Wordless Wednesday: Kickin' It Old School

Chipette playing my Nintendo game system that I got when I was 10 (23 years ago!). Magpie and her are having just as much fun playing it as they do their Wii. Their favorites are Duck Hunt and Monopoly.

Loving being able to show my kids how Mom can still rock the Nintendo in the treehouse,



Tasty Tuesday: The Food Whose Name I Detest

I have issues. Food issues.

I do not like my food to touch. I eat in the same order everytime. I do not like any kind of vegetable juice to be on my plate. I would probably die if somebody told me I had to eat all of one thing on my plate before I could move to something else.

Yes, I will be in therapy later when the kids leave home and maybe we have money.

But one of the things I hated the most was meatloaf. I like all of the ingredients, but it was just the name: a loaf of meat. That just sounds disgusting! Plus hot ketchup...yuck.

Then I gave birth to Chipette, who sampled some of my mom's meatloaf. And she began to beg, and beg, and beg for me to get Gran's recipe and make some at our house. So being the good, self-sacrificing mom that I am, I got the recipe and it wasn't half bad. In fact it was really good! But I still don't make it in a loaf.

Here's what you need to make Gran's Meatloaf:

1 pound ground beef (I use half turkey/half ground beef.)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 egg
8 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. mustard

Yeah, I know, the dreaded "hot ketchup" topping. I just rake it off, but there are alternatives such as cheddar cheese sprinkled on top (my favorite!) or tomato sauce instead of ketchup.

Put all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl.

Now, it's time to get your hands dirty and mix all of the ingredients up.

Next, so I don't have to think about it being a "loaf", I put mine in a baking dish and pat it out flat. I learned this trick from my aunt!

Next mix up the topping.

Spread over the meat loaf. If you want to do the cheddar cheese, sprinkle it on the top when there is about 15 minutes left to bake. If you want to do the tomato sauce, use 1 can of tomato sauce mixed with 1 tsp of sugar (to cut the acidity), then pour over the top before you bake the meat loaf.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. When it comes out of the oven, tilt the pan so that the grease can drain out of the meat loaf. Just don't tilt it too high or your dinner will be in the sink!

And that, my friends, is some fabulous meat loaf?...meat dish?...meat meal?...meat casserole? I'll figure out a new name eventually.

By the way, I doubled this recipe to make it for my family (Chipette will eat on it all week!), but if you make it without doubling it, use an 8x8 pan instead of a 9x13.

Pondering the elusive replacement name for meat loaf in the treehouse,



Summary Saturday: Birthday Bliss!

This past week was Monkey's birthday and our homeschool Spring Break.

My parents and sister were in town so the kids had a great time getting to see Papaw, Gran, and Aunt Fluffy.

Here is Papaw playing Candyland with Magpie:

Papaw did lots of tree dweller containment while the rest of us worked on projects around my house!

This last round of pictures are from our day at the zoo. I thought that would be the perfect spot to celebrate Monkey's birthday since he loves animals so much.

Monkey found a rhino right as we walked into the zoo:

Our first stop was Chipette's favorite, the sea lions. We happened to get there right at feeding time. The kids loved watching them speed under the water and jump up onto the feeding platforms.

Next stop was Magpie's favorite animals, the flamingos. She likes to practice standing on one leg like they do!

Here is a shot of our zoo crew in order from back to front: Papaw, Gran, Aunt Fluffy, and Monkey:

We weren't sure which animal Monkey liked the best. He really enjoyed the petting zoo, especially the goats:

And he liked the giraffes, which he apparently thought were cows because he kept mooing at them!

They ALL liked the carousel!

Monkey found an orangutan to befriend:

Magpie did some elephant training:

And we finished up the day with Monkey Cupcakes which the sisters and Gran made for the birthday boy! Blowing out his two candles:

I love you, Monkey and can't believe my "baby" is two years old!!!

