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Home in the Trenches is MOVING!

Thanks to all of you who have visited this blog.  We are moving to our own website.  Things are the same over there but I am able to do more on my own site and am not limited by WordPress.  Please visit us at http://www.homeinthetrenches.com

Please subscribe by email or reader to make sure that you don’t miss any of our content!  See you at our new site!

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Making Movie Watching a Bit More Fun-Recipe

My kids love watching movies. We cut off our TV a year ago (and haven’t looked back) and are really enjoying Netflix. Anyways, my kids ALWAYS think that we should eat popcorn while we watch a movie. I really don’t like making the microwave kind. It is easy and we do make it sometimes, but not so much on the healthy side of eating well!

A few years ago I stumbled on the internet upon a wonderful Kettle Corn recipe that is super easy to make at home. It is delicious, easy and just like the kind you would pay $5 for at a craft fair. Why not make some this weekend (or soon) while you watch a movie, play a game or spend some time with the family?

Kettle Corn Recipe

In a large saucepan/pot heat (medium/high) 1/4 c. of oil (I have used vegetable oil in the past, but I think coconut oil would work too) and 1/4 c. of white sugar. Stir around until melted. Then add 1/2 c. of popcorn seeds. Place lid on top and wait for popping to start. (some people like to crack the lid to allow steam to escape…be careful so you don’t have a hot seed escape too).

Once it starts popping you must shake or move pot back and forth over the burner or you will have burnt popcorn (which smells horrible). Once popping slows immediately dump popcorn into a bowl and rinse your pot. (If you forget to rinse your pot it is much harder to clean)

Don’t touch the popcorn yet, the sugar is gooey and will stick to your fingers and burn. (TRUST ME, we have done it too many times!) After a couple minutes, it is ready to eat, if you would like you can add a bit of popcorn salt to it. My family enjoys it both ways!

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

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Greek Chicken Wings, and I am Not a Bit Greek…

Greek Chicken Wings

In my last post I made reference to eating Greek Chicken Wings for lunch (normally we have it for dinner) and I just had to post the recipe for all of you to enjoy as much as we did. We ate them with Fried Potatoes and Onions and Steamed Green Beans.

I got this recipe from a mentor when I participated in an Apples of Gold program through my church. As a side note, if you ever have the opportunity to participate in that program you will be truly blessed. Older women come alongside younger women and teach on topics of hospitality, honoring our spouses, etc and actual cooking, organizing, homekeeping skills. After each evening we enjoyed a meal together that they had prepared. I am so thankful that I was able to be part of it. The things I learned I am still using 7 years later.

Anyways, sorry for the side note. This recipe is really easy to prepare and as moms (whether or not you homeschool) it is great to have some easy meals in our arsenal.

Here is the recipe:

Greek Chicken Wings

Chicken wings (as many as you think you will need for your family)
Lay the chicken wings on 1 or 2 cookie sheets (depending on how many you are feeding). Brush a little olive oil on them. Then sprinkle with dried Oregano and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning (found in the spice isle of your local grocery store and also great for all kinds of food). Finally, sprinkle a little lemon juice on the wings (I cheat and use the bottled kind).

Cavender's Greek Seasoning

Throw the wings in the oven (preheated to 450) and cook for 40-50 minutes, turning wings over 1/2 way through cooking.

Super simple and delicious. I like my wings to have a nice golden brown color to them. A bit crispy and super yummy.

I hope you make them soon, you won’t regret it. Maybe this recipe will help you in getting more home-cooked meals on the table.

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Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

It is easy to get down on ourselves as moms on a daily, if not hourly basis. Today, as I was cutting up fruit for breakfast I was celebrating that we were eating well all day. Fruit for breakfast, Greek Chicken Wings for lunch and Chili with Homemade Cornbread for dinner. I tend to allow Satan to pick on me over little things. For example, not feeding my kids 3 totally prepared meals from scratch each day.

It was then (while cutting fruit) that I realized that I needed to celebrate the little victories each day. The war isn’t won in one decisive battle, it is mostly won in the small battles along the way. It is the same way with our families. I won the healthy eating battle today, but the war is still on. I will choose to celebrate that I did well today with feeding my family well. I won’t pick on myself that yesterday we ate out or had frozen waffles for breakfast.

Looking forward and not looking backwards. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, ‘I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’” Philippians 3:13b-14

It is the same way in each battlefield in our lives and our family’s lives. Did we win the battle in spending enough time with our kids or husbands today? Did we help to train our kids spiritually today? Did we get in some quiet time with God ourselves? Did we exercise? Is the house clean? How about homeschooling? Did we get it all done today? Were we able to be patient all day long, or did we lose it?

