About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pork Skillet All-in-One Dish

Pork Skillet All-in-One Dish

Everyone in my family loves casseroles. Not surprisingly I was born in the '70s when casseroles were queen of the table. And I'm happy to cook them because they are usually simple and involve one dish to clean up. Cleaning up is never my favorite part.

This dish I happened across some years ago in a magazine and have adapted it slightly for our use. It is a handy dish when I don't have time to monitor everything in the kitchen while it is cooking. I have those days, don't you?

First things first. I cut up some veggies, not diced but not too large. Whatever you have will do. I used gourmet potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion this time.
Next, I mix together whole wheat flour, salt, and pepper on a plate and dredge 4 (or however many you need) pork chops on one side.
Then the other side.

I heat canola oil in my iron skillet until a water droplet dropped on the surface sizzles. Then it's hot enough to just brown the chops on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Don't forget the splatter screen - the best little invention ever. Mine came from Wal-mart.

Next, I add the vegetables, sprinkle with sea salt, and pour a concoction of one cup of warm water and a teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules (or one bullion cube) over the vegetables.

Then just cover and let 'er cook for 40 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.

And for the big finale...
Tricked ya didn't I? I took this to my office for the next 40 minutes. It's tax time. Need I say more?

Until next time,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Science for Boys

We have had some trouble coming up with a science curriculum that my son enjoys. If it were up to him, it would be science experiments every day. And while I know hands-on exploration is perfect for him, sometimes we need to just sit down and read and learn a few facts, too.

He is quite bored with his current curriculum. It's not bad; it's just that it is a little light on kinesthetic discovery. Instead, we have worked a new program into our curriculum that allows him a day out (for 2 1/2 hours) per week to meet with other kids his age and get his hands dirty.

He is taking the Junior Master Gardener class at our local zoo, Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden. The program curriculum was developed by Texas A&M University through the help of some enthusiastic master gardeners who wanted gardening to come alive for the younger generation. If you don't see a class in your area, you can "grow" your own. The JMG web site provides details.

Living in the country, I am hopeful some of my son's newfound knowledge and gardening skills will come in handy this spring and summer when it is time for planting flowers and vegetables. He is very enthusiastic about the class, as the group is responsible for planting and maintaining a portion of the Botanical Garden's beds. There are many girls in the program, too, but I see that my son is enthusiastic to get dirt on his hands and face (and pants and shirt and....you get the picture).

His Level One class is geared toward 3rd-5th graders, but there is a Level Two class for older students. If they complete all projects, they will receive a graduation certificate at the end of the semester.

I am not paid a dime by the JMG program, but I highly recommend it as a supplement for one semester of a homeschool science curriculum.


Monday, February 7, 2011

My Dictionary

My Dictionary

Do I sound a little attached to a Book of Words? I've always loved words and loved reading. And this may sound a little nerdy...ok, very nerdy...but I got this beautiful (once new) unabridged dictionary for Christmas. When I was in kindergarten. (Are you laughing?)

*sigh* It has so many pictures inside to illustrate the thousands of words it contains. I used to just read it for the fun of learning new things. And before you preconceive any notions about me, let me say that I am pretty well adjusted in spite of this nerdy state of mind.

It is well worn. The packing tape seems to hold it in shape enough to get by. I guess I don't have to say that this book is roughly 35 years old.

In homeschooling my son, I have yet to teach him about dictionary.com (gasp from the audience). That's really an easy site to use, and I didn't want him to rely on the easiest method of searching for words and definitions. I am teaching him how to use the good, old-fashioned printed dictionary (although he has an age appropriate version with all the words created in the last 10 years due to the internet).

I think one of my new favorites is the email sign-up for the "Word of the Day" on the home page of dictionary.com. Perfect for any word lover. Might I recommend it for homeschooling your child?

I'd love to hear about any cool sites you know focused on words and how we use them.

Until later,