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,
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
Topping: 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,
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,
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 Pinta's Poop Deck
Magpie and Chipette in the bow of the Nina with the Pinta in the background.
Magpie andChipette 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,
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,