Friday, December 4, 2009

Home Management: Creating a Morning Routine

Well, how are we doing? Did you create a Night Routine? Did anyone try to use it and made it to bed at a decent time last night? How many woke up to a clean kitchen that was ready for you to make breakfast? A house that was picked up and was a joy to walk into this morning?

It takes discipline to do your night routine every night, but after awhile the joy you feel in the morning when you have a head start on your day will provide the motivation to continue.

The next part of our schedule that I want to look at is your morning routine.

Your morning routine should not be hearing the baby cry and uttering a few choice words as you force yourself to go pick her up. Or, your preschooler comes into your room and you blindly stumble into the living room, turn on Dora (or something) while you settle into the couch and go back to sleep. After an hour, or so, your child tells you she’s hungry and you grumble as you grab a pop-tart for her, or maybe you try to be healthy and unwrap a granola bar and toss it to her, then you fill up her mega size sippy cup with apple juice and then go lay back on the couch and try to sleep a little longer. You wake up when you realize the TV is on, but your little one is somewhere, and she is a little too quiet…

This should never consistently be what occurs in your home. Reality check, I know this can happen from time to time. Mommies don’t stay healthy all the time, but your illness should be the only reason this happens.

I have found that even when I am really sick that I can still manage to tweak out a decent morning. It’s all because I have my routines and they are such a part of me now, that I don’t give it a second thought and truthfully, they are rather effortless now too. I think my body has a memory built up into it so that it does those things automatically.

Your morning routine should have 3 parts to it:

Here comes the Sun
What’s going On?

Married ladies I want to talk to you for a moment. Specifically, I’m talking to those with a husband who works the traditional day shift, but if your husband works another shift you can use this advice and fit it into your situation. Ask your husband what role he wants you to play in his getting ready for work. If he wants you to get up and make him breakfast before he leaves and that breakfast includes the works: eggs, sausage, etc. then by all means ladies, get up and do that!

After all, this is the man you married, and he deserves to be treated like a king before he leaves. If this means you get up at 4AM with him, then you need to do it. Work it into your night routine if you have to. I’ve even seen some recipes that you can get ready the night before (like French toast) and pop into the oven in the morning. If this is what he wants, please do it with a good attitude and not hold it against him.

Part one of your Morning routine is what I call Here comes the Sun.

What time does your family wake up? What would it take for you to be up and ready to greet them in the morning with a good cheerful attitude? For me, I want to have my devotions and prayer time finished and my shower taken before my children wake up. Maybe you want to put some time into an exercise video before the wee ones get up. You need to figure out what kind of time you need for this and subtract from the time your family wakes.

I usually need half an hour for devotions and prayer time and then another 15 minutes for the shower. My children can wake anywhere between 6:45 and 7:30, mostly they wake around 7:15. I try to wake up at 6:30 to get my day going.

(Please remember to be reasonable with yourself, are you really going to get up at 5AM to have your quiet time with God, do an exercise video, and have your shower taken? If you are motivated enough to do this, then by all mean go for it! If that’s what you want to do, but you have trained yourself to sleep in everyday, then work up to it, don’t expect to be able to change all of a sudden. You will flop on your face, feel like a failure and your desire for a schedule is going to be chalked up to the attitude of, “I tried that, I can’t do it.” Don’t set yourself up to fail!! Remember, your life changes and evolves all the time and so your schedule must change too to fit you.)

When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is read my Bible. I try to hit at least 3 chapters of whatever book of the Bible I’m currently reading (right now I’m in 1 Corinthians). Have you made this a discipline in your life? Do you need a place to start? There are a few Bible reading programs on the internet such as this. Sometimes you can find a checklist in your Bible on what to read to accomplish ready the Bible in a year. Or if you are just starting out getting into the discipline of reading your Bible, try reading a chapter of Proverbs everyday. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so read the chapter that corresponds with the day.

After reading in the Bible, I take time out to pray. As a new Christian, people would always ask me, “Are you having your quiet time?” and I had no clue what they meant and when I did I had no idea what I was supposed to say or do.

I found this prayer written by Elisabeth Eliot Gren and decided to make her prayer my own. This little prayer served me well in the beginning of my walk with the Lord and I pray that it becomes a blessing to you and that you can start the discipline of praying from it.

Loving Lord and Heavenly Father,

I offer up today all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, and all that I suffer, to be yours today and yours forever.

Give me the grace, Lord, to do all that I know of your holy will.

Purify my heart, sanctify my thinking, correct my desires.

Teach me, in all of today’s work and trouble and joy, to respond with honest praise, simple trust, and instant obedience, that my like may be in truth a living sacrifice, by the power of your Holy Spirit and in the name of your son Jesus Christ, my master and my all.


(Elisabeth Eliot Gren Gateway to Joy PO Box 82500 Lincoln, NE 68501)

Of course, you should only pray that if you understand it, and you mean it. Do not ever just pray rote prayers just to check it off of your list.

My boys are usually in bed, but what do I do if one gets up during my quiet time? I let them know that mommy is having her quiet time with God. If I’m reading my Bible, I hand them their children’s Bible to “read” until I’m finished. My oldest son now has his own quiet time and often I see the lamp click on in the living room while I'm having my quiet time (they do watch everything we do). If I’m praying I put them in my lap and we pray together. Don’t stop your quiet time! It’s important that your children see you have your quiet time.

After my quiet time, I jump in the shower. When I’m done I get dressed and leave my hair in a towel. I then go to my washing machine and start it and put in the first load of the morning. When I have that load in, then I go and fix my hair and my face. If I don’t have anywhere to go that morning, I just moisturize my face and do my hair. Usually the children are up by then.

Then Princess Pea helps me make my bed by handing me the pillows from the floor and my boys do their own room chores.

Part one : Here comes the Sun breaks down to:

o Devotions, prayer time

o Shower

o Laundry in

o Fix Hair and Face

o Make beds

Go ahead and add it to your Master Schedule:

We are now ready to get some breakfast. If you’ve done your Night Routine then your kitchen is clean and ready to go. If you didn’t unload your dishwasher you might need to do that. Go ahead and start a good, healthy breakfast for your family. It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal every morning. I try to reserve something special like that for the weekends. We normally have oatmeal, boiled eggs, peanut butter toast, yogurt parfaits etc. through the week.

If we are in a hurry, I’ll make peanut butter toast and serve it on a napkin or paper towel so that clean up is quick. Go ahead and think of breakfasts that you can make for each day of the week.:

Monday: Oatmeal

Tuesday: Boiled Eggs and Fresh Fruit

Wednesday: Muffins, boiled eggs, and Milk

Thursday: Yogurt Parfaits with granola and fresh fruit

Friday: Oatmeal

Saturday: Special like pancakes

Sunday: Oatmeal, or PB toast

While our food is cooking I go ahead and check on part three: What’s going On? I check my calendar, my to do list from last night that I started and add to it if I need to, I think about my dinner for the evening and if I need to buy anything or set out anything to thaw.

