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!

Friday, October 26, 2012

We Choose Virtues Review

A few weeks ago I was chosen to review "We Choose Virtues". Maybe you've came across them online. We choose virtues is a set of tools to help aid in developing good character traits  in young children ages 3-11. It's designed to be used for a brief amount of time everyday. This can be done at home by a parent or in school by a teacher. It can even be used as a conversation starter at dinner time. The idea is to imprint these characters in the child over several teachable moments found in your everyday life experiences.

There are 12 characters that are covered:

1. Attentive
2. Content
3. Gentle
4. Kind
5. Diligent
6. Forgiving
7. Obedient
8. Patient
9. Perseverant
10. Helpful
11 .Self-Controlled
12. Honest

I really loved how each character began with "I am". For example: "I am" Kind.

 The characters are adorable and the cards are vibrant in color and made of quality material. There are several products offered that range from posters and flashcards to entire teachers kits.You can check out all the different products here  There are also some freebies offered on there site to go along with materials. There is a  Family-character-assessment. and a Kids-memory-verses-bible-hero es-and-truths list.

You can find there current promo codes here

I made the cards into part of our morning board routine. The kids were very excited about adding something new. In addition to the cards I added a Bible hero or Truth and a memory verse that went along with the character of the week.

I also have the opportunity to share some of these awesome materials with one of you. I'm giving away a set of "We Choose Virtues" Flashcards

To enter to win, please leave me a comment stating which virtues that you think are most important for a child to learn and an email address for me to contact you if your chosen. I'll post the winner on November 5th.

Friday, September 21, 2012

~This Moment~

-A Friday ritual. A single photo -no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special,    extraordinary moment. A moment that I want to pause savor and remember.

If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to see. Inspired by Soule Mama.

Friday, August 31, 2012

~This Moment~

-A Friday ritual. A single photo -no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special,    extraordinary moment. A moment that I want to pause savor and remember.

If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to see. Inspired by Soule Mama.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

3...2...1...Begin Self Destruction


  I could never understand how as humans our natural instinct is to survive but yet we do the stupidest things knowing it's going have a negative effect on our lives. I'm not talking about an unforeseen outcome hear. We do things that we know we'll be sorry for... but we feel the need to do them anyways. These things pop up in all the areas of our lives. In our relationships with others, our daily diets, and in our spiritual lives.  It's those words that we did or did not say to a friend or family member that we knew as they left the lips were wrong to say. Or the moment slipped by and we remained silent.  It's that donut that we ate after a perfect day of diet and exercise. It's jumping on the computer when we know that we should be opening our Bibles. It's the things that you continue to beet yourself up over even though you know that it wasn't your fault. What is it that causes us to do these things? I think it's selfishness. I think that our need to fulfill that immediate need or want is so great that we tell ourselves "I'll deal with it later" and enjoy the moment. It's the child in us that refuses to grow up. It's the devil whispering his poison in our ears. I would like to say that being aware of these things that I'm going to change my ways but we all know that it's not true. worst of all I know that it's not true. So all I can do is pray. Pray that I'll make the right decisions at the right time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

~This Moment~

-A Friday ritual. A single photo -no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment that I want to pause savor and remember.

If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to see. Inspired by Soule Mama.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A new year

It's been a busy last few months of summer filled with water balloons, birthdays, camping and marathons. But as some of you homeschoolers may know summer is also a time for regrouping and planning for the following school year. So I spent most of July picking out a curriculum and mapping out my upcoming year. This year my oldest Prince will be a Junior in public school and the other three kids will be home with mommy. Prince number two will be in 3rd grade, the Princess is in 1st and the youngest Prince is starting Kindergarten. So in an attempt not to pull my hair out to make all this work smoothly....this is what I came up with.

All these charts will be interactive and will cover the things that we will go over every morning.
I'm going to hang them up in my dinning room/ school room.

 There are little velcro dots on the boards for the kids to put the days of the week and the weather outside.
 Almost everything is laminated so they'll be durable and you can write on them with expo markers and then wipe them clean the next day.

These are some of the pieces that I made which also have velcro dots on them to attach to the boards

 This board is just a bunch of plastic pockets tapped on it so that I can switch out the posters through out the year. 

I like to give credit where credit is do. Most of this stuff I found from various web sites like: They offer so many different free printables and links you could easily get lost for days or even weeks.

Last but not least is my schedule for the year. I probably wont stick to it like glue but it'll give me something to shoot for. It's mostly for the kids to get an idea on how much they have left and have accomplished through out the day. My stuff like housework, exercise and meal prepping isn't on here. I'm planning on putting an analog clock above it too so they get some practice telling time as well. The little clocks are all laminated so I can change the times if needed during the year.

