Sunday, March 16, 2014

Changing Up the Menu

I haven't been very good at menu planning recently. Really, I've been horrible at it.  I have a friend who simply plans what is going to be eaten over the next two weeks, but not which day they fall on. I liked this idea as you can go more with what you feel like that day rather than worry about liking what you've picked! So I'm going to give it a try.  I'm making a list for 3 weeks, to get myself onto the routine I want (based on shopping days). It might get revised a little next weekend depending on what's on sale when we go shopping.

I'm going to start with just dinner ideas, as that is what needs to be shopped for and planned the most. I still need to figure out what to do for breakfast/lunch planning, but we'll just wing it for now!

The List:

Salmon Patties x 2
~ with couscous and roasted carrots w/ feta and parsley (new recipe)
~ with quinoa and {veggie}
Stew {SC} & Rolls
Chicken Soup {SC} & Rolls x2
Pancakes x2 
Eggs, Bacon & Fruit
Taco Salad
Enchilada Casserole {SC} & Salad
Italian Roast Beef {SC}, Rolls & {veggie}
Pear, Gorgonzola, Chicken Salad
Chef Salad
Chicken Curry {SC} & Rice
Chicken Stir Fry & Rice
Hamburgers on the Grill & Green Salad
Grilled Chicken w/ Tahini Sauce, Tomato and Cucumber Salad & Pita Bread
Burrito Bowls
Homemade Pizza
Eat Out x2 

{SC} = Slow Cooker
{veggie} = TBD Vegetable Side, determined by sales. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Force {Book Review}

I'm happy to bring you my first book review! I love to read and enjoy sharing my thoughts on books with my friends. My goal is to bring you many more book reviews!


I was given The Force by Alexandra and Joyce Swann to read and review. Here is the description of the book from the publisher:

Someone is murdering the world’s most beautiful women—over and over and over.
When Jarrod and Joshua Sinclair are called in to consult with the FBI about the Hollywood Starlet murders, they immediately suspect their old nemesis Josef Helmick of creating clones of famous women for a visiting Saudi prince. Wasting no time, they hire retired detective Fred Kowalski and send him to Dubai to uncover Josef’s base of operations and build a case against him for the murders. 
But Fred soon discovers that Helmick Enterprises is harboring a secret much darker than human trafficking. 
Fred must stop Helmick before he resurrects an ancient, diabolical Force in order to bring the entire human race under his control.

My Thoughts
Before reading The Force, I chose to read it's prequel, The Fourth Kingdom. Although The Force stands alone without an issue, The Fourth Kingdom does offer some back story that fills in a few details.

From the beginning, I was pulled into The Force. The intrigue and suspense of this book paired with the science fiction aspect reminded me a little of Michael Crichton, but with an obvious Christian Worldview. Mostly taking place in the year 2041, the story picks up with Jarrod and Joshua Sinclair. I loved this set of twins from The Fourth Kingdom and I was happy to see them again. In a different way, I was happy to see Josef Helmick because he's the kind of bad guy you love to hate. The clash of good and evil is very present throughout the entire story and really keeps you on the edge of your seat. Without giving away spoilers, I was intrigued by what appeared to be a setup for end-time events. I loved that it had me opening my Bible and looking up additional facts. The variety of characters with different background kept the plot moving and spinning. At times it felt a little complicated, but it all came together wonderfully in the end.

About the Authors
Joyce and Alexandra Swann are mother and daughter. Joyce homeschooled her ten children from the first grade through master’s degrees. She is a well-known author and speaker on the subject of homeschooling. For nearly a decade she was a popular column-ist for "Practical Homeschooling Magazine". She now blogs regularly on parenting, homeschooling, and Christian lifestyle issues.

Joyce and Alexandra have co-authored two other novels, The Fourth Kingdom and The Twelfth Juror, both of which were published in 2010. Joyce’s personal story of her experiences raising and educating her family is chronicled in Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother, published in February of 2011. Her novel, The Warrior, which tells the story of one woman’s ten year prayer vigil for a man she has never met, was released in May of 2012. She is also the author of two children’s books, "Tales of Pig Isle" and "The McAloons", which began as stories that she told to entertain her grandchildren.
Alexandra is author of "No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master’s Degree at Age Sixteen" and "Writing for Today". She has been self-employed for over fourteen years and was the 2011 Chairwoman of the Board of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She writes a regular blog, Paying for Protection, about the consequences of over-regulation and over-reaching government. Her novel "The Planner", which is the prequel to "The Chosen", was published in June of 2012.