When breakfast is ready we sit down as a family to eat it. When we are done everyone helps clean up. The boys do their table chores. Then when we are done I send them to their rooms to get dressed (clothes laid out the night before if possible).

When they are done dressing, it’s about time for my washer to finish. Princess Pea helps me put wet clothes into the dryer while the boys gather up their nightclothes to add to the laundry baskets and get ready for the day.

Tada! We are ready for the day and it’s normally about 9:00. That’s my target time to get everything in my morning routine finished.

To recap

Part Two: Breakfast

Empty Dishwasher
Start Breakfast

Part Three: What’s going On?

Check Calendar
Continue to do list
Dinner Decisions
Eat Breakfast
Laundry Reboot
Kids ready for the day

So plug that into your Master Schedule:

Okay, I think that is enough for today. Look how much more of your master schedule you filled in!

Okay, by now you might be wondering what are you supposed to do with all of these papers and schedules you’ve accumulated. I use a three ring binder with page covers to keep mine in. That way as I’ve finished a chore I can mark it off with a dry-erase marker and at night I can take a tissue and wipe it clean. Do what your budget allows you to do. You can get one of those folders with two pockets and a place to put in notebook paper. I saw those the other day for around 10¢.
Home Management Homework

Write out a Morning Routine
Try to do a Night Routine
Get your notes and schedules organized and in one place
Smooch your husband like you haven’t seen him for a week when he comes home from work! Knock his socks off ladies!!

As always, leave comments, questions, or suggestions for me

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Buying a New TV this Season?

Are you planning on purchasing (or giving) a flat screen TV this Christmas Season? Are you looking at buying (or giving) an LCD or maybe even a Plasma TV?

Get. the. protection. plan. Especially if you have small children in your home!

One hit on the screen can render your brand new TV completely worthless with no way to fix it.

You can guess how I know! We even keep ours in a TV cabinet.

If we'd bought the protection plan our TV would have been replaced instead of sitting outside in our shed.

(It's in the shed because my husband can't bear to throw it away, yet.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Home Management: Creating a Night Time Routine

I hope THIS post got you thinking about your mealtimes, what time you eat, how much time you need to prepare, and how much clean up time you need to allot for each meal. I also hope you put some thought into what you want your children to be doing while you are busy with cooking (and it shouldn’t be the TV, either).

You should have three areas of your Master Schedule filled in: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now we are going to use those blocks of time to denote our Morning routine, our Afternoon routine, and our Night Routine. The most important of these routines is your night routine. A well-planned night routine is almost like a gift for the next day that you give yourself.

Your Night Routine consists of four steps:

Operation Get the House in Order
Think about Tomorrow
Focus on your Family
Focus on Yourself

Let’s get organized by starting with step number four first. Let’s go against convention, after all these are OUR schedules, right?

Time to be honest, are you getting enough sleep at night? Can you get out of bed in the morning fairly refreshed? We are all at different seasons in our lives and we each require different amounts of sleep to get us through. What does your body tell you? As Wives/Moms we set the tone for our home, and if you are too tired to deal with what you need to deal with, is your home going to be on pitch or is it going to be flat?

Think about what your body requires and pick a bedtime to suit it.

My lights out time is 10:30, what is yours?

For me, I require a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. My time for lights out is 10:30. That is what works the best for me since I wake about 6:30ish. When I first set my bedtime for 10:30 I would hop into bed, crack open my Bible or whatever book I was reading at the time and read until 11:15 (or maybe later). It didn’t take my body long to signal to me that was too late. I had to tweak my schedule and give myself half-hour to forty-five minutes to read before I turned out the lights. This means that I need to have everything finished and in my bed with my book at 10:00, at the latest.

Do you have something special you like to do before bedtime, journal, or pray, whatever it is give yourself time to do it, and still hit your lights out target time. I am ready and in bed with my book by 10PM.

How long does it take you to do your hygiene routine to get ready for bed? The hygiene routine or whatever you want to call it, is brushing your teeth, flossing, washing your face, etc before bed. If you are not sure, go ahead and time yourself tonight.

It takes me about 15 minutes. So with that in mind, I set my target time to get me, personally, ready for bed starting at 9:45. I know that I need to have steps 1-3 in my Night Routine completed before 9:45.

So let’s review…

What time is your Lights Out time? ________ (10:30, for me)


How long do I need to read, pray, journal before bed? ________ (30 minutes)


How long does it take me to do my hygiene routine? _________(15 minutes)


Your Target Time (9:45)

Write down your target time. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Great job! Now that we have step four: Focus on Yourself completed, let’s back up to step number one: Operation Get the House in Order.

Step Number One can begin as soon as dinner is over. Go ahead and get those dinner messes over with. This should be a whole family affair. If your child can walk they can help get meals cleaned up. My boys scrape their plates and take them to the counter, and then the six-year-old wipes the chairs and the eight-year-old sweeps up the floor. They both participate in putting away condiments if we’ve used any. They also gather up the placemats and put them in the laundry.

Ladies, train your children to help you. Start them early when they think it is fun to help Mom, don’t tell them they are too small and then turn around and expect them to want to help you at 13.

I’m blessed, my husband is willing to help out in this area and he puts all of the leftovers into containers for me and puts them into the fridge.

Do you have a dishwasher? Get her loaded up and run her for the evening. Otherwise, get your dishes done as quickly as you can. Try to wash up as many of your pots and pans that you can as you cook. If you used a cutting board to cut up some veggies, why not while they are sautéing, wash up the cutting board and knives. Keep washing until all you have to wash when dinner is over is your serving bowls, utensils, plates, and glasses.

Wipe down your tabletop, and return the centerpiece to the table. Wipe off your countertops and stovetop. Wipe out your microwave if you need to. When you are finished toss your dishtowel and cloth into the laundry basket and lay out a fresh set for tomorrow morning. I can usually get all of this done in my home in about 30 minutes. It makes my mornings go by so much better when my kitchen is straightened the night before.

As for the rest of the house, before bedtime take 15 to 20 minutes to just get things picked up and returned to their place. Have children return any of their toys that are out to their rooms or wherever they are kept, books that are out put back on the bookshelf. You know the old motto, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Make this a fun time for your children, have races to see who can clean the quickest. I’ve even given my boys tongs from the kitchen and had them use the tongs to pick up with…they called them robot hands. Be creative, and everyone should be involved.

On to Step Two: Think about Tomorrow. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make tomorrow go more smoothly?” Well, first you need to check tomorrow. Do you have any appointments, movies or library books due, do you have a game or music lessons? Go ahead and gather that stuff together and have it ready by the door. Do you need to pack your husband a lunch? Get it packed and into the fridge. Get as much done tonight that you can for tomorrow.

