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Showing posts from October, 2011

Fall Fun

It's been a fun, fall-ish couple of days around our house. Carving pumpkins together, some requiring fancier tools than others:) Working while the pumpkin seeds roasted and filled the house with their yummy aroma. Posing on the porch with their pumpkins (try to ignore The Princess' completely eclectic outfit..heehee). I chose not to carve my pumpkin this year-- I was too excited to find one of those gorgeous cheese wheel pumpkins again. And it's just to pretty to carve. I want to enjoy looking at it for another month! Oh--and that *neck* pumpkin... I was told it makes wonderful pumpkin pies. So now I just need to figure out the best way to cook it up:) Suggestions??? We're also enjoying beautiful weather and this lovely view from our back deck. Tonight the kiddos donned their Star Wars costumes, Captain Rex and Boba Fett, and headed out for some candy. I think I'll be sneaking a few pieces! (I think The Princess is in a growth spurt; the difference in their hei

Raising Real Men: A Review

What a wonderful book for the parents of boys! I have recently been blessed with this book through Timberdoodle in order to review it and I'm so glad that I've had the chance. Raising Real Men , by Hal and Melanie Young, is a biblically-sound guidebook for raising boys. Written in an easy-to-read conversational tone, it covers all kinds of topics from why boys need heroes to teaching boys how to manage their money. Hal and Melanie have six boys of their own (and two girls as well!) so they have lots of personal experience to share in this little nugget of wisdom! I really enjoyed their down-to-earth, practical steps for training your sons in the ways of God. Having a very active 6-year-old son myself, I am constantly needing more wisdom in how to raise him! He keeps me on my toes daily and having a resource like this to refer to on different topics is a blessing. It is a transparent and honest book about these challenges and how to handle them. This book has been endor

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 31st

I am SO loving this cooler weather we're having! I love waking up in the mornings, kicking on the heat and enjoying a nice hot cup of hazelnut coffee...pure bliss! This is really my favorite time of year for cooking--I love making casseroles, soups, all those good, hearty foods! This week will be no exception. I can hardly wait to dig in! Monday: Beef Veggie Soup (in the slow cooker) with Cornbread Tuesday: Alfredo Tuna Bake Wednesday: Broccoli & Cheddar Soup (as found on Pinterest ) Thursday: {small group} Taco Braid Friday: Chicken & Dumplings Saturday: to-be-determined I would also like to roast up one of these this week in order to put the meat in the freezer and have some wonderful, fresh broth, too. It'll be perfect for all those soups and casseroles coming up! Happy Cooking to you this week! This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie .

A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers: A Review

As you may know, at our house we really enjoy music appreciation. Last year was our first year to begin composer studies and they were such a big hit--the kids LOVE studying about them and learning their music. Because of this I was very excited to have the opportunity from Timberdoodle to review A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers ! What a wonderful resource for our studies! This book is 329 pages FULL of 32 lessons, bios of 26 composers and 6 eras of music. It also includes a timeline, maps, composer info cards & game instructions, quizzes & answer keys, coloring pages, listening suggestions and more. This book is recommended for ages 9-13 or grades 4th-8th; however, I've been using it with my 1st and 3rd graders. My 3rd grader is doing great with it and I simply adapt it for use with my 1st grader. He can listen to me read the composer bios, do the coloring pages and obviously listen to the music while learning. I am especially liking the printable ti

Pumpkin Cookies

This is a yummy little recipe that I made this past weekend. If you haven't tried these, you really should! They're the perfect Fall treat. Pumpkin Cookies  For The Cookies 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces) 3/4 cup evaporated milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract For The Icing 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ***** Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside. Put butter and brown sugar into bowl of electric mixer and blend on mediu

Say Anything Family: A Review

I am back today to share with you about another awesome game from North Star Games : Say Anything Family . When North Star says their's are "games with personality" they mean it. Say Anything Family is for ages 8 and up and accommodates 3-6 players--the more the merrier, I say. And it truly is a game about saying anything, it's all about your opinion! This game has a selection of cards that asks your own opinion on all sorts of random, family-friendly topics. Another player, deemed The Judge gets to choose which answer is best and in the meantime you try to score points by guess which answer the judge will pick. It's very fast-paced, fun and can bring a lot of laughs with your family! I really enjoyed playing this one with my kiddos--they loved it--and I know it will be even more fun with a larger group of family members during the holidays. This is a game where the more players, the more fun... in my opinion (since this game is all about opinions, right

