Monday, January 16, 2017

Menu Monday for 1/16/17

This was my first week trying to get back on track with my weight loss. Well... I lost weight, but nothing stellar -- 0.2 of a pound weight loss at my weekly weigh-in at Jenny Craig. Boy, kicking sugar is tough. Why did I think it was okay to divert from the "straight and narrow"...?

This week's menu plan was thought through, but is still a balance between meals that I am happy with vs. meals that make my family smile. I'm eating Jenny Craig on the nights when I scheduled hot dogs and French Bread Pizza. (I actually make Italian bread pizza...) Most nights I eat primarily paleo. Here's the plan:

Saturday (1/14):  salmon, sweet potatoes, green beans

Sunday (1/15):  rotisserie chicken, potatoes, broccoli

Monday (1/16):  hot dogs, baked beans, carrots

Tuesday (1/17):  Chili, corn bread, salad

Wednesday (1/18):  pork chops, noodles, brussel sprouts

Thursday (1/19)(CAP):  French Bread Pizza

Friday (1/20):  salmon, yams, green beans

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 Week 2 in Review

Week 2 of 2017 is history. 

The week began with some decluttering -- a request I saw on a Freecycle email prompted me to declutter my board games and get rid of ones we don't use. Please don't ask me why we had two sets of Battleship, Monopoly and Clue, plus all those sets of chess and checkers... So the individual picked up my give-aways at the beginning of Week 2.

The student is still on break from his college courses. Next semester he is taking Spanish 101 and Sociology 100 for his two dual enrollment courses. This week his books for these courses were acquired.

During his college break the student has been working through practice questions for the Math Accuplacer test. He has been working some on his Geometry, and he has been doing some of the paperwork for his Eagle Project Proposal.

Monday night we had a Boy Scout meeting.

Tuesday took us to the dentist so the student could get his teeth cleaned. After I took him home I had a doctor's appointment.

The highlight of Wednesday and Thursday was some nice weather that replaced some cold weather we'd been having. Thursday night the dad had one meeting the mom had a Boy Scout Roundtable meeting and the cadet had a Civil Air Patrol meeting. I was the taxi, driving cadets to their meeting on the way to mine and picking them up after.

Friday the weather was still mild. I weighed in at Jenny Craig and did some shopping at Trader Joe's. Hubby surprised me and took me out to dinner.

Saturday morning was my quilting day, but our church was also planning a women's brunch. Hubs and cadet were supposed to go to SARs training with CAP. However an ice storm was predicted. CAP decided to cancel SARs. The ice storm never came, though, so I still did both my activities.

Since I wasn't expecting the guys to be home, I hadn't completed menu planning and the creation of the shopping list, so I finished that Saturday night.

Those are the highlights. The student is getting bored with his present "light load" (academically), but is anticipating next semester with some trepidation. He has one more week til the next semester starts.

How was your week?

Recipe Share: Mom's Chili

Category: Whole Foods

This is the chili recipe I use whenever I make chili. It is adapted from someone else's recipe, but I've changed it and made it my own.


2 lbs. ground beef
1 sweet onion, diced
1 green or red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans
2 16-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Combine ground beef, onion, pepper and garlic in large pot. Cook ground beef, breaking beef into small pieces. (Onion, pepper and garlic cook while the beef browns.)

To the cooked ground beef add tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, tomato paste and cinnamon. Stir to mix completely. Bring to a simmer; cover pot and reduce heat. Simmer on lowest heat for two hours or more, stirring periodically.

Serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. My family likes to eat this served with corn bread and salad, though in a pinch the chili is a meal in itself. This chili can be bagged and frozen. It can be broken up into smaller servings, served over hot dogs (for chili dogs), over corn chips (with lettuce) for taco salad, etc. Our favorite!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - A Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
Members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to receive a Yearly Membership to and were welcomed to write a review.
I have had a Yearly Membership to for several years as a member of the Homeschool Review Crew. I don't use this as much as I wish I could -- my only student is in 11th Grade and takes most of his courses through dual enrollment at the local community college.

Whenever I visit SchoolhouseTeachers and see the wealth of materials it offers to a homeschool family, it makes me wish I had had this resource ten years ago, when my son was a seven-year-old 1st Grader! Then I would have had, in one place and for a small one-time annual price, access for my son to lessons in Bible, Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, Music and much more! That means I would have had everything I needed to teach six of the eight subject areas my state requires, plus more. (The other two subjects my state requires are Health and Physical Education.) Then I found links for PE and Health under Quick Links -- they're just not listed at the 1st grade level.

