Monday, June 19, 2017

My Summer Bucket List: Relax, Refresh, Regroup



Normally when someone makes a summer bucket list it looks like this:

*Picnic in the park
*Go to the beach
*Ride bikes to the local ice cream parlor
....

This summer my bucket list is less concrete and more conceptual.

RELAX. REFRESH. REGROUP.

Entering into the summer, I was over-extended. Worn out. Juggling a lot of balls.

To be honest, this struggle has been going on for years now, and it seems hard to break the cycle in this crazy, fast-paced world.

BUT this summer, I am trying to do something about that.

My intentions and hope for the summer are for me to get to a spot where I feel confident and strong heading back into fall with a new school year full of demands and decisions.

FIRST, I am planning to RELAX more.  I need time just to sit and do nothing. Time to watch the British Baking Show with my family. Permission to wake up late some days, take naps, and sit and smell the roses. Time to play games with my kids, go for walks with my husband, and ENJOY the summer.

SECOND, I am planning to REFRESH. As I stated, I desire to be more confident and strong and more at peace as I head back into the fall. I need strength - spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. I am prioritizing Bible times, breaking away from the snare of social media, planning for healthier eating and physical activity, and continually trying to make decisions that help me focus on taking care of myself and my household and living the life God has created for me.

THIRD, I am planning to REGROUP, to reorganize and review my home and life. I am taking care of projects around the house that are hard to get to throughout the year - starting with painting our kitchen cabinets, which I am currently in the middle of doing. I need to file away last year's school and plan for the next year. I need to make a good plan for the classes I teach at our homeschool group and church and get teachers and curriculum established for the girls' groups I oversee at church. There is plenty for me to do to feel prepared and renewed for the new year's duties.

I read something on Instagram today, and it fits the bill as the desire for my children and for myself.

"We tend to think that our children need a summer full of activities. What they really need is some down time, family time, and maybe even a little bit of boredom."

This is my prayer for myself and my household, that we will have some down time and some connecting time -- time just to sit and appreciate life, time to regroup and feel ready for what lies ahead.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Giveaway for Mother's Day - $15 Amazon Gift Card



Mother's Day is around the corner, and I'm giving away a $15 Amazon gift card! (and I am not being paid by Amazon to do it).

This gift comes from me to you. ~SMILE~

Moms are important! They give life to the new generation, and then they pour their hearts into them: raising, training, loving, giving, serving ... endlessly.

This giveaway is for you, moms.

Happy Mother's Day!
I pray your day is truly blessed.

I will announce the winner Friday morning. Wouldn't that be a good way to start the weekend?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pure Flix: Enhancing Your Homeschool Curriculum with Media





What do you think of when someone says, "Pure Flix"?

Family-friendly media streaming? Yep, me too!


And when I think of that, I think of sitting down for a nice, entertaining show, 
but did you realize you can use Pure Flix
as a resource for your homeschool?


Pure Flix has movies about Science, History, Government and more!

How wonderful it is to supplement your regular curriculum with media that your student will enjoy, reinforcing his learning and introducing new material!

If you'd like to try a sample of what Pure Flix has to offer, they have a FREE 4-week homeschool curriculum. 

Below you will find more benefits to using Pure Flix and some of their resources. For more information you can check out Christian movies at PureFlix.com.








Friday, April 14, 2017

My Easter Menu


I have finally got my Easter menu under control. My menu seems to be fairly similar from year to year, with a little tweaking here and there.

This year's menu:

Ham
Crockpot chicken piccata
Honey glazed carrots
Broccoli salad
Cheesy potatoes (from my mom)
Farmhouse Bread
Banana Split Dessert

Does your menu stay consistent from year to year?
What are you eating this Easter?

Special foods help us celebrate a special occasion...

Jesus' glorious RESURRECTION from the dead, 
after living a sacrificial life and dying a sacrificial death.
He lived and died that we might truly LIVE.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Oven Baked Mexican Rice



Yes, I am still alive.

It's been a month since I've posted. Ugh.

My husband went to India for a few weeks. I could blame it on that.
Motherhood is requiring all of my energies and more. I could blame it on that.
Or I could just blame it on the sheer fact that I haven't posted.