I have my meals planned for a week at a time. One of my most valuable uses of time is to go ahead and check my recipe for the next day’s dinner. Do I have all my ingredients? Do I need to let anything thaw?

I keep one of those little yellow notepads by my fridge and anything that I need to remember to do for the next day I start jotting down a to do list. Did we use all of the peanut butter and need more? Put that on a running list you keep on the refrigerator door.

Do you know what you are wearing in the morning? Does it need ironed? Do you have pantyhose? Keep asking yourself, “What can I do?’

Anything to make your day better, do it!!

Step Three: Focus on your Family ask your family if they need anything for in the morning. It’s not normally anything too major. Often my husband will ask for me to make some phone calls for him, or check on some prices for him. Etc. My boys usually don't ask for anything outstanding to do, but often I’ll get asked if we can go for a walk, or play a game tomorrow. It gives them something to look forward to.

Okay, you remember your target time? I want you to figure how long before your target time you need before to get your night routine completed. Because I still have to get my children ready for bed I start my Night Routine around 8PM. I actually try to have my kitchen ready to go after dinner and then I do the rest of the steps about 8.

I want you to now write up a Night Time Routine for yourself. Figure out your target time and work up to it starting with Step One.

It might look something like this:

Step One: Operation get the house in order. “A place for everything and everything in it’s Place” Start picking up the house. Ask kids if they need anything for tomorrow.
Bathe kids, brush their teeth, potty, prayers, and lights out by 8:30

Step Two: Think about tomorrow, “What can I do to make tomorrow run more smoothly?” Check calendar, check recipe etc.

Step Three: Focus on the Family “Do you need anything honey?”

Step Four: Focus on Yourself. The Hygiene Routine

Then go ahead and plug it into your Master Schedule

Congratulations! Over a third of your Master Schedule is finished!!

I know this looks overwhelming but you can do this. Remember a good Night Routine is like a gift you give yourself in the morning. Managing your home is your responsibility, you have to do it anyway, so why not do it well?

As always, leave comments, questions, or suggestions for me.

~Home Management Homework~

Work on my Night Routine, I owe it to myself and my family to be organized
Work it into my Master Schedule

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole

A few weeks ago, my FIL called and asked if we liked sweet potatoes. We absolutely love them so I gave an excited "yes!!" Apparently my enthusiasm prompted him to bring us THIS:

Yes, that is a 5-gallon bucket of sweet potatoes, thanks for asking!

I imagined our Thanksgiving meal might look something like this:

  • Turkey with sweet potato stuffing,
  • Sweet Potato Rolls,
  • Sweet Potato Casserole,
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes etc.

I happily remembered my favorite Sweet Potato Casserole. While it won't use up ALL THOSE SWEET POTATOES, this recipe is over-the-top delicious!

Sweet Potato Casserole

2C. cooked, mashed sweet potatoes

1C. Sugar

2 Eggs beaten

1 Stick Butter

1 C. flaked coconut


1/2 C. Self-Rising Flour

1/2 C. Sugar

1 Stick Butter

2 T. Water

1C Chopped Pecans

Mix sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs butter and coconut together and spread in ovenproof 1 1/2 to 2-quart glass dish. Mix topping and spread on top. Bake 1 hour at 350 (till topping is crusty clear through)


Other Thanksgiving Ideas at Life as Mom.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I have been avoiding this 'blog for awhile. I wanted to avoid typing the inevitable. Yet, here I am.
My Grandfather passed away a week ago Sunday.

Yes, 6 months and 1 day after my Grandmother.

It just doesn't seem possible that they are both gone.

Yet, I have the assurance that they were believers and I will be reunited with them in heaven.

But it hurts now.

My Popaw was a WWII Normandy Beach Veteran and was given full military rites at his funeral. It was POWERFUL.

I just wished my Popaw could have seen it.

(Front Row, first on the left is my Grandpa)

I love you, Popaw! You always will be one of my heroes!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why did God Make Mothers?

Barbara Curtis had THIS on her site offering different children's opinions on some great questions. I got quite the giggle out of their answers and began to wonder how my own boys would answer them.

The following are their answers:

Why did God make mothers?
8yo: To take care of their children and so men wouldn’t be lonely.
6yo: So they could care for their children.

How did God make mothers?
8: He took Adam’s rib and made it into a mother…well, a girl.
6: Just saying the words, “Let there be woman!”

What ingredients are mothers made of?
8: Mud, skin, and water.
6: Dust and sand.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom?
8: Because she teaches me about God and he made that choice that I should be taught the way I should be…you know, stuff like that.
6: So she could care for me.

What kind of little girl was your Mom?
8: A blonde-headed one, with a brother named M, and I am named after her father.
6: She was little and had long hair.

What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him?
8: What he was like.
6: If he needed children.

Why did your Mom marry your Dad?
8: To love him and to have children.
6: To have children.

Who's the boss at your house?
8: Daddy, he’s the really bossy one, so he’s the boss.
6: Daddy.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
8: Dads have p*nises and Moms don’t…and girls get grossed out more easily and men work hard and kill things and Moms cook and everything.
6: They look different, they have different bodies.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
8: She does the computer.
6: She cooks.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
8: She is perfect! argue 10% less with Daddy, because they argue once a year.
6: Make it so she didn’t care about me being bad.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
8: I like her just the way she is.
6: That she would let me play the Wii all by myself, all of the time.

Weren't those great? How would your children answer the questions?

Why not ask them and post the results!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Student Loan Groans

I was recently on the phone with my student loan lender getting my loans placed back into deferment.

After having children, my priorities changed, and I decided to stay at home with our children.

Unfortunately, the lovely debt I racked up while earning my degree didn't get the memo that I was now a stay-at-home Mom and not making an income.

My husband had heard about Income Based Repayment Plans and applied to see if he qualified. From my understanding, IBRP means you pay what you can on your loans and after 25 years (25 years!) the loans will be discharged.

My husband was very happy with the amount they told him to pay. It was very manageable with our income.

I tentatively asked about IBRP and was under the impression that my husband's income would be factored in. However, it is based on MY income, which I've mentioned before is $0.

My income based repayment amount is $0. I CAN stay home with my kids without the guilt of those loans.
I was shocked!
Then I wished I had heard about this 8 years ago!! I would have 17 years left until discharge.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baking Day Update #1

I got a late start on baking day.

I've still made pretty good progress when you factor in that I've homeschooled and potty trained on top of everything.

So far I've accomplished:
  • Feeding both breakfast and lunch to the children.
  • Full-Day of Homeschooling
  • Marinating pork loin for dinner
  • Half-Gallon of milk cooling in crockpot getting ready to be turned into yogurt
  • Spice Vanilla Granola (tastes great!)
  • Granola Cookies (amazing)
The two boys chipped in and helped make cookies. I had to keep reminding them not to lick their fingers when they were cooking. So hard to remember, I know!

