Posts Tagged With: Christmas

Bosch Compact Kitchen Machine Review

This small stand mixer is a delight to own!

This small stand mixer is a delight to own!

Since I have been trying to make more and more home made meals and using my hand held mixer more, it decided to quit on me in the middle of Christmas cookies!  Ok, so it was cheap one that I bought when my husband and I got married, 17 years earlier….was it made that well…OR did I not use it that much???  Luckily, I bought another cheap one earlier that month, though I’m not sure why I did.  Was it women’s intuition that my old one would quit in the middle of making Christmas cookies?  I’m not sure, but, I WAS glad I had a spare!  I took that opportune moment to ‘complain’ to my husband…..ok, really I meant ‘hint’ to my husband that I had been eying the stand mixers for awhile.  They are rather expensive and bulky though, so I only hinted a few times, maybe a couple were strong hints…:)  He decided to do a little research on them behind my back and asked a good friend of mine, who is an excellent guide on cooking and kitchen tools.  She told him the best brand was Bosch, so he started researching that brand.  His only concern was that we have very little extra counter space and where would I put it?  He found the compact mixer online and read positive review after positive review about this product and decided to go for it.  When I opened it I thought it was rather small and felt like it was cheaply made.  That was a review my husband had read from another buyer.  The reviewer had said the same thing, but, after he used it was amazed at the quality of it!   So I thought I would give it a try.  I did like the smallness of it.  It’s not too small that I can’t make anything in it, but small enough not to intrude the counter.   I can easily make a batch of cookies or 2 batches of bread in it!  I have been using it at least once a week since Christmas and have not been disappointed!  I just shove every ingredient in the bowl and let it do it’s work!

4 quart mixing bowl

It has a lid with a hole to pour in liquid ingredients while not splattering all over the place.

I LOVE having this lid, especially with a small opening to pour liquids into it!

I LOVE having this lid, especially with a small opening to pour liquids into it!

It has three attachments, a stirring whisk, beating whisk and a hook for dough.

These are the three attachments that come with the mixer.

These are the three attachments that come with the mixer.

This is a 400-watt power unit with a four quart mixing bowl, the anti-splash cover, four speeds, and a 5-6 pound dough capacity.  It fits perfectly on my counter and is kind of cute!

I really do love my new toy and was really surprised my husband did quite a bit of research to buy just the perfect one for me!  See, it only took a little bit of hinting around!!  🙂

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Happy New Year!

Well, I did it again!  Time flew by over the Christmas break and I didn’t take time to write anything.  We were over-involved in many areas, especially dance!  Don’t get me wrong, it was all good, only very busy!  This week we are back on our regular schedule which is fine.  We have now added another ‘fun’ project.  My husband is in The Fiddler on the Roof play at our church and I am helping with the costumes and some other avenues that haven’t been determined as of yet.  I am having fun with it so far!  It happens to be my all-time favorite musical, so it is especially fun for me!

I have plans for what I would like to add to this blog.  I need to organize them onto paper and then prioritize what I would like to do first!  Please bear with me as I plan it out!  My goal and wish is to be able to pass along some tips, plans and/or ideas that will help you with your home school journey, organizing your time, school and home, finances and more!  I would also like to add my menu plans I work on and more recipes.  I have a lot of ideas I need to materialize onto this blog!

I pray this will be a great New Year for each of you!

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Silly Putty-Home Made

I know this has nothing to do with Christmas, but I am on a roll for home-made kid’s projects.  This is the recipe for home-made silly putty:

1/8 cup of 1 part liquid clothes starch

1/4 cup of Elmer’s glue

couple drops of food coloring

Mix together.  If it is very sticky or runny, add more starch.



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Dough Ornament Recipe

As kids, my sister and I would make dough ornaments and then paint them.  I LOVED that!  I think I still have a few hanging around for the Christmas tree (and it’s been a few years!! :)).  If you want something fun to do with the kids, try this recipe out.  They would make great home-made Christmas gifts too!  Here’s the recipe:

4 cups of flour

1 cup of salt

1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water


Mix flour and salt.

Slowly add the water.

Roll out and use cookie cutters to make desired shapes.  Don’t forget to put a whole in the top if you want to hang on the tree!  A straw will work good to make the hole.

Bake at 325 for about 1 hour.

Take out and cool before decorating with glitter paint, glitter glue or whatever you want to make them pretty!!

Ps.  They look like real edible cookies!  Let the kids know they would taste awful!!!  🙂

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Cut- Out Cookies

Now that Thanksgiving, my daughter’s Nutcracker AND Black Friday shopping are over I thought it’s time to think Christmas cookies!   I thought I would start posting some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.  The first one is for cut-out cookies.  Here’s the recipe:

1 cup butter (2 sticks at room temperature)

1 1/2 cups of confectioner sugar

Mix and cream together

Add in:

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

2 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all together well.  If dough seems crumbly, add a couple of drops of water.

Flour your hands and then mix dough with hands

Chill the dough at least 1 hour

Roll the dough about 1/8 inch thick

Cut out and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes

Cool before decorating

Categories: Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal


This Saturday has been very quiet on the computer!  Everyone must be getting an early start of Christmas shopping, cooking ahead for Thanksgiving or at the many practices/games/classes for their kids!  We just got done with one Nutcracker practice and I will leave in about 1/2 hour for the next one!  These sure are busy, yet fun days!