Yep. I just haven't done it. So hopefully that will change.

And it does starting now...

I am sharing a wonderfully delicious recipe for Oven Baked Mexican Rice. I absolutely LOVE this recipe.

I have made this recipe for my family.
I have made this recipe for friends.
I have made this recipe to eat as a side dish and even made it as a main dish for lunch one day.

It is delicious and simple. The only glitch is that it takes a good chunk of time to cook it, so you have to remember to prep it and get it cooking, long before you want to eat it!

Oven Baked Mexican Rice
Original found here at Immaculate Bites
Printable Version

1 medium onion, chopped
1 14 oz can tomatoes, or Ro-tel, or tomato sauce (I have made it all three ways and love them all! My daughter likes the tomato sauce version the best).
1/2 cup cooking oil. I use olive oil.
3 cups rice. I use brown or basmati brown. (If you use white, cooking time should reduce).
2 t salt
1 T paprika
1 T garlic powder
4 cups chicken broth
1 t black pepper
1 1/2 t cumin
3/4 t chili powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all of the ingredients in a 9 x 13 pan and stir well.

Cover tightly with one sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil or two sheets of regular aluminum foil.

Carefully put it in the oven and cook for about an hour and 15 minutes. I check to see if most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Take out of the oven, wait 5 minutes, and then fluff, mix, and serve!




Monday, February 20, 2017

Letting Go of Perfection - A Lifelong Lesson



"What is a weakness you have?"

I can still remember being asked this question during job interviews.

Of course, when you are in a job interview, you don't REALLY want the other person to know you have weaknesses, right? BUT we, all, have weaknesses -- alas, the question must be answered.

I would always tell the other person that my weakness was that I was a perfectionist. I figured I could get away with this one well. I could tell the weak side of this but also a good side.

After all, it is a noble and good thing to strive for perfection, to strive for excellence in all that we do and not settle for mediocrity.

However, striving for perfection means that
we could lose sight of some of the beauty that lies around us.


It may be hard to settle for less.
It may be difficult to start or finish projects.
It may be easy to get impatient or aggravated.
It may be easy to compare situations.
... and more.

Even as I write this post, I am struggling to be satisfied with "imperfection". My loving husband took my oldest two children snowboarding this evening, one of the last possibly good days to go since we haven't had much snow and cold weather this winter. Tomorrow my kids have their high school classes with our homeschool group, and I know that they will be home late, around 11:00 p.m. with some work to finish up for their classes.

My insides would like to worry and fret and get all tied up inside, but somehow, I have to accept this reality and know that life will continue to go on, as less-than-ideal as this seems to me.

I can get worried over something I have no control over, because it doesn't meet the image and standard I create
or I can accept the reality that it is and live with grace.

Once I get a picture in my head of how something should be, it is hard for me to break away from that, and this applies to my entire life - my marriage, my child rearing, my teaching, my relationships, and yes, even my blogging - every part of my life.

And step by step, I am learning, continually...


To let go of perfection.

To still strive for excellence but to accept reality,
with peace and graciousness.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Compass Classroom: An Educational Resource for Homeschoolers

As a homeschooling mom, it is invaluable to have good quality resources that supply tools to educate the next generationour children.


I recently became aware of Compass Classroom, a company that seeks to provide just that!


Compass Classroom desires to create products “that will be useful to moms, interesting to students, and glorifying to God”.
(From their About Us page)

The company started with a vision to support homeschool moms and their educational environments, and this vision continues to weave through all they do.

It provides video courses and materials for various subjects with a desire to fill in the gaps for homeschool families and educational purposes, in general.

While offering a high quality education is important, Compass Classroom realizes that education is better received when it is more enjoyable, so they strive to find satisfactory teachers and produce entertaining substance.

Some of the subjects available are:
  • Latin
  • Economics
  • History
  • Bible Study
  • Poetry

If you need some assistance with teaching certain subjects or would like to add supplemental learning to your curriculum, check out Compass Classroom!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Breakfast Smoothie Bowl: The Basic Gist



With the New Year starting, oftentimes our minds are on making good changes for our health. I have been trying to eat healthier and lose a little weight along the way.

