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Showing posts from February, 2013

*The Reunion*: a Book Review

This week my family wrapped up our latest read-aloud.  We have been reading The Reunion, a novel by Rachael McIntire.  When I was first approached about reviewing this book I thought it would be one that I would read on my own.  However, when I received it I realized it would be a wonderful book for the whole family.

This novel is not too long, being only 127 pages, and is a story of redemption and God's grace.  The story follows the lives of two babies adopted just after birth into two very different families.  It lets us be a part of  their lives through their teen years showing how God's love and grace was working in them even when they didn't realize it.

This book has a beautiful Christian theme throughout it and presents the Gospel in a very simple way, easy enough for a young child to understand.  In fact, this book is written perfectly for middle school age readers.  The reading level is just right for that and so is the content.

My daughter, age 9, was complete…

When Dinner Is a Bust...

Last night was one of those nights.  Yep, dinner totally flopped.  
I was trying a new recipe and it called for "lite Italian dressing" in the sauce.  Well, I didn't have any Italian dressing, so I whipped up some homemade.  But I made it with balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar and that seems to have made the difference in this dish.  Or maybe it was the fact that the recipe needed store-bought dressing and I used homemade.  I'm not sure.  
I just know it was bad.  And since we had already bought lunch out that day I just couldn't justify going and buying more food out ...as bad as I wanted to!  
So we had a "snack dinner", which the kids love.  To me that means scrounging around the kitchen finding whatever you want to munch on.  To them it means plates full of things like lunch meat, cheeses, raw veggies, chips, crackers, etc, just nothing cooked.  Something like the one in this picture that my daughter had already been eating off of:

So ...ba…

On Becoming a Morning Person: Should I or Shouldn't I?

I've never been a morning person.

Never.

As long as I can remember I've wanted to cozy up in my covers and stay in bed as long as possible in the mornings.  I still feel that way.  And it would have worked out okay, I suppose, since I also married a night owl and we had a night-owl-child, but then we had our second child.

Yep, he's the one morning person in this family of four.  I'm pretty sure God's still laughing over that one.

Since growing up, I've certainly realized the benefits of being a morning person--just because one isn't one doesn't mean that you don't have to actually get up and function like one.  It's just really hard.

And as I've grown older I've also come to realize I just don't like to talk to people for a couple of hours after I get up.  It's my processing-this-whole-waking-up-thing time with my coffee.  Of course, that doesn't always work out so well as a mother.  Sometimes I am brutally awakened by wide-…

The Weekly Plan {Feb 25th}

And another month is in the books for the year!  I now know why my mom was always saying "time flies as you get older" ...not that I'm getting older or anything;)

I've been just incredibly bored in the kitchen lately.  Totally unmotivated.

It's not a good place to be when you need to get dinner on the table for your family.

I'm trying to get my groove back though and this week I'm trying a few new recipes that I've found through Pinterest.  I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out!

Monday:Red Beans & Rice

Tuesday:Creamy Chicken & Pasta Primavera
Wednesday:Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Thursday:White Chicken Enchiladas with Spanish Rice and Chips and Salsa

Friday:Croque Madames and Roasted Potatoes
Saturday:yet-to-be-decided


What are you cooking this week?


This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Wrapping Up Our Week

It's time to wrap this week up!
In my life this week...
I have faced a few challenges, one being plain ol' fatigue.  I thought all of that "tiredness" was over with those couple of weeks in January, but this week I definitely battled that.  I guess I'm not as young as I think I am and our extra-busy weekend really wore me out:)  I am thankful that I am starting to feel more like "myself" now.  
In our homeschool this week...
We took an unexpected day off on Monday {Presidents Day}.  We had a friend visiting from out-of-town and decided that spending time with her was way more fun:)  She had been here all weekend and stayed through lunch on Monday.  It's always great when friends come to visit!
a visit from our friend Song
The rest of our week went fairly well.  We got back on track (after the flu sort of derailed us last week) and finally made that Day 100 goal!  (We haven't celebrated that yet, but I'm working on something).
The Princess is f…

*Moon Over Edisto*: A Review

I have to be honest.  I don't read a lot of Christian fiction set in modern times.  I adore historical fiction (must be the history buff in me), but in my experience most other Christian fiction is just very sappy fluff, and predictable.  So I was curious howMoon Over Edisto, by Beth Webb Hart would turn out.  I was pleasantly surprised.
This book did have a measure of predictability to it, I suppose, but the story was unusual and different than most.  The main characters are struggling with deep hurts and some serious family dysfunction brought on by betrayal and divorce.  Just as in real life they each have their own response to their hurts: anger, denial, confusion, fear, guilt...  The story develops as each is forced to face their own issues and how their issues are effecting those around them.  
This book is thoughtfully and engagingly written and I enjoyed it very much.  It was hard to put it down~always a good sign!  Set in South Carolina, it has certainly made me want to …

One Thousand Gifts

Counting my gifts even in the mid-winter...

