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Albondigas Soup with Quinoa

So, the other day I was wondering how to use hamburger meat. Our most common meals are tacos, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, and if I am in a rush and haven't planned I will cook chili mac.

Although the kids love meatloaf, I was wanting a change. With the colder weather, I thought soup. Hey, I thought, growing up mom use to make albondigas soup. It had been literally decades since I had albondigas (meatball) soup. Sadly mom isn't here for me to call up and ask for the recipe. So off to the internet I went in search of a recipe.

After searching and finding recipes that didn't sound like moms, she didn't add tomato sauce for one (at least I think she didn't), I finally found one that was close. Actually I found two and combined them. One didn't have rice, which I remembered was in the meatballs. The other added vegetables that I don't remember being in the soup, like green beans, but it did have the rice in the meatballs. Picky I know!

The first time I made the recipe, I made it with rice. The other day I decided to use quinoa in the place of rice. Quinoa is something I want to cook more with, but I am having a hard time with recipes. I actually bought a quinoa cookbook, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Albondigas Soup with quinoa - meatballs

It was a hit at our house. Funny because I do remember not liking or caring for meatball soup when I was growing up. I ate it because mom made it, but now I think it is delicious, especially on these cold evenings.

Albondigas Soup w/Quinoa
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup quinoa
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 64 oz chicken broth
  • 4 large carrots, cut into ½" pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • celtic sea salt
  • black pepper
  1. For meatballs, combine the ground beef, ½ the cilantro, ½ the onion, garlic, garlic salt, onion powder, egg, and quinoa in a bowl.
  2. Shape into golf size meatballs.
  3. Set aside.
  4. In a large pot, cook remaining onion in coconut oil on medium-high heat until translucent, about 8 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth, carrots, celery, and potatoes.
  6. Bring to a boil and carefully drop in the meatballs.
  7. Add in the remaining cilantro.
  8. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Albondigas Soup made with quinoa



That's right! MaryEllen drew this picture of the X-Men as dragons. She colored and framed it and gave it to Donnie as a Christmas gift.

X-Men as Dragons by MaryEllen AlbrightClick for larger image.

Can you name them? I can only name Storm and Gambit. Gambit only because MaryEllen pointed him out. He is one of her favorites.

It is cold here in North Central Georgia. When it is cold, I don't feel like getting dressed, so I am still in my pajamas and it is almost noon. I am just thankful it doesn't get this cold that often. Also, this weather irritates my asthma. It makes me wheeze, but only if I am out in it. Last week just walking from the supermarket to our car made me cough which then makes me wheeze. I need to remember to wear a scarf or turtle neck so I can put it over my mouth.

Stay warm wherever you are.

Talk to y'all soon.



Alone Yet Not Alone and I Am Regina Books

I noted in my last post that I was reading more. Well, two of the books I read were Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy M. Leiningerand I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn.

They are the same story but written about different characters. It is the story of two sisters who became Indian captives, Barbara and Regina, who were taken from their family during the French and Indian War. They were separated and ended up with different tribes.

I Am ReginaI bought I Am Regina at a library sale and it has been sitting on my bookshelf  for about four years. The story intrigued me. We might have finished Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison as a read-aloud at this time, so this type of story was most likely still on my mind.

Anyway, during a sale at Vision Forum a few years back I bought Alone Yet Not Alone because the story sounded interesting. After receiving it and looking at it more, I realized it was the same story as I Am Regina.

So, I finally got to reading them. When I began reading them, it didn't occur to me that they would be written from each girl's experience. I read Alone Yet Not Alone first and after, wasn't sure if I wanted to read I Am Regina because it was the same story, but I decided to thinking that since this one was about Barbara the other book might be about Regina. Sure enough!

Alone Yet Not Alone is the story of Barbara's capture. I Am Regina is the story of Regina's capture.

They were both good books, but I felt Regina's story was better told as far as imagery, Indian life, and connecting with the characters go. I enjoyed reading Regina's story and felt myself feeling her pain, sorrow and even anger. The author of I Am Regina stayed true to their christian upbringing and included Bible passages within the text especially when things would trigger a memory.

Alone Yet Not AloneAlone Yet Not Alone I feel was written to the Christian as an encouragement that God is always with us even when we feel alone. In my simple and unhindered life, I cannot imagine the strength it took to hold onto that during this horrific time. It is only through God that they or we could get through the trials that we face in this imperfect life. The book was very encouraging in that respect.

In Regina's story you can sense her anger about the death of her father and brother. Who wouldn't be angry! You can sense her worry about her mother and other brother who were not home at the time of the attack. During her captivity you can relate to her loneliness, her fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, the fear of the unknown as to what will this day bring, the joy of making friends, the sadness of losing friends, the hope of the war ending or soldiers finding and rescuing her, learning to trust her captors and eventually loving them as family.

