Register for the PSAT!

In two weeks the PSAT will be administered nation wide.  

Is your high schooler registered?  


2 Weeks to the PSAT




Summer Learning?

Summer reading lists, book reports, essays, supplemental math.  What do you have your children do, if anything over the summer?

We homeschool, and do so year round.   Learning doesn’t end for us during the summer months, but it does lighten up considerably.   We also like to get a head start on the upcoming school year so we have wiggle room for lots of unexpected days off and field trips.  

Whether public, private, home school, or other – what are your summer learning plans?

This Year’s St. Patrick’s Day Menu

My in-laws enjoy St. Patrick’s day because they’re partly Irish.  I enjoy it because I’m mostly hungry.  Here’s what’s gracing our menu this weekend, along with some boiled veggies:

Irish Beef Stew


Shepherd’s Pie with Scallion-Cheddar Crust

Shepherds Pie with Scallion-Cheese Crust Recipe : Michael Chiarello : Food Network


Corned Beef with Creamy Mustard-Wine Sauce


Chocolate Stout Cake

Recipe photo


Green Tea Cookies


Irish Cream Cheesecake

Festive Irish Cream Cheesecake recipe

Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

Since the northeast’s winter has been so brutally cold, we were thrilled to welcome in a 55+ degree day with grilling.  The chicken satay turned out to be a winner, so I’m adding it to the 5 Petey Thumbs Up list.


Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce
This dish has a nice Thai flavor, but the chicken skewers are good enough to eat without the peanut sauce if you prefer.
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For the marinade
  1. 3-4 lbs of chicken breasts
  2. 5T soy sauce
  3. 4T lime juice (from approx. 1 lime)
  4. 3t turmeric
  5. 3t cumin
  6. 5t coriander
  7. 3T vegetable oil
For the peanut dipping sauce
  1. 1/4-1/2 c peanut butter (depending on your peanut-y preference)
  2. 3T brown sugar
  3. 3T soy sauce
  4. 1t coriander
  5. 1t cumin
  6. 1/2t turmeric
  7. 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  8. 1/4 c hot water (adjust amount to get desired consistency)
  9. 3T cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  10. Lime wedges for garnish
  11. Skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes
  1. Chop chicken into even skewer-sized pieces and place in seal-able gallon bag. Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl, whisking in oil at the end. Cover chicken pieces with marinade, seal bag, and put in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but several hours is better.
  2. Put all dipping sauce ingredients in a food processor, except water. Add the hot water, more or less, to get the consistency you desire. Taste and adjust any of the seasonings you prefer.
  3. Remove chicken from bag and place 3-4 pieces on each skewer. Grill for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro and garnish with lime wedges. Pass the dipping sauce.
The Excellent Wife

Scripture Memorization Made Simple

I spend time every day in God’s word.  Recently I’ve come across a tool that I can use to help store those words in my heart. 

Scripture Typer Bible Memory Verses
The Scripture Typer Bible Memory Website makes memorizing Bible verses easier than ever! It’s a free website for memorizing Scripture by typing it online.  Want to see how it works? Click here to Memorize John 3:16.  In addition to the actual scripture tool, you can join or create groups.  So if you know women who would like to join you in memorization, you can make and name a group where you can learn the same verses, share prayer requests, and encourage each other.

 The website allows you to use the program for free.  If you’d like to go mobile, you’ll have to pay up to $5.99 for the program.  I recommend trying the website to see if it’s something you’d enjoy first.  


 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. {Psalm 119:11}

Handmade Felt Ornaments

Handmade gifts don’t get much easier than these colorful tree ornaments.  

 Diy Felt Christmas Tree Ornaments

They’re both inexpensive and straightforward.  A great combination!  


All you need to buy is colorful felt, embroidery floss, batting, some ribbon for hanging, and a tapestry needle.  I printed out letters in the font I wanted, cut them out, and traced them onto felt in one color.  Then I traced a drinking glass for the circles onto a contrast color and simply sewed everything together, filling with a bit of batting and a ribbon for hanging. Use your imagination and try lots of combinations from bright & crazy to neutral and black & white.