601.  memories of Springs past

602.  the anticipation of Spring to come

603.  the pleasure of a visit from a far-away friend

604.  taking an unexpected day off from the regular routine

605.  the fun of a night out with my hubby

606.  a big, fat red-breasted robin right outside my front door

607.  trying out a new recipe~and the whole family loves it:)

608.  an unexpected encouraging message from an unexpected person

609.  those first daffodils of Spring popping up all over

610.  Belgian hazelnut seashell truffles~pure bliss!


Wrapping Up the Week: the Mid-Year Slump and More

In my life this week...
I have felt some of that "mental winter fog" that I had back in January.  I know it's just the mid-year slump, but it can be exhausting at times.  Overall, it's been a good week though~I've had some fun with friends and family and am looking forward to more over the weekend.
In our homeschool this week...
It's been something of a struggle to get Mr. B back into school mode after having a few sick days with the flu.  I feel like part of that is my fault.  I need to try harder to be more creative with his learning.  He doesn't do well sitting for long periods of time or doing a lot of writing.  It's easy for me to be creative in some subjects, but not as much in others.  Gotta work on that!  
We have stayed the course fairly well this week though (up until today and I am just wiped out and have a huge list of things to do before tomorrow so I'm adjusting our course for the day...shhh...I have told the kiddos yet).  
Some helpfu…

Happy Valentine's Day to You!

Happy Valentine's Day!  It's been a fun day at our house already:)  We started the day with some heart toads-in-holes (yum-o!!) and gifts at the breakfast table.  
Toads-in-holes are one of our favorite breakfasts~ it was fun to make them with a heart cutter this morning.
The kiddos enjoyed getting some new books, flavored milk straws, mini balloons,  some *dates with Mom & Dad* coupons, and, of course, some chocolate!





Now we're getting ready for our big Valentine skating party with our homeschool group~it's going to be a very fun day!
We wish you a very happy Valentine's Day, too, however you're celebrating!

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Lunches From My Valentine

While I love to plan and cook dinners for my family, lunches are hard for me to get inspired over.  I'm usually very busy right up until lunchtime and don't have time to really "prepare" something that appeals to me.  And by "appeal" I mean something hot or freshly-made.  Run-of-the-mill sandwiches have never been my thing--not even as a child.  My children, however, LOVE sandwiches.  And it's a good thing because they are easy to whip up.  
So while my kiddos are generally eating sandwiches for lunch, I do my duty and eat leftovers or just snack around.  It's never very satisfying, but then again I have dinner to look forward to, right?
This week though my hubby has surprised me by coming home and making me special lunches on Monday and Tuesday!  Ladies, it's worth it to get your husband on Pinterest!  He gets totally inspired to cook when he sees all of those yummy food links!
 Monday's lunch was the yummiest Avocado-Egg Salad Wraps.  Ver…

*Blog at Home Mom*: A Review

Just this past week I was given the opportunity to read a brand new eBook, Blog at Home Mom, by Christin at Joyful Mothering.
This is definitely a different kind of book than many I've read on "mommy blogging".  Often these types of books are filled with ideas and ways to promote and profit from your blog--and those are not bad things.  However, Christin's focus in her inspiring book is how you can bring balance between blogging and mothering.  That is often quite a trick and she has some wonderful principles to share on this.  

As any blogger knows, a blog can become all-consuming if allowed.  And if you have a family, then you must guard against that more than ever.  There will definitely be times when you must spend extra time on your blog, but there are principles that you can apply that will help you create balance in this area.
Christin gives some wonderful advice on setting goals and schedules, creating boundaries, prioritizing tasks, and, most importantly, c…

The Weekly Plan {Feb 11th}

I'm so excited!  My hubby has promised to come home and make me yummy lunches all week this week!!  You have no idea how happy I am:)  I'm not very good about planning lunches and while I can always rustle something up for the kiddos (they love sandwiches) I usually just pick around wishing for something besides a snack or leftovers.

