About Me

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Mother of 2 and wife to Travis.I am a Jill of all trades,master of none. I like to dabble in everything, so follow me on my journey; raising kids, working towards a healthier lifestyle, new recipes, menus, homeschooling, crafts,enjoying our home the Great Smoky Mountains, etc...What we call...LIFE :-)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Feeling Chatty and Menu 9-16-17

Hello Friends!

What a week this has been and this next week is busier than that! I am trying to stay on top of it all and not get overwhelmed! Lots of stuff going on!

I have got a lot of questions lately from friends and family about homeschooling, so I just thought I would sit here and answer a few things while I am feeling chatty! If you just want to see the menu for this week, go ahead and scroll to the bottom for that.

I never really thought about homeschool until Abbey was about 3 years old. I wanted to homeschool her starting in Pre-K, but Big Daddy was against it, he wanted her to go to school. When I found out a very close friend of our family was the Kindergarten teacher a the school closest to us I felt at peace with her going. I knew she would be fine. And she was! And she still talks about the bond she has(to this day) with Mrs. Cristy, and things she learned, friendships she made, etc..
Then came 1st grade, Abbey was to have Travis's 1st grade teacher, he really wanted her to have her so that was no question there she would still go. She loved Ms. Sherri just as much as he did and made more friends and had a fun year. Moving on to 2nd grade, while we loved the teacher, and Abbey had lots of fun, this was the year we started looking in to homeschooling as an option for us.(Big Daddy still wasn't completely on board) By the end of 3rd grade it was decided, and if I had known that I could have pulled her earlier in the year I would have! We had her signed up to homeschool August 2013.
Oliver has never been to public school. (Although he has mentioned it a few times)

Homeschooling has been wonderful for our family. When Abbey was in school before she would have to get up around 6:30 or so, and every morning would be a fight(we aren't morning people) In the afternoons when I would get her back she would be hungry, grumpy, tired. We would do school work, and then get maybe an hour with her before it was bath and bedtime. I'm glad to not have to do that with Oliver.
The freedom that comes with homeschooling is amazing, not living around public school schedule is amazing, having family time all the time is amazing. In some ways homeschooling definitely changed our lives!

Recently, I changed my schedule so I can be home 4-5 days a week again and it is working out so much better for our family.
So like I mentioned in my last post we don't really have a weekend. We usually take Sunday and Wednesday off. This just means I am at work and they are home with Daddy. They don't crack open all of their book work, but they both still read their books,watch documentaries(or Magic School Bus or Brain Games, etc) play games together, draw and color, help Daddy with chores, sometimes cook dinner for Mom, etc.. Still lots of life learning even if the workbooks aren't out!

Since we do not take all of June-August off we can take more time off in other areas. So the plan is to have days off in October and then we will "take off" from the week of Thanksgiving until New Years.(Taking the days we didn't use in the Summer) Now we absolutely will not be laying around and being lazy that whole time, although I do admit there will be days of that too) Even though I say we will be off, I just mean that we will have a very light load during those times. We will still be doing Math most days because my kids do not do well taking weeks at a time off from Math. We will also be working on our Holidays Around the World Unit Study, making Holiday Crafts and Cooking, watching documentaries, etc... That time of the year is the favorite for my whole family which is why we decided to adjust our schedule accordingly.
We will also take a few days here and there in the Spring and in May/June as well.

I want people to see the other side of homeschooling. We are(obviously) not homeschooling for religious reasons. They are not locked in a room all day. We are not letting our kids lay around and play video games all the time! But they are also not tied down to a desk all day. Both of the kids can get their bookwork done in about 2-3 hours which leaves time for Art,Computer, playing outside, running errands with parents or Papaw, help with chores, going fun places, spending time with friends, etc.. And they do still get to interact with other kids and get "socialized"(I hate that word now) Heck, we just had a couple of our favorite girls over for a sleepover and I had them bring their school work with them. They didn't mind, they did their work and then they all did Art together, cooked, dyed hair, etc...
My kid gets more focused social time with people now then when she was in public school.There is usually something going on each week.  For example these last few weeks Abbey volunteered at the Fair, she also had 4-H.
And this weeks schedule looks like this:
 Both kids are going to a Historical Society picnic with my parents.
 We are going to a Dessert Social(a get to know you) picnic with our Homeschool group
 Possibly P.E. class and a Fine Arts class
 Junior Master Gardeners
 Both kids have Dr Appointments

Now obviously not every week looks like that, but as you can see they will be interacting with many different people through out all of that. Some their age, most not, and I like it that way!

