arroz con gandules Wednesday, May 6 2009 

arrozgandulesIt’s easy – give it a try.

2 cups short grain rice (rinsed) – long grain will work too
4-5 cups of hot water – appx.
½ cup ready made sofrito
16 ounce can of gandules (cooked green pigeon peas)
2 tablespoons of alcaparrado (cappers and olives mixed together)
1 packet of Sazon with achiote
1 can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of oil
Salt & pepper to taste

In a medium size caldero add the oil, tomato sauce, alcaparrado, sofrito and sazon. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add all other ingredients, and enough water to cover the rice 1″ above the rice line. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt stir and keep adding and mixing well until you are satisfied with the taste. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until most of the water is absorbed. Once the water has been absorbed, stir gently from bottom to top – once or twice only, cover and turn the heat down to low.  Cook for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Stirring the rice after it has begun cooking may cause it go get sticky or “amogollao.”

Any rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot is called “pegao” and is crispy and tasty and a favorite of all true Puerto Ricans. However, not everyone is skilled is making pegao – it is an art. To make great pegao make sure to use plenty of oil. Cook for about 10 minutes longer so the pegao gets crispy and keep your eye on it. Each time you cook rice – check to see how long it takes to make pegao just the way your family likes it. Finally – if you want a lot of pegao – use a bigger caldero which, of course, will have a larger bottom surface.

HOW TO SET UP A HOMESCHOOL ROOM Friday, Apr 17 2009 

 

 

Homeschool Learning Room by ileanlopez9.

 

Using a separate room for major homeschooling tasks is the best practice, unless no separate room is available. The next best idea is to use a guest room or another room that is seldom used or gets little daily traffic. A homeschool room needs to be equipped before homeschooling begins.

Instructions

Step1

Set up a comfortable study space for each child who will be homeschooled. Put in desks for study and work time or a communal table with enough chairs for everyone.

Step2

Equip the room with educational posters that will teach children even as they pursue other subjects. Use charts and labeled diagrams to teach complex subjects easily. Consider using maps to decorate at least one wall of the homeschool room.

Step3

Set up as many bookcases as the space can hold without blocking entrances or windows. Use modular shelving units to use the space to its best advantage. Put educational chapter books, dictionaries and thesauruses as well as textbooks on the shelves.

Step4

Make a place for colorful art supplies, such as a corner with a chest of drawers to hold paints, paper and colored pencils. Keep glue, scissors and other art items organized and visible for your students.

Step5

Get at least one computer for the room, kept at a central location or on one of the desks. Keep computer paper handy for research and school assignments.

Step6

Keep items such as a small trash can, a pencil sharpener and tissues easily accessible.

FUN WAY TO TEACH ABC’S Friday, Apr 17 2009 

Tactile Learning 

Tactile learning has been proven to be quite effective when it comes to teaching your child the alphabet. Tactile learning involves the use of all senses in order to learn a particular lesson. One of the best methods of this involves purchasing a few supplies. These supplies include:

  • 3 Inch Foam Letters
  • A Pack of Large Wiggly Eyes
  • Various Textures, such as jewels, stones, etc…. 
  • Essential Oils that small like various types of fruit

Now, what you want to do is to make what I like to call “ABC Friends”. Simple take your foam lettering and glue some wiggly eyes on them to make them appear as people appear. Then, you can glue other textures on the letters. This will allow the child to “feel” the letter. Then, you can take some fruit smelling essential oil and place a dot of it on the foam letter. Considering it is a porous surface, the smell will remain intact. As you teach your child the ABC’s, use the “ABC Friends”. You should allow them to touch the letters, smell them, and play with them. The child will have a better time understanding the uniqueness of each letter when you teach them in this manner

Winter… Tuesday, Feb 10 2009 

 

Ahh the cold winter days… When schools are canceled, homeschool continues!   Today’s lesson is: what makes snow? What does snow feel like? and my favorite,Who can make the biggest snowman? lol

 

So you decided to homeschool, what now?!!!? Tuesday, Feb 10 2009 

b179888447.jpg studying image by aw3423

 

So, you’ve decided to homeschool your child. You feel liberated—the possibilities are endless. Then panic sets in. What do you do now?