Phew...OK, I'm tired all ready. :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

~This Moment~

-A Friday ritual. A single photo -no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment that I want to pause savor and remember.

If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to see. Inspired by Soule Mama.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Our Battlefield

Our brains are such a complex part of the body. They are so complex that they are capable of things that nobody even knows what they are fully capable of. You can call me crazy if you like but I believe that if you think about something enough that it can actually happen. Maybe not today or tomorrow but at some point. I believe that we can force these things into our lives just by thinking about them. Maybe it's spiritual or something more physical... I'm not sure but I do fully believe that it can happen. I think that it can be both a good or a bad thing.
  When I first started running I thought that it was all about the proper form of running and breathing. Then as I started getting into harder work outs and the longer runs I had to start convincing myself that I could do it. That my body was capable of doing it. It was then that I realized that most of running was mental. By the time I got to my half marathon I was worn out physically and emotionally. I needed a break. I took almost two full months off and fully healed my knee and my mind after the marathon. So this week is all about getting back into the game. My first day out I barely finished 3 miles. I actually had to walk part of the way in the last mile. Can you imagine two months ago I ran 13 miles without stopping and this week I could barely get through 3. So I rested the next day and let me tell you, my legs have not been this sore after a short run in a long time. The next day I laced up again and I finished the 3 miles without stopping. I kept telling myself "You can do this". It's all about your perspective. If you set yourself up for failure. Your going to fail. The Bible says to think about what is good for a reason. God knows how important our thoughts are to our bodies. We can do all things through Christ.  Phil 4:13

Friday, July 20, 2012

~ This Moment ~

-A Friday ritual. A single photo -no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment that I want to pause savor and remember.

Big brothers are nice to have around.

If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to see. Inspired by Soule Mama.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This is so naughty

I'm going to share something with you that will change your way of thinking about me forever. OK are you ready? This is a recipe for the most dangerously delicious donuts I've ever had. If your name is Fitness2aT turn away now.

Warning: there is nothing healthy or whole in this food!!!

All you need is 1 can of Grands biscuits
about 1/4c melted butter
some cinnamon and sugar
and about 1in of oil in a pan

1. Get your oil nice and hot
2. Take out your biscuits and poke a hole about an inch in diameter in the center of each one with something round.

3. Place the biscuits in the oil and fry till brown on one side then flip it and brown the other side.

then place the crispy dripping with hot grease donut on a plate lined with a paper towel. Then dip each side of the donut in the melted butter and then in your cinnamon and sugar mix.

4. Try not to eat too many.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This is for the birds

So even though I  became a vegetarian, I decided to become the owner of some beautiful Rhode Island Reds. Four of them to be exact. I thought that if my family was still going to consume eggs I could at least find a better source then the ones found at the grocery store. If you have ever seen the condition that these birds are kept in it would make your head spin. It's disgusting and just mean. I'm all about God putting animals on this earth for us to consume but... God never intended them to be genetically altered and be mass produced with help of  machines. I've learned a few things about chickens in last few months.

1. They are not stupid animals. They're pretty smart. Let me share a story with you. My husband just built some nesting boxes for the chickens and he put the boxes into the coop. Well not knowing it at the time, the boxes interfered with the door and at some point two of the chickens got trapped inside coop and the other two couldn't get in. You see chickens flock together where one goes the others will follow. So this situation was not ideal for them. Not to mention the food and water was in the coop. So that afternoon I was leaving the driveway in my van and in my mirror I saw two chickens running up the hill toward me. I remember thinking it was odd that they were chasing after the car and that I only saw two of them. When I returned home later that day I was bringing my groceries inside and the two chickens started walking up my front stairs into the house. So I stopped what I was doing and brought them down to the coop. Oh yah... I forgot to say that they follow me when I call them. It's kinda cute. Well when I got to the coop I realized that they were shut out and other two were trapped inside. So yet again... mommy saves the day.

2. They are messy animals but only where they roost. Which happens to currently be a maple tree out by my deck in the backyard. It's a very strange sight to see chickens in a tree. But things are always strange around my house so I guess they are just going with the flow.

3. They are sweet if they are treated right. My kids love on them just like they do the cat. Oh and speaking of the cat. He doesn't bother them at all. They walk by him and he doesn't even flinch.He probably realizes that they are way out of his league. We all seam to just coexist.

We just got our first egg over the weekend. So we should have a steady flow of eggs coming in soon. They're small now but they are supposed to increase in size as the the chickens mature.

