Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday Menu and a Crockpot Favorite

How is it already Monday again?  Seriously, do you ever feel like all you do is fix food for people who won't stop eating?  I told my hubby this week that when it is just the two of us (it will come someday I tell you) I am fixing one big meal and we are eating it all week.  Check back in 10 years and see what is on our plates! ;)

Until then, I have people that need to be fed so here is another week of our menu, keeping in mind we plan simple to save time, money, and let's face it, my sanity!

Monday- Honey Teriyaki Chicken (thanks Beth!)

Tuesday- Salisbury Steak

Wednesday- Turkey Taco Cups

Thursday- Chicken Curry

Friday- Dinner out

Saturday- Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas

Sunday- Southwestern Chicken Chowder

There happens to be no crock pot meals this week, but you know I love my crock pot and use it often.  I love the ease and the feeling of accomplishment so early in the day, and I love the smell of a home cooked meal filling the house, especially on cold days.

Because of that and because I know some of you are buried under snow again, here is a crock pot favorite we got from a friend.

Creamy Scalloped Ham and Potatoes

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 6 hourtotal time: 6 hours and 15 mins


  • 2 lbs. potatoes (about 6)
  • 2-3 cups cubed ham
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter


  1. Wash and thinly slice potatoes
  2. Toss potatoes in 1 cup water and cream of tarter, drain
  3. Layer potatoes, ham, and onions in crock pot
  4. Sprinkle with flour, salt, and pepper
  5. Repeat layers!
  6. Mix melted butter with soup and pour over the top.
  7. Cook on low 6-8  hours, adding cheese the last 30 minutes.
Created using The Recipes Generator

The Details of Curriculum

We are back with week three of our Virtual Homeschool Fair, hosted by my friend Susan and Homeschooling Hearts and Minds.  Last week we talked about general Homeschooling Methods, but today the subject is Curriculum.

I want to begin this post with a confession- I have dreaded writing this one!  In the past, curriculum posts have been pretty straight forward, but well, this one gets personal.

Hang in and you will see what I mean.

I am down to just two students these days which is easier in a way and slightly sad in a way.  Schooling just two is less stress, but with two girls already grown, it is a reminder of just how fast time goes by and how fast they grow!  Cherish the moments, mamas!

The oldest is easier so let's start there.  He is a high school sophomore.  In the past we have done a lot of different things but have pretty much settled into what works best for us with a few tweaks.

  •      Math- Math U See Geometry  This is new this year, but we like it and recommend it.
  •      History- Sonlight
  •      Bible- Sonlight
  •      Literature- Sonlight
  •      Science- Chemistry 101 Series and Apologia
  •      Art Appreciation- Me (yep, I put together a simple 1/2 credit course because I wanted to!)
  •      Geography- Maps of the World (Emerald Books)
  •      Writing- IEW

Simple, straight to the point, and working well.  As our kids get older we encourage independent learning to help prepare them for college.  Next year our son will begin dual credit classes at the local college and we want to make sure he can hold his own.  So far, so good!

And then it gets complicated.  And a bit messy.  And very humbling!

Our last kiddo through the pipeline is our 10 year old who is in 5th grade.  He is my strong willed child that pushes all the buttons with mom.  Put him with someone else, and they sing his praises.  Put us together and we butt heads and struggle.  A lot.

I almost put him in a private school in January.  Quite frankly, I was at my wits end.

It was not that I wanted to send him off, but I really was thinking that to preserve our mother son relationship I had no other choice.

And then a friend talked to me about the Abeka streaming program, we tried a two week trial, and we started this week.

In no way do I want to sell you on this program, but I will quickly share why we are using it and how I feel about it.

I knew he needed an accelerated program.
I knew he needed someone else to be the teacher.
I knew it was a Christian program.
I knew we had to make a change.

And how do I feel?

Humbled.  Relieved.  Frustrated.  Thankful.  You name it, I have probably felt it this week!

Funny story!  When I began teaching our oldest almost 20 years ago we lived in Florida, not far from Pensacola Christian College (where ABeka is out of) so we bought ABeka and used it.  Not the video program, but just the curriculum.  Our needs eventually changed and we sold it.  All of it.  Or gave it away in most instances.  (So yes, I just RE-BOUGHT stuff I once owned.  UGH)

After several years of trying to do school just like the public school system, I finally got the courage to just TEACH my kids, not try to reproduce a system I felt was broken in many ways.  That's how things have worked around here for a long while.

Now my kiddo stands for the pledge of allegiance, sings songs with other students, recites verses, math facts, and spelling words, plays classroom games, and more.


