Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sounds and Hearing Lesson Plans (Trey)

I realized not long ago, that I've not been posting on Trey's progress. This is in part because I just can't find but a few extra minutes in my day to blog, and that's usually spent posting about Lindsay's Tot School progress. I know that I said I wasn't going to post Trey's lesson plans because he is doing a pre-packaged curriculum, but I've recently decided that I really would like to keep an online record of everything we're doing just in case we ever need it. So I will do my best to post our weekly lesson plans / activities.

I will begin using a system called "Workboxes," as soon as I gather all of our necessary supplies. (I have everything except velcro...of all things!) I don't want to mention too much about them yet, because I'm not sure if I'll hate them or not. It seems to be working beautifully for everyone else that is using them, so I'm really hoping they'll help Trey stay on task and more focused on his work. He seems to have a bit of Spring Fever and it's sooo hard trying to get him to sit down and do his work! So I can't wait to get started on this new system. Stay tuned for further review!! :)

Science: Sound / Hearing

Discuss How Sounds Are Made, What You Hear, What is Sound, and The Study of Sound. Discuss sound and the important historic figures that helped contribute to the study of sound; discuss frequency, pitch, and noise.

Activities: Make a drum and guitar to illustrate that sound is caused by vibrations. Go on a Listening Walk and chart the sounds that we heard and whether they were caused by people, animals or things. Play Marco Polo and fill water glasses with different levels of water to show that sounds are different and how they can change. Listen to sounds made through a hollow tube (paper towel roll), and one stuffed with paper towels to demonstrate quality of sound changes according to different factors. Stretch out a slinky between 2 partners - gather large section of coils and let go to demonstrate how sound waves move.

Discuss How Sounds Are Different, How Sounds Travel, How Sound is Used By Scientists, and How God Helps Us With Sound. Sound can be used to help find oil and minerals. Discuss Sonar, and Ultrasounds. Discuss God's love for us and that he gave us 2 ears so that we may hear all the wonderful sounds around us.

Activities: Go out to the boat and discuss how sonar can be used to find fish. I also showed him a copy of my ultrasound pictures from when he was a baby.

Discuss How Sounds Are Heard, How Do You Hear?, How is Hearing Helped?, and How Do You Make Sounds? Discuss the three parts of the ear: the inner, middle and outer ear. Talk about hearing aids and how they help some people. Talk about how we make sounds using our larynx and vocal chords.

Activities: Make a model ear using a large bowl, plastic wrap, uncooked rice, and a tin pie pan. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl. Make sure it's stretched tightly. Place about 20 - 30 grains of rice on top of the plastic wrap. Hold the pie plate (or other noisemaker) close to the plastic wrap. Hit the pie plate hard to create a loud noise. Note that the loud noise that we made produced sound waves. The sound waves caused the plastic wrap to vibrate. When the plastic wrap vibrated, the rice grains jumped. Sound waves cause your eardrum to vibrate in much the same way.

Reading: Helen Keller - Toward the Light

Math: Continue working on fractions, equivalent fractions; Roman Numerals: I, V, X, L, C, D, M and combinations of each; adding money; graphing; angles; temperature; 4 digit addition and subtraction.

Language Arts: Homographs - tear, read, live.

Spelling: ie / ei

believe seize piece die
ceiling receive eight sleigh
thief fries eighty weigh
neither pie eighteen field
either lie tie chief

Chart each word by the long vowel sound that it makes (A, E, I). Discuss that the long /a/ sound is made when the gh is added behind an ei.

Poetry: Haiku - Japanese poems that don't always rhyme. They have 3 lines with 5 beats in the first line, 7 beats in the second, and 5 in the third (17 beats total). At least one word in the poem must refer to a season of the year.

Trey's Haiku sample: (I gave him an extra-large bank of words from which he should pick)

Sprinkle, splashing, splat!
Boots are dripping, and drops drumming.
Springtime begins. Splash!

I thought this was AMAZING!!!

We're starting a collection of our favorite poems - and he will start including these on his personal blog.

Mini-Lesson on Japanese culture / customs (I even taught him what few Japanese words I remembered from my foreign language requirement in HS!!)

Science/Reading tie-in: Discuss how Helen Keller was an amazing poet. Read Autumn by Helen Keller and talk about the wonderful descriptive language used in this poem. ALSO: discuss how Helen Keller actually dedicated that poem to her good friend, Thomas Edison (one of the historic figures mentioned above)!

