Archive | September, 2012

Freezer Meal: Homemade Meatballs

14 Sep

This is my Aunt Phyllis’s yummy recipe! She passed it along to me several years ago when I was pregnant with our 3rd son. I was in NESTING MODE and cooking like crazy to prepare freezer meals for our post-baby, sleepless nights, too-tired-to-cook reality. I stumbled upon a large amount of quality ground chuck on clearance at Harris Teeter. I snatched all of it up, and I immediately called my mother for her meatball recipe. Her meatballs were a definite favorite of mine growing up. She frantically searched for it, and, tragedy, it was lost! Thankfully, she tracked down my Aunt’s recipe, which is virtually the same one! I made and froze almost 40 meatballs that week!

The trick to freezing meatballs is to do so INDIVIDUALLY. After I stir up the ingredients, I form them into balls and put them on a cookie sheet. (Make sure that they are not touching when the meatballs are lined on the cookie sheet). They are transferred into my freezer for a couple of hours until they are individually frozen. I, then, throw them into a Ziploc bag labeling it with the total number of meatballs in each bag.

When you’re ready to cook the meatballs, take out your desired amount the night before and put them into a greased baking dish. I cover them and leave them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. When I am ready to cook them, I make the sauce, pour the sauce on top, and bake! Viola! So easy and so yummy!

By the way, this is a great meal to take to someone with a new baby! I’ve done that in the past, and they are always a hit!

I made these on Monday, which was our first day of Classical Conversations for the year. It was HEAVENLY to be able to pull these out Sunday night, let them thaw all day Monday while we were at CC, make the sauce and bake them later that day, and enjoy a wonderful homecooked meal for dinner! My boys DEVOURED these; these were the only 2 left out of about 2 dozen! The empty dish on the left, the 2 lone meatballs on the right! Enjoy!

Homemade Meatballs
MEATBALLS:
1 1/2 LB. GROUND BEEF
1 cup  MILK
3/4 CUP OATS
1/2 CUP CHOPPED ONION
1/2 CUP CHOPPED GREEN PEPPER
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
SAUCE:
1 CUP TOMATO KETCHUP
1/2 CUP WATER
1 Tablespoon VINEGAR
1 Tablespoon WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
COMBINE 1ST 6 INGREDIENTS. MAKE INTO SMALL BALLS. CAN BE INDIVIDUALLY FROZEN ON COOKIE SHEET NOW, IF DESIRED.) PLACE IN 9X13 DISH. COMBINE SAUCE INGREDIENTS  AND POUR OVER MEAT. BAKE AT 275-300 DEGREES FOR 45 MINUTES.

CC Connected–Free Week (until 9/16), flashcards and geography tip

12 Sep

CC CONNECTED–If you’ve wanted to “test drive” CC Connected before paying the $6/month, you’re in luck! They are having a FREE WEEK for anyone interested. Use the username and password in the graphic above. As a tutor, I’ve LOVED the resources available through CC Connected; they are extremely helpful in my Abecedarians class. It’s also nice having access to these resources as a CC parent. I’m using many of these to go deeper with the Memory Work during the week. One of my favorite CC Connected finds is a document with all 24 History Statements accompanied with a large box for illustrating the week’s History Statement. We’ll do that each week as means of reviewing the History Statement but also for extra practice with the OiLS (basic elements of shape).

AGE OF ANCIENT EMPIRES PRE-DATING CREATION?–My husband had this question along with my friend’s 7 year old. Why is the “Age of Ancient Empires” flashcard BEFORE the Creation flashcard? I think my church planting pastor hubby was fearful that I was teaching my boys some crazy theology. 🙂 If you’ll notice in your flashcard sets, they are color coded in the top right corner according to a segment of history. The first segment is the “Age of Ancient Empires,” “The Middle Ages” is next, etc. When a different age is reached in the timeline, you’ll notice a different color in the upper right hand corner. Yellow for “Age of Ancient Empires,” orange for “The Middle Ages,” etc. Each age has a TITLE CARD before the actual “event cards” are shown. Card #1 is the title card for the “Age of Ancient Empires.” Card 54 is the title card for “The Middle Ages.” You will see this pattern throughout the cards. So, yes, CC believes that the creation of all things by our Creator was the first event in history. 🙂

