Saturday, November 18, 2017

Our Week in Photos #21

We had another great week with some new experiences and everyday fun!

 On Saturday, the 11th, Josh had the opportunity to participate in a choir for 3rd-6th graders through the Michigan Music Educators Association.  It was a great chance for him to work under and be taught by a choir director and learn songs to sing with other students.  As homeschoolers, sometimes it's experiences like this that help create something new for students to use as learning tools.  He seemed to really enjoy it and we were super, duper proud of him!
 Another first - the boys got invited to their very first real friend birthday party.  They even got to dress up. We pulled out their costumes they wore in the Christmas program last year and transformed them into Knights.  We even had nerf swords!
 Josh playing one of the games.  This particular friend is actually a good friend of Nate's but I was thankful that they invited Josh too. :-)
 Nate found this helmet at his friends house and added it to his costume.
 Nate and his friend, the birthday boy, sitting in the "Kings Throne".  They boys really did have a lot of fun.  I am thankful for great experiences!

 Nate is really into games right now.  At least one night a week he will start pulling out games for us to play after dinner. 
 Speaking of heartwarming moments - this is a first.  Both boys picked out books at the library but Nate, well, he picked out some "chapter" books.  Nice thick books.  After AWANA, I found Nate in the playroom . .. READING!  On his own.  Who cares that they are Pokemon books written in comic style - he has a bookmark and everything.  I've been waiting for my kids to start wanting to read! 
 On Thursday, we attended the Library homeschooling hour and the boys learned about bridges and then got to try creating their own out of Popsicle sticks.

 Josh's bridge. 
Nate's bridge. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Weekly Menu - Thanksgiving

Amazingly, I stuck to our menu last week.  I made some new recipes that were actually pretty good.  I'll be sharing those in the coming days!  As we look forward to the coming week, we have Thanksgiving to look forward too!  I keep telling myself to keep it simple!!! Here's the plan for the coming week :-)

Friday - My original plan for tonight was leftovers.  But, considering the fact that the large bowl of leftover soup slipped out of my hands when I was putting it away on Tuesday night and splattered all over the kitchen, well, I don't have much for leftovers!  I know we have some things and I'll just try to supplement with favorites like Mac and Cheese :-)

Saturday - Amish Baked Chicken, Buttered Noodles, and Carrots

Sunday - At the writing of this I have decided if we are going to our church Thanksgiving dinner.  If we do, I'll take a salad and either rolls or a dessert if not, Pulled pork BBQ at home with fries.

Monday - The Kids have an activity at the Library which includes pizza so I think Darryl and I will have leftovers from the weekend.

Tuesday - Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Baked Brown Rice and Green Beans

Wednesday - It's the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house, not a person is cooking  . .not even ME HA!  I always try to make something simple because there is so much prep/cooking going on that I don't want anything extra. This year, we will have TACOS!!  I can actually prep everything for the tacos early in the week, making it even easier on Wednesday!

Thursday - It's Thanksgiving!  Here's the basic plan.  Turkey (of course), Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Cooked Carrots (I have a few recipes I'm dividing between), Mac and Cheese (Nate's favorite Thanksgiving food!), Cranberries, and probably some good rolls and flavored butter.  As far as dessert - I know for sure I'll make my favorite Pumpkin Pie and then I have about 20 different desserts picked out and I need to narrow it down HA!  Now, to keep it real, until I actually go shopping, this menu could change (that's for my mom's sake - this is not set in stone!!)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Craft - Scripture Turkey

Last Friday was the last day of Friday school.  To be honest, I was out of ideas (or desire) to come up with a great Bible themed lesson for my "Bibles for Little Learners" class.  So, I decided to focus on the one thing that made sense - Thanksgiving! 

To keep with the Bible theme, I searched for a simple Bible lesson to read and the story of  The Ten Lepers came up over and over.  I can't find the exact story I read but this one from Church House Collection is pretty close.
I also wanted to focus on a verse.  Just a true reminder of being thankful for what God gives us.  I came across this great idea over at mpmschoolsupplies.
This little turkey was super simple.  I was able to download the turkey and the feathers from Kikicreates.  I made my example using 8 1/2 x 11 card stock but quickly discovered that my turkey was bigger than the paper.  I thankfully (get it HA!) had some 12x12 white scrapbooking paper that I could use for my class.  I would actually recommend printing the Turkey/feathers smaller so that he will fit on regular paper.  Please note, I wrote the words and verse on the items before printing.  Once glued on the paper, the students had to add legs and eyes.  (I use googly eyes whenever I can because they are FUN!!)

This craft is a fun, simple idea for Sunday School or even as a center in a classroom on a day of Thanksgiving fun!

Monday, November 13, 2017

What I'm Reading

I've been enjoying a variety of books lately.  So, here's what I've been reading.

