Monday, April 30, 2012

Maid for Mondays: We’re Finally on the Cloth Diaper Adventure

Well, I guess its never too late to get started, right?! I really wanted to start with our third child, but it just never happened. Then, I was determined to start after our fourth child was over the whole meconium nastiness. But, again…it just never happened. And for several really good reasons, money being the biggest. And, the increased laundry being another.

So, we settled into disposable diapers – again. Granted there are perks to using disposable diapers: quick change on-the-go, no wet bag to carry around, the mess folds up inside of itself and throws away, no extra laundry…

I must say, those perks are what kept me buying disposable diapers for the past 3 years!! They were quick and easy. I was honestly scared to death of cloth diapers. As a teenager I babysat for a family that used cloth diapers. You know the old pre-folds that went into that icky plastic liner? They were confusing, nasty and I could never see myself using those!

Then, I started seeing many of my friends posting about their cloth diapers on facebook and raving about them. So, I decided I should check them out. No harm in checking, right? Oh. My. Word. Can I just tell you how overwhelming it was to see all the options now available? I immediately closed the browser and walked away. I forgot about them for quite a while simply because of all the new styles, types, options – it was too much!

Finally, I got up the nerve to try again. This time I employed The Hubster to help out so it wouldn’t be too overwhelming. He actually got quite into the research and did a lot of the reading. In fact, he was the one that found the type of diaper he thought would fit us well. What a relief!

Then came the issue of cost. We would have to save for months in order to be able to afford anything. We didn’t have the extra cash lying around to just up and buy a supply of cloth diapers. I mean, we’re talking close to $200 or more, at least! So, I began looking into the online resale shops and watching for ones I wanted. But, that was taking a long time and I was getting impatient. Actually, I thought the longer I waited, the less likely I would be to actually start using them.

Our Charlie Banana girl diapers - aren't they so cute?!
Then, about a month ago I saw a cloth diapering system at Target and fell in love with them!!! They were very similar to the style we’d decided on using and they were reasonably priced too!! But, still the money was not there. I knew going to cloth diapers would save us a ton of money each month (approx $150). So, I began to pray and ask God to provide. And, He did!!! (Duh, right?!) We were blessed with a set of 6 cloth diapers and 12 inserts from Target!!! They are the one-size Charlie Banana brand, and I love them!! I love how we can adjust the leg size to fit whomever wears them!!

My oldest daughter wearing her Fuzzibunz
Oh wait…it gets even better! I found some Fuzzi-bunz cloth diapers at a garage sale one weekend and snatched them suckers up in a hurry! They were $5/set, which included the cover and two inserts!!! I got 6 covers total and 12 inserts for a whopping $30!!!! WA-HOO!!!!

I was so excited that I just stared at them for days – literally! Well, that and I didn’t know how to wash them just yet. So, I employed The Hubster yet again to do some research for me. I really wanted a homemade mix that we could do ourselves, rather than spending tons of money on one that had to be shipped.

After some research and lots of reading, we finally found one we were comfortable with and pleased with the ratings. And, so it’s begun…

So, here are some things I’ve learned along this crazy journey. I hope they are helpful to some of you out there too!

1. Do your research! Start early so you don’t get overwhelmed and read, read, read. Read anything you can about the diapers you’re interested in; reviews, facebook pages, blogs, whatever you can find.

2. If you have a friend that uses cloth diapers, I highly recommend having a Q&A with them! I had a friend bring over some of the diapers she uses and we talked about why she uses this one at night and why she likes this one during the winter, etc. Seeing them in person made it less overwhelming and I was able to see which type I might like to try.

3. If your husband is on-board with this adventure, which I also highly recommend he be 100%, ask his opinion. You want him to feel just as comfortable changing the diapers as you are!! If they intimidate him, he might be less likely to help…and we sure don’t want to give them another excuse to get out of diaper duty! Haha

4. If you’re still not completely sure which diapers to go with, there are quite a few diaper re-sale shops online that you can find some on the cheap(er) and try them out. Buy a couple of different brands to try and just do some “testing” on your “subject.” Then, when you find the one you want you know you’ll love it and won’t feel as apprehensive!!

