Menu Plan Monday 6/29/15

Welcome to the last Menu Plan Monday of June! Next week, my family will be enjoying our yearly vacation in the mountains, so this week I am busy doing vacation prep. Isn’t it funny how much work getting ready for a vacation can be? So, for the most part, I’m keeping it simple this week. With a few exceptions.

Monday: Carnie Bowls

Tuesday: Crunchy Onion Steak with baked potatoes

Wednesday: Enchilada Casserole

Thursday: Finish off any leftovers

Friday: Leave for vacation!

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you have a fabulous 4th of July next weekend!

Crunchy Onion Steak

I love steak, but I’m not the great at working the grill. So for Father’s Day last week, I tried this recipe for a pan-fried steak, and it came out really good. The cheese was delicious and the french-fried onions gave it a delicious, crunchy texture.

2 lbs. London broil
1 block white cheddar, shredded
3 tbsp. Olive oil
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup french fried onions (or more depending on your taste)
1-2 packs dried onion soup mix
salt/pepper to taste

1. Cut the steak into 3-4 smaller pieces, depending on how many people you have to feed.
2. Rub the steak with olive oil and then rub the dried onion soup mix onto both sides. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
3. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a large pan and cook the steaks over medium heat about 4 minutes on each side to brown.

5. Add broth to the pan and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until meat reaches the internal temperature you desire (about 145 degrees for medium rare).
6. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the meat and cover the pan, allowing the cheese to melt.

7. Remove from the heat and serve the steaks topped with the french fried onions.

My hubby gave this meal two thumbs up, and it was really easy to make! Check out other new recipes here:

Menu Plan Monday

Well, summer, and all of its chaos, has definitely arrived at my house. Impromptu road trips, sudden family visits, day trips to the beach and water parks, we have it all! I’ve been kind of busy, but I am trying to keep up with a semi-regular schedule, so here is our menu for this week:

Monday: Chicken Broccoli Casserole

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Thursday: Pot Roast

Friday: Chicken Quesadillas

I hope your summer is going well! Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday!

TOS Review: CTC Math

CTCMath ReviewUpper level math is always a challenge, at least for me. I love the idea of having some kind of video/online math that my kids can do that allows me to NOT have to be solely responsible for teaching them these concepts. For this review, we got to check out the 12 month Family Plan from CTC Math an online math program that offers videos and practice for students in multiple levels.


CTC offers a wide variety of tutorials in subjects like algebra, geometry, statistics, and more. In addition, CTC offers interactive worksheets that provide additional practice on concepts students are learning, and regular reports for parents on student progress. My 8th grade son used the pre-algebra program with CTC for this review, and we were both very happy.

For starters, parents and students get their own log in access. Parents select a program for their child (ranging from kindergarten to upper level math). Students can complete assessments in different areas and also watch videos and complete assignments and worksheets related to those videos. They have multiple attempts on each lesson, but on the reports the parents receive, it is possible to see how many times they attempted each lesson.

One thing I liked about CTC is how subjects are broken into topics. This makes it possible for parents to really focus attention on areas where their children struggle the most. For example, my son has really had a hard time with combining like terms in pre-algebra, so we kind of skipped ahead to this part of the program. Since CTC is set up to work kind of like a tutorial, you can move ahead or back up at your discretion. This freedom to move around makes it really flexible, which is a great thing for homeschool moms!

In addition, I liked the fact that I could reset and repeat lessons as I felt it was necessary. For the most part, I allowed my son to complete CTC on his own, while I was in the room, usually engaged with another task (folding laundry, washing dishes etc). So, while I was within earshot, I wasn’t exactly looking over his shoulder. At his age, he doesn’t necessarily want mom around all the time. Plus, I really am trying to hand over more responsibility for his schooling to his hands. But, at the same time, I know he is a 13/14 year old boy who does have a tendency to “rush” through things when he gets frustrated. With CTC, I have the chance to review what he does. If I feel he didn’t take a lesson seriously enough, I do have the opportunity to review it with him, and have him redo it, if necessary.

The homeschool program for CTC is good for up to 10 children, and since it offers so many grade levels, I could see it being wonderful for families with multiple students. My son enjoyed the videos a lot. I don’t know if it is quite enough to be a stand-alone program for all students. I think for kids who are good at math it can. For a student who struggles in math, you would maybe need to look for some extra practice worksheets online, but that’s about it. It really does offer a whole lot! I would definitely recommend checking it out!

To learn more about CTC connect with them on social media here:

CTC Math on Facebook

To see what other members of the crew thought of this program, click here:

CTCmath Review

Crew Disclaimer

TOS Review: WordBuildOnline

JazzEdge  Review

Ah, vocabulary! It can be boring, but oh so necessary! I am always looking for new ways to build vocabulary in my boys, but in a way that they find exciting. When I got the chance to check out WordBuildOnline from Dynamic Literacy for this review, I was very happy!

JazzEdge  Review

Basically, this is an online vocabulary program that provides daily practice in roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Lessons take no longer than 15 minutes and build on each other as students move through the program. Perfect for older students who need to build their word study skills, WordBuildOnline uses a variety of exercises to build vocabulary skills while keeping kids engaged.

