Life. Love. Family. Our Perfect Imperfection. Living life as a Catholic, homeschooling family with three amazing, unique boys, a too-oft serious, frustrated and anxious but also loving momma, and a fun-loving, hardworking dad.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why I am Calling It Quits.

I quit. I can't do it any more. I'm tired of thinking about "must finish every page, every lesson, every unit." I'm tired of hearing "Is it September yet?" We need a break. And I tell you truthfully, it is a well-deserved break! These boys have worked hard and learned so much this year. They have tried different curriculums to find a good fit and read countless books. They did math almost daily and learned grammar rules I never knew existed. They are ready to be done for the school year and eager to start the new one after a break. There's no reason we can't take a holiday starting now and still start back up in October, no reason we can't take a 7 week "summer" instead of only 4. Next year we have 36 weeks of school planned with 4 weeks off between each trimester of 13 weeks. In the middle of the trimester is a one week break also, making it 12 weeks of school. 180 days with extra time in August next year if we really need it. We shouldn't. But it's there if we do. That's the beauty of homeschooling. We can make it fit us, not fit us into it.

I woke up this morning questioning this next 3 weeks and shoveling so much into it, just for the sake of finishing and saying we had completed every page of every book and feeling like they got everything they could out of it. Then I read an article about how people aren't using their vacation days. The end of the Washington Post article entitled "Why you should use your vacation time" really spoke to me, specifically the last paragraph with a quote about being burnt out. It's a really good post that I feel could benefit anyone who reads it.

After everyone was awake and had breakfast, I made a decision. I had Alex take Teaching Textbooks pre-algebra placement test. He got 4 of 30 wrong which means he's ready for it. Also, Ethan took TT Algebra 2 placement test and he got 6 out of 30 wrong making him ready for it. We were supposed to start our last unit for history today. Since we are doing world history chronologically, we will start with it at the beginning of our new school year, essentially adding it to the Volume 2 of RC History Connecting with History.

Therefore, I'm calling it. We are done with school after Friday for the year. If we need to go back and do some Algebra review in October, it will be there waiting for us.

One map, a creative writing assignment, some clay projects, science reading, a few Algebra lessons, the final religion lessons and tests, and this week will end on a fantastic note. Just as public school starts up (and most of our fellow homeschool friends! 😂) We'll finish reading Swiss Family Robinson and Swallows and Amazons in our free time together. And finish our science unit as we wish.

Here's to a fabulous 7 weeks of break and renewal and hopefully a true family vacation somewhere.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Success - Delicious Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

 A few weeks back, on Amazon Prime Day, there was a great deal on this Instant Pot (affiliate link), so I decided to snag one. To be honest, I was a little nervous to try it for the first time. I've never used a pressure cooker of any kind before and didn't want to ruin a meal, especially baby-back ribs!

After going on a Facebook group for fellow IP users, I took some suggestions shared on others' posts and ran with it, changing it to fit our preferences and needs.

Since we avoiding apples, and the boys all like pears, I scoured the cupboard for any canned pears in 100% juice. Our stand-by seasonings for most things are sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder so that was what I intended on using. After gathering what I needed, I set to work.

Baby-back Ribs with Teriyaki Sauce

2 racks of baby-back ribs
3 cups 100% pear juice (I used the juice from canned pears, and just served the pears on the side)
1 cup white vinegar
fine ground sea salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
onion powder, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
teriyaki sauce (we used Veri Veri Island Teriyaki Sauce ( affiliate link) this time. We've actually liked all of their sauces.)

  1.  Set the IP to saute, and pour in the pear juice and white vinegar, letting them warm while you prep the ribs. (This helped to bring the pressure up quicker later as it was already warmer.)
  2. Remove the membrane on the ribs, and slice into smaller sections, approximately 3-5 ribs each. Then, season liberally with sea salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders on both sides. 
  3. Place ribs in IP, and press Meat. Adjust time to 25 minutes. Place and lock the lid.
  4. Preheat the grill to low/low medium heat.
  5. When finished pressure cooking, vent, watching closely in case of splatter, or you could probably let it naturally release.
  6. Once the pressure is released and you are able to open the lid, remove the ribs carefully.
  7. Brush teriyaki sauce on ribs, and grill over low heat until browned to your liking.

Easy peasy! And delicious, juicy, fall-off-the-bones ribs, in about an hour! There were leftovers but only because it was so filling with our side of mac and cheese and green beans. Alex actually wanted them for lunch the next day, but told him we should save them for leftover night ;)

Last night, I made a chicken in the IP as well, and it was the absolute juiciest bird that I've ever made! I used this recipe from Paleo Gone Sassy. Everyone LOVED it!