Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's almost THAT time again....are you ready?

I sat down with my morning cup of coffee, and started browsing around online...when I should have been doing my bible study. Even so, it was worth while, because, I found a bunch of FREE resources! As I am gearing up for NOT back to school, and trying to figure out what curriculum we are going to use still and look into different things for lesson planning and such, I was really excited to find these resources. Especially as a first year homeschooler. Who DOESN'T love free, useful, stuff! So here's the link, it's on the free page, in The Old School House Store. I'm getting them on my iPad, so I can read them in iBooks! :) If you click around on that site, you can find a link to a free digital copy of the Summer 2011 magazine too! Or just stop by my facebook and follow the link. Happy Reading! Enjoy, and let me know if you decide to get anything!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week… I have been super duper busy playing wedding planner for a dear friend of mine's wedding.

In our homeschool this week… I am preparing a camping curriculum to start with the kids next week as something both fun for the kids this summer and informative for when we take our camping trip at the end of the summer.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Sometimes, it's just not going to happen, and that's ok.

I am inspired by… ">My "mom's of many" friends. My friends that have 4 or more kids, and still manage to do so much...when I'm doubting whether I'll be able to do something or not, I always tell myself, if "so and so" can do it, so can I.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… A wedding on the 23rd for one of my good friends. :)

My favorite thing this week was…Dancing with my baby boy at the wedding. He missed me and I made sure I got some one on one time in with him. He is so stinkin cute!
What’s working/not working for us… What's not working, is doing nothing...I need to get my butt in gear!

Questions/thoughts I have… Am I insane for trying to do half the things I do?

Things I’m working on… A sun dress for a friend. A doily for my mother in law. A new recycled nursing dress pattern!

I’m reading… Anne of Avonlea...and I should start The Tempest and True Grit soon! lol!

I’m cooking… Yummy cupcakes from scratch again...I made chocolate with chocolate peanut butter icing, and lemon with strawberry filling, and cream cheese frosting! I also made these AWESOME appetizers called BLT bites...I'll post the recipe soon!

I’m grateful for… The talents God has blessed me with so that I can bless others.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Coby lost his first tooth this week! I can hardly believe he's so big!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Minute Meal Mondays

So this will be the last week of MMM. If you enjoyed it, and/or if you would like to see it again, please let me know! I am gearing up to start a new series "Super Summer Sides." I only like alliteration a little bit. More to come on that later! Today's recipe is more of a cooking technique than a recipe. I'd like to introduce you to the wonderful world of...(insert dah duh dah dah! here) Broiling!

Most ovens have a broiler. In fact, I've never seen an oven that didn't. Yours is most likely on the top of the inside of your oven if you have an electric stove, or in the bottom if you have gas. Now, I understand you may be apprehensive. You may be thinking..."but the broiler always burns stuff." Fear not, my fair readers! I am hear to reveal the secrets that will make the broiler your best friend!

Start with your favorite meat...I did chicken breasts, and they were AMAZING! Tender, juicy, full of flavor, and from freezer to done in about 20 min, maybe less. To shorten prep time, you can put your meat in the fridge to defrost 2 days before. If you are a bird brain like me (how long can I claim it's pregnancy brain?) you can use your microwave to defrost. If you have time to use a 20-30 min. marinade on your meat, or let it marinade overnight, GREAT...but it's not necessary to still have great meat. Other cuts of meat that work well are pork chops, fish filets, and steaks.

Trick #1: Use a meat mallet/ meat tenderizer to pound out meat to about a 1/2 inch thickness. You want it thick enough that it doesn't get dried out, but thin enough that it cooks evenly and quickly. (Yes, even do this to chicken breasts. It makes them DIVINE!

Trick #2: Use a glaze or a marinade. If you use something thick, water some of it down a little and pour a little in your pain around the meat.

Trick #3: Use a pastry brush to paint the marinade on both sides, then after cooking one side and flipping, re-paint the new side that is up before returning to the oven.

Trick #4: Pre-heat your broiler while doing your prep work.

Trick #5: Use a foil-lined cookie sheet for easy clean up!

Another great thing about broiling is that it tastes similar to grilling, is easier (or just as easy) as pan frying, but you need no added fat, and you don't have to stand over a hot stove to do it! You can pop your meat in the broiler, do a simple side dish while it's cooking, or use the time to work on clearing one of your "clutter catcher" area's ala Joyful Mothering's Homemaker's Challenge this week!

Here's the recipe that I used for marinade for my chicken breasts that I made in the broiler last night...I forgot to snap a picture, insert face palm here, but they had a beautiful bit of crustiness without being dried out or over crisp.

