Sunday, February 15, 2015


This is a test of my new site

Monday, February 9, 2015

February's Monthly Menu

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Last month I experimented with a monthly menu plan rather than my usual weekly menu plan. It actually worked pretty well--better than I was expecting, so I decided to plan a monthly menu for February as well. I know it's already the 9th, but we were gone all last week (more on that in another post), so I'll start with today and have 3 weeks to plan instead of 4.

I try to clean out my freezer regularly so I always keep things fresh, and here's what I plan to use from my freezer this month:

Pork Roast
Stew Beef
Salmon Filets

Fruit and Vegetables
Assorted Frozen Fruit

Homemade Precooked Meals 
Spanish Brown Rice
Spaghetti Sauce

In addition, we are getting about 18 eggs a week from our chickens, so I have one meal every week that uses eggs as the main protein. I just purchased some organic chicken breasts, organic ground beef, and bacon at Costco. What I don't use this week, I will put in the freezer for future meals.

Since I like having options, I've been planning 6 meals for the week, and choosing which day gets which meal depending on what I feel like, time, appointments, etc. One night a week I either prepare something simple (sandwiches, frozen pizza, leftovers, etc), or have take out.

February's Monthly Menu:

Week of 2/9-2/15

Week of 2/16-2/22
  • French Toast and Fresh Fruit
  • Spaghetti, French Bread, Green Salad
  • BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Chips
  • BBQ Shredded Pork with Coleslaw over Corncakes
  • Beef Stew and Biscuits
  • Beef Stew and Biscuits (this is always better the next day!)

Week of 2/23-3/1

Sunday, February 1, 2015

11 Super Awesome Perks of Homeschooling

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I love homeschooling. I really, really do. We have chosen to homeschool our kids for several compelling reasons, and I'll admit it is a lot of work, but there are also some super secret awesome perks to homeschooling! Here's my list:  

1. No School Traffic. It's a little known fact that each time you get stuck in school traffic it takes approximately 47 seconds off of your life. I'm reducing my stress and my risk for a school traffic induced cardiac event by homeschooling.

2. I Have a Realllllly Good Excuse as to Why My House is Never Clean. (They're always with me...when would I have time to clean!?)

3. We Can Take Vacations in the Middle of the School Year. Since school started in our district last year, we've been to Connecticut, New York, San Francisco, and will soon take a road trip to Zion National Park. Traveling when other kids are in school is a huge benefit, and means cheaper hotel rooms and flights (not going during peak season), and less crowds.

4. We Can Sleep In. Waking Tater up out of a deep sleep is like waking up a hibernating bear. It starts the whole day on the wrong foot. Letting her sleep until she's ready to get up ensures no Tater Bear and we all live in harmony.

5. No Make Up Work. If Tater is sick, we wait until she's healthy enough to do studies. No racing against the clock trying to make up worksheets, and no risk of missing out on something.

6. Feeding My Book Addiction in the Name of Education. When I see a really cool world atlas at Costco, well, I have to buy it. You know, for school. Same thing for craft supplies. I have a craft supply problem. But it's for art class, so it's okay.

7. We Never Get an Email That Says: "The Whole Class Has Lice". My kids have good immune systems and are exposed to plenty of germs from doctor's offices (Junior has SO many appointments), playgrounds, neighbor kids, and sports, but we also have the option to isolate if we need to.

8. I Don't Have to Ask "What Did You Learn Today?" And, if she says "nothing", well, I'm more than happy to add some more work =)

9. We Can Do Schoolwork Outside. Or at the Beach. Or Basically Anywhere. We live in San Diego. If we want to sit outside on Wednesday at 10am and soak up the 74 degree sunshine, we can, and we can still get all our work done.

10. Field Trips. Legoland? Sure, let's talk about engineering. The Zoo? Okay, we'll talk about the habitats of animals. The park for a picnic? Help me measure out ingredients for our pasta salad...water boils at what temperature? Even with all the structured curriculum we use, there's still plenty of time for fun, educational outings. And I don't even need to sign a permission slip.

