Menu Plan Monday–Week of 1/6



Monday–Roasted chicken with bacon, potatoes, red bell peppers & onions; butterhorn rolls
Tuesday–Roast with potatoes and carrots
Wednesday–Happy anniversary to us!  #14–Evening activities for the kids, so going easy with tacos.
Thursday–Pork tenderloin (not sure what recipe), homemade rice-a-roni
Friday–Chicken & sweet potatoes enchiladas (from No More Whine with Dinner)

Oatmeal & fruit
Toast & fruit
Apple-licious Oatmeal Bake (from No More Whine with Dinner)
Gingerbread Cake (DD’s chosen recipe to make)

First week back to homeschooling, so we’re doing easy lunches–sandwiches & leftovers.

Pretzels w/cheese cubes & fruit
Apples & peanut butter
Veggies & hummus
Peppermint milkshakes w/mini chocolate chips

Share your menus and get ideas at!

Confessional & Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

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Confessional.  I’m scared of new vegetables.  Like, truly scared.  Heart racing, shallow breaths, the whole bit.   The ones I love?  I love!  I eat them without a problem.  Offer me a large salad with any type of lettuce, a bit of baby spinach, red onion, scallions, carrots, celery and I will gobble it up.  Fresh Indiana corn on the cob? Oh yes!  Potatoes in any form?  Definitely.  But my variety doesn’t go much beyond that.


I need to do better.  We don’t eat enough vegetables.  I want to set a good example for the kiddos.  This summer I want to work on adding sweet potatoes, green beans and tomatoes into our diets.

First up, sweet potatoes. They were an option in our farm box, so I selected them.  I’ve made them a couple other times with eh results.   While searching for a couple recipes to try this week, I came across this recipe by Emeril Lagasse.  I was never a big fan of his show but his recipes rarely let me down.  This one?  Oh, I may love sweet potatoes now!

A couple notes.  To help with my fears, I mixed in a small amount of a yellow potatoes.  I used about 3/4 pound sweet potatoes, not-quite 1/4 pound of yellow potatoes.  Mentally, I needed it.  Taste wise, I’m not sure it made much difference.  Also, I missed the part of the recipe where it said to shred the potatoes.  I diced them up and, after adding them to the pan, realized the cooking time seemed too short.  Oops.  I took them out of the pan and cut them a little smaller.  I will shred next time because I love shredded hashbrowns.  Lastly, I used more bacon than the recipe called for.  Again, it was a mental thing.  I will use less next time.

Definite keeper.  Next up, sweet potato fries from Jeff Mauro (the Sandwich King).   Hopefully a few more appearances on my menu and my fear of sweet potatoes will be no more.

Fried Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded (or 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, 1/2 pound yellow potatoes)

Cook bacon until almost crispy, 8-10 minutes.  Add onions, season with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions are soft and bacon is crispy, 2-4 minutes.  Add garlic and potatoes.  Cook 10-15 minutes, season with salt & pepper.

Weeknight Pancake Mix


Tuesday nights are breakfast night in our house while SoldierBoy is away.   I rotate between pancakes, waffles and muffins as the main course and then add yogurt, fruit or smoothies.  When I decided to do this, I didn’t feel comfortable loading the kiddos up with white carbohydrates in the evening, especially on a day we have P.E. at the YMCA.

I already had a whole-wheat waffle recipe and several healthier muffin recipes, all of which I could freeze for easier prep.  I set out to find a whole-grain pancake recipe for the other rotation.  I headed to King Arthur Flour’s website as I usually do for baking recipes.  This is the first recipe I tried and it was a winner!  The kids love them and I have no guilt.

The mix freezes indefinitely.  I place my mix in two-cup portions in a freezer-safe ziptop bag.  The recipe makes 10 cups of mix, so I can get five meals out of one batch.

The original recipe can be found on their blog.  There are some good tips on the blog page and the recipe page, so be sure to check it out.

Print Recipe

Homemade Whole-Grain Pancake Mix


  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats or 12 1/4 ounces
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons evaporated cane juice or white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder 1 1/2 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil 5 1/4 ounces


  1. Put oats into a food processor until not quite a powder. Add all ingredients except the oil to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine. While the mixer is going, drizzle in the oil. Combine. When mixture can form a ball in your hand, you have it right. If it doesn’t stay together in a ball, add 1 tablespoon of oil at a time until it does.
  2. Makes 10 cups of mix. I store 2 cup-portions in freezer-safe ziptop bags. One bag makes appx. 10 3-4″ pancakes, enough for kiddos & me.

