Final Analysis Friday: Week of February 17, 2013


Lots of baking going on around here this week! I made some peasant bread that was super easy and so, so delicious. Right now I’ve got a new recipe in the oven that I’ll be sharing on my blog in a couple of week called a German Brownie Torte. It’s basically taking a German Chocolate Cake and combining it with a brownie and putting it into a torte. A trifecta of awesomeness!


Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto which is about what’s wrong with the educational system in America and how we can fix it. Even though I homeschool, public school education is still near and dear to my heart since so many of my family members are teachers and most children are enrolled in public school.


To my kids in the other room watching Kipper on Netflix with their dad. The girls are singing the theme song, and Preacher Man is laughing at them. Sweet, sweet sounds and giggles floating to my ears.


About a mean girl that Chipette has encountered at dance. Trying to keep my Momma Bear side in check has been difficult, but I’ve been so proud of how Chipette has handled the entire situation. I might just be doing something right in raising that girl after all!


Out our next week of homeschool. I’ve been gathering books for our study of France, making copies of workbooks, and filing worksheet pages for the girls’ weekly work binders.

I’m planning out a new series of blog posts on cooking while you have kids. I’ve received a couple of inquires about how I cook all my family dinners while having kids underfoot, so I’m planning on tackling that issue soon via the blog.


Feel free to follow me on Pinterest using the button in the sidebar. I wanted to share some of my favorite finds this past week:

Homeschool: I found a really great chart for kids to color in when they have read each chapter of the Old Testament. Unfortunately I could not find where the blogger had made a New Testament chart so I’ve added making one to my, what is becoming very long, Things to Make on the Computer list.

Home: I am a shoe addict. When Preacher Man and I moved to Denver to attend a preacher training school, I decided to count my shoes. I had 60 pairs!!! I have now whittled that number down to a mere 30, but still, that’s a LOT of shoes. When I saw this pin I knew it was for women like me….member of Shoe Addicts Anonymous.

Cooking: I love anything with cream cheese and when I saw this healthy breakfast sandwich that used cream cheese and fruit, I had to pin it. We’re having these very soon around here!


Preacher Man has become inspired this week to help around the house a bit more. I’ve awakened every morning this week to a sparkling clean kitchen, cleaned off table, and the laundry already finished. He even had time to kick around the soccer ball with Monkey.

 And did I mention he’s been sick this week too! Thanks, PM, I love you bunches.


My Papaw yesterday. It would have been his 91st birthday if cancer hadn’t taken him. I wrote about what an awesome person he was in a past blog post.  Love you, Papaw, and miss eating peanut butter bars with you after I got off the school bus at your house.

Anticipating another week of living, loving, and learning in the tree house,



Tasty Tuesday: These Don't Belong to Adam

A month or so ago, my friend the Beauty Queen (She’s not really, it’s just in reference to her hair! J) was looking for some comfort food that was easy to make and filling since she was cooking for her family and her mom and her husband as well. I knew that she also owned an Earl, so I quickly shot her a recipe over Facebook which inspired me to go ahead and make it a blog post as well. I mean, seriously, don’t we all need easy, filling, comfort food? Of course we do!

Here is what you need to make Slow-Roasted BBQ Pork Ribs:

1 package country style pork ribs (You can also use beef ribs, but being a Southern girl, I prefer pork.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
½ medium onion, sliced
Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (This is actually optional since these ribs are fantastic even without the BBQ sauce.)

First, heat oil over medium heat in a cast iron Dutch oven (see the Earl link above) or other stove to oven pan.

Next, season ribs with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Brown ribs on both sides in oil, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Place sliced onion on top of ribs.

Cook, covered, in 325 (300 degree for beef ribs) degree oven for 3 hours (2 hours for beef). Take ribs out of oven and pour BBQ sauce on top and bake, covered, for 30 more minutes.

The end result is a pot of ribs that are fall apart tender and finger-lickin’ good! Just the way ribs should be.