5. Don’t forget…just because the diapers come with inserts doesn’t mean you can’t use pre-folds with them too!!! It’s a GREAT inexpensive way to add more “diapers” to your stash! Plus, they’re great as a double-up layer!! Win-Win!!!

Here is the detergent recipe we decided to use. After much research, the Hubster decided that using Baking Soda was much safer than using the Borax. So, that’s why we chose this one over some of the others. And so far, so good. We mix up a small batch and put it in an old sour cream container and just use about ½ a scoop per load. You also want to make sure you follow the instructions for washing your particular brand of diaper/insert. Some of them vary. We wash our soiled ones in a cold wash/rinse first with no detergent and then add the others and run a regular hot wash with the detergent. Our hot wash has a cold rinse, which is what most of them want. So, if yours doesn’t you’ll need to run it through a cold rinse cycle again before drying them. And, don’t use a dryer sheet!!

But, you need to do your own research and decide for yourself. You may a friend who’s used borax on all her cloth diapers over the past 5 years and they’re still great. Then, go with it!

The point is…don’t get overwhelmed by all the research out there. Read what you can (want) and then ask questions, that’s where you’ll really get the answers you want.

Well, I hope that helps you!


My new blog site is up and semi-running. We're still working out all the technicalities. It will officially become my only site on Sunday. So be sure to visit me over there this week and subscribe via email, "Like" my facebook page and just browse around. I will double post here and there this week just to give everyone a chance to transition over! Thanks for your support!!! And let me know what you think of the new site!

Linking up here:

Monday Meals: Weekly Meal Plan

Okay, so yesterday (Sunday), we fully intended to have Bacon-Tuna Casserole (a concoction I put together combining two recipes). We had it ready to go in the slow cooker and everything! The Hubster got nervous that the noodles were going to burn (he’d left it on high), so he came home real quick to check it out. And, it’s a good thing he did! The noodles weren’t burned…they weren’t even on!! Ahhh…the joys of a busy Sunday morning! So, he turned it on then and I let it cook into the early afternoon and put it in the fridge for another day this week.

I’m continuing to make headway on clearing out our pantry for our transition to Real Food cooking!!! So, here’s what we’re eating this week!

Monday 4/30
Breakfast: Cold cereal
            Lunch: Grilled Turkey and Cheese
            Dinner: Frito Chili Pie or Spaghetti Red (I use the same sauce for both, so they can choose either chips or noodles!)
Tuesday 5/1
            Breakfast: Poptarts
            Lunch: HomemadePizza Pockets
            Dinner: Bacon-Tuna Casserole, green beans, homemade bread
Wednesday 5/2
            Breakfast: Homemade Pancakes, Sausage
            Lunch: Chicken Nuggets
            Dinner:  CheeseburgerMac & Cheese
Thursday 5/3
            Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs w/ bacon & cheese
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas, grilled chicken fajitas
Dinner: Leftovers
Friday 4/27
            Breakfast: Homemade Poptarts
            Lunch: Leftover Cheeseburger Mac
            Dinner: Homemade Chicken Nuggets, homemade fries
Saturday 4/28
            Breakfast: Homemade Donuts
            Lunch: Fishsticks
            Dinner: HamTettrizini, green beans, garlic bread
Sunday 4/29
            Breakfast: Baked French Toast
            Lunch: TurkeyStroganoff, green beans, homemade bread
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets

NOTE: The lunch menu items usually pertains to my kiddos. I tend to eat leftovers to help purge and clean out the fridge.

Feel free to share your meal ideas here or link up to your own meal plan post!


Linking up:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sew Its Saturday: 10 DIY Mother's Day Gifts She's Sure to Love

Can you believe Mother’s Day is coming up in just 3 short weeks?? I can’t believe it’s almost May, let alone Mother’s Day!! And, if you’re like me, you have thought of a million and one different gifts to give your sweet momma. Yet you have nothing to give her!