1 min. marinade
1/4 cup of soy sauce (we use a low sodium variety)
1/4 cup of orange juice (fresh or from concentrate is fine.)
1/8 cup of lime juice (fresh squeezed, *real lime*, or from concentrate is fine.)
approx. 2 cloves minced garlic (I used pre-minced refridgerated garlic, but you could use 2 fresh cloves pressed or minced.)
appox. 1 tsp black pepper...fresh ground is even better, but you will probably need less.
1/8 cup olive, or grapeseed oil

Turn on your broiler. Whisk ingredients together and let sit while you pound the meat out with your mallet...don't worry if the oil seperates out a bit. When your meat has reached the desired thickness place it on the foil lined baking sheet. Paint a good layer of marinade on the side of the meat that is facing up, stirring as you go if necessary, pour a little marinade between your meat on the pan, flip your meat, and paint the other side. Place in broiler, set timer according to table below. When the timer sounds, check that the side of the meat that is facing up is fully cooked (the bottom will still be raw) flip the meat, and, stirring as you go, paint with another generous helping of marinade...not making puddles on it, but just making sure it's enough to keep the meat from browning too quickly before it's cooked through. Return meat to oven, set timer for additional time. When timer sounds, temp meat with a meat thermometer (if you don't have one, get one! Digital is my favorite, and you can pick one up for $6-9 at your local grocer usually. It is seriously a cooks best friend! You can tell if you meat is cooked through, without accidentally overcooking it for fear of under cooking it!) Refer to the table 2 below for the temperature guidelines for meat "doneness." Eat and enjoy your quick, easy, delicious meal!

Table 1: Meat Broiling Temperatures
Type of Meat Broil Time
Beef approx. 5 min. each side, for medium-well
Pork approx. 4 min. each side
Chicken approx. 8 min. each side (I did six on the first, and 8 after flipping.)
Fish (Tilapia, Cod, etc.) approx. 3-4 min. each side

When in doubt, err on the side of cooking too short of time, rather than too long, then your meat thermometer and the table below as a guidline for determining doneness.

Table 2: Meat Temperature Guidelines
Type of Meat Temperature and doneness level
Beef 120-125 Rare
Beef 130-135 Medium Rare
Beef 140-145 Medium
Beef 150-155 Medium Well
Beef 160+ Well done (the higher the temp, the drier, and more brown it will be.)
As a disclaimer, ground beef should be cooked to a temp of at least 160 degrees, and until no longer pink.
Pork 160+ (You should not eat undercooked pork.)
Chicken 165+ (You should not eat undercooked chicken.)
Fish 140+ Cook until it flakes easily, but do NOT over cook or it will become tough and rubbery.
Tuna, Swordfish or Marlin 125+ Again, do not overcook.

I hope you found this information useful, and interesting. If you make something using one of my recipes, I'd love to hear about it! What's your favorite quick cooking method?

Image: Carlos Porto /

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Homemaker's Challenge

Hot Spot 1: Kitchen Counter

This weeks Homemakers Challenge is to work for 5 min. twice a day on your "catch all" spot. Well, I have several catch all spots, so I decided to focus on 2 in my kitchen. The challenge is for a week, and ends next Thursday. If you want to join up, click on the post title, or the "Homemakers Challenge" Button on the side bar. :) I'll post my before pictures today and then *hopefully* update once at the beginning of the week, and once on Thursday with the final results.

Hot Spot 2: Kitchen Island

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…I didn't accomplish many of the things that I wanted to, but I did get my house somewhat back in order.

In our homeschool this week…we still haven't gotten into a more regular schedule...but there is lots of planning and researching going on right now on my part. :)

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…Having a plan/schedule...ANY plan, is better than nothing because it helps your day to flow.

I am inspired by…Music. It lifts me up and helps me open my heart to God, and motivate me on my sluggish days.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…This week we have a beach day today, a wedding tomorrow, and another church to visit on Sunday. We had a lovely time at my cousin's over the fourth of July holiday. I wish we lived closer so we could get together for cards more often!

My favorite thing this week was…Jaxon saying "Love You" without me saying it first. Jaxon pointing to the computer where ESPN was pulled up with a yankee's article and he said "baseball" clear as day andI didn't even know he knew that word! Jaxon wanting to help with Lily every time I ask one of the older kids. Coby volunteering to help with everything lately. Watching Caitlyn play with her babies and barbies. Lily interacting more and smiling like crazy! Finding a source of Lilies for my garden!

What’s working/not working for us…What's not working for us is ditching our schedule...although the break has been nice...I'm hoping we'll get a little more serious next week...I want to do lots of projects and fun stuff though...I don't want to hit the schedule hard until Mid-August so the kids get a good break and really have a fun, enjoyable summer.