History: continue work on Texas/Texarkana Lapbook

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Preschool Curriculum for Lindsay!

One thing I’m excited about is that I bought an ebook from Mary Robinson at www.preschoolplanner.com. I know – I cheated!! The truth is, I just don’t know how mothers of 2 or more children find enough time in their days to sit down and think of creative and fun things for their preschoolers to do while they are also homeschooling the other children, not to mention all the household obligations!! I also still have another child in public school, and I find myself having to work around that schedule too.

I used to be a Pre-K teacher in Little Rock years ago, and since I’m a visual person who needs to be extremely organized in order to function, I found myself spending hours (that I didn’t have) just PLANNING on what Lindsay and I would be working on for Tot School. I already knew what she should be learning and at what approximate age, but I was really struggling with ideas of how to teach those skills in a fresh/creative way. (It's been about 10 years since I had my Preschool Teacher hat on). I know a lot of this has to do with my recent blog reading. While they are EXTREMELY helpful and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, sometimes it can be a little humbling!! I started to compare myself to other, more creative moms and, although I know I shouldn’t do that, I began to experience some frustration with myself.

So this ebook has definitely been worth it for me. It was relatively inexpensive, and it includes everything you need to teach a preschooler for a year…even snack and circle time instructions. It does NOT, however, include the actual worksheets, etc. that some of the ideas suggest. You would need to gather those on your own. But now I can just spend a few extra minutes on Saturday afternoon (when I’m working on Trey’s Lesson Plans), and gather all the worksheets (if any) needed for Lindsay. The Planner gives a daily list of instructions for Circle Time activities, Arts and Crafts, etc., as well as a Materials List of items you should gather to complete the different activities...down to the snacks! Of course, I already have a snack planned for the kids on our 5 Week Menu Planner, but I'm thinking of working those into the plan. I'll have to see how that goes, though!

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I always TWEAK things to suit my own needs. Many of the ideas listed for our Tot Reports will be my original ideas. Some will be adapted from Mary’s Preschool Planner. In any case, out of respect her, I will not go into major detail in future posts about her ideas – I know everyone will understand! I will tell you that if you buy the ebook, you will also receive emails from her periodically with new ideas to add to your collection. And since Lindsay won’t start Kindergarten until she is almost 6 (IF she starts public school – we still haven’t decided), I am 100% happy with my investment because I’ll be able to use these ideas for quite a while!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask, but please be mindful that I will not share details on her ideas…I just don’t think its right. The ebook is worth the fairly listed purchase price. Please visit Mary’s website above, or her blog: Preschool Planner 101.

Tot School - March 23-27, 2009

Tot School

If you read my post, New Preschool Curriculum for Lindsay, you already know that I bought a new Preschool Curriculum for Lindsay. I bought it from Mary Robinson at http://www.preschoolplanner.com/. So far I really like it. Some of the ideas listed below are my own, some are Mary’s. As I previously posted, I do not feel comfortable sharing the details of her ideas – even if I’ve tweaked them a little. So if you have questions, please refer to Mary’s website or her blog at Preschool Planner 101. I like it because it focuses on weekly themes, which works for us. And since I bought the ebook, I receive periodic emails from her with even more ideas. I just recently found her blog, and noted there were a lot of free items, so you might want to check that out first.

My teenage step-daughter, Tracy was on Spring Break this week and she came down on Tuedsay to spend the week with us. So we didn’t get a whole lot done because we like to spend as much time with her as we can because we just don't get to see her as much as we'd like. She's a busy, busy teenager living with her mom about 200 miles away. :( So, I'm sure you'll understand why Tot School was a little sparse this week. But here’s a little bit of what we did earlier in the week and this weekend.

Theme: Teddy Bears

We didn’t focus on a particular letter, shape, or color this past week. Lindsay has already mastered all of her shapes and colors, and I wanted to focus more on the alphabet as a whole as opposed to one specific letter this week.

Book Focus: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

We did a Teddy Bear Show and Tell. Lindsay brought several of her favorite bears to “Floor Time.” We charted them and afterwards arranged the bears on the floor according to size. As an afterthought, I also tried to show her how to arrange them in alphabetical order by their names. I didn't think ahead or I would have charted them in alphabetical order to help her visually, but there's always next time I guess! I knew that skill was going to be difficult for her – she’s 3 and doesn’t have the entire alphabet down yet. She still skips the letter N and still can recognize a few of them when I present them out of order.
We also did a Teddy Bear Parade…we walked all over the house and let the bears wave to the parade-goers (the non-teddy-bear-stuffed-animals, dolls). She wanted to throw candy, but mommy had to veto that one!

