Saturday, September 13, 2014

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

As the gardening season is winding down, I feel like a squirrel frantically gathering nuts to store for winter time! I've been in freezing & canning mode again lately. I had a ton of peppers, zucchini, broccoli & cabbage to do up. While I've been freezing a lot of the veggies plain to use over winter time, I also wanted to try some new recipes.

I happen to have gotten some roast beef lunch meat in the marked down area of the deli. I love this section as I can often find the more expensive lunch meats that are either sliced too thin or are the chunked up ends for only $1.99lb (otherwise, roast beef is NOT a staple in our house! lol)

As I looked at the roast beef & peppers, I thought that a Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Pepper sounded like a good idea. It wasn't until I started cooking that I realized this was going to turn into an awesome recipe so I quickly dug out my camera to snap some photos so I could share the recipe with y'all! Let me just say the photos don't do this recipe justice! The kids and I absolutely LOVED these and the next time I get some cheap roast beef, we will be making this again!! A bonus is that this is gluten free and low-carb!

I started off sauteing chopped up mushrooms, onions & garlic. Once they were nice and ccaramelized I added in the sliced roast beef.

I sliced 2 whole peppers in half and took out the seeds. You can use any kind of cheese you prefer but I used a slice of pepper jack and laid it in the bottom of the pepper half.

I divided up the meat mixture evenly between all 4 peppers then laid a piece of cheddar cheese on top.

I popped the peppers in the oven and baked them for about 15-20 minutes.


If you are looking for another stuffed pepper recipe, check out my Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa & Black Beans!

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
about 1/2lb of roast beef lunch meat sliced into strips
8 slices of cheese
2 whole peppers cut in half
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion sliced
6oz of mushrooms sliced
2 cloves of garlic minced
salt & pepper to taste

In a saute pan, saute the mushrooms,onions & garlic until caramelized. Add the strips of roast beef & toss with the veggies. Cook for about 5-10 minutes. Lay a piece of cheese inside each pepper then evenly divide up the meat between them. Cover the meat with another piece of cheese. Bake in the oven at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sufficient Grace Ministries Auction

It's that time of year again that Sufficient Grace Ministries holds their online auction to help raise money so they can offer support to bereaved families. They provide support and many items (such as their comfort bears, tiny baby gowns, etc) to families who have lost a baby but they are only able to do this through donations and fundraisers.

I have been blessed to have received support from them over the last few years since Noah died. I want to make sure other families are aware of their services as well as help drum up financial support for this wonderful, faith-based organization which is why I am sharing about their auction with all of you!

The auction just started today, September 3rd and goes till midnight September 5th. There are almost 400 items up for bid! It's not too early to think about Christmas shopping and what better way to not only get a gift for that special someone (or yourself!) while at the same time helping Sufficient Grace Ministries raise money so they can in turn help other moms out like myself!

Here are just a few photos of things that are up for bid, but go spend some time checking out the auction now!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UberSmart Math Facts

I remember as a kid in school playing games with flash cards. It was a great way to help master whatever skill we were learning while having fun competing against our classmates. Fast forward to my childrens generation and many educational tools are computer based. What if I told you there is a program out there combining the simplicity of flash cards with the technology of computers? Well there is! UberSmart Math Facts is a downloadable program from UberSmart Software that we recently had the chance to review.

What is it?

UberSmart Math Facts is a downloadable program for Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista. It covers basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This program was founded by David Kocur, a homeschooling dad & computer engineer. He wanted a no-frills program to help his children learn to master their basic math facts and couldn't find anything to fit the bill.

How it works:

Once you purchase the program, you can download it onto multiple computers in your home for up to 8 children to use. You go in and assign a login name for each child as well as set custom parameters such as how many seconds they need to master the fact in, how long they have to beat the clock and the highest number you want them to practice in multiplication and division (if they are learning these facts). This section is password protected from your students.

