Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ten Things Tuesday: My Favorite Summer Recipes

My favorite drink of the summer.  I usually don't measure anything and just throw the main ingredients in the blender, strain and chill!  

We love this 7 layer taco dip.  It usually lasts for two meals if served with rice and/or tortillas.  No heating up the kitchen with this recipe!  

3.  Mrs. Eby's Squash Casserole
I could make myself sick eating this yummy recipe.  You can easily substitute pattypans for the yellow squash!  

1 1/2 lb. yellow squash
salt and pepper
1 jar pimentos, chopped
4 oz. (1/2 pkg.) herb stuffing or 1 package of Stove Top Stuffing Mix
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream of chicken soup
6 Tbsp. butter

Cook squash, mash, season to taste. Saute onion in butter. 
Then mix all ingredients together. 
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Full of raw veggies and lots of protein!  Serve it in tortillas or with rice, couscous or quinoa! 

Around the beginning of July, we'll head to the blueberry patch.  I make this recipe the same day as blueberry picking.  It's a tradition!  

Blueberry Cobbler:
Bob Childs of Childs Blueberries
Mix 2 c. flour, 1/2 c. sugar, 4 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. melted butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 c. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, together on low speed until smooth. Place into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Scatter 1 pint fresh or unthawed blueberries over the batter. Sprinkle with 3/4 c. sugar. Pour 1 1/2 c. boiling hot water covering everything but do not stir or mix. Carefully place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 mins.
Oh my...this was awesome!!!!  It turned out so beautiful with all the contrasting colors.  One great thing about this recipe is that it can be frozen in batches!  I added bacon bits to our recipe.
Everyone LOVES this recipe!  We have substituted this recipe for cole slaw every time we have had BBQ for the last few years!  
This would be great served over couscous with a fresh garden salsa (Diced tomatoes, cucumber and onions.  Mix with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and parsley) and garlic yogurt sauce (1/2 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1 tsp. olive oil and garlic to taste).  

Make a double batch!  They go fast!

Instead of spices, I used Mixed Pickling Spice that I bought in the canning section of Walmart.
I pack my jars a lot tighter than the recipe says.  
Onions can be optional.  Although my kids, seem to love the onions.
This is the most delicious summer dessert!  You can top with chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry if you like!  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

52 Hike Challenge: Hike #20

Hike #20: East Lakeshore Trail--Mizell Bluff Trailhead
Time: less than an hour
Distance: 1 mile
Temperature: Humid and sweaty before 8 AM

Hike #20

(There were quite a few bees at the lookout, so I kept a comfortable distance today. Thus, no family selfie. )  

Root faces

So here's the deal, it's summer.  I don't like humidity or sweating in the blue jeans that I have to wear because of my bee allergy.  This picture sums up how I feel about summer hiking...

I'm still committed to hiking during the summer (for now) by getting up at the butt crack of dawn and keeping our hikes fairly short.  We'll see how long that lasts! 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Last Day of School 2017-2018

Compared with 1st day of school:

 Memory wheels--memorable events from this school year

Traditional last day of school treat

We made it!!!!

Game day, while we wait for our home school association's graduation ceremony tonight. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

So THIS happened...

Someone purchased their first instrument...

2017-2018 End of School Year Brag Post

We've completed school for the 2017-2018 school year.  The school year has been an interesting one.  Overall, I felt this was one of the smoothest school years we have had in a few years.  I'm attributing that to the structure I had in place for each subject we were studying and how these kids have matured.  It's been phenomenal when I look back on it.  So, I'm taking a chance to brag on the kids and a highlight of their accomplishments.  

My top ten:

1.  Tera's first fencing tournaments

The kids have been participating in a non-competitive fencing club for several years, but Tera decided to  purchase her own equipment to compete for the first time.  Cutting out sugar.  Training for several hours every day.  Two tournaments--one in Georgia and one at UTK--University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

2.  Tera's honor society presentation

Tera was a presenter with our local home school honor society chapter during a forum on preparing for the future.  Tera's group researched non-traditional paths.  She has worked on this project for months!  All the work you see (including the handout you don't see); Tera created!   Not only were the visual components excellent, she was a natural when it came to the public speaking portion.  She and her partner gave the same 30 minute presentation--FOUR times during the evening.  I received multiple compliments from those in attendance (which I passed along to Tera) about her presentation and visuals.

