August 30, 2012

Educational Websites


There are so many great educational websites available that I couldn't possibly list all of them.  Here are some to get you started.  I will continue to add to this page, so check back often.  Please note that some of these sites are completely free, some have free options and paid membership options, and some are strictly paid sites.  If you find any broken links please let me know and I will remove the link.  What websites do you use?

August 28, 2012

Walkie Talkie Taco Night

Taco night is a family favorite around our house. One of the reasons is because there are so many ways to make a taco. We have tacos regularly and never get burned out because we make them so many different ways. This variation is based on the "walking tacos" sold at carnivals and fairs; or as my daughter calls them...walkie talkies.

I start with 80/20 ground beef, although you can use you favorite ground meat. Try them with ground turkey or pork for nice change. Season the meat both before and after you brown it for maximum flavor. I generally use cumin, chili powder, granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper, basil, paprika, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. After you have drained the meat, add more of the spices (not the sauces), and a little water (to turn the seasoning into a sauce).

Layer crumbled Fritos (or Doritos), the meat, diced onion (we use red contains Quercetin, which is believed to have some interesting health benefits), shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and chilies (you could use diced fresh tomatoes, but we buy Rotel canned tomatoes with green chilies for an added kick), and shredded cheddar cheese into a bowl. Top it with a dollop of sour cream (fat free, of course), some taco sauce, and a squirt each of lemon and lime juice.

Taco night is very easy and fairly quick to make. Best of all, it is a "cook once, eat twice" meal. These are great for busy week nights. Have a hectic evening on Thursday? Don't waste money and give up nutrition & flavor for take-out or fast food. Make Walkie Talkies on Wednesday and have enough for Thursday, too. Planning ahead makes living the good life simple.

How does your family do taco night?


August 26, 2012

Special places, smiling faces.

Every child needs a place of his or her own. Even a child with his or her own bedroom needs a special place. Special places are cozy, private spots where a child can read, play a game, or just be alone. They don't need to be expensive or elaborate. Simply hunt around your house for an empty corner or closet, and a few soft pillow and blankets.

Here, I simply stretched my daughter's curtains across her bed to create a special place that feels private. It sets up and tears down in about a minute and requires nothing that has to be bought. She loves to crawl in here and read her textbooks during school.

This special place is a closet...not that I actually have empty closets just lying around. I took the clothes out so you can see the space better. Younger kids especially don't mind clothes hanging over their heads. Clip a reading light to the rod and again just spread out a blanket and toss in some pillows. It makes a great place to relax or even hide-out with a friend.

There are all kinds of ways to create special places for the special kids in your house. For even more ideas, stop by my special places board on Pinterest.  The possibilities are endless. When you get creative, it's easy to live the good life...simply. How do you create special places in your house?