Menu Plan Monday 6/30/14

Welcome back!! So, I guess this year is officially half over already. Time is definitely flying by but I am a little excited because our family vacation is next week. Of course, that means I have a ton of stuff to do this week, but it will all be worth it. So, I am trying to stick with easy meals this week, crock pot or one-dish recipes, so I can focus on getting ready for our trip. This is our menu for the week:

Monday: Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Tuesday: Beef and Broccoli Pasta

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Carnie Bowls

Friday: Pizza

Thanks for visiting for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.

Free and Frugal Homeschooling

This week’s crew round-up is all about how to homeschool for free. I am always on the lookout for free or almost-free resources and ideas. These are some posts I have written on this topic:

Tips for Homeschooling on a Budget: This is a post from the beginning of this year where I share how I managed to meet our homeschool needs this year even though our budget was pretty much non-existent.

My Favorite Pinterest Boards: Pinterest is a great place to get lesson ideas, find free resources, and find giveaways and freebies.

Great Websites for Learning: In this post I share some of my favorite websites that offer free resources.

Tips for Frugal Homeschooling: Another post with some lessons I have learned on our journey.

Living Frugally

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any great ideas for ways to homeschool for free, let me know in the comments. To see what other members of the crew had to say on this topic, click here (link goes live 7/2/14)

Homeschool for Free

Rosemary Lemon Baked Chicken

It has been a crazy month at my house, but I am very happy to be returning to my regular blogging schedule. This week, I am sharing an easy and delicious baked chicken recipe that uses some of my favorite flavors.


1 whole chicken (mine was about 4 lbs.)
6-8 sprigs Rosemary
2-3 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. pepper
3 tsp. garlic salt
1 lemon
2-4 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions
5 red potatoes

onions and potatoes

1. Chop the potatoes and onions into wedges and place in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Chop about 4 sprigs of Rosemary into small pieces.

3. Drizzle the potatoes and onions with 1-2 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle the Rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. garlic salt on top. Stir to combine.

4. Chop the rest of the Rosemary and place it in a small bowl with the remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Stir to combine.
5. Rub the olive oil and Rosemary mixture all over the chicken.

6. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half over the chicken and the other half over the potatoes.
7. Place the chicken in a greased baking pan (or use parchment paper like I did).
8. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon and another sprig of Rosemary.

9. Add the potatoes and onions to the pan.


10. Bake at 375 for 1-2 hours, basting with pan juices occasionally,  until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Serve with a vegetable!! This was so moist and juicy, the chicken pretty much fell right off the bone!

Moist and delicious Rosemary chicken!

Thanks for joining me this week! Be sure to come back next Tuesday and check out other great recipes at Try a New Recipe Tuesday here:

Menu Plan Monday 6/16/14


Wow, this summer is already off to a crazy start! Last week was very hectic and I am glad to be back to my normal routine this week. Here’s what we are having for dinner:

Monday: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Beef Burgundy

Thursday: Pork Verde

Friday: Tacos

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! Be sure to come back next week!

Asparagus Chicken

Asparagus Chicken

This is a quick and healthy meal that is good for busy nights. I like to use fresh asparagus and edamame from the Farmer’s Market.

1 pack boneless chicken thighs
4 tbsp. flour
1 red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 lb. asparagus
1 cup edamame beans
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp. chopped dill
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. sour cream
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

I love asparagus!

1. Slice asparagus into 1 inch pieces and mince the garlic.
2. Slice the onion.
3. Whisk together the flour and salt and pepper.
4. Dredge the chicken in the flour.
5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
6. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook about 5 minutes on both sides, until chicken is golden brown.

7. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for another 3-5 minutes until tender.

8. Add the wine to the skillet and bring to a boil. Use a spatula to scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
9. Reduce to a simmer and cook until chicken is done.

10. Stir in the asparagus and edamame beans two minutes before the chicken in finished.
11. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream and dill.

I served this with a baked potato, but you could certainly serve it with bread or a pasta salad.

Thanks for stopping by this week, be sure to come back next Tuesday. Check out other recipes from Try a New Recipe Tuesday here:

TOS Review: Progeny Press

Progeny Press Review

Do you love to have your kids read great books? Do you struggle with figuring out what to do after they read the books? If you are like me, great literature is an important part of your homeschool. While we do a lot of narrating and discussion, my kids are in middle school and high school, so I also like to have them do some form of written work as well. Progeny Press literature guides make this easy. For this review, we got to check out two guides, one for The Hunger Games and the other for The Giver.

Progeny Press Review

My son and I are both huge fans of the Hunger Games book, so this first guide was a natural choice. Aimed at grades 8-12, the interactive e-guide was perfect for my 10th grade son. Now, what I like about the e-guides is their versatility. You can choose to print pages from the guide, or, have your child enter their answers directly into the guide itself, as my son did. The guide starts with a synopsis of the story, and some ideas for pre-reading activities. Even though my son had already read this book, he did some of the activities, including writing a compare and contrast easy about a dystopia and a utopia. The guide divides the book into sections of questions on two to four chapters each.

Each section of the guide began with multiple choice vocabulary activities, followed by a set of recall questions, and then questions that required students to think more about the story. Lessons on appropriate literary devices, like metaphor and simile, were used to help students think about the book. I liked this because I thought it was a good way to teach these concepts in context, which makes them easier to understand. Another positive for me was the fact that many of the questions in the Dig Deeper section were Biblically linked. So, the student was asked to read a passage from the Bible, and then apply it to actions of characters in the story. Especially for my high school age son, I like the idea of using the Bible as a lens to filter literature.

Optional activities in each section included ideas for further research or group and individual projects. I think if you had more than one student reading the same book at the same time, these would be more applicable than they were in my situation. At the end of the Hunger Games guide, there was an overview that included questions on story elements and characters that applied to the story as a whole. I used this as a sort of “quiz” grade for my son. It also included several suggestions for essay and writing assignments.

My impression? This was a top-notch high school level literature guide. My son enjoyed being able to do his work directly on the computer, and I felt like the questions and activities really challenged him to think about the book. As a parent, I liked the set up of the guide, and the answer key!!

Progeny Press Review

The second guide we got to check out was for The Giver. This guide is aimed at grades 5-8, and I used it with my 7th grade son. Another interactive e-guide, this was especially well suited to my middle school boy who deplores hand-writing anything!! Similar in structure to the Hunger Games guide, this one began with a synopsis of the book, background information, and pre-reading activities. Interestingly enough, these activities also focused on the idea of a utopia, which created some interesting discussion for both of my boys. In fact, if you have younger and older children, having them read these books at the same time allows for a lot of parallel discussion.

Sections in this guide are based on 2-3 chapters and also start with a vocabulary activity, however, these activities involve fill-in-the-blank, writing definitions, and multiple choice. There are also fewer questions, which I felt was appropriate for middle school. Several story and literature elements were discussed in this guide, including setting, foreshadowing, and connotative meaning. Some of these concepts can be difficult to master, and again, I felt like by learning them in direct relation to the story, it made them a lot clearer.

The recall and thinking about the story questions provided a good assessment of how much the student read and understood, while the Dig Deeper questions once again provided a Biblical perspective. The optional writing activities encourage students to place themselves in the context of the story. We did not complete every one of these, since essay writing is something we are still working on, but we did a few of them and then used the others for discussion. At the end of the guide, there is an eight question summary section, as well as additional essay ideas.

On the whole, I was very impressed with this guide as well. I felt like it was appropriately designed for the age range, and would prepare them for the more difficult guides in the future. My son enjoyed the guide mainly because they were computer-based, but I really did feel like the questions and ideas caused him to really think about the book.

I feel like these guides would be a great addition to any homeschool. They make teaching literature easy, and encourage deeper examination of each book. The Hunger Games e-guide costs $21.99, while the e-guide for The Giver is $18.99. I think these prices are reasonable, and I would definitely look at getting more Progeny Press guides in the future! We enjoyed these as much as we did the guides we got to try last year.

To learn more about what Progeny Press has to offer, connect with their social media pages:

Progeny Press on Facebook

Progeny Press on Twitter

Progeny Press on Pinterest

Progeny Press on YouTube

To see what other members of the crew had to say about the guides they got to check out, click here:
Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Menu Plan Monday 6/2/14


Welcome to June everyone! The summer weather is in full swing in Florida, leading me to try and choose at least a few meals that do not require using the oven and heating up the house. This is what’s on our menu this week:

Monday: Greek Chicken Salad

Tuesday: Pork Verde

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Beef and Broccoli Pasta

Friday: Spaghetti

I hope your summer is off to a great start. Thanks for joining me for Menu Plan Monday this week! See you next Monday.

My Favorite Summer Recipes

Ah summer. It’s 100 degrees in the shade and cooking outdoors, in the crock pot, or in the microwave rules (at least in Florida!). I like to try to avoid heating up my house any more than it already is, so I try to find meals that do not involve using my oven. For our crew round up this week, we are sharing our summer recipes.  These are some of my favorites:

1. Greek Chicken Salad: An easy and delicious meal. You can use your own chicken or cheat like I do and heat some up in the microwave.

Greek Chicken Salad

2. Pork Verde: Delicious tacos in the crock pot.

3. Mexican Chicken Salad: Another easy salad using rotisserie chicken.

Mexican Pizza

4. Mexican Pizza: This cooks in the oven, but only for a short time.

5. Burgers on the Grill with Bean Salad: Grills and summer just go together.

Bean Salad, the perfect summer side.

6. Pudding Grahamwiches : The perfect summer dessert!

Do you have a favorite summer recipe? Let me know in the comments. To see what other members of the crew had to share this week, click here (goes live 6/4/14):

Favorite Curriculum Choices