Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Menu and Appetizers





Christmas is almost here, folks!  Can you even believe it?  While it may fall on the same date each year, for some reason it still seems to come earlier and earlier.


Now that our college gal is home and my mom arrived on Saturday, we are ready for the holidays to officially begin at our house.  While it doesn't mean a ton of baking here anymore, there are a few special meals to be planned and activities to attend.  Trying to keep this week's menu simple to take the pressure off.

Here is what the Pleasants are eating this week-

Monday- Lasagna

Tuesday- B-B-Q Chicken

Wednesday- Hamburgers

Thursday- Chicken and Rice Burritos

Friday- Breakfast for dinner!  Chipped beef, Fruit and Pancakes

Saturday- Parmesan Chicken

Sunday- Appetizers  It has been our tradition for many years now to have "fun food" for our Christmas Eve meal.  It began when we would return home late from Christmas Eve services and did not want to sit down to a big meal.  We allowed each person to choose their favorite appetizer and then we just ate a fun, light dinner.  We often invite friends to drop by and bring their favorite to share as well, and it is just a fun time of fellowship.

Here is Clarke's choice EVERY year!



Crab Dip

ingredients:


  • 1 Package Crab
  • 1- 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 TBSP onion, minced
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • dash of pepper

instructions:


  1. Mix all ingredients well and spread in 8x8 baking dish or pie plate
  2. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes
  3. Serve with crackers
Created using The Recipes Generator

Friday, December 15, 2017

Happy 20th Birthday Princess

Our sweet Riley came home on Tuesday night- perfect timing so she could be with us for her 20th birthday yesterday!  Yes, my girl is 20!  My, how times flies!

We went from this-

 to this-



This girl stole out hearts 20 years ago.  Her sister thought we had her just to have a playmate and while they didn't always share their Barbies and Polly Pockets perfectly, they have been best friends forever!  Complete opposites, but perfect sisters.  The boys kind of adore her as well!

She was a momma's girl for years (had a fit if I went to the bathroom without her) and slowly turned into a daddy's girl who thinks he hung the moon.  She was our best baby that slept when ever you put her down and to this day can still fall asleep about anywhere.

Riley went from dance, to ice skating, to horse back riding, and eventually to the love of all things theater.  Disney is in her blood and love in her heart.

We adore her and are so proud of her.

And honored to be her parents for 20 years!

Happy Birthday, Roo!






Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Tour

I have to admit that we have been a bit slow this Christmas with decorating.  Usually I pull all the boxes out and do it in one long day.  This year, I have pulled out a few boxes at a time and strecthed it out more.  No real reason other than lack of motivation honestly.

Well, that and when you have been working hard to simplify the last thing you want to do is add more things back in. 

Plus we have seen no snow. 

PLUS, one of our daughters just got home, so tonight we will put the ornaments on our family tree!  I simply refuse to do it without her.

Here the bare look-

This year I also chose to not bring out the Nutcrackers, but instead swapped with the stuffed animals that did not come out last year.  These belonged to the kids as they grew up and they loved having special things to play with in December.  While they are too old now to play with them, they hold special memories and I was feeling nostalgic, so I added them back in.

 
Another tradition we had when the kids were younger was to add a Christmas book each year.  Some of these books have been read many many times often under the lights of the tree at night. Colby still pulls them out each day, and some of the older ones still get read aloud for fun.


Two of the other trees I decorate are my Cross Tree-


 And the Americana Tree.  Both are favorites and I usually add an ornament to both each year.  The angel tree did not come out this year, just not enough room!


 
Other simple touches on the mantle-


 On the couch-


 My favorite nativity in the entry-


And one in our family room-

 
 A touch of Chritsmas in our kitchen-


  And a few little surprises tucked in our bookshelves.


Finally, to welcome you to our home is our cardinal tree and wreath!




And our goal-

Hope you have a beautifully blessed Christmas!

Blessings,


Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Menu and Comfort Food





Welcome to another week of Monday Menu!  I hope you are enjoying a peek into our kitchen- I have to say it has been great to not only keep me accountable, but also to make me pull out some recipes I haven't used in a while.  It is crazy how you forget about stuff you used to make all of the time.


You may see a few repeats in the next few weeks as our college daughter is coming home (insert happy dance here!) and she has requested some oldies but goodies.  It seems the dining facility at college just doesn't live up to momma's cooking and she is "starving!"  Go figure! ;)

So here we go-

Monday- Italian Chicken (you can do this in the oven or in the crockpot!  Just cover chicken breasts with Italian dressing and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes or in crockpot for 6-8 hours on low.  It is a favorite here!)

