Jan 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Hi, all y'all,
I jumped back on FlyLady's bandwagon a couple of months ago and her Habit of the Month in November was ---ta-da---Menu Planning! After 2 months now I feel I'm really getting the feel for this after having had false starts in the past. As a homeschooling mom (read full-time volunteer educator) I have to get routines like this going to save my skin.
But this is the first time I've posted to MPM since last spring, so here goes for this week:

Monday: We travel to coop. Need a meal ready on our return. Therefore Crockpot to the Rescue!
Beef Stroganoff in the Crockpot

DD slices the shrooms. Check out the manicure!
Nothing challenging; I'll just follow the directions on the Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix package. This took about 5 minutes to put together because I bought beef already cubed. I speed-sliced my mushrooms (with the 10-yo's help!) using my egg slicer, a tip I learned from my Pampered Chef consultant.

Here's the recipe if you want to know if it's something you'd want to make (or if YOUR package doesn't have the recipe on it).
2# boneless chuck steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Beef Onion Soup Mix
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1 can (15 0z.) diced tomatoes
1 container (8 z.) sour cream

1. In slow cooker, toss beef with flour. (This tip alone was worth trying the recipe. I've always gotten another dish dirty doing this separately.) Stir in remaining ingredients EXCEPT sour cream. Cook covered  on Low for 8-10 hours or HIGH 4-6 hours until meat is tender.
2. Stir in sour cream. Serve over hot cooked noodles.

Tuesday : A busy day at the barn AND a busy night at Pioneer Girls Club with a staff meeting for leaders this week. We need quick and easy. It's usually the night I treat (myself) to a frozen entree.
This week: Lasagna a la Stouffer's and a green veg and crusty bread.

Wednesday Bible Study in the morning and some errands ( or not if we get the predicted messy weather :-o  )
Either way, this looked good and easy:
Grilled Bruschetta Chicken
scalloped potatoes, a green veg

ThursdayA stay-at-home day.Yeah! I want to try new vegetarian dishes. I had most of these ingredients on hand.
Vegetarian Moussaka

Friday TGIF!
D-I-Y Pepperoni and Anchovy Pizzas using frozen bread dough. Salad.

DH's Choice. He loves to cook and I love to let him!

Acorn Squash Soup. We had this in December and I've been thinking about it ever since.

We'll see if the Mid-Atlantic gets snow this week. If so I better stock up on bread and milk NOW!! (LOL)

Head over to Menu Plan Monday for lots, lots more dining ideas.

Starry, Starry Winter Nights: HNS Winter Wednesday Challenges

Pop quiz! What is the best season to star-gaze? No, not summer, but WINTER! The freezing cold air, if you have any where you live, makes for super-clear skies free of moisture and its attendant pollution. Think about it. When do most cities issue air-quality alerts? Good, you got that question.

Besides, star-gazing in winter encourages us to get outside for fresh air when we're wanting to the least. The days are shorter so you don't have to keep the kids up nearly as late to see stars as you would have to in summer. And it's kind of a hoot to be walking around in the dark bundled up like polar bears!
So along comes one of the Queens of homeschooling helps, Barb the Harmony Arts Mom , with her Winter Wednesdays to give us lots of nature study in a season when we least expected it.
We are following Ambleside Online's Year 3 schedule, and have been enjoying Charles Kingley's The Heroes (which you can read here free online) about some of the human (or part-god, part-human) heroes from Greek myth such as the stories of Perseus,and Jason and the Golden Fleece. Once again, I am surprised and delighted at MeiWei's enthusiasm for this book after just a couple of readings.

To expand on her learning, we have added some casual study of the constellations that correlate with the characters read.
The Dover coloring book, Constellations of the Night Sky by Bruce LaFontaine has many outline drawings both illustrating scenes such as Perseus with Medusa along with drawings of the constellations that would be found in the night sky.
I have Mei color while I read, then if it's a constellation, she places star stickers where the stars would be--indicated on the coloring page--in various sizes associated with the magnitude of those stars. Some of the more important stars she labels such as Sirius.

We will be looking for some of theses constellations using simple locators like Klutz's laminated pocket-size pullout, "Backyard Stars". The plastic and portable size would make this a great thing to bring along to a camp-out.
Another online resurce for constellation outlines is Crayola.com's connect-the-dots coloring pages.

We always enjoy Handbook of Nature Study's "classes". The new Winter Wednesdays will encourage us to get outside even in winter, the best time of year
for sky-gazing!



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