Menu Plan Monday 8/31/15

Does it seem like August has been a long month to you? It feels like it here! Florida just dodged a bullet with the first potential hurricane of the year, although things are very wet and soggy at the moment. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will have another storm-free year this year! Otherwise we could have spent this week eating canned Ravioli!

Here is our menu for the week (providing nothing surprising happens and our power stays on!

Monday: Stuffed Shells

Tuesday: Rosemary Baked Chicken

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Spinach Bacon Mac and Cheese

Friday: Crock Pot Herb Chicken

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

Menu Plan Monday 8/24/15

As the last week of August is upon us and summer draws to a close, I find myself looking back on all the fun we had with a smile! We are wrapping up our vacation with a visit from the grandparents this weekend, prompting me to make a special dinner this Friday, a Southern favorite! It’s a pretty decadent meal, so I don’t make it often, but its a definite treat when I do! I hope you guys have a great end to your summer as well! Have a great week!

Monday: Lemon Garlic Chicken
Tuesday: Stuffed Zucchini

Wednesday: Baked Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Thursday: Red Wine Seared Pork Chops

Friday: Shrimp and Grits

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

Baked Lemon and Garlic Chicken

Have you ever watched the show “Everybody Loves Raymond”? It was on TV when I was in high school and now I watch it occasionally on Netflix. Debra’s famous dish is Lemon Chicken, and after hearing it mentioned so many times, I decided I wanted to try and make it myself!

Ingredients:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 lemons
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp. chopped thyme
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Combine the juice from two of the lemons with the minced garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme in a bowl.
2. Place the chicken in a large Ziplock bag and pour the lemon mixture in with the chicken.
3. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour.
4. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place the chicken in the dish.
5. Brush the tops of the chicken with the olive oil.
6. Bake at 450 degrees for one hour, until the chicken is cooked through and the tops are browned.

7. Serve the chicken with the remaining lemon sliced thin as a garnish.

This dish had a lot of flavor and I loved the combination of the citrusy lemon and the garlic.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out more recipes here:

Menu Plan Monday 8/17/15

It’s halfway through August and the heat is definitely on! The heat index is regularly in the 100’s around here and if you are lucky it is 90 degrees in the shade. We do our best to keep cool by staying in the pool and finding a lot of indoor entertainment. I am definitely looking forward to fall! This is what’s on our menu this week:

Monday: Italian Chicken and Mushrooms

Tuesday: French Onion Steak

Wednesday: Corn Chowder

Thursday: Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Friday: Dinner out 🙂

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

Finishing Strong

Well, here we go. As we prepare to begin school this year we are also preparing to start my son’s senior year of high school, and my last year of homeschooling him. Part of me finds this so hard to believe. My first baby. The boy who made me a mom. The one who made me want to homeschool. The one I have fought with, laughed with…the one who challenged me to work harder to be a better person, forced me to dig deeper inside myself every day, and constantly questioned everything. He stands before me now as almost a man, and while I am so very proud of him, I am also feeling very conflicted. I am wistful for those days when his hands were so small they fit in mine. When he could crawl into my lap for a nap or a story…for when mama was the center of the world.

My heart knows this is how it is supposed to be. We spend these years pouring ourselves into our children to prepare them for life beyond our homes. And a part of me is so excited for the plans I know the Lord has for my child. I know He loves my son even more than I do (although that is still hard for me to imagine) and that my son has a path all his own to follow…but this letting go part…yeah, that’s going to be hard for me. One of the things I love about homeschooling is the fact that I have been able to be the one in charge. I admit, I kind of have that type-A personality, and relinquishing control is not really my thing, so this is going to be a big challenge for me. And with my younger son following closely behind, I am faced with a fear-inducing question…What do I do with myself when I don’t have children to homeschool anymore??

So I sit here with my papers, and I try to work out what credits we have left to fill. And I think about transcripts (my son has already earned 15 college credits through dual-enrollment), and my mind wanders to how much “together” time I can cram into this year. As a senior, my son is pretty independent in his learning. Mostly, I just supervise. I look forward to our late-night conversations about our school (since he is working many of our conversations occur late at night), but really, I look forward to any time we have together. And I pray, I pray a lot. I pray that God will guide me in the time I have left to steer my son in the direction He wants him to follow. I pray that God will give me strength to recognize those moments when I need to let go and give my boy independence. I pray that God will give my son wisdom as I give him the power to make his own decisions and take over responsibility for his own life. I pray for God’s blessings over his life, I pray for his safety…I pray a lot. And I have a feeling that as the year goes on, the time I spend in prayer is only going to grow.

I love this boy with all of my heart and soul. And as much as I wish I could plan out the rest of his life and tie it up in a neat little bow, I know I can’t. I am fast getting to the point where I have to let go, and trust that God has got this. I know that his father and I have taught him well. I know that in homeschooling him we have laid a firm foundation for his future. I know that God has got his hand on his life and I trust in His plan for his future. I want this year to be fun for both of us, and mostly, I want to feel like we both finished this race strong.

Italian Chicken and Mushrooms

So I love weeknight recipes that you can throw together in about 30 minutes using things you already have in your pantry. As a busy mom, recipes like that are my best friend. This particular recipe happens to incorporate mushrooms, which are one of my favorite ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken tenderloins cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can white beans
2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup tomato pesto
1/2 sliced yellow onion
12 oz. spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley for garnish

Directions:
1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and season the chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on each side. Remove and set aside.
3. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and tomato pesto and cook for 2 more minutes.
5. Stir in the spices, tomatoes, beans, and spaghetti sauce.
6. Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and cook until the chicken is done.