There are 4 different ways to use this program:


In the learning section, you select between beginner & intermediate levels. The beginner level uses dots like on a domino with the number lightly showing behind the dots so an early beginner can associate counting how many dots there are to what the corresponding number looks like (they can choose to do this for addition or subtraction). It first shows you the problem for you to try to figure out then you click on "show" and it shows you the answer. This process works the same way for the intermediate level except they show the actual numbers on a flash card. In both levels, you can select which group of numbers you want to practice or you can choose to learn them all at the same time. You also have the ability to shuffle the order in how they are presented to you or learn them in order.

In the practice level, the student can again select from beginner or intermediate level. The beginner student can use the dot system to practice their addition or subtraction or they can choose to practice their proficiency on using the 10 number key pad to manually enter the number on the screen that they are given.

The intermediate level has the option to choose to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The other option intermediate student can choose is to do a focus practice session. Which brings me to the testing section.

In the testing section, you have the option to have a beginner take an assessment test before beginning this program to see what skills they know. This is not a timed test. The intermediate student can take a mastery test which is timed. In the practice section, the intermediate student has the ability to checkmark "focus" which means they can practice solely the math facts they need they haven't mastered yet.

In the compete section, the student selects their name, which level to compete at (elementary, middle school, high school or adult) then they select if they want to compete with addition & subtraction, multiplication and division or all 4. They can also choose if they want to see the time bar as they compete against the progress they are making. This is where setting the time they need to know the math fact comes into play. If they are starting to get better at mastering the fact,  you simply adjust the time to make it smaller for them to recall the fact.

There is also a report section for the parent to see what type of progress their child is making. You can see all sorts of things in this section such as their mastery progress, assessment, grade book (which even shows the dates) just to name a few. You can even print the reports if you wanted to.

How we used it:

I downloaded the program on to 2 of our laptops so the kids didn't have to wait as long to take turns using the program. For 2 of my children, I had them jump into practicing their multiplication facts and the other 2 I had work on division facts. While they all know these facts, their recall skills needed some help on. I wanted to see them be able to give the answer much quicker than they were. During the review, I had them practice about 4 times a week for about 15 minutes each. I had them go over the learn section several times just to refresh their memory then I had them jump into the practice section. I had them go through each number family by itself a few times then eventually I had the program give all the number families together.

Once they seemed to feel confident in their practicing skills and not getting many wrong, I had them move onto the compete stage where I gave them a generous amount of time to answer each problem. As their mastery score improved, I made the amount of time they had to answer the problems in start getting shorter. In the time my children used this program I saw improvement in their recall skills when asked a math fact.

Overall I think this is a great program to help students practice their basic math facts. I like that it's simple & straight forward for the student to use and I love how detailed it tracks their progress. Keep in mind because this is a software, if your child goes to access it on a different computer, their records won't go between different computers. I just made sure whichever computer my kids started out using this program on that they continued with the same one.

The target age is K-6 grade though anyone who is wanting to review math facts can benefit by using it. Because it's a software program, once you purchase it, it's yours forever! I plan to continue to have my older practice their facts and will use this for my younger ones once they reach the pre-K stage.

UberSmart Math Facts can be purchased for $24.95.

Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tips on Freezing Corn

It's that time of year that keeps me busy with canning and freezing. It takes a bit of time to do this but in the middle of winter, it tastes so good to eat food knowing it came from my garden or the farm stand!

Tips For Freezing Corn

Just this week we froze corn so I thought I'd share some of my tips & tricks to make the job a little easier. Many hands makes the job easier so the kids and I work as a team to get this done. They work on husking the corn outside while I prep the kitchen for blanching, cutting & bagging the corn.

They didn't want their photo taken since they were in PJ's (lol) but they are set up in the shade of the garage with garbage bags to husk right into and listening to a radio blasting some music!