Each grade level has its own spread of basic subjects, from pre-school through high school, with additional materials just for teacher enrichment. Everything is laid out very intuitively, with a very helpful tab for "Start Here" (for the new user).

Each option on the menu bar goes to another array of selections. Here are the choices when you select "Start Here":

The resources on SchoolhouseTeachers include downloadable, printable items, videos and online classes. The gems that I have found for my son and I (remember, he's an 11th Grader) are:

  • College Choice Guidance;
  • SAT-ACT Math Prep;
  • Writing: College Admission Essay;
  • Whole Foods Cooking with Sue Gregg;
  • Geometry; and
  • This Month’s Menu.

There were also courses in English Composition, History, Spanish and Science that we could have used, but my son is taking those courses at the Community College this year.

The best news I have for you today is that a Yearly Membership to is currently on sale!

Join during's Super Christmas Sale and Save!

Use Code:CHRISTMAS for $9.95/month or CHRISTMASYEAR for $90/year.

50% discount on upcoming price increase ends: 15 January 2017

In mid-January,  SchoolhouseTeachers is having a price increase. The promotion is to LOCK IN NOW at the $9.95/month rate so that you save 50% on the NEW prices. In about a week and a half this same monthly service will be $19.95/month--approximately twice as much!

Read the whole thing here:
Also, members of SchoolhouseTeachers are allowed to be affiliates. I am an affiliate. I haven't earned anything yet, but if you join after clicking one of my affiliate links I will earn a little something to use toward my son's college books.

To see more reviews of click on the link below.
High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, January 9, 2017

Menu Monday for 1/9/17

Week 1 of 2017 is now history. I basically took two weeks off of proper eating for the holidays. I weighed in at Jenny Craig and was up two pounds. By my home scale my starting weight for 2017 is 150.8.

This week I purchased Jenny Craig dinners for one more week (to get me "jump started" back to eating proper sized portions). So the plans below are for my family's meals, and they look a bit different from what I will serve when I am eating with the family (more "bready"). Here are this week's plans:

Friday (1/6): fish sticks, spinach, sweet potatoes

Saturday (1/7): orange glazed chicken, stuffing, California Mix vegetables

Sunday (1/8): broiled Italian Steak, steamed broccoli, cauliflower faux mashed potatoes

Monday (1/9): hamburger baked bean casserole, carrot sticks

Tuesday (1/10):  chicken tortilla soup, salad, tortilla chips

Wednesday (1/11): spaghetti and meat balls, salad, TX Toast

Thursday (1/12):  French Bread Pizza

Friday (1/13):  Wild caught fish (sautéed with butter and lemon), steamed green beans and sweet potatoes

Saturday (1/14): Dinner out

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Week 1 in Review

First week of 2017 down. My student is on winter break from his dual enrollment college courses. He has been focusing on personal interests, but has found time to do some other work that he should be doing.

First, though, on Sunday we celebrated a late "Christmas" get together with my brother's family. Did I even think to take a single photo? ::sigh:: No. I need to do better and remember to take photos.

Monday was "New Year's Day Observed", so hubby had the day off. We got the Christmas tree taken down and got all of "Christmas" stored and put away. We got things cleaned up and got our normal decorations back in place and re-established our household "normal".

Tuesday it was pouring rain, but it was basically the first regular day of the new year, and it was time for me to get back some routine. I started the day by going to the gym. I also got to the gym on Thursday. Monday, Wednesday, Friday works better for me, so I'm going to try to do that schedule next week.

It rained again on Wednesday, and we got light snow on Friday and Saturday. Thursday night the student and his dad attended their Civil Air Patrol meeting, and Friday night we had our church small group meeting ("Care Group").

During the week the student did some Geometry. He also spent time preparing for the Math Accuplacer test.

The student, a Life Scout, also began work to get his Eagle Project rolling. At one point he was considering a renovation project at the building where our Boy Scout Troop meets, but this project just wasn't something that his heart was in. In the fall he had met with a representative from our county's Park and Planning Department and had discussed a reforestation project at a local public park area. Basically there is an area that used to have a hiking path. The path was rerouted, and the county wants trees planted in the area where the path used to be. My son always liked the idea of this project and is back in contact with the County representative to get the project going.

