Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Escarole and Butternut Squash Salad

This is one of the best salads I have ever had. Especially one of the best ones I have ever made!! And not to mention that it is served with a homemade dressing that is really good, especially because it has a little kick to it! I have made this salad twice to accompany a pretty lavish gourmet meal, but the salad was one of the best things about the meal, and Tad and I decided that I should just make the salad by itself more often! The combination of flavors makes it a wonderful fall salad, perfect for an afternoon lunch, an accompaniment for entertaining, or you could use the homemade dressing for just about anything! It would also be a great dish to serve at the Thanksgiving table! Enjoy!

Escarole and Butternut Squash Salad
Cuisine at Home

For the squash - 
1 1/2 lb. butternut squash
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

For the dressing - 
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. honey
1/2 - 1 tsp. minced chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce

For the salad -
1 head escarole (or whatever kind of greens you prefer)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
2. Peel skin from squash. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut flesh into 1 1/2-inch chunks; toss with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast squash on the baking sheet until browned, 25-30 minutes. Cool squash to room temperature.
3. Mince garlic with the 1/2 tsp. salt, then place in a medium bowl. Whisk in mayonnaise, buttermilk, lime juice, honey, and chipotle until dressing is emulsified. Refrigerate dressing until ready to serve, or up to 2 days.
4. Toss escarole with desired amount of dressing. Top salad with roasted squash and cranberries; garnish with pine nuts.

To toast the pine nuts, put them in a pan on medium heat and watch them closely. Cook until they are lightly browned. It says to shop them, but we put them whole on our salads. Love this addition!

The dressing doubles as a dipping sauce for some homemade empanadas that go along with this meal. Maybe I will add the recipe for these in the near future. Warning: they are to die for!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 9

Well, there are good weeks and better weeks with CC and this past week was pretty good! It was picture day so we skipped the nature walk for the science project. I didn't know when we were gonna have to go outside for pictures, so that was a little bit of a distraction since we were all anticipating when we were gonna get called. It ended up being at the very end, so it interrupted our review game a little, but that was okay, we were ready for a break!
We have a few more weeks of CC before our long Thanksgiving break, which will be nice. I'm hoping to do a little party our last week since we won't be meeting over the holiday times!  I'm not sure what that's going to look like, since we still have all of our material to cover, but hopefully we can do something fun!

This is what week 9 looked like in our classroom:

Timeline: New cards and motions
History Sentence:  We used the song and a printed our picture from CC connected to point to for cues.
Geography: The usual, found the new and old geography on the maps, used the plastic fish/dinosaur/cars to go to different locations, used dry erase markers to color in/underline new geography
Latin: Used the clip art pictures off CC connected to learn new 4th declension, handed them out to kids, listened to the song
English: New prepositions and motions
Math: Used a sheet off of CC connected saying 15 times 1 = and so forth.
Science: Different parts of a plant: Leaves (stand straight up and pretend hands are the leaves), Stem (stand pencil straight), and Roots (Squat on the ground with hands out like roots).

Grammar Review:  I got small plant containers (about 9 of them) and labeled each one with the different subjects and had 3 blank ones. The kids would stand about 2 or 3 feet away and toss some plastic golf balls until they landed into one or knocked one over. Then they either got a question for that subject or if they got a blank one they got to pick which subject they got a question from.

We had a fun week! I have had fun coming up with different review games because by the end they always have energy to burn and it's fun to see how much they know! I am always amazed at how well they are doing!