The first thing that homeschooling parents should know is that homeschooling is legal, though the paperwork for every state varies, says Ian Slatter from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a religious-based nonprofit association. According to the HSLDA:

  • There are 10 states which require nothing in the way of paperwork: Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Alaska, and Idaho.
  • There are 15 states which require parents merely to let them know homeschooling is happening: Delaware, Washington D.C., Kentucky, Alabama, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Montana, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • There are 20 states which require parents to submit test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress: Maine, New Hampshire, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Lousiana, Tennessee, Iowa, MInnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.
  • There are 6 states with the highest level of red tape, where parents must provide test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials: Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and North Dakota.

Mary Griffith is a homeschooling parent and author of The Homeschooling Handbook and, most recently, Viral Learning: Reflections on a Homeschooling Life . She says the best way to get information about legalities is through your statewide homeschooling support group. Many of these groups put on conferences that feature workshops, lectures and other programs. Griffith says there will be many ideas about homeschooling presented, none of which are gospel, and parents should pick and choose what they want to take away. “ The real benefit of a conference is interaction with other homeschooling families that have done it for a while,” she says.

State and national support groups can hook you up to your local support groups. That’s important because one of the major potential pitfalls of homeschooling is isolation. Success rarely happens in a vacuum. Plus, support groups can be a great way to socialize your homeschooler through joint trips to museums, state parks, theaters, camp outs and other planned events. The National Home Education Network has a support group database on their web site at www.nhen.org/support/groups/browse.asp

Next, you should research what types of curriculum or methods you want to use, depending on how your child learns. Here are some typical homeschooling structures:

  • Traditional – Just as the name implies, students use a textbook, and have a set schedule and daily assignments. This method usually includes a packaged curriculum. Homeschooling experts warn parents to be wary of buying expensive packaged curriculum before knowing the traditional method is right for their child. A cheap way to score great curriculum, according to Dunaway, is to get used textbooks from public school curriculum libraries.
  • Classical – This method follows the premise that there are certain skills and facts that kids should know, such as the great works of Western literature.
  • Unschooling – This method allows kids to learn by exploring the world around them. Dunaway developed what she calls a “curriculum of care” for her children: they spent an entire year doing service projects, which delved into many subjects. “When packing bags [at a shelter] you divide out how many blankets you can give. It’s a way of thinking about what we’re learning,” she says.
  • Unit studies – Here, learning in all subjects is based around a theme.

Don’t worry about finding the perfect fit. Parents should feel free to mix and match methods, according to Dunaway.

Easy Cheesy Chili… Saturday, Jan 31 2009 

Nothing beats a nice hot bowl of chili on a cold winter day! Being a homeschool mom of 3 hyper little kids, sometimes I can’t find the time to stay in the kitchen to long to cook. So here is a quick and easy recipe for chili that even your picky eaters will enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef

1 packet of McCormick mild chili seasoning (.99 cents)

1 can of petite diced tomatoes

1 can of chili diced tomatoes

1 can of chili beans

1 can of pinto beans

dash of garlic, Italian seasoning and chili powder

handful of shredded cheddar cheese

To make: ( here comes the super-duper easy part!)

In a large pot, ground beef till nice and brown. Add chili packet,beans, tomatoes, and seasonings… and stir!!! Cook for 20 min. on low-med. heat.  Serve nice and hot!

For an additional touch that we do at home:

Pour Chili in bowl and top with sour cream, shredded cheese and chives!  YUMMY!

My husband likes to put a kaiser roll in the bottom of his bowl and add the chili and toppings on top. This is a nice hearty meal for him.

Hope you like it! It’s fast and easy!

The Chronicles of a Homeschool Mom: Day at our House Tuesday, Jan 27 2009 

7:30 am : I, the Queen of the House, am still in bed. By now I should be up and showered, but potty training at night takes a toll on me.My Oldest comes into the room pointy out that her stomach is growling. I finially get out of bed and start breakfast. Showering will have to come later…

8:00am: My 3 children  are told to clean up their room while I try making my bed with no interruptions.You can faintly hear in the backround, the youngest two arguing of who folds their blankets better.

8:30am: The ususal hard-boiled eggs, toast cereal and bananas are put on the table in various stages. My oldest announces her plans to start school right away this morning and  to start early every morning this week so she is finished by 9:00. I explain my plans for the week,that my schedule calls for my quarterly(yes, 4 times every year) dusting and monthly cleaning of the downstairs bathroom  and that perhaps we could all grab rags later today to blitz dust all together. EG wants to dust now, but I am still eating so she comes to do penmanship numbers at the table.NG and LG start looking through their flashcards on the couch with warm blankets wrapped around them. Its 18 degrees today.

