Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Menu

I've been really bad about menu planning since we got back from vacation. But, with the kids back in school, we're finally settling down in to our routine. It's nice to get back in the swing of things.

I did a big no-no today, tho. I went to the store without a list. While I waited in line, I spied the new Rachael Ray magazine. I flipped through it and was very pleased to discover that, as usual, I only needed one or two ingredients beyond what was already in my cart or my pantry at home to complete several dishes! I quickly ran back out to the aisles and picked up the last few ingredients. I'm still lacking for dinner Wednesday night, but I'll probably throw together a variation on mac n cheese or something like that.

Monday: Taco Salad
Tuesday: spinach mushroom quiche
Wednesday: Mystery Night!
Thursday: meatball pizza
Friday: sausage and cheese pancakes
Saturday: chicken and broccoli alfredo
Sunday: Mexican chicken lime soup

I'll post reviews and some recipe tweaking later this week. The sausage and cheese pancakes are supposed to be waffles from scratch, but I'm far too lazy for that. I'll be using Krusteaz and pancakes. I'm waffle challenged.

Also don't forget to enter my blog give away for a subscription to Homemaking Cottage Deluxe Edition!

Friday, August 28, 2009

WIN! win! win! enter to win!

The internet is a very small world! We're able to connect with people we've never met and get fabulous ideas and inspirations that can make our lives easier. I love to peruse the internet looking for ideas of every kind. And, as luck would have it, I bumped in to an old in real life friend on the big wide internet that actually runs a website devoted to the homemaking arts!

I blogged earlier this month about being featured on The Homemaking Cottage's series on moms of large families. I really hope you all took the opportunity to click around that site.

The Homemaking Cottage has great content and ideas, but they also have subscription content that's even better! The site offers everything from practical homemaking tips to ways on making time for yourself and delicious recipes and crafts.

"We feature an additional 1001 articles, recipes and crafts that are not found anywhere else. We have five specialty writers who focus on unique and inspiring articles for our subscribers. A six month subscription is regularly priced at $20. Our subscribers receive a 20% discount in our shop, can request articles and have 24 hour a day access to information. "

Sounds good, right?

You can get your very own subscription, too.

Save 15% right now off a 6 month or 12 month membership by using the following coupon code when checking out: loveyourhome


you can WIN IT!

That's right, I'm giving away TWO, count 'em TWO subscriptions to the Deluxe Edition! Just leave a comment on this post and I'll use the astonishing contraption of silliness randomizer to pick two winners. The contest runs through Sept 3, so I can notify the winners in time to plan some awesome Labor Day BBQ :D don't forget to include your email addy so I know how to get in touch with you if you!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Can I strap the kid down with duct tape?

Seriously. She turned 4 months on the 8th. There is no way she should be doing this now. She just needs to like, stay put or something. She gets incredibly bent out of shape if she can't reach her toys, too.

Sometimes life gives you...

a big flaming pile of something on your doorstep. That was today.

In the last few weeks we've have to already put in $1000 in repairs on our van. Now the transmission is slipping. The problem is our driveway. It's on a very steep grade. If we park in the driveway and back out, the transmission has trouble getting in to second. If I park on the lawn (illegal, btw) and drive forward down the neighbor's non inclined driveway, the van drives fine.

To make matters worse, someone stole our lawnmower, our TV shorted out and the washing machine broke. D managed to rig up the washing machine and someone said they may have a new TV for us...wall mounted even, but it doesn't have sound. We have a sound system and D thinks he might be able to rig something up.

The boy is now saying homeschooling is boring. He is moving through the materials much more quickly than I anticipated. I am having a harder time finding ways to challenge him. He is bored with the assignments. He is tired of being home by himself all day with no one to play with. This is going to be a bit more of a challenge for me as I try to find more ways to engage him. I really need to pay my library fines so I can get him more books LOL

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

check me out!

I'm featured this week over at homemaking cottage in the Mothers of Large Families series. This is pretty fun. I've known the owner of that site since I was in high school. We lost track of over the years and bumped into each other online.

I'm sure you all will find lots to love over at the homemaking cottage

Life with ADD

Yesterday reminded me how difficult life is when you have ADD. I didn't realize how impaired my life was until I started taking medications for ADD. When I go off my meds I don't always see the effects, but my family sure does!

Last night, I was trying to do a simple task of chopping onions for dinner. Ben was at the table asking me a question about when I could do something. I couldn't listen to his question and chop the onions. My brain couldn't process both tasks at the same time.

A person with ADD can juggle several tasks at a time as long as full attention isn't given to any of them. Imagine the carnival act where the person is balancing a stack of plates, twirling a baton and has a ring swinging around his long as a person with ADD isn't thinking too much about the total process of the task, it can be done. But the minute he starts looking at the baton, all the other tasks stop.

Noise is a big trigger for me. I can't handle too many sounds at once. It's like brain overload. Two children trying to talk to me is too many. I know all parents hate their children talking over each other, but the noise for me prevents my brain from telling my mouth to tell the kids to stop. It's like an audio strobe light. I wish I could explain it better than that.

It is incredibly frustrating for everyone to have mama's head short circuiting because of too much stimuli!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Babbling Baby

Millie is one noisy four month old! She's constantly screaming into her hands...not upset screams, but happy ones. She squeals and coos, too. And, she's full of motion, much to my dismay. She's getting better at getting on to her knees. This video isn't that great at showing it, but she does get up on her knees and rocks forward... I have a feeling we'll be crawling within a month!