                                                                   The Party Crashers

Friday, July 13, 2012

~This Moment~

-A Friday ritual. A single photo -no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment that I want to pause savor and remember.

If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to see. Inspired by Soule Mama.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hi... it's me

Bad blogger...bad. So I've been absent for a couple months now and I really don't have any excuse other then life happening. I know it's lame.So this post is just a bit of an update on my life. So let's see...where do I start?

  I'm still doing the vegetarian and whole foods thing with a little slacking in some areas. I have purchased a few things that are supposed to be off limits but they totally have made my life easier in a couple situations. Can you say boxed mac and cheese. Yah.... and turns out my husband likes a good hamburger at the family BBQ's. So I've had to waver a little for the sake of my marriage. I myself have remained meat free for seven months now. Yahhh me!!

  We finished up our homeschool year about 3 weeks ago. Or I should say the kids finished. I on the other hand never really stopped because now I'm planning for next year. I do have some fun stuff that I'm working on that I hope to post about soon. Complete with pictures.

 This summer hasn't been all peaches and cream for us. We had one of those life events that you think will never happen to you and then does. While at a homeschool lunch my Princess was attacked by a dog and bite in the face. She required a plastic surgin to stitch her up with many many stitches. But God is good and she is recovering and has remained strong through it all. The hardest part for her was staying off the trampoline and her bike and out of the pool until her stitches healed up. We also have had to keep her completely out of the sun so that her scars don't become worse. So she's been sporting some really cute sun hats.
Oh yah and last but not least... I completed my half marathon. I did better then I expected to. I trained to run it at 10:30 RP and I ran it at 10:20. That was even with missing my last 2 weeks of training due to an IT Band injury.

Ok that's all I think of right now. So I hope everyone else is enjoying the summer and I promise I will be better about posting. :) Ta ta for now.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vegetarian eye candy

My favorite fruit and nut salad

 Kale chips

Quinoa Patties 

Kale chips recipe:

Step 1.Rinse your kale.

Step 2  Cut the leaf part off the spine.

Step 3 Cut it into bite size pieces and place onto a cookie sheet.

Step 4 Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and salt or whatever spices you like. Be creative.

Step 5  Bake in  the oven at 300 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. You'll feel the edges becoming don't want it to brown and burn. Kale cooks best at a low temp for a long time.

Step 6  Eat the whole pan. It's only like 50 calories. The only calories are from the oil. I use my Misto to reduce the amount of oil I use.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Queen of my castle.

So here's the thing. As a wife and mom I'm supposed to be the manager of my home.My idea of a home is a place of relaxation for my husband to come home to. There should be a certain peace about it. A feeling of comfort. A place where we can all feel happy and healthy. You get the picture. But here's the thing. My house has been nothing but that lately. My husband comes home to a messy house, cranky kids and a miserable wife. The man works two jobs and he comes home to me yelling about how I can't do this by my self. I don't like it and I'm sure that he doesn't much enjoy my ranting either. This whole time I've been thinking it's because my kids are all young and we're so busy with school and church stuff. I pretty much was making excuses for myself. I'm missing something. There's something that I was doing wrong. Then a couple weeks ago while I was on a long run, it was clear to me. The title "Manager" was the key. Managers don't do everything all by themselves. They create a way for everyone to take a piece of the job that needs to be done and they all work together till it's done. So when I got home I got to work. I revamped my schedule that I put together way back in September and realized that it was not the schedule that I've been following. You see the thing about a schedule is it's useless if your not following it. So here I've realized my second problem. It's "Consistency". I need to stick to this new schedule. Because let's face it, my life is crazy without it. I also realized that my kids current chore lists were not working either for that same reason. They have also gotten older since I made them and they need to be redone. So I searched around on Pinterest and online for chore chart ideas and nothing was exactly what I was looking for. Only 2 of my 4 children can read so I needed something with pictures for them to follow. I used "chorebusters" for a while before and I really loved the pictures and on the back of the card it had step by step instructions on how to complete the chore. BUT, I didn't like putting the five cards in there individual slots every morning. Which worked out to be 20 cards every morning because I have four kids. So this is what I came up with in the end.

This is my oldest sons chart 

These are the 3 younger kids chores.Try to ignore the typo on this first one.
 They have morning chores to be done before breakfast and evening chores that are done after dinner.

The morning chore list also includes 2 chores to be picked out of the chore can by each child.

 This is my chore can made complete with a "Happy Heart".

So I've done all the leg work and the system is working great so far. Now for the hard part keeping it in place. Any ideas??