Here is Monkey when he's around three months old and still had has bright red flame hair!

God gave up a special slice of heaven when he sent Monkey to live in our tree house,



Wordless Wednesday: A Rose By Any Other Name

*Ding Dong*

I open the front door and there stands Chipette. She holds out a perfect pink rose from her rose garden.

"Special delivery for Mom."

"Why thank you, Mail Carrier!"

Chipette wouldn't be Chipette without her love for life and make believe in the treehouse,


P.S. Sorry about the lack of posts this week we are taking Spring Break since my parents are in town. I'll be posting more regularly again next week!


Summary Saturday: A True Tree Dweller

While everyone else in our area had Spring Break this week, we kept plugging away since we will have our Spring Break next week when my parents and sister come down for a visit. Just one benefit of homeschooling...flexibility.

First up this week Magpie wanted to show some of the things she's been doing for Pre-K. This is a page she did out of her Cuisenaire rods alphabet book. She loves the last day of our week when we get out the C-rods and her and Chipette work on their "block math". Her alphabet book is a great way to blend familiarity with the C-rods, counting, and phonics all in one fun package.

Next Magpie practiced following my instructions to build towers from blocks just like the Israelites had to follow the Egyptians instructions when they were slaves in Egypt. Here she is with her tall tower, wide tower, flat tower, and short tower:


Sometimes there are subjects that you never have to twist arms to get your children to do. We actually have quite a few of those, but art is probably the winner. This week the girls worked on stencil drawings. I cut out a stencil of a maple leaf and an oak leaf for them to use. Here they are working on their drawings:


Chipette started her ballet unit study this week. She is so excited to do school each day since we started our study. She actually got upset yesterday when I told her we would be taking next week off since we were having guests. You could have knocked me over with a feather! This kid never gets upset when I tell her she won't have to do school. Here is the first entry of her ballet notebook that we are putting together while we do our unit study:


Finally, the most exciting thing that happened this week was when my man showed up at the house Thursday morning and took all of us on an impromptu field trip. We've been studying birds this year as part of our science curriculum: Zoology 1. He just happened to find out that someone we go to church with had a bald eagle's nest on his property with two baby eaglets. So off we went:

This is the best shot I got since the land between where we were and the eagles' nest was flooded from some recent rain. We are hoping to go back once it dries out a bit and try to get closer and see the parents since they didn't show up while we were there. Anyway, it was still really awesome to see these birds that we had just finished learning about. And to see my man's face as Chipette and Magpie rattled off all of these facts about bald eagles! *If you click on the picture it should get a little bigger so you can see it better*


Why is the eaglet all brown you might be asking? Well, one of the things we learned was that bald eagles do not get their distinguishing white head and tail feathers until they are around three years old.

All in all a fun week!

Wishing we had a bald eagle (although if my man's hair keeps falling out this might be true!) to live in the treehouse,


Freaky Friday: Three Things to Get Excited About

Gran and Papaw are going to come over at supper. Levi loves to see Papaw. And also, I got my hair cut by Mommy. By the way, I loved my hair cut when I looked in the mirror. I can not wait to see Gran!

On St. Patrick's Day, if you're not wearing green, you get pinched. I am wearing red, but my sister was trying to pinch me. My mom said, "Stop doing that!"

I'm going to tell Gran and Papaw all about God. Mom didn't know that Gran and Papaw were almost at our house.

Rocking our new haircut, wearing red instead of green, and eagerly awaiting the arrival of family in the treehouse,



Wordless Wednesday: Forget the Easter Bunny...

We've got the St. Paddy's Day Lizard!!!

And, yes, we let him go so he can deliver pinches to all those bad children who don't wear green!

Finding all kinds of interesting creatures in the backyard of the treehouse,



Summary Saturday: Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue in...2012?

This Summary Saturday is going to be short and sweet for two reasons: 1) It's Monday, so this post is late. 2) About the only thing we did last week that was interesting was our field trip.