For those who have never froze corn, once you husk the corn you will need to blanch it which is simply dropping the ears of corn into boiling water for about 3 minutes. From there, you want to put the corn into cold water to stop the cooking process. Then you cut off the corn and put it into freezer bags (I use quart size). That's it!!!

This is a photo of my set up. (click on it to enlarge) It looks confusing but I actually have a good system down so I can multitask. Another tip, because corn cobs are heavy, use the plastic grocery store bags to gather empty cobs rather than using a huge trash bag (the bag will be too heavy to lift otherwise).

Here's my tip for making it easier to cut the corn off:

If you own an angel food cake pan, this is just the center piece that I put in the bottom of my bowl. It holds the ear of corn in place making it quick to simultaneously cut & turn the ear of corn. It also holds it above all the corn.

My other handy tip is on cooling the corn. You can start off with cold water, even adding ice to it but after a few dozen ears of corn, the water heats up quickly. I drop ice packs in the water to keep it colder longer and just rotate them out with other ones I have in the freezer as they start thawing.

Just a photo of some of the bags of corn ready to go in the deep freezer.

And that's about it! It truly is easy to freeze corn! Do you freeze corn? Feel free to share in the comments if you have any tips!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Kids Songs

Our family is big into music! If you stopped by our house at any given time, most likely you will hear music playing on either our stereo downstairs, the iHome upstairs or see one of the children with headphones on listening to their iPods. I can easily recall lyrics from songs I heard as a child so I was excited to review a set of songs from Happy Kids Songs.

Happy Kids Songs

We were given 3 volumes to review, totaling 15 songs:
Friends & Sharing
Manners & Character
Happiness & Attitude

In addition to the songs, we were also given Happy Kids Songs Workbook.

What is it?

Happy Kids Songs is the brainchild of psychologist & well known singer/songwriter "Dr Mac" aka Don MacMannis (hint, he's written the songs for Jay Jay the Jet Plane on PBS). He understands how important these early years are in forming our children's character and the importance music has in their lives.

Happy Kids Songs has a total of 8 downloadable volumes each containing 5 songs pertaining to a certain theme in each album. The albums include:

  • Friends & Sharing
  • Social Skills & Bullying
  • Feelings & Fears
  • Practice & Success
  • Talking & Listening
  • Manners & Character
  • Happiness & Attitude
  • Respect & Responsibility

 Each theme addresses common issues our children face in their day to day life. The songs vary in the type of musical style and beat. They are sung by both adults and children and are quite honestly very catching in their tone, words and style. The songs are geared for children 3-8 but can easily be used for children younger & older than this age range.

How we used it:

The albums can be purchased & downloaded in their entirety or you can purchase each song individually. They were easy to download and once I downloaded them, I then burned them to a CD so we could listen to them anywhere. I also put them on our iPod as well. I played them while driving in the van as well as having the songs play as we went about our day. I have found that repetitively playing music has a way to ingrain itself in your mind which I think is the beauty of these albums. Before I knew it, my 3 year old was singing along and while she might not yet understand everything she is singing, it has presented an opportunity to teach her about what she is singing and the meaning behind the songs.

Not only are the songs a great tool in helping to instill character, you also have the option to download or purchase the physical workbook that accompanies all the albums. In the first part of the book, you are given the lyrics to each song (which comes in handy to make sure you are singing the correct lyrics!) as well as an activity page you can copy for your children to complete. While my 3 year old was a little young for some of these (like the crossword puzzles), I do plan to pull them back out when she is older to do. The back of the workbook contained ideas for activities to do to further enhance the learning of what each song teaches.

What we thought:

Overall, we enjoyed listening to these songs! We found them upbeat and catchy and had  no problem learning the lyrics after listening multiple times. While these songs are secular based, you could tie them into a Bible lesson which is what we did since ultimately our approach to learning is based on the Bible. You can stop by their website to listen to samples of each song.