Going through loads of paper towel when these are served in the tree house,


Wordless Wednesday: Lost and Found

“Has anybody seen the shaving cream?”

Looks like Monkey found it in the tree house,



Tasty Tuesday: The Best Fried Sport Around

In the South it’s not a sport.

I love being from the South, especially when it comes to food. While I’m not a typical Southerner in that I don’t like gravy *gasp* and only a few things fried *double gasp*, every once in a while I enjoy cooking some Southern classics. In this post, I’m sharing one of my family’s favorite side dishes…Southern style. J

Here’s what you need to make Perfect Fried Squash:

½ cup Canola oil
½ cup Olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
4 yellow squash, sliced into ¼ inch slices (I use 2 yellow squash and 2 zucchini.)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Plastic storage bag or brown paper bag

First, spread out the squash slices onto a large plate or cutting board and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently with hand to turn the squash over, and then sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The resting step is very important since the salt draws out the moisture in the squash so that your breading will stick to it.

While the oil is heating, place cornmeal into bag. Add about half of squash and shake vigorously to coat squash. 

Heat oils in a large skillet over medium heat. You want there to be about ¼-½ inch of oil in your pan so add more if necessary. To test your oil flick some water off your fingertips into the pan. If it pops and sizzles, you are good to go!

After oil is heated, place each piece of squash in pan. Do not dump out the bag into the hot oil or you will wind up with a nasty burned mess on your hands! Let squash cook for about a minute on each side or until your preferred amount of doneness. Preacher Man likes it practically burned, but me and the kids like them golden brown and crispy. 

Remove from grease and place on a paper-towel lined bowl or plate.

Enjoy some perfectly cooked fried squash and hum a little Dixie while you’re at it!

Looking away, looking away down south in Dixie and crunching on fried squash in the tree house,



Globe Trotting Girls Week Four: Tea, Stonehenge, and God Save the Queen!

Items Needed:
  • United Kingdom flag cut out from Expedition Earth
  • England by Michael Burgan
  • England A to Z by Byron Augustin
  • Look What Came From England by Kevin Davis
  • Paper dolls of Scottish boy and Irish girl          
  • Children Just Like Me
  • Great Britain map from Homeschool Creations
  • British flag from Expedition Earth
  • Children’s Amazing Places
  • Notebooks
  • Home Art Studio Grade 1
  • White construction paper cut into a large square, dark paint (black, blue, or purple), paintbrushes, and oil pastels.
  • Cliff vocabulary sheet
  • Various British folktales (I used Robin Hood, King Arthur, and Mother Goose picture books.)
  • Works of art by Thomas Gainsborough, John Everett Millais, Joseph Mallord William Turner, and/or Richard Wilson. I used Cherry Ripe by Millais, The Dormitory and Transept of Fountains Abbey-Evening by Turner, Snowdon from Llyn Nantlle by Wilson, and Mr. and Mrs. Andrews by Gainsborough.
  • The Complete Book of Animals
  • Various books about sheep from the library
  • Animals of Great Britain flipbook from Expedition Earth Animal Supplement
  • Great Britain lapbook from Expedition Earth
  • Ingredients to make scones, sandwiches, and cake. I made Cheese and Herb Scones, egg salad and ham sandwiches, and Banana Chocolate Bundt Cake (I used this recipe but didn't make the icing. Instead I sprinkled the finished cake with powdered sugar).
  • The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo
  • Teaching with Cinderella Stories from Around the World by Kathleen M. Hollenbeck
  • The Whipping Boy by Sid Flieschman
  • The Whipping Boy Study Guide from Progeny Press or some other study guide
  • The Secret Garden

Day One:

Add British flag and date of entry to passport.

Quickly review the continents and oceans by playing this game. Review the terms latitude, longitude, hemisphere, equator, prime meridian, czar, and communism. Locate Russia on a blank map. Review the capital of Russia and the significance of the Ural Mountains (division between European continent and Asian continent).