I decided to share an Oatmeal breakfast you can make ahead of time in the crock pot.  This is an easy way to wake up on any given morning to a quick, hearty, healthful breakfast!

Here’s the recipe:

6-8 cups water (depending on the desired consistency)
2 cups steel cut oats (DO NOT use Quick will make it mushy!)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon



Spray inside crock pot with cooking spray.

Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker and stir.

Cook for 7-8 hours on low.

Add any fruit, sugar, syrup, etc right before eating.



Have a great Saturday!

Categories: Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Plan for Your Home School Year

I want to share with you how I plan for a typical home school year. You may find some of the ideas I share helpful. If so, I’m glad to help!

First, I go to and print the calendars I will use for the year(pictured below). I typically have 165 days in my school year. I live in a state that does not mandate how many days we are to have school, so you may want to check your state’s laws first. Next, I go through the calendar marking any known days off, like the girls’ birthdays if they fall on a school day, Easter, Christmas break, etc. (One special treat I do for the girls is give them their birthday off and they get to choose what to do that day, within reason!). Next I decide what day to start school. It is generally the day after Labor Day. I also choose a target date to finish for the year. It used to be around the second week of June but this last year I was able to make it the end of May. Last year the girls wanted to end even earlier so they worked harder to get done a few days before the target date! Next, I count how many days I have left on the calendar from my start date to my end date. I deduct 165 days from the amount I counted and the leftover days will be our days off. I split the days up among the months, which usually ends up being about 2-3 days off per month.. For example: From the start to the end date was 189 days. I deducted 165 from 189 and totaled 24 days leftover. I split those days up into our 9 months of school, which gave us about 2-3 days off per month. I don’t actually choose the days off for each month until I am lesson planning for that month; that way I can choose the best day for us according to what we have going on. For example: for the month of November we celebrate two birthdays. My oldest loves horses and there is a horse show so we took a day off to go to that.  My other daughter, whose birthday is November, is in The Nutcracker downtown and her dress rehearsal is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We took the day off so we do not have to rush school to get there on time.

After I have my master calendar done I start planning each girl’s individual lesson plans. I use the same calendar template and mark all the days off, how many working days of school per month, how many days off and then start working on their individual subjects (work in pencil for when you have to erase a lot like me!! :)).

I then mark their calendars like this: .

‘M’ stands for Math; ‘Sc‘ for Science; ‘He’ for Health; ‘Geo’ for Geography; ‘Bio’ for Biology; ‘E’ for English; ‘Wr’ for Writing (They know what each of these stand for).  I only do one month at a time, in case we get behind in a subject or two so I won’t have to erase and change the lesson we are on.

I use my Girl’s Daily Schedule

to see which days they have each particular subject. (Over the summer I take each piece of curriculum we will use for the year and figure out how many lessons and tests and how many days per week we need to study it in order to be done by our end of the year target date. Check out my page on planning over the summer.)

After I get each girl’s monthly calendar done I put them in an 1 1/2 inch binder and separate them by the ‘Write-on tab dividers’ I get from Walmart. I put my master calendar first and then separate the girls from oldest to youngest.  Next I copy any answer keys I may find helpful to have close by and put them in the binder, separating them by name of subject or book title.  This year I went the extra mile and copied most of my answer keys and put them in there so I didn’t have to search for the book to grade the paper or test.  It is all alphabetized in my binder.  I also had a couple of the kids’ subjects that I needed to figure out how many lessons they had to do each day, for example:  My 9th grader is doing the ‘Easy Grammar Ultimate Series-Grade 9‘ which is 180 lessons along with 18 tests.  I figured out how many lessons per day she had to do to get done in 165 days.  She doubled up on lessons for about two months, which was not a big deal because they are pretty simple and fast.  So, I typed out each month and how many days of school per month we have and how many lessons and tests she has each month.

I also did that for Rod and Staff English.  I figured out how many lessons, which lessons had worksheets and how many tests and typed it all out so when I am ready to work on a monthly lesson plan all I have to do is open up my folder and see which lessons have worksheets and when the next tests is.  It’s a bit of work in the beginning, but saves a bunch of time during the busy school year when I don’t have a ton of time to page through indexes to see when the next test is or if a particular lesson has a worksheet with it.  Here’s my example:

I then place any information or calendars in my binder from our co-op for any classes they are taking, just to have it handy.  After that, I am finished!  I use it daily and monthly to work on lesson plans.

After I have the binder finished, I take my girl’s individual daytime planners and work on about two weeks at a time of their specific work for the day.  Here is an example of my 9th graders:

I give individual instructions or lessons per subject.  All the girls have to do is open their planner up to the date and see exactly what needs to be done.  They mark it off as they get done.  I have two bookshelves in my living room and on one shelf I have a five slot paper tray where they put in any folder or paper that needs checked or graded.  My goal is to have it cleared out by Friday.  If it is a test I have graded I will normally put it in the 5th slot and will eventually get around to marking the grades into my grade book I have designed on my computer.  I have an example of my grade book under the ‘Charts’ tab.  Like I said, I love charts to help me keep organized!  It only takes me about 45 minutes to work on two weeks worth of individual lesson plans for my four girls daily planner because of the extra mile I went before school started of figuring out how many lesson, tests and extras that need to be done.

If you ever have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.  If you would like to share this, you are welcome to.  You can pin it to Pinterest or Facebook.  My hope is that it will help someone, even a little, to organize their home school day and year just a bit more!

Have a great home school year!

Categories: Home School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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