Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Menu and Comfort Food

Welcome to another week of Monday Menu!  I hope you are enjoying a peek into our kitchen- I have to say it has been great to not only keep me accountable, but also to make me pull out some recipes I haven't used in a while.  It is crazy how you forget about stuff you used to make all of the time.

You may see a few repeats in the next few weeks as our college daughter is coming home (insert happy dance here!) and she has requested some oldies but goodies.  It seems the dining facility at college just doesn't live up to momma's cooking and she is "starving!"  Go figure! ;)

So here we go-

Monday- Italian Chicken (you can do this in the oven or in the crockpot!  Just cover chicken breasts with Italian dressing and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes or in crockpot for 6-8 hours on low.  It is a favorite here!)

Tuesday- Hamburgers with mushroom gravy

Wednesday- Beef Stroganoff

Thursday- Chicken- Broccoli Braid (yes, it is the pampered chef recipe and yes, it is what our girl asked for for her birthday meal.  Go figure.  I told you she must be starving!)

Friday- Our Church Care Group Christmas party  I will be taking a Chicken Buffalo Dip

Saturday- Porcupine Meatballs

Sunday- Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches

Fun fact- I am a southern gal.  Yep. raised in North Carolina most of my life on casseroles and comfort food!  While I consider myself a southern traitor because we have fallen in love with the Midwest and hope to remain here, I still love some good 'ol southern food occasionally.  I admit we have given up casseroles as a weekly staple, but there are just times in our lives where we all need a little comfort food to soothe the soul.  If you are in that place this week, here is a simple one that is also pretty easy on the budget.  Nope, it is not the healthiest for you, but it still might bring a smile to your face!

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham


  • 8-10 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 cups diced ham, fully cooked
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup, or cheese soup
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Spray slow cooker with oil to prevent sticking
  2. Layer 1/2 the potatoes, ham, onions, and cheese.
  3. Repeat layering
  4. Top with soup and sprinkle with paprika and salt.
  5. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Do We Play Favorites?

Yes, as a matter of fact we do!

I have been homeschooling around here for over 19 years now.  I have one child that has graduated and owns her own business making tee shirt quilts and another daughter in her junior year of college pursuing musical theater.  My oldest son is a sophomore in high school and our "baby" is a 5th grader.  If curriculum is out there, in MANY cases I have been there, done that, or at the very least can tell you something about it.

I started out homeschooling with a boxed curriculum.  Pull it all out, follow the lesson plans, and go!  It was a great way to start.  Eventually I branched out and pulled in some new-to-us curriculum and began to pick and choose more and more freely each year.  With my youngest, I now find myself swinging back to some oldies but goodies and embracing learning on line even more.  I have also been known more than once to change programs mid year if needed.

I am a firm believer that each child is unique and has unique needs and learning styles.  If something isn't working, I do not believe in sticking with it just for the sake of saying you did.  Find what works and love it.  If you don't love it, try again.  The possibilities are endless and there is no reason to go through an entire year with miserable kids.


So, long story short, if you ask us us what we use for school, be ready for a long winded answer!  And know it can change next week.

But...that being said, there are a few things that have made a HUGE impact on our lives or are just old favorites that have stood the test of time.  There are also a few new things out there that I so wish I could have used with ALL of my kiddos, not just the youngest.

More times than not, these new products have come to us by way of my job as Product Manager for the Homeschool Review Crew.  I am blessed to be a part of this amazing team of homeschooling moms and one amazing dad that homeschool their own kids and review materials to share with you.

Without further adieu, here are our favorites from this year's Crew season-

Times Tales- OK, this is a simple on line program that is meant to do one thing and one thing only- teach your kids their multiplication facts.  I have taught three other kids their facts.  It was not fun.  At. All.  But this- this was awesome.  Colby learned his facts in 4th grade in just short of two weeks.  And he knows them, and the jingles he learned them by, just as well today as the day he first learned them.  SOLD, to the momma who doesn't love math!

Rush Revere- We were blessed to receive not only the 5 books but also the audiotapes.  It is a miracle any of them are still usable!  My youngest LOVES these and will tell you this is HIS favorite product we reviewed.  Not only do they encourage reading and comprehension, but this historical fiction set is full of fun and adventure.  I am amazed at how much he has learned from listening to them.  Over, and over, and over, and over!  He's like a walking American History encyclopedia I tell 'ya!

Let's Go Geography-  I may have to gush about this one!  We have never done a true geography program for my kids while they were in younger grades.  We do some workbooks or activities usually and call it good.  But this online program, complete with links to cool videos, maps and a "passport" to print out, as well as crafts from the different countries won me over.  We are enjoying it still and plan on doing all three years of it.  It is just that good!

  Doctor Aviation- We do not use too many programs for my older son unless they are short or can be considered electives.  My the time you are keeping up with high school credits one has to be careful at disrupting the daily courses and momentum.  That being said, this course was worth it and even deemed fun by the 16 year old.  He is a pilot's son, after all.  You can read about this amazing elective in my review, but let me just say the aviation history, and details and the passion of the teacher make t a worthwhile program in my opinion.

Oh, there are so many more I could share with you, it was hard to pick just a few.  The point is there are a ton of amazing homeschool products on the market.  With a little research, you can find the perfect match for your children to make learning fun!


Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Menu- The One With No Recipe!

Yep, call me lazy, but there is no magical recipe today.  So sorry for that, but life happens and this past week has been a crazy one and quite honestly, it is a miracle that this week's menu got planned.

I have managed however to put up two Christmas trees, though the tree skirts have not been unboxed yet so they look a little stark.  A wreath is on the front door, but other than that my house is sadly lacking much festivity.  Busy and unmotivated is my excuse.  That on top of the fact that apparently when you work so hard to simplify and declutter all of a sudden filling ones house with more stuff seems not so magical.

