Articles to mull over

Here are a few links to articles that I have found interesting and have been mulling over in my mind these last few weeks.  Hopefully you will enjoy them too.

*There are a few affiliate links in this post.

On Health

I have become fascinated with magnesium and the role that it plays in bodily processes. This article highlights some of the hormonal symptoms that result in magnesium deficiencies are outlined in this post.  As I have researched magnesium I have found it linked to ADHD, cholesterol issues, fibromyalgia, migraines, restless legs syndrome, irritability, insomnia, to name a few off the top of my head.  To help get our magnesium in we eat leafy greens, take a magnesium supplement, take our baths with epsom salt, spray magnesium oil on body, and on stressful days will drink Natural Calm.  

I was fascinated with this article about how the acne on your face is a road map to what systems are struggling internally.   Interestingly enough, the areas that my face keeps breaking out in does correspond to health issues that I am currently aware of and working on trying to find a remedy.

The impression that I got in my education was that the human race is so much smarter now than they were thousands of years ago.  I found myself questioning that as a kid, but as I asked questions the answers received always confirmed that thought process, because my teachers were all coming from an evolution based mindset.  But as I started teaching my children from a creation based perspective, I was amazed at all the resources that pointed out this line of thought obviously was not the case.  I have become even more fascinated with this concept as I have started studying more aspects of natural remedies, health foods, and traditional diets.  I am amazed as more and more studies are going back and finding out some of these natural remedies do in fact work.  This article was thrilling to me, as I read about how they are finding evidence that an onion and garlic remedy that is at least 1,000 years ago is proving to have great potential in fighting the MRSA.

On Education

In homeschooling, conversation is a vital part of your children’s education.  I talk to my kids all the time, but I need to amp up the quality, non-rushed conversations that happen in the home between my children and me.

Thought provoking article on how we educate our children at home from a veteran homeschool mom.  Have homeschoolers slipped too far back into the model of what public schools are doing because we are struggling under someone else’s idea of what a “proper” education is? 

On Parenting

As of late, a frequent discussion among some of my friends has been along the lines of doing things that will mess our children up or cause them to walk from the faith.  This was a great post about the most important thing that one family did in encouraging their children to continue to walk with the Lord into adulthood.

On purpose

I loved this article about how to find your “thing.” 

Gather At The Table

This is written as part of 5-Minute Friday, where brave writers assemble together online, to share 5 minutes worth of written word on a given topic put forth by Kate Motaung.

This Weeks Word: gather

 Come, Gather at the table.

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You will find us here much of our day.

We gather at the table for breakfast and to soak our teeth in on wisdom from Proverbs.

School happens around our table.  Math, history, drawing.

Conversations happen, gathered at our table.  Laughter, tears.  We see it all.  Gathered at the table.

We work on teaching the children to put others first.  Chew with their mouths closed.  We teach the practical while sitting, gathered at the table.  

Spiritual connections are made, formed, deep into their little  minds and souls. As we gather at the table, to share our victories, frustrations, thanksgivings. To raise our voice to the Lord.

All this, while gathered at the table.

 Click on through to read other great pieces around the theme of gather.

I would love to hear in the comment section about how you find yourself gathering around the table.

 

Solution for my Laundry Mountain – A laundry sorter

I wrote this post on my laundry sorter back in 2013 but never published.

We wash a lot of laundry in our home.  Enormous amounts.  To stay on top of laundry, I need to wash a minimum of 3 loads a day. I have referred to my laundry mountain before.  At times I have 2 laundry mountains going.  One mountain of dirty clothes.  A second that is dirty.   As I have been thinking through the way we do things at our house, I have been trying to come up with a good solution for my laundry mountains.  I realized that chunks of my day was being lost because I would sort laundry into piles for washing.  I would then start a load of laundry with the intentions of being able to come back in and throw one of the piles of sorted laundry into the washer.  In reality, during the time the first load was washing, my piles would be destroyed and I would have to come back and resort them in order to start a new load.  We had tried using a laundry sorter that  we purchased  from a store similar to this.(affiliate link)
However, the size of the bags along with the arrangement of our bathroom/laundry room were not working with that laundry sorter.  The clothes would spill out on to the floors and there were not enough bags for all the categories we needed in the laundry sorter. So we ended up with piles of clothes on the floor in the half bath that is shared with our laundry room.  The kids would come in and play in the clothes and combine them.  They would drive Hubby crazy, so he would pick them up and throw them in baskets – with no regard to the fact that they had been sorted.  So, I spent endless hours sorting through laundry.