If I look at this list, it is easy to get depressed quickly. I can’t do it all, everyday, well. If it isn’t perfect, I freeze and am not sure what to do. I tend to beat myself up if everything isn’t perfect. I have long been a follower of FlyLady. She has taught me some things about my perfectionistic attitude.

FlyLady really has taught me to take BABY STEPS. I try to celebrate the little things that I accomplish in the day. Is the kitchen sink clear? Yes, it is most days now. I can remember being newly married and always having dishes in the sink. I can say on most days, I have won that battle, even with 5 kids.

What are some of your battles? (I’d love you to post them in the comments below.) We all have them and I hope that this blog will be able to encourage us in ways to win the battles, and ultimately the war!

PS. If you aren’t familiar with FlyLady please check out her website @ http://www.flylady.com/

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The Meal Rating Game

I’ll admit it, I have the hardest time meal planning. I don’t know if part of it can be blamed on the fact that my husband has a strange work schedule. He might not be home for dinner some nights during the week, but it totally depends on the week. (I really don’t want to cook a big meal on a night he isn’t home, when the kids would be thrilled to have breakfast for dinner.) Maybe I could blame some of it on the fact that with 5 kids, it is hard to come up with meals that EVERYONE enjoys. Some of it might have to be that I have a hard time coming up with meal ideas. I get stuck in a rut.

Anyways, regardless of all of my excuses, I had to plan meals a couple weeks ago and I could only think of 3 meals. This is when decided to enlist the help of my children. We started with lunch meals. I had them call out all the different meals we eat for lunch and I listed them on a sheet of notebook paper. I couldn’t believe the number of meals I had forgotten that I had made.

Then we came to the fun part….we rated them. I had my kids rate each meal from a 1 to a 5. 5 meaning it was one of their favorites and 1 being that they can’t stand it. They had so much fun with this. We then did all of our breakfast meals and dinners. It was fun hearing what they really loved and what meals were just edible in their books! But, best of all it gave me some great ideas for meals that we hadn’t had in a while. It has been a couple weeks since we rated everything. I have to laugh when one of them says, “Ooo, I have to change my rating, that has to be a 5.”

I encourage you to try it with your kids. If nothing else, I think it made my kids see that I value them a bit more. They enjoyed having the input of what meals they really liked. Not only that, but it really created a point of conversation.

Next, I would like to do a list all the activities that we do as a family and another of all the things they like doing (or would like doing) or not so much. I think I would learn a few more things about my children doing this. And, I think that they might learn or remember about a few more things they like too.

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Boxes, Boxes and More Boxes

Boxes can be a wonderful thing. They truly help to organize all kinds of things, especially school work. I use a different type of system to do the older kid’s school work. We are using Sonlight and it works wonderfully with workboxes! (I do not use the clear shoeboxes recommended in the Workbox System, I do not like workbooks getting bent.) I found, from Sam’s Club, a 20 drawer organizer rolling cart:

The left side is Matthew’s, and is by his desk, and the right side is Joy’s, by her desk.  I was able to divide the drawers into different subjects that I want my older children to do each day.    Bible, Math, Science, Computer Time, Art, Handwriting, Writing (We use Student Writing Intensive from Excellence in Writing–I can’t write highly enough about it!!!), Grammar and Vocabulary. The idea here is that these are subjects they are doing by themselves. They can sit down at their desks and start with the first box (I let them choose their order and we tried to space easier and harder subjects next to each other so that it gave the a little “break”). Once they finish that box, they remove the velcro label and put it on their subject list. This allows us to be able to see what is finished and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

They can then move onto the next box. Each box should have whatever they need to complete that assignment. If Math needs a protractor, I make sure there is one in there so they don’t get up and get distracted. Some parents like to refill the boxes each day. I like to make changes Sunday night before the week starts. I put their whole math book in the box, not just 1 assignment. If I need to label what needs to be read or which questions need to be answered I put a sticky note on the front of the book in the bin with any info they need to know. Any books that are shared between my 2 oldest are in a “book basket” on top of the cart.

In case you missed my earlier post about workboxes, this all came from a wonderful book by Sue Patrick called The Workbox system.  Her website is: http://www.workboxsystem.com

This has really helped to streamline our day and I don’t hear, “What should I do?”, “I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing” etc.  It keeps them keep on track and I can see where they are in their day, without disturbing them.  While Matthew and Joy are working on their  boxes I can work with Andrew on his assignments that we need to do together.  Then we swap and I work with the the older two while Andrew does his workbox assignments.  I hope that this helps spark your imagination and help you end some of the frustrations you may be having in your homeschool day!

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