I did it! I made a menu plan this week!

I haven’t made a menu plan in so long that I can’t remember the last time I had a menu plan!  Oh I have my old rotating menu plans and other menu plans but I haven’t actually planned meals out with any regularity in months. This week, however, with the help of my family,  I came up with a plan for one week.

This week’s plan is running Saturday through Friday:

Saturday—we had marinated chuck steak that we grilled along with Rice Pilaf and green beans

Sunday—Homemade Pizza… yum!  My husband is the pizza maker of the family.   The very first meal he ever cooked for me was pizza.  We hadn’t had homemade pizza in a long time.   We made one with sausage.  One with Canadian bacon and pineapple.  One with pepperoni and pineapple. And the fourth pizza?  My favorite!  Honeybear calls it garbage pizza.  BooBear and I call it veggie lover’s or supreme.  Sausage, pepperoni, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion and  green olives.    Left over pizza made a great lunch today!

Monday—Chicken Alfredo,  fresh carrots steamed and a large salad (3 kinds of lettuce along with some shredded carrots with green onion and radishes available for those who like them.

Tuesday—Taco Salad… or maybe Tacos.. I’m having a salad though!   3 kinds of lettuce, tortilla chips, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, salsa oh yes and taco meat.  There was a time when I wasn’t sure my family would eat taco salads.  A friend and her family had my family over to dinner and she served taco salads. It was a HUGE hit.  We’ve been eating them fairly regularly for years now!

Wednesday--- some type of vegetable soup.  I’m planning an experiment that would give the soup an Asian flare.  Soy Sauce, ginger & garlic.  Green onion?  Cabbage for sure and then some mix of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and more onion maybe?  Or I might do “Chinese” broth along with veggie filled dumplings (the recipe calls for shrimp but I don’t do shrimp.

Thursday--- Sweet and Sour Spam.  Yes, Spam.  Several years ago our church had a special potluck for a family that had moved away (military) and were stopping by for a visit on their way to their next duty station.  We were doing a Polynesian theme.  I asked my friend what the people in Guam ate and she said “Spam”.  So I did Sweet and Sour Spam.   This has become a very requested dish in my house and it is pretty much the only way you’ll get me to voluntarily eat that canned meat product.   The key is slicking the Spam super thin and browning it until it is nice and crispy. 

Friday--- We’ve planned for Falafel but we may not be home so that may get served on Monday.  I’ve not made homemade falafel before but BooBear and I have been wanting to try for ages.  I’ll be cheating though and using a mix.  I’ll make the sauce from scratch though.

Saturday--- doesn’t really have a plan yet but I’m leaning towards something very meaty and on the grill.  Hamburgers most likely. 

Sunday—Pizza… not homemade though.  The twins are having some friends over before the Dormition Fast begins on Monday. Their birthday falls during the fast. 

I’m hoping to come up with a two week menu plan that I can use as a basis for a rotating fasting season menu plan.  And I want to dust off and revamp my older rotating menu plan.  Life is just so much easier when I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner!


Reading Aloud Challenge 7/21

I know the subject line is for Thursday and today is Sunday but Debra, over at Footprints in the Butter posts her Reading Aloud Challenge on Thursdays and it makes it easier for me to keep track if I go with Thursday’s date.

Last week I posted about how we haven’t been reading aloud.  And we still haven’t.  Not exactly anyway.   I did read aloud a couple of short stories to Supergirl this week so that we could do story summaries (she was so cute… note to self:  MUST blog about it!).

My homeschool has exploded all over my living room floor.  I’ve been pulling out the Sonlight books and gathering what we’ll need and trying to sort through what should back into bins.   Because the books have become so accessible to the girls, (the books are just sitting there crying out to be read!) the girls have been doing lots and lots of summer reading.



Wait!  Stop the presses.. I *did* read aloud to Supergirl!!  How could I forget?  I read from Marvels of Creation: Breathtaking Birds.  Look for my review of this book for New Leaf Press soon!

Want to join in this week? Want to read what Debra wrote this week? Click HERE


Gearing up for the new Crew Year

PhotobucketIf you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I was a “crewmate” on the 2010-2011 Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I had an amazing, blessed and wonderful time as a crewmate so without hesitation I filled out my returning crew mate application.

The new 2011-2012 Crew year is getting under way and I am getting so excited!  The upcoming vendor list is growing nearly daily.  (You can see what’s “on deck” for the crew reviews this year by going to visit the Homeschool Crew Blog here.  The right hand sidebar lists the upcoming vendors. Check back regularly for updates!)  The first couple of vendor interest forms have been posted for the crew to fill out and I am expecting that the crewmates will see the first Vendor Review List posted this week, maybe even today!

The Vendor Review List is the *the* list that crew members watch for like hawks.  If our name is on the list, it means that we will be receiving the product for review.  There’s always some nervous excitement going on in my house when we’re waiting for the new Vendor List to post.

As my name begins to appear on Vendor Lists, I’ll bring my “Upcoming Reviews” link list in my side bar.  Regular readers may recall that I had a list last year stating the product or vendor (linked to the website) along with a due date.  Not sure yet how I’ll approach it this year but do look for something similar in the next few weeks as Vendor Lists begin to post for the crew.


This year, I’ll also be serving as a Deck Hand.  What is a deck hand?  A deck hand is simply a crew mate who has served at least one year on the crew and has volunteered to do some “behind the scenes” work to help the crew year sail smoothly.  During the quiet time of switching crew years, many deck hands were busy helping our Crew Leaders get things prepared for the new year.  Some of us even had “training” between the ending of one year and the starting up of this new year.  I have a deeper appreciation now of the work Heidi and Brenda (our Crew Leaders) do in order to keep this program running. 