One day when looking through ideas on Pinterest, I found a link for plans to make a laundry basket dresser.  Ana White, the designer of the dresser used her’s to sort the clean laundry into and then put up. While I loved that idea, my biggest need was for one to sort the dirty laundry.  With our laundry room being so small, there was no way we could fit one with two columns as she did.  So, I showed my husband her idea and then I told him that I needed it stacked up to the ceiling.

Hubby built me a laundry sorter six baskets high.

Hubby built me a laundry sorter six baskets high.

Hubby quickly got on board, bought the boards and other supplies and built me a wonderful laundry sorter.  I have a basket labeled: hand-wash, cleaning towels, towels, lights, darks, and mediums.  It has freed up so much of my time.   I am still teaching the kids the difference between lights, mediums, darks, and special care items – but nonetheless we now have a floor in the laundry room that stays relatively free of piles of laundry.

 

Update:  We brought the laundry sorter with us to the new house. It now sits out in the garage by our washer and dryer.  We recently switched to having each kid wash all their clothes in one load on an assigned day of the week, with the exception of special wash clothes.  Now the baskets serve as a place to separate dirty laundry by child.  Hubby and I still have our laundry sorted and washed by darks, medium, and lights since because that is just how we prefer to have ours washed.  Plus, we will hold on to our clothes much longer than our kids will, as some of our clothes are over ten years old that we still wear on a frequent basis.

*There are affiliate links in this post.  If you click on them and purchase through them, I will earn a small amount of money.

What are your best laundry solutions?

Food for Grocery Challenge

Reporting about our meals as a part of our Grocery Challenge.

BREAKFAST

Kids ate peanut butter cinnamon toast with an apple.

Hubby and I ate a protein bar.

 

sausagegreens&roastedbeets.JPGLUNCH

Turkey sausage and greens skillet meal

Oven Roasted Beets

 

Cream Cheese Meatloaf, wilted greens, brussel sprouts, and strawberriesDINNER (S-meal)

Cream Cheese Meatloaf

Sautéed Greens

Roasted Brussell Sprouts

Strawberries

 

 

What foods did you eat?

Weekend food for our Grocery Challenge

I mentioned in my last post how we were trying to eat what we had and keep our grocery budget low for the next month.

Here our list of weekend food.

SATURDAY

Breakfast

Eggs and sausage (16 eggs and 1 pound of sausage)

Lunch

Cheesy broccoli, chicken soup with strawberries (S meal) + the kids had some oranges and grapes left from a previous mealweekendfood2.JPG

Dinner

Steak, oven roasted broccoli, grilled cabbage, and carrot sticks (crossover or Paleo)

weekendfood1.JPGSUNDAY

Breakfast

Cheese Omelets – 13 eggs (S meal)

Lunch

Mexican Chicken, rice, carrot sticks, apples (E) meal

Dinner

We ate out with friends.  The cost incurred with this came out of our eating out budget.

 

 

 

 

Grocery Challenge

I will come clean and admit it.  I blew it. I’m not quite sure what happened: a myriad of excuses are to blame. The gist of it is that my grocery budget got away from me.  Well, the budget is still there, but the expenses far exceeded what my budget should allow.  So in effort to get back control and make our student loan pay off goals, I need to have a very low budget for the next month.

I am pretty well stocked with food, just not easy to prepare foods.  So, here is my grocery challenge.  I am going to give myself $100 that I can spend on groceries in the next month. For full disclousure that will not include the farm shares I have.  I have a share that gets me 2 gallons of milk and 2 bags of veggies.  The amount of veggies varies each week and by what is in season, but it has been at a lower rate of production and I am expecting that to be the case through February.

Also, I just picked up my order from Azure Standard that consisted of 25 lbs of carrots, 20 lbs of apples, a big bag of peanuts, and almonds.

I will try to make meals that are Trim Healthy Mama (affiliate link) approved, as we have decided that it is time to go back to this plan, after being off it for a year.  Realistically, I am not sure how well I will do on making them all THM approved since I don’t want to buy much food.

I would have set it to be a much lower budget, but we have a camping trip planned during this time frame which will have some specific foods that are needed for purchase.

I am hoping to post a run down on what we eat each day, along with any money that we spend on food during the next month.  My run time for this grocery challenge will be February 14th – March 14th.

Will you help keep me accountable?

Share a challenge that you have set for yourself in the comments. Or share any tips you have for me.

*If you click and purchase the item on the affiliate link I will make a small amount of money off the sale, at no additional cost to you.