Yep…I always have great intentions and lofty goals of these wonderfully elaborate gifts that don’t ever seem to come to fruition. So, this year I’m starting a little early…okay, earlier than I usually do anyway!

I am a big believer in homemade gifts for those we love; especially parents and grandparents. If you’re like me, you have enough knick-knacks around and you don’t want anything else to dust! And the time and care that goes into those homemade gifts is just priceless!!

Mom’s love their “job” but at the end of the day, let’s face it…it’s nice to be pampered. 

So, here are 10 DIY Mother’s Day gifts that do just that – show her how much you love and appreciate her!

1. Mini Scrapbook Album – I made these a few years back for the grandma’s and great-grandma’s in our family. They were a huge hit! Some of them even carried them around for months to show off their precious heirlooms!! Mine were paper album kits from Creative Memories, much like this one for Mom or this one for Grandma. Add a few fun photos of your sweet kiddos, some sentimental words (or funny ones if you like) and presto…you’re done!

2.  Handprint/Footprint canvas – I actually made these for Christmas for all the grandparents and greats. But, you could change it up a bit and do handprints as flowers for a bouquet for Mom or footprints as butterflies. Or come up with a design all your own! Let the kids help and who knows what you’ll come up with! Be creative and mom’s sure to love it!!

3.  Homemade Sugar Scrubs and Bath Salts – Purchase this ebook and make Mom some homemade sugar scrubs!! Purchase an extra copy and give the recipes to her so she can make her own! Or use this simple and quick recipe to make Mom some scented bath salts.

4. Homemade Lip Balm – Now, I’m not one to wear lipstick, but I love my chapstick. But, I would love to have some homemade lip balm!! This blog gives 3 recipes (Mandarin Nutmeg, Peppermint Cocoa & Lime Coconut) but at the end it gives some tips on creating your own recipes!

5. Photo Cubes – Another quick and easy gift for Mom or Grandma. This blog post gives great instructions on how to create your own Photo Cubes. Use scrapbook paper to back smaller photographs or just to dress it up a bit! Get creative and just go for it!

6. Photo Tile – I saw this tile sometime last year and knew I could make those for the grandparents and greats for Christmas. But, it would also work for Mother’s Day!! Take the kids out for a fun afternoon (or morning, when its cooler) of candid picture taking and make some tiles for Mother’s Day! Dress it up with some scrapbook paper and a few 3D embellishments and you’ll be set!

7.  Homemade Glass Pendants – I made some of these for the girls in my family this past Christmas. These two blogs (here and here) have some great ideas on different pendant ideas. They are super easy to make and most craft stores will have what you need!! Again, take the kids out for some candid pictures, pick our your favorite and you’re ready!

8. Sweet Hanging SachetsSew 4 Home has a great tutorial on how to make these uber cute hanging sachets!! Hang it on a decorative hanger and you’re good to go!!

9. DIY Painted Canvas Tote – Ashley is so talented and she’s done it again! She has a super easy to follow tutorial on how she created this divine tote. You could paint her favorite flowers in her favorite color or…put the kids’ handprints on it for a more personal touch that she’s sure to love! Slip in a couple books she likes or a “chick-flick” she’s had her eye on. Or better yet…get her a gift certificate for a pedicure, massage or another special “treat”!!!

 My inspiration for the Mom’s Day OFF Jar

10. Mom’s Day OFF Jar –Give Mom a “day off” by pulling out a slip of paper and doing what it says. Have the kids help decorate the jar on the outside and then put paper flowers, colored by the kids, attach them to pipe cleaners and you’ve got a homemade kid-bouquet! You’ll have to forgive me for not having one of these to show you. (I’m secretly hoping the Hubster will give me one of these this year!) Feel free to download, print and use my Free Printable here. To use my printable, cut the Mom’s Day OFF button out and adhere to a jar/can with Mod Podge. Then, cut apart the strips of chores and fold them in half and stick them in the jar/can. I also left some blank strips so you can fill in your own ideas. Add your own homemade flowers and voila…Mom gets a “Day OFF” and a bouquet from her favorite little people!

