Beating Homeschool Burnout Before It Begins

It’s the beginning of the school year for many (unless you’ve been working year-round), and the excitement of new pencils, markers, notebooks gives most of us a ready-to-go attitude.

But whether you’re a new homeschooling family or a longtime veteran, after a few weeks or months, you’ll notice the excitement will fade and school will be just another thing to cross off your daily list of chores. This is burnout, and it’s common, but is there anything you can do to avoid it?

1. Start Slow
You may super excited to crack open that new book and pack as many lessons into as short a time as possible, but for the first few weeks of classes give plenty of recess and play time and keep lessons short. Slowly ease back into the routine.  

2. Take Breaks When You Need Them
Some parents beat the burnout by scheduling one week off for every 4 to 6 weeks of school, while other parents just opt to take a day off once in a while when they sense their family needs it. Don’t stress about taking a break here and there. Your kids will get a lot more out of their lessons if they have a good attitude than if you’re forcing them to sit just so you can put a pretty “completion” sticker in your subject planner.

3.Do More Hands-On Activities
When you start to feel burnout coming on, bench the busywork and add some fun hands-on activities to your schedule instead.

Are you studying Ancient Rome? Explore what it was like to live as a Roman. Dress in costume, make authentic recipes, or build a model of a Roman home.

Need to tackle that spelling list? Hide plastic letters in the backyard and have the kids run around searching for the letters they need to spell their words.

Make up songs to memorize grammar rules, do a science experiment, (Educents has great deals on hands-on activities for kids of all ages, affiliate link), or try to paint your own Picasso or Monet while studying their art styles. School won’t always be “fun”, but homeschooling gives you the flexibility and freedom you need to present the information in new and engaging ways.

4. Vary Where You Do School
When Stinker won’t sit still and complains about doing any work, I know it’s time to change our surroundings. Sometimes that’s as easy as taking our reading outside to the backyard or to the couch. Sometimes it means a field trip to the aquarium or Zoo where we have passes. Your child is not confined to his or her desk, and they will be more open to absorbing new information if you change up the scenery at times.

By taking advantage of homeschooling’s flexible schedule, you can avoid burnout and keep your family learning happily all year long!

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10 Ideas for Leftover Or Frozen Meatballs-Update

 


This post, originally written in 2012, has been one of the most popular posts on my site. So I figured it would be fun to update it with a nice, shiny, new Pin-able picture and some updated recipes!

Making a double…or triple…batch of my freezer friendly meatballs doesn’t take much more prep work than a single batch, and there are so many options for leftovers. I love having these in the freezer for those “uh oh, what’s for dinner?!” weekdays. I make sure to freeze them without sauce, so I’m not bound to use them for Italian food!

1. Meatball Sandwiches
-Obviously.

2. Meatball Pizza
-Slice meatballs into thin pieces. Prepare a pizza crust with sauce and cheese, and sprinkle meatball slices on top of cheese. Add other toppings or vegetables of choice (such as onions, bell peppers, olives, etc), and bake at 450* until bubbly and golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

3. Chili
-Crumble up meatballs and add to your favorite chili recipe instead of the ground beef, onion, garlic mixture. This is especially easy for rushed mornings, to throw into the crock pot.

4. Meatball Soup
-My friend Kerstin gave me the recipe to this awesome and FAST soup in the crock pot.

1 lb leftover or frozen meatballs (I make mine larger, so about 4-5. I cut them into bite size pieces before serving)
1 can Beef Broth (14oz)
1 Cup Water
1 can of Diced Tomatoes w/Basil, Garlic and Oregano (14.5oz), undrained (or 1 can regular diced tomatoes with some italian seasoning sprinkled in)
1 can of Cannellini Beans or Kidney Beans (14oz), drained
1/2 onion chopped
1 C chopped carrots
1/2 C chopped celery
2 C cooked noodles (optional)
Parmesan Cheese to garnish individual servings

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
Garnish individual servings with Parmesan Cheese, add noodles to individual bowls if desired, and serve.