I am so excited for this year!   I know it’s going to be another great year! 


Reading… Just Not Aloud

It’s been weeks since I’ve participated in Debra’s Reading Aloud Challenge over at Footprints in the Butter. I took a sort of kind of blogging vacation during the month of June and now that we are half way through July, I’m starting to get back into the swing of blogging again.

But that it isn’t really the reason I haven’t posted about reading aloud.  I haven’t posted about reading aloud because, well, we haven’t been.  I had big plans for spending lots of time reading aloud.  I envisioned myself with my children sitting outside basking in the sun and enjoying a lazy day of reading aloud.   Life, or the weather, or both has had other plans.  It’s just not really been a very sunny (or warm) summer and when we do get some sun and warmth we have other things and other ways to enjoy the sun like BBQ Picnics with the handmaidens at church or Backyard BBQ’s with friends.  Or necessary chores like yard work.   <sigh>

But just because we haven’t been reading aloud doesn’t mean that we haven’t been reading books.  The girls have been enjoying lots of books this summer.   During the summer, I give them more freedom to choose books from whatever genre they want.  They are also allowed to choose books to read that are *way* below their reading level.  Who wants to always read challenging books?  Even I need to read “candy” books just to relax.

Maybe next week I’ll post some of the books we've all been reading and maybe I’ll even have read something aloud <grin>

To join this week’s challenge and to read Debra’s post for this week click here.


BooBear Retires

Elizabeth BBQ PicniKSeveral weekends ago we had a taste of summer. (We have not had much of a summer this year)  The sun came out to play on Friday and joined us for Saturday.   It must have been too much for the orange glow as it disappeared again on Sunday and didn’t make an appearance for several weeks.  It came out again for a day or 2 and disappeared again.  As I type this  I am hoping that the sun is just lost and will soon find its way back again.

During that taste of summer though, the girls and I had a wonderful time at a picnic BBQ for the Handmaidens of our church.   It was a special day for BooBear.   This event marks the closing of a (rather short) season in her life.

Elizabeth Procession PicnikThe young ladies of Orthodox parish may Mantha Procession Picnikserve as Handmaidens.  Generally girls from around 6-8 years until 14-16 years old assist with such duties as holding the “blessed bread” during communion (this is NOT the Eucharist), putting out “too short” candles during the service, and holding icons during processions among other duties.

 In our parish the handmaidens also get together about once a quarter for a “social”.    At this BBQ Picnic Social, BooBear (and one other precious girl) retired as a Handmaiden.  BooBear will move on to serve in other ways.

Mantha Process Stand Picnik I do not have words to express how much it has meant to me that ALL FOUR, yes FOUR, including Supergirl with all her disabilities have been able to participate and serve as Handmaidens.  I’m sure that BooBear will continue to assist Supergirl when necessary but now we are a family of 3 handmaidens.   You did a great job BooBear and I am so proud of you!

The Gift BBQ Picnik


Book Review: The Ale Boy’s Feast

My daughter, Turtlegirl, is a huge fantasy fiction fan.  When I saw The Ale Boy’s Feast by  Jeffrey Overstreet, I knew she would enjoy it.  I requested the book so that I could read and share it with her.  Fantasy is not my first choice when I reach for a fiction book to read but the genre is growing on me.  This novel is book 4 in this series.  I requested it with some trepidation about reading the final novel first.  I took the plunge and requested the review. 

From the Publisher:
Book 4 of the Auralia Thread series

Ale Boy Feast Cover

The king is missing.His people are trapped as the woods turn deadly. Underground, the boy called Rescue has found an escape.

Hopes are failing across The Expanse. The forests, once beautiful, are now haunted and bloodthirsty. House Abascar's persecuted people risk their lives to journey through those predatory trees. They seek a mythic city - Abascar's last, best hope for refuge - where they might find the source of Auralia's colors.

They journey without their king. During a calamitous attempt to rescue some of his subjects from slavery, Cal-raven vanished.

But his helper, the ale boy, falling through a crack in the earth, has discovered a slender thread of hope in the dark. He will dare to lead a desperate company up the secret river.

Meanwhile, with a dragon's help, the wandering mage Scharr ben Fray is uncovering history's biggest lie - a deception that only a miracle can repair.

Time is running out for all those entangled in The Auralia Thread. But hope and miracles flicker wherever Auralia’s colors are found.

 My TakeI have struggled with writing this review because I wish I had read the first three books before reading this final fourth novel in the thread. This was a difficult book for me to get into.  I’m not sure if it was because I don’t regularly read fantasy fiction or if it was the fact that it was book four in the series.  I felt like I was slogging through the prologue and first couple of chapters. By the 4th chapter, though,  I was intrigued by this world that Mr. Overstreet had created. 

I found it difficult to keep up with the characters and locations since each chapter seemed to focus on a different person in a different part the Expanse.  Perhaps, it would have been easier to follow the jumps from place to place if I had read the first three books.  It did get easier as I progressed through the book and got to know the characters.

I did enjoy Mr. Overstreet’s writing style.  He uses vivid adjectives and strong verbs creating mental images that brought his world to life for me.  His writing style demonstrates a love of and a command of the English language that made reading the book enjoyable despite my struggles.  I think I would have loved the book instead of merely enjoying the story and appreciating the writing style if I had read books 1-3 first.

My recommendation?  Read the first three books and then be sure and read this one.  My daughter and I will be reading the first three books and then re-reading The Ale Boy’s Feast.

You can read an excerpt from the book here.

I would truly appreciate you for "ranking" my review with the link above.  Thank you!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.