Questions/thoughts I have…I'm curious to see if God will provide for us to register for our triathlon.

Things I’m working on…knitting, sewing, organizing our closet

I’m reading…Anne of Green Gables...still...less than 100 pages left!

I’m cooking…Navy bean soup for dinner tonight, hopefully some banana muffins...and maybe cupcakes or scones just because they're yummy!

I’m grateful for…My kids, my husband, our health, our home, our puppy (who's not a puppy at all)

I’m praying for…provision, salvation for loved ones, patience, and wisdom.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Artist - Hillsong United

"verse 1:
would you believe me if i said...
that we are the ones who can make the change
in the world today...
would you believe me if i said...
that all of your dreams in your heart
can come true... today...
would you believe me if i said...
that life could be all that you want it to be... today...

and if i had wings i would fly
'cause all that i need, You are
and if the world caved in around me
to You i'd still hold on
cause You're all that i believe
and the one that created me
JESUS.. because of You.. i'm free

verse 2:
would you believe me if i said...
that God can make miracles happen today
would you believe me if i said...
that you dont need to wait for the answers before..
you step out in faith..
would you believe me if i said
that nothing is ever IMPOSSIBLE.. for God..

just live your life.. with God inside
you wont regret one moment of it
and give all that you can for God... for God

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hello Mornings...Action Plan

So part of "maximizing your mornings" is having a plan for doing's mine...for now at least. :)

*Action Steps
1. What time will you wake up? 5:45 am
2. What time do you need to go to bed to make sure you still get
enough sleep? No later than 11.
3. Collect all the items you need for your morning time:
- Bible
- Highlighter
- Computer
- Coffee Cup
- Phone
- Ear buds
- Sports wristwatch with stopwatch
- Workout clothes
- Hair Tie
- Socks
- Tennis Shoes
- Worship Music
- Journal
- Water bottle
4. Set my phone alarm.
5. My cousin and the twitter #hellomornings group, as well as my blog readers will be my accountability partners.

Quiet time schedule
1. Old worship practice CD...and christian music playlist that is on my phone...I am going to add my favorite worship CD to it as well.
2. Currently using "Biblical Motherhood" as my study as I try to finally complete it.
3. Print a prayer calendar. I printed the one from the resources.
4. Be quiet and listen.

Goal: Compete in Triathlon on 7/17 and finish, and preferably not finish last.
Run 5 miles without stopping by the end of the summer.
Lose 10 lbs. (I will set a new goal once I reach this.)
*Action Steps:
1. List all the ways you could possibly exercise.
- Run outside around the property perimeter
- Run outside on a route I've mapped out when Jason is home.
- Ride my bike on a route I've mapped out in our neighborhood.
- Swimming at the Rec
- Open water swimming at the beach
- Stationary bike at the rec
- Running the track at the reck
- PS3 Active2
- Workout video or show from my collection or Netflix
- biking or rollerblading or running on the trail at Rowden Park

2. Specifically Plan Your Workout - Pick the video you want to work
out with. Decide how long you will ride the stationary bike. If you’re
running in your neighborhood, pick your route.
What: Running or biking
Where: around my neighborhood or my property
When: In the morning before the kids get up, and then again after hubby get's home from work.

3. Create Your Habit - What is the 1 thing you’ll try to do
EVERYDAY? Mine is my 5 minute workout. Yours could be walking
around your block or 50 jumping jacks. Anything that will help you
to develop the fitness habit. Remember to keep it simple.

Habit Workout: Running Ladders in my backyard for 5 min. or 5 sets of V-ups...starting with 3 reps each.

Join in with me...go get your copy of the e-book...get in better shape, be more productive, experience Joy you can only get from God, and blog about your "Action Plan." Then come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did so I can check out your plans too! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hello Mornings!

Inspired to action started a series called "Hello Mornings" and now Michelle oveer at "So I married a Menonite..." is hosting the current series I think which goes from 5/15/11 to 8/15/11...well, you know me...I'm a "make up my mind and jump off the bridge" kind of gal, and now that I've decided I want to start trying to get up early again, and get back into my routine, I read the e-book and I'm starting today...because if I wait until August to make the commitment, it won't happen. I've already been getting up early sometimes, and I have been doing so for a few years now, so really it's a matter of getting organized, and being intentional about it.

I can do this!

So, of course my next question to join me? I'd love some accountability, and for others to know the joy and accomplishment of rising early, spending time with the Lord and being productive.

I can do this.

