3 Hots: Week 5, Day 4

Today we worked on a couple of house projects.  This means that all of the meals today were prepared by our Daughter, 13, and son, 11.  Actually most (like 90%) of the cooking in our home is done by the kids.  Let’s hear it for training up kids!  WOO-HOO!


Lunch – We built a bonfire outside to burn off some odds and ends from splitting wood, so the kids decided to roast hotdogs over the fire.  We don’t eat buns with our dogs.  just not needed.
Mac and Cheese (left overs)
Greens (left overs)

Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce with hidden veggies.  When the kids were little I started hiding veggies in different foods. Meat sauce is the easiest place to do this. Tonight’s sauce had carrots, onions, and zucchini.  We saute the veggies, then use an immersion blender on them before adding them to the sauce.

Tomorrow we have pork on the menu. That went into the brine tonight so it can soak for 24 hours. This makes a huge difference in the flavor and juiciness.


3 Hots: Week 5, Day 3… naughty girl!

OK.  I know.  I make all these promises and I break them.  Naughty, naughty me.  Things are just so busy and blah, blah, blah…

So here we are on Wednesday, let me catch you up.

Monday we went for our store run.  We found the following for $1.49:
3 packs of Mushrooms
5 lb bags of Fuji apples
5 lb bags of Red Delicious apples
3 lb bag of lemons
bag of org celery
bag of baby Romaine lettuce
3 lb bag of onions

In addition, we gathered 6 lbs of Kale and Curly Mustard greens from Mom’s garden.  Their garden has been crazy productive all winter, and we are very thankful.


Apple Breakfast Cobbler
Baked potatoes
Butter, sour cream and cheese
DinnerLettuce wraps – chicken, cabbage, carrots, onions, water chestnuts
Romaine Lettuce
Hashbrowns (made from the left over potatoes from lunch yesterday)
Homemade chicken noodle soup – Yesterday I bought a pack of chicken breasts, brought them home and filleted them.  We used the meat for the Lettuce Wraps, and then boiled the bones with celery and onions and spices to make stock.  We used that to make the soup today.  To the stock we added carrots, celery, onions and noodles.
DinnerSteaks (we found them marked down to half price at the store Monday.  We bought 2 and just split them.)
Mac and cheese (such a comfort food!  We used De’Boles corn pasta for this.)
Kale and Mustard Greens from Granny’s garden
Greek Salad

So that is this week so far.

If you are interested in any recipes or have ideas to share, please feel free to.



Week 4, Day 3

Tonight is my last night with my class at the college (I teach in the Business Department), so I am making dinner for  the students.  Well, actually the Girl is making dinner… maybe we can come to an understanding that when I say “I cooked, prepared, etc,” It means that she cooked, prepared, etc.

Grits with cheese
Fried Eggs
(Could it be more Southern?!)

Chicken Salad (left over chicken, celery, onions, pickle relish and some mayo)
Homemade crackers (http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ritz-schmitz-have-a-cracker/)
Apples and pear slices

Chili with cheese, sour cream and hot sauce options
Cornbread with Cracklins (If you do not know what cracklins are, I am very sad for you. 😦  Make friends with a Southern Cook, just so you can learn to cook with Cracklins.  It is worth the effort. 🙂 )

See you tomorrow!


3 HOTS: Week 4, Day 2

Two days in a row. Who’s being consistent now?  HA!

Toast – that was the end of the Glutino brand raisin bread. It was very good. We even did PB&J’s with the bread and that was fantastic. As always, toast GF bread prior to using
Bacon – 3 slices

Our girl took the leftover chicken from last night and boned it and put the meat in a med pot with 2 qts of chicken stock.  She sauteed about 1.5 c worth of celery, onions and carrots and added that to the stock. When this came to a boil, she added 1/2 tsp of ginger, 1 TBSP of Bragg’s Amino Acids, 1/4 c coconut milk and 1 cup GF egg noodles.  Served it up when the noodles were tender, with a corn tortilla-Quesadilla.

The girl took the chicken she brined over night and baked it in the oven for 35 min.  You wouldn’t believe how flavorful and juicy that chicken was!
Green beans
Cole Slaw
Wilted Spinach
Fried potatoes
We like lots of veggies at dinner.  Tonight’s meal was excellent!

