Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peanut Soup – March 31, 2009

TMTT Blissfully Domestic 1

I finally made the peanut soup and it was delicious!!  Here is the link to the recipe.  Some things you should know about it: The lime juice doesn’t come out as “lime” flavoring, but yet it makes a huge difference in the overall taste of the dish (Ga’hoole Girl says that it adds “layers” of flavor).  It says to add two teaspoons of hot sauce, but I used Tabasco sauce, so I just added a little at a time until I got the right flavor.    I also used half and half instead of cream and it was still plenty rich!

I’m really glad that I got brave enough to try something different because it was worth it.  I loved it, Mr. Math Tutor liked it, Ga’hoole Girl didn’t really like it, and Wild Man thought it was too weird to try.  Thankfully, I also made some potato-cheese soup that night, so no one went hungry.  The peanut soup also took very little time to make – less than an hour.  So, give it a try – it’s surprisingly delicious!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday – March 30, 2009


Mr. Math Tutor is getting more clients these days, so I get to drive Wild Man to drum lessons and dance class on Monday afternoon.  This means that I didn’t go grocery shopping today, so I’m not completely sure what I’m going to have to work with this week.  However, I am planning based on the grocery ad in the newspaper, so hopefully my plans will all work and these will be the menus for the week!

1. Chicken-broccoli stir-fry with rice

2. Sirloin roast with mashed potatoes and gravy

3. Oven fried chicken with salad and corn

4. Macaroni with cheese sauce and broccoli

5. Tilapia with rice and some kind of veggie

6. Leftovers

7. Sandwiches (Monday night)

Not terribly exciting, perhaps, but reasonably healthy.  Check out Menu Plan Monday to see what others will be cooking this week.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Proud Mama!

My son, yes, my only son, got to participate in the church service today in a special and spiritual way.  Right before the service was dismissed, he ran up on stage, yelling, while dressed like Indiana Jones, and jumped up on stage.  The pastor stopped his talking (this was planned, don’t worry) and asked my son what he was doing.  Well, of course, my son was just up there to remind everyone about the Easter Egg-venture for kids in two weeks – isn’t that what Indiana Jones always does?  And, yes, those were his brown jazz pants with big ole holes in them that I never managed to mend since I don’t like to sew.  Didn’t they look good?! 

Ya’ll, I’m just so proud of my boy (I get more Southern when my head hurts, by the way).  Of course, this was the first time in a month that I didn’t make it to church because of a migraine, which makes me feel totally like a terrible mother, but I guess I’ll get over it eventually.  (Actually, I did go to church just for the beginning of the service because I thought he was going to do this at the start of service but they actually decided to do it at the end of the service, so I ended up coming home and going back to bed.  And, after church my dear son went to a friend’s house, so I didn’t even see him until 9pm!  But, he and I spent lots of time hugging this evening, so it was OK.  And, I’m not really a bad mama, so I guess I’m over it already.)

So, one day, when my son is some super-spiritual preacher or evangelist or theologian, you can be confident that it’s all because he ran up on the church stage dressed like Indiana Jones (ripped pants and all).  Or, maybe the verses he learns in AWANA and all the scripture we read at night, and the discussions we have at all hours of the day and night will have as much impact.  We’ll know in twenty years or so.  But, right now, I’m one proud mama!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

HELP! Get Me Out Of Here!

SANY1102 This is Xena, the warrior cat (also known as Sophie by the humans who kidnapped me).  I have taken over the human’s computer for a few precious moments.  These humans took me from the prison where I was being held as a baby five years ago.  I am now held in this house with the four humans and two other cats.  The adult male human is to be feared.  He locks me up when I assert my independence.  The adult female is a little better.  The female teenager is the best one of the lot.  She lets me in her room and feeds me.

The other two cats are pathetic specimens of feline genetic material.  Sassy actually seems to LIKE the humans.  Ugh.   Silver tries to show mostly disdain, but she really likes the adult human.  Those two tolerate their captivity with far more equanimity than I can.

IMG_5734 For my part, I make every attempt possible to escape.  I am occasionally allowed outside by the female teenager, but only on a harness or in a cage.  How humiliating!!  I am a cat, for heaven’s sake!  To keep in shape for my planned escape (however far in the future), I do “play” with the yarn and feathers that lie around the house.  I also chase these other two excuses for cats around the house and try to get them to skirmish, but they rarely take the bait.

While I wait for my escape opportunity, I try to wreak as much havoc as possible.  When the humans are asleep, I knock over cups of water.  During the day, I take socks from the closets and laundry baskets and leave them in the hallway.  I think I sense their resolve weakening.

My frustration level is getting higher, though.  It is springtime.  There are birds nesting in the tree outside.   I. Am.  A. Carnivore.  I want to eat the birds.  Yes, it would require a little extra work because I don’t have front claws, but I’m sure I could do it.  I just need to get out of here!  HELP ME!  I AM A CAT!!!!

OH, no, here comes the adult human.  I’d better go.  Send help soon to Xena, Warrior Cat.

Our Week In Review – March 28, 2009


We’ve actually had a pretty good week on the academic front.  It wasn’t exactly exciting, but a lot of learning occurred!

History/Geography/Social Science – We are still in the last part of the 1700s.  We are reading in George Washington’s World as well as listening to the Story of the World audio book.  We watched a PBS show on Catherine the Great that dovetailed very nicely with our studies.  Last night, while we were reading, we also did some looking at the globe to understand where the Spanish and Russians had settled in North America.

Language Arts

Ga’hoole Girl continues to do well in her poetry book.  She wrote a science paper for me (more on that later) which had problems with capitalization and punctuation.  From now on, she’s going to type her papers or write out a clean copy so that I know she understands the grammar. 

Ga’hoole Girl started working on her research paper this week.  I had her read the Sonlight research paper guide then gave her the eight week schedule that I had made (revised from Sonlight’s 12 week schedule).  On Wednesday, we talked about what she had read and I answered a few questions.  Today, she told me that her definite topic is “The History of

Wild Man’s reading has gotten much better in the last couple of weeks.  Right now, he’s reading Henry Huggins with me – we usually read alternate pages, but sometimes he forgets to stop and reads four or five pages before stopping.  His spelling has also improved tremendously.  He still has to be reminded of the rules sometimes, but the whole subject isn’t such a mystery anymore.

Science – Ga’hoole Girl wrote a nice paper (except for the grammar) on forest fires based on her reading from Earth.  Wild Man has decided that he’s interested in doing some study of space.  When I was gone on Thursday for a few hours, both kids watched a History Channel show on The Outer Planets.  I have also ordered a few books from the library to read with Wild Man about space.  In addition, the kids and I are going to EAA for one day of their Space Week.  It is a day of activities for school kids, but they are happy to just fit us homeschoolers in one of the groups.

Bible – We are still reading in Exodus about the set-up of the Tabernacle.  Mr. Math Tutor and I are constantly impressed at how well our kids listen and how well they can answer the questions.  In addition, the reading often spurs other questions and discussion.

Other – Ga’hoole Girl is practicing madly for piano festival in a few weeks.  She and her teacher chose some rather difficult pieces, but she has made amazing progress.  Wild Man is doing the dance team at church that will be performing at the “Egg-venture” the day before Easter.  Baseball tryouts are coming up soon, so he’s been out practicing his sprinting.  Ga’hoole Girl is going to join the middle school track team this week, so she is also out getting in to shape!

So, there’s never a dull moment around here!  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others did this week!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday


Friday?  Already?

1. Ga’hoole Girl is going to run track at the local middle school!  We went to talk to the principal this week and got an email this morning that it’s a go but she needs physical by next week.  EEK!  But, the clinic got her in at 4pm this afternoon.  What a day!

2. Wild Man has found a game that he’s dying to play – Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.  We have a new store downtown and Wild Man and I stopped in yesterday to see what it is like.  The main section is game stuff, particularly Warhammer and stuff like that, including the Lord of the Rings Game.  Wild Man went up to the store again today to read through the game book and even got to play a short game.  Now he thinks he’s ready to buy the game.

3. My dad is interested in growing tomatoes upside down when he and my mom move to the country in the next couple of years, so he asked me if my kids would try it out as proof of concept.  I looked on the internet and found directions using five gallon buckets.  Ga’hoole Girl loves tomatoes and Wild Man loves cucumbers, so they will each have one bucket to work with and take pictures and send updates to Grandpa to let him know what we think about it.

4. About 10 years ago, we had two extra girls living with us for six months because their mom was sick.  Yesterday, I took the older girl out for lunch – she’s now 20 years old and married.  Wow.  Time certainly flies.

5. I finished Mr. Math Tutor’s sweater – a really pretty, gray, Irish aran cardigan.  Sadly, the sweater is way too short, and the arms are way too long.  I’m in the process of unraveling the whole thing so I can redo it.  He’ll have a lovely sweater next fall.

6. Our cats are going crazy because some birds are cleaning up a nest in a tree right beside the window.  I’m pretty sure there are going to be some baby birds later this spring.

7. I’ve been working on cleaning our schoolroom.  Instead of going through in one big whirlwind cleaning, I’ve been plodding along.  So far, I’ve made a path through to the kids’ desks so they can use them if they want.  I’ve also gotten all the trash out (from Christmas!).  Most everything that goes to the basement has been put away.  Now, just to get the rest of the stuff taken care of.  Maybe this weekend.  Or, maybe not!

Check out Jennifer’s blog for more 7 Quick Takes Friday!

Homeschooling Links

I thought today I’d share with you some homeschool links that I’ve found over the last few years.  Some of them I have found helpful.  Others are not links that I have used, but they look like they could be useful for others.  They aren’t really in any particular order, so enjoy the chaos!

MathTools – Guess what?!  Mr. Math Tutor’s website is up!  This site is just to get you in contact with my dear husband for math tutoring.  He will be doing some guest posting in the future on my site about helpful hints for teaching math.

The Home Scholar – Lee Binz is a mom whose two sons are now college students.  Her site is a wealth of information about helping parents help their children prepare for college.  So far, I have taken advantage only of her complimentary products, but she has a wide array of more extensive services that look very helpful.  I read her blog faithfully as Ga’hoole Girl approaches the high school years.

Heart of the Matter Online – Yes, I know, I’m a little biased here since I write for them regularly, but I’m not compensated in any way except to see my name in print (which is really cool).  I love this site because there are lots of fun ideas and encouragement.  There is also a regular devotional.  So, check it out – even when I’m not writing!

CurrClick – This site was first recommended to me by my sister-in-law when it was Homeschool E-books.  I purchased a few lapbook kits from them that I loved, but my kids really didn’t.  Now, I know – my kids and lapbooks don’t mix.  So, I’ve been getting their email, but not really finding a lot of use to me.  Now, though, they are expanding into online courses and online tutoring.  So, Mr. Math Tutor will likely be teaching an online math course through CurrClick in the relatively near future.  They have some other interesting course offerings, such as a course on Tolkein.

The Potter’s School – This company does online courses for junior high school and high school.  I have not used any of their courses, but I can see that some people might be interested in them.  Their science courses use the Apologia curriculum.

Homeschool Kids Write – This site provides a different writing cue each week and encourages kids to write using the cue each week.  They can post on their (or their parent’s) blog or the site provides a place where they can post their work.  It looks like a great way to encourage reluctant writers.  I haven’t used it yet, but hope to in the future.

The Periodic Table of Videos – This is a super-cool site where they have short videos demonstrating each element of the periodic table.  I haven’t actually watched every single video, but Ga’hoole Girl and I have watched several of them together.  It’s great to see things like sodium and potassium in their pure forms since it’s pretty rare to see them like that in real life.  Best for middle and high school students.

Well, I am realizing that I have more links than I dare put on one page.  I’ll try to do another homeschool links page in the near future.  In the meantime, feel free to share your faves in the comments!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bloggy Stuff

So, I don’t have a TMTT post today because I have a headache so I haven’t been real productive.  However, I have been trying to learn to do my own blog background and header.  I’ve learned a little HTML, but the kicker now is learning to do my own images using paint.net (which, I have discovered, is easier than Photoshop).  I have a test blog, so I don’t subject you to all my failures (which have been many).  So far, I have managed to make a background, but I need to do some tweaking because the columns don’t match up quite right with it.  My header looks pretty nice, but has a huge white margin around it that I didn’t realize when I started working.  ACK!!!  And, I’m not naturally an artist, so I get frustrated when it doesn’t look quite right, but I can’t figure out what to do to make it right.  For the record, practicing medicine is way easier than figuring out this bloggy stuff.  And, now, I’m going to go sit on the sofa and read books while I watch my son play Wii.  Maybe I’ll do a post of some interest later.  Or maybe not.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday – March 23, 2009


It is rainy and chilly here today.  Not exactly a great day for grocery shopping to my mind.  But, I had to go out anyway, because I slammed my hand in a car door last week and it still hurts, so I went to see one of the NPs at the doctor’s office.  So, I don’t have a broken 5th metacarpal (thankfully), but I did have a very chilly outing.  I also got to chat for a while with the NP with whom I shared an office when I was working – that was cool.  In the grocery store, I saw the interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients that I used to work with as well as the ICU nurse who took care of me after my little near-death experience a few years ago (and, of course, I used to work with her, too).  I find myself seriously wishing the headaches would go away so I could work a little bit – I really miss all those people.

But, I digress.  On to the menus for this week.  Last week, I actually cooked all but one meal, which meant no frozen pizza!  I’m not sure what this week holds, so I made sure we’ve got pizza in the freezer downstairs.  Here’s what I’ve got planned (and I only spent $110 at the grocery store today):

1. Oven fried chicken (yes, again – everyone loved it last night and it was really quick) with fried potatoes and asparagus.

2. Roast beef with mashed potatoes.

3. Tilapia with a light parmesan sauce with pasta (with some cajun spices) and veggies.

4. 40 cloves and a chicken with salad

5. Homemade macaroni and cheese with brocolli

6. Soup night – potato and cheese soup, peanut soup (nope, still haven’t made it yet)

7. Leftovers!!!

Check out Menu Plan Monday to see what others are doing.  And, don’t forget to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lagniappe – March 22, 2009

I spent several hours today on the computer working on making a new background for my blog, but was unsuccessful.  I really want to learn to do this myself, but it’s a little harder than I expected.  However, I am quite proud that I learned to use paint.net.  (I did, though, make a test blog so I can make all my mistakes there so you, my loyal readers, don’t have to suffer through them!)

Baseball signups are in two weeks.  Wild Man is a happy boy.  He lives for baseball.

I love small towns.  Mr. Math Tutor dropped the car off at the mechanic’s for an oil change yesterday morning and walked the mile home.  The mechanic called yesterday afternoon to say it was done, and Mr. Math Tutor and I walked the mile to the shop and picked it up.  Yes, it was romantic.

Don’t tell the kids, but I played the Wii for a few minutes today.  I think I like it – especially bowling.  I did the fitness thing, though, and it says my age is 68.  That’s rather appalling!!

I have two knitting projects to do.  Unfortunately, they are both tearing out projects.  I finished Mr. Math Tutor’s sweater, but the body is too short and the sleeves are too long.  To undo and fix just the parts that need to be fixed will be more work than ripping out and reknitting.  Ga’hoole Girl has outgrown a sweater I made for her and the yarn in the band has now ripped.  It looks like it will be a challenge to repair it, so I’m going to take the whole thing out and make a poncho out of it.

I didn’t really feel like cooking today, but I got the kids to help me, and we put together some oven-fried chicken with minimal effort.  Much nicer than frozen pizza.

On that topic, I made French dip last night.  It was somewhat better than last time since I made fresh French bread (I have to keep reminding myself how darn easy that stuff is to make) and use sirloin roast instead of rump roast (it was on sale).  Unfortunately, I don’t think I reduced the wine enough, so the au jus wasn’t as yummy.  It was still a good meal though.

Ga’hoole Girl is starting her research paper this week.  Pray for us.  I’ve made out a detailed schedule, so she knows exactly what to do when, but I’m afraid that there may still be some emotional hurdles to jump.

The lens fell out of my glasses today.  I think I’d better get to the optometrist tomorrow to get them fixed.  I can’t legally drive without them anymore.  When I went to get my driver's license a few years ago, they had me try to do the eye test without glasses – bad news for me – I couldn’t see a thing, just a blur.  The last time the lens fell out, I walked around for a day or so with my glasses held together with a paperclip!

OK, that’s enough mundane stuff for today.  I’m off to bed soon.  I think I’ll read a little bit first, though. 


Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Ultimate Blog Party 2009


So, I decided to join the 2009 Ultimate Blog Party!  This is a huge online party and a great chance for bloggers to get to know each other and to win great prizes.  If you are visiting from the UBP 2009, welcome!  Sit and visit for a couple of minutes.  What you’ll find on this site is my musings about homeschooling, my kids, chronic pain (and even some whining), and lots of domestic things (as you can tell from the title).  Occasionally, I will wax philosophical or intellectual.  Your comments are always welcome and make me feel warm and happy inside!

One of the coolest things about the UBP is the prizes that you can win.  Here are my faves:

1. INTL 1 — Available to English speaking bloggers. Custom Basic Blog Design
Provided by: Sweet ‘n Simple Design
Prize Details: At Sweet ‘n Simple Design I believe that every woman’s blog should be as unique as she is! Every blog design is one of a kind. This prize is for Blogger or self-hosted Wordpress bloggers. Art is limited to those I have licenses to use. (value $125-$150)

2. INTL 23 – Blog Makeover BLOGGER platform only
Provided by: Busy Mama Blog Design
Prize details: I will provide a complete blog makeover – header, backgrounds, and signature line included. Also includes up to a $6.00 kit of your choice to use in building your blog. ($55.00 value)

3. INTL 35 — Blog Designs by Sheila
Provided by: Blog Designs by Sheila
Prize details: 1 Premium Blog Design valued at $50.00 for Blogger platform only, that includes Header, Backgrounds, Blog Button, Favicon, Navigation Bar and installation.

I also like INTL 33, INTL 36, USC 15, 15, 44, 68, 123

So, stop over at UBP 2009 and check out some other blogs and meet other bloggers.  Don’t forget to leave a comment here before you go!!


Our Week In Review – March 21, 2009


Ya know, it was just not a very exciting week.  We didn’t do any science this week because we were kind of “scienced” out after last weekend’s Science Fair.  The kids didn’t have dance this week because of Spring Break, but they did have AWANA and piano.  Their activities are spread among three different counties and four different school districts, so the Spring Breaks don’t all coincide!

We did a good bit of reading about the 1700s from George Washington’s World and Story of the World.  Our read-aloud is The Kidnapped Prince.  We’ve been pretty busy with our Sonlight work this week since we’re trying to get two weeks worth of work done in one week.

Ga’hoole girl did two weeks worth of Language Arts and Bible this week without too much trouble.  Wild Man seems to be making some real progress in spelling and reading.  I’ve been trying to do his spelling with him early in the day and right after he has done something physical which seems to help his focus.

The biggest excitement of the week, though, was getting the Wii!  The kids (OK, and the adults) had been saving up for the last three months and finally had enough money for the Wii console and one game.  The kids and Mr. Math Tutor have been playing baseball, tennis, bowling, and boxing for hours on end.  I’m very proud of my kids for saving their money patiently.

So, that was our week.  Not too exciting (except for the Wii).  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others have fared this week.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday – March 20, 2009


1. Last night, we were reading about the garments that were to made for Aaron and the other priests in the book of Exodus.  The question we were to answer was what the priests’ undergarments were supposed to cover.  Our book uses KJV, but we read from the NIV.  While Mr. Math Tutor was checking the back of the book for the “correct” answer, I suggested “privates” or “boy parts” and told the kids that I’d be happy to supply more anatomically accurate names if they wanted.  Wild Man started screaming, “No, no anabolically accurate names!!”  (No, steroids were not involved).  So, I suggested “tush” or “hynie”.  The actual answer was “nakedness”.  We had a good laugh – and, no, we weren’t being sacrilegious.

2. There are definite advantages to shorter hair: I can clean the kitchen without getting my hair in the dishes and the food; Mr. Math Tutor doesn’t roll onto my hair in bed at night (ouch!); My hair actually dries in some reasonable amount of time.  Wild Man is still not thrilled about the haircut, but I figure he’ll come around in time.

3. We made pizza rolls last night using pizza dough that we pressed into a dumpling press and then added a little meat, pizza sauce, and cheese filling.  The problem is that the dough rose so much that they didn’t stay together in the oven.  So, you can’t make dumplings with pizza dough – you need to use wontons or other non-rising dough.  Lesson learned.  But, they were yummy anyway.

monopoly deal 4. My new favorite game is Monopoly Deal.  It is far more fast-moving than Monopoly and really super-fun!  You can go from losing to winning in one turn.  I bought it for our vacation quest not really knowing anything about it, but the kids started playing it and it was a real hit.

5. My daughter and I went to the library today.  As we were going back to the car, she said, “What a great day!  I just love the library!”  Is this my kid or what?!

6. The snow is almost melted here.  We are going to do a garden this year, but grow things from transplant, so we don’t need to put things out until about the middle of May.  Mostly, I’m looking forward to seeing green outside instead of white.

7. We had a really nice brunch this morning with friends.  It was so nice to share a meal and get to know these folks better.  And, of course, to not have to cook!

Check out Conversion Diary to see what others have to say this week on Seven Quick Takes Friday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The haircut

Pantene 2

Until today, I hadn’t had my hair cut in over three years.  My hair was down my back, almost to my waist.  I was really enjoying long hair for the first time in my life because it was pretty short for most of my life before this.  But, it was time to get several inches cut off.  It was getting so long that it was just about unmanageable.  I decided, though, that since it was so long, I would donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths program for making wigs for cancer patients.

Pantene 1

Today was the day.  My husband and daughter were supportive, but my son was quite distressed.  He doesn’t like change, and he really didn’t like the idea of my not having long hair.  We decided to make it a big affair, so the kids and I all went to the salon.  The stylist cut off my ponytail first and then washed, cut, and styled my hair.  I hope you agree that the finished product is worth losing 9 inches of hair for!











After the ponytail was cut off.







During the haircut.




SANY1392 Me and my ponytail (which will soon be on it’s way to Pantene Beautiful Lengths).  I just realized that Wild Man was being silly in that picture.  Deep sigh.



SANY1394 The  final result!  I hope to get a better picture soon.  I’ll post it when I can.  Suffice it to say that I’m happy with the result.




Master Grocery List – Works For Me Wednesday – March 18, 2009

wfmwbannerKRISTEN So, I’d heard about these super-organized women who used a master grocery list to keep track.  I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to groceries.  Then, I forget things.  And buy too many of other things.  Now that I’m on Topamax (aka “dope-a-max”), my potential for messing up the grocery situation is even higher, so I decided to take the plunge and try the master grocery list idea.  And, guess what, it works!

Here’s what I did:  I went through each cabinet and the refrigerator and freezer and listed all the items that we need to keep on a regular basis.  I put the items on pages by location in the kitchen.  Then, I printed the pages and put them in page protectors, and put the page protectors near the food – on the cabinet door or the refrigerator door – with a dry erase pen nearby.  When we notice that we are getting low on something, we mark it on the list.  On grocery day, I go through the kitchen and write down all the items that have been marked, but also use the master list to make sure I don’t miss anything as I scour the kitchen for what we need that week from the grocery store.  So far, it works like a dream – and I get to use my page protectors!!

SANY1374_edited SANY1375_edited

I also printed out a copy of the list and put it into my notebook where I’m making it into a price list.  I don’t track prices of everything (that requires an actual diagnosis of OCD) but I do track prices of things that I could purchase at different stores or that I get coupons for (to check price with coupon against Sam’s Club, for example).

Check out We Are That Family for more great Works for Me Wednesday ideas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spinach Pie

Blissfully Domestic 1


One of my favorite meatless dishes is spinach pie.  I first had it about 15 years ago at a friend’s house.  I was not at all convinced I was going to like it since I don’t like spinach as a rule.  But, I ate it to be polite and was pleasantly surprised.  I have made a few modifications to the recipe since the original was a little bland for my taste.  My daughter and her friend just love it.  I made it one Thanksgiving since I had a friend who is a vegetarian coming over to join us for the meal.  I had to make sure that the girls (who were 8 or 9 at the time) didn’t eat all the spinach pie before my friend got to serve herself!  My son isn’t so thrilled, so I think I might make homemade pizza rolls with him on the day I make spinach pie this week.  That should keep him happy.

Spinach pie

1 frozen deep dish pie crust

1 tsp butter

1 pound spinach stemmed and finely chopped (frozen is OK)

1 pound ricotta cheese

3 Tbsp flour

1 dash nutmeg

1 cup minced onion

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp basil

2-3 beaten eggs

1/2 cup grated sharp cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Melt butter in skillet and saute onion for five minutes.

Add spinach, salt, pepper and basil.  Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat.

Combine all filling ingredients and mix well.

Spread into unbaked pie shell.

Bake 40-45 minutes until firm to touch at center.


Hope you enjoy!!  This is really nice served with some soup or with some fresh bread or rolls.  Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and I Am Blissfully Domestic for more great ideas.

P.S. Yes, I know I should post something Irish today, particularly since I am Irish, but the fact is that I don’t actually like many traditional Irish foods like corned beef or cabbage, and I haven’t gotten around to making Irish stew.  So, spinach pie it is!

Monday, March 16, 2009

High School Language Arts

For Ga’hoole Girl’s high school language arts, I would just like to have her write a lot.  However, I am a little concerned about the SAT and ACT.  I want to make sure she has enough background in those little details to do OK on the tests.

To that end, I had her do an ACT English practice test this morning to help me figure out her strengths and weaknesses.  The excellent news is that her scaled score would have been about a 27.  The other good news is that I now know that she needs work on commas and verb tenses.  Instead of doing English grammar next year, I will just find some comma review and something to do verb tense usage review for her.

I think the hyperventilation is getting better.  She will do just fine these next four years.

High School Planning

I’m having a hard time believing it, but my daughter will be high school age next fall.  EEK!  I started thinking about it and planning last fall, but it didn’t seem real at the time.  Now it’s coming closer, and I’m starting to hyperventilate.  (But, as my hubby says, hyperventilating is better than hypoventilating.)

The thing is that I’m quite confident in my ability to make sure my children learn what they need to be successful in the world.  After all, Mr. Math Tutor and I managed to potty train the children and teach them to read (OK, we’re still working on that with Wild Man, but it’s happening).  I figure those are two of the hardest skills to learn.  If you can teach a kid to use the toilet, surely you can teach them algebra.  After all, algebra is just manipulating numbers.

No, my insecurity is making sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed for the colleges.  I’m sure the information and skills will be there – it’s just a matter of documenting it in a form that colleges will be happy about.  I do have a little concern about some of the silly details that colleges want to see that people never seem to use in later life.  For example, I remember stressing about verb tenses in high school, but have never been asked to actually identify verb tenses since then.  Of course, I have to USE them correctly all the time, but never actually identify them.  My goal is for my kids to be able to read, write, and use the English language with dexterity.  But, since I also want them to be ready for college, if they choose that route, I also need to make sure they can perform the additional details that colleges require.

I made up a tentative high school plan for Ga’hoole Girl last night:

9th Grade – 2009-2010

American History – Sonlight Core

English – Sonlight Core

Bible – Sonlight Core


Latin - PowerSpeak

Physical Education – Dance, daily exercise

Algebra 1 – ALEKS

Elective – at the high school

Music – Piano

Marine Biology (1/2 credit) – Fort Wilderness (possibly in 10th grade)


10th Grade – 2010-2011


World History – Sonlight Core

English – Sonlight Core

Bible – Sonlight Core

Science (probably Chemistry)

Latin – PowerSpeak

Physical Education – Dance, daily exercise

Geometry – ALEKS

Elective – probably at the high school

Music – Piano

Other electives


11th Grade – 2011-2012


20th Century History – Sonlight Core

English – Sonlight Core

Bible – Sonlight Core


Physical Education

Algebra 2 – ALEKS

Music – Piano

Drivers Education (1/2 credit)



12th Grade – 2012-2013


American Government – Sonlight Core

English – Sonlight Core

Bible – Sonlight Core


Physical Education

Trigonometry - ALEKS

Music – Piano

Understanding the Times Worldview Course (1/2 credit)

Ga’hoole Girl is pretty blase about the whole thing right now.  If and when she decides she wants more control over her high school schedule, I’m happy to give it to her.  She is quite clear, though, that she wants me to take care of the record keeping.  She knows that organization is NOT one of her strengths, so she wants me to be the one who keeps the records straight for her.  Sounds good to me.

I’ll be posting more on this topic in the next few weeks and months, I’m sure.  Next time, I’ll be writing about high school resources that I’ve found helpful.  In the meantime, what are you doing about high school for your kids?  What has worked?  What didn’t work?  What resources would you recommend?

Menu Plan Monday – March 16, 2009

Monday morning – time to plan for the week.  So, I sat down with my coupons and the ad for the grocery store and made the list.  I have a moderate headache today and Mr. Math Tutor has some free time since Wild Man doesn’t have dance because of Spring Break, so he’s going to do the shopping for me.  I gave him a detailed list with notes about which things are on special and which need coupons.  I’ll pray for him.  Anyway, here’s this week’s set of menus.

Oven Fried Chicken with broccoli

Roast Beef, Rice, and Gravy with salad

Peanut Soup with bread and salad – new recipe – If I like it, I’ll post it on a Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Spinach Pie with rolls

Grilled cheese sandwiches with salad

Meatloaf patties with roasted potatoes with broccoli

How is your menu plan for the week looking?  Check out what others are planning this week on Menu Plan Monday at $5 Dinners (this week only).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Week In Review – The Science Fair Edition – March 15, 2009


We finally made it – the week of the Science Fair!!  We did a little bit of Sonlight along with some math, Latin, and Spanish, but the main event of the week was the Science Fair.

 SANY1307_editedWild Man’s topic was “Which Configuration of Trebuchet or Catapult Launches a Projectile Further?”.  We had ordered a trebuchet/catapult kit online several weeks ago, and he and Mr. Math Tutor put it together.  One of the cool things about the kit is that it was put together with dowels and rubber bands except for the cup which was glued.  Wild Man and Mr. Math Tutor took the measurements a few weeks ago.  This week, when they were analyzing the results, they decided that they wanted to try another configuration of catapult, so they did some more measurements on Wednesday morning – when it was 20 degrees and windy outside!

SANY1308_edited SANY1315_edited SANY1321_edited

SANY1357 Wild Man and I read several chapters in his Physics book to learn about forces and energy and also read several websites to learn the history of the catapult and trebuchet.  He did do a paper this year by dictating to me.  The biggest challenge for his project was that I had to do the reading to him and then type up his dictation because of his dyslexia.  After that, though, he did the display completely by himself.

SANY1362 Ga’hoole Girl chose to do her project on “How Much Did Solomon’s Temple Cost?”  She used the Bible as well as several reference books and websites to figure the cost of the things that she could.  There were several things that she was unable to figure the cost because the Bible said things like “the amount of bronze was so much that it could not be counted.”  Her calculations required learning about Biblical measurements and learning to convert from one kind of measurement to another.  The best thing about her project is that the board was incredibly artistically done.  I may be biased, but I thought it was the best one at the Science Fair.


One thing I learned about Ga’hoole Girl’s education is that she has not really been taught to do a research project.  I was frustrated that she waited until the last minute to do the bulk of the work.  Mr. Math Tutor, though, reminded me that eighth graders in public school are constantly walked through every step of every project.  They are not given a week’s worth of work with the expectation of having it done by the end of the week like I do with Ga’hoole Girl.  Ga’hoole Girl is very smart and communicates very well, but she is still just 13 years old and is not quite ready to handle an 8-12 week project without more guidance than I gave her on this project.  So, to that end, I am going to have her to an end of year project on a history topic, but we are going to go through it step by step.  There won’t be any procrastinating because I’m going to have all the steps broken down for her.  If I have a bad headache week, Mr. Math Tutor has agreed to step in and help out.

So, that was our week.  Back to more mundane things next week!  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others spent their weeks.