Hope this helps, and as always, if you are a parent or tutor feel free to add suggestions, things that worked in your classroom, ideas you use at home, or anything helpful! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Right now seems like such a crazy time. I think I definitely feel the most overwhelmed since having my third baby at the end of February. She is almost 8 months already, and I still feel pretty overwhelmed. It's not so much just her. It's all three of them put together. And this new year of teaching Classical Conversations each week that involves hours of prep work. And the ministries that I have at church. Plus the regular homeschooling, which I want to be one of my top priorities because I don't want that to fall by the wayside. And my home, and all the responsibilities that come along with that that pretty much fall on my shoulders alone. And then there are other things that I wish I had more time for. Like working out and spending time with friends. I feel like my friends are totally on the backburner right now. The only ones I really get together with are the few that pursue me to get together. Bless them!
Whenever anyone asks how I'm doing or what is going on, I feel like the answer is always "Busy." "Overwhelmed." "Crazy." "A lot going on." And if I'm not doing anything, or if I'm taking a nap, or relaxing, I feel like I should be doing something productive. And I wish I could get up early and get more things done before the kids get up, but lately, I have been getting so little sleep that my energy levels have been down and I have been struggling with depression so I can't really give up sleep right now. Ruth is up a lot at night, Maddy and Judah are in the same room now and they fall asleep a lot later than they used to, and get up a lot earlier than they used to. And usually about the time I lay down to go to sleep at night, Ruth wakes up for a feeding. And it seems like she is up way too much at night.
There is just so much going on right now. I miss having time to bake, cook, decorate, clean, exercise, entertain, all the things I used to blog about. My passions. The things that used to give me breaks. But now, I barely blog and probably because I don't have anything fun to blog about, it seems like I just keep griping about how overwhelmed I am. And how important things keep falling by the wayside. I know there are tons of systems and schedules out there to keep you on top of things. But when you homeschool, you are in a totally different game. When am I suppose to do those daily chores? My whole morning is filled with getting breakfast for 4 people, maybe picking up the kitchen, nursing Ruth, and getting school done with Maddy. And we are usually doing school in the afternoon after naps too.
I need the professional homeschooling veteran moms to help! When do you get things done? And how do you find the energy to get all those things done? It seems like my house is suffering, my health is suffering, and I cannot stay on top of things!! Maybe I'm just having a little emotional meltdown. I know the rewards of homeschooling and I know that that is more important than having a perfect house and entertaining weekly.
My mother-in-law was trying to help me by reminding me of my priorities: God, Husband, Family, Others/Church, Me. That breaks it down, showing me that my family is more important than church, Tad is more important than the kids, etc. But it can still be hard to break it all down and figure out how to get everything done in a way that I'm not going crazy. And I desperately miss my husband. My love. I so wish we had the money to have a getaway to focus on each other and relax. We have barely had that in our whole marriage. Maybe once. Or twice.
And it can also feel a little lonely being at home. Especially when the kids get sick. Even your husband doesn't understand what it's like to have all the responsibilities of a SAHM and be home with them all the time. And to never get a day off. Or a night off. It can be exhausting. Like today. Tad went to work, came home on his lunch break and saw the craziness for like 10 minutes and went back to work. Came home and took a nap on the couch. Left for worship practice and church while I stayed home with sick kids. Came back and did dishes for me and helped clean up and now he is gone on a run with his sister. I have been here all day. He did offer for me to go run, or for us to run together, but I just don't have the energy.
So there's my life. Crazy. Busy. And I don't have any answers, persay, I guess I'm still looking for answers.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 8

Well, after the "off" week I felt like I had on week 8, we had a really good week for week 9! I was so pleased with how things went, and I was so glad that I had a review game that was different and kept the kids moving! We had visitors this past week, one of my students was back after her family adopted 2 kids from Ethiopia, and we had a lot of material to cover! So it was a crazy week! But the kids had so much fun and I was glad to do some different things with them that kept their attention and got some of their energy out!

Week 9

Timeline: introduce new cards and learn hand motions
History Sentence: for the Age of Imperialism, I printed off pages that said Imperialism, 1858, 1877, 1948, a picture of Mohandas Gandhi, and a picture of fireworks (for independence). I had the kids stand in a circle and hold each of these and hold them up when we said them in the song, and the 2 that didn't have cards would pretend to sip tea when we said British, and pretend to place a crown on their head when we said Queen. They loved it! And they loved being Mohandas Gandhi!
Geography: Used maps to find new geography and review old geography, kids glued their "stamps" for China onto their passports, they always get a plastic car, fish, dinosaur, or airplane to find their geography
English: We always use the preposition motions and do our preps to the tune of Yankee Doodle per our campus.
Latin: Since it was a review week, they played musical chairs but they had to sing the Latin tunes or they were out automatically. I let the "out" kid back in every time, so we didn't remove any extra chairs. They had a blast!
Science: We said monocot, dicot, conifer, oh my! Like the Wizard of Oz, and held up 1 finger, 2 fingers, and made a triangle for conifer.
Math: I printed off a math sheet from CC connected that had all the numbers printed with bugs and so they put their finger on the numbers as we sang the song.

