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Issue #17 - Summer Break
In this Issue:
From Laura's Desk: It's Summer
Homeschooling Tips and Ideas: Graduation
Book Recommendations: Jesus, the Eucharist and Percy Jackson
New Product Announcements: Life of Fred Elementary
Our Favorite Recipes: Chicken Enchiladas (crock pot style)
From Laura's Desk
When last I wrote it was Spring. Wow, how time flies! We are on our summer break, at least from most school work. There hasn't been much of a break this summer as we've had activity, after party, after event. I usually like to take the summer to catch up on things around the house and go on retreat. This summer hasn't exactly been like that.
Hosting a party or event at my home, however, does create a bit of pressure that gets me to do those projects that I might otherwise put off for a long time. Projects like grades and transcripts, filing papers, cleaning basements...you know what I'm talking about.
I also like to take time over the summer to read some books. Haven't done much of that yet either but I have managed to start one book which I love and which I'll recommend later on in the newsletter. Be sure to read the books section for some great titles!
July usually brings me to the four days I look forward to the most in the year (well, in one way). I usually go on my silent retreat in July as it is a nice long retreat where I get to unwind and really focus on what God wants me to do. This year I took my 18 year old daughter with me and we had to go in February. It is still a wonderful retreat, but it is a bit more rushed as it takes place over a weekend and not over four, long, luxurious (but grueling) days.
So how do you unwind over the summer? Or do you? I'd love to hear your thoughts and maybe pick up a good idea or two, so if you'd like to share, feel free to drop me a note here or on my facebook page
Have a great July!
If you'd like to keep up with all the latest info, you can always follow me on facebook!
Homeschooling Tips and Ideas
This past June my second oldest child graduated from homeschool high school. I really can't believe that we have been homeschooling for this many years! We look forward to our homeschool group's graduation mass every year, even if we don't have a graduate.
We love to make graduation a homeschool group wide event. What better way to support your fellow homeschooling families than to go to the end of the year Mass and graduation ceremony.
I've updated the graduation page on my website with new pictures and up-to-date information so if this is something that you would like to see happen for your family or your group, here are the basics about how we run it.
If you have any suggestions or comments about what your graduation ceremony looks like, just click on either of the links in the above paragraph and let me know.
As I mentioned above, I have managed to start reading a book this summer that I absolutely love. It is called "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" by Brant Pitre. My daughters had to read it for an apologetics class they took last school year, and since I sat in on the discussions, I've been drawn to read it myself.
I absolutely love seeing people draw together the ties between the Old and New Testaments. I have to rely on other people to do it because very rarely can I do it myself. This book focuses on the Eucharist and how it was prefigured in the Old Testament.
God is so incredible in how He set the stage so many years before the coming of Jesus and the institute of the Eucharist. If you like to see these parallels, you will love this book, too.
My oldest five children, on the other hand, have been DEVOURING books this summer. Somewhere along the line one of them discovered the Percy Jackson series and brought them home. The books are basically stories of Greek Mythology set in modern day New York.
There are two series out with the first one, called "Percy Jackson and the Olympians", consisting of a set of five books, while the second series, called "Heroes of Olympus" currently has two books, with the third set to come out this fall.
Maybe we are way behind the times in just discovering these books, but if you're like us and haven't read them yet and your kids are looking for a great adventure series, my children highly recommend them.
New Product Announcements
I know I've mentioned these books before, but Life of Fred has recently come out with another six books in the Elementary Series for math.
This group of books, which now numbers ten, fills the math gap from beginning math up until fourth or fifth grade when the fractions book takes over.
I've written a new page with all the information about this group of books here.
I've also taken some time to update the entire math section of my website, so if you've been pondering math lately, be sure to check out this section with its new information.
Our Favorite Recipes
As I type this, my crock pot is simmering away with this mouth-watering recipe! We've been trying to eat "cleaner" this year, so this recipe is a great way to accomplish that and still have some great Mexican food. Enjoy!
Note: We are not fans of spicy things, so I leave out the chiles and the cayenne pepper. I also use a lot more than 3/4 lb chicken due to the size of our family.
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green peppers, finely chopped
1 large can (28 oz) chopped tomatoes
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
1 tsp cumin
sea salt to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
3/4 lb boneless, skinless cooked chicken, shredded
2 cans (15 oz ea) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) black olives, sliced and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 - 6 whole wheat tortillas
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet (such as a cast iron) over medium-high heat; add the garlic and onions and saute 2 to 3 minutes or until onions soften. Add the green pepper and cook a few minutes more, or until vegetables are soft. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, green chiles and cumin. Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.
Ladle 1/4 of the sauce onto the bottom of a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Follow that with 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the beans, 1/3 of the olives, 1/3 of the corn and 1/3 of the cheese.
Top that with 2 or 3 tortillas
Repeat the above two steps two more times, not putting tortillas on the top layer.
Cover and cook on low about 4 to 4 1/2 hours, or until bubbly throughout. Serve warm.
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Until next time, may God Bless you abundantly!