See you tomorrow! ~CS

3 Hots: Week 3, Days 1 – 3

Sorry. I have been a ba-a-a-a-d girl.  I will do better. I promise.

Monday we did our produce and meat run.  We found organic, whole chickens for .99/lb. Got all they had!  We love roasting whole chickens. So much you can do: enjoy eating it hot from the oven, make chicken salad, boil the carcass for stock, etc.  Chicken: It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Oatmeal with apples and almonds

Salad  – do-it-yourself let’s the kids decide what they want on their own salad. This means they eat it all up!

Stir fry with chicken and rice.  Buying bags of shredded veggies makes stir fry super easy!


Blueberry Pancakes – this used up the last of the blueberries we bought a couple of weeks ago.


We found 5# bags of baking potatoes for 1.49 yesterday.  We also found 24 oz steamer bags of broc, carrots and cauliflower for 1.49.  We combined this today for lunch:
Baked Potatoes
Steamed veggies
Toppings: 1 TBSP Butter, 1 TBSP Sour cream, 2 oz cheese, green onions

Chicken wings  – some hot, some not


We took the left over baked potatoes from yesterday and diced them to make hashbrowns.  Baking the potatoes takes the moisture out and they make very crispy hash! We diced onions into the pan with the potatoes at the beginning. When these were translucent, I broke in a couple of eggs, and added some fresh parm. YUM!

The girls baked a loaf of bread (GF, of course!) and we used that to make PB&J’s.  Nothing can beat a PB&J sandwich on still-warm fresh bread!
carrots and apple slices are the perfect sides

The Girl made her world-famous meatloaf for dinner.
Rice and Green beans rounded out the meal

I will see you back here soon.


3 Hots: Week 2, Day 4

It’s Thursday already?!  Where has this week gone?

We had our homeschool co-op group here today, and that means each family brought a dish to share. Co-op lunches are generally junk-foodier (I made that word up. HA!)  than we usually make, and today was no exception.
Nacho Dip – Velveeta (which is Gluten Free. Who knew?!), hamburger and Ro-tel, served with tortilla chips
Egg salad sandwiches on Chebe rolls
No-Bake Cookies – made with GF oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate
Baked potatoes – Our Girl cut them in half lengthwise and put them cut side down on a baking sheet prepared with olive oil.  This cuts the baking time in half, and gives the potatoes a crisp, yummy side that reminds one of a french fry.  Nothing wrong with that!
Green Beans
Junk food every now and then isn’t so bad if you balance it with healthier foods over a period of days.
See you Friday.

Raising Responsible Adults

Make life easy on yourself:  Raise your kids to be responsible.

Middle of the week and busy!  We had several tasks that had to be handled today.  Both my husband and I work from home, and folks assume that we have all the time in the world to take care of those little demands that pop up in life with no problem.  We do have it much easier than most folks, with both of us available to juggle things, but it takes some planning ahead.
The best thing we have done to this end is to teach our kids to be
  • responsible
  • independent when needed
  • and obedient, so we can trust them
Today Man had the boys with him to take the dog to the vet, go to the Feed and Seed for fresh hay for the chickens, do some train watching (a must for boys), and get one of them to the eye doctor.
On my list was picking up the milk from the farm, visiting with family-friends, preparing to teach at the college tonight and meeting up with a friend to pass off one of the girls.  That’s a bunch of running.  I was about to load the girls up in the truck with me when it dawned on me that we needed to divide and conquer.
I turned to my 13 year old daughter and said, “I need you to make lunch, meet the UPS guy and send these emails to customers.”  She said, “I’ll take care of it,”  and I knew she would.  While I ran to meet the farm folks, she stayed home and cooked a balanced, nutritious lunch for 6.  No further instruction was needed.  She sent out a blast email for me, even editing the email.  She met the UPS man at the door, signed the electric pad and locked the door behind him. No TV. No Phone.
We aren’t the only ones raising our children to be responsible. Our closest friends have an almost-12-year-old daughter who lovingly cares for her 3 younger siblings, aged 3, 4, and 6, when her parents need her to.  She can do this while cleaning the kitchen and cooking dinner, while her mom, dad and older brother are working on building a new home for their family.  And she does this with a sweet heart.  It’s not all the time, but when the family needs her, she is willing and able.
I have many, many examples of parents preparing their kids for future success.  They are planning for it.  It takes time, effort and focus.  We have such a short time with our kids.  Such a very short time.  For this time to be sufficient, parents must have  a plan in place.
We decided early on that we were not raising kids. We were raising ADULTS.  This shift in our focus has made a world of difference.  We talk to them in the same way we talk to other adults.  We expect them to follow through.  We set expectations high, quite high.  Now at 11 and 13 we have two strong family-team members, instead of two kids who need direction and constant motivation.
Today I encourage you to commit to taking the time necessary to prepare your children for success in adult life.
Responsibility. It’s worth the effort.
~Carroll Sue