The Giveaway
To help celebrate the release of The Force, Frontier 2000 Media is holding a giveaway for The Fourth Kingdom and The Force as well as nine other books from great Christian authors! Head on over and get entered to win!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Almond & Flax Porridge {Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free}

I've been gluten free and mostly grain free for the last year. I focused on trying to be grain free, but would have gluten free as a treat. Since coming back from the Feast, I've fallen off the wagon quite a bit. Last week I made myself sick with my choice of dinner when we went out. This week I'm putting my health and eating habits back to the top of my priorities.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but I've struggled with finding quick & easy alternatives that I can eat. I love fried eggs, but I can only eat them so many times in a row before I need a change. Yogurt is also popular here for breakfast, but sometimes I'm out. When I fix Hubby and Bug oatmeal, I, too, want something warm and filling.



When I accidentally discovered this tasty breakfast, it became a regular on my breakfast rotation. If I fix oatmeal for the boys, I will make myself this. Sometimes, Bug prefers this over oatmeal! It's neutral enough to allow any flavor options to be highlighted, just like oatmeal. I usually eat mine with just a little pat of butter and a drizzle of honey.

Almond & Flax Porridge
Makes 1 serving, but can easily be duplicated.

1 TBL Ground Flax Seed 
1/4 C Water
1/2 C Almond Meal/Flour
1/2 C Water, Milk, Coconut Milk {or alternative liquid of your choice}
1/4 C Fresh or Frozen Fruit {optional}

In a small sauce pan, mix the flax seed and 1/4 cup of water without turning on the heat. Let this sit for 3 minutes then turn on the heat to medium and in the remaining ingredients. Heat on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the porridge is heated through and thickened.  If using frozen fruit, you may need to let it go a little longer for it to heat through.

Top with your favorite sweetener, butter, fruit and/or milk/cream. Enjoy!

I'd love to hear if you give this a try and what toppings you like on it!

Linked up to: Real Food Wednesday

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Plan ~ Nov 11


I'm having a hard time coming up with meals, and we aren't even eating at home two times this week! Crazy! Hubby actually gave me some feed back for meals to make next week though!

Monday: 
B: Oatmeal / Almond Porridge
L: Taquitos / Yogurt & Cucumbers
D: Chicken Soup & Biscuits

Tuesday: 
B: Eggs & Biscuits
L: Leftover Soup / Leftover Tatertot Casserole & Carrot Sticks / Baked Chicken Legs & Carrot Sticks
D: Ravioli w/ Marinara Sauce, Green Beans /  Salad
*make muffins, bread

Wednesday: 
B: Yogurt & Muffins
L: PB & J, Cucumbers, Apples {mine with almond bread}
D: We've all got things going on, so we're meeting Dad in Salem for dinner!

Thursday: 
B: Oatmeal / Almond Porridge
L: Canned Soup / Baked Chicken Legs
D: Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Rice & Roasted Broccoli

Friday: 
B: Eggs & Toast
L: Meatballs & Rice / Cold Meatball, Carrot Sticks & Apples
D: WinterJam! We'll grab something fast to eat while we wait for the doors to open!

Saturday: 
B: Pancakes
D: Slow Cooker Enchiladas, Salad

*I've used the / to separate the different meals if we aren't all eating the same thing. Hubby is first as I have to think about what to send him. Then Bug and I. If the kid and I are eating different, he's in the middle and I'm last.

Linked up to: Menu Plan Mondays

Book Giveaway to Celebrate Release of The Force!

I am so excited to bring you this giveaway! We are total book lovers in this house and I love to share and talk about books whenever I can. It's even better when the sharing of these books comes in the form of a great prize package!

Authors Alexandra and Joyce Swann are excited on the launch of their newest book, The Force. If you noticed in my Homeschool Mother's Journal, I recently finished it and it's prequel, The Fourth Kingdom. I really enjoyed both of these books and will share a full review of The Force later this week. As part of the launch team, I get to join the authors and bring you this giveaway in celebration of the release of the The Force!


We are excited to help Frontier 2000 Media celebrate the release of The Force by Alexandra and Joyce Swann with a super cool giveaway for book lovers! Two prizes will be awarded, one containing 11 awesome books and the other with five books. Total value of this giveaway is $185! Woohoo!

We would like to thank the following authors for their generous donations to these giveaways! Be sure to stop by their websites to say thank you!