I can't wait to share the mouth-watering recipes that he's cooking up for me!  I promise lots of pictures!

Now here's what's for dinner:

Monday:Cincinnati Chili

Tuesday:Spaghetti Squash with Red Sauce & Meatballs

Wednesday:Quiche & Salad

Thursday: {family Valentine's dinner--kiddos' faves} Poppy Seed Chicken with Rice, Green Beans, Corn, and Rolls

Friday: {date night!!}

Saturday: Mexican Lasagna


This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie


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The Weekly Wrap-Up: Art, Miss Nelson & the Flu

Yep.  I am awfully late wrapping up this {past} week.  I have a little guy with the flu though and have been busy taking care of him.  He's doing much better, but for a couple of days his fever was spiking pretty high and he was just pitiful.  Now I think he's just getting a little cranky from being in bed so much-ha!  
We did have a fairly good school week, even if it did sort of taper off at the end with sickness.  Besides our usual schoolwork, we managed to make an art project (finished product to come!), bake some cookies for World Nutella Day, enjoy some play time outdoors since we had some nicer weather for a couple of days, and The Princess even got to see a play (Mr. B had to miss due to the flu...boo!).  
Here are some snapshots of our week:








Hopefully this week we'll get back to Mr. B's regular school schedule and get back on track~especially since our 100 Day celebration is supposed to happen this week!  
I hope your week was a great one!
This post is linked …

A Visit to the Adventure Science Museum

Last week we took a field trip to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville.  The kids were pretty little the last time we were there and didn't remember it too well, so they were excited to check it out again.  
Here are some highlights from our afternoon there:

Their Magic School Bus exhibit all about weather had just opened and there was TONS of hands-on fun to be had in this area.  

They enjoyed pretending to be a weather forecaster.  I wish I had actual video of what they were forecasting--too funny!

I forget the name of these fun little things, but when you pull the string on one end of them and let it pop back, it makes a "boom" and the wave carries the force several feet.  In this photo The Princess was aiming the wave toward a grouping of tissue papers on the ceiling.

So can you say that you've lifted a car?  My two kiddos lifted one together, using a lever system, of course:)

Here is Mr. B checking out the insides of "someone" obviously in an aut…

A New Project

We have a new project going at our house.  The Princess is making a 'knot quilt'.

She received the kit for the quilt a couple of years ago actually from my mom, but we are just now getting around to making it.

I think the timing is right though: her interest is there and she's able to  make all of those knots on her own.  
Teaching sewing is really out of my personal realm of knowledge,  but I'm grateful for a mom and sister who sew and can  assist with projects as needed.
Do you teach any kind of sewing to your children?

The Weekly Plan {Feb 4th}

I guess I need to get my act together for this week, or I'll be pulling out my hair come dinner time each night this week.

Last week's meals went pretty smoothly, even though we changed our plans a couple of nights.  I have yet to make the meatball subs or the chicken enchiladas, but I'm bumping them to this week instead.

Here's what's on this week's plan:

Monday:Create-Your-Own-Goulash (meaning: I'm using this recipe, but I'm subbing the ground beef for some leftover pork tenderloin that I'm chopping up finely and I'm subbing the spaghetti for some leftover egg noodles).

Tuesday:Chicken Enchiladas with Spanish Rice and Taco Salad

Wednesday: Meatball Subs

Thursday:Chicken & Apple Sausages, German Potatoes, and Mixed Veggies

Friday:Cincinnati Chili

Saturday: something-in-the-crockpot-yet-to-be-decided

This post is lined to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

*No More Perfect Moms*: Bonus Week Is Here!!

You may remember that not long ago I introduced you to am wonderful new book for moms, No More Perfect Moms by Jill Savage,  that I had the awesome chance to read before it was actually available.  Well, it's available!!  This week is the week you can start buying it!! And if you buy it this week (February 4th-9th), you will also score some amazing bonus freebies!!  I'll tell you more about that at the end of this post, but first I just have to share some thoughts with your about this book.

I have spent this last month reading this wonderful book.  It has been completely freeing and life-changing for me.

There is so much pressure these days to be the perfect mom.  It comes from everywhere.  We can catch the "perfection infection" every time we're on Facebook seeing those pictures of other moms looking so thin, taking expensive vacations with their families, buying a beautiful new home.  We are prone to catch it when we read inspiring blogs by other moms who se…