Grammar Review: We did review stations (as suggested by one tutor in my comments section! Thanks!) where 2 parents and myself ran them. We had 3 kids to each station, and each parent would quiz them on 2 subjects and then they would get a sticker on their shirt, and switch stations. When they had reviewed in all 3 stations, they got a medal necklace ($1 for a package of 8 at the dollar store!! )

Treasure Box: Every week, they get to put a sticker on their sticker chart if they were good, and every other week if they have both stickers, they get to pick one thing out of the treasure box. I remind them of this every week as motivation to be good! I have had to take away a sticker from a couple of kids, and as sad as it was, I think it was a good reminder to be good and shape up! They seemed better after that!

Hope these ideas help, and as always, please share your ideas in the comments section for me and other tutors who visit this site!! They are very helpful! Especially when you are planning and you get "tutor's block!"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 7

 Well, if you are wondering why it's been so long since I have done a CC post, it is because we had a week off! So we are about to head into week 8 already! Time flies! I have enjoyed hearing from different tutors who have read this blog, and have really enjoyed the input and suggestions other creative tutors have offered! Let's help each other!
I was really at a loss for a grammar review game this week. We ended up reviewing a lot of songs, and the different ways we learned the different subjects. It wasn't really a game, and I was less than impressed with myself for not being more creative! I thought all week about how to do a review game, and I was just coming up with nothing! But I recently went and planned through week 12 and came up with several new and exciting review games, so I'm excited!
In our training sessions, I remember the leader of our session saying that some weeks it was all she could do to get to CC with her kids, and it was difficult. I think I had one of those weeks this past week. There has been a lot going on in our church, with sickness and hardships, and I just felt very heavy during the week. I think that's why I couldn't come up with a review game! But you know, that's life. I don't think we can all be spot on every week. But God gives us grace to get there, get our kids there, and to keep going with what we have! What would we do without His strength?
So, here's what we did for week 7!

Timeline: Learn new cards with hand motions
History Sentence: Printed the words Hinduism and Buddhism on different pieces of cardstock with their symbols behind them and held them up whenever we said those words with the song.
Geography: Used big maps to find old/new geography, used individual passports I made them and they pick a "stamp" each week and glue it on and I write the name of the new Empire for the week inside.
English: Learned new hand motions for the new prepositions, sang the whole song of the prepositions to the tune of Yankee Doodle (up until what we know), which is what our campus is doing
Latin: Used the clip art page off of CC Connected to introduce the 3rd declension with the song
Science: For "how do animals reproduce?" we did hand motions: live birth (cupped hands at stomach opening up), eggs (hands cupped together like an egg) and fragmentation (I had the kids all hold hands and I lightly karate chopped their hands as I said frag-men-ta-tion, they loved it!)
Math: skip counting the 13's, sang the song and followed along on the board where it was written

Science Project: We are using the nature books that we printed off of CC Connected, we looked at the parts of a flower and they all had individual flowers to look at, then they drew and colored a flower (I didn't have them write and individually label all the parts)

Orchestra! We are doing orchestra this quarter because our orchestra leader is leaving in December! So we flip flopped our tin whistle and orchestra, which will push our tin whistle to the final quarter!

Presentations: The kids sit on individual carpet squares and the presenter stands in the center of a bulletin board that has a calendar in the center of it, so they know where to stand. I remind them of proper ways to do a presentation, what to avoid doing, and remind the class of good audience manners!

And that's it for week 7! Come join us next week for week 8!