Moroccan Chicken

I always love it when I find a recipe in a magazine where I have 95 percent of the ingredients and the ones I am missing aren't key and I can fake the recipe. This is my faked version of Moroccan Skillet Chicken. Tonight's dinner was a massive hit. There were demands for non-existent seconds. As with any recipe, you have to taste it and tweak the seasonings to your tastes. With this one, I made it as directed and added extra cinnamon and cumin. Our family enjoys these flavors, so we always like a little extra punch of flavor.

Another shortcut I'd recommend (and I think I do suggest it over and over!) is to poach the chicken so it shreds right up.

Moroccan Chicken

1 T paprika
2 t turmeric
2 t cumin
1/2 t cinnamon
2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 T lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 C chicken stock
cooked rice (I cook my rice in leftover stock from the poached chicken!)

In a large bowl, mix together the paprika, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon. Add the chicken and toss to coat.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are tender. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice, deglazing the pan. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper (adjusting other seasonings if necessary) to taste.

Serve over cooked rice.

Friday, August 14, 2009

End of Week one

So our first week of homeschooling had its ups and downs.

I've learned more about my son this week than I expected. First, we have the same learning style (this is both good and bad!). Second, when he says he already knows how to do something, it's best to believe him! Third, he's a very hands on kid. Fourth, I need schedule in nap time ...for the baby, not the 7th grader LOL

We've covered more material in this week than the traditional school covers in the first two weeks. It's not that we're working that quickly; Alex grasps the material the first time. Yesterday, he learned exponents in 10 minutes. D said he takes three days to cover it.

Today was Alex's "elective" day. He picked a topic and is writing a paper: A History of the Soviet Union. How many 12 year olds do you know that would pick *that* as a topic of choice? ROTFL

Meanwhile, the other three in school are doing great at the magnet school. The first day the bus broke down and they didn't get home from school til 5:30! Things have gone much more smoothly. What's amazing to me is that even tho I'm getting the same number of kids ready PLUS making lunches in the morning, we're getting out the door sooner than we did last year! I'm thinking that Alex did have a lot to do with making us late every day. Oh well.

I'm hoping to get some fun things for myself done this weekend, including some sewing and some organizing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The boy's mohawk

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Homeschooling, day 1

If today was any indication of how homeschooling is going to go, it will be interesting!

I've been telling the boy the entire summer that homeschooling was not going to be a walk in the park. His only response has been "I get to go to school in my pajamas!" He's sort of missing the point. All he sees is he can get up late and not get dressed. And by late, I mean 30 minutes later than he woke up for school last year, compared to if he were going to public school this year, it would mean leaving at the same time as Dad.

Things went pretty well until we hit math. We're doing pre-algebra and our first lesson was on the ever important order of operations (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally). Alex quickly proclaimed with an eye roll that he already knew how to do that. His attitude lasted til example 5. "Nooo! You can only have one step in the parentheses! Noooo! STOP! You're making me work!"

He was further unimpressed with having to do story problems today, too.

The good news is that once he stopped acting all offended at having to learn and work, he figured out on his own that you followed the same order of operations procedures within the parenthesis. He's a smart kid if he can just focus. I wonder if I should mess with him a bit and introduce brackets tomorrow instead of exponents...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Asperger's and homeschooling

Yeah, I know, we were homeschooling one before, but she's going back to public school. Kari got in to the magnet school Leelee attends, so we're not especially concerned about her education.

Alex, however, was supposed to attend the school where D teaches. The teachers there are great, but Alex has some social issues and is really not ready for the social aspect of junior high. Alex has asperger's syndrome along with ADHD. Adults think Alex is wonderful and has a terrific vocabulary and knows a lot about current events. He's a republican despite listening to NPR on a regular basis. While we were on vacation, he tried to engage the waitress in a conversation about our military increasing it's defenses in the pacific in response to North Korea. Clearly this is not something your average 12 year old boy would a) know about b) care about c) try to talk to complete strangers about.

Needless to say, he hasn't fit in well in school...ever. He was questioning us about the French involvement in Vietnam when he was in the second grade and it wasn't too long after that he was asking us about the constitutionality of taxes, because he didn't see any mention of it when he read the Constitution.

Homeschooling this boy will be interesting. We're actually sticking with the materials they are using in the school system, but we're actually going to cover them in more details. We're also crossing over into the Boy Scout program whenever we can in hopes that he can earn various merit badges through this.

I'm pretty confident we're doing the right thing here. Alex was kicked out not invited back to the magnet program when he was in the fourth grade because of his ADHD issues. He is not the sit down and shut up learner his teacher wanted, so we had some run ins during the year. It wasn't pleasant for any of us. He needs to move around a lot while he learns, and let's face it, that kind of thing is disruptive in most classrooms.

So, we're setting off on a grand adventure. I figure we can't do any worse than the public schools here anyway!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Meal Planning

One of the best ways to save money on grocery shopping is to plan your meals based around what's on sale. I am always surprised that this isn't done by more people. I can't imagine just going to my pantry and not knowing what to make for dinner on a regular basis. One thing with ADD I've learned is I do need to put my best effort in to being organized. I fail miserably at it most of the time, but not when it comes to meal and menu planning. Maybe it's because I do have a passion for food and I can put my efforts in to it.

On that note, here's my menu for the week:

Sunday: Pork Roulade
Monday: Sweet BBQ crockpot chicken sandwiches
Tuesday: Stroganoff
Wednesday: Cheeseburger Mac n Cheese
Thursday: Beef Stew
Friday: Breakfast for dinner
Saturday: Spaghetti