Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekly Vegan Advent Menu

Weekly Advent Menu

Advent is a Lenten Season, when Orthodox Christians are encouraged to abstain from Meat, Poultry, Dairy & Eggs. Fish is sometimes permitted during this Fasting period.

Here's a menu for your family to try during this preparatory season. 

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Sunday: Oregano Seasoned Red Potatoes in the Slow Cooker, Black-Eyed Pea Salad, Green Salad, Bread (Baked Lemon-Pepper Salmon for the Omnivores)

Monday: Greek Okra & Tomato Stew (Bamies Yachni), Bread, Salad

Tuesday: Stuffed Manicotti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Wednesday: Homemade Copycat Skyline Black Beans & Rice

Thursday:  Dinner out OR Alphabet Soup, Salad, Easy Homemade Bread

Friday: Fill your own Tortilla, using Easy, Healthy Refried Beans

Saturday: Eggplant Stew over Rice, Salad

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kids' Cookie Decorating Party - Vegan Cut Out Cookies

These Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are patted out by the kids : )
Cutting out & decorating Sugar Cookies at Christmas is a great memory-making activity for kids. My little girl and one of her BFFs had a blast making these.

We just used my Slice-and-Bake Dough recipe, and instead of rolling it into a log to slice it, they patted it out into circles and cut it out with cookie cutters.

After they were baked, the kids decorated them with frosting and candies.

If you're looking for a Great Christmas Party idea for kids, try having a Decorate-Your-Own-Cookie party - just set out the baked cookies with the frostings and candies. They'll have a blast!

You can start with your own mix from the pantry (see recipe below), and I've provided both Big and Small Batch recipes for the mix, in case you only want to make cookies this once : )

These are authentic family-made cookies - not those fake-looking things you buy at upscale bakeries for  $5. each!

The BFF's

My little girl's

Vegan Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
2 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix (see below)
1/3 Cup Oil
1/4 Cup Applesauce
Mix well, then pat balls of dough out evenly into circles big enough for your cookie cutter. Cut out & place on pan. Bake. These don't spread, so no need for much room between cookies.

Baking Directions
These Cookies are mixed with a spoon, then mixed together by hand (I'm sure if you have a fancy machine - like a Kitchen Aid - that would work too!). They're Baked on a Cookie Sheet,  at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes - till tops are lightly browned, and bottoms are golden Brown. I bake mine on a non-stick surface, and I don't oil or grease the pan. This year, I'm actually baking these on my non-stick Perforated Pizza Pans - and it's working great!

For a Children's Version of this recipe, check out this post!   (the children's version makes 1 cookie for an Easy-Bake or other brand of toy oven)

Stuffedveggies Cookie & Cake Mix
Shake together in large Canister or Zippered Gallon Bag:
9 Cups All Purpose Flour*
4 Cups Sugar*
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt


Stuffedveggies SMALL Batch Cookie & Cake Mix
Measure into canister or Zipper Bag, shake & store
 2 1/4 cups Flour
1 cups Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Science: Fun Home School Video Day

I'm not what most people would call a "Fun Mom" - certainly not when it comes to homeschooling! I
believe in hitting the books hard, being self-disciplined, and all that good, old-fashioned stuff.

BUT - there are times for for a fun day - or a fun hour. When I'm sick. When she's sick. When we're looking forward to some exciting event and have trouble focusing. When Mom has to meet with a professional like a plumber or a realtor. When we just need a break.

Now, many a parent-educator would say, "Just take the day off!"

And, certainly that is an option - an option that we sometimes take!

Unfortunately, that has some drawbacks: 1) We don't make as much academic progress as we'd like, 2) we can end up always focusing on favorite, easy subjects while neglecting to master those that require a little more effort, or 3) Boredom can set in (especially on those days when playing outside isn't an option) and we can end up with idle hands - and we all know what they say about idle hands.

So, I researched a set of go-to videos and activities that are ready to go whenever we need them.

In the process, we discovered that these videos also make a nice way to add a little EXTRA productivity to those busy, rigorous days. They provide relaxation and down time  between the morning's drill and the afternoon's academic endeavors and can educate and entertain all at the same time. A "working lunch" if you will ; )

So, these videos have become an everyday thing for us. I schedule one or two subjects for each school day - and it's a portion of the day that is enjoyed and anticipated while still being productive.

A wonderful added plus to these videos? Sometimes we easily and enjoyably master memory work before we ever are introduced to the material it relates to. Then, mid-text, my daughter will tie in the memory work she's done to the material she's reading - usually by singing the appropriate line or two from a song. Can't beat that for delight in learning, huh? 

Unfortunately, on Youtube the commercials aren't targeted to the audience, and sometimes very inappropriate things are shown. Which means that there are times that I've had a h0rr0r film ad (or other junk I'd rather not see) pop up right before a preschool video with puppets. For this reason, and because I like to be sure that junk in general isn't coming into our school day while I'm folding laundry, I save the videos to a desk top folder for convenience.  And, if a favorite video is "taken down," we still have it. It's also nice if the internet crashes while we're doing school : )

I like this site for saving my videos - it's free and I've never had any trouble from it.  (ETA: as of Oct 2017, I discovered a problem in this site, and no longer recommend it without reservation - use it at your own risk)

If you like this, check out others in this series:
Video Day: History & Geography
Video Day: English
Video Day: Math

So - here are our favorite SCIENCE fun videos:

The Minerals Song

The Periodic Table Song, with helpful visuals

The Same Periodic Table Song, done by a cute 6-year old

The Cell Song

Classical Conversations - some Songs from Cycle 2

Classical Conversations - Some Science Songs from Cycle 3

Classical Conversations - More Science Songs from Cycle 3

Scientific Method Song

Phases of the Moon

Solar System Song

Planets Song (to Memorize the List)

Hope you & your kids enjoy them! 


If you like this, you might also like some of my other homeschooling posts:

Concord Cunningham, the Scripture Sleuth
Design Your Own Mini Unit Study 
Home School for Cheap or Free: Why Greek is Better than Latin!
Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Reading
Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Conversation
Teaching Math: Home School for Cheap or Free
Teaching Music: Homeschool for Cheap or Free
Teach Reading with Confidence: Homeschool for Chea...
My Amazing Mother's Kid Tips
Raising Kids Who Aren't Picky  
2 1/2 Minute Homeschool Lesson Planning
10 Homeschool Lessons from ACE Curriculum 
The Perfect Homeschool Organizer  


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Monday, November 7, 2016