Happy Kids Songs is $4.95 per album or $.99 per song download. The workbook can be downloaded for free to accompany your songs or purchased in its entirety for $12.95.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to Homeschool- Favorites, Traditions and a Giveaway!

When it comes to homeschooling, there are a few "must haves" in my opinion.

-Hey Mama Planner (this is my 1st year using this)

*This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchase made through these links supports our homeschool & family.

And obviously, your typical school supplies like I mentioned the other day. Really though, you can get by on so little to homeschool. The above are just personal preferences.

Now that you have your curriculum and your supplies, let's talk about "not back to school" traditions! Most homeschoolers are learning  year round and can hardly tell when school "officially" starts. I recently decided I wanted to kick off school (even if it wasn't our first official day) with some fun traditions.

I surprised my kiddos and got these containers (5 for $3.50 at walmart) and put their new school supplies in.

I had them sitting on the kitchen table so after they woke up, they would find them. Also inside the containers were some snacks & treats. And yes, even my 3 year old got her own container (though it was missing from this photo op).

I also made a huge breakfast for everyone; chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and a pot of coffee! Yes, my children love coffee as a special treat! I even made some gluten free pancakes from scratch for the kiddos eating gluten free!

In addition to their cool boxes, I had a special surprise. I gave them each a can of 7Up with a printed out reminder of 7 Up-Lifting ways they should start each school week. . . 

In fact, if YOU would like to do this with your children, I am including a FREE PRINTABLE that you can print off (it prints 2 4x6 size pics). This would even be great to laminate and hang somewhere visible as a great reminder to all of us on how to start each day!

What are some of your back-to-school traditions?

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Click on the above banner for the full list.

Check out even more ideas from:
Marcy @ Ben and Me
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Dusty @ To the Moon and Back
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining 
Gena @ I Choose Joy!

Don't forget to enter this AMAZING GIVEAWAY!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back to Homeschool- Curriculum and Giveaway!

This is our 10th year homeschooling and our curriculum choices have varied over the years. When I first started out, I just picked a few things that sounded good, not really knowing what all was out there. As I got to know my children's learning styles and also came to befriend other homeschooling families who shared what they used, my eyes were opened to even more curriculum choices!

Back to Homeschool -Curriculum

There is no perfect, one-size-fits all curriculum out there. What works for one child or family, might not work for someone else. The last few years I have been thankful to have been a part of Schoolhouse Review Crew, a curriculum review group, which has really opened the doors for us in trying curriculum I hadn't even heard of before. Because of this, I've found some new things for my kids to use. Curriculum comes in many varieties such as physical books & workbooks, online websites, DVD's or PDF files you can print out or fill in on the computer just to name a few. We use a variety of these in our homeschool.

This year our twin 9th graders are using the following:

             These are both things we recently reviewed and fell in love with.

Math: Math-U-See Algebra as well as CTC Math
             CTC was another review item that has really helped my kids in math.

Science- Apologia Physical Science
              This will be a co-op class. We love Apologia sciences!

              Another review item we absolutely love! Because of the ages of my kids, we all do this together this year which is a lot of fun. We also have the student workbooks, timeline & maps to complete along with the books.

Economics-  This is a class I found at (aff) Seriously, if you've never checked out this site, you should! They have so many amazing classes taught by teachers for all grade levels (and that's just scratching the surface!) You could use this site for your full curriculum for your WHOLE family if you wanted to. You can try it for free for 30 days if you sign up for the free welcome basket.

Spanish- We are using a combination of Rosetta Stone, Mango Languages & See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish.

Bible- At Home with God

My 8th grader will be using:

English- Lightning Literature and Composition and Analytical Grammar

Math- Math-U-See Pre-Algebra & CTC Math

Science- Apologia General Science
             A co-op class

History- America the Beautiful

Civics- A class from

             A review item from the founders of Math-U-See

Bible- At Home with God

My 6th grader will be using:

English- English Foundations
            A co-op class using the books Rules of the Game & Write Source.

