Homeschool British Themed Recipes: Pork Pie

We started on a little road of discovery all about Britain.  I'm a dual citizen (by descent) since my mom is from there thanks to a changed law that recognizes the maternal link.  I'm also an ardent Jane Austen fan and that is slowly creeping into my daughter's interest.  I instantly fell for a quirky movie based on the love of Austen titled Austenland.  Low and behold, my younger who is a self-proclaimed 'mini-me', loves it too which has inspired all this new found interest in England.  We previously had our first tea party with homemade strawberry scones followed by a luncheon with finger sandwiches which didn't go over well since they are not egg fans.  Our latest dish was pork pie which was very tedious to make and required me to learn what ramakin dishes were as I had no idea what their official names were.  Luckily Walmart had four but remembering how the Walmart here is not too good as I've opened spices that were already opened along with a couple of other incidences, I decided to remove the lids on each dish to make sure they were not cracked.  Of course, one was so I'm glad I checked as it would have been a real damper to find I was out a dish.  

So, with only three dishes on hand, we proceeded to make our British Pork Pies.  I called my mom since she's the resident expert in this area and when I told her what the recipe entailed, she proclaimed it wasn't like the pork pies she grew up with and that they ate them cold and they had a gel substance inside.  I can honestly say I can do without the gel thank you very much!  So here are our pictures of the long process but very condensed:

The dough is made after the pork and bacon mixture have been prepared and is cooling in the refrigerator.  It was a basic flour and lard recipe and was simple to make.

The skillet included onions, garlic and green apple:
Half the pork butt and thick bacon mixture is pulsed in a food processor and returned with the other half.   It does not look too appetizing!

My two girls are the pickiest eaters ever but they really enjoyed the pork pies!  It was a win!

Not quite like the recipe picture but it was still good!  Want to try it?  Here is the link for British Pork Pie recipe.

Our Homeschool Lesson: Making Scones for Our British Theme

I love Jane Austin mostly because I was introduced backwards via movies instead of books first.  Maybe it's because I'm a dual citizen by descent or not but all things British have an enormous appeal to me.  My mom and dad were married there while my dad was in the Air Force and I've been there a few times thanks to work (picture above).  I adore Austenland, a quirky movie about Jane and Mr. Darcy but in a different way.  My younger one, who is proud to be a junior version of myself, likes it too.  As part of understanding how learning is picked up better when it interests children, I couldn't ignore going down the British route to teach.  As a spur of the moment idea, I decided we would bake scones, have a high noon tea (chocolate milk) and printed off some educational sheets.


I found this wonderful recipe but changed it up a bit to go a little organic.  I used King Arthur Flour, Wholesome Sweeteners, butter and strawberries.

2 cups flour
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
4 tablespoon half & half
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 diced strawberries


1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons of milk or half & half

Preheat oven to 350.  Add first four ingredients to food processor.  Process until butter is blended into pea-sized pieces. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.  Stir sugar, cream cheese, egg, half & half and vanilla into mixture until blended.  Gently stir in strawberries.

Generously flour surface and roll dough into a flat shape.  Cut scones with a cookie cutter and place about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake 16-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Stir glaze together.

When slightly cool, glaze scones.

Announcing Another Grandchild and Win A Wish from Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers

I participated in a Huggies® and Mom Central posting opportunity in which I received a gift card from Huggies® in exchange for my honest opinions.

If you are a regular to my blog, you know that I have children and that I've always stated what a Huggies® family we are.  Not only did I use Huggies® with my two younger ones but my oldest uses Huggies® exclusively too.  I didn't use Huggies® with my oldest as she's 26 and have no idea what I used all the way back then!  I have tried many brands and I do have a second favorite but I always turned to Huggies® for the reliable protection and unbeatable skin care which is why I eagerly wanted to share Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers with you.  I also wanted to share that I'm going to be a grandmother again!  My oldest is due early November and in spite of her newly discovered ovarian cancer, we know her little-one-to-be saved her life as the tumor wouldn't have been discovered if it weren't for him.  As she progresses towards her second child, who are close in age to my second crew of children, we are happy to continue along the Huggies® line of products.

As snug and as happy as can be with a dependable, dry Huggies® on!
We all love those adorable soft hugs from our babies, not to mention as they grow too, so why not have make sure the second hug is just as soft?  Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers has a new Gentle Absorb Liner that provides a cushiony layer of protection with hundreds of tiny absorbent pillows keeping your baby's skin dryer. Huggies® has changed and improved over the years with such great new features such as a wetness indicator so no more putting that finger inside the diaper to feel if it's wet.  For the newborns, there is an umbilical cord cut out to help protect that sensitive healing spot that we all worry about.  The diapers also feature a cottony-soft inside and out to help keep your little one comfortable as well as a unique stretchy Snugfit waistband that is flexible and pocketed to help keep the messes inside and not all over the bedding or your arm.  