GEOGRAPHY TIP: WEEK 1: I love maps, so I am super pumped about CC’s Geography component! A couple of tips tip as you’re working through Week 1 Geography. How can I help my children know which of the 2 rivers is the Tigris or the Euphrates? I taught my Abecedarians this week that the Top river is the Tigris. For the Euphrates, it sounds as though the word starts with a U, so the Euphrates is Under the Tigris river. Also, a tip to help them locate the Fertile Crescent region if they’re using a map that doesn’t have it all cute, yellow, crescent-shaped like the fabulous CC maps. Have them first find the continent of Africa, and indicate that the Mediterranean Sea (also a part of Week 1 Geography!) is the body of water NORTH of Africa. Once they find the Mediterranean Sea, go to the right and look for the 2 rivers, Tigris and Euphrates. They should be able to discover the other Week 1 locations in a cinch after that.

Child Training Bible–Free Giveaway @ I Can Teach My Child

12 Sep

I Can Teach My Child

One of my favorite blogs is “I can Teach My Child.” She gives amazing, fun, creative ways to teach our own children. We’ve tried several of her ideas, and my boys have LOVED IT! Her Olympics ideas and crafts were inspiring! After reading her blog, we had the Mosley Olympics this summer in conjunction with London 2012. Our boys had a BLAST!

She is currently giving away a Child Training Bible Kit. I’ve heard wonderful things about the Child Training Bible and have looked into ordering it. Go over to I Can Teach My Child, to enter to win. Hoping that I win it…or that one of my fabulous readers will win! 🙂

2 things I never thought I’d do…

11 Sep

I had 2 adventures in the kitchen today. These were new adventures, mind you, and they were adventures that I never thought I’d go on. What were they, you ask?

1) I prepared fresh green beans to put up for the winter. (Well, maybe I should say I’m saving them for the fall; I don’t think I’ll wait that long to eat their yumminess!)

2) I made homemade applesauce, pear sauce and put it up in my freezer.

Since my blog is dedicated to sharing with you, I just HAD to blog about these 2 things. If I can make these things, ANYONE can! Some things are just too good to keep to myself! I feel like Suzy Homemaker today. I’m still shocked that I did these 2 things. What was MORE shocking was that these 2 tasks were SUPER easy and will be such a blessing to our family! Between church planting, homeschooling, trying to keep 3 scrapping boys fed, and the fast-paced culture of America (sigh…that’s my other campaign, to s.l.o.w. down our culture, but that’s another topic for another day), having meals and in my freezer make dinner time MUCH easier for me.

Green Beans: The green beans came from our CSA. My fridge was full of fresh veggies already, and I remembered reading this post on Heavenly Homemakers (a favorite blog) last month about freezing fresh green beans. So, why not try it?!?!? Here’s the result! This took little to no effort, and I have 2 huge bags of fresh green beans to enjoy weeks or months from now.

Pear sauce: Random, I know. It was inspired by the exorbitant amount of pears that we have. The abundance of pears, why yes, they came from our backyard. This is such a hilarious statement because I AM not a gardener, grow-my-own food kind of gal. I’d LOVE to be, but I have no idea HOW. The two pear, two plum, white peach, and apple trees came with the house when we bought it. We love our house, and when the fruit appeared in abundance our first spring and summer here, we were elated. Plants and trees bringing forth fruit is an amazing process to observe; it causes me to worship God, the creator of all things and marvel at His wisdom and handiwork.

