baked Beans, Corn on the Cob

Wednesday: Maybe chili, if there are leftover beans from Monday. Hmm...three bean days in a row, I may need to rethink this one...LOL

Thursday: Wild Rice Chicken Casserole, Salad

Friday: Pizza Night (Papa Murphy's Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, maybe?)

Saturday: It's a Saint Patrick's Day party. We are going to watch the Quiet Man, starring John Wayne, eat Irish food and fellowship with family. I'll post pictures of the food and the recipes then.
Sunday: I'm hoping for plenty of good Irish leftovers today and no cooking! Go to for hundreds of menu plans.

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day on Saturday! Pam

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Homeschooling Mother's Journal

In my life this week…it's been a rough week for me, physically. I've had a cold that just won't quit. Daughter has it too. So, not much schooling this week. Not much work done around the house either.

In our homeschool this week…illness in home. School shut down until further notice. LOL

I am inspired by…my husband who is putting in long hard days learning a new vocation to provide for his family.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…Robyn and Robert went out Tuesday night to meet the rest of his family to celebrate his uncle's 85th birthday. I was too sick and germy to attend.

My favorite thing this week was…uh...cold meds.

I’m cooking…my menu has gone to the wayside. Living on soup, bouillon, tea, sammies, mainly.

I’m grateful for…my husband who has not caught my cold.

I’m praying for…my cousins who lost their father this week.

Thanks for stopping by Second Star Academy. Hopefully next week, we will be back in the swing of things.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu for week of March 5th

Monday: Crock Pot Cajun Chicken (didn't get to this one yesterday), Noodles, Green Veg and Salad

Tuesday: Dinner out to celebrate Uncle's 85th birthday!

Wednesday: New recipe-Rice-A-Roni Salad, Deviled Eggs, Grapes

Rice A Roni Salad

2 pkgs of Rice A Roni - Fried Rice Flavor

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 or 4 cooked chicken breasts, cut into pieces/cubes

1 (4 oz.) pkg. slivered almonds ( I omitted these )

Paprika to taste

Miracle Whip Salad Dressing

Make rice according to pkg directions, then cool. When rice is cooled, add the onion, chicken breasts and almonds. Just before serving, stir in enough Miracle Whip Salad Dressing to hold the salad together. Sprinkle paprika over top. Serve chilled.

Delicious as is, you can also add a couple chopped, hard boiled eggs, chopped celery or other signature add-in.

Thursday: Pintos, Fried Taters, Mac and Cheese, Cornbread

Friday: Spaghetti Casserole (freeze one), Salad, Rolls

Saturday: Wild Rice Chicken Casserole (didn't get to this one last week either), (freeze one), Layered Salad

Sunday: Fish and Chips (chicken for me), leftover Layered Salad

That's my plan for this week. Hopefully I will get to everything on the menu this week. Have a terrific week.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ah, quiet.

Well, almost quiet. I can hear the dishwasher doing it's thang. Hubs and Robs went to the cinema to see the Star Wars 3D picture. 3D gives me a headache, so I passed. I would much rather be doing laundry, dishes, cooking, and all that housewifey stuff. Not!

But really, if I don't do it, who does? Hmm??? l have some pots and pans soaking. Need to give the stove a really good cleaning, stove eyes and pans and all. One day I may even clean the oven! Yep, it needs it. It needed it about a month after we bought it. And the wooden floor, oh let's not go there please. Sigh...the kitchen of a cooking woman is never clean! But I'm not complaining. I like having a family to cook for. I like seeing them eat and enjoy their food. Cooking is how I show my love. I just wish the love didn't show so much on my hips, know what I mean? LOL

I'm going to get off this big hiney now and work in the kitchen, get dinner started, and then probably play on Pinterest a while, get up and do more housewifey things and then more Pinterest/Facebook perusing, etc. I also need to wash that gray right out of my hair. I have one hair color left at home to do my own coloring and after that, I'm hitting the beauty parlor again to get my hair did. Yep, I said hair did. LOL I don't like doing it myself, but when you're poor for a few years, and you have gray to cover, you do what you have to do. I am looking forward to getting my hair pampered once every six weeks again.

How about you? How is your Saturday coming along? Doing fun stuff, work stuff, a little in between?


Friday, March 2, 2012

The Homeschooling Mother's Journal

In my life this week…Friday night Hubby and I celebrated our birthdays at P.F. Chang's. It was so yummy. I think I could make a meal of just the chicken lettuce wraps. Oh my!

In our homeschool this week…things are going smoothly. Daughter was given two days of assignments this week to do on her own and she did them and did them well. Saturday she attended an all day Red Cross babysitters class at our church, taught by our parish nurse. I think she is still too young to babysit, but thought it would be a good class for her to take, if for nothing else, for her own benefit as we leave her at home some now, as she is too old for a babysitter. She enjoyed the class.

I am inspired by…my husband who is in class all day with his new job and studying hard in the evenings. He is making great grades and learning many new things in order to support his family. I am so proud of him.

My favorite thing this week was…P.F. Chang's. Can you tell I really like their food?

Things I’m working on…being a good mother and wife. I am trying really hard to cook good meals for my family and clean up all those dirty dishes. I keep wishing for a kitchen fairy to come in behind me and do those dishes for me. Daughter is now unloading the dishwasher for me but I have yet to teach her how to properly load it and help with the dishes that have to be hand washed. I think I'm long overdue on this.

I’m reading…my Bible and too many blogs :/

I’m cooking…check out my posts on Monday to read my menus.

I’m grateful for…a few sunny days that we had this week. I love God's Vitamin D! I'm also grateful that those strong storms and tornadoes that passed over our country this week died out before they got here. We just had a little rain and blustery winds.

I’m praying for…hubby to continue to do well on his tests.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What a beautiful day!

It's a beautiful day here in East Tennessee. Seems the storms missed us the last couple of days. The sun is shining and it is warm. I have a couple of windows open and am airing out the house. This beautiful weather is giving me the energy to get a few things done. I have Taco Soup simmering on the stove. I hear my dishwasher doing it's job. I'm handwashing some dishes too. I have folded some laundry. I've been surfing Pinterest. Oops, I wasn't supposed to mention that. LOL

I hope you have survived the storms and are having a wonderful day. Spring came in here like a lamb.