Friday, January 3, 2014

My Greatest Blessing.

This past November I, like a lot of people....posted on my Facebook wall each day something that I was thankfully for. It was very easy for me to do because I have so many things to be thankful for. My home, my beautiful family, my health, my job, and so so much more. There was one thing though that stuck out to me over all the rest when I thought about the last year. It was my daughter. Anyone who knows her would tell you how strong she is. She is the strongest kid that I know. When I say she's strong I mean both physical and emotionally. She can out work any of her brothers. She's very determined. When she decides that she wants something there is no stopping this girl. This character trait also comes with a price. Mainly for me. Let's just say she can be a bit of a challenge some days. I'm positive though that this strong will serve her well when she is an adult. The last few years of her life haven't been so easy. About 2 and half years ago on a hot day in June we were invited to a picnic along with some other homeschool friends. At the picnic she was attacked by a dog. Thankfully God had a hedge of protection over my daughter that day and she was spared her life. She did however have to have a plastic surgeon correct the damage that was done to her face. 

This was a photo taken of my daughter about a year before the attack.

These pictures were taken just after the surgeon with The Lord's guiding hands put her face back together.

After the attack she had some nerve damage done to her lip and her smile was crooked for about a year. We had to keep her out of the sun all summer so she wore many hats and swimming was out of the question. But with time and prayer it healed and her smile returned. She still had to have a second surgery though to correct some of the scar tissue that she was left with. Again the surgery was nothing less then a miracle and she was back to her own self. 

This is her today. 

As you can see by the smile on her face that her strength surpasses all understanding. Every time she is asked about her scars she will have a story to tell. A story of God's love and his presence in her life. This is my greatest blessing.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Craftiness for your unmentionables

This year I wanted to try some earth and pocket friendly projects. This will be the first of a series of DIY projects that I hope to complete in the next few months. So here is the background for this particular project.
  It all started around 6 months ago when I decided to try something called the Diva Cup. Some of you may have heard of it before, but for those who haven't this is the scoop.
  Its a reusable cup that you insert into your girlie parts and it collects your menstrual flow. Its made of healthcare grade silicone and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time. You simply empty out the contents into the toilet..rinse it...and put it back in. I wash mine with mild soap once a day.

 It does take some getting used to. Its a bit messy at first and not for the squeamish. After having four children I can handle just about anything. I purchased mine off of Amazon for around $25 dollars. The first cycle that I used it was a little bit of a challenge. You have to insert it just right and figure out how often to check it. That will be different for everyone. I emptied mine every 3-4 hours the first day or two. By my third and fourth day I left it in for 6-8 hours before checking it. My last day or two I left it in for 12 hours at a time. I did have to wear a pantyliner though if I was going to be out for a long time in those first couple days and I liked having the security of a full pad at night or at work. Lets face it nobody wants to be having middle school flashbacks in the grocery store. So I was still spending money every month on things that I was throwing away and filling the landfills with. Not to mention all the chemicals that my body was absorbing while they were pressed up against my skin. So this is where some of you might think I've completely lost my mind if you haven't already. I started researching reusable pads. Yes I said reusable. Fifty years ago it was all they had and yes that WAS fifty years ago and we have come a long way since then but they didn't have to deal with cancer causing chemicals in everything back then either. So after a few weeks of researching, this is what I came up with. I made two overnight pads and five pantyliners.

First you need to gather some materials. This is what you will need:

  • Minky fabric (you don't have to use this if you don't want to. I chose it because it doesn't stain. You can use cotton or another layer of flannel in its place)
  • Some flannel fabric (flannel is very absorbent. The more layers you use the more the pad will absorb)
  • Some fleece fabric (fleece is also very absorbent and naturally waterproof)
  • PUL (this is optional. It will make your pads waterproof though)
  • Snaps or Velcro
  • Sewing pins
  • Clothes pins
  • Sewing machine

I went here and I printed out my two templates and I traced them onto cardboard. One was for a pantyliner and the other was for an overnight 11in pad. Your going to use the same method of sewing for both pads.