Math- Teaching Textbooks 6

Science- Apologia's Swimming Creatures of the Sea

History- America the Beautiful

Spelling- Spelling-U-See

Bible- At Home with God

For my littlest ones (3 & 1 year olds), we are using a mix of:
Before 5 in a Row
Reading Eggs

And let's not forget Momma, I'm using my Homeschool Moms Bible. I love the daily devotions in it!!

We will also throw other subjects in there like Art using Artistic Pursuits Model and Middle School book 1. I also have some short unit studies and other fun, hands on activities that we mix in for something different to do (like Weather on the Move for example). We also use a variety of educational apps on the iPad for all the kids too!

What are some of your must-have or favorite curricula that your family loves and uses?

Don't forget to check out this FREE printable I am offering!

Have you entered this awesome giveaway yet???

a Rafflecopter giveaway Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Click on the above banner for the full list.

Check out even more ideas from:
Marcy @ Ben and Me
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Dusty @ To the Moon and Back
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining 
Gena @ I Choose Joy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Preparing for the New School Year and Giveaway!

Whether you are new to homeschooling or have been at it for several years, you will have to take time to plan for your upcoming school year. Usually as I am winding down our school year, I already have an idea of what I plan to do for the following year.

I start out making a list of subjects I want to cover with each child. (Your state may have guidelines as to what each grade needs to cover so that is a good place to start if you are unsure). Once I know what subjects we want to work on, I then list the specific curriculum I want to use for each subject. If I am unsure of what curriculum I want to use, I ask others homeschooling moms who have kids older than mine what they have used or would recommend. I also check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew for curriculum ideas.

Once I have figured out what curricula I want to use for all my children, I then start scouring the web for the best prices. Granted, some of the curriculum I already own and just pass it down from one child to another but other things (like consumable workbooks) I have to buy. It's a good idea to do this process earlier in the summer so you have time to look around for deals. I first reference an online curriculum store so I know what the books cost brand new as I obviously don't want to pay more for a used book than it would cost brand new. Then I typically check out Amazon's used books, ebay & Homeschool Classifieds to see what deals I can find. I admit it feels like Christmas morning as all the curriculum starts rolling in!

Once I have the curriculum in my hands, I take a look to see if there is already a schedule laid out for the year (my most favorite curriculums do this which in my opinion, saves me a TON of work!) If there isn't a schedule included, I try to figure out how much to cover each week to complete it all by the end of the year. Some homeschoolers plan out in detail their entire year but I don't. I plan in detail week by week that way it allows wiggle room when life happens and we need to make schedule adjustments.

In addition to preparing curriculum, I also get school supplies for each child. Usually by mid-summer, most stores have all their back-to-school products out. I highly recommend stocking up at this time because if you run out of something later in the school year, you end up paying a higher price for it. Some things we typically purchase each year are:
  • 1 subject notebooks (they usually average $.17-$.25 each so I get a big stack) 
  • glue sticks and some liquid glue
  • pencils
  • crayons/colored pencils
  • scissors (as some seem to go missing from our previous year)
  • staples
  • tape
What are some ways YOU prepare for your new school year?

Stop back tomorrow as I will share what curriculum we are using this year!

Don't forget to jump over and enter the GIVEAWAY worth over $1,300!!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Click on the above banner for the full list.
Check out even more ideas from:
Marcy @ Ben and Me
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Dusty @ To the Moon and Back
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining 
Gena @ I Choose Joy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

I am in denial. It can NOT possibly be August already.

Nope. I feel like I am still stuck back in June.

Ok ok, it's August and ironically our school year is well under way. *sigh* I love the feeling of a new school year but I hate to see summer slowly dwindling to it's demise. But let's not go there yet.

I am joining up with about 50 other homeschool bloggers for a special "Back to Homeschool Blog Hop" this week. I have no doubt you will find some amazing information and advice this week. If you can't tell, this is just a teaser post for what is to come from Treasuring Life's Blessings!!!