Find Great Britain on a map or globe. Talk about what hemisphere it is in and what continent it is on. Skim over the fact sheet about Great Britain from Expedition Earth and share with your student.

Read Look What Came From England, England A to Z, and/or England. I let the youngers color their paper dolls while I read.

Miss Elizabeth coloring her Irish girl.
Have older students fill out the map of Great Britain (with bodies of water whited out) from Homeschool Creations while younger students color the British flag sheet. I added the following places to the map for the older girls: Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, and White Cliffs of Dover. 

Chipette doing her map work.
Add these pages to your notebook along with the paper dolls.

Read Children’s Amazing Places p. 114-115 and 192-193.

Read some Mother Goose rhymes and one of your British folk tale books. We read Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow by Robert D. San Souci

Complete Part 1 of the Stained Glass project from Home Art Studio

Show artwork of your choice by British artists. Explain that these works of art are all by British artists. You could even find their hometowns on a map if they were born in England. Talk about the works themselves or just let the students look at the pictures during the week.

Read The Irish Cinderlad. Ask the comprehension questions in the After Reading section of Teaching with Cinderella Stories and do the An Irish Touch activity.

For homework I assigned my third graders p. 231 in The Complete Book of Animals and to read the first four chapters of The Whipping Boy and do p. 14-16 in the study guide.

Day Two:

Read one of the England informational books from Day One or skip this and move on.

Do part 2 of the Stained Glass art project from Home Art Studio.

The girls with their stained glass art.
Read Children’s Amazing Places p. 88-89, 140-141

Let children build Stonehenge using Legos while you read another British folktale. I read the first book from the Tales of King Arthur series by Hudson Talbott, The Sword in the Stone. By the way, this series is AMAZING, and I checked all of them out for the girls to read on their own.

Chipette and Miss Jane showing off their Stonehenge models.
Read a book or two about sheep. Discuss a few facts about sheep, and then watch this video about how to shear a sheep on Youtube.

Complete the Animals of Great Britain flipbook from Expedition Earth’s Animal Supplement and add to notebook.

Define monarchy and cliff (use vocabulary page. Let youngers draw picture and let olders copy definition) and put definitions in notebook.

Fill out the Great Britain lapbook piece from Expedition Earth and put in notebook. I added population, government, and religion categories to it.

Read The Irish Cinderlad again. Do the If Boots Could Talk and the Roll a Story Activity Page from Teaching with Cinderella Stories.

Have an English tea party and enjoy your scones, sandwiches, and cake. During the tea party I talked about The Whipping Boy with my older girls using the discussion questions on page 17 of study guide.

Stamp passports with exit date.

Read chapters 16-20 in The Secret Garden this week.

Homework: Read chapters 5-8 in The Whipping Boy for next week and do p. 19-20 from the study guide.

Alternative science assignment for Day Two:

I was fully expecting to do the sheep study above, but the night before we were gifted a Diggin’ Up Dinosaurs T-Rex kit and Chipette and Magpie were dying to use it. So I started thinking about a way to use it when studying England and my Childcraft Children’s Encyclopedias came to the rescue. I remembered a story from the Prehistoric Animals volume about the discovery of the first dinosaur bones and where the name “dinosaur” was invented. Both of these things happened in England! So we read the story out of the Prehistoric Animals volume and dived into our dino dig.

They all had so much fun! 

So if sheep aren’t your thing, then do a dinosaur activity instead. J Since I know that most people don’t own a set of Childcraft Encyclopedias from their childhood, you could also use books on Mary Ann Anning (a paleontologist from England) or Dr. Gideon Mantell (the man who discovered the first dinosaur bones).

Up next, Week Five.