Of course, I had 2-year-old Princess Pea to keep busy. I decided to bring her play stove and sink into the kitchen with me. I gave her some plastic bowls and spoons to play with and she happily kept herself busy.

Whenever the timer on my stove goes off she yells out "Beeping," which is also what she refers to her play stove as, a "Beeping." :)
I have more that I want to do, just thought I'd update while eating lunch!

Baking Day Game Plan

I'm joining Baking Day today!

Here is the game plan.

First, I'm going to make a marinade for dinner and get it marinating some pork sirloins. That way my husband can grill for our dinner and I won't have to do even more cooking!

The next step is to make some yogurt in the crockpot. I like to make a half gallon. I flavor one jar with vanilla stevia, and the other jar, I leave plain to use in recipes.

I'm going to use my oven to make both Spiced Vanilla Granola and Granola Bar Cookies.

Then some Chocolate Zucchini Bread (I can't wait to try this!).

After that, I'm going to prepare 2 whole chickens and separate out the meat for two meals for the freezer, but I'll be making those tomorrow.

I'm also going to attempt to make spaghetti sauce using the abundance of fresh tomatoes from our garden.

That's the gameplan.

I'll be twittering and 'blogging my progress if you want to follow along!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here is our Menu Plan for this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm going to join Money Saving Mom and Life as Mom for a Baking Day!

This is my first attempt at batch cooking and I feel ready for the challenge (and what a challenge it will be as I'm homeschooling my 1st and 3rd graders, and potty training my 2-year-old).

Here is our plan for Breakfasts:

  • Yogurt Parfaits and Granola

  • Boiled Eggs and Fruit Salad

  • Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • Banana Crumb Muffins

  • Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • Pancakes and Bacon

  • Apple Oatmeal Crisp

Our Lunch Menu:

  • Peanut Butter and Honey

  • Baked Potatoes topped with Cheese and Broccoli

  • Chicken Tenders with Raspberry and Honey Mustard Dressing and Salad

  • Pita Pizzas

  • Crock-Pot Mac and Cheese and Broccoli

  • Leftovers x2

...and for Dinner:

  • Chicken Stir Fry, Brown Rice

  • Chili and Cornbread

  • Asian Pork BBQ (didn't have this last week)

  • Chicken and Dumplings, Baked Apple Crisp

  • Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice *

  • Sloppy Joes, Smiles

Check out other Menu Plans!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Home Management: Schedule Around your Meal Times

Edith Schaeffer writes, “What is a family? A formation center for human relationships—worth fighting for, worth calling a career, worth the dignity of hard work.”

Do you think of your family this way?

Like it or not, everyone has routines and schedules. Yes, even you who decide to "wing it" everyday.

Even if you choose to fly by the seat-of-your-pants in your day-to-day life you are still held to a routine to a certain degree. We all wake up, take a shower, and eat during the day, right?

Why not take it a step further and organize your day and time a little bit better?

Do you have routines or schedules for your home? It really is quite simple to create. There are several great sites to help you out, but I have found that the best routine is one that I have come up with myself.

Your schedule should be an outline of how your day should flow. You don’t need to be chained to your schedule, it should allow for those unexpected events that seem to pop up.

If you don’t have a schedule, get out a piece of paper and work on a rough draft of one. Start with everything you have to accomplish during the day. We are all different people and your list is going to look different than mine, so go ahead and take a few moments and jot down some things you have to get done (meals, clean, laundry, devotions).

I’m not asking you to list things that you’d like to get accomplished, I’m talking the bare bone minimums.

Do you notice a pattern?

If your household is anything like mine, your day revolves around your meal times.

What time do you eat in your home? What times does your husband need meals to be ready, do you know? Ask him his opinion. Husband Dear doesn’t expect dinner on the table, but he loves to come home and see (or is that smell) that I’ve gotten things started.

We eat breakfast around 8AM, Lunch is at Noon, and Dinner is normally ready around 5:30.

Once you have an idea of what time you eat, think about what kind of time you need to prepare a good, healthy meal for your family and how long it takes you to clean up.

Breakfast around here is normally put together rather quickly so I can prepare it and the boys have it eaten all in a half an hour. Lunch is the same way. For Dinner I give myself about 45 minutes to prepare it and about a half hour to get the kitchen cleaned up afterwards.

Figure out what times you'd like your family to eat and let those be the anchors to your schedule.

~Home Management Homework~

1. Pray before you begin your schedule ask God to reveal to you how to prioritize your day that would bring the most glory to Him.

2. Ask your husband what he expects out of your day, when he wants the meals to be served, and what you can do during the day to help him out the most. Remember if you are married, your husband is your primary priority after God. You are your husband’s helper!!

3. Focus on your children’s schedule. Take note of when they wake up, nap, and when do they need to go to bed at night? Keep these notes fresh in your mind or jot them down because you will need them tomorrow.

What do you think? Is this doable for you? Leave me some comments or suggestions.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here is our menu plan for the week. My Husband Dear is getting in on the cooking this week. He has been reading through the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, and he wants to try his hand at making Spice Soup. I think that is great!! Maybe I can get him to read through some Paula Dean books next??


Ravioli Casserole, Salad, and Breadsticks

Tortellini Sausage Soup, Homemade Bread

Asian Style BBQ Pork Loin Sirloin Chops, Brown Rice, and Steamed Broccoli

Spice Soup, Homemade Bread


My Favorite Granola, Homemade Yogurt, fruit parfaits

Biscuit and Gravy

Boiled Eggs and Banana Crunch Muffins

Oatmeal and Apple Crunch

Cinnamon Toast on homemade bread

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Facing Death

My Grandfather is in the hospital and not doing well at all. To be as blunt as possible, he is dying. My Grandmother passed away in May (the first death ever in my family).

I am so conflicted at the moment.

On the one hand, I know that my Grandpa misses my Grandmother and longs to be with her. I also am convinced that he has a personal relationship with Jesus and knows Him as his Saviour. His death is not a terrible thing.

On the other hand, it is so hard seeing him fade away. I keep thinking of their home and what it will be like when neither of them are there, will it be just another house? I feel selfish for having those thoughts.

I'm finding it very difficult to concentrate on much.

I am working on taking every thought captive and washing my mind in Truth, but my emotions sometimes get the better of me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The BEST Meatloaf

Fishmama is having a "Where's the Beef" Ultimate Recipe Swap and I thought I'd contribute our favorite meat loaf recipe. When the kids know this is being made they cheer in anticipation. It is THAT good!! I think the sauce on top is what makes this meatloaf the BEST meatloaf.