 "When We Were Worthy" showed up as a suggested read on my facebook page.  It's the story of the loss of several girls in a car accident caused by another student and how it impacts the town.  The style of writing is such that you are kept wondering what will really happen and how each persons story will play out throughout the whole book.  It was one of those books that I didn't want to put down not so much because it's a perfectly written story but rather I just wanted to find out what happened to the characters.  Overall, it was a very good read.
 I've always enjoyed the writings of Davis Bunn and this book didn't disappoint.  I will admit that it took me about 1/4 of the book to really get into it and enjoy it.  I didn't love the characters at first and had to get past that and into the meat of the story before I really wanted to finish it.  Ironiaclly, when it ended, I was disappointed that it was done and wanted more of the story.  I think that's a sign of a good book!
 "The Wild Truth" was our most recent book club book.  Honestly, I did not like this book at all.  The only reason I read it was for book club otherwise, I would have never finished.  It was not well written and the story itself was just not well told.  Yes, it is a sad story because of the abuse that takes place but just not presented well as a book.
 Jan Karon and the town of Mitford - one of my all time favorite series.  This is her latest book and it is such a treat because I thought she was done writing!  I'm about 1/4 way through this book and it is as endearing as the rest of the series.

 The two books above are the next two book club books.  I haven't even purchased them as of yet but I need to soon so I'm ready for Decembers get together!
 Lynn Austin's latest, "Where We Belong" is a book I'm also reading (Yes, I read multiple books at one time)  Lynn's writings are full of facts and information so they are not quick reads but she writes so well that you are pulled into her stories and learn to love the characters like family.
This book also showed up on my Facebook page and wow, what a story.  It's based on the true story of an adoption agency run in Tennessee and how children were basically stolen from their families and then sold into adoption to the wealthy.  It was a page turner as you learn the stories of the Characters and how they blend throughout the story.  I was so glad that I read this book and learned this piece of history - not because it was "good" but because it was eye opening. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Our Week in Photos #20

It was a pretty quiet week!
 Nate loves to play games so he pulled this favorite out. 

 They had choir practice on Thursday night.  (That's Josh with his hood on and Nate in the red striped shirt) 
 Lots of school work happened this week.  I have a goal of being ahead enough that we can take the week before Christmas off.  I love really long Christmas breaks :-) 
 Today was our last day of Friday School this semester.  Josh and another girl decorated this cake in their Cake Decorating class. 

 The boys made this fabulous tarts in their cooking class.  
Nate got to write about his favorite animal that they studied in his Animal class. 

As I'm sitting here on a Friday evening, I'm realizing that this is the first quiet Friday night we've had in awhile.  We got home from Friday school and I put on my Pj's, got my favorite blanket, a great cup of coffee (from Bigby!), my book and snuggled with my cat. HA!  What exciting lives we live around here :-) 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Weekly Menu

We jumped into a new and better routine this week but with doing that, I haven't had the creative mind to write this week so the blog took a back seat.  I also didn't make a single meal that I planned :-)  I totally forgot to take that Ham out of the freezer so instead we had Tacos, Spaghetti and Meatloaf since I had ground beef in the fridge already!  Here's the tentitive plan for the coming week.  Why is it tentitive?  Because I haven't gone to the store yet this week so anything can change HA!

Friday - It's the last day of Friday school.  I'm tired already (and I'm writing this on Thursday!) so I know I won't want to cook.  Maybe we will meet Darryl at Wendy's for dinner to keep it easy.

Saturday - Josh is participating in a special choir so we will be eating lunch out with my mom afterwards.  Since we will have a big lunch, and I still have to go to the store on Saturday afternoon, dinner will be something simple like Chicken Nuggets or Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

Sunday - Slow Cooker Pork Chops with caramelized onions and peas, mashed potatoes, and Mac and Cheese (for my sweet Nate - it's his favorite food so sometimes I just make it because I love him so much!)

Monday - Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana and Garlic Sticks (Ok, my kids aren't soup eaters so I'll probably provide them with something they actually like . . .like chicken nuggets)

Tuesday - Baked Ziti and Garlic Biscuits and green beans

Wednesday - The boys and I will grab something to eat before AWANA.

Thursday - Poor man's hamburger steaks, buttered noodles, and peas and carrots. 

That's the plan - I'll let you know how it plays out next week . . which, in case you didn't realize it, will include Thanksgivings menu as well!  (WOW!)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Our week in photos #19

We had a great week.  It started with a weekend away for me and, well, ended with a trip away for me.  Throw in a little Halloween fun and it was a pretty good week of fun!
 I, of course, enjoyed a great weekend away scrapbooking and chatting with friends. 

