Menu Plan Monday 4/27/15

My son had a wonderful birthday weekend. He enjoyed his Cuban sandwiches and the Lemon Berry Dessert I made. Now that summer is getting closer, I am looking forward to barbecue season. I found boneless pork shoulder on sale for 89 cents a pound the other day and snapped up two big ones to save for the smoker!! This week, we are having:

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: burgers on the grill

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas

Thursday: Cajun Chops

Friday: Make your own pizzas!!

Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.

Lemon Berry Dessert

This is a great, easy dessert that is light, tart, and just a little bit sweet. It is perfect for summer barbecues, holidays, and get-togethers. My hubby and kids loved the light texture and the seasonal berries. I think you could also use the base recipe and just switch out the berries to match any season!

Ingredients:

16 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can lemon pie filling
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup sliced almonds
1 container sliced strawberries
1 container sliced raspberries

Directions:

1. Mix the whipping cream with an electric mixer until stiff, set aside.
2. Beat the lemon pie filling and cream cheese until smooth.

3. Combine the whipping cream with the lemon mixture.
4. Place 1/2 of the mixture in the bottom of a large bowl.
5. Add a layer of strawberries and almonds.

6. Add the rest of the lemon mixture.
7. Top with the sliced raspberries.
8. Chill for one hour and serve!
I get requests for this dessert every time we go to friends houses for dinner. I hope you like it! Thanks for stopping by. Check out more new recipes here:

TOS Review: ARTistic Pursuits

ARTistic Pursuits ReviewDo you enjoy teaching art? Are you a natural when it comes to light, space, and composition? Well, I’m not, but I believe art is a necessary part of my kids instruction (plus, my boys need a credit in art for graduation). So, I am thankful that for this review, we got to check out High School 9-12 Book 1, The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits. It allows me to incorporate real art instruction into our curriculum, despite the fact that I am artistically challenged!

ARTistic Pursuits ReviewThis book is intended for students in high school, or ages 14 and up. It is part of the full curriculum that ARTistic Pursuits offers for students of all ages. In the Senior High Book 1 students explore Western Art and learn about artists like Raphael and Da Vinci. Most of the artwork is completed using pencils and charcoal. I was able to find an inexpensive art kit at Walmart that had everything I needed for my son to complete the projects.

Lessons in this book are written directly to the student, making it particularly easy for parents. Now, I did read through the first few lessons ahead of time before turning the book over to my son, just so I could see what was expected of him. Each lesson covers a particular artistic technique or element (like balance, contrast, proportion etc.) and encourages students to explore that element.

Lessons begin with an introduction to the concept and a thorough explanation of how it works. At the end of the intro is an assignment that encourages students to try their hand at recreating it. From there, students are shown artwork that is a good example of the concept, and then given background info about the period in history the art comes from. This is a great area for parents to jump off and study particular artists/artistic movements in depth. You could easily use the information provided and books from the library to expand on these topics.

Over the course of two semesters, students will cover a wide range of topics, and there is a second book for high school that brings color into the mix. I used this with my son who has an artistic bent as it is. He told me that while he enjoyed reading about the concepts and the art in history, he struggled with getting his art to look like the art in the book. The authors do include images of student artwork throughout, but my son didn’t feel like his matched up. He told me that to him, art was more about drawing what he FELT like drawing, not what he was told to draw.

While I can certainly understand that, I think there is a lot of value in learning the actual terms and techniques related to art in general. I feel like the curriculum from ARTistic Pursuits does a really good job of making art instruction accessible for the average homeschool parent. If you are good at art and love teaching it, you could certainly use this curriculum to take your instruction to the next level, but if, like me, you are not a natural artist, you can still use this to give your kids a solid grounding in art technique.

To learn more about this curriculum, connect with ARTistic Pursuits on social media:

ARTistic Pursuits on Facebook

To see what other members of the crew thought of this and all the other curriculums we got to check out, click here:

ARTistic Pursuits Review

Crew Disclaimer

Menu Plan Monday 4/20/15

My youngest boy turns 14 this Friday. We have a tradition in our family that you get to pick dinner on your birthday. He decided he wants me to make Cuban sandwiches using my pork taco meat, so that is what I will be doing. We also plan to take the day off to have a family beach day since the weather has been so gorgeous! He is very excited! Here is the rest of our menu this week:

Monday: Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Tuesday: Cheesy Tortellini

Wednesday: Mexican Pizza

Thursday: Spaghetti

Friday Cubans made with Pork Taco meat

Thanks for joining me for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.

Menu Plan Monday 4/13/15

Last week was pretty busy for me, but I am happy to be back for Menu Plan Monday this week! The weather is warming up and it is almost swimming pool weather here, which means cookouts and barbecues are on their way. I found a great deal on pork shoulder at the store this week, so we are thinking we might smoke it the first week of May. In the meantime, here’s what’s for dinner at our house this week:

Monday: Wine Seared Pork

Tuesday: Garlic Butter Salmon

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Thursday: Rosemary Roast Chicken

Friday: Steaks on the Grill

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to join me next week!

Real Life Homeschool : Reality Check

I hope you have enjoyed a peek into what homeschool is like for our family during this Real Life Homeschool blog hop. So, what are the most important things I would say about “real life” homeschool? Well for starters, I would acknowledge that often, things DO NOT go as planned. And I would say that is perfectly okay.

As adults, we know that real life is often very messy. You have financial crisis, sudden illness, unexpected problems, and other issues that have a way of popping up. So why should homeschooling be any different? Which is one of the reasons homeschooling is so good! It is real. Your kids get to see how you work through problems in life as they arise, and often, they get to work through them with you.

Kids learn how to prioritize when emergencies do come up, which is a lesson that will benefit them as adults. They learn how to accept the fact that sometimes, even the best-laid plans run amuck, and that you still have to keep going. See, as a homeschool mom, I don’t want to just teach my kids academics, I want to prepare them for life in the real world. I want my boys to grow up to be the kind of adults who can handle it when they get a wrench thrown in their plans, the kind who don’t wither under the pressure of some kind of crisis or disaster.

So, even though interruptions and setbacks can be frustrating, I like to look at them as learning and character training opportunities. And that is what I think Real Life homeschool is all about!

I hope you enjoyed the 5 Day Blog Hop as much as I did. I have had such a good time reading posts from my fellow crew members. To see what my friends had to share today, click here:

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!
Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop

Start with these 10 blogs:
Indy Homeschool
The Open Window-An Autism Blog
Creative Madness Mama
Hopkins Homeschool
Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Our Journey
Crystal Starr
A Little This … A Little That
For the Display of His Splendor

Real Life Homeschool: Schooling on the Go

We are at day 4 of a our 5 Day Blog Hop, and today, I want to share how we do school on those busy, on-the-go days. You know, the days you have dentist appointments, have to run to the library, have homeschool co-op, have to hit the grocery store, or just run a bunch of general errands. One of the benefits of homeschooling is, of course, the flexibility. However, I have found that if you don’t have some kind of a plan for these kinds of days, then often, nothing gets done. So, this is how we school in the car!

My backseat is pretty comfy.

So, the first thing we do on a busy day is pack our backpack with everything portable. Our math book and notebook, the chapter book we are reading, grammar, and spelling. I used to try to cart around our history and science books too, but I quickly realized that the load was much heavier than was realistic and honestly, on a busy day like that, it probably won’t get done anyway, so I limit our carschooling days to our essential subjects.

While we are in the car, I try to provide instructional entertainment with an audio drama or book on tape. Heirloom Audio Productions offers some excellent ones, like Under Drake’s Flag and In Freedom’s Cause. These are nice because we can listen to them and then spend time discussing them using the study guides. We also like to pass the time listening to classical music CDs like the ones from Maestro Classics. I feel like this is a way to bring some value to the times we spend in the car.

If I know ahead of time we are going to be running around, I can plan around it, which is great. I limit our subjects, set up the backpack ahead of time, and the day goes relatively smoothly. For instance, once every two weeks we do a big grocery shopping trip. So, on those days, I plan for only a few subjects, and figure the life skills my kids are learning at the grocery store take care of the rest. On co-op days we also go light on school, usually only doing reading, spelling and math.

But what about those days when stuff just comes up out of the blue? Well, on those days I tell myself to pick and choose what is most important and postpone everything else. Believe it or not, I find my cell phone and computer to be handy tools on those days. There are actually a lot of educational games and applications that at least give my kids a chance to practice math and reading skills when we are out and about. I also try to make a stop at the library if we can. We might grab lunch and hit the playground too, so my boys can run around and burn off some energy. And dinner on these busy days (which I try to squeeze in in between guitar lessons and football practices)? Well, let’s just say the pizza man is quite familiar with my house! LOL

At any rate, carschooling is a reality for many homeschoolers. Unlike most parents who run errands and take care of things while their kids are at school, our kids are always with us, so it is inevitable that we have to make adjustments. How do you do school on those days when you have to run around? Let me know in the comments. To see what my fellow crew members had to share today, click here:

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

 

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop

Start with these 10 blogs:
Life at Rossmont
A Stable Beginning
Happy Little Homemaker
Joyful Hearts and Faces
Day by Day in Our World
Mama’s Coffee Shop
Delightful Learning
Double O Farms
Tales of a Homeschool Family
Home Sweet Life
A Rup Life