Friday, October 24, 2014

Sloppy Joes

I grew up eating sloppy joes, but out of the can. That Manwich stuff. I didn't really care for it. I wanted to create a sloppy joe mix that doesn't use any can stuff, as much homemade stuff as you can.

This is what I came up with:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp yellow mustard, dried
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Barbecue sauce (homemade is best, but bottled is okay)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup water

1. Cook green pepper and onion until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook a couple of minutes. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain fat.

2. Add ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and water. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Put mixture on a bun and enjoy. I like to use onion rolls.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Changing our homeschooling methods

This just goes to show how different kids learn. You can't fit every child in the same mold. Core Curriculum Standards are trying to make every child learn the exact same way, regardless if they thrive or not in that way. Homeschooling gives us the option to tailor our homesschool methods to each child.

We have always followed a Charlotte Mason style homeschool with our daughter. She loves to read and did well with the short lessons. I tried to imitate the same method with our son. I love the CM method of short lessons, so that will stay, but we have started to head towards a child directed learning. Not unschooling per-say, he has to do math and english everyday, no skipping those.

Matt hates math and I have mentioned to him that we can change curriculum if what we are using does not fit with his personality. He says the math is not hard, it is fine, but it is just a ton of problems. We are using Saxon 8/7 this year. He has always used Saxon while he was homeschooled. I have him do the lesson with the Dive disk, mental math and the practice problems. There isn't much work with those. He also does the timed worksheets daily, only we don't time him anymore. We use it as practice and have him do all the problems. Again, there isn't a lot of problems. I have him do either the odds or evens for the lesson work. 30 problems a day was too much for him and math was taking a couple hours to complete. He does part of the work in the morning and the rest later in the day. If he is having a hard time with a particular lesson, I have him do the other problems, either odd or evens that he did not do. There is also supplemental problems in the back of the worksheet book, if needed. So far he has not needed to add anything extra. He does good in math, just hates it.

He did not like what we were using for history, so I asked him what he wanted to learn about. I made a long list of history topics we could learn about. He chose the Vietnam War and World War II. He also asked to learn more about the Cold War, something I hardly knew anything about. I graduated from high school a couple years after the Cold War ended.

Right now he is working on a lapbook about the Vietnam War and reading a book that was written by someone who was there. I also got him a book that is geared for kids that gives an overview of the whole war. So far he is enjoying it. It is one thing that he doesn't make faces at when I ask him to work on it.

He also hated the Apologia curriculum. I love it and so did my daughter. I love the biblical aspect of it, no evolution, although we would talk about it because he was exposed to it in school. Right now I am making up a list of science topics and experiments for him to choose from to learn. He has been making containers and parachutes for an egg drop to protect the egg from breaking. Something he wanted to do so I let him work on it all day yesterday.

We hit up the dollar store and bought a bunch of things that he can use to protect his egg. $20.00 later, this is what we got. We did add a few other things, like cotton balls, string and tape, those things we had at home.

Little miss nosy had to check everything out. She has to know everything about everything and everyone.

Here is the first thing he was working on. It's kind of heavy and he was thinking of using helium to make it land softer. He just needs to make something in the tin to protect the egg.

Yesterday was the first time I saw him smiling as he was working on something. Right now he is off to help his Da and uncle move our RV to our campsite for the winter. The joys of homeschooling and flexible days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Venison Marinade

As a hunting family, we like to eat venison. We only have a little bit left from last year. The hubby needs to get out there very soon and fill our freezers up.

This is the marinade that I like to use for the steaks and tips. Deer meat is very lean and needs fats to cook with it so it doesn't dry it out. This marinade does that perfectly.

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce (I use lite so it isn't as salty)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients together and cover the meat with the marinade. I like to use a ziplock bag with the air taken out to marinade the meat. Marinade for a few hours then cook your meat. I love to cook venison steaks and tips on the grill.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vegetable Beef Soup

While checking out things on Pinterest, I came upon a recipe for vegetable beef soup. I had pretty much everything for it on hand, except the lima beans, so I made it for supper. It was a good recipe, but I changed it up to fit what my family likes and to add a bit more flavor.

Here is the original recipe: A Homemaker's Journal

Here is mine: *Warning This makes a ton of soup! I froze 2 meals after eating 2 meals worth.*

6 potatoes, diced
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
6 large carrots, diced
5 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup froze peas
1 cup frozen corn
2 jars (I can my own) green beans
1/2 bag spinach
2  8 oz can tomato sauce
2  1 quart bottles V-8
1 large onion, chopped
2 lbs ground beef (I always use a 80/20 ratio tastes the best imo)
2 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
salt & pepper to taste

1. In a large stockpot, add tomato juice, tomato sauce, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, celery and cabbage. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes.