As I plan for my newest grandchild, it's time to open up an old post I wrote in which I made a Huggies diaper cake for my first grandchild.  This time, I'm using Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers in a Beatrix Potter theme and will stack the sizes since Huggies ® Little Snugglers Diapers are available in five sizes from Preemie (up to six pounds) through size 3 (16-28 pounds).  With a suggested retail price of $11.99 for a jumbo pack to $22.99 for a BIG pack, I can't go wrong and the other beauty is, they are available in grocery stores and major mass retailers nationwide so wherever I shop, I will be able to find them.  Although my favorite place to shop is Target, which I had done weekly while we lived in El Paso, but we just moved across country so now I have to find my nearest Target and fast!  My oldest loves Target too and has a registry for her baby-to-be.
As part of my participation in this project with Huggies® and Mom Central, I received a $50 Target gift card which I used to purchase two packages of Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers online as I forgot to capture my prior week's purchase of Huggies® for my other little one.  If you haven't shopped online via Target, you are missing out!  There are great shipping deals and other specials they routinely run and if you live in a congested area like I do, shopping online beats fighting traffic!

If you know someone who is pregnant or if you are, don't forget to submit your wish to Huggies® as for six months, there will be one lucky winner per month with a prize value up to $5,000!  All you have to do is create, if not already done, a registry at Target and then click on the Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers Make a Wish to learn more and enter!  I just did so hurry and enter and as a bonus, you get to sign up for a free sample after you complete your wish entry.  The registry is fast and easy and really lets you set up what you want and need to help others give you the perfect gift!  Target provides suggestions or you can browse on your own and what is wonderful, Target will even allow your gift givers to ship the gift to you!

LeapTV Pre-Order is HERE!

This is a sponsored post from LeapFrog and MomSelect but the opinions are of my own.

If you have children, you probably have heard of LeapFrog.  My children and grandchild are big fans of LeapFrog's array of educational products and from the LeapFrog family including the LeapPad, LeapReader Interactive Map, Letter Factory DVDs, LeapReader Book Sets, Touch Magic Learning Bus and Leapsters that we own and now we can't be more excited to learn about the latest LeapFrog product is now available!  This is sure to be a huge hit with kids given that it's made for kids and provides education and action.

LeapTV provides three opportunities to play from body motion, pointer play and classic controls.  Just swivel one end of the controller out with a simple click to play in pointer play mode.  For body motion, no controller is needed and your child will be able to use the camera mode for playing fun games like Sofia the First.  Classic controls might be a favorite to the little video game avid who's used to pressing A and B buttons for fast paced gaming.  The three modes of play will surely be a hit among the little ones and why not offer up educational value while they play?  I know my kids love playing games and I gravitate towards the ones that will teach while engaging their attention in fun play.

Check it out the LeapTV behind the scenes video here and don't forget, you can now purchase the new LeapTV during the special pre sale!

Get Ready for LeapFrog's NEW LeapTV Gaming Console Coming September 2nd

This is a sponsored post from LeapFrog and MomSelect but the opinions are of my own.

As I previously wrote, if you have children, you probably have heard of LeapFrog.  My children and grandchild are big fans of LeapFrog's array of educational products and from the LeapFrog family including the LeapPad, LeapReader Interactive Map, Letter Factory DVDs, LeapReader Book Sets, Touch Magic Learning Bus and Leapsters that we own and now we can't be more excited to learn about the latest LeapFrog product releasing on September 2nd called LeapTV!  This is sure to be a huge hit with kids given that it's made for kids and provides education and action.

Mark your calendars because on September 2nd, LeapTV Gaming Console will be available for pre-sale!  If you haven't heard about LeapTV, check out the great LeapTV YouTube video:

My Grandchild's Finding Nemo Birthday Party

My oldest decided on a Finding Nemo theme for her daughter's third birthday.  She did a great job making everything herself with the help of a printer, her Cricut and lot of ingenious ways to create the perfect Finding Nemo party.  She did a great job and I was very proud that she has picked up my love of party planning and will give her daughter memories to last forever.

She made this cake and as you can tell, her daughter enjoyed blowing out the candle:

She created the Hershey candy bar wrappers by designing them and printing them on her printer.  The inner liners hide the candy bar.  I purchased a bulk supply year's ago from a buyer on E-Bay.

