Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash 
1 pound ground sausage - I use mild
2 small bags of frozen mixed vegetables - I use the one with zucchini, lima beans, green beans, carrots, and stuff in it
1 jar or can of spaghetti sauce
few cloves of fresh garlic minced or pressed
pepper - to taste
kosher salt - to taste
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 medium onion
1 medium green pepper

I would like to say this is all an estimate as I don't actually measure but the family loves this. 
Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds.  Place in a pan with about 1/2 inch of water in bottom.  I put the squash in sliced side down.  Cook until it can be easily poked with a fork.  Let cool till you can handle it. Use fork to scrap out squash.
In a 2 quart pot. Brown the sausage with the onion and green pepper.  Drain any grease.  Reduce heat and add frozen veggies.  When veggies have heated through add spaghetti sauce and seasonings.  Let simmer on low for a bit.  Add cheese and squash.  Let simmer some more.  Serve hot.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Money Saver

Today I want to share a tip that I found on Pinterest.  I must say it has changed my attitude about those stupid plastic hangers the store is always shoving in my bag when I purchase clothing. LOL  Turn that hanger into a chip clip.  It works great!  I used to use clothes pins and some chip clips I had purchased, but now I use these.  They stay on so much better than the others.

When Joe is home I hand them to him and ask him to cut off the ends.  That's how I convert them. LOL  He uses a hacksaw and cuts off the ends and gives it a slight filing.  He files it because he feels it is a little sharp and he doesn't want anybody getting hurt.  Isn't he sweet!  I have a pile waiting for him when he comes back home.

I use them for way more than just chips.  I use them to close all kinds of bags in the kitchen.  They work great for those "resealable" freezer bag items.  You know the ones that you supposedly can just open and take what you need and then just close the bag again.  Yeah right.  Very rarely do those things close that easy.  So instead of fighting with the seal, I just fold it over and pop one of these on.  They stay on and have a good grip.

If you haven't tried this you should.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Teaching Rounding

I thought it would be fun to share one of the ways I teach rounding to my children and there is no better way than with pictures.

This is the pocket chart I use.  I know the glare is bad in the pictures but bare with me.  I use colored index cards to make my numbers.  The green are for changing the number to a rounded number and the yellow are what I use to make up the numbers.  Across the top I have the place value cards.  Right now we are just doing hundreds, tens, and ones.  The white cards towards the bottom are greater than, less than cards.  I sometimes throw that in there for practice.

Here I have set up two numbers using my yellow cards.  We are practicing rounding to the tens place.

Here you can see the rounded numbers.  The child comes up and places the green cards over the yellow cards that should change when rounded.

This is such a simple activity but it has proven effective.  I used this same method when I was teaching 5th & 6th grade math at the Christian school.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homeschooling 2012 -2013

I thought I would share what we are using in our homeschool this year.

Ashton 8th grade

Math - a combination of Saxon and
Grammar - Analytical Grammar - love it so far
Spelling - Sequential Spelling
History - Unit study on the Civil War and Streams of Civilization
Science - Apologia General Science and Physical Science
Bible - Answers for Kids
Handwriting - Handwriting without tears
Literature - a selection of books and literature studies
Writing is worked into his other subjects for now.

Cyrus Grade 4

Math - Horizon 4
Grammar - Winston Grammar with some things added
Spelling - Spelling Connections
History - Unit Study on the Civil War and Streams of Civilization
Science - Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures
Bible - Answers in Genesis
Handwriting - Handwriting without Tears
Literature - a variety of books

Genesis Grade 2

Math - Horizon 2
Grammar - Winston Grammar with some things added
Spelling - Spelling Connections
History - Unit Study on the Civil War and Streams of Civilization
Science - Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures
Bible - Answers in Genesis
Handwriting - Handwriting without Tears
Reading/Phonics - Abeka

I'm sure you noticed that all 3 do the same history and Bible.  Though it is not exactly the same for each.  Ashton gets his beefed up a bit so it is more his level.  It helps me to have at least some of their subjects together.  Cy and Gen do a lot of the same things but according to their ability or level.  In all honesty, elementary teaches the same stuff over and over just adding to the difficulty each year.  Do you really need to learn what a noun is every year or just learn it well the first time and continuously use it from there on out?