Traditional Meat Loaf

1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
3 slices bread, crumbled
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 pounds ground beef

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture
and mix well. Shape into a loaf. Place in a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. In
a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, ketchup and mustard; spread over loaf.
Bake at 350° for 60-75 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat
thermometer reads 160°. Drain. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Yield: 6 servings

(From Taste of Home Magazine)

Check out other beef recipes at Life as Mom.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here is our Menu Plan for this week. I'm so glad fall is in full gear and I can start adding in more soups to our menu!


Homemade Yogurt Parfaits

Boiled Egg and Fruit Salad

Apple Crisp Oatmeal x2

Pancakes, Turkey Bacon


Tuna Salad Sandwiches made with Raw Spinach

Pita Pizzas, Small Salad

Peanut Butter and Honey

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with Tomato Slices, and Steamed Broccoli

Bean Burritos, Corn, Spanish Rice

Leftovers x 2


Grilled Marinated Steak, Asparagus, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Whole Roasted Chicken, Homemade Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes and gravy, Steamed Carrots

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup and Salad

Traditional Meat Loaf, Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli

Lasagna, Salad, and Garlic Bread

Chicken Pot Pie and Salad
Check out other menu plans at Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Math U See is for Me!!

We've gotten a good start on school. We are really enjoying our curriculum!

I cannot tell you the joy that I experience every day when we do our Math U See program. My 6-year-old boy would not identify numbers past ten last year. I even began to think that he could possibly be dyslexic.

Mr. Steve (as we call him) on the instructional DVD explains that the reason children have dificulties understanding the teen numbers is because they do not follow the pattern of the other numbers in the English language.

Think about it for a moment, when we read the number 49 we say "forty (four-ty)nine," but when we say 19 we start with the number on the right first. That is totally opposite of how we do things in English (we read left to right etc.). This was such a breakthrough for my little guy. He has done 12 weeks of math in 3 weeks.

The blocks give just enough of a feeling of play that he anticipates doing math this year.

This is my son who would hide pencils and cross his arms when it came to math.

With this renewed confidence in math, my boy is ready to tackle the world and the rest of his schooling!

Seriously, if I ever meet Mr. Steve I would probably kiss him!!

(pictures from the Math U See website...yeah, that is supposed to be lipstick marks on his head, get it? Mr. Steve doesn't have a red Gorbachev mark on his head)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Garden Tuna Salad

This is THE best tuna salad! It is chocked full of veggies too. We love it! I double this recipe so that we have extras.

Garden Tuna Salad (makes 4)

1 (6 ounce) can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
2/3 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pepper to taste
4 lettuce leaves


1.In a bowl, combine the nine ingredients. Spread on four slices of bread; top with lettuce and remaining bread.

If you've got a garden maturing this is a GREAT way to use up some produce.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Intentional Planning

We've eased into homeschooling this week doing just Math and Science. Next week, we will add the rest of our studies and do our full workload.

This week, I've looked at our schedule more closely to see what areas may need worked on and it basically boils down to me. I have to be more proactive in my planning!

I LOVE to plan, but I don't always make a set time for me to plan, and so it gets pushed aside for other activities (Facebook, anyone?)

That's my goal for this week to intentionally set a time just for me to be alone with the Lord and plan for our homeschool and our lives too.

I found great inspiration in the following sermon:

How about you? What are you going to be more intentioal about in the upcoming school year?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Let them eat cake?

We have a church potluck picnic this evening and I have been trying to plan what to make.

I saw a recipe for a two-layer chocolate cake with mocha icing. The pictures looked yummy and as I perused the ingredients I was delighted to discover I had them all.

I've had a stressful couple of days and thought getting lost in a recipe would do my mind good. As I mixed and measured and poured, I was encouraged by the smells and consistency of the batter. This is going to be great I kept thinking over and over.

My husband even commented on how delicious the batter tasted as he licked the paddle.

I poured the batter into the pans and popped it into the oven.

I moved on to creating the icing and thought of how pretty the confectioner's sugar looked as I sifted it. My mind traveled back to watching my Grandmother sift flour and I smiled from the memory.

I looked at the mixture in the bowl and thought that it looked too dry. A quick study of the recipe proved that I had misread one of the ingredients and was getting ready to really ruin my icing. The recipe called for 7 T. of strong coffee and I almost added 7T. of ground coffee not prepared, thankfully I had not added that yet.

I googled how to make coffee without a pot and made some and added it to the icing. It looked wonderful and smelled amazing!

Then I started to smell smoke...

I opened the oven door to discover that the pans were overflowing with chocolate cake batter onto my newly scrubbed (and I do mean scrubbed) oven. I whimpered at the thoughts of cleaning the oven again.

Later on, the timer beeped letting me know the cakes were done. They weren't perfect, but they were manageable.

I let them cool on the counter.

Now the fun part, I thought!

I popped out one of the cakes and applied icing to the top. The icing was a bit difficult to work with but it was not too bad. Then I added the other cake on top of that and attempted to ice that one.

It began to crumble, then one side fell apart.

It's so ugly!

Yet, it tastes heavenly!

I'm going to make something else for the picnic this evening...

My husband has claimed the ugly cake for himself :)

Monday, August 17, 2009


I finally got all of our curriculum ordered, and now I am waiting for it to arrive. I think our postman must think I have a crush on him because everyday he comes I run to the window looking for our boxes.

Our big order from Winter Promise has been sitting in a Fed Ex warehouse since Friday. Winter Promise was awesome enough to send me a tracking number and I faithfully tracked it all the way from Vermont to Ohio where it is now sitting. Fed Ex doesn't ship on Saturday, or Sunday, or even Monday.

But it should be here tomorrow in all its new book-y goodness!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Homeschool Curriculum

After much prayer and number crunching we have made decisions in our homeschool curriculum. I am really excited to start getting our books.
I really am bent towards the Charlotte Mason philosophy but I have hesitated diving in for language arts and math. I was an education major in college and sometimes that training creeps out. However, this year, I'm throwing all caution to the wind and fully embracing CM.

For Math we are switching to Math U See. I have read countless reviews that this is a good program and have had several friends sing its praise. We had been doing Abeka Math but it just didn't jive with my teaching style. I believe Math U See will work better.

Science this year is going to be a little different. Previously, we have used many living books to study Science. This year, I am switching to Apologia's Astronomy which is supposed to be written with a CM flavor. We will still be doing delight directed studies in Science because my two boys are, by nature, into Science and we do a lot of Science related things in our normal family day-to-day. We will have nature study and notebooking as well.

For our language arts, I am switching from Abeka to products produced by Queen Homeschool. This will be the biggest change for us and the one I have most prayed about. My oldest son is a good, strong reader but my youngest son hasn't had it click yet. I'm hoping Charlotte's laid back approach will fit him better.

Winter Promise will be the source of our history this year. We are studying American History which I love. We used Winter Promise last year (Animals and their World) and loved it. This is a rather new company that reminds me of Sonlight, in that it is literature based, but it is written following CM.