Print Recipe

Homemade Whole-Grain Pancakes

  • 2 cups homemade mix
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice optional
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. For mix, see homemade whole-grain pancake mix:
  2. Whisk ingredients together. The batter may seem thin but will thicken as it stands. If you use regular milk instead of buttermilk, it won’t thicken and the pancakes will be flat. (They still taste good!) Let sit 10-20 minutes. Drop by 1/4 cup onto heated griddle. Cook about 2 minutes or until edges dry and bubbles surface. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes.

Add to Plan to Eat

Saturday Night Fun

20 years ago I was ending my sophomore year of high school.  Lots of friends, a boyfriend, newly driving.  If I knew then that my Saturday night fun now would be watching my kids play in a puddle of water, well, I laugh thinking about what my reaction would have been.  Now?  The only thing that would have made it better is if my husband was here to watch it with me.

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Before becoming a mother, I truly had no way to comprehend just how much I would enjoy the simple act of watching my children play.   Knowing that my husband can’t sit here with me adds another layer of appreciation for me.

Menu Plan Monday








I enjoy finding new ways to use up leftovers.  I had some chicken leftover from dinner the other night and about a tablespoon of salsa.  Cooked up some bacon, tossed it with the chicken and then added lettuce, baby spinach, red onion and some red bell pepper (all from my first farm box) plus the salsa and folded it into a tortilla from the local Mexican grocer.  Oh, it was wonderful!  You can see the pineapple from the box, too.

Farm box update
The  They didn’t have much flavor at all.  The pineapple was delicious!  The onions and garlic were good (I still have one of each) but they weren’t the best bang for my buck, so I doubt I will order them again.  Green beans had good flavor.  I’m not a big fan but I’m trying.  I’ll make them again this week and freeze any I have left.  Sweet potatoes will appear on my menu this week.  The red leaf lettuce & spinach were both really good, too.  The whole wheat pizza dough had good enough flavor and was quite soft for a whole wheat dough.  I’d like to try their white dough next.


Homemade granola (I’ll post the recipe this week, BIG hit)
Lemon blueberry bread
Chick-Fil-A (using our free item calendar card to kick off summer vacation)

Korean beef & rice, pineapple
Homemade pizzas

Grilled chicken (freezer), green beans, salad
Whole-grain pancakes (kids)/Sweet potato hashbrowns with bacon (new recipe, me)
Honey Sesame Chicken & rice (new recipe)
Grilled hot dogs, homemade buns (new recipe), homemade potato chips, fruit/veggie tray (kids choice)
Friend’s house to celebrate another deployment month gone!
Friends’ coming over and not sure what to make.  Sweet potato fries & lemon gelato are the only things on the menu so far.

 Visit for more menu plan ideas!

2013-2014 Curriculum

It feels like its never going o end but we have just three more days until this school year is over!  We finished half of our curriculum in April.  I had hoped that would mean we would just have shorter days and then have the rest of the day to play.  Somehow that never happened.  We lost all momentum after we had family here.  We could probably go two more weeks to get everything finished.  Instead we are just going to call it done.

In light of that, I decided to start planning our next year.  This is much earlier than previous years.  But we are going to start back early (mid-July) so we can get a good chunk in before SoldierBoy comes home from Afghanistan.

We only started regularly schooling Ben in January. Even at that, what we did was very minimal.  So this will be his first full year.  Elizabeth will turn 9 in the fall.  Church is the only place the kids need a grade level.  For church purposes, Elizabeth will be a fourth grader and Benjamin will be a kindergartner.

Curriculum to do together
Drawing with Children
Grapevine Studies Old Testament Parts 1 & 2 (Level 2 for Elizabeth, Traceables for Ben)
Real Science 4 Kids Biology & Chemistry
Story of the World Volume 1

Math (abacus, cuisinerre rods, base 10 blocks, etc for the first six weeks or so until I get a good grasp on where he is and what he’s ready for)
All About Reading Pre-Level 1 and Level 1
Lollipop Logic
Maps, Charts & Graphs Book A (The Places Around Me)

All About Spelling Books 3 & 4
Growing with Grammar
Maps, Charts and Graphs Books F & G (Eastern Hemisphere, The World)
Math Mammoth
A Reason for Handwriting, Book C
Winning with Writing
Variety of puzzle & logic books

Please note, the Grapevine Studies links are affiliate links.  The other links are for informational purposes only.