Saturday, March 27, 2010

Worth Passing Along


A few links I enjoyed reading this week:
  • The Beauty of Living... Slowly (Simple Mom)- some great ideas of ways to ditch the busyness of life and have a fun, spontaneous day of fun with your family.
  • Your Expectations of You: Something's Got to Give (Life As Mom)- great encouragement and reminder that we as moms don't have to do it all & that "to everything, there is a season". Some of the things I did when I only had one child just aren't as easy to do (or necessary) now that I have three kids. There are lots of "good things" we can be doing, but we don't need to burden ourselves with trying to do them all.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A New Adventure


A couple of years ago, my hubby set out to accomplish his dream of building a house. Soon after we began the building process, the housing market crashed, along with a list of other setbacks. Once we started, though, we had no choice but to continue. What was supposed to take a year, ended up taking 2 years to complete.

Thankfully, though, we were able to finish the house & we moved in last October, just before baby J was born. It's a beautiful home & we've enjoyed living here the past 6 months. But because it took so long to complete, we racked up a lot of debt from building it & so the refinancing didn't go through like we had hoped.


So a couple of months ago, we realized the best thing to do would be to put the house on the market. After a month of trying to keep the house spotless for potential showings (which by the way, is really fun with three boys), yesterday we accepted an offer. If everything goes through, we will be moving at the end of April.


Although the past few years have been tough, with all the work we went through, it was certainly an adventure & we learned so much. We are ready to move on, though, & are looking forward to seeing what new adventures God has in store for us next.


What a blessing it was to find out that the buyer is a pastor's family with 6 kids. God knew all along who we were building this house for even though we oftentimes couldn't see past the day-to-day. But I am learning that we don't need to know all of God's plans... we just need to trust Him and follow Him, one day at a time. He is always faithful & we are resting in His promises.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Feel This Way Sometimes...


If You Give a Mom a Muffin

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
So she'll pour herself some.
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
She'll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do some laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over some snow boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper for tonight.

She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With a Pound of
Hamburger.)
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for the checkbook.

The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old.
While she is changing the two year old the phone will ring. (Of course!)
Her five year old will answer it and hang up.

She remembers that she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on
Friday.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are,
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Written by Kathy Fictorie
Based on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Oughtta Count


..... how many times a day I kiss this face.

Proper English Cottage Pie

I found this recipe last week on allrecipes.com and it was fabulous. It's a lot like a shepherd's pie. The only thing I did differently was I used chicken broth instead of beef because I had some I needed to use up. This is a recipe I will make again and again. And it made great leftovers too. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 pound shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. To Make Meat Filling: Place a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in ground beef and saute 1 minute. Add onion and carrot, then continue to saute until meat is no longer pink and onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in flour, cinnamon, mixed herbs, and parsley.
  3. In a small bowl, combine beef broth and tomato paste. Mix together, then add to beef mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of liquid has been absorbed. Spoon mixture into a 9 inch pie plate.
  4. To Make Potato Topping: Place diced potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and place over high heat. Allow to come to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain.
  5. Mash potatoes until smooth, then add butter or margarine, followed by milk. Whip until fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread potatoes over beef filling. Sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until top is browned and cheese is bubbly.
Serves 6.

For more great recipes, visit:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bookin' It in 2010: The March Update


I only read one book this past month. Here it is:

Refreshing Hope in God
(A Mother's Journey of Joy and Pain) by Judy Dippel..... I'm glad I read this book, but it was a hard one to get through. The author's two kids are grown now, but she talks about some of the difficult things her kids went through during their teen years, and how it affected her as a mother.

It made me appreciate my mom so much more because of some of the things I put her through as a teenager. It also made me think about what things might be like in a few years if my son doesn't stay close to the Lord. Judy's kids grew up in a Christian home and ended up turning their backs on God for a number of years before eventually coming back to Him.

It reminded me that this can happen to good kids sometimes, regardless of how they're brought up, and we really need to be in prayer over our children's futures, that their hearts will stay close to the Lord and that they will make good choices as they grow older and become more independent.

Like I said, I'm glad I read this book-- it was good for me to think about these things-- but I think I'll read something a little more lighthearted next.

To see what others have been reading, visit
Life As Mom.

Where We Do School

This is where we do school. It's part of our family/bonus room. Next to my desk is my son's desk. It's nice to have him right there if he has a question. Sometimes he likes to sit on the couch, though. We also do all of our read-alouds together on the couch.


This little area is the dormer. It's where we keep all the school supplies and books, and whatever else we need. It's sort of a room within a room. The bookshelf isn't as organized as I would like it to be, but it's working for now. I only keep books on it that we're using this year. We have several bookshelves in another room full of all our other books. It helps me to keep them separate so I don't get overwhelmed or sidetracked.


There's also a world map and lots of storage containers. I love storage containers. I've been reading about using workboxes for homeschooling lately & am still getting mine set up & figuring it out. I really like the idea & am hoping it will work out for us. We also keep all the arts & crafts supplies in the drawers so that everything we need is right there.....


