Cooking with Your Kids

Teaching your daughter or son to cook is not only fun but a great way to incorporate health and math into the activity. Who says that homeschooling has to be all bookwork??

I saw this book title, Cooking Class by Donna F. Cook, when I was perusing the internet and decided to get it at the library. It not only has recipes, but also has terms that are commonly used in recipes such as dice, chop, blend, and sauté.  In regards to teaching health, there is a section that discusses washing hands and the proper handling of food.  Measuring ingredients is a practical way of teaching fractions and being precise, which sometimes children have difficulty in understanding. Of course, we know this is extremely important in cooking, otherwise, the recipe can be ruined.

I’ll never forget the first time my mom let me make brownies on my own. Desserts were a rare treat at our house when we were growing up and when I was allowed to make them I was ecstatic! I was anticipating licking the bowl and the delicious taste of a brownie with milk. Well, I did not read the recipe correctly and instead of 1/4 cup of water, I added 1 1/4 cups and they were totally ruined! Wahh! Talk about a terrible mistake. 😦


You may have picky eaters at your house and, believe me, I know what that is like! I, unfortunately, was the picky one at my house. I had a really great sense of smell and I believe I could taste things much more than others. So, everything was really sour or really spicy, funny how nothing was ever too sweet though!  If you have a child like that, I feel their pain, oh, I meant yours. lol Perhaps this recipe for roasted vegetables will help alleviate the Battle of the Veggies. If not, keep having them try a spoonful and one day they will eat them! I am almost a total vegetarian now. My mom would be so proud of me.


If you don’t have access to the book, then here are some other recipe ideas that you can use when teaching your aspiring cook.

How about Bread in a Bag? Yes, you read that right! Your baker puts all of the ingredients in a gallon sized bag and mixes it all up by kneading it inside the confines of the bag! It makes two mini loaves and I am sure your son will gobble up the bread he has made. The hardest part will be waiting for it to cool enough to slice. Best Bread in a Bag Recipe


Have you tried spaghetti squash? This is so fun to make with your children! I love the transformation that vegetable goes through! While it really doesn’t taste like spaghetti, the fibrous insides of the squash do resemble it and your daughter will enjoy scraping the squash to see it come apart in strings.



Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe  (recipe from

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cooking Time: 45 mins to 1 hour

1/2 pound ground turkey or hamburger (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large spaghetti squash
1 egg
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese or cottage cheese drained
1 1/2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
5 fresh basil leaves, torn
salt & fresh ground pepper
4 10 oz ramekins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Poke the spaghetti squash 10 times and microwave for 10 to 12 minutes stopping every 3 to 4 minutes to turn. You’ll know it’s done when the skin starts to buckle. Remove and split open. While it’s cooling off, heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add oil to the pan and blot the turkey meat dry before adding to the pan. Space the meat out in the pan and cook until it is just brown on both sides. As long as it is browned, it can be a little undercooked. It will cook the rest of the way in the oven. Set aside and begin scraping out your squash with a fork. Transfer scraped squash into a colander and let drain while you are prepping the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together sauce, ricotta, egg, 1 cup of cheese, oregano, basil and salt & pepper to taste. Mix in the drained spaghetti squash until it’s all well combined. Place one scoop of squash mixture in each ramekin covering the bottom. Layer browned meat on top of squash mixture and then place another scoop of squash on top of the meat. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of each and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and squash looks set. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. PS: If you don’t have ramekins, you can make it in a pie pan as you would a spaghetti pie.

Yogurt parfaits are easy to make and can be customized for each person’s taste preference. 

Yogurt Parfait
In a glass (so you can see the layered effect) add the following ingredients in order.
2 tablespoons of  yogurt
1-2 tablespoons of granola (This varies according to your preference.)
Blueberries or sliced strawberries (buy organic- conventional have the highest amount of pesticides of all fruit)
Repeat layers until glass is full.


Here’s a recipe that even little ones can help you make from

Healthy Bites (Toddlers can make too!)