PS – No.  Our kids are not perfect.  We are not perfect parents. We are wretches dependent on our Savior.  This is not a forum for bragging, but a place to encourage parents that kids are growing into adults whether they are being prepared for it or not.  Prepare them.

3 hots this Friday

We wind down the week rather junk-foodie.
Usually when I make one fun food, I surround it
with healthy sides.  Not so today. Went all out.

Breakfast –


Lunch – We ate lunch with our co-op (homeschool) group today, and every family brings a dish to share

  • Pigs in a blanket (Little Smokies wrapped in gf dough and baked

  • Buffalo Chicken dip with Fritos

  • Sausage balls

  • Cake with fresh strawberries

Supper – continuing our junk food theme

Hot wings (On our Monday shopping trip, we picked up wings that had been marked down to .99/lb. Woo-hoo!
Cole Slaw
Green beans
Fries (We found organic  potatoes marked down to 1.49 for 3 lb bags Monday)  – The Girl sliced them pretty thin, laid them out on towels to soak up the water from them for 15 min, and then put cajun seasoning on them. They were crisp and tasty.
Homemade blue cheese dressing for the wings

Tomorrow we will eat much more healthy. HA!

Hope you have a terrific weekend!


Three Hots or Adventures in Meal Planning

I talk with other homeschooling moms every day.  (I dearly love my circle of friends.)  One of the recurring themes is “What are you cooking today?”  We cook 3 hot meals a day –  Everyday – and we serve 4-6 adult portion eaters at each meal. (In addition to our own two, we also homeschool 2 other young people.)  We are Gluten Free. We use raw dairy. We use mostly organic, local produce and meats.  Our monthly budget is just $450.  We grow, can, dehydrate, make from scratch and buy ahead as much as possible.  We very, very rarely use a product that is processed (the exception is my husband loves American Cheese. 🙂 )

My goal is to share what we are cooking each day, in order to

  • A. Help others with ideas for their own family.

  • B. Help me keep track of good ideas and abysmal failures.


February 18


  • Oatmeal with almonds and raisins

  • Coffee (adults)  Milk (kids) and Water

  • Bananas



  • I baked 2 chicken breasts (seasoned with a citrus rub and salt, no oil. I put them in a baking dish in the oven for about 35 min, until the internal temp reached 170.  This was the juiciest chicken I have made in forever!)  After they had cooled a bit, I took the meat off of the bone and made Chicken Salad (diced chicken – about 4 cups altogether, about 1/3 c mayo, chopped onion, chopped celery, citrus seasoning to taste. I didn’t have any sweet pickles, or I would have added them as well.)

  • I baked crackers to go with the Chicken Salad, using this recipe http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ritz-schmitz-have-a-cracker/

  • Sliced apples



  • Pad Thai with chicken and lots of veggies (broccoli, zucchini, onion, yellow squash, celery, carrots). 

I will try to keep up with this on a daily basis, and you feel free to share recipes, meal planning ideas and what is working for your fam.