We took to the internet and researched different types of bears and where they live in the world. I found this website very helpful. http://kids.poisson.org.uk/bears/types.htm. It listed the 8 different types of bears, photos of them in their environments, and a map of where they live. We talked about what different bears eat, and noted how some bears like cold weather and other bears like hot weather. I asked her to tell me what kind of weather each one of her stuffed bears liked. I was glad to see that she had a very diverse group of bears!

Addison helped Lindsay with a Puppet Show of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks is a brunette in our house…lol. I was blown away with the thought and imagination that they put into this puppet show. They’re selling tickets for the “afternoon matinee” later on today. I wonder if they’ll give me a discount!

Pay no attention to the little grimey fingerprints on the TV behind them!

I ALWAYS forget those during clean-up!!

Music: We learned a new song called Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear by Jack Hartmann (this is in Mary's Ebook - I know this isn't a top secret song, because I used to do this with my preschoolers years ago, so I'm sharing it). I think it can be adapted to fit almost any theme. :)

Teddy bear, teddy bear - turn around,
Teddy bear, teddy bear - touch the ground
Teddy bear, teddy bear - shake your hips,
Teddy bear, teddy bear - blow a kiss

Teddy bear, teddy bear - jump up high,
Teddy bear, teddy bear - see me smile
Teddy bear, teddy bear - give a hug,
Teddy bear, teddy bear - lots of love

Oh la, la, la, la, la love my teddy bear

This has nothing to do with Tot School, but I also took the kids outside yesterday morning (it was freezing) to get some pictures of them all together! Here are a couple of my favorites!

Tracy and Lindsay at a little park in Downtown Texarkana, AR.

All four of my kiddos!!

Lindsay, Tracy, Trey and Addison

For more Tot Reports from other moms, visit Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring/Summer T-Shirts 2009

Well, they're done!! I've got the kids' Spring T-Shirts done, and I couldn't be happier. I had originally planned to do a thumbprint tree that I had seen on on the Crafty Crow, and just do it on a t-shirt instead of craft paper. :) BUT, Trey objected and said he was too old to wear such a shirt. So I went to Hobby Lobby and came up with this. They're just iron-ons, but I think they turned out really cute.

While I was at Hobby Lobby, I found their flip-flops were on sale, so I got the younger girls each a pair in sunshine yellow, and we decorated those. I don't have any pictures of those, though, because the girls took off with them as soon as they got them done. :)

They'll wear these shirts at my Mom's on Easter. We always do an afternoon Easter Egg Hunt (doesn't everybody??), and I thought these would be cute for them to change into after church!! I didn't want anything too "Easter-y" because I like them to be able to wear them for the entire Spring/Summer season.

Lindsay's Bumblebee Shirt

Addie's Butterfly Shirt

Trey had a great idea: He thought it was "too girly" to have his image in the center, so we offset it similar to the IZOD/Polo-style shirts. If I had thought ahead, I would have tried to find him a shirt with a pocket on it!

Sweet Dream Spray

Having trouble getting the little ones to nap?? I just remembered this as I was reading through some of my preschool things, and thought I would share it here.

This is a sneaky little idea I came up with when I was teaching Pre-K in Little Rock (years ago). I've recently started having trouble getting Lindsay to nap. So I thought if it worked with a room FULL of 3 and 4 year old boys and girls, then it should definitely work with just ONE little girl! I was right...I put her on a pallet in the floor, and turned on a box fan nearby. It's really just water in a spray bottle scented with essential oil...but something about the name makes Lindsay run for her favorite naptime spot and get ready for some sweet dreams! I spray one squirt of this spray in the air (about 3 feet above her head) so that it floats down gently and lightly "kisses" her face. It's not enough to get her wet, just enough for her to notice the light, sweet scent and conclude that "it's working!"