Hope that gives you some quick and easy ideas for Mother’s Day. There are certainly many more ideas out there these were just some of my favorites!

What’s your favorite Mother’s Day gift?? How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments or leave a link to your own post! I love reading them and its keeps my creative juices flowing!!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teachable Tuesdays: Homeschool Curriculum Choices - Part 2: Preschool

Please ignore the mess in the background.
Here is a rare picture of all 3 kids at the table for school-time!

Our third official year of homeschooling begins June 4th. But, this year will be much different than the previous two years. This year I will not only school our oldest (2nd grade), but also our two Middles (ages 3 & 2). WOW!!! Can I tell you how nervous I am? Yet I’m also so excited to see them learn and grow!! I didn’t get to school our oldest at this young age, so I’m bursting with excitement, joy, and overwhelming anxiety all at the same time!

Anxiety you ask? Yep! I have it all planned out on paper and even a rough schedule outlined so we can mostly stay on task. This year will really stretch me, because I am an on-time, task oriented, Type A personality and well…that doesn’t compute with my Middles. So, it should be interesting, fun and a wonderful year of learning for everyone!

I wanted to share with you our preschool curriculum choices for our upcoming school year. The links I am providing in no way give me commission or any compensation. It’s merely to give you a reference. I did not necessarily purchase my products from the site I link to. I researched and found the least expensive option and ordered/bought from there. I’ll share more about that at the end of this post, so stay tuned!!! Next week I’ll share how we structure our school days.

Okay, so our choices for Preschool are obviously less than those for our 2nd grader. But, somehow that makes this task much more daunting! Nevertheless, I have finally decided on the following choices.

BrainyBaby Series: Last year my grandmother bought the entire Brainy Baby system for about a quarter of the original price!! And I plan to use every last bit of it with my Middles! We will use it to introduce our shapes, colors, numbers, letters and music this year. I also have Spanish, Sign Language and Art, but that will have to wait another year or so. I’m not that ambitious!!

ABeka: I will use this curriculum for our Numbers and Letters. We will do one Number per month and one Letter per week for Mister Mouse. Miss Priss will probably just color along and get some of it, but I don’t expect her to get it all. She just turned two, so it could get interesting! But, I do want her to know her numbers for sure, so that’s what we’ll mainly focus on this year with her.

I will also use the A Beka curriculum for most of our Arts and Crafts projects. They have some fun, creative and easy ideas that I’d like to take advantage of.

Bible: I don’t have a particular curriculum to use in this area. I like to read the Bible stories to them and find pictures they can color or activities we can do to reinforce what God’s word says. We will do this Bible reading time with Mister Bull as part of our Family Bible time during our school day.

As most Homeschooling Mom’s will tell you, it is so wonderful to be able to find and print so many FREE and wonderful papers online now!! I use these papers as fillers and supplementals to our other curriculum.

Here are a few of my favorite spots to find them:
SchoolExpress (over 17,000 FREE printables in a variety of subjects)
Kidszone (easy to find, sorted by grade or topic)
BiblePrintables (some great printables on this site. Easy to find too!)
All Kids Network (a fabulous resource for crafts, worksheets & activities!)

Some blogs I subscribe to also have stores where they offer their own curriculum. I’ve been very pleased with the ones I’ve purchased from:
(be sure and check out her Freebies tab too!)

So, that’s our curriculum for Preschool! What’s your favorite Preschool curriculum? I would love to hear what you are using or have used in the past. Or do you just do your own thing?