We got the opportunity to see replicas of the Nina and the Pinta. Here are some pictures from our field trip:

The Nina

The Pinta's Poop Deck

The Masts

Magpie and Chipette in the bow of the Nina with the Pinta in the background.

Magpie and Chipette on the stern of the Pinta with the Nina in the background.

Magpie in the skiff on the Nina.

Chipette in the skiff keeping a look out for land.

The thing I found most amazing about our trip is how small these ships were! I can't even imagine climbing into one of these things and setting out across the Atlantic Ocean not sure where you were going or what, if anything, you would find. The explorers who did this (Columbus, Magellan, etc.) were either extremely brave, crazy, or a little bit of both!

Monkey did go with us on the field trip, but he is still crazy afraid of the water, so in all of the pictures, he's basically climbing up me trying to get as far away from the water as he can.

But I can't leave Monkey out of a Summary Saturday, so here is a picture of what walked into the kitchen last week after taking a walk around the neighborhood with Dad while the sisters finished school.

I mean, seriously, doesn't your heart just melt when you see that excited face with his flowers for Mom! Needless to say he got an extra serving of dessert :)

Enjoying the field trips and the flowers in the treehouse,



Freaky Friday: March With Us

March is a turtle that my dad found and brought home for us. Instead of telling you about him, I'm going to sing to you.

*to the tune of "I've Got Something in My Pocket"*

March With Us

Oh, March was a fine, fine turtle
His shell was as green as can be.
In a ditch he was
waiting patiently.

Dad comes along, picks him up
    right from the muck.
  He drove March to our home
      in his big, white truck.

We were so shocked
to see March with our eyes.
We filled up the pool with water
cause we are very wise.

When it's time to feed him,
I cup up some grapefruit.
I put it on a brick
to see if it would suit.

After three days' time,
March needed to go home.
I put a dollar sign on his back
to know him wherever he may roam.

And that's all the treehouse,



Wordless Wednesday: Spring Fever

When it's in the mid-70's and you only live one hour from the beach, sometimes you just have to take a field trip!

Dedicated to all of my cold weather, land-locked readers who are wishing they lived in the treehouse,


Tasty Tuesday: Kids in the Kitchen

Being a good cook or enjoying to cook doesn't mean much unless you pass it on, so from an early age I've had my kids in the kitchen cooking with me. Chipette will even take things out of the oven for me if I'm busy changing diapers!

This week I'm sharing one of the easiest and most kid friendly recipes I have. It also happens to be quite yummy!

Here is what you need to make Easy Stuffed Shells:

1 package frozen Italian meatballs
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 package of jumbo pasta shells (the shells in the picture are not the correct size)
1 cup mozarella cheese

Before we start this recipe I need to tell you that the way we made this is not the correct way. I sent My Man to the store to buy the jumbo shells, but he brought back shells that were a little too small. Not his fault, I just didn't give great instructions. So this recipe is my quick, on the fly, modified version. However, I will be adding the correct recipe instructions where appropriate so buy the huge, jumbo shells and do it right! But it's good either way.

First, boil the shells according to package instructions. For the smaller shells like I used, you boil half of the bag. For the jumbo shells, you only boil about 12-15.
Once the shells are boiled, then you can get the kids involved.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, then spread some of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Next, sprinkle your meatballs in the baking dish. *In the true recipe you stick one meatball inside each boiled jumbo shell.*

Now sprinkle your boiled shells around the meatballs in the pan. *You would place the stuffed shells in the pan.*

Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the shells and meatballs.

Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the spaghetti sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Then you and your kids can enjoy a wonderful, easy to make meal.

But most of all you'll be teaching them that cooking can be fun and easy. It's nothing to be scared of or intimidated by, I promise! Plus if they cook it, they are more likely to eat it :)

Looking forward to one day teaching Monkey to cook like his big sisters in the treehouse,