Right now Oliver's base work is:
Math review work before we step in to a new 2nd grade curriculum.(Can't wait until next year when he can move in to 3rd Grade Teaching Textbooks!)
Grammar and Spelling
Reading and Reading Comprehension
Social Studies (which at this level is basically communities, our country, continents, family, etc...)
Daily Geography
Science- We are loving reading MANY Magic School Bus books, watching the shows, and doing experiments.

We add in lots of books, documentaries, experiments, Art,Field Trips, extra classes, etc...

Right now Abbey's base work is:
Cursive Writing
Grammar and Vocabulary(Wordly Wise)

And same as above we add in read-alouds, documentaries, experiments, Art, Music, Field Trips, extra Classes such as 4-H., P.E., JMG etc...

Obviously, this is not all I have to say about that subject, I could keep going on about how much we love it, the benefits we have, etc...
If you have questions about homeschooling I can help you the best I can or I can get answers from other seasoned homeschool Moms for you.
I understand that it is not for everyone, but like I said above it's what works for our family!

Now on to the Menu! Crazy busy week, not even sure we will be home for some meals so I am just throwing out what I have down and I will fill in with what I have on hand as we go.




Giant Breakfast Cookies


Eggs and Toast


Eat Out





Sweet Potato Taco Foil Dinner   with Corn on the Cob  (Carry Over)

Low Country Bake (using my grill recipe and just baking it on a sheet pan in the oven!)

Eat Out

Turkey Kielbasa, Taters, and Kraut in the Crock pot with green beans

Mississippi Chicken  with Cauliflower Rice

Chicken Sausage with Veggies

Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Menu 9-10-17

Hello Friends!
Hope you have all had a good weekend!
We have been moving right along with school at our house. We have a different schedule going on right now. We are currently taking 2 days off a week from school on Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday is our day that's up in the air each week. If we are home, we do book work but, we are also using it as a Family Day/Field trip day as well. Just whatever is going on that week.
Today we got our school done in the morning, had lunch, did some outside work(making sure everything is secure in case we get high winds from the storms coming in), and brought up the inside decorations for Halloween from the basement.

I had a few minutes before I need to start dinner so I thought I would share this weeks menu plan. We have 2 new recipes that we are trying out, the Salmon bites and the Spaghetti Sauce. Everything else are things we love!


Cinnamon Rolls with Fruit (held over from last week)
Protein Shakes
Omelet with Toast
Banana Bread with Fruit (held over from last week)


Snack Plates (hummus and veggies, pepperoni, applesauce, etc..)


Pork Carnitas  with Cauliflower Rice

Beef and Broccoli with Brown Rice, Egg Rolls, and Fortune Cookies

Leftover Night

Salmon Bites with Red Potatoes  and Brussel Sprouts

Jambalaya Pasta  with Roasted Green Beans

Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup

Spaghetti with Sausage and Meatballs  (I am not making that huge pot that she is because I have never made it before. We will see how it goes and if we like it then I may make a big pot next time)

So there you have it. Hope y'all have a great week!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vegetable Beef Soup

When I think about comfort food, this soup is one of
 the recipes that is first in line! 
My Mom made this all the time when I was a kid, with a big pan of cornbread! 

It's super simple, nothing fancy.
 But every time I make it takes me home to Pittman Center, smelling Mommas cornbread, smelling the smoke from the chimney, and breathing in that cool crisp air of Autumn. 

I love Mommas recipe but sometimes I change a few things, I will tell you the recipes for both. 