Stop back as I am gearing up to share how we prep for our school year, the curriculum we are using as well as our "must haves" for  homeschooling and our back-to-school traditions (with a free printable!)

And if that isn't exciting enough, you have GOT to check out this Awesome Giveaway I have going on RIGHT NOW!!!! *hint* $1,300 worth of prizes for 2 lucky people!!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Click on the above banner for the full list.
Check out even more ideas from:
Marcy @ Ben and Me
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Dusty @ To the Moon and Back
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining 
Gena @ I Choose Joy!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

"N" is for Nine Tips for Getting Vegetables into Your Children

My children love vegetables and eat pretty much anything though I know this isn't the case for all kids. So I thought I would share some ideas of how to get your child to eat their veggies & suggestions of ways to sneak them into foods if they aren't willing to eat them!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchase made through these links supports our homeschool & family.
  1. Dips- Kids LOVE to dip food and eat with their hands! Cut up different cold veggies, arrange them in a fun shape and serve it with ranch dressing or even hummus. Or cut up celery and let them dip it in peanut butter.

2. Let your child help prep the vegetables- Kids love to be involved and many times if they feel like they had a special part of helping mom or dad prepare a dish, they are more willing to try it. Even a young child can use a vegetable peeler or check out this cute chef kid fruit & veggie prep kit for their own kid size kitchen prep tools.

3. Get creative with how you serve your vegetables- No one likes overdone or mushy veggies. Try roasting your vegetable with some olive oil & garlic salt then top with some parmesan cheese (you can do this with almost any variety of veggies). What about grilling your veggies? Asparagus tossed with olive oil & garlic salt then grilled is A M A Z I N G! Even my picky-eating hubby loves that. Steamed green beans or carrots with a little bit of butter, honey (or brown sugar) and a smidge of cinnamon changes up the taste. Check out one of my highest pinned grilled veggie recipes.

4. Fake them out- Do they like chicken wings? How about making my Buffalo Style "Chicken". Guaranteed you'll fool them! Zucchini "french fries" are another favorite around here. Served with a marinara sauce for dipping and my kids can scarf a pan down in no time! Do they like pizza? Make a pizza crust from cauliflower and let them put their own toppings on.

5. Have your child grow their own vegetables- This goes along with letting your child help prep their veggies but taking it a step further, let them grow something. If you don't have a garden, you can grow many things in just a pot on your deck. They will get to watch in amazement how food goes from seed to plant to being able to eat! (it's also a great way for some hands-on learning).

6. Be a role model- Let's face it, if you avoid eating vegetables, how do you expect your child to eat them? Kids love to mimic their parents so show them how yummy veggies can be! Also in our house, we have a rule you have to try something at least once. Sometimes they surprise themselves and actually like what they first thought they wouldn't like. 

7. Make smoothies- I don't know what child doesn't enjoy a delicious smoothie! You can combine fruits, veggies and some greek yogurt for a full meal-in-a-cup! Kale & spinach work great in a smoothie. Yes it will be green but come up with a cool  superhero name for it and your child will be hooked!

8. Make your own spaghetti sauce- Seriously, you can cook down almost any vegetable with the tomatoes, puree it up, add your typical italian seasonings and BAM you have a delicious sauce chock full of vegetables! Granted, if your child doesn't like spaghetti, I guess you're out of luck (but what child out there doesn't like spaghetti?) In fact, if you REALLY want to be sneaky, make your own zucchini noodles using this awesome tool and top it with your homemade sauce! Just peel the skin off so your child doesn't see the green noodles. 

9. Hide veggies in dessert- Oh yeah, when all else fails, make dessert with vegetables then quietly snicker as they scarf it down! Zucchini muffins, butternut squash cupcakes or zucchini cobbler (<-- I even fooled my husband with THAT one!)