2 cups rolled oats
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/3 cup cranberries
* 1 tsp marmalade or orange peel (optional)
* 1/2 cup applesauce
Throw it all into a bowl and mix well.
Roll into small balls
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown (350F)
Happy Cooking and baking!
~ Lisa ~



5 Indoor Winter Activities Kids will Love

Wow! winter has been putting on a little show here in SW Ohio the past few weeks. It was so cold here for a period of time that the Ohio River had big sheets of ice on it! So, when inclement weather has you housebound with your youngsters, how do you keep them happy and still focusing on school? How about some winter-inspired activities?

  • Make paper snowflakes. You can back your creations with tissue paper either white or colored for some pizazz and hang them from the ceiling and close to a light source so you can see through the tissue. (art)
  • Play a Scavenger Hunt- Instead of just hauling the books out from their usual location, why not create a scavenger hunt to start out the day? Not only have the schoolbooks hidden, but add a treat for a special surprise. Clues could be:  Clue #1 Go to the room where you brush your teeth. (Hide the clue somewhere in the bathroom such as under the wastepaper basket or inside the vanity. Clue #2 Go to the place where we eat our meals. (Hide the clue under the tablecloth or a placemat or salt and pepper shakers, etc.) Clue #3 Look in the place where pots and pans are kept.  Clue #4 Find the place where you rest at night. Here you can have the books hidden under the bed. Clue #5 Bring all of your books to the schoolroom and there you will find the treasure to begin our school day. Your treat can be a piece of fruit, a cup of hot chocolate, a new Read-Aloud book, or whatever you think would be a fun idea to have as a reward. (reading, physical education)
  • Create Word Poetry– Do you have old grocery fliers or magazines that you can cut up for this activity? You can create a simple poem that has two lines that rhyme or you can create a free verse poem. You can make the poem’s theme as simple as food if all you have is grocery fliers or as elaborate as you like. Since we are in the middle of winter, what about that being the theme? (language arts)
  • DIY Window Clings– with a little bit of glue and some paint your son will have lots of fun making these. I bet you would enjoy making a few too! (art)

Window Clings

You will need for each color:

2 tablespoons White craft glue (like Elmer’s)

2 -3 drops Liquid food coloring

2 drops Liquid dish detergent

1 small paintbrush

Combine 2 tablespoons of glue with 2 drops of dish detergent. Add a few drops of food coloring and you are ready to make your design! Lay a page protector down so that you can paint your design (using your paintbrush) directly on it so it will be easy to pull off when it is dried. You can create your own designs or use cookie cutters and paint inside of them.  Make your design about 1/4 inch thick. If you make it too thick it will take a long time to dry. If you are using a cookie cutter, let the glue set for a few minutes before removing it. Let designs dry overnight, poke with your finger to see if they have set well enough to remove from the page protector without tearing.  Carefully peel off of the page protector and place on your windows.

  • Make popcorn and cups of tea or hot chocolate and snuggle up with a great Read-Aloud book. I just finished the 1957 Newberry Medal, Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen. This is a delightful book about a family who is in need of a miracle for their father who has come home from the war and how an old homestead restores him and his family.  (language arts)



3 Great Book Series for Middle Schoolers

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Woo! Hoo! I am excited to share these series that are terrific for middle school students.  Not only are they each fantastic books, but you can let your bookworm read these without worrying about bad language or inappropriate scenes. You can even use these for read alouds for your entire family.

IMG_3995Goodreads recommended the first book, Mice of the Round Table and I am so glad that I read it! This is a fabulous and imaginative tale (tail) of the beasts that live in the kingdom of Camelot who must unite to defend and protect the kingdom of both man and animal against an evil force. I am really looking forward to reading the next book, Voyage to Avalon


My niece recommended the book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. This book was not only fun to read, but it is set in Ohio and in a library (two things that are dear to me). Twelve lucky students are selected to have an exclusive overnight preview of the new town library that Mr. Luigi Lemoncello, an eccentric game creator has designed for the town. The catch is that once the students are there, they must use clues from library resources to be able to get out. I loved the references to other great books that were throughout the story. A bonus is at the end where there is a list of other books mentioned to read as well. There are also some word puzzles and sneak peaks of books that follow. Other books in the series include Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, and Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race.


Peter and the Starcatchers is a book about who else but Peter Pan? This is the story of how Peter arrives in Neverland and the adventures that await him and his friends. There are sword fights, mysterious happenings, and treachery, along with loyalty, bravery, and selflessness. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the other two books in this series, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

Teaching Math in Your Homeschool

Using visual aids to teach mathematical concepts is vital when a student is first beginning to learn a concept. For instance: the difference between numeral and number. The definition for each of these according to Google is: a numeral is a symbol or name that stands for a number. Examples: 3, 49 and 12 are all numerals. So the number is an idea, the numeral is how we write it. Having objects on hand for your daughter to manipulate and interact with are extremely helpful. Children are concrete thinkers and using objects to count such as fruit or teddy bears or dinosaurs, etc., number lines, and unifix cubes for her to use will help cement these concepts.

Drill, drill, drill! When your son is first learning mathematical facts, it is important for you to review math facts daily until he knows them without having to add using his fingers.  Do you remember flashcards? Do you know why they have this particular name? You flash (quickly show) the answer to your mathematician first and then show them the problem. They repeat the answer back to you. As you continue to do this and you see that they are beginning to memorize the answers, you no longer will need to flash the answer.

You can also play games to reinforce these concepts as well. I do not want to make this post extremely long, so next week I will share card game ideas you can play with your daughter or son. There are also math apps and books that teach mathematical concepts. I found a list of math apps and descriptions with them for you at Since today is Cyber Monday, Best Children’s Books has a sale going on today so you can snag a couple of great book titles for your child.  You can also find a fantastic list of Children’s books at Chasing SupermomScreen Shot 2017-11-27 at 6.16.46 AM

Have a great week! I hope you find some terrific new ideas to use in your homeschool with what I have shared with you today.

~ Lisa

Teaching Science in Your Homeschool


Teaching Science can be a daunting task for those of us who are not inclined toward that academic area.  When I first began teaching, we team-taught and I was assigned the area of science. I ended up failing miserably at each and every experiment I undertook to demonstrate to my middle school students. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but I decided that when I taught my own children they would not find out that it was one of my least favorite subjects. I think I succeeded pretty well in keeping that opinion to myself for the most part. 🙂 How did I do that? I found simple science experiments that would accompany the topic we were studying. Sometimes I used a textbook, other times I concentrated on a topic that I thought we could do on our own through hands-on experiences and videos or field trips.  Here are a few ideas that I hope will inspire you.

Experiential is the one word that I say works best for students. You can talk about why the sky is blue or what causes beautiful hues in the evening, but if you can show that to your daughter through a hands-on experience, how much more that will make sense! Here is the information about seeing the color blue in the sky:  Why the Sky is Blue  and here is a video. Doing the experiment yourself afterward would be really fun for your son to enjoy.


You may be saying, “That’s great, Lisa, but I am short on time and I am not sure how to find experiments.”

Great point, but with a little planning and searching on the internet, you can have some amazing experiences, experiments, and explanations for your daughter. Am I saying you need to do an experiment for each topic? While that would be nice, it is not always practical or possible. Look through your science book or topics you are going to be studying and find some simple science experiments or activities to do.

Needing some science lessons for your daughter to do with you? not only has lesson plans for grades K-12, you can download and print them too!

If you do not have the time or inclination, then find a science video demonstrating the topic. Steve Spangler is a scientist who does a fabulous job of creating excitement for science and also doing some really crazy things. Here is his website:  Spangler Science

If you have a middle school or junior high student, here are some experiments to try as well as outcomes of the experiments so you know what to expect. 🙂 Hot Chalk is a great resource and if you need a visual index of experiments, has over 1000 from which to choose.