7. Remove from heat and sprinkle the parsley and Parmesan on top.

I served this with some garlic bread and a Caesar salad to make a complete meal! Quick, easy, and delicious! Want to see more delicious recipes? Check out Try a New Recipe Tuesday here:

Menu Plan Monday 8/10/15

It’s another Menu Plan Monday! After our party last weekend we have had our fill of pork leftovers and are looking forward to getting back to regular meals again! Here’s what’s on our menu this week:

Monday: Mexican Chicken Skillet

Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers

Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Thursday: Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Friday: Calzones

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week.

TOS Review: Classical Conversations

Classical Conversations Review

I am a big time reader, and as a homeschool mom, one of the things I love to read about is homeschooling! With my oldest entering his senior year, and my youngest on the verge of high school, I am always on the lookout for ways to fine tune our final years of homeschooling. So, I was really excited to get to review The Conversation from Classical Conversations.

Classical Conversations Review

Written by Leigh A. Bortins, the book is the third in a series on Classical homeschooling, and focuses on finishing strong with a high school student. Now, keep in mind that we have not schooled classically all these years at all. While I find the classical model very interesting, and there are certainly parts of it that we have utilized (particularly for history), we are very eclectic in our house in general. However, I am drawn to many classical ideas, and for high school, I really want to go deeper with my boys, in order to prepare them for college, and I feel like classical-style schooling does encourage students to go further in their thinking. So, I wanted to check out this book to see what parts of it I could apply to this next part of our homeschool journey.

The book itself is divided into three parts. In the introduction, the author gives you some background info about her and her family, that really helps put the rest of the book into context. For me, this short glimpse into the real-life of her family gave me a practical view of what classical high school looked like for her. The first section of the book actually focuses on defining the rhetorical stage as it applies to a classical education, and on what it takes for parents to work out homeschool high school.

I really appreciated Bortins’ honesty in this section of the book. For example, there was one part in the parents chapter where the question is raised “What do I do if I don’t get along with my student?”. Sigh..as the parent of two teenagers, can I just admit now that there are days when we absolutely, positively just DO NOT get along (and believe me, sometimes that makes me feel really really bad). And the author freely admits that she feels the same way sometimes. Just reading that made me feel so much better about myself!! The author goes on to address other common concerns parents may have about homeschooling high school in the chapter.

From there, the second section of the book takes on individual subjects and explains how the parents would provide a classical education within the confines of each subject. This section of the book is very practical and helpful, providing clear, concrete examples for each subject. Basically, after explaining the five “canons” of rhetoric in part one, the author leads the parents through applying each canon in each subject.

Once you understand the system, the process itself comes pretty easy. It actually makes a lot of sense. Each canon has a guiding question that more or less defines the canon, then a corresponding action the student goes through to get answers for that question. For example, for the canon “invention” the guiding question is “what should I say?” and the action is to discover ideas through research and planning. So, if a student were to apply this to a subject like Speech and Debate, they would use it during a brainstorming session to determine their topic, research their points etc. etc.

Bortins addresses numerous subjects from Reading and Math to Latin, Government, and Science, but like I said, once you understand how the process works, you could really apply it to any subject on your own.

In the third part of the book, the author includes multiple resources like games and lists of rhetorical devices that are also very helpful.

What I took from this book is some very helpful advice about how to structure learning in general for my kids final years as homeschoolers. I like how you can take the ideas here and really apply them to any curriculum. The foundations of rhetoric really encourage kids to dig deeper, and Bortins does a great job of explaining them in a way that is very easy to understand. I think this book would make a great addition to any homeschool parents library!

To learn more, connect with with Classical Conversations on social media here:
Classical Conversations on Facebook
Classical Conversations on Twitter
Classical Conversations on Pinterest
Classical Conversations on Google+
Classical Conversations on YouTube

To see what other members of the crew thought of this book, click here:
Classical Conversations Review

Crew Disclaimer

Mexican Chicken Skillet

This easy, one-pan recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. It easily feeds four people, with enough leftover for lunch the next day!

Ingredients:
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 bag frozen corn, thawed
1 packet taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
salt
pepper
Adobo seasoning
2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend, cheddar, or whichever is your favorite)
Cilantro for garnish

Directions:
1. Heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet.
2. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and Adobo. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook 5-10 minutes or until thoroughly done.

3. Drain and rinse the corn and beans in a strainer.

4. Add the corn and beans to the skillet.
5. Add the taco seasoning and water to the skillet and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Top with shredded cheese and allow to melt on the top, then sprinkle with the cilantro. (if your skillet is oven proof, you can also put it in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese faster).

You can serve this with tortilla chips, or a salad. It also works great the next day as a “taco” filler for lunch. Thanks for stopping by, check out more new recipes here:

Menu Plan Monday 8/3/15

It is officially my birthday week and I am (kind of) excited! I am not going to say how old I am, but let’s just say that I am saying hello to a whole new decade. My mom is coming down for the weekend, as are other family and friends, and my hubby, kids, and I will spend much of this week getting ready for a party! So, with that in mind, my menu for the week features mainly easy meals.

Monday: Stuffed Pork Chops (this is the only day I’m doing any serious cooking)

Tuesday: Spinach, Bacon, and Bean Soup

Wednesday: Leftover soup

Thursday: Cheesy Tortellini (Crock Pot)

Friday: Leftover tortellini

I hope you have a great week. Thanks for stopping by for Menu Plan Monday! See you next week.