You can check out my list of recipes which many of them contain vegetables in different forms!

What is YOUR childs favorite way to eat vegetables?

Back to Homeschool GIVEAWAY!

Yes it is that time of year already! We have already started school and I'm sure many of you are gearing up to do the same. Starting on Monday, over 50 bloggers from the Schoolhouse Review Crew (including myself) will be holding a 5 day blog hop covering many aspects of homeschooling. 

To kick off this great blog hop, several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have joined forces during our August Back to Homeschool Blog Hop to bring you these incredible giveaways, totaling more than $1300 in homeschool curriculum and Paypal cash!       

Be sure to enter & spread the word. I would love to see one of my readers win one of these prizes! Good luck!!

homeschool curriculum giveaway
Grand Prize Giveaway

In the Grand Prize  Giveaway, someone will win $765 in curriculum, plus $150 in Paypal cash to help you finish up your homeschool shopping! You could win all of the following.
Please click on the prize links to learn more about each product.

 From Home School Adventure Co. -- Philosophy Adventure--Pre-Socratics and Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal (digital editions)
 From Diana Waring Presents -Experience History Through Music
 From Writing with Sharon Watson - The Power in Your Hands: Writing NonFiction in High School and Writing Fiction [in High School]
 From Homeschool Legacy -- Westward Ho I & Westward Ho II Once-a-Week Unit Studies
 From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine -- One-Year Membership to
 From Shining Dawn Books -- Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Bundle (Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Loving Living Math, Grammar Packets, and Creative Nature Walks)
 From Memoria Press -- Latina Christiana I Set
 From Excelerate Spanish -- Excelerate SPANISH DVD Lessons 1-6
 From WriteShop -- Winner's Choice of WriteShop Primary Book A, B, or C (Teacher's Guide + Activity Pack)
 rom New Millennium Girl Books -- Isabel Writing Bundle
From Write Bonnie Rose -- Asia: It's People and History
From Home School in the Woods -- Project Passport: The Middle Ages
From -- Lifetime Treasury Membership
From Victus Study Skills System -- Victus Study Skills Student Workbook & Teacher Edition Bundle
From the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers -- $150 Paypal Cash

2nd Prize Giveaway

In the 2nd Prize Giveaway, someone will win $325 in curriculum, plus $100 in Paypal cash to help you finish up your homeschool shopping! You could win all of the following.
 Please click on the prize links to learn more about each product.  

 From Home School Adventure Co. -- Philippians in 28 Weeks, The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Question, and The Wise Woman Print Set (digital editions) 
From Writing with Sharon Watson -- Jump In: a workbook for reluctant and eager writers 
From Home School in the Woods -- K-2 Lap-Pak: Knights 
From Write Bonnie Rose -- Printables Bundle (Writing Prompts About Space Bonus Pack; Revolutionary War Activities: Patriotic Copywork; Revolutionary War Activities for Kids: Puzzles, Games, and Quizzes; Praying Through the Produce Aisle; Summer Olympics and Paralympics Unit Study
From Excelerate Spanish -- Excelerate SPANISH DVD Lessons 1-6 
From Memoria Press -- Prima Latina Text Set 
From New Millennium Girl Books -- Callie's Contest of Courage Mid grade novel and Callie's Contest of Courage Literature Guide 
From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine -- One-Year Membership to 
From the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers -- $100 Paypal Cash

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. Residents of the U.S., ago 18 and older only. See more Terms and Conditions in the Rafflecopter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 1, 2014

"M" is for My Most Used Kitchen Items

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because I love to cook! There are certain kitchen items I use almost every day. Granted, some of these I've only purchased in the last few years as I've saved up for or found deals on. And of course, there are items I would still like to own someday.

*This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchase made through these links supports our homeschool & family.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite kitchen gadgets in no particular order as I love them all!