I found myself scared for her, crying with her, and also wanting her to be rescued, but at the same time torn between her new family and the one she was taken from. I can't imagine the emotional roller coaster she must have been on.

Through Regina's story, you got to see more of Indian life, their beliefs, struggles, pain, fear, hurt...their humanity. Regina also got to see them as people and not as 'savages' as they were called back then.

So, if you have read one of these books, I do recommend you read the other one too. Some of the details differ in each story, but the story line stays true in both.

I just found out today that a movie is set to release of Alone Yet Not Alone in June of 2014 according to their Facebook page. Joni Eareckson Tada sings the song that shares the title of this movie. I would love to see a movie of Regina's story too.






I created this piece of copywork a few years ago, but haven't put it up on Cynce's Place yet. I noticed there are a few others, so I will try to get those up soon.

Ephesians 6:14-16 kjv copywork, Includes a place to copy the verse, rewrite it in their own words, and how to apply it to their lives.

I created these for the kids a while back when I wanted them to go a little deeper than just copying verses. They are great for mini-devotions.

 Download Ephesians 6:14-16 kjv Copywork

I hope your kids enjoy it.





Earlier this month we visited a museum in an adjacent town. I have been wanting to visit for years, but it has never happened. So, when I heard on the radio that they were doing a Follow the Shepherds Walk and that Don would be off, we made plans.

The Explorations in Antiquity Center is a living museum of life in ancient times. They have archeological replicas of ancient biblical life.

The Shepherds Walk was a tour through the events of the Nativity. I have a few pictures, but my camera died on me. My extra battery too. I might not have charged them long enough or else we need new batteries because the charge didn't hold very long.

Antiquity MuseumOur guide took us through Bethlehem and went into a little history as to why Joseph and Mary ended up there. It was interesting to note that she said Mary most likely walked. I hadn't heard that before. Even if Joseph couldn't afford a donkey, maybe someone else could have. I am so use to imagining Mary on a donkey, that it is hard to see it any other way.

Antiquity Museum

 Antiquity MuseumA replica of a manger which was hewn out of a stone wall in a cave.

 Antiquity MuseumThis stable was really small and we were told that it was more than likely there were no animals in the stable when Jesus was born. The guide also noted how the stable was the perfect place for a newborn to be born because of the temperature inside the cave.

She said that Joseph's relative's home(s) were most likely filled with relatives. Being such that it wouldn't have been an ideal place for Mary to give birth. Also after giving birth she would be unclean for 30 days (I think she said 30 days) and anyone near her during the birthing would also be unclean, so having Jesus in an isolated place was more convenient. I know I wouldn't have wanted to have a child in front of all Don's relatives. 😉

Antiquity Museum

Antiquity MuseumThese are the wine presses.

Antiquity Museum

An altar

Antiquity MuseumThe olive press. This was interesting. I didn't realize how long the olives had to be pressed before use. It makes me wonder how much they got at a time or if they had multiple olive presses going at once in rotation.

Antiquity MuseumThis wasn't part of the tour, but after the guided tour we were able to look around. This is the tomb.

Antiquity Museum

Antiquity Museum

Antiquity MuseumIt was a pretty neat place. They also do digs for kids and have a Biblical meal where you partake of a meal from the time of Jesus.

So, if you are ever in West Central Georgia, you will want to look this place up.

Merry Christmas,


Cynces Place Disclosure Policy

I found another gem sitting on my hard drive. The Nutcracker Lapbook never got transferred over to Cynce's Place.

Here is what I wrote back in 2008 when I prepared it:

I wasn't sure how to approach this lapbook. Should I do it on the ballet or on the actual story? Or, should I do it on the author of the original story?

Well, I did a search on 'The Nutcracker Lapbook', and came across a lapbook on ballet and a unit study on the nutcracker. So, then I did a search on 'The Nutcracker Unit Study'. This search brought about many unit studies, free and for sale. Most, if not all, concentrated on the ballet. I wanted to go more with the story.

I came up with a combination of the tale and of the ballet. It is focused on the story itself and how it evolved into a popular ballet today. These include author and composer biographies, country of origin for both the tale and the ballet, and more.

I hope you enjoy your study on The Nutcracker and The Mouse King as I did researching it.

Eventually I would love to witness the ballet in person. Hopefully next year my family and I can go. [We haven't gone yet. 🙁 ]

Nutcracker Lapbook

The Nutcracker Lapbook

For the Cover, The whole clan from Nutcracker to Mouse King, - I think this coloring sheet makes a great cover. I couldn’t make it for you all because of copyright issues. Save it to your computer, insert it into word and add a title… now you have your cover. 🙂



Here is all the information I collected while preparing for this lapbook. Going through it, a lot of the links were dead. Yikes! I didn't want to go searching for new stuff, so I used the handy dandy archive I wrote about recently to find the dead links, only a few I couldn't retrieve.