5. Meatball Gyros
-Slice heated meatballs and add to warm pita bread. Top with sliced cucumber, sliced onion, lettuce, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce.

6. Meatball Calzones
-Mix 2 C ricotta cheese with 1 egg, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 C mozzarella cheese, and several sprinkles of Italian Seasoning. Fold in chopped pieces of meatball. Cut 1 lb pizza dough into 4 equal portions, and roll into squares. Place 1/4 cheese mixture on each square. Fold diagonally and seal edges with a fork. Brush tops with one egg whisked with 2 TBS water. Bake at 450* until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

7. Sweet and Sour Meatballs
-Simmer meatballs with store bought or homemade sweet and sour sauce. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped scallions.

8. Lasagna
-Crumble or slice meatballs, use in place of ground beef, onion, garlic mixture in lasagna.

9. BBQ Meatballs
-Simmer meatballs in your favorite BBQ sauce until heated through. Serve over mashed potatoes with coleslaw on the side.

10. Sloppy Joes
-Crumble meatballs and use with your favorite sloppy joe recipe instead of the ground beef and onion mixture. Our personal favorites: This Rachael Ray recipe on Food Network, and this recipe over on Allrecipes   

What are your favorite ways to use up leftover or frozen meatballs?

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DIY Lego Travel Tray

Last summer’s travel lap tray idea worked relatively well on our travels, but now that Stinker is really into Legos, and after I made the Lego Pattern Travel Game last week, I began to wonder if I could travel with Legos without worrying about them getting lost or thrown all over the place. Ah ha! It can be done!! A Lego Travel Tray. It takes 2 minutes to make, and only cost about $10. Now, Stinker can build some masterpieces on our next road trip or plane ride, and I won’t have to wedge myself under the back seat searching for missing Lego pieces. Not that I’ve ever done that before. Especially not Wild Style’s hair piece. Ahem.

Anyway, the shopping list is pretty straight-forward. You’ll need:

  • Cookie Sheet (I get mine at the Dollar Store. They cost $1, and are about 9″x12″.)
  • Lego Plate (This was the most expensive piece. I found one for $5.99, and it’s a 10″x10″.)
  • Magnetic Spice Containers (Michaels had these for $1.50 each, but I had a 15% off coupon)
  • Box Cutter (not pictured)
  • Super Glue or Hot Glue Gun (Not Pictured)

1. First, if you have a 9″x12″ cookie sheet, you’ll need to cut the Lego plate to fit the cookie sheet. Using a box cutter, apply firm pressure in a straight line, to cut off about 3 rows of raised dots. I actually cut off four, but start with three. Note: You’ll want to run the box cutter through two or three times. The plastic will actually break off where the cut was, creating a nice, even cut. My amazing grampa did the cutting for me. Because he’s handy like that. And because I can’t cut a straight line to save my life.

2. Next, use Super Glue or a hot glue gun to attach the Lego plate to the edge of the cookie sheet. You’ll want to leave room for the magnetic containers on the side. Allow to dry.

3. Fill magnetic containers with Legos, and place on the edge of the tray. Apparently I turned my tray between pictures. It was a Monday night after a very long Monday. I have no explanation.

4. Now you can enjoy Legos while traveling, and not have to wonder how Wild Style’s hair piece could have possibly jumped out of the car because you scoured every square inch of the backseat and found nothing save french fries that may be older than your youngest child. Again, not that I’ve ever done that, but just a helpful reminder. Because I care. 