William Struse
Tricia Goyer
Sarah Sundin 
Eisley Jacobs
Gwen Toliver
Carey Jane Clark

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Two winners will be selected and announced by noon ET on November 25, 2013. U.S. residents age 18 and older only please. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

Book Lover's Giveaway #1 ($120 value)
The Force by Alexandra and Joyce Swann
The Fourth Kingdom by Alexandra and Joyce Swann
The 13th Enumeration by William Struse
The 13th Prime by William Struse
On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Dragons of the Deep by Eisley Jacobs
Blink of a Dragon by Eisley Jacobs
Born to be a Dragon by Eisley Jacobs
Seed Sowers by Gwen Toliver
After the Snow Falls by Carey Jane Clark 


Book Lover's Giveaway #2 ($65 value)
The Force by Alexandra and Joyce Swann
The Fourth Kingdom by Alexandra and Joyce Swann
The 13th Enumeration by William Struse
The 13th Prime by William Struse

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ November 8, 2013



In my life this week…
Can I just say that I can't believe it's November! This year seems to have gone by so fast! The weather here seems to know what Month it is though. As is typical here in Oregon, we have heavy rain and wind going on today. 

We've had a hard time adjusting to the time change, I think. Bug has been waking up very early all week and it's been throwing me off.  To top it off, I've been struggling with my health this week because of stupid eating choices I made at the beginning of the week.

In our homeschool this week…
Bug started in on NaNoWriMo. He's excited and has been working hard at it every day. I hope the enthusiasm continues. 

It was kind of an off week and we kept mostly to the basics. Bug has been really great about his independent work, which is great on days when I'm just feeling puny. 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Monday night, the hubby and I went on a double date with a local homeschool friend and her husband. We headed to a theater that plays the Monday Night Football game. Since we are all big Green Bay Packer fans, we decided this would be a fun thing to do. It was a good time, except the Packers lost. Bug got to spend the evening with his friends, playing games. It's the first time he's ever been left without an adult or a babysitter!

On Wednesday, we braved the Oregon weather and went apple picking with a couple other homeschool families. This was much more fun (even with the rain and mud) than when we went last week! We have another 60 lbs or so of apples to get processed up!

Today we'll be heading to the library for our Friday Class. Today's topic is Science - Parts of a Plant. 

My favorite thing this week was…
Girls' Night Out at a church friend's house. We had over a dozen ladies there just hanging out and chatting. It's so encouraging to get with other ladies at church!

My kiddo's favorite thing this week was... 
To be updated when he decides!

What’s working/not working for us…
Khan Academy! I love how independent he is on it and the different topics he's learning. This week he worked on parallel lines and angles. 

Questions/thoughts I have…
Most of my thoughts stem around how I'm going to change & encourage myself in my health issues. I need to be eating better, but it's been hard and I've seriously fallen off the wagon lately. 

Things I’m working on…
Getting more organized & keeping a to-do list!

I’m reading…
I finished The Force by Joyce & Alexandra Swann. Amazing and I'll have a review coming soon. I'm currently working on UnSouled by Neal Shusterman and Simply Put: A Study in Economics by Catherine Jaime. 

Bug is reading…
He finished the fourth book in the Alcatraz Series and then picked up Witches by Roald Dahl because had nothing else. Time to find something else for him to sink his teeth into.

I’m cooking…
Simple stuff. I made myself some Almond & Flax Seed Bread. Love that stuff. We've been eating a lot of applesauce!

I’m praying for…
A dear lady who lost her husband this week to a heart attack. He'll be very much missed. Friends who are dealing with injuries and sickness. All the people in the Philippines that have been affected by the Super Typhoon that hit the islands. 

See what other homeschoolers are doing this week over at:
Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers 
So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Month of Thanksgiving

I'm joining a group of bloggers today and sharing about something I am thankful for. I'm going to be a little different and share a number of things that I'm thankful for. I've continued a tradition of posting my thanks on Facebook each day this month and I've started this year taking a picture of (or related to) my thanks and posting it on Instagram too.

So for today's Thankful Thursday post, I'm going to share my first six days of thanks!

Day 1 ~ My thanks are for a kid who loves to read! He even had to bring his book into the restaurant while we had lunch. You notice that he comes by it honestly, as I have my book with me as well!

Day 2 ~ Girls Night Out! I have awesome friends and we all got together for cocktails and dessert at one friend's home. It was a great evening!

Day 3 ~ God and His Truth given through the Bible. He is my everything.

Day 4 ~ FOOTBALL! More specifically, my Green Bay Packers! Sadly, Aaron Rogers didn't spend very long in uniform for this game. But I still love my Pack!

Day 5 ~ The blessings of a full pantry and a variety of foods.

Day 6 ~ Living in an agricultural area that allows us to be near our farmers and even go pick some of our own food! Friends to pick with us is an added bonus!

If you'd like to follow and join me in thanks for the rest of the month, you can follow me on Instagram and join in by tagging your photos with #MonthOfThanksgiving!

You can also join us in Thankful Thursdays! Just add your post to the linky below!