Now, of course, this spray does absolutely nothing to merit it's name, but it does help her have a more positive attitude about naptime (and also bedtime). She knows that she can't get the spray until she's laying down and ready to nap - that means her potty break is over, she's not thirsty, and she's ready to be quiet. Here's how to make it:

Get a clean plastic spray bottle (you can get these at Wal-Mart in the Health and Beauty section for about $1.) Fill it with clean water and a couple of drops of the essential oil of your choice. I use Lavender oil now, but when I worked at the Preschool I just used a teaspoon of Vanilla Extract. In the spring and summer, I will sometimes use Lemon Extract. In the winter, I might use Peppermint Extract or Oil. Just something to make it smell nice. As always, don't forget to clearly label all fluids in spray bottles!! We don't want little ones going for the household cleaners thinking it's their Sweet Dream Spray!!

As noted above, just one spray about 3-4 feet above her head so she can feel the spray and smell the scent of the oil.

Lindsay loves the smell of the mist as it hits her face, and doesn't put up near as much fuss anymore when I tell her it's naptime!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tot School - Spring Break!!

Tot School

Last week, Tot School was fairly non-existent due to our Spring Break. Since Addison still attends public school, we follow her schedule to make it easier on everyone. Trey and Lindsay enjoy being off when Addison is off, and honestly...so do I. So you'll notice there's no theme, letter of the week, etc.
She did have some free dress-up time, which she normally doesn't have access to unless it's for dramatic play during Tot-School time. (I started having to keep the dress up materials put up when she started trying to go overboard with the glam...she spilled a good amount of red fingernail polish in my bedroom floor - did I mention I have white carpet? She's sooo sneaky!!) So she decided she wanted to be a Barbie Superhero...note the Barbie doll in the hand-fashioned "holster" on her back. Yes, those are panties on her head...I swear I don't know where she comes up with this stuff!!

While we were on Spring Break, Gary had to go to the Best Buy in Shreveport, LA to manage their store while their managers were all out of town at some event. SO...he was gone from Tuesday until Saturday. The kids were really missing their daddy, so we drove down to visit on Thursday morning. It's only an hour and a half from our house, so it was a very do-able trip. The kids had a great time spending the night with Dad in his hotel, and Gary was glad that he got to have some company.

Since he was working the closing shift, we got to spend the morning with him and most of the afternoon. Then he went to work and we went to play!! We went to the Boardwalk down on the river, where there are lots and lots of shops. The city has completely revitalized the downtown area and it is so kid-friendly down there during the daytime hours! The streets have been permanently blocked off, and the only transportation is a trolley system that runs the length of the boardwalk. There is a carosel, lots of restaurants, and tons of shops! Think of walking around your favorite downtown area - with a scenic view of the river, and NO TRAFFIC!! It was awesome!

I took the kids to the Build-a-Bear Workshop, where they each got new outfits for their existing bears. Lindsay also had a bear already, but Addie had picked it out for her on a previous trip, so it was Lindsay's first experience at Build-a-Bear and I just couldn't tell her no when she asked for the pink monkey with hearts on it's hands, feet, and tummy.

We had a bit of trouble with temper tantrums in the workshop, so I decided that a learning opportunity existed there and we did a mini-lesson on feelings when we got home. Here she is showing her happy face, and her angry face (too funny!!) It was all I could do not to laugh at that one!!

So that was our week off from Tot School...if you're interested in what other (non-slacker) moms did for Tot School this week, visit Carisa's blog: 1+1+1=1.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tot School - March 9 - 13, 2009

Tot School

I know I haven't posted about Tot School in a couple of weeks. We've all been sick for the past few weeks. We also took a trip to the ER with Lindsay for some super-glue action on a cut above her eyebrow. So we took a couple of weeks off from formal Tot School. We did do a few things here and there, but I didn't take pictures because it was difficult for me to even get off the couch. We were all coughing, had fever, and lots of head and chest congestion. We still have the cough, but at least we're feeling better!!

This week's theme was St. Patrick's Day...we're on Spring Break next week, so we went ahead and covered St. Pat's Day this week.

Letter: P

Color: Green

Shape: Clover

Book Club Story: Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute


We made handprint rainbows by tracing Lindsay's hands and cutting them out in the colors of the rainbow. We glued the handprints together in an arched shape and put the rainbow next to a pot of gold that we drew out.

Cognitive Skills:

3 Leaf / 4 Leaf Game

I gave Lindsay a worksheet that I made with several 3 leaf and 4 leaf clovers on it. I asked her to count the number of 3 leaf clovers and the number of 4 leaf clovers. Then we counted how many we had all together.