Now, I promised you I would fill you in on all my curriculum deals. Honestly, it takes quite a bit of effort to find the best deals, but believe me…it pays off!!! Here’s where I search for my deals.
(a subsidiary of Ebay)
Individual Manufacturers (A Beka, RightStart)
Mardel - Yes, the Christian book store!! They have 2 semi-annual Homeschool/Education Sales and I watch for others throughout the year! In fact, I got our Apologia curriculum 30% off this year!!! YAY!!
Bibliomania (a local Homeschool re-sale/consignment shop. I don’t find too much here for what I need, but sometimes my teacher’s manuals and our A Beka readers for cheap!)

So, there ya have it!! I take several weeks usually to search out the above websites and stores and factor in upcoming sales, coupons, discounts, shipping, etc. before making my final orders. Like I said, it can be a lengthy process, but it’s well worth it for the money I save!

Feel free to share in the comments or leave a link back to your own post!! I love reading all your tips and ideas! I am always open to researching for new curriculum to see if it would work for us! We learn by sharing!! Thanks for stopping by!


Linking up here:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Maid for Mondays: Little House on the Prairie Syndrome

 One of my favorite shows growing up was Little House on the Prairie. I absolutely loved watching it. In fact, I still love watching it! A friend of mine gave me season 1 on DVD a few years back, because I love it so much!! I’m not sure if it’s the simplicity of it all or the fact that everything seemed to workout in the end, but I always looked forward to watching it.

As a young girl, I often dreamed of being Laura Ingalls and having that beautiful brown hair with the cute braided pigtails. As I got older (and still watched the show), I envisioned my life as a wife and mother, just like Caroline Ingalls. Wasn’t she just perfect?

What I remember most about the show is how Charles and Caroline never really raised their voices at the kids. Sure they got frustrated, but they never yelled at them. That’s the life I envisioned; great kids, helpful kids, obedient kids and a loving, caring, hard-working husband.

Don’t get me wrong, I have great kids and sometimes they’re obedient and helpful and The Hubster is definitely loving, caring and a very hard-worker. I wouldn’t trade any part of my life for anything. Even with the heartache and trials we’re facing right now. I wouldn’t trade.

But, sometimes I find myself wishing I could live that more simple life. When times were slower and life seemed to almost stand still. Or at least it did on the show, right?! I often imagine how much time they had with each other, working the farm, cooking, cleaning and just spending time together as a family.

Then, I realize…their washing machine was their own hands, their transportation had to be fed daily and hooked up before leaving, their dishes washed and dried by hand and their homes took years to build.

And then I’m so thankful for how far we’ve come with our modern conveniences. I can wash clothes, run the dishwasher and take a shower all at the same time! Even though their life seemed much simpler, I’m sure they thought the same about the “olden” days too. Each generation has its own struggles, but they also have their own positives too. I’ll think I’ll stick with 2012 and all it has to offer.

Although…it might be nice to visit the simple life once in a while!


Monday Meals: Weekly Meal Plan

You ever have one of those weeks where nothing goes as planned? Yep, that was last week for us! We were stuck in the house until Wednesday afternoon since the transmission went out on our van…again! Thankfully, this time it was under warranty. But, that put a bit of a strain on our eating plan, because I didn’t have a vehicle to get to and from the store as needed. So, this week you’ll see a few repeats that aren’t really repeats. And, we’ll finally get to take Miss Priss out for her birthday lunch this week, which was put on hold with the van fiasco as well.

I’m continuing to make headway on clearing out our pantry for our transition to Real Food cooking!!! So, here’s what we’re eating this week! One week closer to Healthy Eating!!