The children also take piano lessons, play sports, participate in different clubs, and take classes with our homeschool group.  We are also blessed enough to be able to travel with Joe, which provides for lots of field trips.  It has been wonderful for our study on the Civil War.  We also homeschool year round with breaks here and there.

I'm very pleased with the curriculum we are using right now.  One thing I always try to remember if it is not working for your child it is okay to not finish it and get something that does.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Tuesday my husband asked me when he got home from work, do you want to go walking in the morning?  Of course I said yes.  This is something me and Joe use to do most mornings before he started traveling so much. Frankly I missed our morning chats as we do laps at the YMCA. Since he started traveling I let myself get out of the habit.  It was good to have my motivator again.

We went walking yesterday and again today.  Yesterday we kind of got a late start but today I was back to my 4:30 a.m. wake up.  I know I'm strange but I do enjoy that early hour.  It's so quiet and peaceful at that time of day.  I'm hoping to keep it up even after Joe goes back on the road.  It's so easy to let it slide when no one is going with you.  It seems I do better when I know someone is counting on me to go with them.  I need to learn to be self motivated though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Food and Family

A few months ago I decided our family was not eating very well and decided to change it.  See what happens when you start reading things on the web.  At first I tried to make all the changes at once.  As you probably know it was a huge failure with much moaning and gnashing of teeth.  Then I decided that I would do it in steps.  First thing I did was get everyone use to eating whole grain breads.  When they started eating that without complaint, I switched our vegetables from canned to fresh or frozen.  I try to get all fresh but sometimes your selection is dictated by season so then I use frozen.  This has done pretty well.  I knew we were ready to move to our next change when I bought a can of peas out of laziness for Sunday lunch.  The kids took a bite and the complaints ensued.  Mom what did you do to the peas they taste gross,  eeewwww do I have to eat them and so on.

I had already switched our meat.  I try to buy the all natural stuff, the hormone free, and so on.  That stuff is expensive, so I always scour the meat section every time I go into the store looking for reduced meat.  I know its not fresh but at least it is affordable.  I don't think the kids even noticed this change at all.  I've also been more selective on other things I buy trying to avoid MSG.  Believe it or not I have noticed a difference in some of my children's behavior by eliminating this and I can tell when they have gotten some of it.  It takes more effort on my part in the grocery store but oh how much easier it makes my everyday life with the kids.

Now I've been eliminating pastas and potatoes and upping the veggie intake.  I still serve sweet potatoes on occasion.  We've been doing this for a few weeks now and it really is going well.  I was afraid they wouldn't be full and whining about it.  That hasn't really happened though.  I do make an effort to not cook two vegetables of the same color for dinner.  I don't know why but it seems to make a difference in the whine factor.  I've cooked two vegetables of the same color a couple of nights and they whined like I was torturing them.  Weird how things work sometimes.

What I've learned about husbands

Now this isn't something new.  I'm sure we've all heard it. The question is how many of us practice it consistently?  That is the Golden Rule - Treat others like you want to be treated.  Now if I'm honest with myself I know I tend to let it slip in several areas with my relationship with my husband.  I just get comfortable and don't put forth as much effort.  It is a constant battle to be consistent.  Let me give some examples.