2. In a skillet, cook onion and ground beef until beef is brown and onions are translucent. Drain fat.

3. Add meat, remaining veggies and seasonings to broth pot. Boil for another 10 minutes longer to make sure everything is heated through and potatoes are fork tender.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Matt's Archery Shoot 4 Score

Matt has been taking an archery class with some homeschool kids this year. Matt have been doing archery off and on since he was like 7 or 8, so he had a little head start on some of the kids.

The club he is part of is a Joad group. Every 6 week or so (although this was more like 4 or 5 weeks now) the kids have an option to shoot and be scored to earn a pin and a certificate. Then the kids move up a little. The score they are aiming for goes by the type of bow(recurve or compound) and if there is a sight on the bow, as well as the distance they are shooting at.

For example, Matt uses a compound bow with a sight and was shooting at 15 meters (I know it was 15 something), so he had a goal of 180 points to get. Some of the kids using recurve bows without sights had to get 130 points.

Another mom and I were in charge of scoring. She scored Matt, while I scored her son, just in case hehe. Not that we would cheat. Another mom was nice enough to take pictures of all the kids shooting today. So grateful for that! So here are a few pictures of our day yesterday. I tried to pic the pictures that didn't show the other kids faces.

Matt with his line of kids. He is the tallest, if you can't tell. The little ones make him look so tall. I think he is taller than all the moms, but still like an inch or so shorter than me. He is also the oldest. Ages range from 2ish to 14. Notice the orange line down near their feet. They had to have one foot on either side of that line in order for the shoot to count.

Here they are aiming. Notice the difference between the bows. Matt's is a compound all set up for hunting. The other boys have compound bows, but they are basic starter bows with nothing fancy on them. They are aiming for the large target in the background.

As I said before, Matt had a goal of 180 points to get, as you can tell from the picture, he scored well above that goal and then some. He got 303 points. Now he moves back to shoot at 20, which will raise his next shoot to score goal points. Not sure how many points though. The "A" was the line he was in. We had 4 lines yesterday because the little ones and the ones in the shoot for score were shooting as well. This made for a long day. Fun, but long.

Here he is with his certificate and the pin he got. All excited and ready to move up (well back) in the range. He is holding the tag with his pin on it upside down for some reason. The sun was in our eyes so to get him smiling and not squinting was a pain.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekly Goals

I fully intended to do this post yesterday, but I was dealing with dr visits and other medical stuff for me. I'm feeling better, but am on prednisone for 10 days to help with my breathing.

Last week I got most of my goals done. I made the laundry soap right after I put the post up. It filled three quart jars. I am thinking of getting a couple more Zote soap bars to fill up the other three quarts I have set aside for the soap.

I am done making tomato sauce, thank goodness. As much as I enjoy eating pasta, I hate the smell of tomatoes cooking. It grosses me out big time. I have almost enough to last us a year, not bad.

I did not get around to making breadcrumbs or croutons. This will be added to my list for this week.

I made a bunch of apple sauce using brown sugar and cinnamon. I normally make mine plain, but I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman site that I wanted to try. It was okay, but I am going to change the sugar to white sugar to see if I like it better. It is also thicker than I normally like it, more like an apple butter.

I also dehydrated a bunch of apples, but not all of them. It takes 6 hours to dry them out and I only have the 5 drawer Excalibur dehydrator. I need to get the 9 drawer one, should have got it in the first place, but didn't think I would use all 9 drawers at once.

On to this weeks goals:

1. Change the warm weather clothes out for the cold weather clothes. This is only done with Matt's clothes. We have built in drawers in our room that we keep our clothes in. I also have a dresser in the closet that I keep my winter shirts in. Matt has no room for a dresser in his room, so we keep his dresser in our room. It also holds our tv, so that works. We keep the out of season clothes in a large hamper next to the dresser in case he needs something from it.

2. Make breadcrumbs. I am skipping the croutons this time, mostly because the bread is totally dried out and would make horrible croutons at this point. I am going to grind up all the bread and store them in gallon ziplock bags in our chest freezer in the shed. I have no room in the house chest freezer and no more large containers to put them in.

3. Finish dehydrating apples. I still have one bag of utility apples to dehydrate. It takes time to do this, so it will take a bit. I dry them for 6 hours and because I do not have a timer on my dehydrator (another thing I need to change if I get another dehydrator), I can only dehydrate during the day. What I need to do is get up earlier than 9am to start them that way I can do two batches during the day.

4. Put away all canning equipment. Now that canning season is over for me, it is time to put all my canners, jars and other tools related to canning away. I keep all my canning jars in large clear tubs. I need to replace the cardboard that I have dividing up each level of jars. I also need to find room for my new to me pressure canner. Now I have two pressure canners and one dedicated to boil water bath.

5. Organize kitchen. After a summer of canning and putting things up and cooking, my kitchen is a bit of a mess. We never use the table in it, so it is a collection spot for everything. I need to put all that stuff away and try to keep it cleared off. Maybe use it for homeschooling because we can't fit at it to eat together.

What goals do you have for the week?
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