Author Biography
E.T.A. Hoffmann – Bullet points of his life
E.T.A. Hoffmann Biography
E.T.A. Hoffmann Biography

Composer Biography
Composer Biography
Classics for Kids biography
Biography on YouTube
A Tribute to Tchaikovsky – In Pictures and Music – YouTube.

The history of the Nutcracker Ballet
History of the nutcracker, a tool used to crack nuts.
Another site on the history of nutcrackers, a tool used to crack nuts.

Read the Nutcracker Online
Read the Nutcracker (Interactive)
Classics for Kids tells the story of The Nutcracker. Approx. 6 min.

Find More Books On The Nutcracker Here
Unit Studies
Nutcracker Unit Study From Homeschool Share
Study Guide with a recipe for Sugar Plums. Yum!
Study Guide with lots of information. Includes coloring, word search, mad lib and other activities.
Nice source with lots to do in all areas of academics. There are also notebooking pages at the end.

The whole clan from Nutcracker to Mouse King. –

Nutcracker Coloring Sheets -black and white and a color version to

Sugar Plum Princess Coloring
Sugar Plum Princess
Sugar Plum Fairy

Nutcracker and the Rat King Coloring

Maze of Clara looking for her nutcracker.
The Nutcracker Activity Sheets

Crafts – Nutcracker Ornament – Toilet Paper Craft

Dance of the Sugar Plum Princess – listen to or download midi file. Also includes a video of the song being played on a pipe organ.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Princess – This is too cool. It is played using bicycle parts!! – The Nutcracker Suite

Find the Nutcracker – The original page doesn’t work, but the Archive has a few of the pictures. These are a lot of fun, especially if your kids enjoy I Spy’s.
Tip: Hold down the ctrl key and press the + key to make it bigger. Print it out if you do not want your kids straining their eyes on the computer.
Some other activities to do while studying about the Nutcracker.



As I was reading The Nutcracker and The Mouse King In Verse, which is included in the download, I came upon some words I did not know what the meaning was, like murther. So here is a list of words I think some kids might ask, 'What does ___ mean?'. Most, if not all, are taken from Webster's 1828 Dictionary.

murther – murder
maiden – an unmarried girl or woman
dismay – to affright or terrify
vain – empty, worthless
mend – to repair, to correct
vengeance – The infliction (to apply) of pain on another, in return for an injury or offense.
alter – to change, to make different
fate -  event predetermined, destiny
caressed – Treated or embraced with affection.
weary – tired, fatigued
herald – to introduce
hearth – a fireplace
gleam – to shine, to cast light
carillon – A little bell. Also, a simple air in music, adapted to the performance of small bells or clocks.
traversed - To travel or pass across, over, or through.  To move to and fro over; cross and re-cross.
tattoo – A beat of drum at night, giving notice to soldiers to retreat, or to repair to their quarters in garrison, or to their tents in camp.
wainscot – In building, timber-work serving to line the walls of a room, being made in panels.
quell – To crush, to subdue, to cause to cease.
valor, valiant – courage, bravery
martial – pertaining to war
wince – to shriek, as from a blow or from pain
stagger – to move to one side and the other in standing or walking.
gambolled – a skipping or leaping about in frolic
sweetmeats – Fruit preserved with sugar; as peaches, pears, melons, nuts, orange peel and the like.
placid – gentle, quiet, undisturbed
stolidly – dullness of intellect, stupidity
meandered – to wind or turn in a course or passage
barcarolle – a folk song sung by venetian gondoliers, or a piece of music composed in that style.
ardor – warmth, or heat, applied to the passions and affections
reign – to rule


Watch The Nutcracker

Grab some popcorn or the goodie of your choice and enjoy!

When the kids were younger, we really enjoyed watching Barbie in The Nutcracker.

You can watch the movie and compare it with the Nutcracker and Mouse King and The Tale of the Nutcracker (Penguin Classics). There is a venn diagram in the download to compare the two.

This will be a good time, as with any other Disney movie, to tell of the importance of reading the original fairy tales instead of taking Disney at its word.

Nothing wrong with the Disney movie, but I think the kids should at least have the chance of hearing or reading the stories the way the author has written them.


Here are More Nutcracker Movies for you to choose from.

Cynces Place Disclosure Policy

Sometimes I take for granted the fact that we are homeschooling. It is just a normal way of life for us.

But for many, it isn't.

And when I read about the struggles of families such as the Romeike family, THEN I remember to take a moment to be thankful for the freedom to homeschool.

Although it is our right as parents, a God-given right in fact, we could be homeschooling with persecution at our door or in hiding.

So, I am taking this time to say Thank you to God and country for the opportunity to homeschool my precious children.

And I continue to pray for this freedom that we have.

I am thankful for homeschooling because it allows us to be our children's sole teacher. I know there are and will be many teachers in their life, but my husband and I will be their first and sole teachers.

I am thankful that we can choose what to teach the kids and when. They aren't at the mercy of grade levels.

I am thankful that we can work on their weaknesses and build on their strengths.

I am thankful that we are able to instill our values and principles in them. As a family, what we believe is important to us. We believe parents have that right to teach their children morals, character, and love of country how they see fit.

I am thankful for Christian companies that put God first and whose purpose it is to strengthen and encourage homeschooling families.

This thankful list can go on and on...


Homeschool Enrichment Magazine Subscription One year subscriptions are on sale now for Homeschool Enrichment Magazine. This is a great deal for a homeschool magazine that will encourage you as you homeschool. It will also make a great gift. 😉

So, why are YOU thankful for homeschooling?


The Mother's Prayer

"I come to thee, O Lord, for strength and patience
           To do thy will.
Help me, O Father, in this world of duty
           My place to fill.
I may not go and labor in the vineyard
           Where through long hours
Brave men and women toil, and from thy presses
           The red wine pours.

"I may not in the woods and in the mountains
           Seek thy lost sheep;
At home a tender little flock of lambkins
           'Tis mine to keep.
Thou givest us, thy servants, each his life-work.
           No trumpet tone
Shall tell the nation in triumphant pealing
           How mine was done.

"But 'twill be much if when the task is ended,
           Through grace from Thee
I give thee back unharmed the precious treasures
           Thou gavest me."

— Selected



This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

I just got a heads up that A Journey Through Learning is now offering their downloadable lapbooks for only $4.50.

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks New Lower Price

They have many titles to choose from in categories such as history, science, animals, art, and more.

Lapbooks are great as supplements to any core subject. They can be used to reinforce what was learned in a fun way. Once finished, your child will have a keepsake of what he or she learned.

I still wish we did more lapbooks when the kids were young, but they just didn't click with us. Hopefully they will with you.

What I have seen of A Journey Through Learning, I really like.

Anyway, I saw how they had lowered their prices and thought I'd share for all you lapbookers out there. 🙂



A Young Man After God's Own Heart

Donnie has begun reading the book, A Young Man After God's Own Heart by Jim George, during his Bible study time in the morning. Together, We go over the questions which is a great time to spend just him and me in God's Word.

Well, you know is SO much easier to write on notebooking paper than in the book, so I set out to transfer the questions onto paper.

Now, I would like to share them with those who will be or are using the book.

A Young Man After God's Own Heart Study Questions


Jim and Elizabeth George are two of my favorite authors. I love reading their books and now through Jim's boy and young man books, I can pass this wonderful author on to my son.

A Boy After Gods Own Heart: Your Awesome Adventure with Jesus A Boy After Gods Own Heart

A Young Man After Gods Own Heart: Turn Your Life into an Extreme Adventure A Young Man After Gods Own Heart

A Man After Gods Own Heart: Devoting Your Life to What Really Matters A Man After Gods Own Heart


The Way Back Machine

Have you ever bookmarked a page from a website only to find months or years later that it is no longer available?

It has simply been removed from cyber world for one reason or another!

Albright News
Screen shot of a website I use to own.

What would you say if I were to tell you that you could most likely visit it again; go into the past so to speak?

Well, a handy site to bookmark, hoping it doesn't disappear :), is On this site is a handy tool called 'The Way Back Machine.'

Sounds sorta like a time machine right?


How Does It Work?
I will use my old website which is no longer active or online as an example.

When you arrive at, you will see this. The image is shown with my old url.
Way Back Machine at

Click Browse History. When you see this next image, choose how far you want to go back. I'll choose 2008.
Way Back Machine

Once you click the year, a calendar for the year will show up. If the site was crawled, it will be highlighted with a blue circle.
Way Back Machine

Click on any blue circle and wa-la, you see the page from way back! Or not so back depending on the date you choose. 😉

Now mind you, printables and sometimes images will not be functionable, but if it is content you are after, that will be there.

Albright News Way Back
The images on the archive of Albright News aren't showing and my downloads are not funtionable.
Random Site
This page is no longer what it was a few years back when I used it for reference. But, has it captured, so I can still utilize it.

Also, this might not work for all sites, especially those using java script, such as game sites, but for information purposes, it is great.

Enjoy your trip into cyber world time!


Clock picture from