But guess what?  He loves it!
  • He loves the competition with the other students.
  • He stands when they do and sits when they do.
  • He is learning all the songs and memorizes things with ease.
  • He listens to the teacher without arguing about every. little. thing!
  • He is smiling more and complaining less.
  • He is so proud of himself and his work.
  • He is not just learning stuff from the books, but also learning about diligence, and doing your best, and listening skills.
And even told me he thought that going to THAT school might be neat.

With that being said, I have to remind myself this is not about me.  It is about my son.

Who is learning and growing despite my failures and shortcomings.

Yes, I can get school done with him in half the time this program takes him.  And yes, I think some of the stuff is wasting MY time.  But the bigger picture is that it is NOT wasting his time if he is learning and loving the process.  Just because I would not choose to learn that way does not mean it is not right for him.

I tell people all the time that every kid is different and therefore learns differently.  Now is the time I have to believe what I say and act on it. To do something that may not have been my first choice, but for this season clearly is the right choice.

And the bonus?  We had a peaceful week with a lot more smiles and a lot less head butting.

I call that a success.


Looking for more curriculum ideas? Visit my fellow homeschool bloggers! 

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 22nd.
Our Homeschool Plan for 3rd, 6th, 8th, & 12th Grades by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Our 10th Grade Plans by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Planning Out Our Unschooling Studies by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
The Details of Curriculum by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Reflections of a Curriculum Junkie by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Freedom through nature journaling. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How I pull together a homeschool curriculum without packaged curriculum by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
Our Favorite Curriculum and Resources - An Annotated Bibliography by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
Our 2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Top Home Educating Resources by Sarah @ DeliveringGrace
Homeschooling Curriculum We Are Using This Year by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Use the Force and Complete the Course by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Choices, choices - how to choose your curriculum wisely by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
Our Curriculum Needs - grade seven by Annette @ A Net in Time
The Heart of Our School by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Curriculum We Have Loved Using by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
How to Avoid Gaps in Education by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
High School Syllabus by TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy @ GoldenGrasses
How we Homeschool Together  Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Top 5 Posts of 2017

2018 has entered my life so quickly that I have hardly had time to take a look back and reflect on this blog- something I try to do each year to evaluate where we have been, where we are, and where we want to go.

Numbers may not mean a lot to you, but for a blogger numbers are everything in many ways.  Good or bad, those numbers are often the key to success, or the demise of your blog.  Sad but true.

Years ago I decided that this blog was not a money making venture for me.  It's not that I have anything against making money, I just was not and still am not sure that is the direction I want to take.  For now I am content to write about what is on my brain and heart, as well as review homeschool materials just because I want to, not because I am getting paid to.

As you know, I am a pretty eclectic blogger.  There are not many subjects I do not cover at one point or another.  In the blogging world, many will tell you that is a recipe for disaster.  Never the less, it is my life and therefore my current formula.

After looking at the top 5 posts for 2018, it seems that formula makes most of you happy and therefore you can expect pretty much the same formula this year as well.  How else could you explain that in the top 5 you will find me blogging about my life, talking about our homeschooling, sharing a review, taking you on a cleaning and de-cluttering journey, and just sharing my heart?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?  That being said, if you have something you want to see more (or less) of in 2018 here at Family, Faith and Fridays, drop me a note and I will see what I can do!

So the Top 5 Posts of 2018?

Adoption Aggravations

Schooling Year Round While Other Kids Have Summer Break

Is there a Doctor in the House?

34 Weeks of Clean Masterpost


And just for fun- the all time most read post is one written by my oldest daughter years ago!  This post still gets read daily and it amazes me still!

Modesty- A Command, Not a Conviction

As always, we thank you for following this blog and being a part of our lives.  You are more than readers, you are friends, and I treasure YOU!

Here's to another great year together!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Menu and a Breakfast Treat

Happy Monday!  Welcome back to another week of meals!  With my girl headed off to college again, we will be back to feeding 5 for a while.  Ignore me while I go pout!

We have loved planning soup for Sunday nights- a great way to relax and have a simple meal after a big Sunday lunch. This week we are going to try to incorporate breakfast into one meal as well.  My family loves breakfast food and by having it for dinner, it is often a good way to save some money.  I will let you know how it goes over.

Monday- Spaghetti Pie

Tuesday- Pork Chop Casserole

Wednesday- B-B-Q Chicken

Thursday- Breakfast Pizza

Friday- Care Group Night (not sure what I am making to share)

Saturday- Chicken a la Orange

Sunday- Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Have a blessed week!

