Thursday, October 28, 2010

Picture Outtakes

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Rick wanted some new pictures of the kids to bring to work, so the kids and I spent a little time in the backyard taking pictures the other day.

Of course there are some lovely outtakes that will otherwise forever sit on my computer, never seeing the light of day. Except I have a blog and some readers who will LOVE to get a glimpse into the silliness.

Getting the Buzz Lightyear shirt off Kaleb’s body was near impossible and results were only achieved after much bribing…and a lollipop.

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But even a new shirt doesn’t help with facial expressions…

It only took 120 pictures to get some decent shots though. Thank the LORD for digital cameras!

 

Mission accomplished!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall {Book Review}

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image The only way that Marianne Denton will obtain her inheritance is to marry..an inheritance she desperately needs to purchase the medication that her mother needs to get better. Unfortunately, she faces an arranged marriage to merchantman Noah Brenin ~  a childhood friend, but now a man that she utterly despises.

Noah is determined not to marry Marianne and after he walks out on their engagement party, she follows after him to demand an explanation. Before she knows it, she ends up on his ship headed out to sea ~ and away from her ailing mother. Noah refuses to turn the ship around and tension rises between the two. When their ship is approached by an enemy ship and several of the crew, including Marianne, are taken captive, Noah and Marianne discover things about each other that they never knew. But will it be enough to help bridge the tension between them and find their way home?

My Thoughts

I came home tired from a long weekend and intended to read just a chapter or two and settle in for a good rest…that didn’t happen. Instead I spent the next several hours engrossed in a wonderfully written story, Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall.  Period fiction is one of my favorite things to read and this book is set right around the start of the War of 1812, one era that I haven’t read much about. This is also the first book that I have read by MaryLu Tyndall and I’m now looking forward to the other books in this series!

Find Out More

~ Visit MaryLu Tyndall’s website.

~ Join Mary’s Facebook page

~ Buy Mary’s book at Amazon.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

This book was provided for review by Barbour. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Printable Meal Planner UPDATE

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Printable Meal Planner

For some reason, the printable meal planner I shared with you all last week wasn’t letting some people add in more than one line of text in each column. I uploaded a revised planner and it should be working for everyone now.

I emphasize should be. :)

I’m still on a learning curve with the new software I bought, so thanks for your patience. Try downloading the new file and let me know if you have any problems.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

My Thoughts from Relevant…

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The last few days at the Relevant Conference were absolutely amazing and God has spoken to me on so many different levels. I’ve laughed and sobbed, nodded my head in understanding and just soaked in the things that God was speaking to my heart.

I’m leaving the conference with a new perspective on so many things. While this was a blogging conference for Christian women, it truly felt more like a Christian women’s conference where we just happened to talk about blogging.

I roomed with Carisa from 1+1+1=1 and while it was a bit of a planning weekend for the two of us for the Totally Tots blog, it was also a time where we had much fun together and enjoyed our time along {minus kiddos}!

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Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom, was the keynote speaker on the first night. While I’ve visited her site, meeting her in person was wonderful. She is one of the sweetest women!

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Here are a few things that I wrote down from her talk:

“If you don’t have time for God, you don’t have time to blog.”

“Don’t put guilt on yourself that is not from God.”

She also had some excellent ‘time tips’ for monitoring online time ~ and keeping the balance of family and God in line. Definitely some things that will be put into action {or already have} as Rick and I sit down together over the next week. :)

Probably one of the most emotional nights for me was hearing Angie Smith, author of Bring the Rain. She shared the story of loss their sweet daughter Audrey and it was one of the most powerful nights for me…and I was a complete mess looking around the room and standing up with the many women who have lost a child at some point through either miscarriage or later in life.

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Laura from 10 Million Miles with Carisa and I

Sally Clarkson, author of Educating the Wholehearted Child, also spoke for one of the sessions and I was so encouraged by her also. She is a seasoned homeschool mom who has ‘been there, done that’ and had so much wisdom to relay. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her talk:

“Don't allow someone else's law to put you under guilt.”

Her main point was an acronym for the word peace…

Purpose {know God’s purpose for YOU}

Expect criticism ~ it’ll happen, but don’t take it to heart. Allow it to teach you.