Handicrafts projects – Handbag, Computer Fun-AHG, Catapult, DIY Valentine’s Day Wreath

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the product link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a percentage of the sale.

One of the things that I’ve always wanted to do in homeschooling is to give my kids the space and time to explore various interests and hobbies as a means of discovering the areas that God had gifted them. The problem I’ve encountered is that in my checklist oriented mind, I would often pack so much schoolwork in to a day. Therefore, crowding out time to get to the different handicrafts we wanted to try. After reading Kelly Crawford’s book Think Outside the Classroom (affiliate link), I made the decision to give them some space in their weeks to work on different projects. The 3 older ones all shared interests with me, I helped them pick a project, and then gave them a deadline 2 weeks out in which to get it done by.

draw-string-bag-handicraftPlum sewed a handbag by watching a class on Craftsy. Hubby and I fielded a few questions from her and explained a few steps to her.  But she did all the cutting and sewing. She was extremely proud of her accomplishment.

AHG Computer Fun Badge

Blueberry choose to complete her Computer Fun badge for AHG. She had to learn several computer skills and then draw pictures using a computer.

handicraft-catapultSweet Potato really enjoys building.  He was very eager about his assignment. He built a popsicle catapult using these instructions, within 2 days.

handicraft-wreath

Grape asked for a project after she saw the others working on theirs. It was a week later before I was able to get to the store and get fabric that she could use to revive this wreath that Plum had made, and put her stamp on it.

 I am linking up with Raising Homemakers Homemaking Link.  Come check it out.

Please share with me what are some handicrafts that you enjoy doing with your children?  

2nd sink in kitchen

I was so blessed to be able to add in a 2nd sink to our kitchen when we remodeled. The additional sink has been extremely nice to have while multiple people work in kitchen and during the times that the main sink is overflowing with dishes. However, I think I just discovered the best use for this sink to enable me to multitask (a much needed skill for this season). I was able to oversee lunch chores and clean the banana covered baby all at the same time.

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Cottage Cheese Pancakes

I stumbled upon this recipe a few months back. These were very filling and a great hit with my family. I made two batches: one batch for dinner and one for the freezer. In the second batch, I threw a very ripe banana into the blender. Both ways turned out wonderful.
Cottage Cheese Pancakes

In blender put:

2 Cups Cottage Cheese
2 Cups Oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
8 Eggs

Blend til smooth; cook on hot griddle, top with your favorite pancake toppings.

Beef and Eggplant in the Crockpot

We’ve been getting quite a few eggplants lately in our crockpot.  Whereas, I really enjoy eggplant grilled, made into eggplant parmigiana,  or cooked in a stir fry, the rest of my family has had a more singular preference to the preparation of eggplant:  fried.  While I highly enjoy fried eggplant, it is very time-consuming to prepare and not the healthiest form of eggplant consumption.

So on my quest to find a relatively quick, healthy, and family friendly way of preparing eggplant, I came upon the idea of preparing it in the following manner.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 eggplant, peeled and diced

Seasoning of choice

Garlic

Onion Chopped

Can of chopped tomatoes

Can of tomato paste

Cheese (optional)

French Bread or Pasta or Rice

Brown 1 lb of ground beef with chopped onion and garlic.  Peel and chop an eggplant.  Put the eggplant and ground beef in a crock pot.  Add tomato paste and can of chopped tomatoes.  Season with seasoning of choice (Italian seasoning works great for us.)  Cook on low until the eggplant is soft about 3-4 hours.

We like it served inside french bread.  Slice the bread and then cut out the insides of the bread.  Stuff the inside with beef and eggplant and top with cheese.  Then cover with other half of bread.  Bake on 350 until bubbly.

This would also be good served over pasta of choice or on rice.

 

Cream of Broccoli Soup

For snacks around here we eat a lot of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.  I pick up a big bag of it at SAM’s and we snack on it all week.  Some weeks we eat nearly all of it, but there are others that we still have a lot left lingering .

So this week to use up the broccoli that needed to be eaten quickly, we made Cream of Broccoli Soup.  It tasted great with some crackers.  We even pureed in some cooked carrots that we needed to use up too.  Next time I think I will leave some bigger chunks of broccoli in it though because I like texture in my soup.

Here is the original recipe.  

I am posting it in this blog so that I can find it easier at a later date.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium sized stock pot, and saute onion and celery until tender. Add broccoli and broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot.
  3. In small saucepan, over medium-heat melt 3 tablespoons butter, stir in flour and add milk. Stir until thick and bubbly, and add to soup. Season with pepper and serve.

Serves 6

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes