Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rosemary's Easy Roast Beef

I go through phases in my cooking much like lots of others I know so I thought I'd tell you what we've been eating regularly of late. I'll do separate posts on my recipes so it gets filed more neatly in the archives, is that ok? :)

I am a bit of a jack of all trades as I cook a lot of different foods and adapt and change recipes to suit intolerances and allergies in our home. One thing that I always make sure is that it's an EASY recipe:) I am the 'queen of easy' in the kitchen, especially in the past few years as I've started wearing 'many hats' so to speak, both with being a mum, homeschooling, working part time, ministry involvement etc. So....this is a yummy and super easy recipe that I tried out recently and everyone (including me ! ) loved it so here it is:


1 kg or thereabouts of a piece of topside roast
1 packet French onion soup
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 to 1 tsp chilli powder (depending on how spicy you want it).

2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2 cm thick slices.
Other vegetables to serve steamed alongside and gravy if you desire.


Turn oven on to warm up while you do the following:

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes.

Mix the soup packet ingredients, the chilli and garlic in about 1/2 cup of warm water and pour over the meat in a baking dish. (I used a corning ware casserole dish with a lid).

Cook the meat in pre-heated oven (180 degrees C / 350 degrees F) for around two hours (for well done). I use a meat thermometer and it usually takes less than two hours.

Towards the last hour or 45 minutes of cooking I add the sweet potato (sprayed with cooking oil and a dusting of black pepper) to the baking dish.

When it comes out of the oven the sweet potato would have soaked up some of the juices from the cooking process which makes it absolutely delish!

To this you can add steamed vegies, peas, corn, whatever you want really!

Ron and Rebekah like this served with some gravy but I prefer it without and just the juices from the baking dish.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture for you but I can tell you the flavours of the soup mix along with the chilli, garlic and pepper make it very tasty indeed and complement the beef very well. Great for the cold winter nights we've been having of late! I should also mention that with the price of lamb these days this is a much more economical meal!

I'd be interested if you do try it out to let me know how you go, otherwise this will just remain filed away in my archives for me to refer to some time down the road:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Year 2 - Leaving Living Books Curriculum to do Ambleside Online

I'm finally getting around to posting what we do for year 2 which we began early April!

I had been looking into Ambleside Online for many years but had been too overwhelmed or too intimidated by it all to really take the plunge and start it:)

I think two years of Living Books Curriculum has given me the confidence I needed to step out and do Charlotte Mason on my own without the need for a teachers manual.
So, even though I like LBC, I found that after a while I was tweaking it so much that I thought I would be better off to just do it on my own.
Not that you have to do it on your own with AO! There is a very active discussion group where mums discuss the curriculum and it is a great support network for those who decide to use it. This was actually one of the things that kept attracting me to AO and not to mention the great books used as well! I must also add that most of the books AO use are free online, a great bonus for those on a tight budget!

So, even if you don't home school or use another curriculum, may I recommend you look at their booklists? You're sure to get some great ideas from there!

Anyway, back to our year 2! I had heard that AO was quite an advanced curriculum and that one is better off waiting till the child is close to 7 to begin year 1. (hanging around that afore mentioned discussion group for years was great for me!)
So, Rebekah turning 7 this year I decided to take the plunge and do their year 1.
Now, for the purposes of extra curricular activities and for the Board of Studies I need to 'grade' Rebekah so we are calling it Year 2 and also I believe that this curriculum is quite advanced so calling it year 2 is quite appropriate in my opinion!

We are using the curriculum pretty closely to how its laid out with some small adjustments. I am adding some Aussie poetry, literature, art and history in this year by either substituting or adding it in as an extra.

Here is our take on it:


We are following Charlotte Mason's PNEU curriculum along with the leftover pages of the Early Reader Wonder Devotional Book from last year and Leading Little Ones to God which we've been doing very slowly for the last couple of years!

Language Arts:


Continuing with Italics Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner.


Rebekah is a very fluent reader so we will continue buddy reading.


A Child's Garden of Verses by R.L. Stevenson
Now we are six by A.A. Milne
The Animals Noah Forgot by A.B. Paterson (Australian poetry)


Aesop for Children by Milo Winter
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty
The Way of the Whirlwind by Mary Durack (Aussie literature) (We intended to use this book last year but didn'nt as I felt Rebekah would get more out of it this year)


We are continuing with Singapore Maths, doing the 1B and 2A books this year.


Charlotte Mason emphasised nature study as a foundation for higher level sciences so we will be continuing our focus on nature study using The Handbook of Nature Study as outlined in AO along with our own field guides and other nature books we've accumulated.

In addition to this we will be using (as outlined in AO):
James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot and
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

We will also be completing 'Growing Strong and Healthy' from LBC Year 1. This is a great book on the human body and nutrition and if you are looking for something free which is also good, it is available online!


Early history, focusing on people rather than events-
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula (we are omitting this book)

An Island Story by H.E. Marshall
Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
Viking Tales by Jennie Hall

To this we are adding My Place by Nadia Wheatley for Aussie history.


Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling (This is a book covering the great lakes in America but it is such a lovely book that we just had to use it!)

Foreign language:

We are continuing Spanish with Play and learn Spanish by Ana Lombarda.


Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks


We will use the many craft books we have in our home library!

Picture Study:

Here we are not following AO, instead we will be using:
Come look with me, exploring Landscape art with Children by Gladys Blizzard
Roy and Matilda: The Golden Locket by Susan Venn (Aussie art)


We will be following AO for this and listening to the music of Beethoven, Vivaldi and Chopin.

Hymns and Folksongs:

AO have scheduled these but I am not doing them for now but will add them in later in the year after we are more used to this new curriculum!

P.S. I am deeply indebted to many that have gone on before me in this homeschooling adventure that I have learned from over the years. I especially wanted to mention Jeanne (ohpeacefulday) for her mentoring me in Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online in particular! I also want to mention that I glean from various resources for my Aussie stuff, in particular I want to make mention of Ruth (From Wonder to Wisdom) and Michelle (Homeschooling Downunder) whose websites / blogs have also helped me immensely. You will find many many wonderful Aussie resources on each of these ladies websites.

Year 2 weekly schedule

As I am having trouble editing my post on year 2 plans, this is just an update for our weekly schedule! Here's the link.