~Carroll Sue

Real-Life Home-Educating

A friend of mine and I were having coffee the other day (really strong coffee in the middle of the day, no less!), just chatting about our kids and homeschooling and all of that.  A lady at the table beside us was obviously eavesdropping, and after she paid her bill, she came back to our table.
“I couldn’t help overhearing you talking about homeschooling.  I have felt the pull to home-school my children for 3 years, they are now 9 and 8, but everyone I talk to tells me how expensive it is and how hard it is.”
“Oh, girl,” says I, “you need to talk to some real-life homeschooling moms!  It is neither expensive nor difficult.  I mean, some days are challenging, but so are days when you are working a job or running a business.”
“I have been talking to other homeschooling moms,” She said.  “They’ve told me that they spend $500 – $1000 a year. And there are weeks that they are just in tears trying to keep their kids on track and their houses are a wreck and their husbands aren’t happy…”

Wow!  I stood up and hugged her (to keep from crying or laughing out-loud).  “We are starting our 9th year of teaching our kids at home, and if you combined all the books and supplies I have bought for school over those 9 years, it wouldn’t equal $500.  Yeah, sometimes my house is a wreck.  Sometimes I want to flush my kids’ heads in the toilet.  Sometimes I wrack my brain trying to remember how to divide fractions.  But, dang!  It is so worth it.”

We don’t offer our kids a cut rate education.  They are getting the best, because they are getting me. HA!  Not that my brain is the best, but my love for them  is the best.  No one else in the world cares as much about my kids learning as I do.  We can explore and search and learn all they are interested in.  We can surge ahead or slow down as needed.  We can field trip to our hearts’ content.  And WE DON’T NEED A JACKED UP CURRICULUM TO DO IT!  HA!

Some ways to save:

  • Ask Family members for specific gifts that fit the needs of your children and their education:
    Memberships to local zoos, Nature Centers, Museums, etc.; Horseback Riding Lessons; A Kindle; A series of books your child wants/needs; tickets to a play or ball game.  Our extended family has been curious and supportive on this journey.  They really like to feel a part of our kids’ education, and appreciate when I recommend something specific.

    Horse-back Riding lessons were a big hit this Spring
  • Get a Kindle (or tablet of your choice).  ALL, and I do mean ALL, of our kids’ literature books on FREE on the Kindle.  This is true not only for the coming year, but throughout middle and high school.  ALL.
  • Join a local Home-School Support Group.  These groups often have book sales and lending libraries. You will build relationships with other parents and talk about what is working for them;  borrow and lend books; plan trips together; share your experiences and encourage one another.
  • Join a group-learning or co-op group.  Each parent can teach the group something they are passionate about!  In our co-op group, Allison teaches American History; Krista teaches Science; I teach Sign Language; Natalie does craft projects that support the learning in History.  Janelle has wee ones ones, so she tends them while the others are learning. We are an informal group that has been together for 4 years.  Our kids now range in age 2  – 15 years old, and they enjoy the benefits of long-term friendships.  We eat lunch together each week.  We laugh and play and encourage each other… and the kids do too. 🙂  My Co-Op group has been one of the greatest assets to our home-schooling experience to this point.

    Some of the kids from our Wonderful Co-Op
  • Shop the Back-To-School sales at the end of summer and grab up a pile of spiral bound notebooks, pencils, glue, tape, crayons, etc.  I spent less than $20 at the beginning of the school year and have needed to buy nothing else this year.  I am not crafty, so I don’t spend money on doing crafty things, as some of my peers do.

There are folks that spend big bucks on curriculum, books and supplies.  But they don’t HAVE to do it.  They CHOOSE to do it.   Their kids aren’t smarter/faster/cuter/less smelly… they just use a different means of educating their kids. If you are currently home-schooling, I encourage you to not put a burden on those considering doing the same.  One does not need to spend big bucks to teach their kids at home.  You may choose to do that, but don’t pass that yoke on to another.

We use a Classical Approach to education.  Lots and lots of good, classic books.  We teach the kids to think and find information.  We teach them to reason and apply scripture.  We memorize a whole lot.  But more, so much more, we love.  We love being together; we love learning together; we love traveling together; we love discovering together.  We love.

If you are feeling the pull to home-school, but are afraid of the costs.  Don’t be.  You don’t have to spend a dime more than you would buying supplies to send your kids to school.  You may have a messy house from time to time, but who doesn’t?  You may have days (or weeks) when you feel like nothing is getting through (like algebra!).  But I experienced that a million times more in my career life than I do in my home-school life.

Be encouraged.  You don’t have to be brilliant, rich or Super-Mom to teach your children at home.  Just look at me! HA!