I want my husband to listen when I talk to him but do I fully listen to him when he's talking to me.  Honestly not always.  I find myself doing the head nod, and the uh uh sound of agreement like I am but we all know that is not truly listening.  I found myself tuning out whenever he'd start talking about a subject I wasn't really interested in, especially when he would start getting into the details of his job.  See my husband is an controls engineer and honestly I had no clue what he was talking about and he would go into extreme detail.  I think it is an engineer thing.  The thing is I would get upset when I didn't feel he was listening to me.  It occurred to me that if I want him to listen and engage in the conversation of my choice, I would have to do the same for him.  That meant paying attention and doing some reading so I knew what he was talking about.  Now it doesn't sound like a foreign language to me.  I have a general knowledge and can carry on a relatively good conversation with him or at least ask him questions.  Don't get me wrong I don't have near the understanding of the subject as he does but at least he knows I'm listening to him.  Am I perfect at it?  Not yet but I keep working on it.

I want my husband to be considerate of me, my wants and needs.  But was I paying attention to his?  It can be simple things like asking him if he would like a drink or something when you get up to get yourself one.  Making sure he has a lunch for work or breakfast before he leaves.  It could also be big things that do require you to sacrifice like living in a hotel for 6 weeks while he travels.  Believe it or not that was a big deal to my hubby.  We recently did this.  The intention was to be with him for at least 2 to 4 weeks but turned into 6.  He wanted us to stay longer.  I think it helped him deal with the stress of his job.  But I noticed that by making those efforts to be there for him, he has started doing it in return.

I think sometimes when we have been married for awhile, we just get complacent and let things slide.  In the beginning of our marriages we tend to go through what people call the honeymoon stage where he just knows we are crazy about him because of the way we treat them.  After awhile though we tend to let kids, work, commitments, and everything else come between us.  It takes a lot of effort but I want my marriage to work so I'll keep working on the faults I see in me and the ones I know he sees in me.  Now before someone gets bent out of shape about that last comment, he does not say anything about me in a nasty or degrading way.  But if you pay attention you will pick up on things that your husband doesn't really like.  I remember sitting in our couples Sunday School class and they were talking about how women are emotion driven.  One of the examples was eating out because they didn't feel like cooking that day,  he gave me a quick side glance but never said a word about it.  It wasn't really a rebuke but I heard him.  He didn't really like getting that call can we go out to eat for dinner tonight, I really don't feel like cooking.  He has never told me no we couldn't but I did get the sense he really didn't like it.   I started trying to look at it from his perspective.  After thinking about it for awhile it kind of dawned on me.  After working all day the only thing he wants to do is come home put on some comfy clothes and relax with the family not run around town.  Honestly I'd want the same thing.  I also realized it was a waste of money because it costs more to eat out than to cook.  Besides as a housewife it is my job and how many bosses will let you tell them I didn't do it because I didn't feel like it.  Sometimes you have to do what you don't feel like doing because it is what is best.  As a benefit, my family eats more healthy and my husband feels respected because I ain't blowing his money or demanding he do things for me when he's tired.

I hope to get better at showing my hubby that I love him everyday.  Because when I honestly look at things I can't change him or others I can only change me and people respond to you by the way you treat them.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Yesterday the children and I were sitting around the school table talking about a variety of topics.  Most were not really school related but were about life in general.  I mentioned that Dad was going to be coming home next week and that he would be home through October.  Of course, the children were excited about that bit of news.  It did prompt one of my children to tell me about his friend's family.  He says, " you know I have never seen his (talking about his friend) mom and dad show affection to each other."  The other boys, who are friends with them also, tell me yeah they don't even sit next to each other when they watch movies.  The boys went on to tell me different things, such as not going to bed at the same time, not always sleeping in the same bed, no kissing, no hand-holding, and so on.  My oldest then tells me, "yeah and the married people at work call their spouse old man or old lady."  Of course this starts the kids telling me about all they have observed about married couples in general.

It wasn't a criticism of these people it was more of why is this family different kind of thing and why do you and dad act like you do?  This really made me pause and think about things.  It's funny how life presents teachable moments when you least expect them.  I also thought it was pretty cool that the children do notice how Joe and I treat each other compared to how other couples behave.  It also made me take notice of the fact that my kids are watching other people, which means other children are watching us.  Do you ever stop and think about the huge impact your life has on society?

