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Friday, April 21, 2017

LEGO Landmarks- Exploring Countries and Cultures

This past year we turned my boys' Lego obsession into another avenue of learning.  

Our third grade study was a tour around the world, using My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.  For each country, we studied their culture, flags, ecosystem, and landmarks.

You can use this list and make your own "Around the World" Study.  Look up books on the country at your local library, and have a ball!  If there wasn't a specific landmark that jumped out at us, we made a few animals that we studied in that country's ecosystem. Some were my idea, and some were the boys' ideas. Use your imagination, and your kids will probably come up with their own fun creations!

Lego Landmarks can be added anytime during your trip around the world. In MFW ECC our routine was one or all of the following:

  1. Build the flag the same day we introduced the country (same day as flag notebook page).  This could be a substitute if your kids don't like to color. 
  2. Build an animal on the day we study the animal ecosystems
  3. Build a landmark at the end of studying each country.  Use a picture book about the country for your model

TIP:  Don't worry about perfect accuracy, this is a fun activity to give your kids a hands-on learning experience.  My boys didn't pick always pick right colors for each landmark, but had fun figuring out how to build each shape.

  •  Map of your room
  •  Map your house
  •  Map your neighborhood.  

North America

United States
  • Buildings- Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, or White House
  • American Flag

  •  Buildings- Mayan Ruin Pyramid Chichen Itza and an Adobe House
  • Mexican Flag

  • Maple leaf
  • Ecosystem- Northern forest and tundra animals

South America

  •  Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janerio
  •  Ecosystem- Rain forest Animals

  • Reindeer shepherds and their homes (after watching a video on nomad reindeer shepherds)

  • Building- Eiffel tower
  • French flag
  • German flag

  • Crocodile int he Nile River
  • Watering  hole with animals, on Savannah 
  • Kenyan flag

Saudi Arabia
  • camel 
  • Arabian flag (use green lego board for back, and white blocks for design and sword)
  • Building- Taj Mahal (after reading 'T is for Taj Mahal')
  • elephant
  • Indian flag

  • Building- Great Wall of China

  • Japanese Building with traditional rooftop
  • Ninjas and Samurai Warriors

  •  Russian flag
  • Saint Basil's Cathedral

  • Penguins 
  • Building-Sydney Opera House
  • Different types Coral Reef

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken Freezer Meal

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken Freezer Meal 

Makes 1 gallon-sized bags
  • 2 chicken breasts                                       
  •  1 tbsp dried mince onion                       
  •  2 minced garlic cloves                             
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 5 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Day of cooking
  • steamable stir fry veggies
  • white rice                             

  1.  Label your bags with cooking the directions.
  2. Trim chicken breasts and cut in half to have a total of four pieces of chicken per bag. Add meats to bag
  3. Combine 2 cup water, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 10 teaspoons packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground ginger,1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in bowl with a whisk. Add to bag
  4.  Let out air, seal bag, and lay flat in freezer.

To serve 
  1. Cook in crockpot  6- 8 hours on low or 3-4 on high. 
  2. Shred chicken with fork, add steamed stir fry veggies. 
  3. Serve over hot rice.
If you'd like to thicken sauce, add 2 tablespoons cornstarch to 1/4 cup water about half hour before serving.

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs Freezer Meal

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs Freezer Meal
·         28 oz package frozen meatballs
·         15 oz can pineapple tidbits
·         1 green pepper, diced
·         1/2 cup shredded carrot 
·         8 oz can water chopped chestnuts (drained)
·         3/4 to 1 cup white vinegar
·         3 tbsp cornstarch
·         2 tbsp soy sauce
·         ½  cup brown sugar

To freeze

1.      Label Gallon sized Freezer Bag.

2.      Drain Pineapples, set juice aside.

3.      Place  pineapples, carrots, pepper, and water chestnuts in bag.

4.      Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over meatballs.

5.       Remove as much air as possible, freeze flat for up to 3 months.


To serve:  
1.      Thaw in fridge overnight.  
2.      Pour bag of meatballs  into crockpot, and Place contents of bag in crockpot.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.
3.      Serve over rice.

Variation- used chicken breasts instead of meatballs

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans Freezer Meal

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans
·         2 chicken breasts                          
·         6 TBSP of lime juice                    
·         1 cups fresh cilantro, chopped      
·         1 bags (16 oz) bag frozen corn     
·         2 minced garlic cloves                  
·          1 TBSP dried minced onion        
·         1 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
·         3 tsp cumin                                   
·         salt and pepper to taste
·         2 tbsp olive  oil     

1.      Label your bags with cooking the directions
2.      Trim chicken breasts and cut in half to have a total of four pieces of chicken per bag
3.      Place ingredients in a resalable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed. Lay flat to freeze

To Serve
1.      When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.
2.      Put contents of bag in Crockpot
3.      Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours).  Shred Chicken with Fork.
4.      Serve with tortillas and toppings such as with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.

Adapted from Over the Moon

Freezer Baked Ziti

Freezer Baked Ziti
Materials Needed:
  • 9 x13  Disposable casserole dish and lid
  • Sharpie

Ingredients (one Pan)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 pound Italian Sausage
  • 2 Jars Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 oz Ziti, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  • 1 tub (15 Oz.) Skim Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg

1.      Cook garlic, and onions in pan with olive oil.  Add Italian sausage and cook until browned. Drain off fat if any, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
2.      Add Spaghetti Sauce, stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. After that time, remove about 2 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
3.      In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella, parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
4.      While doing that cook pasta according to directions on pot. Drain & rinse under cool water.
5.      Pour pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.)
6.      Add the cooled meat sauce to pasta/cheese mixture and toss to combine.
7.      Add half the pasta mixture to a 9x13 dish. Spoon half set aside of the remaining tomato/meat sauce over the top, and then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, sauce, and the mozzarella cheese.