3.  Daniel's creative writing project

Daniel signed up for a course in creative writing through Gale courses (it's free with your library card).  I was totally gobsmacked when I read one of his completed assignments!  It's one of those moments when you are like..."I was worried about this?  Why?"

   "Leaning over, he pounded his head on the pile of notebook paper. He couldn’t concentrate. Birds were screeching and squawking out on the lawn. The sun cut through the window making the temperature unbearable. The room was suffocating, stifling. How could writers do this? The ceiling was pressing down, he was a captive of plaster! With a cry of frustration and anger, he swung his arm, sending the contents of the desk smashing to the floor!

      His mind cleared. A bird was singing outside. He turned, watching it swoop down and flutter off. Clouds were slowly swimming through the sky. The sunbeams streaming down, coated his body with warmth. The walls seemed protective now, a shelter. He had done enough work for today. He still had two days to complete his assignment. He could whip up something tomorrow, and the last day could be used for revisions. It wasn’t like he needed to complete an entire novel."

4.  Daniel joining band

During this school year, Daniel joined the local community and college band in addition to his flute choir and a high school community choir.  He performed in over NINE concerts this school year!  He has grown so much as a flutist! 

5.  Michael drawing

Michael has been bitten by the art bug.  He loves drawing!  One of our friends is mentoring him by giving him tips on his drawing and helping him.

6.  Acing the ACT

Tera has been preparing for the ACT for over a year.  She had a goal and wouldn't stop until she reached it.  We were so happy when we got her April scores--a composite of 28 and two sections with a score of 30 or above.  Daniel took the ACT for the first time--a composite of 26 with one section with a score of 30.  I know it's just a test and it doesn't measure all kinds of intelligence, but I was so happy that all the hard work they put into preparing for it paid off!

7. Michael winning Lego contest at library

If you asked him, Michael would say this was the highlight of his school year.  He worked for weeks, maybe months on his entry.  All that hard work...

8.  Creative projects

When I was planning American History, I decided that we would do projects, creative timelines and map work to accompany our reading and memorization projects.  I loved seeing the creativity!  Our American Literature curriculum culminated with a research paper. 

9. Blue tip and Black Belt Club

Michael started karate when he was 6 years old in the Tigers class.  When he turned eight, he moved up to the beginner class.  Now, he is in the advanced class, a blue tip and a member of the Black Belt Club that meets to learn self awareness and defense.  Sometimes I have to turn my head when they are getting thrown and kicked, but he always comes out with that sense of accomplishment.  Tera and Daniel joined the BBC with Michael.  I bury my head or leave the room a lot! 


When he isn't holding up stacks of broken boards, he is celebrating finishing up our big read of the year--The Moral Compass compiled by William J. Bennett. 

10.  Dual enrollment and A's 

Tera completed her first dual enrollment class in the fall, College Algebra, with an A.  Both Tera and Daniel finished this school year with all A's.  We used Virtual Homeschool Group for Chemistry and Algebra 2.  I was available to facilitate, but all the lectures, quizzes, tests, and labs are graded by someone else.  It has been a great experience for our family.  Next year, Daniel will be taking Physics, Advanced Math and Personal Finance through VHSG and Tera will be taking Advanced Biology and Personal Finance.  Tera will also be doing statistics through dual enrollment for her senior year!  Unfathomable!  

Some years it's so hard to look back and see what you've accomplished.  So hard to put things in perspective.  It's very satisfying  to be able to see quantifiable growth and accomplishment.  Hard work has been the theme of the year!   I've seen these kids deal with difficult situations and grow stronger in their faith because of it.  They've learned to work with a wide variety of people in many situations.     I've seen them discuss the Bible with clarity and insight.  I've seen them find clarity and purpose in their own lives.   All these things make me walk away from this school year with the thought..."Best School Year EVER!" 


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