Recipe: Steamer Dinner

My kids all really love when we make foil packs. They're very popular on Pinterest as easy meals. I, however, did not find them to be easy. I found that they were messy, took too long in the oven and made a HUGE mess for clean-up.

I decided to change the recipes to fit me and my family.

I prepped one cookie sheet with aluminum foil and put the oven at 325.

The recipe I use is this:

2.5 Lbs of cut up dinner sausage or kelibasa
1 lb yellow potatoes
1 lb red potatoes
1 large white onion

The whole thing costs less than $10 and fed all of my children and me with leftovers!

Here's what it looks like:

Then, I put a "tent" of aluminum foil over it and into the oven it goes to 1 hour. I turned it at 30ish minutes, just to spread the heat love. The longer it's in, the better I think it is and the softer your potatoes will be.

Here's my finished product.

In the meantime, I also made a batch of gooey fudge brownies and a cheesecake fluff.

Gooey Fudge Brownies were made with a Betty Crocker mix. (shhhh, it's a secret, okay?)

The cheese cake fluff was a layer of crescent roll dough on the bottom, a mix of cheesecake batter and another layer of crescent roll dough on top with a sprinkle of cinnamon baked in the oven at 375 for about 40 minutes.

My personal cheesecake batter recipe is 1 block of cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and 2 eggs.

Hope this helps in coming up with your dinner plan!

I'll be back to sunday postings with the meal plan for the week, next week. All recipes will be linked and ready to go!

Be sure to tell me below what you and your kids thought of the recipes!

See you soon!!
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Ways to help our students be successful

Very seldom do my professional blog (it's for my students to keep up with my classroom assignments, etc) and my personal blog intersect and have basically the same need for the same thing. But I find myself wanting to share this blog post with as many people as possible. Below I have listed out 5 ways to help your student be successful in school. I know some of them are easier than others MANY days of the week. But, I also know the more we, as parents, work to help our students find ways to be successful the more we will see them able to succeed.

Ways to help your student:
1. Get them a planner!!! I use Erin Condren planners for my personal and professional calendars and tracking. I obviously, would recommend them, but there are truly hundreds of places to find great options! (The link gives you $10 off your first purchase at EC.) There are multiple options for how to lay out the week, this gives the user the chance to really see which method will best meet their goals and needs. (This is my personal planner shown below.)

2. A regular study/planning spot. Having a regular spot that is all theirs to plan their week, do homework and study is a game changer for most students! Making this a regular habit for your students is HUGE!

3. Quiet time! Try and set aside an hour or more that is just for them and you won't interrupt them! I know that in families with multiple children, especially older ones helping out, have a hard time setting aside time for students to focus. However, if you can make this happen, it will be a huge game changer!

4. A regular evening routine and bed time! Plenty of sleep is really important for our students.

5. Regular morning routine. This is hard in my house, so I know it can be hard in others. But, having a regular morning routine of everyone getting up, getting dressed, eating something, brushing teeth, etc. will really help you and your student to feel more capable and prepared to do well at school.

Feel free to share your ideas below! I'd love to hear what tips and tricks you have for helping your students find their own successes!

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Kindergarten is Hard!

Do you remember kindergarten? I do.

I remember the kitchen set and loving the baby dolls, we had the "diversity set" with dolls of 3 ethnicities and both genders.

I remember really fat crayons and giant headphones in computer class. I remember the monkey bars and the swings.

My daughter's experience is entirely different. She has cried so many times in the last 19 days since school started. And for her it's only 15.

We've been working on sight words, coloring homework, walking in a quite line, did I mention homework?, learning to tie shoes and .... going without a nap!

Maybe I am being a bit mellow dramatic. But, maybe not.

It seems like all of our high stakes testing and pushing is breaking our children. Kids are freaking out and losing control and getting upset over so many things that in the long run don't really work.

Why does this article on WebMD about dealing with stress in small children, even need to be published?

What happened to Montessori education?

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Long gone are the days of students self selecting their play and self selecting their activities and having time to explore the world around them.

Parents are regularly told to spend crazy amounts of time making flash cards and small little reading books to "reinforce the work done at school". I don't know about you, but I need a break after a busy day and I'm guessing our kids do too....

Yet, there I was cutting up those flash cards with the best of them. Peer pressure.

Maybe I'll learn something better tomorrow.

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Chapter # what?

Today, I sit in my classroom 4 days away from the next chapter of my life. And quite possibly the scariest one yet.

On Monday, my husband is moving to Knoxville.

Map from Memphis, TN to Knoxville, TN

Most people have responded in one of the following ways:

1. Are you guys getting divorced? No.

2. Are you crazy?!!?? Possibly, but I have 5 kids, so we crossed that bridge a long time ago.

3. Why? In short, it's his turn.

4. Are you guys moving to Knoxville? Eventually.

5. Aren't you sad or upset or??? Yes, and everything else, too.

Here's what it boils down to for me...

For the last 15 years, Geoff has said yes to me. Every thing, idea, degree, WHATEVER, that I came home and said I wanted to do, minus very little and very few, he said yes. I have done nearly all the things that I have wanted to do with my career choices, life choices and personal choices. It's time for me to say yes to my husband and give him the time and the space he needs to pursue his goal, his dream, his career and, most importantly to me, his happiness.

So, for the short term, because 8 months is a short amount of time, I will have a house, a job, 5 kids and 4 dogs to myself. I will get all the hugs, kiss, boo boos, tears, joys and everything in between to myself!

I will also be working to rid our home of excess clutter, trying to make time to see my husband, continuing to give high quality lessons and care for my children. I want to continue to sell monograms and appliques.

I will gratefully and happily accept help and swallow my pride and even possibly, ask for help.

It's going to be the busiest and possibly most dramatic time I've had in a long time, but I'm up for the challenge.

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