Breakfast Pizza

prep time: cook time: total time:


  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 6-8  oz. sausage
  • 1 c. frozen hash browns
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Spread pan with rolls
  2. Cook sausage, drain
  3. Cook hash browns in 2 tsp. butter
  4. Cook eggs in 1 tsp. butter
  5. Layer sausage, hash browns, and eggs on rolls. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Top with cheese
  7. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes


* We double this recipe for a family of 6, three of which are boys!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

A Method to Our Madness

Welcome back to week 2 of the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair hosted by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds!  I hope you enjoyed last week and the 5 Reasons You will Want to Homeschool!  Today we are going to be talking about Methods of Homeschooling!

When I began teaching my kids at home almost 20 years ago, I had no idea there were "methods" of teaching or even rules for that matter.  At the time I knew of two curriculum options, ABeka and Bob Jones University, and I chose one and went for it.  ABeka won out initially though I did use BJU for a few years as well!

Now I know a bit more, and boy, have I used a bit more!

The methods are almost too numerous to list, but let me tell you about a few.

All in Ones-  These are those curriculums like Abeka and Bob Jones where you can order a complete curriculum, with all the materials you need, open the box when it arrives and then start teaching.  There are more out there like Sonlight (which I have also used for many years) and even companies like Christian Liberty Press and Timberdoodle.  Let me just say, if text books are your thing, there are many amazing companies out there.  Choose one that looks good to you and go for it!  There is much to be said for companies that provide everything for you including lesson plans, especially for a new homeschooler!

Living books/Charlotte Mason- This style is very BOOK based, usually rich with literature and living books.  Think of yourself in a library checking out books on every subject you can think of.  You will include fiction, biographies, non-fiction- anything that you can learn you will.  I know of families that practically live in their library and they LOVE it!  This method is also often very student directed.  If your child is interested in a certain subject, find books about that subject and let the sky be the limit in their learning.  My Father's World curriculum also has a very Charlotte Mason bent.

Unit Studies- This method is a neat one too, if you like to concentrate on one subject for more than a day!  Pick a subject and learn!  Take bears for example.  Use math to count bears and sort the kinds.  For science study about the kinds of bears and add geography by learning about their habitats.  Read The Bear on Hemlock Mountain for literature and diagram sentences from that book for Grammar.  Get the idea?  When you grow weary of one subject, choose another and off you go.  There are AMAZING unit studies to be found, and many people like to add journaling or lap booking to them.

Classical- Classical education is a back to the fundamentals.  There was a time when the biggest guidance for this approach was the now famous book, The Well Trained Mind.  It walks you through the stages of learning and the things your child should be learning and how to teach them.  Think Latin, and lots of reading of old, classic books and memory work.  I loved the years we used the classical approach, but I must say it wore me out because at the time I was creating my own lesson plans from scratch for 3 different grades, not to mention trying to round up all the books myself.  Now there are several companies and programs that take a classical approach AND have lesson plans and provide the books.  Veritas Press and Classical Conversations are two that come to mind.

Unschooling- Yes, you will hear this word floating around in the homeschool community, though not as much as you used to.  This is one method that makes me a bit nervous, but I have seen it done well by a few families.  They allow their kids to learn from the world around them, devoid of most "textbooks."  That is not to say they are not learning, but you will not usually find tests and quizzes or lesson plans in their homes.  They learn as they go through life, often studying within a child's interests for an extended period of time.

Overwhelmed yet?  There is no need to be.  Trust me when I say that no matter which homeschooling method you choose, your kids WILL learn!  I recommend you find what you are most comfortable with as well as the way you believe your child will learn best and go for it!

If the fit is not perfect, you can tweak and adjust as needed, or completely stop what you are doing and start with something new.

Ask me how often I have done that!

THAT will wait until next week!  See 'ya back then!


What do my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about their Homeschool Methods? Go visit them to find out!

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 15th.
How Our Academic Co-op Completes Our Eclectic Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Finding Our Homeschool Method by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
How We Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Give Us.... by Annette @ A Net in Time
A day in our Home by Sarah@DeliveringGrace
Lit-Based Education: How We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Overhauling Our Homeschool - Adjusting our "How" to fit our "Why" by Sabrina Scheerer @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler: Expectation Vs. Reality by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
How Charlotte Mason Transformed Our Homeschool by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Captain's Log, Supplemental - Our Homeschool Days by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we get it done. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How to Organize Daily Curriculum with the School Cart by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Learning For LIfe by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Eclectic Homeschooling: When It All Comes Together by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
A Typical Day? by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
This is the Way We Do Our School, So Early in the Morning by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
A Little of This and a Little of That: Eclectic Homeschooling by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Still Classically Educating After All These Years by True North Homeschool Academy
So what exactly is Life Led Homeschooling? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
The way we learn ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Our Homeschool Routine by Joelle @Homeschooling For His Glory
Homeschool Methods – 8 Tips for the Journey by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up