Monthly Archives: June 2011

Recipe of the Week

Here’s a combo that we have really enjoyed.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

2 cups whole wheat flour (freshly milled if possible)
2/3 cup olive oil (I plan to try coconut oil as well…probably best for a sweet pie)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water

Mix together until a ball forms. Press into pie plate until it reaches the top edge. Add filling of your choice. Cook as directed in recipe.

Spinach Quiche

6 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1/2 pound bacon (nitrate-free), cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 whole-wheat pie crust

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper and whisk. Add spinach, bacon, onion powder, and about 1/2 cup of the cheese. Layer about 1/2 cup of the cheese at the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Top with the last 1/2 cup of the cheese. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

Assembled and about to go into the oven.


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Last year we really enjoyed putting all of Elliot’s Five in a Row projects into a special notebook. With each project he finished, it felt great to add more to our collection and it was so rewarding to go back through it at the end of the year to see all we had accomplished. I’ve been working on getting both of kids’ notebooks for the upcoming year ready. All they lack now are their projects to fill them!

Each week she’ll decorate her letter in a special way. For example, we’ll be gluing blue buttons on the B.

I’ve also added our poem of the week for each letter and several blank pages in each section for her other crafts and photos of activities we do.

Just like last year, in Elliot’s notebook he’s got a section for each Five in a Row book with lots of pages to add projects for each one.

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What’s New?

Thanks for following my blog over to it’s new location! I needed something that was a little easier to manage from an iPad app since I no longer use a laptop. Of course, my sweet husband made some changes and added a few details for me.
Please note that up at the top of the page, there is now a “categories” tab where you can search through all my old posts by categories. This may be helpful for all of you new Five in a Rowers out there who want to look up what we have done for each book. I’ve been blown away by how many of my friends have said they read my blog and are going to begin using Five in a Row this Fall. It really blesses my heart to hear that we’ve turned others on to the love of homeschooling and more specifically, Five in a Row.

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Building Family Traditions

One of our goals in parenting these kids is to build strong relationships with them so that we will be close as a family, even after they are grown and gone from our home. We hope they have fond memories of their family life growing up and that they desire to follow in our footsteps. One of the ways we are seeking to do this is by building new special traditions into our life that are meaningful and make an impact on the kids.

Our family Bible time is one that we’ve done for a while. Another one that we started several months ago is “Encouragement Night”. My wonderful husband came up with the idea one evening and we’ve enjoyed it so much that we’ve continued the trend as a part of our weekly routine. Each Saturday night, we sit down together before bedtime and we all take turns encouraging each member of the family with things we’ve appreciated about them from the previous week. We love that it teaches our kids to find ways to come up with things to compliment each other on. Josh and I have also been blessed to hear some of the sweetest things come out of our kids’ mouths as a result of this. Sometimes they say things we had no idea they even noticed or thought about. Elliot has told me on more than one occasion that he thinks I’m the best wife in the whole world. (And Josh always jokes that he stole what he was going to say!) It’s also such a joy to let our kids know what they have impressed us with during the week. They really get excited to hear what we’re going to say.

We’ve most recently added what we like to call “Focus Time”. I’ve gone through and marked on my calendar at least one Saturday a month where we will set aside an hour in the morning to do nothing but play with the kids and give them our undivided attention (no phones allowed!) First I spend time alone with one of the kids while Josh gets the other one, and we each play whatever the child wants to play (the only exception being no T.V.,Wii, iPad or iPhone games) for a half hour. Then we switch kids, that way each of them gets special alone time with both Mommy and Daddy. When we first explained this idea to the kids, their faces lit up and they were so anxious for our first “Focus Time”. They asked about it over and over again, and when the day was finally here, they couldn’t wait to get started. It just goes to show how special one-on-one time is to a child, especially when they are so used to having to share your attention with a sibling almost all the time. We hope to create lots of special memories this way and to continue adding more things that make our kids excited about being a part of this family.

Caroline’s encouragement for Elliot was, “I love you because you play with me and because you have beautiful eyes.”

Caroline and I played puzzles during our “Focus Time”.

We also played cars. (There’s no doubt about it…this girl has a brother!)

Elliot cooked me a meal in his kitchen.

He also decided he wanted to build Mount Vernon out of legos.


Here’s Elliot reading Two Times the Fun.

Here’s Elliot reading Two Times the Fun.

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Chapter Books

We’ve been enjoying some extra special reading time lately, each day right before nap. I get the kids set up in a cozy spot on the floor and they listen to me read. Surprisingly, BOTH kids can stay focused on it and enjoy it (I didn’t realize my three year-old was capable of such a thing). Elliot has been enamored with chapter books for quite some time, so I knew he’d totally love it. He’s listened to the entire Mouse and the Motorcycle and Henry Huggins series on audio book over and over again and has decided that Beverly Cleary is his favorite author, so I decided we’d get started on the Ramona series together. We saw “Ramona and Beezus” the movie last week, so Caroline is well aware of who Ramona is and loves hearing about her crazy antics.

“Can you read just one more chapter, Mommy?”