The representative has let our Scout know there is work to be done, however the Scout is not clear yet if the reforestation project is still available or if the project will be different. There were other projects discussed -- projects related to creating new sections of the hiking path. This is not what my son wanted to do, but he will probably prefer an outdoor project with the county over an indoor renovation project. So for now he is waiting to hear back from the County.

While the Scout waits, he is working on Eagle Scout Project Proposal paperwork. It is a good exercise in reality, having to work through the planning, proposal and paperwork. He needs to create the proposal and get lots of different approvals before the Project date. The target date is February 25 -- cold, but not muddy. This is work that can be done in winter, weather permitting, but can be bumped to March if necessary.

As we launch into 2017 Week 2, the young man will be continuing to work on Geometry, Accuplacer Math Test Preparation and Eagle Scout Project preparation. His spring college courses begin on January 23. We are encouraging him to go for his Driver's License before classes start, but he is not in a hurry and we're trying not to push him too hard.

That's all the highlights for this week. The student is still creating YouTube videos for his YouTube channel and making bull whips out of para-cord. 

The snow is lightly falling, and the birds are enjoying the bird feeders. We've got dark-eyed junkos, house sparrows, Carolina wrens, song sparrows, downy woodpeckers, cardinals and tufted titmouses feasting in the snow. And I need a nicer camera...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Revising High School Plans (Again)

My student actually sat with me today and looked at the plans I have made for him! He requested I make some changes. Here is what I had planned:





101 (3)
102 (3)

201 (3)

121 (3)
ENGL 264 (3)

115 (3)
101 (4)
COMM 220 (3)

100 (3)

POLY 101 (3)


114 (3)

[CMSC110 (3) summer]
CMSC 140 (3)CMSC 243 (3)

101 (3)
102 (3)

112 (3)
HLTH 100 (1)

101 (4)

MUSC 110 (3)
(3 credits)
                (6)                   (6)   (6)(summer3)(7)             (16)   (16)   (13)

He is in semester two of 11th grade right now. Looking at 12th grade, where I had planned for him to take ENGL 201, he requested I switch that with COMM 121 - Public Speaking. So, going forward, the plans look like this:





101 (3)
102 (3)

121 (3)


201 (3)
ENGL 264 (3)

115 (3)
101 (4)
COMM 220 (3)

100 (3)

POLY 101 (3)


114 (3)

[CMSC110 (3) summer]
CMSC 140 (3)CMSC 243 (3)

101 (3)
102 (3)

112 (3)
HLTH 100 (1)

101 (4)

MUSC 110 (3)
(3 credits)
   (6)                 (6)            (6)     (3)    (7)                    (16)   (13)

ENGL 101: Introduction to College Writing
ENGL 102: Critical Reading, Writing and Research
ENGL 201: Introduction to World Literature
ENGL 264: Introduction to Creative Writing of Fiction
MATH 115: Mathematical Ideas
SOCY 100: Introduction to Sociology
CMSC 110: Computer Concepts
CMSC 140: Introduction to Programming
CMSC 243: Systems Analysis and Design
COMM 121: Public Speaking
COMM 220: Introduction to Group Communication
ASTR 101: Introductory Astronomy with Lab
HIST 104: The World in the 20th Century
POLI 101: American Government
PSCI 101: Physical Science 1
SPAN 101 and SPAN 102: Spanish 1 and 2, college electives
HLTH 100: Principles of Healthier Living

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Goals for 2017

As this new year begins, I have decided to post my 2017 goals rather that proclaiming "resolutions". In Boy Scouts we teach goals should be "SMART":
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Relevant and
T - Timely 