EG finishes her numbers and I do her addition flashcards in between bites. I glance over to the living room and see the two youngest now throwing flashcards all over the place. I quickly run over to retrieve the flash cards and set the children up at the computer station.Now they are quiet and seem to be doing just fine on their own…. for now!

9:00am: It’s only 9 and EG has finished her basics.NG begins his ABEKA workbook. LG becomes loudly disappointed that she cannot use her sister’s boom box and is sent to her room.

9:30am:Yesterday I took some Map Skill pages and put them into plastic page protectors, so work can be done on them with wipe-off markers. I did this to prepare for next year when all three would be doing them  and I wouldn’t have to deal with loose pages flying everywhere.On my way to shower I drop off the three-ring binder on MapSkills onto the couch and tell EG, ” Pick a page, any page.” EG likes this plastic page method, but I see she is less than enthused that i am this organized with math drill.

10:00am : I check back on EG’s Mapskill page and put it back on the “school counter” in the dining room.LG asks to look at one of her baby photo albums.

10:30am: LG , NG and I finish the last of their reading excerises in “TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS.” EG announces from the bathroom that she has something to show me. I can tell from her voice it is not a good”show me.” She has pulled out her tooth and is bleeding pretty badly. I clean her up with a little salt water.

11:00am: I read EG a couple of chapters of  Twenty Balloons and take call from a friend, arranging for an afternoon play date. Now there is a real fire lit to get things done!We finish history while the younger children look at more photo albums and then they pick up the living room.I send them to their room while EG and I do Dolch Word List. I start to notice EG has a runny nose and is starting to look alittle down.I give her a drink of water, encouraging her to drink throughout the day.

12:oopm: I do the breakfast dishes(yes, I know it’s noon but I can’t stand looking at the things) and sweep the livingroom floor. I call my friend back and let her know that EG is feeling alittle droopy  and to leave the playday for another day.

12:30pm: I go downstairs and sing the praises of having younger children who know how to pick up.I begin to vacuum my rug and couches , and realize that lunch will wait as this was much nastier mess than I thought. I ask EG to go to the kitchen and make sandwiches for us.

1:30pm: EG only feels like eating a banana and is back on the couch reading.I make NG another sandwich and he and I eat as I read a book.

2:30pm: EG reports that LG’s face has a great deal of  make-up on it. After I go and check on this  and give the lecture about staying out of Mommy’s things, I play “Tickle Monster” on the bed with LG and NG. I then lie down to rest as I will be staying up tonight with my husband for “us” time. EG continues to read and the younger two draw at the dining table, counting the minutes until they are allowed(Shock, Gasp) to watch TV at 3:00pm.

4:00pm: I go through the mail, take up the trash, and check on the dog.I noticed the TV schedule has changed and the children are watching something they shouldn’t be watching. I direct them to a choice on the VHS wall. I’m a bit worn, so I decide to work on my reading list for EG as she enters the 3rd grade next year of bigger and better books to tackle.

5:00pm: TV over. NG says his tummy is growling. I send him to the refigerator to get out the pots and discover, horror of horrors, there are  not enough leftovers to feed the whole family.I find more leftovers and save the day. EG still lies on the couch reading in a droopy manner. She only feels like eating something small, so I microwave  a potato for her and run out to get the package at my door that the UPS dropped off. By the time  I sit down to eat, NG and LG are playing with the water in the bathroom.

6:00pm: Hubby comes home cold and tired. He tells me aboout his day, and then sits down with his meal and a magazine while I read my book and eat. I do the dishes and clean the counters.My hubby gets ready to bundle up the children in their PJ’s and get them ready for bed.

6:45pm.: Hubby has already as we say,”read to, brushed, and flushed.” Kids are now  tucked into their beds.

7:00pm:  Hubby goes upstairs to his computer for alittle down time. I finish any last touches around the house.

8:00pm: Call my hubby downstairs to watch a movie rented at our local REDBOX.

10:00pm: I hit the hay. I didn’t get everything done I wanted to do, but tomorrow….is tomorrow. And then, pretty soon, vaction! Then summer! Time to do the projects I’ve put off all school year. Time to recharge. GOODNIGHT!!!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf…Mini gift! Sunday, Jan 25 2009 

Here I made a Chocolate Chip Pumpkin loaf

Foiled it up….