This really didn't have a lot to do with St. Patrick's Day, but I got out the Connect 4 Game and we made AB patterns using the game pieces. We noted how the patterns formed both horizontally and vertically.

Floor Time

We talked about where the idea of St. Patrick's Day and luck orginated from. We also talked about what St. Patrick did that made him so historical, how we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and what country St. Patrick's Day is associated with.

Dramatic Play

We made a "Leprechaun Village" consisting of sheets, blankets, chairs, etc. We dressed in green and pretended to be leprechauns. We talked in Irish accents and talked about the problems with being tiny and green. We also played a little game of "Find the Pot O' Gold!" I hid a box of crumpled up yellow paper, and she was supposed to hunt for it. As you can see by the look on her face, she was NOT impressed with her treasure.

For other Tot Reports from other moms, visit Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1. She's got lots of great ideas for moms of tots, and another new blog as well called Totally Tots, which is truly a blessing for moms of little ones!! Check it out!!! Have a great week!

5 Week Menu Plan

Confession: This is not an original idea...I got this idea from Lisa at Lisa's Homeschool Circus. She is a Super Mom who has come up with an idea to drastically reduce our grocery bills. It has worked for us so far...our grocery bill has been cut by at least $100 a week. I had a couple of requests for our version of the plan, so I decided to share it here. I've added an afternoon snack to our days because my children would chew their own arms off if they didn't have one. Please comment and let us know how it works...I'll pass it along to Lisa as well!

The way this is done is you make out a separate shopping list for each week. You put EVERYTHING you could possibly need for every meal (including things you may already have like salt, pepper, pancake syrup, etc.) I keep a master copy on my kitchen computer and one in the Menu File that I keep in my kitchen. Then before you go shopping, you go through your pantry and cross off everything that you already have. What's left on the list is ALL you need to buy (for the exception of your standard household necessities). This keeps you from buying extra stuff that you won't use. And since you're making out your menus for 5 weeks out, you can keep like ingredients in mind when you're planning your meals. For instance, I have pancakes every week. So I buy the big box of Bisquick one week and then I don't have to keep buying it each week.

I have plans to also upload my Shopping Lists as well...we'll see how that goes!! :)

It goes Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Dinner, Dessert.

Week 1

Smoothies, Cereal Bars, Pulled Pork Sandwiches/Chips, Fruit Salad, Roast Chicken/Rice/Broccoli, Ice Cream Sundaes

Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Cheese and Crackers, Potato Soup with Yeast Rolls, Banana, Tacos/Salad/Chips/Salsa, Sugar Free Fudge Pops

Cinnamon Rolls, Cereal Bars, Quesadillas/Carrot Sticks, Apples & Peanut Butter, Pizza/Salad, Lemon Poke Cake

Granola Bars, Graham Crackers and Pudding, Ham Roll-Ups/Chips, Fruit Salad, Italian Chicken/Salad, Sugar Free Fudge Pops

Cereal, Trail Mix, Chicken Noodle Soup/Crackers, Banana Pops, Taco Soup/Corn Chips, Cake

Muffins, Cereal Bars, Chicken Nuggets/Chips, Fruit Salad, Fried Pork Chops/Mashed Potatoes, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Eggs/Biscuits/Bacon or Sausage, Trail Mix, Leftovers or Sandwiches, Jell-O, Hamburgers/French Fries, Sugar Free Fudge Pops.

Week 2

Smoothies, Popcorn, Ham/Turkey Sandwiches and Chips, Apples with Peanut Butter, Baked Ham/Potatoes/Green Beans, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Cream Cheese and Crackers, Chicken Noodle Soup and Crackers, Bananas, Taco Pie with Salad, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

English Muffins with Eggs, Cereal Bars, Bean & Cheese Nachos, Pudding, Chicken Spaghetti, Cake

Granola Bars with Yogurt, Graham Crackers with Pudding, Mac n Cheese / Fruit Cocktail, Fruit Salad, Potato Bar and Salad, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Popcorn, Pizza and Salad, Banana Pops, Beef Stew with Biscuits, Cake

Muffins, Monkey Chow, Fish Sticks with Chips, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sloppy Joes with French Fries, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Omelets with Bacon, Trail Mix, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Chips, Jell-O, Cheddar Potato Soup with Baconbits, shredded cheese and Cornbread, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Week 3