Accept your limitations

Cultivate a heart to God’s message

End well {rest in the Lord}

So much more…but I’m thinking that that will be a post for another day! So many fun pictures to share and amazing ladies that I was able to meet in person and put a ‘face’ to the online name.

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Menu Plan Monday {10.25.2010}

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Menu Plan Monday

I’m just getting back from Relevant and am so thankful that I don’t have to run out to pick up anything! :) I don’t have any specific links to share this week, but hope to share our pizza crust recipe this week with you all ~ we are loving it!

Monday

Tuesday
  • Breakfast ~ Baked oatmeal
  • Dinner ~  Chili & homemade cornbread
Wednesday Thursday
  • Breakfast ~ Whole wheat pancakes
  • Dinner ~  Parmesan Chicken
Friday
  • Breakfast ~ Cereal
  • Dinner ~ Homemade pizza
Saturday
  • Breakfast ~ Scrambled eggs, bacon & toast
  • Dinner ~ Leftovers
Sunday
  • Breakfast ~ Cinnamon rolls
  • Dinner ~ Popcorn & smoothies

As Always: I’ve linked to any recipes that I’ve already posted. That’s it for the week ~ what on your menu?

 

 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Way Home DVD ~ Review & Giveaway

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image  From the Producer

Dean Cain stars as Randy Simpkins, a husband and father torn between the demands of his job and commitment to his family. Asked by his wife Christal to watch their two-year-old son Joe for a few minutes, Randy is distracted by work and Joe disappears. Racked by guilt, Randy joins Christal in a desperate search for their missing son alongside hundreds of others from their church and community. Randy and Christal’s strained marriage must now weather the ultimate test—the potential loss of a child. THE WAY HOME is the story of Randy's powerful spiritual journey back to love, faith and a Godly understanding of what must always take first priority in a man's life—his family.

Here’s a peek at the movie trailer.

My Thoughts

Finding movies that are family friendly and quality can sometimes be a difficult task. The Way Home is based on a true story of a couple whose son wandered off and the eight-hour search that ensued as they hoped to find their son alive. Watching the movie will send any parent on a rollercoaster of emotions ~ especially as it is easy to understand how any parent would feel faced with the possible loss of a child. Throughout the movie, Randy flashes back to points in his relationship with his children and family ~ realizing how his priorities have been misplaced. 

The Way Home is a movie that will run you through a variety of emotions ~ and as one of the characters in the movie said best: “…it restores your faith in the goodness of people.” This movie is rated PG for brief tobacco use and thematic elements.

Find Out More

~ Visit The Way Home movie website

~ Join The Way Home movie Facebook fan page

~ Buy The Way Home dvd at Amazon.

Coming to DVD October 26th with a special pre-release in Christian bookstores on October 5th.

The Giveaway

Would you like to win a DVD copy of The Way Home? I have one copy to mail to one of my readers! Leave a comment on this post ~ be sure there is a way for me to contact you. The giveaway will be open until Wednesday, October 27th at 8pm.

  This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

This product was provided for review by Lionsgate. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Printable Meal Planner & Planning Meals

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Printable Meal Planner
Pin It

 

This past week I sat down to redo our menu plan, weeding out some of the recipes that we think are ‘so-so’ and adding in ones that were newer. I had to make it pretty too ~ because cute and fun can make all the difference in meal planning, right?

Guess what? I figured out how to make a meal planner pdf that you can download, fill in with your own text and save on your own computer ~ go on and try!

Using the Meal Planner

To make my meal planning easier {and to try and remember all those little meals you tend to forget about making every once and awhile}, I made up a meal chart. Call me crazy. Call me over-organized.

Label me.

But I have a chart and it makes me happy. Oddly and pitifully so.

All of the recipes that we use often ~ recipe cards, favorites from different books, etc… are sorted out by category in my planner {beef, chicken, pork, pasta, soups/salads, and other}. I keep it in my planner so that when I plan meals I can just pull it out, go over the list and plug things into our meal calendar.

Since I sort the meals out the way I plan, I can essentially just drop and drag. Once I've laid the month out, I go back to my recipe book and write out my grocery list. I put notes to know where to find the recipe (what book, etc...). Also, if the meal is one that freezes well, I noted that too - in case I want to double up a meal or have a knack to go on a cooking spree if I have room in my freezer.

How I Plan

I use my own recipes that I've gathered over the years, our family favorites and go from there. We also have some "staples" in our family meals: Sunday night is family movie night and popcorn night {with other little treats too}; Friday night is pizza night {we make our own}; Thursdays are generally leftover nights; and Saturdays are meals that I can (hopefully) make with the kids helping.

My Main Dish Menu Planner

{click on the image to get a peek at my meals}

I then look ahead at our month and try to plan based on things happening. Right now, the kids have Awana on Wednesdays and we have to be there early, so Wednesday is a crock pot meal or something simple.

Here’s a "sample" idea for how I start out:

Sunday: Popcorn
Monday: Pasta
Tuesday: Chicken/Pork
Wednesday: Beef / Crock Pot 
Thursday: Leftover
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Cook with kids

I pull out my planner, which has a month-at-a-glance page and use that for plugging in all my meals {you can also use a blank calendar that you print from Microsoft Word or whatever you have handy}. As I plug in the meals, I make sure to reference where I got the recipe from {my recipe book, or book and page number} - that way when it comes time to prepare the mail I know where to go looking for the recipe and don't have to dig around and wonder where my brain was while planning. After I plug in the meal names I go back over the list and then make my grocery list while looking at the recipes.

Essentially, is how I plan my meals monthly. I’m still working on posting more recipes to share with you all, but you can find all of the recipes I have posted in the Recipe Section of my blog.

Don’t miss my editable Monthly Menu Planner ~ another free download to help you plan your meals! You can add in the month and dates for each month you create a meal plan for and save it to use again in the future.

monthly meal plan calendar   

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me and have fun using the meal planner!

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Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me! This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

The Twelfth Iman {Book Review}

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David Shirazi is a CIA agent who has one mission: to do what he has to in order to disrupt Iran’s secretive nuclear weapons program ~ without implicating the US in any way.

Prophecy has long foretold the rise of the Islamic messiah, or the Twelfth Imam. In the midst of all that Shirazi is trying to do, the Twelfth Imam is declared and it appears that prophecy is being fulfilled in front of him. War seems imminent with Israel and the stakes are high as Shirazi works to save his own country and the lives of others.

My Thoughts

The main reason I agreed to review The Twelfth Imam was because my husband has read several of Rosenberg’s books and has loved them. That alone says a lot, because he is typically not one to sit down and read a fiction book from cover to cover.

Truthfully, I was hoping that he would read the book and then give me the sum-up so that I could write the review, but turns out I got to read it after all. While I thought that it wouldn’t be something that wouldn’t interest me, The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg has kept me up late several nights reading. This isn’t a quick read, but one that definitely captured my interest and one that will hang around for my husband to read too! And wouldn’t you know…the end of the book leaves it WIDE open for a sequel. :)

Find Out More

~ Visit Joel Rosenberg’s website and blog

~ Join Joel’s Facebook fan page

~ Buy Joel’s book at Amazon.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

This book was provided for review by Tyndale. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

B Minus Day

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Our kids love to pick up the colorful gift cards when we go shopping, pretending that they have their own ‘cards’ to buy things.  While Zachary and I were shopping the other day, he picked up a card at some point while we were wandering the store.

This one to be exact:

imageSince his birthday was coming up, I asked him if he had picked it up because it said ‘Happy Birthday.”

He looked at it and looked back and me and said adamantly, “It does NOT say Happy Birthday! It says Happy B Minus Day!”

I tried to explain it…and then just gave up, because he just didn’t want to ‘get it’. On the bright side, he does know the difference between addition and subtraction signs.

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!

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Monday, October 18, 2010

My Vintage Pearl Prettiness!

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Our mailman just dropped off a little package for me and can you guess what was inside? A little pouch with a piece of  hand stamped jewelry for me from the Vintage Pearl…

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Each of our children’s names are stamped onto the necklace and a small silver heart hangs from the center of the necklace. My favorite verse lately has been Psalm 86:11 ~ ‘…give me an undivided heart…’ so the heart represents that verse.

Isn’t it beautiful?

IMG_8426Thanks so much to the Vintage Pearl for letting me showcase one of their personalized necklaces at the Relevant Conference this week! I’m so excited to wear it and share it!!

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Menu Plan Monday {10.18.2010}

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Menu Plan Monday 

This week I’ll be heading out of town for a few days to attend the Relevant Conference, leaving my hubby to hold down the fort and put meals together for the kids. On Wednesday I’ll be posting our revised menu planner that you all can download and fill in to keep handy, so be sure to check back!

Monday

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday {me out of town} 
  • Breakfast ~ Whole wheat pancakes
  • Dinner ~  Leftovers
Friday {me out of town} 
  • Breakfast ~ Cereal
  • Dinner ~ Costco pizza
Saturday {me out of town} 
  • Breakfast ~ Scrambled eggs, bacon & toast
  • Dinner ~ Quesadillas
Sunday  
  • Breakfast ~ Cinnamon rolls
  • Dinner ~ Popcorn & smoothies

As Always: I’ve linked to any recipes that I’ve already posted. That’s it for the week ~ what on your menu?

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Friday, October 15, 2010

My Husband’s Version of a Mid-Life Crisis

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Rick has an infatuation with Corvettes and other such lovely cars. I couldn’t even begin to tell you about them because I just see four wheels and different colors.

Last year he got a little something to help take the ‘edge’ off ~ you know, since we’ll never be able to afford one of those fancy cars he like so well: the Grand Turismo Prologue 5 and the Racing Wheel

Of course tonight, he had to get online and see this little clip. Now he is anxiously awaiting the release of the FULL version of Grand Turismo 5. After watching the trailer, I had to admit that the weather and visual effects in this version are uh-mazing.

 

And don’t tell him I said so, but it IS rather fun to play. Especially since you can crash into things and drive crazy and reckless. :) Something that a mini-van mamma doesn’t get to do often ever.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Garden Vegetable Soup {Recipe}

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With the cooler weather setting in {and with me trying to be a little more conscious of eating better}, I put together a bit pot of vegetable soup that has made the house smell very yummy!

It is chocked full of veggies and fairly simple to put together ~ and a perfect lunch to have on hand. I based it off a recipe from Weight Watchers, but added way more veggies and such to the mix, because I like to make a more hearty soup and love the veggies and tomato base.

You can download a 4x6 recipe card by clicking here.

Ingredients:

~ 10 cups of water

~ 10 tsp. beef bouillon

~ 6 oz. can tomato paste

~ 4 cups diced cabbage

~ 3 cups sliced carrots

~ 8 oz. frozen green beans

~ 4 cups cubed zucchini

~ 1 cup diced onions

~ 4 tsp. minced garlic

~ 1/2 tsp. salt

~ 1 tsp. basil

~ 1 tsp oregano

Directions:

1. Sauté the onion, garlic and sliced carrots together in a non-stick pan until the carrots are crisp-tender.

2. Meanwhile, bring the water, beef boullion and tomato paste to a boil. Add carrots and all remaining ingredients, except the zucchini, to the pot. Stir well to mix.

3. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Add zucchini and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cause & Effect ~ Adventures in Odyssey {Review}

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Cause & Effect, the latest release from Adventures in Odyssey is full of mysterious disappearances, hilarious radio shows that have ‘guest appearances’, clocks that can’t keep time and are linked to circumstances that happened a long time ago. Each episode drives home great morals and leaves listeners with morsels of truth to take away from the stories. Cause & Effect features 12 new stories including: The Mystery of the Clock Tower {be sure your sin will find you out}, A Thankstaking Story {being thankful}, Grandma’s Christmas Visit {the true meaning of Christmas}, the Owlnapping {only God has the true power}, and An Agreeable Nanny {responsibility}.

My Thoughts

I know I’ve said it before, but Adventures in Odyssey are something that our entire family enjoys {mom and dad included!}. We’ve been on a tv fast over the last few weeks and the disks arrived just in time. When Cause & Effect arrived in our mailbox, the kids couldn’t wait to get in the van and start listening. About 1/2 hour into ‘The Mystery of the Clock Tower’, the first adventure on the cd, McKenna just sat in the backseat and said, “This is the most exciting Adventures in Odyssey EVER!”.

That pretty much sums up how we feel about the new adventures ~ we love them!

Find Out More

~ Visit the Whit’s End website

~ Join Focus on the Family’s Facebook fan page

~ Buy Cause & Effect on Amazon.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

This book was provided for review by Tyndale. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.
 

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