Scripture Memory will come from the Simply Charlotte Mason website as will our picture and music study. I hope to incorporate some lapbooking for these topics.

I have also contemplated using the work box system that seems to have become a phenomenon. I will have to overcome space and budget limitations. I like that the entire school day is prepped beforehand and time will not be wasted during school searching for a paint brush or a math manipulative.

That is the backbone of our school this year.

Tell me if you have used any of the above products and systems and how they have worked out for you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Real Life Princess

Saturday night I had the opportunity to catch up with my good friend Sarah. It was a wonderful conversation where we talked about middle school teacher crushes, to our lives now, and plans to, hopefully, get to see each other on the 12th of this month. We have performed together in various theatre productions and took many classes together. Times with Sarah was always marked with laughter and joy! It was great how easily we picked up our friendship.

Sarah is an amazing woman. She has always had a huge heart and a beautiful smile. She has always been someone special in my book.

She was adopted as an infant by a white family in my hometown. She is biracial, her mother a native of WV and her father from Africa. She had always known this about her bio parents. In her early adulthood she sought out her birthmother and discovered she had died of cancer. After overcoming her fear of finding her bio father she sought him out, and what she discovered changed her life. She was related to African royalty, a ruling Mende family in Sierra Leone and she is considered a mahaloi, the child of a Paramount Chief, with the status like a princess.

Yes, she is a real life princess.

You can read more of Sarah's amazing story HERE, HERE, and you can buy her book HERE.
She is also in August's issue of Glamour and Essence Magazines.

Words cannot express how proud I am of her!! She has handled this with such grace and responsibility and tremendous respect for the people of the Sierra Leone.

Grab something to drink and sit back and "meet" my friend Sarah, gather your kids around and introduce them to her story, but most of all would you please pray for my precious friend?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I didn't fall off the face of the Planet...

it just feels like it!

July, all at once, became very busy here in the land of sort of fairy tale

(Photo by knixnet)

We finally got our minivan repaired from the wreck I was in at the end of June. We have uninsured driver insurance on our policy. After paying the deductable, our insurance paid for the rest of the repairs. We had a rental for a little over a week. The van looks great!

Since the wreck I have been having terrible migraines. I had never had a migraine before this wreck and since I have had three. I went to the doctor early Monday because I could not get the migraine to break. She has ordered me to have a CT Scan next Friday. Thankfully, the car insurance is picking up that tab as well.

I have been looking at, praying about, and calculating curriculum for the upcoming school year. I love this time of year! I have a third-grader this year and it seems like homeschool becomes a completely new ball game. I will share later when I make a decision.

Today, I am hosting a baby shower and my boys have a birthday party to attend.

What's new with you? What curricuclum are you excited about this year?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Birthday Cake Round-Up

Fishmama is having a Birthday-Cake Round Up. I thought I'd share a few cakes I've made.

The first one was for my youngest son's "Shark Birthday."

This cake features graham cracker crumbs as the ocean floor, jelly beans as pebbles, fruit roll-ups as sea weed, rainbow goldfish, and a cardstock shark fin poking out the top.

We rounded this out by floating a shark in what I had thought was supposed to be blue kool-aid, but actually turned out to be red kool-aid. The whole scene looked macabre and the little boys ate it up!

The next cake was a Jo Jo's Circus Party and I did the faces of both Jo Jo the clown and Goliath her pet lion.

Character cakes always freak me out...nothing shows devotion to a character like eating its face!?!

Here is my first attempt at making a cake (I know I didn't have to tell you that). For my oldest's first birthday we had a farm theme featuring a cow cake complete with milk dud eyes:

Of course there was the year I cheated and didn't make a cake. I just made blue cupcakes to look like water for the pirate ship to float on:

The cakes may not be perfect but there was a lot of love that went into them.

My boys remember these cakes fondly (except for the cow one, which is fine with me) and don't care that they didn't have fancy store bought cakes.

Check out more cakes at Life as Mom.

How I Organize my Coupons

Last year with the gas prices soaring I began looking for ways to trim our budget.

I had always avoided clipping coupons because I felt like I could get better deals buying store brands.

It wasn't until I discovered Money Saving Mom that I began to tap into the power of using coupons and store discount programs.

After a bit of trial and error, I have tweaked my coupon organization system into something I am successful with.

I like to take Sunday afternoon and peruse the sale papers and clip coupons. Since I keep my coupons alphabatized I couldn't just clip them and throw them in a pile. I needed something that would expedite this process. I created the coupon mat:

The coupon mat is basically a large sheet of card paper sectioned alphabetically. For instance, when I clip a coupon for baby wipes, I just lay it on top of the section for "B." This way I don't have to stop what I am doing I can keep clipping.

When I'm done I just flip through my binder and load it up. Here is the coupon mat full and ready to stock my binder.

My binder is my money saving friend! The idea is not new with me, but it is one that I have had success with. Here is a video I created to illustrate my coupon binder:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reflections of the past far!

We are at the halfway point in the year and I want to take time to look at the last six-months.

These last few months have easily some of the most difficult times in my life.

In February, we got news that my youngest son would require a delicate surgery that was scheduled for the first part of March.

In March, he had his surgery and the recovery was incredibly painful for him and very stressful to me.

Two weeks after his surgery my husband's 58-year-old Aunt passed away in her sleep. It was incredibly shocking.

A week after her funeral, we took my son's kitten in to be spayed and she died on the operating table from complications from the anesthesia. It was extremely difficult to deal with her death and help my son to understand.

At this time, I had begun to have quite a bit of pain in my digestive area and I attributed it to stress. I spoke to my doctor about it and she ordered an ultrasound that diagnosed gallstones. To this point, I have opted to not have the surgery. I just haven't had the time to be down with a surgery recovery.

On May 14th, my precious Grandmother went home to be with the Lord. It was rather unexpected. She is the first person in my family to have passed away. I have dealt with loss in my husband's family, but the grief I feel over my Grandmother has been very different. I am still coping with the fact that my Grandmother is gone. I rejoice for her, but at the same time I long for her.

In June, we were in a car wreck where we were rear-ended twice. Last Sunday's paper revealed that they had apprehended the woman who fled the scene on foot and she actually had an open container in her vehicle at the time of the crash. She really was drinking and driving.

This year has been a roller coaster for me!

As I was having my quiet time and reflecting on this year so far, I recalled a prayer that I had prayed around the New Year.

I had prayed that the Lord would grant me a greater heart for those that are suffering. So often when a member of the body was aching I intellectually could understand their heartache, but I felt I lacked true empathy.

I actually chuckled thinking about my prayer because certainly THIS year I have a whole new perspective. I see with new eyes what it is like to have a child go through trauma both physically with his surgery and emotionally with his kitten, I watched my husband's cousins deal with the unexpected loss of their mother, I had a health scare of my own, my Grandmother's death is still difficult but it is a first-hand loss that I had never experienced before, and the car wreck has affected a certain amount of security.