And speaking of chapter books, this week Elliot began his very first real chapter book (real as in most of the pages do not have pictures)! I found the perfect first chapter book called Two Times the Fun (and it just so happens it’s by Beverly Cleary!). He’s so proud of himself and he really enjoys reading in it! After this we’re going to try out the Nate the Great series and see how he likes those.

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One More

Since I’ve been so bad about posting recipes in the last month, I’ll go ahead and share one more we’ve been making lately. This is our current favorite green smoothie recipe.

Apple Kiwi Green Smoothie

Several handfuls of spinach

1/2 of a medium cucumber or 1/2 a medium avocado

1 rib of celery

1 apple, sliced

1/4 cup kefir

1 T lemon juice

2 T lime juice

1 generous squirt of raw honey

2-3 T flax seed meal

1 kiwi

1 handful of goji berries

1 handful of ice+ a few T of water

Instructions: Blend!

It’s VERY green!

Happy, healthy girl!

This boy takes smoothie-drinking very seriously.

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Recipe(s) of the…Month?

Ok, so I obviously haven’t been keeping up with sharing a recipe each week like I was doing during the school year, but I have two that I’ve made recently that I felt were worthy of sharing.

This first one I just threw together myself and it turned out great. I love it because I’ve been trying to get my kids to eat more soups with my homemade broth (since it’s a nutrient-rich traditional food). It also offers a nice serving a vegetables, which we try to include in as many lunches as possible. It also doesn’t include any fake processed cheese like most Broccoli Cheese soup recipes!

Easy Lunchtime Broccoli Cheese Soup (As opposed to a more complicated version I make for dinner which also serves more people)

2 T butter

2 T flour

1/4 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper

Dash of nutmeg

Add butter and flour to the pot. Add milk and broth. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add cheese, onion powder salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

I served it with a slice of sprouted grain toast for dipping.

Homemade Graham Crackers

3 cups whole wheat flour (preferably freshly ground)

1/2 cup untoasted wheat germ

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter softened (preferably one from grass-fed cows, like Kerrygold)

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar (I reduced it down to about 1/2 cup. I may experiment with reducing it even more and increasing the honey)

2 tablespoons raw honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.

Put butter, brown sugar, and honey into the bowl and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture, and mix until combined. Add a little extra flour if needed.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and divide into quarters. Roll out each piece between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper into rectangles a bit larger than 9 by 6 inches, about 1/8 inch thick.

Using a pizza cutter, cut into rectangles. Pierce crackers using the tines of a fork. Transfer crackers on parchment paper large baking sheets. Bake, rotating halfway through, until dark golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes; transfer crackers to wire racks to cool completely.

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June 13-17

We’ve had quite an exciting week of learning about all sorts of things from the solar system to Sam Houston to the Everglades.

Here’s my little knowledge-hungry guy enjoying a book about the Everglades.

Caroline prefers to just let it all soak in this way.

Elliot’s weekly writing project

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Shaping the Next Generation of Men and Women

I’m currently reading “Bringing Up Girls” by Dr. James Dobson (given to me by my wonderful Mom on Mother’s Day). I’ve been wanting to read it for quite some time, seeing as how I’ve had a beautiful daughter for three years now and she’s growing up before my eyes. We own “Bringing Up Boys” and have read through it a couple times and found it to be extremely helpful in understanding boys and what makes them who they are. What I’ve found really interesting is the fact that boys and girls are so very different when it comes to how their brains work and how their bodies are made up chemically. I personally don’t really understand how people could argue that they are the same and that it’s only the way we nurture them that makes them behave differently when there is scientific evidence that there are so many physical differences that have a direct effect on behavior.

I really love both of these books and find them to be extremely valuable, but I will say that while reading each of them, I was initially hit with a feeling of discouragement and frustration. Dr. Dobson is very straight forward about the unique struggles that young boys and girls face and the lies that this world will feed them from very early on (such as the idea that marriage is an outdated institution that should be discarded, that life should be all about pursuing your own pleasure and success, that men are fools and a woman’s value is wrapped up in what her body looks like, just to name a few.). Being made aware of that reality can really get me down, but it’s definitely important to know what we’re up against if we are going to protect them and shape them into strong and secure people of faith.

One thing he emphasizes in the importance of strong relationships with both parents. I’m encouraged by the fact that, because we homeschool, we are going to be spending so much time together building those family relationships that are so essential. I know that does not make us immune to the problems, considering this world is full of influences that are going to contradict and challenge what we teach them, but I feel like it at least give us a little bit of an advantage. We are also going to have more of an ability to protect their minds and hearts a little more than if they were outside of our home five days a week. I know people claim that homeschooling overprotects and shelters kids, but I would argue, “What’s so wrong with that?” I have a strong desire protect their innocence as long as possible. My two young kids are not even close to being able to distinguish lies from truth, so I do want to avoid exposure to things that would cause confusion and discouragement for them. So despite being reminded of the hard reality of growing up in the world today, I still feel really hopeful that we’re going in the right direction and that our efforts will, by God’s grace, ultimately produce good fruit.

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