First cut out 1 square piece each of flannel and of the PUL. The PUL I used was the same kind you would use for reusable diapers.One side is fabric and the other is like a rubbery plastic side. It was all my local fabric store had. You can find it online too. Make sure the square is big enough to fit your pattern piece. Then pin your pieces together with the print sides facing each other.

 Now trace your pattern piece onto the fabric with a fabric marker or pen.

 Now sew all the way around the line that you just traced. When your done cut off all the extra fabric being careful not to cut your stitches. I used pinking shears because they work best when your working with curved seams.

Now turn it over to the flannel side and cut a 2 in slit in the middle. Be careful that you only cut the flannel and not the PUL.

 Now flip it the right side out by pulling it through the hole. Then flatten it out and smooth out your seams. Now set it aside.

Now for the soaker part of the pad. Grab 1 Piece each of the minky, flannel, and the fleece. If your making the panty liner you only need a piece of minky and a piece of fleece. Your going to do the same thing that you just did with base part of the pad except you'll have a layer of fleece in between. Make sure that the nice side of the Minky and the print side of the flannel are facing. Pin them together and trace your pattern

Now when your sewing with the fleece in the middle your going to leave a section open to flip it on the side instead of going all the way around. If this soaker is for the pantyliner you should go all the way around.

Then cut off all the excess fabric just like in the steps above and flip it the right way out. It should look like this.

 Now place the soaker onto the base of the pad and use a clothes pins to hold it in place while you sew all the way around the edge of the soaker making sure to close the hole that you used to flip it.

Now for the hardest part. Add your snaps. Make sure you line them up right and test them out before you move on to the next set. If your using Velcro make sure you round off the edges. You don't want any sharp edges down there.

Washing and care of these is simple. Rinse out well after you use them and then throw them into the wash with the rest of the laundry. Don't use fabric softener because they wont absorb well and I would dry them on low or hang dry them if you used the PUL.

That's it. Now enjoy your next visit with Aunt Flow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Healthy Chewy Granola Bars

No more Quacker Oats bars chucked full of preservative's. I finally found a recipe that I really like. They're healthy and the kids and my husband love them. You can monkey with this recipe as much as you want.

Here it is.......
Chewy granola bars {Makes 8 Bars}

2 cups of quick oats
3/4 c wheat germ
2/3 c sucatant (or brown sugar) I tried to leave this out all together but when I did they were too crumbly and the bars fell apart.
1/2 c Raw honey
2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 table butter ( you can try to substitute this with coconut oil or something if you want. I haven't yet)

Any add ins you want. I add 1/2 c of chopped peanuts and a 1/2 c each of flax seed and chocolate chips. I've also added unsweetened flaked coconut. Raisins or any dried fruit would work also.

Brown the oatmeal, wheat germ and any nuts and seeds your adding in a large sauce pan. All you want to is release any oils in it. You'll start to smell the aroma of the nuts.

In a separate pan heat the remaining ingredients (honey,butter,sucatant,vanilla,salt) and bring to a boil. Then remove it from the heat and add it to your dry ingredients.

Now mix in your add ins. If your adding chocolate chips let the mixture cool a little first. Not all the way though.

Spray the bottom of an 8x8 pan with olive oil or line with wax paper. Firmly press the mixture into the pan. It's kinda like making rice Krispy treats. Let it cool on the counter for a few hours then cut into bars. You can wrap the bars in wax paper, plastic wrap or snack bags individually. Then store them in an air tight container. They will get harder over time. I make a double batch in a 9x13 pan and they are gone before the the week ends. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tis The Season

For a few years now I've wanted to set up a Christmas Advent for the kids. Till this year I have always bought those cardboard things from the store and they have a little piece of chocolate behind each door. Yeah I'm just too crafty for that. So I started by getting some card stock and some scrap booking stickers and using my tag maker to make some tags. Then I stenciled the numbers 1-25 on each tag. It did get to be a bit tedious though. Then I bought some small burlap bags on Etsy and filled each one with some Hershey kisses and Reese's minis. 