I will let you know if I find a happy medium!

Anyway, on to the menu!  Many nights will just be four of us, so we are keeping in simple this week.

Monday- Breakfast Burritos

Tuesday- Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday- Leftovers from the freezer

Thursday- Chicken Nachos (crock pot)

Friday- Homemade Pizza

Saturday- Hamburgers on the grill

Sunday- Potato Soup

Have you noticed our Sundays have turned into Soup Sundays?  It is simple, and homey and I love it!  You may start seeing the same soups over and over again, as there are only so many my family likes, but we are fine with that.  If you have a tried and true recipe I would love for you to share it with us!  After a busy week and usually an equally busy weekend and lunch out on most Sundays, it is nice to cozy up as a family with a warm bowl of soup in the evening. 

I pray this post finds you cozying up with your family and enjoying a beautiful Advent season!


Friday, December 1, 2017

What's in a Favorite?

Each November as we wind down our Homeschool Review Crew year and take a quick rest before starting again, our 200+ reviewers vote for their favorite products in over 30 categories.  As Product Manager of this amazing group, I see a lot of curriculum come in and out of my house.  Trust me, it is hard to choose favorites.  I also know the hearts of these amazing blogger/reviewers.  They are passionate about what they do and want to provide the very best insights to you as not only potential consumers, but also as friends.  They put a lot of thought into the voting and it is a highlight of our Crew year.

I have my favorites, and will share them next week, but first I want to share with you the winners of this year's Blue Ribbon Awards.  Some I thought were no brainers, but a few actually surprised me.  See what you think!  If they have a star in front of them, we have personally reviewed them here at Family, Faith and Fridays either this year or in the past.  You can find those reviews from the search bar to the right.

*Favorite Reading Curriculum – Reading Eggs
*Favorite Writing Curriculum – Writing with Sharon Watson
Favorite Grammar Program – Eclectic Foundations
Favorite Penmanship Program – Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math Worksheets
*Favorite Literature Curriculum – Hewitt Homeschooling
*Favorite Social Studies Curriculum – Let’s Go Geography
*Favorite History Supplement – Rush Revere
*Favorite Science Curriculum – Innovators Tribe
*Favorite Math Curriculum – CTC Math
*Favorite Math Supplement – Times Tables the Fun Way
 Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum – Memoria Press (Latin)
*Favorite Fine Arts Curriculum – Creating a Masterpiece
*Favorite Elective Curriculum – Doctor Aviation
*Favorite Christian Education Curriculum – Drive Thru History
*Favorite Christian Education Supplement – Brinkman Adventures
 *Favorite Preschool Product – Reading Eggs
*Favorite Elementary Product – Susan K. Marlow
*Favorite Middle School Product – Innovators Tribe
*Favorite High School Product – Doctor Aviation
*Favorite College or College-Prep Product – Institute for Excellence in Writing: High School Essay Intensive
*Favorite Parent Product – Everyday Homemaking
*The Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed –  Innovators Tribe
Favorite Planning Product – Only Passionate Curiosity
*Best Online Resource – Reading Eggs
*Best e-Product – Home School in the Woods
*Favorite Book or Novel – Rush Revere
*Favorite Audiobook or Audio Drama – Heirloom Audio Productions: Captain Bayley’s Heir
*Best Product Just for Fun! – Drive Thru History 
*Kids’ Choice – The Pencil Grip: Thin Stix
*Teens’ Choice – Drive Thru History
*All Around Crew Favorite – Drive Thru History
Homeschool Review Crew Favorite Products for 2017 
Join me next week as I share with you MY FAMILY'S personal favorites and why this job of mine is such a blessing!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Menu

What a full week we have had.  Despite having the week off of school, we have been in constant motion.  I am once again reminded that we can easily fill our lives with busyness and must be deliberate to schedule and then protect our quiet time.

After this week of appointments and my mile long things to do list, I am going to do just that! ;)

This week's menu is another simple one for you!  Remember, I am feeding a real life family with kids, not connoisseurs of fine tastes!  I want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with them, especially seeing how fleeting our time together is.  They grow up fast, my friends!

Monday- Orange Chicken

Tuesday- Off to eat with friends, you are on your own!

Wednesday- Turkey Enchiladas

Thursday- Asian Lettuce wraps

Friday- Spaghetti

Saturday- Pork loin (crock pot)

Sunday- Broccoli Cheese Soup

Let me tell you about our turkey savings before I share a recipe for the week.  Thanks to one of those handy shoppers cards at our local grocery store, I paid a little over $10.00 for a 19 pound turkey.  We had thanksgiving (7 of us), and then a second turkey meal with it the following night.  It also fed four people lunch with turkey sliders the following day.  Since then, I have chopped up the remaining meat and frozen 3- 2 1/2 cup portions(one to be used this week in the enchiladas) and used 2 Cups in our Sunday Soup. (recipe below)

Yes, that is 6 full meals and one quick lunch with ONE turkey!   That is about $1.66 per meal!  FOR MEAT!!

The holidays are a perfect time to stock your freezer when turkeys and chickens are rock bottom prices to save your budget the rest of the year!  With a little prep and planning, you can have meat ready and waiting to pop in a meal.  Win win!

Turkey Rice Soup


  • 4 TBSP butter, divided
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 5 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 1 C sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 C diced cooked turkey
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 C milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt 3 TBSP butter and add celery, onion and sage- saute 3-4 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  3. Add stock, stirring to combine and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in rice  and season with salt and pepper, bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, saute sliced mushrooms in 1 TBSP of butter.
  6. Add turkey, cream, milk, and mushrooms to soup, simmering for about 10 minutes or heated through.
Created using The Recipes Generator