Curious about what I told the kids?  Sure you are. LOL  Well here it goes.  Mom and Dad's relationship is the most important one next to our relationship with God.  We try really hard to make sure you children see that and that we each feel that.  I want your dad to know I love him unconditionally.  I want you children to know that dad is the most important person to me. Do I always succeed? no.  I do have a sin nature after all.  Not an excuse, just a fact. You should always try to make your spouse feel loved and respected, not just once in awhile.  Dad and I show that love by doing those things.  Now let's think about it.  Would you feel loved if I never hugged you or told you?  How about if I never did anything with you?  A lot of couples let their relationship fall to the wayside by not nurturing it daily.  Those things we do help keep our relationship strong.

Honestly some of the stuff the kids mentioned never crossed my mind not to do.  Families need a mom and they need a dad and they need a mom and dad that love each other.  When the kids know that the parents love each other they feel secure.  They know they can go out and explore the world and mom and dad will still be there when they come back.  We show our love intentionally by holding hands, giving each other a kiss, going to bed together, and watching movies sitting next to each other.  We also made a decision along time ago not to call each other mom, dad, old lady, and old man.  Those names change the way you feel about each other and the way you treat each other.  I find them disrespectful.  Now Joe and I have been known to say them when we are teasing each other in good humor.

I feel there is room for improvement in our marriage.  I know I do things wrong.  Many I have been working on correcting.  But it is nice to get confirmation from the children that we are doing something right and hopefully they do it in their marriages.  After all their is no better way to teach than by example.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life takes twist and turns

I know it has been a long while since I have written a post, but our lives have taken some turns.  1) we are homeschooling again 2) my husband's new job requires a lot of travel 3) we are traveling with him when we can.

It has been exciting and exhausting!  The path we have been on this last year has lead us here.  All I can say is I see how the Lord works everything to good.  There were times I was doubting and wondering why are we going through this but it all makes sense now.  The things we went through has led us to a wonderful place for our family.  Is it all according to what I had planned?  Ummmm..... no.  Was it worth?  Yes.

Me personally, I had to face some pretty emotional stuff but it made me take a hard look at myself.  I was able to deal with some deep hurts that I had experienced in my life and forgive those people.  Does forgiving me forgetting and letting those people back in?  No.  But it does release the hold they have had on me.  I have a peace and joy, I can't explain.

I see a change in our family, also.  The kids seem more relaxed and happy.  Mine and Joe's relationship has reached a new level.  Overall things are pretty good, we are happy.  Happiness does not mean we have no troubles and life is perfect.  It means we have reached a place where God leads and we are content to follow, knowing He will work it all to good.  I know it sounds cliche but it is an amazing feeling to face trouble and know God has your back.

We have spent most of the summer traveling with Joe.  Of course we took our school books and did homeschooling on the road.  We homeschool year round, it is what works for us.  There have been lots of field trips and new experiences.  I didn't get much of my organizing list done but I am working on it when I have the time.  

I do feel like I should share our lives, so maybe we can be an encouragement to someone out there.  Therefore I'm determined to be more faithful with my blogging.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Turkey Sandwich

It was lunch time and I knew I had some hoagie buns in the fridge that needed to get used up. My oldest son brought them home last week because someone was going to throw them out. He told me I knew you could use them for something. So after some thought I remembered I had some leftover turkey in the fridge from this weekend. I had cooked a whole turkey that I picked up around Thanksgiving really cheap. This is what I threw together and the kids said it was delicious. I'll have to admit I agree. I didn't really measure the ingredients so these are just estimations of the amounts used.

2-3 cups chopped turkey
1/2 onion minced
1/2 small can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cups fresh spinach chopped
6 hoagie buns
american cheese slices

I buttered the hoagie buns and toasted them in the oven while I prepared the filling.

In a 2 quart sauce pan I put the turkey and onion and sauteed for a few minutes. Then I added the soup and spices. Stirred until well heated. After I turned off the heat I added the spinach and mix with the meat.