The whole process takes about 20 minutes per ornament.  With an assembly line (children helping), the craft might go even faster!

Sausage-Apple Cornbread

Here’s a recipe that I made when my children were younger.  Recently my husband recalled and requested the meal.  What a perfect suggestion for the fall!


Sausage-Apple Cornbread
Sausage, apples, and thyme top this delicious cornbread!
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 1 small red onion, diced
  2. 2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
  3. 1.5 lbs sausages
  4. 1T olive oi
  5. 1/2t thyme
  6. 1c yellow corn meal
  7. 1/4c all-purpose flour
  8. 1T baking powder
  9. 1t salt
  10. 1 jalapeno pepper, diced {optional}
  11. 2 large eggs
  12. 8oz sour cream
  13. 8.5 oz creamed corn
  14. 1.5c grated cheddar cheese, separated
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute the onion in olive oil.
  3. Add the sausage, breaking up as you cook it. When cooked through, add the apples and thyme.
  4. In a bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In another bowl whisk eggs, sour cream, creamed corn, 1 cup of the cheddar, and jalapeno.
  6. Add the dry cornmeal mixture to the wet ingredients and stir till just combined.
  7. Spread cornbread mixture into a greased 9" cast iron skillet. Top with the sausage mixture, then the remaining cup of cheddar.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 45 minutes.
  1. Serve with a fancy green salad.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine ~ August '99, p.74
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine ~ August '99, p.74
The Excellent Wife

Free Homeschool Planner PDFs

These useful, good-looking, and detailed planning pages are free at Confessions of a Homeschooler.


Here’s what’s included:


I downloaded the sheets and found them to be very helpful to my planning!  Check out the rest of Confessions of a Homeschooler blog & product website for great insights on home education and insightful blog posts.  

How to Hang a Picture Frame

Hanging picture frames with two holes on the back (as opposed to a hook or wire) has always been intimidating to me.  Not anymore since I saw this tip at Adventures in Creating

Use masking tape and a level to hang frames with two holes.

I have a few frames in a closet that are finally going to see the light of day!





Pretzel Rolls. Finally.

Pretzel Rolls 

We have a bakery near our church that we like to frequent for one reason:  pretzel rolls.   Not quite a pretzel and not quite a roll, these soft bread-like treats are perfect for breakfast, snacks, or even as a bun for a gourmet burger.  But at nearly a dollar per roll, there had to be a better way to have these in larger quantities.  

I tried a variety of recipes – of which none came close to a real pretzel roll.  After many attempts, I came up with the one below.  Finally.

Pretzel Rolls


Pretzels/pretzel rolls 



Pretzel Rolls
Yields 16
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
For the dough
  1. 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  2. 1.5 cups very warm tap water
  3. 1 pkg yeast
  4. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  5. 4.5 cups flour
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. Pot of water
  8. 2/3 cup baking soda
For the egg wash
  1. 1 egg
  2. 2 tablespoons water
  3. Coarse salt
  1. In a mixer with dough hook attached, add the butter, water, yeast and brown sugar. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Turn on mixer and knead for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove dough from mixer,shape into a ball and put into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise 1 hour in a warm location.
  4. Boil a large pot of water with the 2/3 cups baking soda. This is the step that makes a pretzel roll pretzel-y! Remove dough to a working surface and divide into 16 small pieces,trying to shape each into a ball. With a serrated knife,cut an “X”in the top of each roll.
  5. Boil rolls a few at a time for 30 seconds. Drain with a slotted spoon to remove and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment and also sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. (Or just grease your sheets very,very well)
  6. Bake in a 425 oven for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and brush rolls with an egg wash (1 beaten egg and 2T water) and top with coarse salt. Return to oven and bake till browned nicely all over,about 6-8 minutes more.
  7. If you eat them hot they will be doughy. Self control. Wait till they are mostly cool and then dig in!
  1. Experiment with different shapes if you want!
Adapted from kevin {&} amanda
Adapted from kevin {&} amanda
The Excellent Wife
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