This is our second round of pears. We’ve had about 15 gallons on just ONE tree! I hate the thought of wasting this food; it’s delicious AND free! I’ve made what seems like hundreds of Pear Crisps (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing that recipe here soon!), but having dessert every night in our home is, well, not a great idea for our waistlines family. So, I had to try making something a little healthier with them. 🙂

I was inspired by this Crockpot Applesauce post to make and freeze pear sauce with our bounty of pears. I even borrowed my neighbor’s Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer to prep the pears for the Crockpot. Why, yes, this AMAZING tool works on PEARS; it’s amazing!!! Go buy one now!!! I can peel, core, and slice a dozen pears in about 10 minutes. Another plus is that my sons LOVE using the Peeler/Corer/Slicer, so they’re eagerly helping me. The pear sauce is delicious, and I put up 2 freezer bags of pear sauce today (and will be making more tomorrow!). I have several breakfast recipes that use applesauce as a staple ingredient, so I’ll be able to whip out my frozen pear sauce and use it the next several months in our cooking. The best part is that I’m saving money by doing this!! YAY!

Here’s a picture of all of my pears and the beloved Pampered Chef Peeler/Slicer/Corer. Everything is set out for me to make another batch of pear sauce in the morning.

So, the next time you think, “Hmmm, I’ve never done _________ (fill in the blank) before.” Let me encourage you to GO FOR IT. If I can blanche and freeze fresh green beans and make homemade pear sauce, you can do tackle a new recipe or project! Check back in with me here and let me know what new recipe, craft, or Pin from Pinterest that you tried!

Chili’s: Kids Eat Free (September 10-12)

10 Sep

If you’re looking for a way to stretch your “Eating Out” budget (we always are!), Chili’s has KIDS EAT FREE today through Wednesday, September 12. We LOVE “Kids Eat Free” at Chili’s because they allow TWO free Kids Meals per adult. Most restaurants allow 1 free meal PER adult but not Chili’s. 🙂 This is fabulous news around our home because we have THREE ravenous, carnivore-aholic boys. At Chili’s, each boy gets a free Kids Meal (YAY!). At other places, we only get 2 free meals and end up paying for 1. 😦

Chili’s has this promotion quite frequently. Although it’s not a weekly standard event (ala “Kids Eat Free Mondays” at our area FireHouse Subs, Chick fil a or Brixx), it seems to roll around often. I find out through Chili’s emails delivered via their Email Club. I sign up for all of my fave restaurants’ email clubs. This pays huge dividends around my birthday and email club anniversary (think, free food and desserts!) Chili’s Email Club is one of my favorites because I continually receive emails with freebies from them. 🙂

Yay for Kids Eat Free! Now, run to Chili’s this week, the chips and salsa are calling….

CC Cycle 1, Week 1

10 Sep

Here are some great resources for Classical Conversations Week 1, Cycle 1.

Online Resources:

Favorite Blog: And Here We Go
And Here We Go! - Our Homeschooling Adventures

I got wonderful ideas from this blog. She has GREAT resources for connecting Week 1 with the Bible. For example, the Euphrates River is part of our Geography Memory Work. In the Bible, it is called the Great River. She lists each reference to it from the Bible. Can’t wait to read these with my boys! If only someone had explained this to me earlier! 🙂 Here’s her link to Cycle 1, Week 1 resources.

Another great online resource: Half a Hundred Acre Wood

She has a weekly link up for each CC Week (as well as GREAT ways to organize CC at home and great resources for tutors). Here’s the link for Cycle 1, Week 1

Favorite Activities and Crafts:

The Mummy maker—an online antimated step-by-step video of how the Egyptians made mummies. We discovered this last year when studying Ancient History. It is a FAVORITE of my boys. Sadly, there is no image to “pin,” so it can’t be pinned. 😦 I hope I never lose this link! (Whew…good reason to be blogging, right?) 🙂

DIY Mummy—We’re making a mummy this week! I can’t wait! A friend shared this with me last year, but we never got around to making it. Can’t wait to do it this year!

10 Commandments HANDPRINTS! I always love handprints with my kiddos!)

Favorite Books:

Exodus by Brian Wildsmith

Get off your computer and RUN to your library NOW and CHECK OUT THIS BOOK. It has amazing, colorful, majestic illustrations. I can not get enough of this book. Wow. I can’t wait to let my boys look at this with me.