Some favorite quotes from the FREE e-book by Kat that you can find by clicking the "Inspired to Action: Hello Mornings" button in the right side bar... "Inertia is a law of physics that states, “An object in motion
tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest.”
Get in motion. There’s nothing like starting the day with your kids
knowing that you’ve already exercised, prayed, and planned. And it
makes you want to continue being focused and intentional."

Lord, I pray to practice the law of Inertia so that I may remain in motion for you!

So I've realized I really like exclamation points. It reminds me of the Beth Moore study "Living Beyond Yourself," when she said that she is just so excited about things that she severely overuses exclamation points. I am the same way. I'm not yelling, promise...I'm just giddy with excitement!


Another quote from the e-book I thought was great..."Success is most often a by-product of faithfulness." What an awesome notion.

So go! Get you FREE e-book, be inspired, join me, maximize your mornings, grow and cultivate your relationship with the Lord, get into an awesome new habit, have fun, and join me so we have some accountability along the way!

Photo Credit: dan/freedigitalphoto'

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Something new to do. I've been trying to blog more, and this is another avenue for accomplishing that goal in a quick and easy way. :)

In my life this week… Things are crazy as always. Hubby and I are still preparing for our triathlon, but our training has been pushed to the back burner for a few too many days now...we are hitting the gym again tonight though, and with about 3.5 weeks left to go, we need to! I got some flowers, mostly wild, free from craigslist yesterday, which was a huge blessing because I wanted to improve the look of our flower beds and just make the house more pleasant, but it wasn't really in our budget to spend money on flowers. I have innumerable projects that need to be completed, or started and completed, or followed up on right now, so that's a little hectic too, and my house, yet again, needs some attention in the area of cleaning. It's not that I expect to not have to clean, it would just be nice if it was just maintenance work rather than hard labor every time!

In our homeschool this week… We had our summer break from about Memorial day until Monday the 27th...but we are picking up a light work load again for the summer. Coby has started reading, and I don't want him to lose that. Our first beach day with our Seeds of Faith homeschool group on Tuesday had the kids in an excited frenzy too. We have been doing lots of exciting "unschooling" nature learning in the interim of our summer break though. I still need to decide if I want to use a curriculum for Coby this Fall, or if I want to try to make my own...especially since he is already reading.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… we start with the topic/subject that the kids are the most resistant to wanting to work on, take frequent breaks, and talk about our short term schedule so they can see the end in sight, and focus more on the task at hand. We also love no, I'm not an affiliate or anything like it, we just like it. :)

I am inspired by...this week...Anne of Green Gables...she reminds me to look at the world in a way that appreciates all the amazing and wonderful things that God has blessed us with.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…We are spending the fourth with one of my dearest, best-est (yes I realize that's improper English!) friends, who also happens to be my cousin, and her husband and 5 children. We will be heading out on the 1st to stay at there house for the weekend. It's always interesting and fun with 9 kids in tow! lol!

My favorite thing this week was…Caitlyn telling me "Mama! You scared me out the crap!" when I dropped a jar of baby food. Also, when Coby told Jason and I at the store that we needed to get new eggs because ours were "old" because the shells are brown! (Hubby got brown eggs from a co-worker.)

What’s working/not working for us…we sometimes fluctuate between having a schedule and not, and not having a schedule, is not helping anyone. Also, boring workbooks are not working for getting Coby to practice his writing.

Questions/thoughts I have…Will God give us provision to be able to register for our triathlon...will Jason stop being finnicky about homeschooling and get back on the supportive side of the fence...will we ever get our dream farm...will things start coming together in this next month like they are expected to...

Things I’m working on… I need to embellish a shirt for a trade and finish a hair bow...finish some alterations, crochet a toddler dress, crochet a pair of mittens, make something for a charity auction, make hair bows and burp cloths to stock my shop, make Lily's burp cloth, finish my curtains, finish the kids fourth of July outfits, finish planning/planting the flower beds, mend hubby's jeans' pocket, mend my apron, crochet a baby bonnet and booties, knit a bag, crochet a doily for my mother-in-law, finish hanging pictures and contact my aunt about the custom crocheted wall hanging she wants.

I’m reading…Anne of Green Gables, the bible, and Biblical Motherhood.

I’m cooking…cupcakes and frosting from scratch, yummy healthier meals, and alfredo pizza for dinner tonight!

I’m grateful for…everything. My children...the fact that God provided us with this much needed house in a nice location that fits our budget...our health...our pets...our physical fitness...our stamina...our many gifts/talents.

I’m praying for…healing for Jason's maternal grandmother...provision for us for a new home with the acreage we are looking for...provision for our finances in general...provision for registering for the triathlon we'd like to do...the health of family members that are in poor health...

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." Acts 1:7