 Then I made a list of 25 things to enjoy doing with the kids. I had to get my calender out and plan each thing according to what we would be doing that day. This was the most difficult part. Then I printed my list out and cut it into strips and then stuck the strips in the proper bags. 

This is my master list so that I can prepare ahead of time for each project. 

Then I strung them up on the wall nice and high so no little hands could touch. :)

Here are some pics from Day 1 and 2

We made these Oreo balls from a recipe I got here

  My children don't believe in Santa but this man was so great... he asked them each if they had been saying there prayers and told them that God loved them very much. :) All year he makes these wooden ornaments that he gives to each child.
And this sweet woman was his wife. She told the children about St. Nicholas and about these wooden shoes that children left out to be filled.

Monday, November 5, 2012

We Choose Virtues Winner

And the winner is........ Christy Pagano. Enjoy your flash cards my friend!!

Meatless Monday ~ Butternut Squash Lasagna~

I'm starting a new series this week called Meatless Monday. Every Monday I'll post a different meatless recipe. 


Butternut Squash Lasagna-


3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 1/3 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese (5-1/2 oz.)
1 cup whipping cream


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Place squash in the prepared baking pan. Add oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss gently to coat. Spread in an even layer. Roast, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until squash is tender, stirring once. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

For sauce::

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in squash and rosemary.

3. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or 3-quart rectangular casserole. To assemble, spread about 1 cup of the sauce in the the prepared baking dish. Layer three of the noodles in dish. Spread with one-third of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the Pamesan cheese. Repeat layering noodles, sauce, and Parmesan cheese two more times. Pour whipping cream evenly over layers in dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.

4. Cover dish with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake about 10 minutes more or until edges are bubbly and top is lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Make-ahead tip:

Prepare as directed through Step 3. Cover unbaked lasagna with foil; chill for 2 to 24 hours. To serve, bake, covered, in a 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until edges are bubbly and top is lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 29, 2012

My life in review

Ok last week I reviewed a character curriculum and this week I'm doing a review of my life. I like to take a look at what I've been doing every few months and decide whats working and whats not working and needs to be changed.
  Oh where do I start? I know.. lets start with whats not working.. this computer for starters is a piece of junk because it shuts down at anytime it wants to and is missing keys. So it makes me want to pull my hair out when I'm using it. Not much I can do about that though because my budget doesn't allow for a new one. calendar that I made for the kids yeah not working either. I guess I'm just not that structured.  I want to be but I just can't. So I took it down. Maybe I'll just hold on to it and try it again in the future. OK what else??? I had to change the Princesses curriculum because it was so not working. She is just not a workbook kinda girl and now I'm leaning more on visual learning techniques. All the boys did great with Abeka but its not for her. I've been going back to basics with her and adding a lot of hands on things. Speaking of the Princess, her room was not working for me either. So I changed it around a bit, purged some of the toys and clothes and bought a few new totes for organizing and now it's under control. I could write a whole post on that alone. I have a few others projects just like that one that need to be tackled.
   Alright enough of that. Whats working for my life right now. Notice the right now part of that sentence. That's because I know that whats working for me now... might not work for me three months from now. My morning calendar routine is the first thing that comes to mind. Loooove it! It has saved me so much time having everything up and ready in the morning. I don't have to go over each thing individually with each kid and we've made it into our routine.. so the kids know what to expect every morning. This is what my dining room area looks like. We do most of our school here.

My other favorite thing that has been working is this folder. It has 8 slots inside and I labeled them Monday-Friday and then I keep things like reading books and completed worksheets in the other ones. Every Friday I reload it for the following week and I'm all set to go.

Next is my exercise routine. I'm just happy I've been able to be consistent with it. I just completed three months of Chalean Extreme. I really wanted to add some weight training to my routine and I'm so happy I did. I really see a difference in muscle definition in my arms and back. I also lost some of the fat on my abs. This week I'm starting Insanity and that's a 60 day program. I'm hoping that when I'm done I'll have lost the last bit of weight I want to take off. That'll bring me to January and then I'll be starting my marathon training, which goes till race day at the end of May.

So that's all for now. Hope your all having a fantastic favorite time of year by the way. Have a blessed week!