JazzEdge  Review

Basically, your child gets their account and logs in each day to complete their lessons. My son (8th grade) did these all on his own. The activities include lessons, games, videos, and more led by a congenial host. For the most part, my son enjoyed these activities and only needed help occasionally. I really liked the fact that the program helps kids distinguish between subtle uses of words within families (i.e. : form, reform, deform, reformation, conform, transform etc.). As kids get older, being able to identify these small differences will really help them with their writing and reading. I also found that identifying these small differences were the things my son struggled with most.

The other thing WordBuildOnline offers is a parent account where you can log in and track your child’s progress. The program sends you emails each time your child completes an activity, and you can log in to see how they scored on each activity. The reports tell you what affix the child was working on, how long they worked on each activity, and what their score was. As a parent, you also have a chance to review the activity to see what questions your child missed and reset the activity to have them repeat it.

I found this information very helpful. When my son struggled with a particular word set, we reviewed it together and then he repeated the activity to improve his score. As he moved through the lessons, I noticed his skills improving. He enjoyed the lesson where he had to add up the boxes the best.

The short duration of the lessons was another draw for my son because he does not like to spend large amounts of time on this stuff. He enjoys the computer, but not typically for schoolwork! He liked the fact that WordBuild was animated and he could log on himself first thing in the morning and then get his lesson done and move on. I liked that I could then log in and check up on his work without looking over his shoulder every second. This program costs $30.00 per student.

To find out more about WordBuildOnline, connect with Dynamic Literacy here:
Dynamic Literacy on Facebook

Dynamic Literacy on Twitter

Dynamic Literacy on Pinterest

Find out what other members of the crew thought of WordBuildOnline and the other programs we got to check out from Dynamic Literacy here:

Dynamic Literacy Review

Crew Disclaimer

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

This casserole comes in really handy on a busy night. I love that I can use a pre-cooked chicken from the deli to make it too!

1 medium onion
2 small heads broccoli
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 rotisserie chicken
1 package shredded cheddar cheese

1. Chop the broccoli and place it in a microwaveable container.
2. Add 1/4 cup of water and place a top loosely over the container.
3. Microwave for 1-2 minutes to steam the broccoli.

4. Chop the mushroom and onion.
5. Add 1-2 tsp. of olive oil to a pan and cook the mushrooms and olive oil for a few minutes until soft.
6. Shred the chicken.
7. Mix the chicken, mushrooms, and onion in a casserole dish.

8. Stir in one can cream of mushroom soup.
9. Top with shredded cheddar.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Serve this with rolls or a salad. It also heats up well for lunch the next day! Enjoy!

TOS Review: Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

The ability to take field trips whenever you want is one of the best things about homeschooling. Over the years, we have done a ton of field trips and family trips to tons of different places. Sometimes we take so many it is hard to remember them all! For this review, we got a chance to check out the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal from Apologia Educational Ministries. The spiral bound journal comes loaded with pages where you can record all kinds of details about your field trips for the entire year.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

Colorful themed pages allow you and your children to list field trips based on local areas they’ve explored and states they’ve visited (with a blank map, where my kids colored in all the states they’ve been to so far), then it moves into individual pages for specific trips. Each page has a place to record the date and name of the destination at the top. Your child can then add a map and photo or drawing of the place.

There is a space to list the emergency contact plan (although we didn’t really use this part) as well as a place to record books your child has read to prepare for the trip. On the other side of the page, you or your child can write down everything you did on the trip, and then write about what they most special part of the day was.

The journal also encourages nature exploration with the Special Spot pages that ask children to focus on exploring one special spot during each season of the year. The way it works is actually pretty cool. They take a picture of the area, then map it out on a grid. They also sketch the area, taking note of the colors they see, and look closely for clues to any animals in the area (animal droppings, tracks, holes in leaves etc.). I can see how doing this during all four seasons would give children a really good idea of how the seasons change things.

There are also some extra blank pages in the back where children can either follow the prompts to sketch some things from their field trips on a deeper level (for example one page says “predators and prey”) or they can just draw their own pictures of things that really strike their fancy.

For us, this book is a great way to document our trips throughout the year. In fact, this is exactly the type of thing I was looking for for our Washington DC trip last year!! If you take a lot of field trips or family road trips, I could see this becoming a great family keepsake for the future. Of course a lot of people store pictures and things digitally these days, but you could still use this as a sort of a scrapbook to keep a written memory of your homeschool year.

With older kids, you could easily allow them to fill the journal out themselves after each field trip. I always like to have my kids write something up about the field trips we take, so for us, this would take the place of that. For younger kids, this would be something you could do together, with them more or less dictating it to you and you recording what they say. I think you would definitely only need one book per family, unless you had older children who absolutely each wanted one of their own.

Another cool thing this book offers is the book extras from Apologia. Using the code inside the book, you can access the extras on their website and find links to really cool virtual field trips, ideas for local trips, and awesome places to visit around the country!

The Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal costs $22.00.

To learn more, connect with Apologia on social media here:

Apologia on Facebook

Apologia on Twitter

Apologia on Pinterest

Apologia on Google+

Find out what other members of the crew had to say about this product here:

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal ReviewCrew Disclaimer