This Stranger's Life

I have some exciting news! I will have a guest blog post from a former Homeschooler who credits home education with motivating her to travel around the world.

Emily’s blog can be found here at The Planking Traveler.

Check back next week!

 

As a kid, my parents would often make great dinners. But none were more fun than making our own pizzas.

My dad taught us to make French Bread Pizzas and to load them up with whatever toppings we wanted. I was not very picky so I would add as many things as that little piece of bread could hold.

Today, the kids got to make their own French Bread Pizzas. My kids are plenty picky so I only had basic toppings on hand. While I prepared mine I had flashbacks of when I was teen working at a pizza joint. It was a cool experience!

Ingredients:

1 French Bread Sliced and Halved

1 Jar of Pizza Sauce

1 16oz Bag of Mozzarella Cheese

1 Package of Pepperoni

1 Package of Canadian Bacon (Or you could use Ham)

Fresh sliced Mushrooms

I let each kid spoon enough sauce on each piece of bread and load their toppings. Meanwhile, I preheated the oven. Once the toppings were loaded we popped them into the oven for 13 minutes on 400. Oven times vary so just watch it.

 

 

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French Bread halved and sliced

 

 

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Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Mozzarella and Pizza Sauce

 

 

Step 3

Ready for the oven

 

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13 minutes at 400 degrees. Yummy!

 

 

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

The kids and I finally got around to doing that scavenger hunt we planned for back in October.

 

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I can never get a serious picture with these three 🙂

 

In many places, the weather is still warm, so there is still time to go out and play this activity. You can find the scavenger list we created here at our printable shop on Etsy to download. Thank you 😉

Down here in Southeast Texas it does not get cold very often and when the temperature does drop, it only lasts for a short time. So, that leaves us with very nice “winter” weather. Any time it is not hot and muggy is a win for everyone!

Our list was simple! By keeping it easy, the kids did not get bored. While they found some things quickly, others required they look past the obvious to find. We went to a nice little park near our house so we could find a variety of things.

Here is our list:

  1. A bug
  2. Something Colorful
  3. One piece of litter
  4. A smooth rock
  5. Something Fuzzy
  6. A chewed leaf
  7. Something beautiful
  8. Two different leaves
  9. A flower
  10. Something rough
  11. A stick

 

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1. A bug – A ladybug chilling on a table. 

 

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2. Something Colorful – This confetti on the ground.

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3. One piece of litter – This looked a bit too nasty to pick up and throw away.

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4. A smooth rock – A group of smooth rocks.

 

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5. Something fuzzy – These oak galls. 

 

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6. A chewed leaf – These leaves look like they were gnawed on.

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7. Something beautiful – The kids thought the reflection of the sun on the water was beautiful.

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8. Two different leaves – We counted the blade of grass as a leaf.

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9. A flower – One the few flowers that were still thriving.

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10. Something rough – The fence was pretty rough.

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11. A stick – He found the biggest one he could.

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Bri checking out something she found the base of this tree.

It was a bit chilly outside and the kids were eager to get back into the car. Once we made it home we sipped on hot chocolate and talked about all the cool things we saw.


 

What are some fall/winter outdoor activities you like to do with your family where you live?

 

 

 

 

Pizza Muffins

What a great recipe to get the kids involved with!

In Dianes Kitchen

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These Pizza Muffins make a great grab and go snack or a meal! I made these as a meal with the Grandkids but my husband is the one that loved them the most! I made these with pizza dough, a lot of pepperoni, cheese and a little sauce. I left the rest of the sauce to dip the muffins in after they were baked. YUM!

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Ingredients – (I ended up not using the butter)

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Cut the pizza dough in half making two equal pieces.

Unroll each piece.

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Sprinkle the chopped up Pepperoni evenly on both pieces of

dough keeping it away from the edges.

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Sprinkle cheese on top of pepperoni.

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Use a spoon and put a thin line of sauce over the cheese.

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Roll up both pieces of the dough starting at the

short end and going to the other short end.

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Using your hand gently squeeze and make the

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Having It All Together

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As a new homeschool mom, I am constantly bombarded with questions about how the kids are getting a proper education. In the past, I would immediately put my guard up because it felt like an attack on my personal ability to be able to fully educate my children. Then I learned that education can mean different things to different people.

To some, it’s important for children to be in a classroom all day learning with a teacher and dealing with their peers. And I totally get why this is “normal” to them. It’s a safe way to make sure your kids are getting their education and they don’t somehow fall through the cracks of society. Afterall, most parents have demanding work schedules and who has time to even help with homework after a long day? I know that struggle we lived it for years. That’s when we finally decided enough was enough with the rat race.

In my opinion, the benefits of homeschooling are just enormous. The kids are free to pursue what their interests are and have time to develop them. Core subjects can be discussed at length and broken down to suit the needs of each child. The field trips can be designed around which subject we’re studying, which causes the subject to become real. Here is an example of our Sea Turtle field trip. This trip made a lasting impression on the kids and they became more sympathetic to not just the delicate balance of marine life but of animals all over the world.

I used to dislike homeschooling families. I thought they looked down on us parents who put our kids in public school. They seemed to have a perfect little life spending time with their kids and creating memories, while I was stuck in an office all day wishing I could be at home. But once we became a homeschooling family I learned that it’s a not a perfect life. It’s a real struggle every day to provide all three meals, keep on task with school work, making sure the kids help with housework, keep them socialized and on and on. It can be tough but the benefits outweigh the negatives by far.

We have become closer as a family. I have learned so many things about my children that I probably would not have discovered if we held to our old way of life just to have that extra income. I know Audy is really into science and engineering. Bri loves art and wants to make video games. Mavi wants to work with animals. These are things we never talked about before because we were too busy. If you’re thinking of homeschooling don’t let self-doubt creep in. Talk to your kids about it and see where they stand. It took us a full year to decide if we were ready.

There is no such thing as having it all together. We take each day one at a time. Each moment as it comes. Why not the next time you encounter a homeschooling family ask questions of course, but also give the kids some words of encouragement?

Because honestly the best thing any of us can do in our lives is just hold it together.

What about you? Have you had to defend your decision to homeschool?

My children have been asking me to spend more time with them more recently. I thought this was an odd request due to the fact that we are always around each other. Choosing to be a stay at home mom was not an easy choice to make. It meant we would be down one income but on the flip side, it would create more opportunities to guide and educate our kids. Our kids will not be so little forever and will eventually grow up and move on with their lives. Work can wait.

Choosing to be a stay at home mom was not an easy choice to make. It meant we would be down one income but on the flip side, it would create more opportunities to guide and educate our kids. Children are only young once and will eventually grow up and move on with their lives. Work can wait.

I told my husband that the kids mentioned they wanted more time with me. He suggested that perhaps I was not as present as I thought I was. Turns out he was right.

The kids and I held a meeting the next day in order to determine what the real problem was. Their number one complaint, drum roll please, was me spending too much time on my phone. The second was not really listening when we are having a conversation.

OK, what parent is not guilty of one of these or both? Back to being a stay at home mom. If you’re honest with yourself, you can admit that it can get pretty boring and repetitive. My phone is an outlet or

Back to being a stay at home mom. If you’re honest with yourself, you can admit that it can get pretty boring and repetitive. My phone is an outlet or a type of escape from the mundane things around the house. However, I never have it out during school hours. The time we spend learning is very important and the kids and I both respect that boundary.

It is the rest of the day where we all seem to go our separate ways, right through dinner and until bedtime.  I do in fact get my “me” time by carving it out. The early morning hours is my time to focus on myself. This includes workout, meditation and Bible reading. I am by no means a morning person but I found this was the best time to focus on me.

So after our meeting, we decided to put a few things into practice:

  • Absolutely no electronics at meal times.
  • If someone is speaking, put down the phone and be engaged and give a thoughtful answer.
  • Understand that at times we may not be heard and that is OK.

Kids need to know the world does not revolve around them. So, naturally, there will be boundaries in place that are aimed to help them understand that nagging is not tolerated. If I said no once then don’t ask me another million times in an attempt to try and wear me down.

Also, they understand that not every moment of the day can and will be spent with them. They need to use their imagination to play and create moments for themselves.

I am confident that moving forward that I will be able to be more present and not just merely there.

Have you had to overcome a similar challenge? Sound off in the comments!

This summer has been filled with fun times and some boring times.

Regardless, the kids and I had a very relaxing time off from our busy homeschool schedule.

School for us starts in August and we’re ready to get back to it…or at least I am ready.

As I have mentioned before I need structure throughout the day and having the summer off has been a little bit of a challenge for me. It’s almost like I am lost without my schedule.  We follow a very loose schedule each day but with our many activities it can be tough to stick to it. Obviously, my kids have no problems being wild and free!

I am starting to see more and more back-to-school sales and am relieved I don’t have to come up with the cash to spend on uniforms, shoes, supplies and backpacks for all three kids. We buy school supplies as needed throughout the year. However, I am not against taking advantage of the sales to bump our supply cache.

Last year, for our first year of homeschool, I bought a ton of supplies because I didn’t know what we would really need. I ended up writing a post about what items we decidedly couldn’t live without that you can check out here.  Decorations is on the list but you really don’t need them, it’s more of a want.

Some supplies for this year include:

  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Erasers
  • Printer Ink
  • Printer Paper
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Magnets ( I make my own magnets that you can purchase. Please and thank you!)
  • Basic Art Supplies such as paint, glue, scissors, markers, paint surface paper

I have to schedule the field trips for the year and that shouldn’t be too hard. There is always something to do around here.

Are you looking forward to school starting? If you homeschool what do you look forward to the most this year?