Smoothies, Donuts, Left Over Potato Soup / Cornbread, Fruit Salad, Chili/Fritos or Crackers/Cheese, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Graham Crackers with Peanut Butter, Ham/Turkey Sandwiches with chips, Bananas, Pot Roast with potatoes onions and carrots, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Breakfast Pizza, Popcorn, Alphabet Soup with crackers, Apples with Peanut Butter, Chicken Enchiladas and Salad, Cake

Oatmeal, Tic Tac Toe Mix (just Chex Mix with some flair), Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with chips, Fruit Salad, Lasagna with Salad, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Carrot Sticks with Ranch, Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers, Cookies, Pizza with Salad, Cake

Muffins, Yogurt with Homemade Granola, Ravioli, Fruit Salad, Hash with Green Beans, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Eggs with Toast, Tic Tac Toe Mix, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Jell-O, Beef/Broccoli Stir Fry with Rice, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Week 4

Smoothies, Cereal Bars, Alphabet Soup with crackers, Fruit Salad, Meatball Subs, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Monkey Chow, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Chips, Bananas, Nachos, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Graham Crackers with Peanut Butter, Nachos (leftover), Chips and Salsa, Spaghetti/Salad/Breadsticks, Cake

Oatmeal, Cereal Bars, Spaghetti-O's, Fruit Salad, Sloppy Joes with French Fries, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Muffins, Trail Mix, Ham and Turkey Sandwiches with Chips, Rice Krispy Treats, Pepper Steak with Rice, Cake

Homemade Breakfast Tortillas, Yogurt with Granola, Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers, Fruit Salad, Pizza with Salad, Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Eggs with Biscuits and Bacon or Sausage, Monkey Chow, Chicken Strips and Carrot Sticks, Jell-O, Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Week 5

Smoothies, Goldfish, Alphabet Soup with Crackers, Fruit Salad, Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes (left over) and Peas, Ice Cream Sundaes

Pancakes, Popcorn, Chicken Salad with Crackers and Grapes, Banana, Burritos with Spanish Rice and Refried Beans, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cinnamon Rolls, Cereal Bars, Spaghetti-O's, Apples with Peanut Butter, Baked Ziti with Salad, Cake

Granola Bars, Monkey Chow, Fish Sticks with Carrots, Fruit Salad, Chicken and Rice Casserole with Green Beans, Popsicles or Fudge Pops

Cereal, Trail Mix, Ham and Turkey Sandwiches with Chips, Banana Pops, Chicken Packets with Peppers, Squash, and Zucchini, Cake

Muffins, Cereal Bars, Ham Salad with Crackers, Fruit Salad, Pizza with Salad, Ice Cream and Cookie Sandwiches

Biscuits and Gravy, Trail Mix, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with chips, Jell-O, Crockpot Dinner with Cornbread, Popsicles or Fudge Pops.

Here are a few of the recipes that weren't already self explanatory:

Italian Chicken
Enough chicken breasts for every member of your family. Bread them in bread crumbs or Shake n Bake, whichever your family likes. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Take out of oven and pour spaghetti sauce over top. Top with Mozzarella Cheese. Bake for 30 more minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Serve with salad.

My Trail Mix Recipe (one of many)
I don’t measure any of this...just eyeball it.

2 packages of Dried Fruit (we like pineapple mango)
Captain Crunch Cereal (we like crunch berries)
Mixed Nuts
Lots of M & Ms

It makes a lot, so I measure out 1 cup servings and put it in snack size baggies. Then I put all of those baggies into a gallon size baggie and store in the pantry. This will last a couple of weeks in our house.

Potato Soup
On the days when I don't have time to make this from scratch, I use the Bear Creek Country Kitchens Packets (usually on the top shelf above the other soups) in the green pouches. We add on some bacon bits, and some shredded cheese. It tastes just like homemade. :)

Banana Pops
Just 1/2 a banana, stuck on a popsicle stick and dipped in chocolate. I use the ice cream topping that hardens after a few minutes. Stick it in the freezer to cool off before serving. My kids love these.