 Josh's pumpkin - an Enderman.
 Nate's pumpkin - a three headed Wither (from Minecraft also) This picture shows two of the three "heads".
 We also got our first snow!
 And yes, Josh is outside without a shirt.  Before you judge . . this is tradition.  I think there is a photo from almost every year where, on the first snow, Josh runs outside without a shirt.  It's almost like a right of passage HA!
 This photo was not planned.  Our two friends showed up in these Halloween shirts and the boys have the same ones so we had to get a photo with all four kids.  Such a cute photo!
 Halloween night really was a great night if it was a little chillier than we would have liked. 

 We ended the night at our church for their indoor "trunk or treat" so the weather did not really matter.  Josh's face is just killin' me HA!
 I ended the week at a birthday party for an old family friend - Alice (she's the one sitting).  She turned 90.  It brought together some dear friends.  Jeanne Turk (back left), my mom (middle), and Mrs. Basler (Back right).  All pretty special people in my book.
 Finally, Darryl took the boys to Friday school today since I was gone and I'm so glad he did.  When I got home Josh said, "Mom, I made you a pie".  This is the pie he made today in his baking class.  I love that he's learning to bake!
I didn't get to share this last week - but the rhino and turtle on the left are both projects that Nate has made recently in his class.  I love all of the experiences they get at Friday school!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Weekly Menu

Last weeks menu ended up being a menu made of leftovers.  We had left over chicken and noodles from Sunday and then leftover Roast, Potatoes and Carrots.  It made cooking easy :-) Here's the plan for the coming week

Friday - I'm going to be out of town so I'm leaving Darryl in charge of dinner.  I'm thinking he's grab some McDonald's.

Saturday - Spaghetti/Ravili w/meatsauce and garlic butter biscuits.

Sunday - Ham, Cheesy Potatoes, and Green Beans

Monday - Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup with soft rolls

Tuesday - Cheesy Leftover Ham and Rice Casserole with Broccoli and crescent Rolls

Wednesday - Sandwiches between the Library and AWANA

Thursday - LEFTOVERS!  Yes, I'm cooking a big ham on Sunday which means using the ham in some meals throughout the week.  Tonight, we will 'clean out the fridge' with what was served all week!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Blue Apron - My Thoughts

Unless you are living in another country (that's for my brother, Kel), you have most likely heard of Blue Apron.  Blue Apron is a meal delivery service.  Yep, you read that right - you can have meals delivered to your home weekly.  Recently, a friend had some free "trials" to give away and I was able to get one so I thought I'd share the good, bad and ugly :-)

 When you set up your account, you can choose your delivery date (I picked Wednesday).  The box arrives and it is all pretty and fun looking!
 Inside the box are two beautiful recipe cards (well, 2 in my case because I only got 2 meals for 4 people with the free trial).
 The food is enclosed in this insulated bag inside the box with dry ice in the bottom.
 All the ingredients are packaged and labeled for easy use.
Each paper bag is labeled for the meal that it goes with and the meat is well packaged also.

 This is meal one - BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with cole slaw and roasted potatoes.
 The beautiful recipe card.
 This is what was inside the bag.  They supply everything you need except olive oil and salt and pepper.  All of the ingredients are premeasured which makes it even easier to cook dinner.

This was the final dinner.  All in all, it was pretty good. 

Now, here are my opinions:
1) Over all, Blue Apron does a great job with packaging, directions and overall ease of use of their product.  The fact that you get all of the ingredients premeasured is a bonus.
2) They use a high quality of ingredients but not necessarily the best cuts.  For example, for the BBQ chicken meal, it was boneless, skinless chicken thighs, not breasts.  I personally find the boneless thighs kind of slimy (I like bone-in thighs but they are "dryer". 
3) The price point is a killer.  The two meals that we received "retail" at about $72.00.  So that is two meals for a family of four.  Blue Apron says you feed each person for about $8.99 a piece.  Well, honestly, I can feed my whole family 3 times a day for $8.99 a piece, not just one meal.  It is not designed for a family who lives on a super tight budget.
4) So would I ever use it again?  I might at some point just for fun - maybe with a coupon :-)

Now, here's my little disclaimer.  If Darryl and I were "DINKS" (Double Income, No Kids) I would totally take advantage of a program like this.  In order meals for 2, you can get 4 meals for about $60.00.  That would mean 4 meals totally ready to cook when I walk in the door and no shopping.  (We'd eat out the other three HA!) I'd also use this if I was single.  Why?  Ordering 4 meals for 2 people means that I would either have 8 dinners or 4 dinners plus lunch the next day.  Talk about making life easy! 

Overall it was a good experience, it just doesn't fit into our budget or life right now. 

You might notice I only talked about one meal.  Well, the second meal sent to us was Salmon and Kale.  Neither item is a food that either Darryl or I like so I didn't end up cooking it.