Tuesday- Hamburgers with mushroom gravy

Wednesday- Beef Stroganoff

Thursday- Chicken- Broccoli Braid (yes, it is the pampered chef recipe and yes, it is what our girl asked for for her birthday meal.  Go figure.  I told you she must be starving!)

Friday- Our Church Care Group Christmas party  I will be taking a Chicken Buffalo Dip

Saturday- Porcupine Meatballs

Sunday- Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches

Fun fact- I am a southern gal.  Yep. raised in North Carolina most of my life on casseroles and comfort food!  While I consider myself a southern traitor because we have fallen in love with the Midwest and hope to remain here, I still love some good 'ol southern food occasionally.  I admit we have given up casseroles as a weekly staple, but there are just times in our lives where we all need a little comfort food to soothe the soul.  If you are in that place this week, here is a simple one that is also pretty easy on the budget.  Nope, it is not the healthiest for you, but it still might bring a smile to your face!



Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

ingredients:


  • 8-10 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 cups diced ham, fully cooked
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup, or cheese soup
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

instructions:


  1. Spray slow cooker with oil to prevent sticking
  2. Layer 1/2 the potatoes, ham, onions, and cheese.
  3. Repeat layering
  4. Top with soup and sprinkle with paprika and salt.
  5. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Blessings,

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Do We Play Favorites?

Yes, as a matter of fact we do!

I have been homeschooling around here for over 19 years now.  I have one child that has graduated and owns her own business making tee shirt quilts and another daughter in her junior year of college pursuing musical theater.  My oldest son is a sophomore in high school and our "baby" is a 5th grader.  If curriculum is out there, in MANY cases I have been there, done that, or at the very least can tell you something about it.

I started out homeschooling with a boxed curriculum.  Pull it all out, follow the lesson plans, and go!  It was a great way to start.  Eventually I branched out and pulled in some new-to-us curriculum and began to pick and choose more and more freely each year.  With my youngest, I now find myself swinging back to some oldies but goodies and embracing learning on line even more.  I have also been known more than once to change programs mid year if needed.

I am a firm believer that each child is unique and has unique needs and learning styles.  If something isn't working, I do not believe in sticking with it just for the sake of saying you did.  Find what works and love it.  If you don't love it, try again.  The possibilities are endless and there is no reason to go through an entire year with miserable kids.

THERE SHOULD BE JOY IN LEARNING!  And in teaching!

So, long story short, if you ask us us what we use for school, be ready for a long winded answer!  And know it can change next week.

But...that being said, there are a few things that have made a HUGE impact on our lives or are just old favorites that have stood the test of time.  There are also a few new things out there that I so wish I could have used with ALL of my kiddos, not just the youngest.

More times than not, these new products have come to us by way of my job as Product Manager for the Homeschool Review Crew.  I am blessed to be a part of this amazing team of homeschooling moms and one amazing dad that homeschool their own kids and review materials to share with you.

Without further adieu, here are our favorites from this year's Crew season-

Times Tales- OK, this is a simple on line program that is meant to do one thing and one thing only- teach your kids their multiplication facts.  I have taught three other kids their facts.  It was not fun.  At. All.  But this- this was awesome.  Colby learned his facts in 4th grade in just short of two weeks.  And he knows them, and the jingles he learned them by, just as well today as the day he first learned them.  SOLD, to the momma who doesn't love math!


Rush Revere- We were blessed to receive not only the 5 books but also the audiotapes.  It is a miracle any of them are still usable!  My youngest LOVES these and will tell you this is HIS favorite product we reviewed.  Not only do they encourage reading and comprehension, but this historical fiction set is full of fun and adventure.  I am amazed at how much he has learned from listening to them.  Over, and over, and over, and over!  He's like a walking American History encyclopedia I tell 'ya!


Let's Go Geography-  I may have to gush about this one!  We have never done a true geography program for my kids while they were in younger grades.  We do some workbooks or activities usually and call it good.  But this online program, complete with links to cool videos, maps and a "passport" to print out, as well as crafts from the different countries won me over.  We are enjoying it still and plan on doing all three years of it.  It is just that good!


  Doctor Aviation- We do not use too many programs for my older son unless they are short or can be considered electives.  My the time you are keeping up with high school credits one has to be careful at disrupting the daily courses and momentum.  That being said, this course was worth it and even deemed fun by the 16 year old.  He is a pilot's son, after all.  You can read about this amazing elective in my review, but let me just say the aviation history, and details and the passion of the teacher make t a worthwhile program in my opinion.





Oh, there are so many more I could share with you, it was hard to pick just a few.  The point is there are a ton of amazing homeschool products on the market.  With a little research, you can find the perfect match for your children to make learning fun!

Blessings,