Cover with two layers of foil (to avoid freezer burn), label, and freeze.  Used within 3 months.

Bake for 20 minutes, 375 degree, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Freezer Meatloaf

Freezer  Meatloaf
Materials needed
  • Cooking spray
  • Loaf pan to help shape loaves
  • Heavy Duty Aluminum foil
  • Sharpie

  • 1.25 pounds lean ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk  (sub unsweetened almond milk for dairy free)
  • 1 large eggs (sub 1/2 cup applesauce to make egg free)
  • 1 packages onion soup mix
  • 1 tsp  minced onion
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 TBSP dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  1. Prepare 9×5″ loaf pan by placing one piece  aluminum foil in bottom and sides, then coating with cooking spray
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, milk, eggs, onion soup mix, shredded carrots, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and dried parsley.  Spoon half into prepared pan.
  3. Fold foil over loaf.  Take loaf out of pan, cover with another layer of foil.
  4. Label and store in freezer for up to 3 months.
  1. Thaw in fridge for at least 24 hours.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for hour to 60 to 90 min, or until cooked through (use meat thermometer)  
  3. Add topping of your choice half way through cooking (ketchup or BBQ sauce).

Freezer Chicken Pot Pie

Freezer Chicken Pot Pie
  • Deep 9 inch Freezer Pie pan
  • Aluminum Foil

Ingredients (makes 1 pie)
  • 1 cup cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup butter (or margarine for dairy free) 
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2  teaspoons salt
  • ½ garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cups milk (or sub unsweetened almond milk for dairy free)
  • 1 ½ cup frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 box  ready made crusts (2 in a box)

Chicken Mixture-
1.      In a large skillet, melt butter.
2.      Stir in the flour, salt, garlic salt, and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
3.      Add the chicken and mixed veggies. Remove from heat.

 Assemble Pie
  1. Line two 9-inch pie plates with bottom pastry; trim even with edge of plate.
  2. Fill pastry shells with chicken/veggie mixture.
  3. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies.
  4.  Cut slits or decorative cutouts in pastry.
  5. Place over filling; trim, seal and style the edges.
  6. Cover and freeze remaining pot pie for up to 4 months.
  1. Thaw in fridge
  2. Cover edges of piecrust with foil; place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 375ºF for 45 minutes. let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Freezer Chicken Enchiladas

Freezer Chicken Enchiladas

Materials Needed:
  • 9 x13 Disposable casserole dish and lid
  • Sharpie

  •     2 cups cooked and shredded Chicken Breasts
  •     3 Cups Mexican blended Cheese, Shredded (leave out to make diary free)
  •     7-10 large/medium Flour Tortillas
  •     1 Can Red Enchilada Sauce
  •     1 Can Black Beans- drained and rinsed
  •     1 cup corn

1.               Line bottom of pan with 1/3 can enchilada sauce
2.               Mix beans, chicken, corn, 1 cup cheese (optional, leave out to make dairy free) in a bowl. Add 1/3 can of enchilada sauce into mixture. 
3.               With a spoon, fill each tortilla with mixture. Usually about 3 to 4 spoonfuls. Roll it up and place it in large  9x13 baking dish with seam down.
4.               Repeat until all chicken mixture is used.
5.               Pour the rest of red enchilada sauce over the top.
6.               Top with rest of cheese.
7.               Cover with foil, label and freeze.

Thaw in fridge, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or till cheese is melty and bubbly.
Serve with sour cream, salsa, lettuce beans or rice

Dairy Free Variation 

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup Freezer Meal

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup
O       gallon sized Ziploc bag
O       sharpie

O       1 lb (about 2 cups ) chicken breasts, fat trimmed
O       1  tbsp dried minced onion
O       1 15 oz. can ((1 ¾ cup) pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
O       1 15 oz. (1 ¾ cup) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
O       1 15 oz (1 ¾ cup) bag of frozen corn
O       1 can undrained rotel   tomatoes  (optional for more spice)
O       1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
O       1 packet Taco seasoning (use only 1/2 packet for less spice)

Day of cooking
O       3 to 4 cups chicken broth

To freeze:
1. Label Bag with instructions.
2. Combine all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and freeze flat.

To Serve:
1. Thaw overnight in fridge.
2. In Crockpot, add chicken broth, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Shred chicken with fork once cooking is done.
4. Top with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or tortilla chips.

Crockpot Pulled Pork Freezer Meal

Crockpot Pulled Pork
Serves 8-10
O       gallon sized Ziploc bag
O       sharpie

O       2-3 pound pork shoulder (also called pork butt or Boston Butt)
O       Sea salt & pepper
O       1/2 TBSP Minced Dried Onion
O       1 cups barbecue sauce
O       1 can Root Beer
O       1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt

Day of cooking
O       rolls or hamburger buns

To Freeze:
1. Label your bags with cooking directions
2. Rub meat with sea salt and pepper; set aside.
3. In medium bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, Root Beer, & seasoned salt, until smooth, then add onion.
4. Place meat into gallon-size Ziploc bags. 
5. Pour sauce over meat; freeze until needed.

To serve:
1         Thaw in refrigerator; pour contents into slow cooker and cook on LOW heat for 8 hours.
2         Remove pork, Pull meat apart with fork, taking off fat, return meat to Crockpot
3         Serve on rolls or hamburger buns.