Summary Saturday: A Hop Across the Pond

This week we didn’t come close to completing the amount of work we did last week, mainly because we all got some bad allergy stuff happening on Thursday and a couple of play dates on Saturday. We usually use Saturday as our makeup day if we miss a day during the week. We still managed to get all of our world geography studies in and most of our basics.

World Geography and Science

We visited Great Britain this week and while we had a lot of fun, it seemed a little flat to me. I guess because I’ve studied British history quite a bit in college and since the US used to be a British colony there wasn’t as much difference between our country and Great Britain as say between Russia and the US, which we studied last week. Plus the amount of books on GB is astounding!!! We could have spent a month on it and barely touched the resources available.

We built Stonehenge out of Lego blocks.

We had a British tea party with scones, sandwiches, and cake.

And at the last minute I swapped out my planned science for a dinosaur dig since the first dinosaur bones were discovered in England and an Englishman invented the word “dinosaur” to describe these “terrible lizards”.

Of course I checked out lots of great British children’s literature to read including King Arthur and Robin Hood stories, Wind in the Willows, Mother Goose nursery rhymes, Beatrix Potter stories, a story about Queen Elizabeth, some retellings of Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and biographies of Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. See what I mean? So many topics!

Don’t forget that I am posting all of our world geography and science plans on my blog. Just click on Globe Trotting Girls in the tag cloud or on the specific links under the curriculum tab to take you to all of those posts.


Math: We completed pages 73-96 in Math in Focus and she finished up the corresponding workbook pages. She also did some pages in Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems.

Read Aloud: I started reading The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye. This is a wonderful story and beautifully written. We are both enjoying it a lot!

Literature: Chipette took her first test in K12’s literature course and did great! We also completed one lesson from Unit 2.

Spelling: We completed one level in Apples and Pears.

Language Arts: We read and discussed 12 pages in Grammar Island. Chipette did 4 pages from her New American Cursive book, and we did three days of lessons in Student Writing Intensive A.

Loop Subjects: We didn’t complete any of these. L

Independent Reading: Chipette read 20 pages from Emily’s Runaway Imagination.

As part of Chipette’s independent work for third grade, she’s been learning to type correctly on the computer. We’ve been using Dance Mat Typing which is a free typing program from the BBC. There are four levels and underneath each level are three stages. She works on one stage for an entire week before moving on to the next stage the next week. It should take her about 12 weeks to get through the entire program before we move on to another free resource I’ve found.

She LOVES Dance Mat Typing and I use it as the treat at the end of our school day. As you can see Magpie likes to watch and learn too!


Math: She did 6 pages in her math workbook, and we did two lessons from MEP Reception.

Phonics: We completed 2 lessons from Logic of English Foundations and she finished up Book A of Explode the Code Primer. Yay, Magpie!!!

Handwriting: She did 4 pages in Doing It Carefully and practiced writing letters and words using a, d, g, and c in Italics.

Logic: We finished one lesson in Lollipop Logic.

Science: Nothing L

Literature: We started our literature study of Curious George, but haven’t made it very far.

Reading Mother Goose rhymes made a big impression on Magpie this week, so while I was working with Chipette during school, she grabbed the small marker board and drew Humpty Dumpty.

I thought it was pretty good for a five year old, especially his face!


This week while the sisters were at our homeschool group, Monkey and I made our usual trip to the park. He found a feather by the swings and was so proud!

He carried that feather around all day, brought it home, and it’s still in his room. J

Looking forward to travelling to Italy this next week in the tree house,



Final Analysis Friday: Where Do You Find Books?

When you love having a literature based (aka lots of books to teach history and science) homeschool like ours is, then the biggest problem that you and I run into is where to find book titles. And not just any book title, but good books. And not just any good book, but books that are on the reading and/or comprehension level I need it to be. Needless to say, it is not easy.

By dumb luck when I attended my first homeschool convention way back when was to hear a speaker suggest All Through the Ages by Christine Miller as a very helpful book when you are homeschooling. So of course I raced down to the convention hall and bought a copy.