Even though I have dealt with a lot this year, I am thankful that God is conforming me to the image of His Son. Keeping that in mind is helping me to get through this.

What has the first half of the year brought you? How is God working in your life?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Photo: EJP

I really enjoy three-day-weekends, but they sure add to Monday morning clean-up!

Thankfully, I have the Big 80's on Sirius to get me through. I love cleaning to songs from the 1980's.

What's your go-to method to motivate you to tackle your big jobs?

Friday, July 3, 2009

I got Rear Ended...TWICE!

Last Friday, we were having friends over for dinner and a fun evening of fellowship. My husband sent me to go pick up a couple two-liters for dinner. I took Princess Pea with me and left the two boys with him.

Traffic is heavy through our little town at five in the afternoon, and this road I was traveling on is extremely busy.

The vehicle in front of me stopped. I stopped.

The vehicle behind me didn't stop.

I see in my rearview mirror her manuever her car to the right into a ditch but she still clips the rear right bumper.

Princess Pea starts to cry and I turn to assure her we are okay. While I am twisted in my seat, we got rear ended...AGAIN. This time I bump the vehicle in front of me.


I am 32-years-old and this is the first wreck I've ever been in.

I got my daughter out of her carseat. She is crying and very upset and frankly, I am rattled.

The person driving the first vehicle who hit me immediately starts getting on her cell phone and telling someone that she "just totaled my car!" I hear her give instructions on where she is and a few moments later she takes off running.

She fled the scene on foot and left her vehicle at the scene of the accident.

I fill out the accident reports and I am allowed to drive my mini-van. That's great, because we have only the one vehicle.

My daughter and I go to the ER to be checked out and we are okay, just very sore.

Turns out, that neither driver who hit me had insurance.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Frugal Friday: Saving Money on Weekend Trips

Last week we took a trip to The Creation Museum. The museum is about 5 hours from our home. We had a slim budget and in order to do the extra attractions like the planetarium we had to cut corners somewhere.

After researching our destination, this is what I did:

1. Plan out Snacks for In-the-Car snacks. I purchased peanuts, teddy grahams, pretzels, grapes and drinks. Not stopping at the gas stations or rest stops for snacks saved us lots of money.

2. Pack the snacks in individualized servings and into brown paper bags with each child's name. You can include small toys and stickers to make the bags more interesting. Just make sure that the children know to eat in increments, or they very well could eat everything at once.

3. Allow children to take their own book bag with things to do on the trip. Focus on items that your trip may inspire a new interest. Since we were going to the Creation Museum I packed books about Noah's Ark and Dinosaurs. I packed a few little toy dinosaurs that we already had. I also printed out coloring pages and activity sheets from the internet featuring Bible characters and dinosaurs. This can easily be adapted to your destination.

4. See if you can find a hotel at your destination that sells their rooms as a package that includes the room, breakfast, and your tickets. We were able to find an extremely nice hotel that provided a hot "Welcome Home Dinner," a swimming pool, a hot breakfast in the morning, and all four of our tickets for right around $150. That saved us quite a bit of money since dinner and breakfast was included.

5. Take water to drink in a reusable container to the actual destination.

6. Pack a picnic lunch and have a picnic there.

7. If you opt to, give your children the amount that they can spend on "stuff" and let them work out how they are going to budget their spending.

8. Make a meal to come home to that can easily be popped into the oven as you unpack from your trip.

9. Remember to have fun and not stress out. Focus on making memories with your kids, it's not likely that they will remember that they didn't eat a restaurant meal.

Find more Frugal Solutions at Frugal Fridays!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Budget Stretcher: Eating from your Freezer

We planned a trip last week to The Creation Museum, and at the last moment our free room and board fell through.

After a quick regrouping, a check on our budget, and a google search for affordable hotels in the area we managed to make the trip.

As a consequence, our food budget is slim this week.

I decided to challenge myself to only get a few basics and see if I could feed us from our freezer pantry for the next ten days.

Surprisingly, I think it's doable.

Here's what I did:

1. Make a list of everything in your freezer and pantry. You can't cook it, if you don't know you have it.

2. Break this list down into categories like: Proteins (meats), sides, basics, breads, and pantry. You should start to see possible meal combinations come together.

3. If you have an ingredient and not sure how to use it check for recipes online. My favorite is Recipezaar.

4. Make up a menu, and note ingredients that you don't have on another sheet of paper (this becomes your shopping trip).

5. Plug your meals into your calendar. For example, Wednesday is very busy for us so I am not going to try to make something complicated or too time consuming that day.

6. See what you can make from scratch without buying. This week, I saw that I would need tortillas. I could purchase some, but I also found a recipe to make homemade ones. I'm going to try that.

7. Plan to repurpose leftovers, even if it's just for lunch the next day. If you make a roast chicken one evening, try making chicken enchiladas later in the week with the leftover meat.

These are the meals that I came up with to get us by until payday:


*Fantastic Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein
*Ground Pork Tacos, Corn and Spanish Rice
*Carribean Chicken Breast, Quinoa, Normandy Blend Veggies
*Greek Style Roasted Chicken Legs, Potatoes and Capers, Crusty Bread, and Brussel Sprouts
*Sloppy Lentils, Homemade Hamburger Buns, Corn Coblets
*Chicken Pot Pie and Salad
*Brown Beans, Corn Bread, and Fried Potatoes
*Creole Kidney Beans, Rice
*Chicken Stir Fry, Rice
*Tuna Salad on Homemade Bread
This was my first time participating in I'm an Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday, peek into other menus on her site every Monday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Funny Food

We just love these little potato face smiles from McCain Foods.

Who can help but smile when these little faces appear on your plate? With all natural ingredients they meet our food standards.

What a cute way to add some fun to a Tuesday evening meal.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recipe: Brownies from Scratch

Did I really mention a brownie recipe and forget to share it? Forgive me dear readers!

The following recipe is so simple you will never have to use a box for brownies again:

Pantry Brownies

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla (try not to use imitation)
1/2 cup flour (I use whole wheat with great success)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8 inch square pan.
2. In a bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
3. Add sugar and mix well.
4. Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined (Great for your little kitchen helpers to do).
5. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour **do not overmix**.
6. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes. **DO NOT OVER-BAKE**
7. Test with a toothpick (or whatever you use). If it comes out moist with crumbs, that's okay, you don't want it to be clean. Try to refrain yourself from digging in and let them cool completely before cutting into squares.

** For double recipe, bake in 9x12 pan and add 5 minutes to baking time.**

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Old Fashioned Family Fun

Tonight we are going to go see Night at the Museum 2 at the Drive-In. Do these still exist in your area?

It's $12 per car load, which is about $2.50 for the 5 of us. I'm going to count Princess Pea even though she'll probably sleep.

