Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Fun Giveaway

Looking for something special to do with your daughters this summer?  Check out this fun Giveaway, hosted by my dear friend, Michelle, from She Looketh Well!  Wouldn't it be awesome to win these e-books with instructions on making jewelery??  Be sure and stop by Michelle's blog and enter to win not just one, but all three of these beautiful e-books!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All in a Day: Summer Goals

This week the All in a Day bloggers are sharing about summer routines; however, I'm deviating a bit from the suggested topic and discussing my summer plans and goals.

A couple weeks ago I made up a list of what I'd like to accomplish this summer.  I always start off my summer with an optimistic list of goals and projects, and never get around to all of them!  Nevertheless, having a list helps me use these summer days wisely, and I do end up crossing off many of the items on my summer To-Do list!

Here is my list of goals for this summer:

Spiritual Goals:
  • Make sure to have my Quiet Time each morning before my day gets away from me.
  • Go through Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur with a friend.

Homeschool Goals:
  • Complete 180 school days and wrap up this school year.
  • Plan upcoming school year.
  • Order BJU Distance Learning courses for upcoming year.
  • Create daily school schedule for upcoming year.
  • Research high school electives on local high school's website.
  • Look into signing up for Food Renegade's Nutrition e-course for kids.  (This would make a great Food and Nutrition high school elective!)
  • Host a BJU Distance Learning workshop in my home with homeschool consultant, Erika.
  • Host an informative meeting for homeschool moms to separate fact from fiction concerning homeschoolers being accepted into the local college.
Health and Fitness Goals:
  • Complete a 10 day T-Tapp boot camp.
  • Re-establish a consistent exercise routine.  (Yes, I fell off the wagon again!)
  • Review notes from my Renew University e-course.
  • Research causes and remedies for acid reflux. (My husband just increased his dosage for this problem, and I really don't like seeing him become dependent on so many drugs.)
Personal Reading Goals:

  • Clean out my closet.
  • Sort through and purge my homeschooling files.
  • Sort through books, organize book shelves, and figure out how to sell books on Amazon.
  • Go to the beach at least once a week!
  • Watch movies; play games, grill out!
  • Make Memories! 

Note:  Items in red have already been accomplished!  :)
What are your plans for the summer?

Make sure and check out what Carrie and Renee are doing this summer:

Carrie @ http://www.ourfullhouse.com/ Our Full House

Elizabeth @ http://yes-theyre-all-ours.blogspot.com/ YesThey're All Ours

Renee @ http://bakersdozen.typepad.com/ Bakers Dozen

We would love to have you link your blog with us, at All in a Day. Please post about your summer routine or goals, but don't forget to link back to All in a Day.

Here's how it works:

1. Copy and Paste the All in a Day banner to the top of your post.

2. Put your name and a direct link to your blog post into Mr. Linky, below.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Are You a Follower?

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says -- "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."

This is an astonishing verse to me, because Paul is saying that he is consistently living a life worth emulating.  How many of us would dare say to someone -- "Follow me as I follow Jesus??"

And yet, the reality is that we all have a following.  We may not even be aware of the fact that others are looking to us and following our examples, but they are.  People you would never suspect are watching you and how you live your life.  They are looking to see if your "walk" matches your "talk." 

If you have children, then you are painfully aware of the fact that you are being watched and copied!  Our children are actually walking, talking full-length mirrors, from which we can observe many of our own habits, phrases, expressions, gestures, attitudes, and idiosyncrasies quite clearly and even comically at times!  If we don't like what we see in their lives, we would be wise to look a little more closely at our own lives!!

James 1:22-24 says (in the Amplified version), "But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].  For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; for he thoughtfully observes himself and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like."

God's Word helps us look below the surface, so we see what is really in our hearts!  As we respond to what we see in repentance and humility, we will eventually be able to have the confidence of Paul in saying, "Follow me as I follow Christ!"

What is a Follower?

I recently celebrated the fact that I had 200 followers on my blog.  Of course, that doesn't mean that those 200 people actually read my blog every time I put up a new post.  Many of those followers have probably forgotten about my blog over time, in the busyness of life, or as more interesting blogs have come to their attention.  Some of my public followers probably check in from time to time and skim over any new content since the last time they were here.  They have a mild interest in what's going on in my life or in what I may have to say.  That is perfectly natural, since we haven't actually met in real life and don't really have a relationship.  However, I believe that a very few of those who are listed as public followers on my blog actually check in here regularly and read every post with great interest, and sometimes even leave a comment.  Ocassionally, we are even able to meet one another in real life, which is always exciting!  Clearly, such a reader is in the minority.

The reason I am laboring this point is not to make you feel guilty if you don't read every word I write here!  ;)  Actually, it is to draw an analogy.  Many of us are Public Followers of Christ.  We have made public professions of faith in Him, perhaps following Him in believer's baptism; we wear the name "Christian" and gather with other believers regularly, so that we may learn more about Him, for His ways are not our ways.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)  Yet, I wonder whether we follow him closely with great interest in everything He has to say to us through His living Word, or are we too busy, too disinterested, too pre-occupied to really read what He has shared with us about Himself???  Perhaps, we have little interest in meeting with Him on a regular basis. We may have signed on as a "public follower," but our disinterest reveals that we may not really have a relationship with Him.

Even many of Jesus' followers when He was here on earth fell away when his teaching became too hard for them to swallow.  Being a true follower of Jesus is costly.   In John chapter 6, we read about those followers who turned back -- "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, 'This is an hard saying: who can hear it?'   . . . . From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."  (verses 60 and 66)   (Read also John 2:23-25.)

