Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-some Breakfast casseroles

Okay, so I realize its Wednesday not Tuesday.  Sorry!! 

Here's some tried and true recipes that we use when we have a lot planned and don't have time to make a breakfast. 

Southwest Sausage Bake

6-10in. flour tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
4 cans (4oz) chopped green chilies, drained
1 lb pork sausage, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp each: salt, garlic salt, onion, salt, pepper, and ground cumin
2 medium tomatoes, sliced

In a greased  9x13 baking dish, layer 1/2 the tortilla strips, chilies, sausage, and cheese.  Repeat layers.  In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and seasonings.  Pour over cheese.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Remove 30 minutes before baking.  Bake uncovered for 50 minutes.  Arrange tomato slices over the top and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

French Toast Bake (pioneer Woman recipe)

8 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla
1.5 lb loaf of sourdough bread

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces

Cube up the bread and place it in a greased 9x13 pan.  Mix all the other ingredients together and pour on top.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Mix topping ingredients together, cutting in the butter, until it is crumbly.  Put in a bag.

Take out of the fridge and sprinkle the topping on it.  Bake at 350 for one hour.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our Top Ten Read Alouds for Christmas

I know, I'm early with this but sometimes its nice to look over a list and try to get some of the books before the hustle and bustle of the holidays start.

10.  Christmas at the Top of the World by Tim Coffey

9.  The Legend of the Christmas Rose by William H. Hooks

8.  The Stable were Jesus was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene

7.  The Beautiful Christmas Tree by Charlotte Zolotow

6.  Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell

5.  A Pioneer Christmas by Barbara Greenwood

4.  The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

3.  The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston

2.   The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

1.  An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
     ****Spoiler Alert-this one is a tear jerker.  Perhaps read it ahead of time to see if your child can handle the story. 

Enjoy the holiday season!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My family's Top Five read alouds for children

For younger elementary children, our favorite books are:

                 1.  Betsy-Tacy books by Maude Hart Lovelace
            2. Betsy books by Carolyn Hayward
            3. Andrew Lost books by J. C. Greenburg
            4. The Littles series by John Peterson
            5. The Carole Marsh mysteries by Carole Marsh

For older elementary children, our favorite books are:

           1.  The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
           2.  Caddie Woodlawn
           3.  The Little House on the Prairie series
           4.  The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson
           5.  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books

For 12 and up, our favorite books are:

         1.  Swiss Family Robinson-often overlooked by a classic.  My entire family loves this book!
         2.  Little Women
         3.  Secret Garden
         4.  Adventures of Tom Sawyer
         5.  The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy

Stay tuned for our list of favorite classics to read

Top 3 Reasons you should read aloud together as a family

1.  Reading allows you to bond together

     When I first started homeschooling I was listening to a lecture about reading aloud as a family, and I was so impressed by what the speaker said that it has stayed with me all these years.
     She had two sons, a senior and a 7th grader.  Both were avid readers and the entire family enjoyed listening to each other read books.  A senior!!  How many of us stop reading aloud when our children know how to read on their own?  Reading opens doors and invites you into new realms and wonderful and exciting characters.  Being able to discuss them with your family opens the door for good communication on all fronts.

2.  Good readers test well and enjoy learning

     When my son was four, I took him in for testing for speech classes.  He had several issues saying words and I wanted to get it taken care of while he was young.  At this age, we only had one other child and I read to him about four to five books a night, and countless during the day. 

    One part of the test had him pointing to pictures to identify vocabulary words.  The words started out easy and got progressively harder.  Imagine my surprise and astonishment as he correctly identified "cliff" and "celebration".  I was also a little upset thinking that I needed to do more to get my four year old up to par with these words he "should" know.  After the test, she asked me about this part and I told her that I was surprised that he knew so many words.  She was too, he tested at a 2nd grade vocabulary level and he had just turned four. 

    Reading aloud gives you the opportunity to discuss new words or information with your child.  They can interrupt and ask questions, without have to go to that pesky dictionary (that no one really ever uses because most of us just skip over a word we don't know).

3.  Reading is a better instrument of your time

     My friend bought her child a Kindle Fire.  I was excited to see how this new technology, this ability to download a book at the speed of light would enable children to read more and more books.  Imagine my surprise and shock when she told me that her child uses it to play games and not read.  What's the point then?

    In this day and age, most kids don't read for pleasure.  They read only what is required in school and then run home to their computers and video games.   Gone are the days when a child sits on the couch reading, laughing over a joke in a book and stopping to take the time to tell mom why they are laughing.  Now, kids are shut up in their rooms and they don't come out until they eat. 

Reading together opens new doors, new worlds, new friends.  Reading together enables the family to laugh, cry, or be amazed at the words on the page.