The background was a shimmery material purchased at either Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  All the cut outs, banner and signs were made using the Cricut and the Finding Nemo cartridge.  Didn't she do a great job?

She made cake balls and dipped in white chocolate to make the clam shaped bowl full of pearls and used a small bucket from Michaels and Goldfish to make shark bait.  Again, a great idea!

Frito Lays Potato Chips were the perfect sand dollar long with some lost treasure and a plush Nemo from Disney.

She also designed and printed the water bottle labels.

This is my youngest enjoying the party!  I embroidered personalized Nemo shirts for each of the girls and she made them chevron skirts to match.

Here are both of my younger children really loving this party!

Overall, the party was a hit! My grandchild loved her gifts most of all as you can see by her expression of receiving a baby doll.  My oldest did a great job with this party and can't wait to see more ideas!  She's a natural!

Aperion® Audio Speakers Rock

My family loves all the gadgets like most everyone else as we have iPods, an iPad, iPhones and other devices.  It's almost a must nowadays to have at least one and of course, most use them to hold their music collection on them.  They make it so easy as well to have multi-purposes for the devices such as traveling, at home, exercising and more.  They are great to have but the sound is not all that great which I've learned as I take my iPhone with me on the treadmill.  I'm constantly pulling out the headphones which disrupts my run as I want to use it for the Nike run app. Not having a good sound demotivates me because I get energized with music which is where Aperion® Audio Speakers comes into play as I just love my ALLAIRE™ WIRELESS SPEAKERS AND ACCESSORIES! Music has never been better!

I can hook up all my devices and with the Avantree Roxa Bluetooth 4.0 Receiver, I can play music from anywhere in the house and it will be transmitted to the Aperion® Audio Speaker. When I received it, I was surprised by the size as it was bigger than a typical device speaker but it was portable enough to take anywhere.  The set up was very easy which I like as I don't like reading instructions.  Other features include:
  • Adjustable and removable steel base allowing you the look you want
  • 100W total power
  • Six internal speakers that includes four powered drivers and two passive radiators
  • Three sound modes: natural, bass boost and enhanced stereo
  • Simple connection to your home network via push-button or wizard for Wi-Fi and plug-and-play for Ethernet
  • Compatible with Windows 7 Play To and Windows 8
  • Works with DLNA®
  • One-year warranty
  • FREE lifetime technical support
  • Live chat
  • 30 day in home trial
I recorded the sound first on the Kindle with the highest volume allowed and then I plug it in and you can hear how much louder, clearer and better it sounds:


It's really a great system and my girls like it so they can't hear my voice fluttering as I sing and run per my middle daughter.  

To show you how easy it is to set up, here is their own video:

Overall, I love the Aperion® Audio Speaker system.  I love the portability and lightweight feature of the speaker.  The wireless adapter allows the speaker to be placed anywhere while plugging in the device somewhere else.  The three music functions allows the user to adjust the sound to their preference and the various volume levels is ideal for any listener since it can be tuned in very low or very high.  There was no distortion or interference heard and the sounds was incredible.  It's a great speaker system to have in any house that enjoys music or even audio books and more.  I would recommend it.

Follow Aperion® Audio on the following social media channels:

*Disclaimer:  I received the complimentary system as part of this review.  The opinions are of my own.

Personal Chef To Go: Excellent Healthy Meals

I've been trying for some time to eat better and with the recent diagnosis of my youngest child having congenital heart disease on top of severe asthma and my middle child having epilepsy, it's even more important for myself and my girls to eat healthier.  Sometimes it's not always easy to eat healthier nor to have the time to cook a great meal between working, running a non-profit for children and blogging.  I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant to try out the meal selections when I was asked to review Personal Chef To Go given past experiences with meals through the mail although I have to confess, I'm referring to diet type programs.  If you want to read the entire post, I welcome you to do so but if you are limited in time, please scroll down for a review summary at the end.

I was surprised to receive all the food still cold as living far west, it's hard to get packages still on ice but these were perfect.  Personal Chef To Go did an amazing job packing them in a reusable Styrofoam cooler with reusable ice packs.  They even provide ideas on how to reuse the items and how to dispose of the other packaging material to be as green as possible.  I love these type of coolers and ice packs and never throw them out so it's an extra bonus.  The items were all packed nice and neat and even the dinner rolls managed to arrive without a smash or dent in them.  Now, the hard part was deciding what to try first!  As I sat on my computer, I kept thinking about the really green salad and rolls so that was my first meal to try along with my middle daughter.  