Taco Pie
2 lbs. Ground Beef , browned, drained
One 29-30oz. Can of Enchilada Sauce (Mild, Medium or Hot)
1 Large Onion, diced
4 Cups Cheese, grated cheddar
1/4 to 1/2 Large Bag Tortilla or Corn Chips, crumbled

Layer in 9x13 in casserole:
Several spoonfuls of enchilada sauce
Layer of Chips
Ground Beef
2 cups cheese
Half of enchilada sauce
Rest of enchilada sauce
2 more cups cheese

Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 min to 1 hour. Take off foil and bake an additional 10—15 minutes until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Serve with salad. :)

Monkey Chow (as seen on Jon and Kate plus 8)
Corn Chex
Capt. Crunch
Lots of M&M’s
Milk Chocolate Chips
Peanut Butter
Powdered Sugar

Put 1st 5 items in gallon size Ziploc bag and shake/mix. Add in a dollop of peanut butter and mix together. Add in some powdered sugar and shake. Go ahead and put these in the snack size Ziplocs because it will go FAST otherwise!! :)

Chicken Enchiladas
My mom showed me this easy version: boil one bag of frozen chicken breasts. When done, cool and cube. Put in big bowl and add as much of the Pancho’s cheese dip (either white or yellow) until it’s at the consistency you like. That’s it. Spoon into tortillas and roll em up. I spoon a little salsa into the bottom of my baking pan so the enchiladas don’t stick to the bottom. Then I top it with shredded cheese and bake for about 30 minutes until it’s all hot. My mom will make her chicken ahead and stick in the fridge. If you do that, you’ll have to increase your baking time because your chicken will take longer to heat back up. Serve with tortilla chips, the rest of the panchos dip, and some salsa. I always throw together a salad, too.

Tic Tac Toe Mix
Lol...just my fun name for the pre-packaged chex party mix. Sometimes I make my own, but I usually end up just buying it. The kids say they don’t like the chex mix, but somehow they LOVE Tic Tac Toe mix. I buy the caramel flavored kind. :) Lisa's Homeschool Circus has a Tic Tac Toe Mix listed on her plan...I have no idea what that is...if you are curious about that one, check out her blog.

2—3 cups beef (cooked and cut up)
2 bags 10 oz frozen hash browns potatoes thawed
1 onion , finely chopped
1/4 cup butter/marg. Melted
1 cup gravy or beef broth (I use the juices from the pot roast)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Salad - I love this recipe!!
Stiff Purple Grapes
1/2 cup mayo
Walnut pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3—4 tbsp sugar
3—4 chicken breasts

Boil chicken breast until fully cooked, then cut up into chunks. Chunk up grapes, celery and walnuts. Mix together after chicken has cooled. Add salt and pepper. Add sour cream, mayo and sugar. Mix until well blended, taste and add more of any ingredient as needed.

It’s awesome!! :)

Meatball Subs:
I just buy frozen meatballs (my family informed me they like these better than my homemade version...I'm NOT complaining!!) and put them in the oven until they’re done, then dump a jar of heated through spaghetti sauce over them. Put them on a Sub roll and top with Mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese. I save the left-overs for Spaghetti on Tuesday.

Pepper Steak:
I use the stir-fry beef and LOTS of bell peppers. Serve over rice.

Baked Ziti:
1 lb dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 (26oz) jars spaghetti sauce
6 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Cook ziti pasta, drain. Brown onion and ground beef. Add spaghetti sauce, simmer 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Layer the following:
1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

Chicken Packets:
I have Gary put these on the grill for me, but you could bake them in a 350 degree oven for an hour or so if you want.

Just put a boneless skinless chicken breast on a piece of aluminum foil. Cut up some sticks of squash, zucchini, and some bell peppers, and put with the chicken. Fold up into a “packet” and stick it on the grill. Really good, and easy clean up!! :) I also get creative with this sometimes. We’ve done bbq chicken packets, chicken and potatoes, you name it! :)

Crockpot Dinner: (I got a recipe from Cooks.com, and TWEAKED it - here's my version)
Brown some ground beef and drain. Put in crock pot with 1 lb sliced kielbasa, 2 cans white Great Northern beans, 2 cans pork n beans, and 1 can kidney beans. Add a couple of squirts of ketchup, and a little mustard. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and stir up. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve over corn bread. Very Yummy!!

Ham Salad:
3 cups cubed ham
1 hard boiled egg
2 tbsp finely chopped celery
2 tsp. finely chopped onion
2 tsp. sweet pickle relish (I leave this out and it’s not on the shopping list)
3/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp mustard
Ritz Crackers

In a bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Combine mayo and mustard; add to the ham mixture and mix well. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with crackers.