This is one of my more recent purchases. I've been wanting to make "zoodles" for quite some time and since I had a lot of zucchini coming in from my garden, this was the perfect time to try this baby out! I am hooked! Whether you are eating low carb or gluten free, making noodles from veggies is a great alternative to pasta. Watch for an upcoming post solely on my zoodles and some recipes to go with it!

I love my food processor! For the longest time I only had my mini one that I got for $4 from Walmart's black Friday sale (which I still use if I just need something small like 1 onion diced up). But my Cuisinart one can slice anything, grate anything (including cheese) and there is also a dough attachment which is wonderful for making pie crust. No more trying to blend the butter with the flour by hand! Using my food processor makes throwing together a salad super quick!

I drink lemon water almost daily and typically had hand squeezed my lemons. When I finally bought one of these, I realized how much juice I wasn't getting when I just squeezed the lemon by hand. Typically I just use half a lemon in whole big glass of water since I get plenty of juice using this juicer. It also works for juicing limes as well.

While this says it's a mixer, it does SO much more than that! This was one of the things I wanted for the longest time and finally invested in one a few years ago and I'll tell you what, it is well worth the price for not only all that it can do but the time it has saved me as well. It comes with a blade to mix with as well as a beater to say making icing with. It also has a dough hook which is great for mixing up dough (no more kneading by hand!). 

I also bought the attachment pack to go along with my Kitchen Aid. Again, this was well worth the investment! It has a food grinder which believe it or not I have used several times. I've gotten deals on pork roast in bulk that made it cheaper to grind it and make my own sausage. I have also taken leftover ham and ground it to make hamballs. It also has different slicer/grating attachments. Yes I know my food processor does also BUT with my Kitchen Aid, I can do massive amounts at one time. I make my own pickles to can and used to have to slice them by hand. With this attachment, I can fill quarts of sliced pickles in a mere few minutes! MAJOR time saver! I also use the grater attachment when I make my own sauerkraut. It grates a head of cabbage very fast. The third attachment is a fruit and vegetable strainer. I use this for making spaghetti sauce and applesauce. I use to have to use the old fashioned hand strainer which took f o r e v e r!! Now, I can quickly make large amounts of spaghetti sauce and applesauce in little to no time.

making applesauce

I love my bread machine (and while I don't have this exact one as I found mine at a yard sale used, this is pretty close and has the same settings as mine). Yes, I know I could use my dough hook on my Kitchen Aid to knead bread for me, then I would have to let it rise somewhere, then remember when to bake it, etc. With my bread machine, I dump all the ingredients in the machine and it takes care of kneading, rising and baking all with the push of a button. On a hot summer day, I don't have to use my oven to make bread. I also make our own dough for pizza and stromboli and I use my bread machine to knead & rise it. I also love the fact that I can program it. If I know we are going to be gone for the day, I throw the ingredients in in the morning, set the timer to have bread ready when we want to eat.

This is one item I've owned since the day I got married. Granted, I've gone through a few of them over the years but I can't live without my crockpot! I currently have 3 of them, 1 in our camper and 2 different size ones in my house. I love being able to toss things in it early in the morning and have supper already taken care of. Combine a crockpot meal with programming a loaf of bread in the bread machine and you have yourself a super easy dinner!! 

There is no better way to making big batches of pancakes, french toast, fritters, etc than on a griddle! In fact, when I am using this to cook for my family, I use 2 at a time now (I also have one in the camper). Like my crockpot, this is something I will always have on hand as we use it frequently.

This is one of the appliances that gets used pretty much every day. We use it to toast things as well as cook some casseroles in. Mine holds up to a 9x9 size baking dish in it though there are some out there that can accommodate a 9x13 size pan (which is what I will get next time). I like that I can bake in here without having to heat up my full size oven.

Obviously there are other kitchen gadgets I love and use often but these are just a few I wanted to share. What is YOUR favorite can't-live-without kitchen item??

My Previous #abcblogging posts:

Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved