5 Embarrassing Things Homeschooled Kids Say

I love homeschooling my kids.  It is one of the key components to our “homestead” lifestyle.  Teaching kids that they don’t need a specialized teacher in order to learn is vital to raising self-sufficient kids.  Homeschooling teaches our children HOW to think, not what to think.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world but let’s be honest, there are a few problems with homeschool life.  One of these things is the constant battle with what homeschooled, tiny humans say to embarrass their parents.

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Here are just a few of my favorites:

  1. “We only do school one day a week.”  This is the one that they love to tell their friends (and the friends in turn tell their parents, and then you get the stink eye from the parents.)  The truth is that we have our CC community day (others often have homeschool COOP) and for some reason homeschooled kids seem to think this is the only “school day” that they have.  We do school at LEAST 4 days a week… most of the time… I SWEAR.   
  2. “No we haven’t done any school yet today.”  This is one they love to tell their dad when it’s 11:30 AM and he calls home from work to say “Hi”.  It goes something like this…”What are you doing right now?” kids inevitable response is “Oh, just laying here” (Translation: “I WAS just doing my copy work, but I laid down on my bed to talk to you.”)  Dad’s tone grows concerned “Have you done your schoolwork yet today?” “No, we haven’t done any school yet today.” (Translation: We haven’t done our math and phonics workbooks yet and apparently don’t REALIZE that all this other stuff we’ve been doing (ie. Bible story, memory work, copy work, read aloud time, science journaling) is “school work” leaving Daddy with the impression that we just rolled out of bed. (SIGH)
  3. “I don’t know what grade I’m in.”  This is their #1 favorite thing to say to strangers who are interrogating them in the grocery store.  And to be fair to the kids, we as mom’s don’t know how to answer that question either.  We know what grade they should be in by age category but the truth is that homeschooling offers us the freedom to work with our children according to their own ability in each area.  My 5 year old, should technically be a kindergartener… but she started Classical Conversations at four and insisted on starting to read the minute she turned 5 years old, so she’s closer to a 1st grade level in many ways but we are still doing kindergarten math.  In language arts my 7 year old is doing the second semester of a kinder language arts program because I felt the curriculum we used previously was lacking in some areas.  So although she’s reading at a 2nd grade level, we’re catching up on some fundamental phonics right now.  AND THAT’S OKAY!  So no, random lady in the grocery store check out, none of us really know how to answer that question.
  4. “We just watch TV and color.” Yet another thing they LOVE to tell strangers.  Yes, we use Wild Kratts to supplement our science and trace black line maps with dry erase markers to learn geography, but it sure would sound a lot better if they learned to tell people, “we’re studying biology and European geography right now.”  But no, we watch TV and color. 
  5. “No, I haven’t learned about ______ yet.”  (This one also comes in the form of a non-verbal blank stare.)  This comes as a response to someone asking, if they have learned something yet and as luck would have it, will always be something very basic that you have gone over many times.  The truth is we have no idea where this response comes from, maybe it’s because they don’t recognize the word “addition” or maybe because their little brain decided to go on recess break at that moment, who knows.

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The truth is that homeschooling is a unique journey and it rarely looks like a public school setting around here.  (THANK GOODNESS)  But that, especially if you are new to homeschooling, can lead to anxiety over social judgment. Learn to laugh at your kids when they say these things and relax into the arms of grace.  That lady in the grocery store checkout has no business interrogating your kids but maybe rather than elbowing your kiddo into silence and running away as quickly as possible, take a moment to explain to her the hidden translations to your kids’ answers.  Most who are opposed to homeschooling don’t understand it or are working off of a narrow stereotype.  It would do a lot for our cause if we took the time to joyfully share how penmanship and art are connected to science in nature journaling and how that fuels their desire for more knowledge.  Who knows, she might just walk away with some new light shined on an old stereotype.

Pinto Bean Spice

Pinto Bean Spice

1/2 cup granulated garlic

1/4 cup onion powder

1/4 cup chili powder

1/4 cup Cumin

2 Tbl Salt

1 Tbl Paprika

1 Tbl Pepper

*Note: This recipe makes a bulk batch to season Pinto Beans with at any time.  You will have to experiment on your own to reach the desired flavor you want but I would say that I use approximately 1/3 cup to a large pot of beans.

Homemade Mayonnaise

I’m sure by now, you are probably aware that I have a serious gravitation to all things self sufficient.  My favorite avenue of self sufficient cooking is Redeeming Comfort Food.

Indulging in a favorite comfort food that would typically be a “no-no” and feeling GOOD about it is just a fantastic feeling.

One of my favorite ingredients that tends to get a bad rap is mayonnaise.  That creamy, dreamy white stuff can be used in so many ways: spread on hamburgers and sandwiches, used to bind chicken or tuna salad, a base to homemade ranch dressing and even added to baked casserole dishes to provide a yummy, creamy consistency are just a few glimpses of the possibilities.

The first reason that mayo gets a bad rap is due to the low fat diet trend that began in the 1970’s.  We now know however, that in fact many types of fat are healthy and are a very necessary part of our diet.  More on that later, but for now just hear me, fat content alone is NOT the problem.

The second reason that mayo gets a bad rap is due to the highly questionable ingredients in this processed food.  Now this, my friends is a very valid concern.  Any time that you can make food yourself, you are doing your body a BIG favor.  You are taking control of what ingredients are used and also the quality of the ingredients that are used.

The desire to get away from processed foods, coupled with my slightly obsessive tendency to make all things from scratch are what led to this recipe.  I’ll admit, the first time I made this I did a slightly embarrassing happy dance in my kitchen that would make Carlton proud.

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So here it is.

First, add eggs, mustard, lemon juice and salt into your blender and secure the lid.

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Next, start blending on the lowest setting and gradually increase to medium high speed (on my Vitamix, I start on Variable 1 and increase to Variable 6.)

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It should look nice and frothy like this!

Then, while the machine is running, remove the lid plug and SLOWLY pour oil through the opening into the container; I start with a few drops at a time or a very light drizzle.  As the mixture begins to thicken, the oil can be added at a faster rate.  A nice steady stream is perfect.  The oil adding process should take longer than 2 minutes.

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Once the mixture is nice and thick and your oil is incorporated, you can stop the machine and stir in any oil sitting on top.

Scrape your mayo into a jar and refrigerate!  (Use within 2-4 weeks)

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Perfection.

It’s that simple folks!!

Note: My mayo turns out a butter yellow color rather than white due to farm fresh eggs.  Don’t upset yourself over stuff like that; just let your food be the colors they naturally are.  God is the Master artist, right?

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Here is the recipe:

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Olive Oil
  1. Add eggs, mustard, lemon juice and salt into your blender and secure the lid.
  2. Start blending on the lowest setting and gradually increase to medium high speed (on my Vitamix, I start on Variable 1 and increase to Variable 6.)
  3. While the machine is running, remove the lid plug and SLOWLY pour oil through the opening into the container; I start with a few drops at a time or a very light drizzle.  As the mixture begins to thicken, the oil can be added at a faster rate.  The oil adding process should take longer than 2 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture is nice and thick and your oil is incorporated, you can stop the machine and stir in any oil sitting on top.

Note:  If your kitchen is TOO warm (like, if you are doing this next to your stove and have the oven on and a burner going) OR if you have a high powered blender and let it run too long, the mixture will not thicken.

And now go on with your bad self and enjoy some guilt free indulgence.  🙂

 

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How to NOT Boil an Egg (and get beautiful results)

There aren’t many things more awkward than buying an 18 pack of store bought eggs when you have 25 chickens at home and several dozen eggs sitting on your kitchen counter.

Eggs

Why on earth would I be buying store bought eggs you ask?  Well if you have your own chickens, you already know; but if you don’t, let me clue you in.

Boiled fresh eggs DO NOT PEEL.  That stubborn egg white clings to its shell like we small town folk cling to our guns and religion.  😉

By the time you’re done clawing that egg out of the shell it is not a pretty sight.

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Not exactly Easter brunch, deviled egg material is it?

Even store bought eggs can have this issue, around the holidays when egg suppliers have a harder time keeping up with demand and the eggs on store shelves are much fresher than normal.

 

The only way I’ve known to combat this issue is to keep an egg carton aside for 3 weeks or so.  The longer those eggs have had to sit, the more easily it will be to separate that pesky membrane between the shell and white.  The problem is… it’s no easy task to keep aside my precious “to be boiled” egg carton.  Inevitably the hubby will sell them, or they get mixed up with other cartons and used for breakfast… it just never seems to work out.  Plus, we go through a LOT of boiled eggs.  They are a healthy, inexpensive snack for our family and having to wait around for 3 weeks to get another batch ready just isn’t always feasible.

So there I find myself, sheepishly tucking the egg carton in my shopping cart and hoping that no one notices that I am shamefully PAYING for eggs at the store.

Enter Pinterest.

I love Pinterest, seriously, there are SO many great recipes and great ideas out there right at our finger tips.  ANYWAY, I came across a Pin one day about STEAMING eggs instead of boiling them.  Say what?

It works folks.  It works REALLY well.

Now the thing to remember, as with all cooking, there are ALWAYS variables.  Altitude, the temperature of your eggs, whether they are in a single layer or double layer in your pan, all of these things might vary your results.  It is okay if something doesn’t work out perfectly the first time.  Don’t throw the idea out all together, it just means that your method needs to be adjusted next time.

So here’s how it’s done.

  1. Place eggs in the steamer basket above a pan of water.
  2. Turn your stove to medium high heat and wait until you see condensation form the steam begin to form on the lid.  Set your timer for 25 minutes.  (This is the time that I typically use with my eggs double stacked in the steamer basket, 22 minutes seems to be just right if there is only a single layer.)
  3. When your timer goes off, immediately transfer the eggs to an cold water bath.  Cooling the eggs off quickly prevents your eggs from over cooking and causing that not so pretty green tint to the yolk.
Now, when it comes to peeling the eggs, I have another fun trick that makes peeling them a breeze.  This handy little method is really the key to pulling this whole thing all together and get beautifully smooth, peeled eggs.
  1. Place boiled (or steamed in this case) eggs in a tumbler with approximately 1/2 inch of water.
  2. Seal the open end of the glass with your hand and shake vigorously back and forth for 10 seconds.
  3. Take the egg out and the skin will easily slip off.You can see how it’s done here:  The FASTEST way to peel a hard cooked egg!

 

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Redeeming Comfort Food

I love food.

There, I said it.  I have a passion for food that goes beyond all reason.

Honestly, who couldn’t with a background like mine?  I come from a line of good cooks.  REALLY good cooks.

I was blessed to grow up with two Grandmothers who were fantastic cooks with dramatically differing styles.

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My hilarious Grandma Jeanne

My Grandma Jeanne would put Martha Stewart to shame in a time when Pinterest wasn’t around.  She could lay the most elegant holiday table, complete with linen table cloths, goldware and stand out recipes that were to die for.

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My sweet Grandma Hilda

My Grandma Hilda was also a most accomplished home cook.  Her food was “down home” comfort food that would stick to your ribs and make everything right in the world.  She was the Macgyver of the food world.  She could create a feast with what seemed like nothing in the cupboards.  Her methods were miraculous and genius.

And then there’s my amazing mom.

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My incredible mom took her mother’s classy cooking and melded it with her mother-in-law’s down home country cooking with perfect balance.  It made for a heart-warming childhood.  🙂

So ya see, it’s not my fault… I am just a product of my environment.

I fell in love with cooking at the age of 15 with my first attempt to create my own “from scratch” version of BBQ sauce.  I picked up a bottle of store bought BBQ sauce, read the ingredients in an attempt to recreate it and made some BBQ grilled chicken that wasn’t too shabby (if I do say so myself.)  It was my first attempt to cook without a recipe and the rest is History.  Years of working in restaurants only drove my passion further; I couldn’t help my constant need to improve on the recipes, and after my introduction to Food Network, well, I became a lost cause.

Over time, I have become what I call a “real food” foodie.  In an attempt to use my food obsession for good rather than evil, I have adopted a “clean eating” mind set.  Now, for the sake of transparency I will admit that I do not (nor do I intend) to eat 100% clean 100% of the time; but I strive to reduce our reliance on processed food as much as possible.

One of my favorite “real food” foodie past times is what I call “redeeming comfort food.”  Taking recipes and ingredients that I have (or really should have by now) forsaken, and find a way to enjoy them once again–guilt free, by rewriting the script with real food ingredients.

And when most of those ingredients come from forest or farm?

Sigh…

pure nirvana.