Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dinner Meal Plan - October 1 - 7, 2012

I'm trying .....really get things together. One place I am starting is a weekly meal plan.  I set up a simple spreadsheet on Google Drive  so that Drew can see it and help me fill in gaps. This week I'm trying to plan for all meals, but I still have a few gaps ;)

Our dinners this week should look something like this:

MONDAY: sloppy joe's, sweet potato chips, cornbread

TUESDAY: Mexican pizzas, rice, and fixin's

WEDNESDAY: Hamburger steaks, fries, beans, broccoli

THURSDAY: baked ziti or spaghetti, salad

FRIDAY: chili, rice, cornbread

SATURDAY: roast chicken, peas, mac and cheese, corn

SUNDAY: Hilton Head Island gumbo

I'll do my best to get the best recipes loaded as soon as I can. I hope you had a peaceful Sunday and your hearts are full of blessings and love. Enjoy the last night of the Harvest Moon!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Recipe!

I've been secretly hoping for weeks that Kate, the wonderful Modern Alternative Mama, would post her Soaked Apple Crisp recipe.  Yesterday, she DID!

Today I made some apple pie filling in the crock pot. I just set up the apple crisp crust and it's soaking on the stove top.

I can't wait to see how breakfast turns out!! I'll let you know tomorrow!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Modern Alternative Health September 2012

Yesterday marked my first article at Modern Alternative Health.  Enjoy and Happy Thursday!!

Back To Stress Again – Simple And Natural Stress Relievers

Image courtesy of 55Laney69 via
Back to school (or homeschool) can also mean back to stress time for many. Schedules become hectic, sports are in full swing, and parents and children have a lot more on their mind than sprinklers, fireflies, and playing outside until dark. Stress can manifest itself in many ways. Often it leads to anxiety and panic for many people. Here are a few ways to treat and reduce stress and anxiety in your daily life, no matter what the cause.

Monday, September 24, 2012

You get a line, I'll get a pole...*

Growing up, we lived out. By "out" I mean we could get to a grocery store in about 5 minutes, but our house was at the end of a driveway .2 of a mile long, in the middle of 12 acres, with our closest neighbor at the other end of the driveway. I remember wishing to live near other kids while riding my bike up and down the driveway however I wanted. I remembering thinking how cool it would be to walk to a friend's house while playing on the swing set we could move whenever I wanted a different view of the mountains. I recall thinking we lived in the boonies when we'd have to plan our trips to "town" because it would take 20 minutes or more to get to the mall, Wal-Mart, etc.

Now that I'm grown and a Mommy, my perspectives have changed. When we come to NanaPop's my girls can PLAY. They can just play. There aren't cars to watch out for, roads they aren't allowed to use in play, dogs that aren't ours, neighbor's to consider, or toys to chase down from other yards. I sit on my parents deck watching my children run, squeal, go on adventures, collect treasures, and make their own way.They can play without me right on top of them. They leave their Tonka trucks in the driveway overnight without a second thought.

 I look up at the mountain and realize how flat our neighborhood is in comparison. I hear of insects from my childhood that I don't recall listening to from my own porch. I smell fall - really smell it. I show Miss Moo places that I played when I was a girl and give her my toys to use. I see Miss Roo clambering after her and recall chasing after my brother because he was so awesome.

I think I've mellowed.

 Or perhaps I have come to understand what is really important to me in the way we raise our girls. I do love the conveience of living 5 minutes from everything we could ever need, but I would much rather spend days playing outside with my girls than finding places to take them for those same opportunities. I'd like them to experience the "Bloo Mountatains" (as Moo calls them) daily rather than as an exclamation as we travel home. I'd like to drive around more with the windows down, two giggling girls, and country playing on the radio. I guess Kix and Ronnie were right after all.

So what am I to do?
 Come home as much as I can? Definitely.

 Let my girls get as much of the country as they can? Absolutely.

Accept and celebrate the rural-ness of my life and my heritage(including my accent)?  Without a doubt.

And perhaps, somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm thinking of ways to follow the siren song home.

*We'll go fishing in the crawfish hole
 Five card pocker on Saturday night
Church on Sunday mornin'
Little Big Town, Boondocks

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Fall!! - Our Little Trip to the Farm

To celebrate the first day of fall, the girls and I went with NanaPop to Jeter Farm for some pumpkin picking, farm livin', and fun! Happy Autumn!!!

Corn Pit.

"Milking" a cow.

Farm Girl.
And Jr.

Getting so big.

Pony rides.

For all!

Nana fun.

Pop fun.



Picking pumpkins.

And carrying them.