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Book Review: Saving Amelie

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 
My area of focus in getting my history degree was World War II. It is an incredibly difficult period of history to study, mostly because of the pure evil seeping from the Nazi regime. The Nazi party, under Adolf Hitler, controlled Germany from 1933 until the end of the War in 1945. During that time, their genocidal strategies killed millions upon millions of innocent citizens. We all know about the horrors of the Holocaust, where 6 million Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but few people realize that the Nazis were out to eliminate anyone they considered to have “an inferior bloodline.” This included people with disabilities, like little Amelie, the namesake of Cathy Goelke’s novel Saving Amelie. 
The novel begins in summer 1939, just before Hitler invades Poland to officially begin World War II. Rachel Kramer is traveling with her scientist father to Berlin, to complete some “work” her father has been engaged in. Rachel knows her father is involved in the science of eugenics, but is convinced his work is solely altruistic: trying to eradicate smallpox, and not in the abominable eugenics experiments of the Nazis in killing peoples who are not “perfect Aryans”.
While in Berlin, Rachel receives word from her estranged friend Kristine, who left the States to marry SS Officer Gerhardt Schlick, that Kristine’s daughter is in grave danger. Rachel does not believe Kristine at first, but later comes to realize that 4-year old Amelie’s deafness does, in fact, put her in danger. Not only from the eugenics movement that is sweeping Germany and causing anyone with a disability to be killed, but also from her father. Gerhardt Schlick is a ruthless man, and will not accept Amelie as his child because of her deafness. He would rather have her eliminated to maintain his image of being a perfect Aryan speciman. Rachel offers to help in any way she can, which leads her to American newspaperman Jason Young. Together, Jason and Rachel put their own safety on the line to help Amelie stay hidden from the Nazis. Jason meets famed historical figure Dietrich Bonhoeffer and learns more about Christianity. Throughout the book, Jason tries to show Rachel the same Christian faith he has learned, as Rachel learns more about her father and her personal history that causes her to doubt and lose hope. 
This book really hit home for me, since in the book, Amelie is deaf, just like my own son is. The Nazis sought to eliminate her as “unworthy of life” because of her disability. I can’t help but look at my beautiful little boy and think that anyone would consider him “unworthy of life” just because his ears don’t work. The book is very well-written and the characters are strong and it was easy to imagine myself in the scenes. It was filled with action, adventure, drama, suspense, and a little bit of romance.
Bottom Line: 8.5*/10*
*I was provided a complimentary copy of Saving Amelie from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and have not been swayed in any way.

34 Toppings for Nachos (with Recipes!)

Few meals are more satisfying than a plate of hot, gooey nachos with the works. The topping combinations for this crowd favorite are endless, but here are 34 of my favorite! (Hint: It’s all about the cheese, so make sure your cheese is the star. Try my Best Ever Nacho Cheese Sauce (#1).)

Cheese
1. Best Ever Nacho Cheese Sauce
2. Shredded cheese, such as cheddar, pepper jack, or Mexican blend

Meat
3. Taco Seasoned Ground Beef
4. Mexican Pulled Beef
5. Slow Cooker Carnitas
6. Easiest Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
7. Chopped Steak (carne asada)
8. Crumbled Chorizo
9. BBQ Pulled Pork
10. BBQ Chicken
11. Crumbled Bacon
12. Buffalo Chicken

Vegetables
13. Diced Tomatoes
14. Diced onion (red, yellow, green, and/or white)
15. Chopped Jalapenos
16. Shredded Lettuce
17. Chopped Spinach
18. Shredded Cabbage
19. Black Olives
20. Diced Bell Peppers (cooked or raw)
21. Sliced Avocado
22. Cilantro

Beans
23. Slow Cooker Black Beans
24. Slow Cooker Pinto Beans (use recipe for Slow Cooker Black Beans, sub Pinto Beans)
25. Slow Cooker Refried Beans
26. Slow Cooker Refried Black Beans (use recipe for Slow Cooker Refried Beans, sub Black Beans)

Condiments
27. Salsa (homemade or jarred)
28. Sour Cream
29. Guacamole
30. Enchilada Sauce
31. Jalapeno Cheese Dip
32. Leftover Chili
33. Fresh Lime
34. Hot Sauce (like Cholula or Tapatio)

What Is On Your Ideal Nacho Plate? Share Your Ideas and Recipes!


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