The Fresh Green Salad serves 2-3 and contains the nutritional information along with storage instructions.  It's made of romaine lettuce, red peppers, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions and has a balsamic dressing that is just right.  Not too heavy and not too light.  The vegetables were all in their prime and each had wonderful flavor.  The cherry tomatoes lit up the salad for me as they burst with such a wonderful sweet taste.  It was the perfect salad.  The dinner rolls made it an ideal lunch.

Next on our list was the baby carrots and rice.  As you can see in the picture, the spices made it such an eye appealing dish.  This was a favorite of my youngest daughter.  I was surprised as I expected to bite in to crunchy carrots but the carrots were cooked to perfection and had a wonderful taste along side the flavorful rice.  It was a very healthy and tasty side dish.
For an entree, we had the Greek Chicken Penne Pasta that was made from grilled chicken breasts and whole grain pasta with peppers, peppers, red onions, and olives tossed in a tomato sauce and topped with feta and Parmesan cheeses.  Another great dish that was perfectly flavored.  The spices were just right as well as the amount of the tomato sauce.  The cheeses perfectly enveloped just the right pieces of chicken and pasta to give great flavor in each bite.

Pomodoro Shrimp tossed in fresh basil, garlic and tomatoes and served with the dish below that of roasted sweet potatoes and petite mushrooms.  Another perfect tasting meal!  The shrimp was not spicy and was tender.  The sauce was rich and tasty.  My personal favorite were the roasted sweet potatoes as I'm a sweet potato fan!

Next on the menu was Italian Style Chicken Stew made with chicken breasts simmered in tomatoes, spinach, cannelloni beans and Parmesan cheese served with whole grain macaroni.  The chicken was full of flavor and the tomatoes, spinach, cannelloni beans and Parmesan cheese provided the perfect flavor combination to compliment the chicken.  The whole grain macaroni was not overpowering with flavor but was perfectly done.  My girls didn't like it but they are unfortunately, macaroni and cheese fans.  I like the idea of eating whole grains and this provided the perfect balance.

Our next meal was Grilled Herb Marinated Pork Chops that were grilled with their special herb marinade served with petite baby carrots.  Again, perfect!  It's amazing the quality and abundance of flavors every meal had.  As you can see from the pictures above, spices are definitely used to maximize the wonderful tastes.  My girls did like this meal!  

As you notice, each meal was prepared in a healthy manner.  No deep frying, no bread coatings or such.  When Personal Chef To Go states, "Where professional chefs deliver smart'n healthy meals for a smart'n healthy lifestyle," they mean it.  Here is my youngest with all smiles happy with her meal.  It looks like my middle one is sticking out her tongue and she might have because she didn't like the chicken but she's a typical child and likes her chicken nuggets.

How it Works:

Personal Chef To Go's online site details everything you might want to know about the mail delivery program.  You get to see the meals you want before you order to ensure it's what you would want.  You can even see the next menu to plan accordingly and choose the frequency of delivery to include an auto-delivery that features a bonus of exclusive access to the Chef's Table which has a lot of material as well as a savings per week.

Each meal arrives in a flavor-fresh container that has a "enjoy or freeze by" date clearly written on the package.  The dates are far enough in advance that you can enjoy the week's menu all week long without worrying about them expiring and since you can freeze them, never a problem if you have plans for dinner out.

You decide on the meal that suits your lifestyle best and choose from:

  • Busy Singles; 
  • Couples on the Go; or 
  • Family Favorites

Each meal is simple to prepare and only requires minutes in the microwave but you can also bake in the oven if you prefer. 

Special requests for dietary restricted foods and allergies can also be accommodated 

You can read more about who Personal Chef To Go is here.

Menu Costs:

  • Busy Singles ($99.95/week)
    • Five entrees and three entree salad lunches
  • Couples on the Go ($129.95/week)
    • Ten individually packaged dinners consisting of two servings of each of our chef's five guilt-free selections are included in this package.
  • Family Favorites ($89.95/week)
    • Choose from either a full, 16-serving plan (four meals/four servings each); or a half, 8-serving order (two servings each).
  • Dinner Only ($69.95/week)
    • Five individually packaged dinners consisting of a single serving of the five weekly entrees from the Couples on the Go menu are included in this package.
  • Lunch and Dinner Menu ($124.50/week)
    • 5-single serving lunches and 5-single serving dinners from our most popular weekly items
Review Summary:

Overall, the very best in pre-packaged foods in the store or via mail delivery.  I daresay even better than most of my meals as they are truly delicious with the right blend of spices and other ingredients.  It's easy to see that the meals are prepared by recipes created by chefs.  The portions are perfectly sized for two adults or one adult and two children.  The variety of the menus also give you a break from the same old thing night after night.  With the convenience of ordering and delivery from the ease of preparation, it's the ideal way to be healthier without breaking the bank. Personal Chef To Go definitely has an excellent idea here especially for the busy families or singles on the go!