YaYa's Beef and Vegetable Soup

1lb ground beef
1 yellow onion
1 can whole tomatoes, squished up
1 large can of Veg All(drained)
(or cut up and use potatoes, carrots, okra, onions,etc)
Beef or Chicken broth(eye ball to cover everything, usually a box) 
Salt and Pepper 
1-2 Tbsp Butter(not margarine)

*Fry the hamburger and the onion in your pot.

 *Drain the grease off. 

*Add back to the pan.

*Add the rest of the ingredients, cook for 2-3 hours 
and add butter right at the end before serving. 

YaYa's Cornbread 

2 cups cornmeal mix 
1 egg 
1/4 vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk

*Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. 

*Grease your cast iron skillet.

*Pour batter in to the skillet. 

*Cook at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

*Remove from oven and turn out on a plate or cutting board. 

Sara's Vegetable Soup 

1lb ground beef(or ground turkey)
1 yellow onion  
1 can diced tomatoes(I use whole if I have it, YaYa says they are softer) 
1 can green beans(drained and rinsed) 
1 can corn(drained and rinsed) 
1-2 Sweet Potatoes(depending on size of potato)
1 box Vegetable Broth 
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

*Fry the meat and onion in your pot. 
(I use a dutch oven and I use a bit of oil if I use turkey,
 I also add a bit of garlic powder here too)and then drain. 

*Add the meat back to the pot, and then add everything else in.

*I try to let cook at least 2 hours, sometimes I make
 in the morning and let it cook all day long!  

No matter which one you decide to make, 
this soup is delicious and definitely a great comfort food!  

P.S. Yes, I am aware that I do not always take great food pictures! Sometimes I am lucky to get a shot of any of the food I make before it has a bite out of it, cut, or completely gone. 
Remember I blog and share with everyone as a Hobby! 
Although the picture won't win any ribbons, the soup is still delicious! ;-) 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Menu 9-3-17

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn!

This weekend couldn't have been better for a Fall lover like me! Saturday felt amazing!
I am trying to figure out all the things I want to do to start decorating and things I want to add in the kids school lessons and to my menu plans.
Monday is the first TN football game and I am excited to watch it with my Hubby and kids.

I am diving right in to Fall with this first menu plan! Cinnamon Rolls, Chili, Pot Roast etc...
I am hoping to get a Freezer Cooking Day soon, so I can get some meals in the freezer for busy days ahead.

Cinnamon Rolls and Fruit
Omelet with Toast
Banana Bread with Fruit
These Waffles ( We tried these last week and they were great! I made a double batch so we have some in the freezer)

Eat Out
Tuna Salad


Cookout with Family

Biscuits, Eggs, and Bacon

Chili with Cornbread

Marinated Chicken Tenders with Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts  

The Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast  with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Sweet Potato Taco Foil Packet  with Corn on the Cob

Leftover Night (or as I like to call it Fend For Yourself night!)

What are some of your favorite Fall meals, and Freezer Cooking meals? Leave me a comment on here or on Facebook, I love getting new ideas!

Have a great week Y'all!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Buttermilk Pumpkin Pie

Hello Friends!

I wanted to share this pie recipe with you today, seeing how pumpkin everything will be here soon!

I found this recipe a few weeks ago when I wanted to use up some stuff in the house!
I had a pie crust, can of pumpkin, and half a bottle of Buttermilk on hand and wanted to throw something together. A quick Google search pulled up this recipe from The Food Network Kitchen.
I skipped the pie crust recipe and just went with the filling.
So here is what I did...

  • 1 can pure pumpkin(not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 stick butter(mine was salted) 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk 
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour 

Preheat oven to 375. 

Mix the pumpkin, butter,eggs,sugars, and spices in a bowl until well combined. 
Add the buttermilk and the flour and mix until smooth. 

Pour in to the pie crust. 

Bake for 1 hour, or until the filling is set. 

Let cool completely before cutting. 

Can put confectioners sugar on top if you want. 

Super easy and delicious! Y'all try this soon! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Menu 8-27/9-2-17

Hello Friends!
OK. OK. Technically September is on Friday but I am looking ahead people and this menu is for the whole week!