Story of the World

We started SOTW last year, but could not finish it AND our Sonlight. I’m excited to use SOTW with CC this year as we study the Ancients. Here is a website matching the Memory Work for Week 1 with SOTW.

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

We LOVE Read-Alouds in our home. This is our Read-Aloud for Weeks 1 and 2. It’s the story of a young boy named Ranofer, and he has quite the mystery to solve! It is set in ancient Egypt and has wonderfully accurate details and descriptions of ancient life in Egypt. Ranofer works with a goldsmith, who aspires to make objects of gold for the Pharoah’s use.

Review at home: Treasure Box

I wanted to encourage the children in my class to review the new grammar at home. I created an incentive for him/her to do this; it’s every child’s best friend–The Treasure Box. On the chart, you’ll notice 3 boxes for Week 1, Week 2, etc. I wanted to encourage my children to review, minimally, 3 days per week at home. Each day that he/she reviews the new grammar, you will sign your name in a box. If he/she reviews the new grammar (including the previous 6 weeks as we add new grammar each week) 3 days per week for 6 weeks, he/she will get to pick something out of the Treasure Box. If he/she doesn’t get 3 days in one week, you can make those days up the next week. Hopefully, this will be a tangible way for them to be motivated to review at home. 🙂 You can download the form below, print it out and use it at home. Create your own Treasure Box (think, clearance aisle at Target, Happy Meal Toys, Books, etc.) at home.

Treasure Box Form

Pinterest: My Pinterest Board for CC

Here’s a link to my Pinterest Board dedicated to CC Cycle 1. Hoping to update it regularly. 🙂

I hope this is helpful to those reading it! So fun sharing these great resources with you! 🙂

What are your favorite resources for CC Cycle 1, Week 1?

Classical Conversations and a new blog

10 Sep

We heard about Classical Conversations last year from my long-time friend, Ashleigh. Ashleigh lives in Indiana, came by my house to visit, and told me all about “CC.” Wow. Awestruck. Amazed. These were my first impressions after learning about CC. My other feeling was total jealousy! Ha! 🙂 I wanted my kids to do CC, but I was saddened to learn that the closest one was 40 some odd miles away. Oh, well. I filed it in the back of my brain in my “Wish List” section. We carried on with our homeschool plans that year, and we had a wonderful year.

However, as we were finishing our 2011-12 school year, I was excited to learn from my friend, Sherry, that she had a friend, who was new to the area and wanted to start a CC Community in our area. YAY! Wow. Awestruck. Amazed…yet again! Long story short, a CC Community started in our area, and we quickly signed up to join! There were initially only 3 families, and one of us had to tutor or the group could not start. So, I signed up to tutor (CC lingo for “Teacher”) without ever having been to a “real” CC group. 🙂 We started today, our community has since grown to about 15 families, and I am happy to be teaching the Abecedarians Class (ages 4-6, roughly).

I’ve wanted to start a blog for awhile now. I LOVE discovering new things, secrets, tips to make my life easier and more simplistic and then SHARING them with others. 🙂 I’ve had questions from folks about different things I do around our house (How did you make your own baby food? What bread maker do you use to make bread?, Do you have any good, freezer-friendly recipes?, etc.) I end up responding back to friends with the answers only to have a different friend ask the same question. More times than not, I can’t find the lengthy response to “copy/paste” (2 of my favorite activities because most of what I do and find is COPIED and PASTED from someone else.) 😦 Sigh. If I only had a blog to keep all of my resources centralized. 🙂 Now that I’m tutoring with our Classical Conversations Community, I wanted a central location to keep the parents of my class updated on cool resources. Thus, I decided today to JUMP IN and start.

I look forward to sharing lots of things…recipes, CC resources, books, tricks that make my life more efficient, and most of all lots of laughter, grace and fun on this journey!