Wits & Wagers Family: A Review

Have you seen this game? We have really been enjoying playing Wits & Wagers Family by North Star Games at our house! This game really does live up to its name: you have to use your wits, make educated guesses, "wager" on what guess you think is the correct one and it's perfect for a family. I was very impressed when I read the instructions for this game. They were so simple to understand which made jumping into playing the game so much more enjoyable. You know, when you have to spend more time reading the instructions than playing the game it can be a little frustrating. Not so with this game! And my 6-year-old was able to have as much fun as the rest of us, even though technically this game says for ages 8 and up. There are 300 family-friendly questions for your family to answer with their guesses and then you try to score points by deciding whose answer they think is the closest. That's it! It's a simple concept that is very fun and fast-paced

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 24th

And so begins another week of meals. I wonder what it would look like if we summed up our lives with just the dinners that we eat...could be interesting , eh? This week I am striving to eat within the bounds of my pantry and freezer. They have both gotten a bit random and untidy--meaning that I've bought lots of things that need to be eaten. So I'm trying out a couple of new recipes that I found in one of my cookbooks, Dinners on a Dime : I'll let you know how they turn out! Sunday: Roast with carrots, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and rolls Monday: Pinto Beans and Cornbread Tuesday: Breakfast-for-Dinner Wednesday: Beef Veggie Soup (from Sunday's leftovers) Thursday: Speedy Stroganoff* Friday: Alfredo Tuna Bake* Saturday: {leftovers} *new-to-us recipes This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Educating the Wholehearted Child: A Review

Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson is probably the book I recommend the most to new-to-homeschooling parents. So when I had the chance to review the brand-new-3rd-edition of this wonderful treasure-trove, I was thrilled ! This is not one of those books that you can just sit down and read cover-to-cover. This book, all 376 pages of it, must be perused thoughtfully, in sections and digested in small increments. It is like a handbook for the homeschooling parent, chock-full of Scripture, personal examples, wonderful quotes, page-after-page of amazing biblical principles and don't forget the awesome resources lists and copy-able pages in the back of the book. This is the kind of book to keep handy on your desk so that you can quickly refer to in as needed. The first section of this many-faceted book deals with what the Clarksons call the Three Priorities of a Christian Home. 1.) Home Nurture: Shepherding your child's spirit to long for God 2.) H

My New Kitchen: Phase One

My kitchen is not *finished* by any means, but we have made a big start on it and I am already loving it. Before, not so much. Frankly, it was just depressing. Let's start with some * BEFORE * shots: (notice the linoleum that never looks clean no matter how much you clean it) (notice the missing stove top burner) And now for the * AFTER: PHASE ONE * shots: Here's the china hutch I found for a *song* on a local swap/sale website. My plan is to paint it an antiqued white. In my spare time, you know:) The top holds some of my blue and white pieces that I've collected over the years. It was so fun to unpack my wedding china after having it in storage for 2+ years! It was moved 5 times during that time and, thankfully, not a piece was broken! This is another antique hutch that we picked up at a favorite local junk store for yet another *song*. This is also going to be painted an antiqued white. Yes, I have a lot of painting in my near future. Here is one of the new

What To Do With Worry

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray . Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness , everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (the Message)

How to Jump in a Leaf Pile

1. Run really fast 2. Jump as high as you can 3. Dig in and enjoy ***** There's nothing like a rake and a bunch of leaves to keep my kiddos entertained for hours!

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 17th

Last week was one of the busiest weeks we've had in quite a while! The only thing from my menu plan that actually got made was the White Chili ...but, boy, was it good! It's the perfect thing for a cool Fall day. The rest of the nights at home were spent eating up some leftovers before they went bad. I know, not so fun, but it has to be done occasionally, right? This week promises to be just about as busy as last week, but at least we won't be out of town any and hopefully that will make things a tad less hectic. I'm also plugging in the crockpot for a couple of meals this week, too, in order to make it a bit easier. Also, I've mentioned before that I've been reviewing e-Mealz through TOS Homeschool Crew. Well, that review is now posted (along with a couple of their recipes!) and I'd love for you to go check it out--then go check out e-Mealz ! I'd love to hear if you've used their site before or are currently using them and what you thi A Review

For the past month and a half or so I have had the opportunity to check out e-Mealz . I've often heard friends talk about using this meal planning site and have been curious about it. I've been planning my family's dinners for nearly 4 years now and really do love it. I sometimes say that meal planning saved my domestic life--and it's true! I've always enjoyed cooking, but I would often look at the clock around 4 pm and freak out over what in the world we were going to have for dinner. Then I would frantically start looking through the cabinets and freezer, trying to throw something together, sometimes sending Vince to the store at the last minute to pick up some missing ingredient (spending more than we should). I just knew there had to be a better way. So I started meal planning--with great success! So since I've been planning meals on my own--using my recipe files, cookbook collection and various websites as resources--for so long, I wondered what