Gift wrapped it….

and then for the finishing touch…a pretty ribbon with a cute little homemade gift tag!

 

    for the recipe…

 
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips or raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with waxed or parchment paper (or grease and flour it), then set it aside. Heat the oven to 350°.

2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter in a large bowl, gradually adding the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin.

3. In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

4. With a wooden spoon, blend a third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then add half the milk. Alternate additions of the remaining flour mixture and the milk, blending well after each addition. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center oven rack until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean (except for a little melted chocolate), about 50 to 60 minutes.

6. Remove the pan from the oven and put it on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and place it on the rack to finish cooling. Makes 10 servings

 

…………………………………………..~♥~………………………………………..

I wanted to come up with a homemade gift for some members at my church for helping me when I injured my wrist.  What a great way to do so is by making something YUMMY!  I bought mini aluminum foil bread pans and baked each bread for an hour. After removing it from the oven and letting it cool, I removed it from the foiled pan and wrapped it up in aluminum foil. Then bought some pretty gift wrapping paper and ribbon and PRESTO… a beautiful homemade gift from the heart. Topped it off with printable gift tags on stock paper.

Nothing is better than a homemade gift….especially homemade treats!

Simple Snack Ideas Friday, Jan 16 2009 

antsonalog2.jpg ants on a log 2 image by bour3

…………………………………………………~♥~………………………………………………

 

 

For those busy days or days where you find yourself thinking of creative ways to get your kids to eat something….

Ants on a Log:  Take clean celery sticks and cut them into 5 or 6 inch lengths. Spread peanut butter down the center of them, and then lay raisins on top of the peanut butter. This is a favorite of my kids.

Snow on the Chimney:  Similar to the one above, except you use cream cheese instead. Grown-ups tend to like this one better than the kids.

Popcorn: Popcorn, popped on the stove, or in a pop-corn popper is one of the greatest inventions ever. I use 1/4 cup (half a stick) of margarine to coat every large bowlful of popcorn. 

Boiled Eggs: or Deviled Eggs, both make great snacks. Whenever I boil eggs, I do at least a whole dozen to make sure there are enough to fill up all the empty spaces growing children seem to have.

Vegetable Sticks: Celery and Carrot sticks most often, but Broccoli, radishes, turnip slices, green pepper and summer squash also show up regularly.

Fruit: Fresh fruit like apples, oranges, bananas and all others in season make super snacks. Dried fruits are also good, raisins, apricots, banana chips etc. Canned fruit, especially pear halves, peach halves and pineapple slices all have good kid appeal.

Crackers and Cheese: Cut cheese into small squares and serve them on a plate with a sleeve of saltines. The kids like to arrange little sandwiches out of them. Baloney, cut into small triangles is nice to add too.
 
Crackers and Peanut butter: Saltines with peanut butter are delicious. You can top them with raisins, banana slices, or substitute cream cheese for the peanut butter Jelly is also good with peanut butter, or cream cheese, or by itself.

Tortilla chips with cheese: Place a big pile of tortilla chips onto a large plate. Sprinkle them liberally with cheese and microwave until the cheese is melted. This can be done in the oven too, on a pizza pan, or cake tin. Serve with salsa if desired.

Kid Kabobs: Kids really love these, but some grownups like ’em too. You need toothpicks, cheese cubes, pineapple or banana chunks, and meat chunks. I have used cubed spam, ham chunks, and hot dog slices successfully. Other things could be used too, just look in the fridge and use your imagination. Be sure to let the kids thread their own kabobs. This is the snack’s main attraction.

Easiest meatloaf recipe for a busy day! Friday, Jan 16 2009 

 

meatloaf.jpg meatloaf image by jasminesonthebayou

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 slices bread, torn into small bits
  • 2 medium eggs 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Get a large bowl out from the cupboard. Put the hamburger, bread, eggs, onion, tomato sauce, salt and pepper into the bowl. Use your hands to mix and mash everything together. Continue until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Take your time, and do it well. Press this mixture into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, or another 2-quart size pan (like a casserole). Pack it tightly, by pounding on the surface a little with your hands, and smoothing it down so it’s pretty on top. Bake at 350 ° for at least an hour. If the hamburger was cold from the fridge, cook it for 1-1/2 hours. Remove the meatloaf from the oven. Let it rest for a few minutes to firm up. Drain off the fat if desired. Serves 8 substantially.

 

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