The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.
- Henry Beston

Recipe Collection: Crock Pot Stock

I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot is simple (in fact this is my second one this week) but I always groaned at making the stock on the stove top. Then I did some Googling and found out that I can make my stock in the crock pot overnight!

After you have cooked your chicken in the crock pot (for me it's a seasoned chicken on low for 7 hours) let the juices remain in the ceramic bowl. After you have carved your chicken, throw all the bones and parts back into the chicken juices. I added four cups of water to my small crock and will add 8 to the large one for tonight. Turn the crock pot on low and let it go. I let it go overnight (at least 12 hours) and add water if it looks low. Then in the morning, strain off the bones and parts, and put your stock into glass jars. Let the stock separate, save your fat for gelatin if you like, and fridge or freeze your stock.

I'm still working on what I need to add to the stock here and there, but so far it's working JUST fine from the spicing of the chicken.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vintage Uncle: Dump Truck Fun

We are at NanaPop's and the girls found my brother's old Tonkas. Good times were had by all!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Butterflies!! A Travelling Homeschool Lesson

We recently (as in last week) joined Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. I had only been there once to see the GardenFest of Lights when Miss Moo was barely a year old and had a cold, I was pregnant with Miss Roo, and Drew had to carry Moo around. Being there for the lights was great but I was sure there was much more to do in the daylight.

Lewis Ginter drew me in when they advertised BUTTERFLIES!LIVE! I talked with Moo a little about what butterflies were, how fragile they were, and how beautiful they would be to see. But seeing them first I felt would lend way to learning more about them much in the way that giving her a map made her want to learn directions.

We entered the Conservatory as a trio with Mookie and his Mama.   I was struck. Although it was a small  space there truly were butterflies everywhere. The plants were all raised up off the floor in beds so that you would be able to see the delicate creatures more clearly when they landed on the floor.
Moo with the first of many discoveries.

There were plates of rotten food to illustrate that not all butterflies fed solely on nectar.

Moo found the butterflies eating the fruit particularly interesting.  We had discussed how caterpillars and butterflies ate plants and flowers, but not food that we would eat.

There were chrysalises for children and adults to observe the way in which they changed as a caterpillar became a butterflies.

There was an ENTIRE TABLE of resources for children - fact sheets, games, search and finds, and magnifying glasses. I was a little distracted making sure that my girls didn't trample any of the delicate creatures to really look at the loads of resources on the table -that's my plan for our next visit.  I did notice that my girls were mesmerized with using the magnifying glass.

After a little while of using the magnifying glass and learning to use it correctly, we began identifying colors of butterflies and plants and which butterflies seemed to be eating what. After about 15-20 minutes, we were done and headed out to view the other parts of the Conservatory and the garden grounds.

After playing in the fabulous children's area (which deserves a post of it's own) we ate lunch and travelled home for nap. After naps we went to a local park to play and Moo flew like a butterfly quite a bit. I decided to take advantage of this continued interest and stopped by our library for a few books on butterflies.

Our favorites so far are:

Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards  - With characters like Clara, Cornelius, and Catisha, this book is a hit!

A Butterfly is Patient by Diana Hutts Aston -  This book was listed about the girls reading/listening level as a 5-10 year old book. However they both listened well and Moo even commented that we had seen butterflies eating rotten fruit at the Butterflies Place when we read the educational page on food and nutrition.

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert - I LOVE anything by Lois Ehlert. This book was actually in the children's area at Lewis Ginter and reminded me that it existed. Roo takes particular interest in this book's vivid collaged illustrations.

The more I attempt "structured" educational learning with my girls the more I learn that traditional structure doesn't work best for us. Moo seems to learn "backwards". Trying to sit her down with a book to teach her about butterflies is pointless because she won't be able to focus because she isn't interested. However, if you first take her to see butterflies and THEN get the resources, she is mesmerized because the subject matter is real to her. Each day I find myself trying to teach her something and result in working on something else entirely. We are both on a learning curve with this journey.

Roo seems to follow in her sister's footsteps with one exception. If she sees something in a book that she finds interesting, we will talk about that FOREVER. Moo will move on once her immediate curiosity is satisfied. Roo wants to marinate on the wonder of her discovery.

Homeschooling is a daily adventure for us all. What a wonderful classroom nature has given us.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pictures from our Staycation

Getting adjusted back to home has left me with little writing time. I've finally gotten around to loading pictures, so here's a recap of what we did at NanaPop's house.

Celebrating Pop.

Happy Retirement, Pop!!

SML State Park.

Playing after a treat at Homestead Creamery.

Taking a picture of Mommy.

Prairie Dogs.

They talked NanaPop into a return trip.

Smiles on the Train ride.

Moo, too.

My girls on the 611!

Newly restored 1776.


A friend found on an adventure.

I just want to see his face!!!