Monday 4/23
Breakfast: Cold cereal
            Lunch: Homemade Mac & Cheese
            Dinner: Leftovers
Tuesday 4/24
            Breakfast: Cereal
            Lunch: Homemade Pizza Pockets
            Dinner: Ham Tettrizini, homemade bread
Wednesday 4/25
            Breakfast: Cereal
            Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas
            Dinner: Turkey Stroganoff, green beans, bread
Thursday 4/26
            Breakfast: Pancakes & Bacon
Lunch: Birthday Lunch with Miss Priss!!!
Dinner: Corn Dogs (kids); Pink Lemonade Cupcakes (Small group)
Friday 4/27
            Breakfast: Poptarts
            Lunch: Hot Dogs or Grilled Ham/Cheese
            Dinner: Sweet Chicky Nuggets
Saturday 4/28
            Breakfast: Donuts
            Lunch: Fishsticks
            Dinner: Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese
Sunday 4/29
            Breakfast: Eggs w/ bacon & cheese
            Lunch: Bacon-Tuna Casserole, green beans, homemade bread
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets

NOTE: The lunch menu items usually pertains to my kiddos. I tend to eat leftovers to help purge and clean out the fridge.

Feel free to share your meal ideas here or link up to your own meal plan post!


Linking up here where you can check out some other GREAT meal plans:

Scriptural Sundays: The Love of God

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)

Sorry this post is going up so late. But, I needed to make sure this was right, so it took some extra prayer and editing. Thanks for being patient and I hope it blesses you and gives you hope as it did me!

This morning The Hubster sang, “Love of God” by Mercy Me at church. First, what an amazing song!! The words are so powerful and oh so true!! If you haven’t heard it, just click on the link above to listen to it on YouTube.

As I listened to him practice this week, I knew I wanted to share the song with you all this week. But, this morning after he sang, we started talking and I knew it needed to be more than just a link to the song.

As we talked, I asked him what Scripture comes to mind with this song. Almost immediately he responded with Romans 8:35-39. This verse is exactly what he taught on at small group Thursday. So, I thought I would share it with you all today. Again, sorry it’s going up so late!!

First of all, we need to understand the theme of Chapter 8 prior to verse 35. The theme of Chapter 8 is being and doing good, which is accomplished by conforming to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. In verse 8, Paul tells us that we cannot please God if we are not His child. It can’t happen! But, for those of us in Christ Jesus, those living in the Spirit not the flesh will live in righteousness because of the Spirit that dwells inside us. (vs 9-10)

Second, in order to understand the glory that awaits us, we must endure trials and tribulations. But, take comfort in that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom 8:18, ESV) When going through the trials and tribulations of this world, you must understand the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. If you don’t understand this, none of the rest of it matters!!

Now, how do we understand the love of God? First we must understand that everything Paul lists in verse 35b and 38-39 cannot and WILL NOT stop the love of God, which is at work in us to do good. (vs 28)

God’s love is so much more powerful than any “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (v 35b) that we might endure here on this earth. He has already overcome all of it with the living sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

But, just because the love of God is more powerful than all those things (and so much more), doesn’t mean our lives are going to be easy. We will endure trials and if we are truly in Christ Jesus, persecution on some level. As we go through those seemingly relentless trials, we must also understand that God gives us what we need not what we want. Why? Because it’s all for His Glory!!!

James says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, ESV)

It’s all because of Him and for Him. And that’s great news!!

Blessings friends,

Linking up here:
These Five of Mine Plus Two

Friday, April 20, 2012

Homeschool Happenings: Week 3

This picture is a couple years old. But, it shows his imagination at work.
He's hiding in his "cave" awaiting the "bad" guys. Notice all his weaponry?
This week has pretty much been “all business.” You’ll have to forgive me this week because my camera is acting up and it won’t take pictures. I’m so bummed!! We’re going to have to send it in for a repair (at least I hope its just a repair!!).

Last week we had a lot of rain and just plain yucky days, so this week my son wanted to play outside every chance he got. So, he has finished his schoolwork earlier in the day than usual to go outside. Believe me, I am not complaining about this at all!! I’m thrilled that we haven’t had the arguing or fussing about it. It’s been rather nice and a breath of fresh air around here!

So, this week has been rather relaxed around here. We’ve done our reading and papers as scheduled. Now that we’re a little more organized again, I’m starting to really crack down on his writing. He’s not a “bad” writer, especially for a boy in first grade, but he just gets in a hurry and therefore…sloppy. Ya know? This week he learned that it takes longer to do sloppy work that has to be re-done and fixed than it does to just take your time and do it right the first time! Huh…imagine that?!