We are in full on Fair mode over here. Trying to get all the pictures printed, Fairy Gardens straightened back up, Lego Structures built, and deciding what we want to bake.
I took a break from all that to take some needed Momma time and to get this Menu out to all of you!
Our breakfast and Lunches are pretty much the same from week to week but, I still like to add it because I know not all the same people are looking each week.

Smoothies (Our favorite right now is a Banana, 2 Strawberries, Chia Seeds, Flax, sometimes peanut butter, and Almond Milk)

Shakes (I love Premier Protein Shakes. I buy the Atkins shakes with less protein for the kids)

Eggs and Bacon

Omelet with Toast

Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Greek Yogurt Waffles
(Excited to try this one after seeing my friend April make them!)

Snack plates

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce( I am having Spaghetti Squash) with Greenbeans

Turkey Kale Tacos

Taco Tuesday(plus Taco Salad)

Big Daddys night = Subway

Hamburgers(bun-less) with Sweet Potato Fries
(I found 80/20 Chuck patties at Aldi with the only ingredient being ground beef. So I bought a bag over the Summer and this will be using up the last of it. Also the Sweet potato fries came from Aldi as well)

Roasted Marinated Chicken Legs with Roasted Veggies

Cherry Pork Roast

Leftover Night

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Homemade Chick-fil-A Nuggets

Homemade Chick-Fil-A Nuggets and Waffle Fries
Recipe adapted from: Tamar McGill

We love Chick-Fil-A it's one of our favorite restaurants to grab lunch at. I saw this recipe pop up on Facebook and I knew I had to try it. 
These are so good! Very easy to make and  the kids gobble them up every time I make them! I thought I would share the recipe that I have been using. 
I buy frozen waffle fries at Kroger.(Usually the plain, but I grabbed the seasoned bag this time)
  • 1 pound chicken breast or tenders, cut into large chunks
  • ⅓ cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • coconut oil for frying
  • Marinate the chicken in the pickle juice in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Mix the beaten egg and almond milk.
  • Pour out pickle juice then add the egg/almond milk mixture. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the dry ingredients.
  • Drain the egg/almond mixture and add the spice mixture. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil to a large frying pan. Add a single layer of chicken when the oil is hot enough.
  • Fry about 3 minutes on each side or until it's thoroughly cooked.
  • It may take 2-3 batches to cook one pound of chicken.
(can use coconut milk, coconut flour, and arrowroot flour if you prefer) 

Y'all give these a try they are so Yummy! 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A small Menu and Homemade Breakfast Burritos

Hey y'all! How was your week? It has been busy here!
Seems like we have had something going on every day these last few weeks! 

I am longing for slower days, crisp air, leaves falling, my favorite time of year is just around the corner, and I can not wait! 

Lets take a peek in to our school week...
This week in school we are working on the Eclipse obviously, but also so much more! 

Oliver is perfecting his time telling skills in Math, devouring all the books he can get his hands on for Reading, working his way through the Magic School Bus series (books and shows) for Science, painting some for Art, learning about families, oceans, maps, etc.. in Social Studies and Geography, and so much more. 
He also did another Fairy Garden that he wants to enter in to the Fair. 

Abbey is working on Ratios in Math, Painting and Hiding Rocks for Art, Reading a My America book for History and a Harry Potter book for pleasure, and much more. 
She also got accepted in to Honors 4-H, helped work on the Fair Youth Board, had a Fine Arts class, and made another Fairy Garden to enter in the Fair! 

We have a lot going on this week but I did pull together a bit of a meal plan so I thought I would share a little bit of that. 

Breakfast Burritos(recipe below) 
Omelet with Toast 
Premier Shake 

Eat Out 

Chick-Fil-A Nuggets with Waffle Fries(recipe coming soon) 

Turkey Kielbasa, Taters, and Kraut in the Crock-pot 

Marinated Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Squash and Zucchini

Eat Out (We have a small back to school shopping trip planned along with Family Day so we will eat while we are out.)

Big Daddys cooking night(his schedule has changed were he will be home another night and he is going to take over dinner that night. He really doesn't like to plan ahead so we will pick up something when we are out shopping the day before!) 