Boy, was that speaker minimizing the benefits of owning All Through the Ages! This book is the second most important book in my homeschool library with the Bible being first.

Here are just a few things that make this book indispensible to me:
  • Every time period in history from Creation to Modern Day has books broken down into catergories from General Resources for All Grades to 1st through 3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-9th, and 10th-12th.
  •  Then within each of these grade levels it divides the books into overview, specific events, biography, historical fiction, literature, culture.

  • Not only does it supply book lists for history, but also for Geography (this section I am using heavily this year) dividing countries and continents into books lists by the grades listed above, but also the same categories of overview, specific events, biography, historical fiction, literature, and culture as well.
  •  And there is also another section that suggests book titles to study science, math, art, and music by time period, grade levels, and subtopics as well.
  • And finally a list of the Great Books broken down by time period when they were written.

While the book definitely comes from a Christian viewpoint, quite a few of the suggested books are not necessarily Christian. They are simply really good books.

If you don’t own this one, I highly recommend adding it to your library.

I love anything that makes this homeschooling job easier in the tree house,



Wordless Wednesday: Paleontologist Practice

This week in our Globe Trotting Girls we visited Great Britain. Last night someone gifted me a Diggin’ Up Dinosaurs kit, and Chipette and Magpie were desperate to try it out. I remembered that the first dinosaur fossil was found in England in 1822 and the name “dinosaur” was coined there, so we practiced a little dino excavation this afternoon while we were in merry, old England.

Love watching the girls get excited over science in the tree house,


Tasty Tuesday: An Apple A Day

So today’s recipe has two things about it that aren’t super common in my kitchen:
  1. This dessert is really, really unhealthy. While my general attitude about dessert is “go hard or go home,” aka if you are going to make dessert, you might as well make it full of yumminess. But even this one pushes me to the edge of that rule. Needless to say, I don’t make this one very often!
  2. I don’t eat this recipe. I’ve never even had a bite of it. Why? Because I hate apples. What? You didn’t hear me? Well, I hate apples. Okay, I admit it. I hate them in all of their forms, juice, sauce, pie, caramelized, candied, jellied, buttered, or au natural. However, I can vouch for the deliciousness of this recipe by the way people respond when they eat it. It’s kind of embarrassing. Preacher Man makes moaning sounds and then hides the pan from the kids.
Here is what you need to make Apple Dumplings:

2 cans crescent rolls
2 Granny Smith apples cut in 8th’s
2 sticks butter (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
1 ½ cups sugar (Ditto!)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 (12 oz) can Mt. Dew (It’s cheaper to buy a 2 Liter of Mt Dew than a single can. Plus a single can was hard for me to find, so I bought a 2 Liter and used what I needed of it. I think Preacher Man downed the rest.)

First, melt butter, mix in sugar and cinnamon.

 Pour ½ cup of butter mixture in a 13x9 inch pan.

Roll each apple slice in one crescent roll so the apple is completely covered and place in pan.

Pour rest of butter mixture over dumplings.

Cover with Mt. Dew.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN UNTIL DONE!!!

While I can’t vouch for taste (everyone who eats them assures me that they are wonderful!), I can say that the smell of this baking in your oven is fabulous!

Apple Dumplings
2 cans crescent rolls
2 Granny Smith apples cut in 8th’s
2 sticks of butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 (12 oz.) can of Mt. Dew

Roll each apple slice in one crescent roll. Melt butter and mix in sugar and cinnamon. Pour ½ cup of butter mixture in a 13x9 inch pan. Place rolled up apples in it. Pour rest of butter mixture over dumplings. Cover with Mt. Dew.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Don’t open the oven door until done.

We enjoyed this recipe while beginning our world geography study after we read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. All of the helpers in my photographs were Chipette, Magpie, Miss Jane, and Miss Elizabeth.

And my globetrotting girls lapped this stuff up in the tree house,