We’re reading about Pluto this week. It’s so different than what I was taught, now that most scientists don’t classify it as a planet. I find it all very interesting and fascinating now that I’m older. I can appreciate the complexity and marvel at God’s workmanship so much more. I just hope I’m passing that along to my son as we’re reading and studying.

There’s really not much else to report this week. Like I said, our camera is on the fritz, so I didn’t get any pictures. That makes me so sad. I’m borrowing my mom’s camera though until ours is fixed, so there should be some pictures up again next week. Maybe we’ll have some more fun to share too!

What did you do this week in your homeschooling journey? Feel free to share you favorite experiment, tip, idea or just a word of encouragement for others!!


I’m linking up to these other GREAT Homeschool Weekly Reviews!
Click on the links to check them out!

52 Fridays: Weekly Update #16

Here goes this week’s report. You can read more about my journey beginning with Week 1. Feel free to join me and Crystal in this journey.

  1. DAILY quiet time: I have done better this week. Even if I haven’t gotten up early, I’ve still read my emails each day. Oh…maybe I missed a day. Nevertheless I am determined to make this a priority for me! I get my emails through and a women’s devotional through Proverbs 31 devotions. Such great tools – be sure to check them out! 
  1. Weekly weight loss: I’m feeling a little discouraged in this area. But, from what I read and hear from people who’ve been down this road…this is par for the course. So I will persevere and push forward. 
  1. Vintage Remedies 8 weeks to Real Foods: I finished the food pantry sheet this week!!! YAY!!!! Man oh man do I have a LOT of food in there!! Working on meals over the next few weeks that will clear it out. And, when something is gone, we’re replacing it with a healthier option! YAY!!! 
  1. Homeschool Fun: This week has been more about getting it done for my son. He’s been feeling that Spring bug and wants to be outside most of the time. So, we’ve been doing our best to get school done early so he can have time outside. 
  1. Organization: Not much to report here. I’ve got great ideas, but lack either the funds or the time! Working on new, inexpensive options!! 
  1. Staying caught up: Did really well this week! Laundry is almost done for the day/week and my dishes are caught up!! I’ve done really well at keeping up. Now let’s see if we can make it 2 weeks in a row! 
  1. Blog changes: Look for the changes coming May 2012!!!! The design is being re-vamped and I’ve got such cute blog buttons to share…I can’t wait!!!! More work to do on it this weekend!!! It’s getting there!
What are your tips for keeping your busy home running smooth throughout the week?  Feel free to share your tips and ideas in a comment or link back to a post!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Have a blessed weekend!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: April 19, 1995 - Where were you?

April 19, 1995 will forever be ingrained in my memory. I'm sure many of you remember this day as well. But here in Oklahoma, our safe, protective and simple lives changed forever. I remember this day like it was yesterday.

I was a Senior in High School on my way to One Act Competition in a neighboring Oklahoma City town. A guy on the bus was listening to his Walkman (hey! They were so cool back then!) and I remember a group around him talking and then gasps! Then, the talking got louder and louder and spread throughout the bus.

Not yet to the City we were very unsure and nervous about what chaos we'd encounter. Since we were headed to a nearby town, we went around the City rather than through it. I don't remember seeing much because we were all still in shock. I think we could see some smoke rising in the air, but I'm not certain.

It's funny how your memory works. Some things are so crystal clear and others...not.

I remember walking into the school our competition was at and at first, not many of the other students knew about it. They had been focused on the competition. You have to remember too, that this was loooooong before iPhones, iPads, laptops, and the plethera of cell phones we have now. The lack of such devices then was normal. If this happened in 2012 it would be on Twitter in a matter of seconds! But, this was life - our life.

The rest of the day, besides the competition, was pretty much a complete blur. The ride home that afternoon/evening was pretty quiet. Not a lot of conversation going on as we'd heard bits and pieces of what had happened and the utter devastation it caused. We were in disbelief.