Birthday Party(We will eat dinner at the party) 

Hamburger Patty with Sweet Potato Fries 

Friday I made some of my friend Aprils Breakfast Burritos to go in the freezer. Super simple and yummy! I wanted to share the recipe with y'all! 

  • 1 lb Pork Breakfast Sausage(I used Jimmy Dean all natural)
  • 1 bag Simply Potatoes Southwest Style Hashbrowns
  • 1 cup kale
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 10-12 Flour Tortillas 
  • Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese 

In a large skillet or pot add the sausage, break it up, and then add the hashbrowns. 
Allow these to cook until the pork is no longer pink and fully cooked. 

Crack the eggs in to a bowl, whisk the milk in. 
Add the eggs to the sausage/hashbrown mixture.
Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, add the kale and leave until the eggs are fully cooked. 

Lay out your tortillas and add the filling with some cheese on each one, then fold up. 

I wrapped them up in plastic wrap and then froze them in a freezer bag. 

The kids had one this morning, we put it on defrost for about a minute and then we cooked it about 2 minutes. 

Definitely a keeper and will make again! 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Menu 8-7/8-13-17

Hello Friends!

One week in to August already! I can't believe it!

Even though we Homeschool year round now, after being in public school all my life I still feel as though I should be getting ready for back to school! We are currently moving right along with 2nd grade and 7th grade. I can not express enough how much we love the freedom that comes with Homeschooling. It has absolutely helped our family in many ways!

I am currently sitting in the school room as I write this blog. I have been in here most of the day, doing some school with Oliver(Abbey was gone to a 4-H Day of Service), cleaning up, getting things better organized, etc..
Yesterday, I got some motivation to start back with this blog. A Homeschool Mom friend of mine said that she was going to be posting on a Facebook page to keep track of their Homeschool happenings for her kids to look back on. And it made me think, I already started a blog and I pay for this website every year so, why not pick up where I left off and get back to something I enjoyed! I still want to post meal plans, recipes, school happenings, adventures, etc...

So here we go! I thought I would jump back in with a simple meal plan for the week.
I am only doing 5 days because we have a Baby Shower and Birthday party this week.

Premier Shakes
Oatmeal with fruit
Cereal with fruit
Omelets (Ok, don't laugh but, we have recently discovered making omelets with bacon bits and my kids love them!)

Leftovers are the main thing!
Snack Plates (Fruits, Veggies, Pepperoni, Pretzels, etc...)


Chicken Salad - I am basically taking some of those Tyson Chicken that I bought on sale at Kroger and putting it in a Salad. Easy/Lazy dinner.

Pinto Beans, Cornbread, Sauerkraut and Wienies, Fried Taters (Big Daddys request for his one night off)

Buffalo Chicken with Sweet Potatoes (recipe)

Pork Chops with Veggies

Pizza Casserole(Recipe coming soon)

We hope you all have a great week!

If you haven't already, check out the Smoky Mountain Momma Facebook page!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Meal Plan 2-29/3-6-16

Hello Friends!

I thought I would jump over here and share our Meal Plan for this week, while I had a chance.
Lots going on here and there. We are in full swing with our addition to the house and every thing is looking good! We are all very excited! The kids will have their own rooms and we will have a new Dining/School room! I can not wait to get in there and get everything organized!

We are hoping for a ride in the mountains this week to get away for a bit. I will share pictures if we do! :-)

Due to some changing health issues I have started dabbling in to the Trim Healthy Mama Plan so some of those meals are on here as well. I haven't gone 100% in because I am not big on all the artificial sweeteners. But I like the concept of the plan.
There are a few new meals on this plan and if we like them I will be sure to share the recipes!

Breakfast Sandwich with Fruit
Packed Lunch

Moab Tacos (Crockpot) with Veggies

L.O. Tacos
(Papaws night to take care of dinner)

Fried Eggs with Bacon and Avocado
Chicken Sausage with Kraut and Veggies
Egg Roll in a Bowl Meal

Oatmeal with Smoothies
Smoked Sausage and Veggie Bake

Lazy Lasagna with Green Beans and Salad

Cereal/ Smoothies
Quesadillas with Veggies
Taco/Taco Salad