..... so that Big J can get busy creating his next masterpiece.


For glimpses into other blogger's homes, check out Chatting at the Sky's linky post here.

This post is also linking up to:
Not Back to School Blog Hop

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

25 Random Facts About Me


1. I am a night owl. I rarely go to bed before 1:00am.

2. I was a first chair violinist for two years in high school.

3. I worked at a Christian camp for six summers when I was a teenager and only came home on the weekends. It was a blast and those are some of my best memories growing up.

4. I've never had alcohol before in my life.... ever. I don't care to either.

5. I love roller coasters and water slides.

6. I grew up out in the country on 28 acres. We had sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, cats, dogs, fish, gerbils, and even a couple of peacocks who hung around our property for a while. It was a great experience.

7. I was a long-distance runner in high school. I loved it, and we had a really great coach. We made it to state my senior year, but unfortunately, we didn't win.

8. I like to organize everything I get my hands on, and I love storage containers, oh and labels, too.

9. My husband showed up on our first date in a brand new car. We had that car for nine years.

10. I had never been camping until I met my husband, and our first camping trip was a week long. His family had a boat, so we went tubing and water-skiing all week!

11. When my first son was between 3-6 months, we went on six different camping trips that summer. And all of them were tent-camping.

12. I love all-you-can-eat buffets.

13. I enjoy listening to others talk and learning from their experiences, but I don't generally have as much to say, myself.

14. In high school, my family went on a month-long trip, driving through 19 states in our station wagon. I still like where I live the best. My least favorite state was Idaho.

15. It took me forever to learn how to drive a stick-shift, and I failed my driving test on my first try.

16. My poor husband had to propose to me twice. I actually said no the first time (well, I said yes, then a week later, I decided I wasn't ready)!! I'm so glad he waited for me. We just celebrated our 12th anniversary, and he is a wonderful man.

17. I don't like to iron. When we first got married, my hubby did all the ironing... now we don't even bother.

18. I love my digital camera and take like a gazillion pictures. Especially of my boys.

19. I enjoy reading People magazine and get excited when there's a new issue at the library.

20. I got braces in 4th grade and had never met anyone with braces before that.

21. My husband and I have zero interest in watching sports. We rarely even know who's playing. I love that about him.

22. I love my Sunday afternoon naps.

23. I am thankful for my wonderful group of homeschooling friends. They are such a blessing to me.

24. I miss my sister and wish she lived closer. And I wish she would hurry up and have children so my boys can have cousins!

25. I used to be addicted to scrapbooking... then it was gardening... now I'm addicted to facebook and blogging!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oven Parmesan Chicken Breasts

I try not to use packaged mixes very often. I'd rather make up my own instead. It not only saves money, but is also healthier since I know exactly what's going into it and there are no unnecessary ingredients. This is my family's favorite recipe for breaded chicken breasts. I like to serve it with brown rice and a fresh salad.


Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I use chicken tenders)
2 tbs melted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Dip chicken in butter. Coat with combined remaining ingredients. Place in prepared pan. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Makes 6 servings.

For more great recipes, visit:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Worth Passing Along


A few links I enjoyed reading this week:
  • The House That Two Incomes Built- Part 1 (Smockity Frocks)- this post was an encouragement to me as we are getting ready to downsize to a smaller home as well. Another great post about what is important in life. (You can go here to read about why we are selling our home)
  • I Can't Do It All (A Familiar Path)- Melissa is one of my favorite writers. She's so down-to-earth. This post was another great reminder that I'm not the only one who doesn't have it all together. With our house on the market, it's been tough trying to keep the house extra super clean with three boys. And everyone's been sick the past couple weeks, which makes everything harder.

Computer Back-ups & Free Photo Books

Today I backed up my computer. Every time I back it up, I write the date on my log sheet so I can keep track. Although my goal is to do this at least monthly, I only tend to back up my computer about every 3 months. I need to get better at this, especially with a newborn who changes so quickly. I would be devastated if I lost 3 months of photos of this little guy.


We have an external hard drive, so I just copy the newer folders over to that drive. It's so easy, really. I don't know why I don't stay more on top of that. But I am going to try harder this year.

Another thing I'm doing this month is taking advantage of some of the free photo book offers online. I made one a few years ago & was really happy with the results. Since there are so many offers, I'm going to make one for each of my boys, plus a family album. I think it's important to have that hard copy of my favorite photos.

Here are a couple of links to the free photo books that I've come across lately from
Money Saving Mom's website: MoneySavingMethods tells how you can get a free 20-page photo book from Picaboo for free (plus $3.99 shipping). Offer expires 3-31-10.

Big J has also been wanting to do some scrapbooking lately, so I'm going to take advantage of
Kodak's 100 free prints (+ $1.99 shipping) offer to give him a nice stash of photos for his scrapbook. Hurry, this one expires 3-11-10.

For more free offers,
Money Saving Methods has lots of links to other websites you can get prints for free (plus shipping). Have you backed up your computer recently?
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