Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Term 2 on the horizon here...

We will start on Term 2 officially Monday, but this week we are still working thru some math and English lessons for review, and finishing up some odds and ends projects yet. For us, the 'break' between Terms isn't as much a vacation as just a wrap-up week. 

While the crew spends their day on their work, my work includes pulling Term 1 notes from my daily binder and replacing them into the file to a,me room for my Term 2 sheets and goodies. The daily file box will be reloaded with the Term 2 lapbook and notebooking components for science and history, I will put up our new map work work for World History, and the reading shelf will be reworked with our main Term 2 titles and videos. They kids are excited....we read Johnny Tremain again, and we have the DVD on the shelf as well. We will probably start our Liberty Kids series this term as well. Term 2 will also move us into Australia and Antarctica. I haven't lined up our reading for these yet, so a trip to the library will be forthcoming I'm sure. Let's just hope I can keep them fully dressed and not sporting aboriginal attire for our hiking trips :-D

Term 2 will be broken into 2 work sessions to accommodate Thanksgiving. The schedule will be 7 weeks (10-7/11-22) then a break for Thanksgiving preps, then we will finish 2 weeks (12-3/12-13) and take a 3 weeks break for the winter season and Christmas, starting our next term January 6th. We will have plenty to do, probably still working math and such off and on, utilizing more hands-on lessons and the ever-popular kitchen math while we bake and cook. 

I've had a few notes about how we seem to be on a roll, things moving along at a great pace. Someone even said they were a bit envious of our homeschooling progress because their own days seem to get so jumbled. I love reading about the homeschooling adventures and plans of others. I am always inspired and motivated to up the ante around here. I have big plans, but I rarely have the big results I envisioned with those plans. Sure, I have the entire year laid out and ready to go, but the truth of it is our days are almost always interrupted by Life here...kittens getting into the wrong area, goats taking woodland visits without our knowledge, the cow walking past the driveway as she wanders down the road, fences that need unexpected repairs, chickens roaming about in need of better enclosures, an unplanned run to town or the Vet...there's always something.
It's LIFE, and trust me, we definitely live it here

I try to plan, but Life just happens, and rarely works in tandem with My Plans. And, of course, we have those days where the weather is just too enticing and we throw out the schedule and hit the road for a drive, or head to one of the parks and go on a long hike. Or we pack up the school bags and spend the day at the park, soaking up our lessons alongside an impromptu picnic by a lake.

What I'm saying is, don't believe our days flow on a smooth, even keel, or that we accomplish everything I already have laid out for school. We free form a great deal of our schooling. I should be more organized and strict in our scheduling, but I just don't roll that way. I try, but it's fighting an uphill battle. I'm just not hard-wired that way. My prayer is always that my free-ranging tendencies don't totally damage my children's future. I'm not worthy of homeschooling praises or followers. I'm just another homeschool mom swimming against the public school tide. Some days it works, some days we hit the rapids. 

So, onward to Term 2....Revolutionary War battles, here we come!

Homestead Meatballs

I was asked about the baked meatballs I made a post or two back. They aren't anything special really, just a simple baked meatball to add to the stash. They are relatively plain, a sort of meatball base if you will, so you can season and tweak as you please, yet they are yummy enough to soak up our favorite spaghetti sauce or delicious soup flavor.

3# meat of choice....all ground beef, ground turkey, ground sausage, or any combination.
1-2 medium onions, diced
Minced garlic or garlic powder (I use minced, about 1 TBS)
3 eggs
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
3-6 TBS tomato paste (if you are tweaking spices, this could well be optional)

I don't use a mixer to blend these together. I did once, it produced a sort of 'baby food meat' texture I just didn't like baked. They did, however, fry up really nicely. I gave them a bit of fry time, then finished off baking in the oven. Not my favorite, but they were pretty good that way.
At any rate, I just dig on in with my hands and mash, and squish, and mix. 

If you can't have fun in the kitchen, what's the point, right?

So, take your bowl of mixed, squishy meat and start popping out meatballs. With this recipe, you will have about 60 smallish meatballs, or about 30 big boys. I used my ice cream scoop and ended up in the middle, with about 48 I think. Plop them onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375* for 30-40 minutes.
You can also put them into your muffin tins to bake. Grab one, cut it and check it for doneness. 

Disclaimer: I'm sure the baker purists can tell you what the proper internal meatball temperature needs to be, but I just cook until I like the looks of them inside, and they aren't burnt. No one has been poisoned off around the homestead yet, so I continue my practice. I'm not advocating you follow my lackadaisical method, just telling you what I choose to do myself.

So, you have a mess of meatballs now....whaddya do with them??  We toss the meatballs into our spaghetti sauce, we add them to veggie soup, use them in stew, make a meatball sub casserole (or regular meatball subs)... They freeze well, too. Not that I typically have many to freeze when the crew finds out I've made them...

I'd love to hear how you tweak up this meatball base and make it your own. And definitely share your favorite recipes...for the meatballs,  or for how you love to use them.