I then pulled the buns from the oven and put meat on one half of bun. Then put american cheese on top. I put it back in the oven until cheese was melted.

It has all my qualifications for a good meal: cheap, easy, and tasty.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Today as I was reading through Proverbs 31 verse 27 struck me. "She looketh well to the ways of her household, And eateth not the bread of idlenss." To look after your house well and to live up to all the virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman, one must be organized. I mean after all can you say your are looking after your house well if you have piles of stuff everywhere or it takes you forever to get something done because you are looking for the tools to do it. With this thought in mind I started wondering around the house just looking at each room carefully. Let me tell you I was not pleased with what I saw. My house is a far cry from organized. I knew it had been neglected because of working outside the home, my health, and all the other stuff that required my attention, but I just didn't realize how bad it had been neglected.

I then decided to do a google search about getting organized. The result was me coming across this article "52 Weeks of Organizing". I then went around with my camera and took pictures of all the areas I want to get organized. I have come up with 45 things for my list so far. Here they are:

1. cabinet under the kitchen sink
2. pan cabinet
3. cereal cabinet
4. top of piano
5. top of Ashton's dresser
6. top of Cyrus' dresser of Genesis' dresser
8. top of Joe's dresser
9. desk in schoolroom
10. top of dryer
11. shelves in Genesis' room
12. brown bookcase in schoolroom
13. blue bookcase in schoolroom
14. green shelves in schoolroom
15. file cabinet
16. plastic drawers in schoolroom
17. living room blankets
18. bulletin board
19. shelves in boys room
20 toys in boy's room
21. shoes in boy's room
22. toys in Genesis' room
23. entry way in kitchen
24. kitchen closet
25. top of fridges
26. inside fridges and stove drawer
27. kitchen counter
28. desk in master bedroom
29. TV table in master bedroom
30. master closet
31. bookcases in hallway
32. junk drawer in kitchen
33. incoming mail
34. basement pantry shelves
35. seasonal decorations
36. laundry
37. craft items
38. canning supplies
39. seasonal / outgrown clothes
40. donation clothes/stuff
41. seasonal dishes
42. cleaners
43. bath toys
44. household notebook
45. kids home-school stuff

I probably will not do this in the order it is written but at least I have a list that I can mark off as I go. I will post pictures and explain what I did as I go. I have already organized some of my kitchen cabinets simply because I couldn't take it anymore. Trying to prepare meals was becoming quite the hassle. I have noticed that once I have something organized it is much easier to get what I need done.

Also our home is not large we have 1120 square feet and only 3 closets for 6 people. The basement is damp so I can only store some stuff down there. I know though, that we could live here comfortably with a little organization and purging. No more chaos or tripping over stuff. I will be ruthless in my pursuit to make this home work for us.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Googling Proverbs 31 Woman

So today I decided I would google "becoming a Proverbs 31 woman" and see what others had to say on the subject. There was some interesting things out there. Here are a few I gleamed something from.

Hem of His Garment - There was only 2 lessons which I found disappointing but it did give me a few nuggets for thought.

Sermon Central - some good points

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The First Step

In January I became a stay at home mom once again. My husband and I decided it was the best thing for our family. I consider it my first step towards becoming the Proverbs 31 woman described in the Bible. I think of Proverbs 31:28 "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praiseth her" In my study Bible it says "call her blessed because of the happy environment she creates and the joy she radiates to others." Well I wasn't feeling very joyful working and trying to run my home, especially when my husband would be out of town for weeks programming some machine. I was overwhelmed and quite grumpy. Plus there was lots of other things going on in our lives that just needed more of my attention. I've been home now for a month and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted. I'm already seeing the positive effects this is having on our family. Sunday my son Ashton came in and was chatting with me while I did the dishes. He said, "mom you are much happier now that your home, everyone has noticed. We like you better this way." That was a statement that made me stop and think.

My dad's favorite thing to say is "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." There's more truth to that than you know.

Of course staying home isn't the only thing that has helped change my attitude but it was a big first step.