To keep our costs down and to insure we are eating good-for-us ingredients, I'm going to be making Moist Fudgey Brownies from Scratch (super easy) and we will pop our own popcorn to take with us.

We have a blanket we keep with us in the van for us to sit on, and some citronella candles to keep away the bugs.

Cheap, good, classic American family fun on a budget!

What does your family do for family fun on a budget?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home Management: Your Week-at-a-Glance

The basic structure of good household management begins with a good plan.

There is no better way to plan than with a calendar.

Yesterday, I told you what I look for in a functional calendar. Some of you shared with me what you look for in a calendar and how you plan. Thank you for the great input!

Let's discuss using the month-at-a-glance feature in our calendars. We want this section of our calendars to be just that, an at-a-glance, or an overview. This is the area that you are going to write down appointments, birthdays, when to return library books, and anything else you need to keep track of.

The trick is to keep it abbreviated! For example today was Gym and Swim at the YMCA, so on my monthly calendar it looks like this:

January 26 G&S 11-12:30

If anyone had asked me two weeks ago what I was doing on the 26th, I could flip to my monthly page and see Gym and Swim 11-12:30. I didn't need to flip page after page.

Also, I know that lunch needs to be made quickly that day to feed my boys after exercising. When I make my menu for the week, I'm going to think along the lines of Peanut Butter and Honey sandwiches, or make something ahead that can be reheated in the microwave.

Any additional information can be written on the daily page, which I will look at later.

Home Management: Finding a Functional Calendar

What makes the structure of home management? How do you get it? Well, my friend it’s just like with any project you have to be able to plan.

The most essential tool for any planning session is a good quality calendar. Notice, I didn’t say calendars. I said one, singular good calendar.

I’ve tried several types of calendars out, but I find I return to the same type over and over. It’s nothing fancy.

Here are my tips for finding a great calendar:

*Find one that runs July to June. Normally these are student calendars, or even student planners. Most of us are moms and have children in school. What happens in the beginning of a school year when notes are sent home outlining the fund raiser that occurs in April and our calendar runs out in December? We have to hang onto that note until we get a new calendar to write down the information, or try to keep that information in our heads. Can we even find that note when we get a new calendar? Can we trust our brains to remember?
Why have a calendar run out in the middle of the school year? Pick up a student calendar!

*Make sure your calendar has both monthly and weekly calendars.
Both of these features are important to how the calendar functions.
It is important that the daily section is large enough to jot down more in-depth notes and create a plan in.

*Make sure that it is well made. I like spiral bound calendars with a plastic cover that protects the calendar from being ripped.
These are features that I think are important in a calendar.

Later in this series, we are going to look at the best way to organize our calendars.
Is there a particular style or brand of calendars you like? Share with me in the comments.

Prayer for Christian Marriage


O God of love. You have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of humankind. Yours was the plan and only with You can we work it out with joy. You have said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a help-mate for him." Now our joys are doubled, since the happiness of the one becomes the happiness of the other. Our burdens are now halved, since when we share then, we divide the load.

Bless this couple. Bless them as providers of food, clothing, and all the other necessities of life. Sustain them in all the exactions and pressures of their life's vocation. In their labor may they provide for each other but never let them work so hard that they forget to give each other love and attention.

Give them tenderness that will make them great, a deep sense of understanding, and a strong faith in You. Give each of them that inner beauty that never fades, that eternal youth is found in holding fast the things that never age.

Teach them both that marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first the Kindgom of God and His righteousness, and then other things will be given to them. May they not expect that perfection in each other that belongs alone to You. May they minimize each other's weaknesses, be sensitive to magnify each other's points of strength, and see each other through a lover's kind and patient eyes.

Give them enought tears to keep them tender, enought hurts to keep them humane, enough of failure to keep them humble, and enough of success to make them sure they walk with You.

May they never take each other's love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, "Out of all this world you have chosen me."

When life is done and the sun is setting, may this couple be found then as now, still hand in hand, still thanking You for each other. May they serve You happily, faithfully together, until at last one shall lay the other into Your eternal arms.

This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ who loves us and gave Himself for us.


(Adapted from a prayer by Dr. Louis H. Evans)

Family Manager's Creed

The Family Manager's Creed
I oversee the most important organization in the world--

Where hundreds of decisions are made daily

Where property and resources are managed

Where health and nutritional needs are determined

Where finances and futures are discussed and debated

Where projects are planned and events are arranged

Where transportation and scheduling are critical

Where team-building is a priority

Where careers begin and end

I am a Family Manager

--Kathy Peel

Charting a Course

Our Core Doctrine:

The Scripture is complete, sufficient, and finished; therefore, it is fixed for all time.

Our Core Values:

The Scripture determines what we value as authentic disciples of Christ. It proclaims the driving force behind all that we do as a family.

Integrity is a discipline of life presented in the Scriptures, modeled by Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, in order that we become blameless in all things.

Servanthood desires to meet the legitimate spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of others as presented in the Scriptures, modeled by Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Scripture is God's specific revelation of truth to mankind; authored by Himself, recorded by men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, so that it was complete and without error in the original writings. It has been preserved through the ages so it is mankind's final authority for all faith and practice.

Discipleship is the cyclical process by which authentic disciples reproduce themselves in a third spiritual generation by co-laboring with God in His work of drawing, converting, and training of His chosen ones as they are being conformed to Christ.

Relevancy is the lifestyle of an authentic disciple who lives and communicates truth in an understandable manner which neither distracts from nor compromises the truth as presented in the Scripture.

Worship is the act by which authentic disciples gladly reflect back God's worth as presented in the Scripture for His pleasure and their greatest delight (in other words, worship is why we were created to begin with).

Core Purpose Statement as a family:

We exist to bring God pleasure by stating His worth, by living out His supremacy in our lives, and by making authentic disciples of Christ through evangelizing the lost, nurturing and edifying the chosen wherever the Holy Spirit directs; so they can find their greatest satisfaction in Him (Of course we have three built in disciples to teach).

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your works to the Lord

And your plans will be established.

This Sort of Fairy Tale

Hello and welcome to This Sort of Fairy Tale.

I am the Queen of my Castle, except that I do all of the laundry, cleaning, cooking, and homeschooling of my children. That's why it's a sort of fairy tale.

That's primarily what this 'blog is going to be about, my daily family life and other topics that interest me such as: Health and Nutrition, Organizing and Cleaning, Being a Good Wife and Mother, Recipes and Household Tips, Herbs and Natural Healing, Theology and Serving God, and also Ways to Save Money.

I'd like to introduce you to my Husband Dear. We have been married for 10 years and together we have three children. Our oldest child is 8 and he will be entering the third grade. Our middle child is 6 and he will be entering the first grade. Our daughter, Princess Pea, is the youngest at almost 20-months. I homeschool the children and I absolutely love it!!

Thank you for joining me and please feel free to comment!