So, this day I remember my beloved state. I remember watching those directly affected by this senseless tragedy. I remember how this act forever changed my innocence.

Today...we remember.
April 19, 1995


Baking Bits: What?! You Cook?

When the Hubster and I got married almost 9 years ago, I did not cook. At least not much!! In fact, here are the 5 things I could make:
1. Chicken & Rice (all from cans & boxes)
2. Mexican Casserole (all from cans)
3. Ramen Noodle soup (anyone who went to college knows this recipe!)
4. Scrambled Eggs (sometimes I didn't even burn them!)
5. Hamburger Helpers (yep, you guessed it...another box)

So there ya have it! Proof that the Hubster did not marry me for my cooking skills! HA! In fact, early on in our marriage, he was most often the cook. I hardly boiled water!! TRUTH!!

It wasn't so much that I couldn't cook, but that I was scared to death - literally -  about cooking. Now, I could follow a recipe quite easily and more often than not it turned out edible. However, when it came to tossing spices and things in to punch up the recipe - I was done! I couldn't do it!!

Maybe you're the same way. Maybe you just think you don't have the time. Or maybe you've just never tried. I'd like to give you some tips on How You Too Can Cook! Because, seriously...if I can do it, you can too! Trust me!

True Story: I called my best friend 2 years ago (around the time I actually started to cook at home) and was talking to her after I had put dinner in the oven. I mentioned something about making dinner and she kinda' giggled. NO really...she did!  I said, "What?! I can cook!" She said something like, I'm sure you can I've just never seen you do it! Oh...she knows me so well. Then, she asked what we were having. I told her BBQ Chicken, mashed potatoes from scratch and green beans. I seriously thought the phone went DEAD!! "Did you touch the chicken?" Oh man does she know me or what?! "YES!!!! Can you believe it?" I can NOT stand the texture of raw meat. It literally makes me cringe. Thus the reason my bestie was in shock!

Now, I still don't like to touch raw meat - ICK! - but now I just use gloves. Sereiously, I do! I've tried and tried to get over it, but I just can't. So for now the gloves help. LOL

So, here ya own tips on what help me learn to cook.

How You Too Can Cook...From Scratch!
1. First, do a LOT of reading! I've done so much reading on cooking and cooking substitutions, etc. it would probably drive a person insane! Don't be afraid to use the internet!
2. Start by stocking up on kitchen essentials. You can't cook from scratch if you don't have common ingredients on hand. Flour, sugar, baking goods and a variety of spices are a great place to start.
3. Gather your recipes. You can family, friends, search the internet, Pinterest (love getting recipes on there), online groups and so much more!!!
4. Make your first recipe as directed. Don't change a thing. Sometimes the recipes I found were great the way they were. They had already been tweaked. Don't get ahead of yourself.
5. Once you've tried the original recipe, then you can begin to play around with the spices, ratios, etc. 

The first recipe I really made my own was this Homemade Pizza Sauce. The first few times I made it I followed the recipe exactly. Then, I realized that I could add a little more basil & oregano or some Italian Seasonings and even some parsley to punch it up just a bit. The Hubster was impressed. So much so that now he won't make the sauce if I'm home!! Yes, he helps out on Homemade Pizza night - aren't I lucky?! Seriously, I am!! The Hubster is willing to step in and help in the kitchen when needed!

Right now I'm going through this process again as we're transitioning to Whole Foods eating and going off Soy and gluten (mostly). I have various reasons for doing this, which I'll discuss in a series coming in May!!

Hope that helps some of you or gives you the confidence to get started!! Trust me...if this no touchy raw meat, egg burning, Ramen noodle soup makin' girl can do it - SO CAN YOU!!!


What's coming: Next week I'll be sharing our favorite Homemade Bread recipe. 
In May I'll be doing a series on Wednesdays about going to Whole Food & Paleo eating!!
Hope you'll join me!