One thing I have been eating in the mornings is a smoothie bowl. Yum.

Why a smoothie bowl? You ask. Why not just drink a smoothie?

I like smoothie bowls mainly because of the texture you can add to them. By adding various things to your blended beverage, there is crunch and solidity, and it's just nice to have a little variety.

You can look online for all sorts of intricate smoothies, made with specialty items you may not always have around the house.

Here, though, I will show you the basic gist of a smoothie bowl so you can get started, and then you can expand your knowledge and practice.

The two main steps to making a smoothie bowl are:
1. Make a thick smoothie.
2. Top with all sorts of goodies.

You can make a fruity smoothie or a more savory smoothie:

Fruity
Blend:
*You can alter these amounts based on your preferences, but this is a start.
1/2 banana, frozen (In my mind, frozen bananas always make the best smoothies!)
1/2 cup frozen berries of your choice
about 1/2 - 1 cup milk, almond milk, etc. (keep on hand in case you need to add more)
You can also add extras like: protein powder, peanut butter, and greens if you'd like

Top with: granola, coconut, seeds, nuts, fresh or frozen fruit... whatever you like!

Peanut Butter Banana
1 frozen banana
about 1 cup milk or almond milk
2 T peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Again, top with your favorite toppings!

Have you had a smoothie bowl? What is your favorite?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Living with a New Year's Mentality - Reaching Forward to What Lies Ahead



How is your New Year so far? Is it going how you expected and planned?

When the New Year is about to arrive, we gather 'round, contemplate and celebrate, creating new resolutions. We are excited about the year ahead and are hopeful for what is to come.

As the days move on, that vision seems to wane, and we get stuck in the middle of daily life reality.

We need a New Year's mentality
to fuel us throughout the year. 

Paul wrote about his pursuit towards hope, towards the future, towards all that the Lord has for him:

"but one thing I do, FORGETTING those things which are behind
and REACHING FORWARD to those which are ahead."
Phil. 3:13

There is a lot of junk on this earth: disease, conflict, hatred, rebellion, disorder, death... Creation is bound in imperfection until that glorious day when Jesus returns!

And until then, we must work with all of our might and all of our mind to stay focused on good things, let go of all that hinders, and REACH forward with faith and hope!

I love this familiar verse...

Phil. 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever things are TRUE, whatever things are NOBLE, whatever things are JUST, whatever things are PURE, whatever things are LOVELY, whatever things are OF GOOD REPORT, if there is any VIRTUE and if there is anything PRAISEWORTHY - MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS.

And that's my goal...

To keep pushing towards good and nobility.
To strive to be constantly thankful for my life.
To love the people around me.
To reach out to the needy.
To focus on the tasks God has given ME.

To make a way out of the miry clay of earthly dealings and the dramatic events of the world wide web and live the good and great reality God wants me to live!

Are you stuck in things about which you should forget?
Are you REACHING FORWARD to what lies ahead?

LET'S REACH FORWARD TOGETHER!

Let's live lives of hope, fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and finisher of our faith and of this Earth!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Top Posts from 2016



Happy New Year everyone!

It's fun to look back over the past year and see which posts were at the top.

If you haven't gotten a chance to read these, check them out! And I plan to be on the blog soon with an encouraging word for the New Year!

Last month I did a giveaway for Andy Traub's Early to Rise Experience for Moms. If you haven't gotten the book yet, check it out! It could be a key to helping you rise earlier in the morning, and starting the new year on a better foot.

One of the highlights of my year was when my husband and I did the Whole30. I did a few posts with meal plans and also one that summed up our experience, as a whole.

A few well-hit recipes were:
A Great Big Tray of Delicious Nachos
Cauliflower Breadsticks
The Pioneer Woman's Brother's Tacos

At the beginning of the year last year, I did some posts about making time for important things. One of those things is to make time to take care of yourself! Even as this new year begins, I remember the importance of that!

A couple posts to encourage you to remember the goodness of God and treasure each moment:
As Life Unravels, Remember: God Gives Good Gifts
Motherhood: Why I Am Treasuring Every Moment

God bless you, and I look forward
to sharing 2017 with you!