Follow Personal Chef To Go on Twitter, on Facebook and on YouTube.  Also, don't forget to sign up to receive free E-Alerts, specials and more on their home page.

My Girls' Minnie Mouse Birthday Party Ideas w/ Silhouette & More

After going through countless sites for ideas, this is what I'm settling on for the girls' birthday party in July.  I've already created the invitations, cupcake topper labels and the water bottle labels.  I'll also place links to the sites where I got the ideas to further thank them for the ideas but I wanted to post this for a very dear friend, Ros, to see.  I used the Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit Bundle Cutter to make a lot of my party items.

The Invitations:

These can be made by yourself and there are great vendors on Etsy and E-bay that sell invitations, water bottle labels and much more.

Cupcake Picks:

I pasted zebra print into a photo program canvas and utilized the shape function to place hot pink circles in the center with a white circle behind it.  I made the Minnie Ears using the same circle shape to include the bow.  I'll cut those out and use Glue Dots Adhesives to place a pick in between to give it a 3D look.

Drink Bottle Labels:

Here are the instructions if you want to download the drink bottle labels and print them.  I'm still working on how to get the template in the post.  In the meantime, you can send me an e-mail at for it.

I'm so excited as today I purchased the paper for cotton candy cones, ribbons for accents, rhinestones to accentuate the cupcake toppers and more!  The best thing of all is I used my gift card money I won from different blogging contests to pay for EVERYTHING!

Here is the next project which all were inspired and borrowed from Heavenly Blooms Floral Design's blog which is amazing!  She threw this same party for her daughter and I loved it so I used many of her designs and recreated them for my daughter's party.

This involved purchasing specific lollipops from an online vendor, existing vases I had on hand and used a piece of pink paper rolled up inside to give the one on the right some color, sticker flowers on the right vase, floral styrofoam, pink/zebra printed ribbon, construction paper for the ears and Glue Dots Adhesives.  Glue Dots Adhesives have turned into my favorite tool because they are so easy to use and they stick!  I love them thanks to the TwitterMom's campaign, I learned about them.

Here are all the pictures from the party:

Here is a different spin on the colors if you prefer this from Adorable Baby Clothing.

UPDATE:  Given the volume of e-mails I get nearly daily, I was thinking of trying to put a party pack together where I would create many of the items from this party in a customized party box in which proceeds would benefit Angels4Epilepsy (a 501c3).  Stay tuned for more details or if you want, leave a comment or send an e-mail!

Item Details:

The zebra paper comes from  I purchase the 50' rolls of paper to use as backdrops and tablecloths.  I just threw on a pink plastic one to offset the color.  I had plenty of paper left over.  

I also used the paper to make the cones for the cotton candy.  I took an empty box, wrapped it with the zebra paper and cut holes in the box to hold the cotton candy cones.  I added a ribbon to the side to break up the zebra print.

I had Minnie Mouse ears but needed to make more.  I purchased black headbands and cut out mouse ears from black foam that I purchased at Michaels.  I used the hot glue gun to fix them on along with a ribbon that I also purchased from ribbon at Michaels.

The dresses were purchased from an Etay seller.  Search for Minnie Mouse dresses to see a large array of choices.

I used an inexpensive cupcake tray and decorated with zebra ribbon by hot gluing in on to make it match the theme.  I used the Silhouette to make the cupcake wrappers but those can be purchased from Etsy and Ebay sellers too.

I purchased sunglasses, beads and jewelry holders from The Oriental Trading Company.  I'm hoping the holders can be re-used.  They can be customized by adding ribbon or boa material to the stand.

The Minnie Mouse heads were made from Styrofoam balls purchased at Michaels.  I used wooden food skewers to hold the balls together and used black paint from Michaels to turn them black.  I then added the bow that I made from matching ribbon.  

The fan circle was with the Silhouette Die Cut machine so after cutting, all I had to do was glue the sides together and affix it to a wooden food skewer.

The vases were all existing vases I had.  I used coordinating paper to line the inside, added stickers to the outside and lined with feather boas with glue dots or the hot glue gun.

The picture was taken outside and I printed it off in black and white followed with draping beads over it to add to the table appearance.

You can find various lollipops from different vendors.  I found these Pink and Purple Swirl Lollipop on Amazon.  I purchased mine from the Candy Warehouse.  

All in all, it was expensive by the time I bought everything.  I'm hoping to reuse many items for more parties since I have three girls and a grandbaby to have parties for.


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