I don't have all my goals honed adequately that they are stated in a "measurable" format, but here are goals I have for 2017:
  • Weight loss goal: lose 20 (more) pounds.
  • Menu-planning goals: plan and prepare six to seven healthy meals per week for my family and post these plans to my blog each week;
  • Spiritual: this year I'll be working to regularly read, pray, journal and worship privately and corporately;
  • Exercise: I am planning to try to get exercise 3-5 days per week;
  • Nature study: I'll be continuing my bird watching. I think I should start a nature study journal of the birds I see starting this year.
  • Homeschool: the plan this year is to finish 11th  with a credit in Geometry, to take Spanish 1 and Sociology 100 at the community college in the Spring 2017 semester, and to take Spanish 2 and ENGL 210 in the Fall 2017 semester. I'd like the student to take a summer computer course, but I don't know if that will happen. As he rolls into 12th Grade, the student will be taking a Bible course at home, as required by our umbrella school (with which he'd like to participate in graduation) 
  • Boy Scouts: encourage my son to do his Eagle project, paperwork, Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review to achieve Eagle rank (he has to finish this as he is "aging out" this year (old photo below);
  • CAP: I'll be encouraging the cadet to get some flights in and to continue to work on advancement;
  • Decluttering: not stated measurably, but it is my goal to declutter this year as if we were moving in one year (which we're not, but that's the goal);
  • Sewing: make pajama pants I promised to my adult daughter (long overdue);
  • Quilting: finish the quilt I've been working on for 18 months and start a new quilt.

  • Crafting: I plan to continue crafting for my favorite charity, Online Angels, out of Pottsville, PA (I usually make baby hats, booties, and various other items like slippers and totes).

I think I'll be reading more this year as well, but I'm not going to set a goal. I've just started a book my father-in-law loaned me.
What are your goals this year?

Christmas 2016

This year Christmas was a little subdued in our household. My sister has been battling breast cancer for almost four years. In June she broke her ankle, and recovery from that injury has been slow.

We were delighted to be able to be a little generous with our adult and almost-adult kids. We sent gifts, via Amazon, to one in Colorado.

We surprised our local daughter and her husband with various nice things.


We gave the student a lot of this and that.

One of the gifts for our youngest was an item we had been saving, keeping a secret, since we received the product as part of a home school review. It was a really nice item, and we had paid extra to upgrade the item over what we would have received if we'd gone with what the review was offering (we got a bigger size). But as Christmas approached, my husband and I were having doubts. Our son wanted knives and paracord for making braided whips. We began to lower our expectations of his reaction over the gift, because we were giving our 17-year-old son something he hadn't asked for. We'd decided he wasn't going to appreciate the item, or the effort the company had taken to create the gift. It was a personalized gift from CrossTimber, so we went ahead and gave it to him.

To our surprise and delight, our son loved the personalized name plaque!  He loves the jets! He loves the Bible verses! He loves knowing what his name means!
He now has his name plaque proudly displayed on his computer desk where his friends see it when they visit. His love of this gift was my biggest surprise this Christmas! Thank you, CrossTimber!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Menu Monday for 1/2/2017

Beginning of a new year and my first Menu Monday post.

In 2017 I lost 18.8 pounds. (I really lost 22 or more and then gained back 4 or so over Christmas, when I took a break from proper eating.) I am continuing my weight loss efforts as we start this new year. I am beginning this year weighing 152.2 and would LOVE to end the year weighing 120, but to make sure my goal is attainable I am saying my goal is to end 2017 weighing 130 or less.

I am getting some help through my membership at Jenny Craig where I have a weekly weigh-in, where I am buying some of their foods to help my journey, and where I can sometimes revert to their meals when it will keep me from a "crash and burn". Sunday I ate poorly, having lasagne, garlic bread, salad and leftover carrot cake from my birthday.

Monday through Saturday I am on the "straight and narrow", and am eating Jenny Craig meals for dinner to help me as I get back into the groove of eating properly. (I'm going through sugar withdrawl.) The menu plan below is what I am serving to my family this week.

Saturday (12/31): chicken Caesar salad

Sunday (1/1): lasagna, salad, garlic bread

Monday (1/2):  BLTs

Tuesday (1/3):  pan fried chicken, rice, broccoli

Wednesday (1/4):  beef stew, rolls, salad

Thursday (1/5)(CAP):  leftovers (lasagna or stew)

Friday (1/6):  salmon, sweet potatoes, green beans

So, if you are curious, my normal day looks like this:

Breakfast: 2 egg spinach omelette, protein shake made with almond milk;

mid morning snack: Jenny Craig any-time bar;

lunch: 2+ cups green salad topped with 8 ounces diced cooked chicken and 8 olives (no dressing);

mid afternoon snack: 1 apple;

dinner: one Jenny Craig meal, with additional veggies;

bed-time snack: Jenny Craig S'Mores dessert bar

Additional: veggies, three Lifesavers, 64 ounces water