11. I Get More Time To Spend With My Babies.  As much as they exhaust me, I genuinely enjoy spending time with my kids. They're growing up so fast, and I'm grateful I get to spend my days with them.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Book Review: Steadfast Heart

Cover Art 
You know when you go to your favorite restaurant, and you know exactly what you're going to order? You get your taste buds all primed and you start looking forward to eating your favorite dish. Then the waiter says "Sorry, we're out." So, you order something else, but because you were looking forward to the dish they were out of, the alternate meal just wasn't as satisfying?

This is how I felt reading Tracie Peterson's new book, Steadfast Heart which takes place in 1880s Seattle. The official synopsis speaks of Lenore Fulcher, a young socialite whose father wants to marry her off to a man nearly 20 years her senior. But, when Chicago lawyer Kolbein Booth wanders into town, Lenore realizes she has feelings for him and must convince him to court her so she won't be subject to her father's arrangement. This was supposed to be the main point of the book. But, alas, Lenore and her courtship took up a small percentage of the novel, which was more about the differing social classes within the city than about the young woman's protest at arranged marriage.

Steadfast Heart, while an easy and entertaining read, was more like 3 books in one, and none of the substories wrapped up in a satisfying way. There were many loose ends. The main character was really not Lenore Fulcher, it was red-headed orphan Abrianna, whose adoptive aunts run the bridal school that Kolbein happened into while searching for his runaway sister. Abrianna has a heart for the poor, and wanders out among the hardest streets in town ministering to the homeless and bringing them food. I liked Abrianna's character; she was funny and intelligent and the author's writing style allowed me to feel like I was there with Abrianna as she wandered through the streets.

I was frustrated that there were so many loose ends. For example, a character was importing sex slaves from China, but there was no resolution or justice, and no hint that he would ever even be caught. I understand this is the first book in a series, but you can't just write about something that serious and have nothing resolve by the end of the book. At the end of Steadfast Heart, Abrianna is starting to hope for a man to love, but there was no hint to the connection I was expecting. She was just left hanging. Lenore and Kolbein's relationship also left me wanting. There was no real character development between them, and their story seemed like a bit of an afterthought. 

I liked the writing style and the ability Ms. Peterson has to relay a character's personality and deep character through his or her words, but I was distracted by what I was expecting the book to be about and what the book was actually about, and also wished for more resolution on some of the loose ends.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Review: Choosing Him All Over Again

This post is part of the Choosing Him Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with nearly one hundred other inspiring Christian bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! I received a free PDF copy of this book for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

Juana Mikel's new book Choosing Him All Over Again: A Story of Romance and Redemption tells about her marriage journey with husband Terry. From Juana's early days of dissatisfaction leading to their separation, to Juana's accepting Jesus Christ, to Terry's not wanting her back, and finally her and Terry coming to reconciliation and a mutual faith. The book was easy to read, and Juana seems like a caring and genuine person. I enjoyed her story, and I also enjoyed her tips on marriage at the end of the book. The 11 Checkpoints To Refresh Your Marriage is an invaluable list of little things you should do every day that I want to print out and laminate. Things like giving a gift-tangibly or in deed, making him laugh, and praying for him daily.

Before my husband and I were even dating, God gave me a verse to keep in my heart. "Unless the Lord builds the house, it's workers toil in vain." (Psalm 127:1) I've found that the most difficult seasons of our marriage (we'll be celebrating 10 years in July) were the times we weren't spiritually connected. Knowing this, I try to pray for my husband every day, and I love the appendix at the back of Choosing Him that includes prayers and ideas for prayers you can use to lift your husband up. I loved the idea of praying one specific topic for my husband every day. (Praying for his leadership on Wednesdays and his protection on Saturdays, for example.) We can all stand to pray more, especially for our marriages, which unfortunately, seem to be the first thing we take for granted. Choosing Him All Over Again gave me the reminder and encouragement that marriage takes work, and if you become too complacent, too selfish, or don't keep God in the center of your relationship, it stops being the joy that God intended it to be.

Juana Mikels wrote her own story of how God saved her marriage along with practical teaching on faith and marriage written out of her own failure, pointing us all to Jesus Christ who has the power to change lives and marriages. You can get a copy here HERE or on Kindle HERE.

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