My pastor said recently that many "Christians" today just want to follow Christ like we would follow someone on Facebook or Twitter -- as in from a safe distance, with an occasional "Like" for a verse of Scripture that gives us comfort and makes us feel good.  However, Jesus is only interested in True Followers -- those who will follow Him to the end!!  He knows if we only follow him for the "free giveaways" or because we truly identify with Him and want to know Him.

Philippians 3:10 -- "For my determined purpose is that I may know Him [that I may prgressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from his resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even to His death."  (Amplified version)

So, are you a true Follower??

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

All in a Day: Summer Vacations with Kids

Today the All in a Day bloggers are sharing about summer vacations with kids.

Well, ladies, it's like this -- I don't need to pack up and go to the beach for a vacation this summer -- because I live there!!!!!   :D

Which is a good thing, because do you want to know what I dislike more than anything?
  • packing up a large family for a trip
  • unpacking from a trip and having mounds of dirty laundry to tackle
  • l-o-n-g trips in the van
Yes, I'm really pretty much a Homebody!  :)  However, my husband loves to travel!   So, I give him all the credit for the fact that we have taken some fun trips through the years to places like:  Washington, DC; Stone Mountain, GA; Cades Cove and Townsend, TN; Chatanooga, TN; Jekyll Island, GA; St. Simons, GA; Hilton Head Island, SC; Panama City, FL; Cape Canaveral, FL; Orlando, FL; etc.  We even took a trip to San Francisco and back!!!  

But this summer?  I think we'll just stay home and enjoy the beach in our own "backyard!"

Here is the list of blogs currently participating in the All in a Day series:

Carrie @ http://www.ourfullhouse.com/ Our Full House

Elizabeth @ http://yes-theyre-all-ours.blogspot.com/ Yes They're All Ours

Renee @ http://bakersdozen.typepad.com/ Bakers Dozen

Please link up your blog and join the fun!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Winner Announced!

I've been looking forward to finding out who would be the recipient of one of my favorite books -- A Mom Just Like You by Vicki Farris.   Today after church, Kristi (my future daughter-in-law), drew the winning name for my giveaway, and the winner is . . . .   HomeQueen!!!   \o/

Congratulations HomeQueen!!   I don't see an email address or blog link on your comment, so please contact me as soon as possible with your name and address so I can get your book in the mail!  I know you will be blessed and encouraged by this very practical book!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Magnificent Mexican Meat Loaf

One unexpected thing that I learned from the comments left on my 200th Celebration blog post was that my readers like my recipes more than anything else I post!  I found that interesting and surprising! 

With that in mind, I thought I'd share this recipe which I created tonight.  This turned out Delicious and had a wonderful texture!  I doubled all ingredients to feed my crowd, which made a nice mega-sized meat loaf!  While the meat loaf was cooling, I made my roasted veggies as a colorful and nutritious side dish.  Next time I make this (and there will be a next time!), I will whip up some Guacamole to serve with the meatloaf.  Wow -- my mouth is watering at the thought!  ;)

Mexican Meat Loaf

2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup Mexican 4 cheese, grated
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder or minced onion
chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients well and form into a loaf.  (I mixed mine in my Kitchen Aid mixer, which is much more pleasant than mixing it up by hand!)  Place loaf on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for one hour or more, or until thoroughly cooked.  Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

I wish I could share a picture with you, but all available cameras were out of commission  . . . or out of the country.  :(  Which is really a shame since this turned out totally picture perfect . . . .

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Homeschool Memory


This is the last day of the Open House at Legacy of Home, and the suggested topic is to share a favorite homeschooling memory.  While I should have plenty of those, it is not easy to pull out just the right one for such a time as this!

I began my homeschooling journey back in 1990 when I had three little children -- two adorable daughters, ages 5 and 3, and a baby boy who was just three months old!  I taught my two oldest daughters all the way through school, from kindergarten to graduation!  My three oldest sons all transferred to a Christian school in either their 9th or 10th grade years, so they finished up their educations in a private school setting after a solid foundation of homeschooling.  Currently, I am educating the "bottom five" (a.k.a. "the fantastic five!"), who are 15, 14, 12, 8 and 6!  Our homeschool experience is very different now than it was ten or twenty years ago!!!!

I've thought of a memory to share with you.  About 11 or 12 years ago we were studying about J.C. Penney in our homeschool.  We read a couple biographies about his life and his commitment to hard work, honesty and respecting the customer.  We enjoyed learning about the founding of his famous department store chain, and even took a field trip to our local Penney's store.  Then, I had the idea to set up our own store.  I bought a number of items from The Dollar Store and gave the children some money to spend and then set up shop in our home.  Every morning before school (for a week or two), I opened the store, appointed a storekeeper for the day, and gave the children some time to purchase desired items.  The "storekeepers" had to make proper change, and handle returns and exchanges.  The children absolutely Loved this!!!  It was one of those fun learning experiences that was a hit!

Do you have any special homeschooling memories of ideas that succeeded (or flopped!)??  If so, please link up on Legacy of Home, or leave a comment here, sharing them with us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Marinating Chicken the Healthy Way

I have been trying to participate in Mrs. White's Open House this week.  Today the focus is on sharing Health and Fitness ideas.

Over the last couple years, I have been trying to make some healthy changes to my family's diet.  One change I've adopted is to reduce or eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup from our diet.  It is virtually impossible to find teriyaki sauce that does not have HFCS as the first or second ingredient!  So, I am trying this recipe for teriyaki sauce, which I hope will be a good replacement for the store-bought kind!

Teriyaki Marinade

Combine in a jar:

4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
4 TBSP Dijon Mustard
6 TBSP soy sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp ginger
4 TBSP brown sugar, Sucanat, or honey
1 tsp pepper

Stir well with a wire whisk.  Store in jar in refrigerator until ready to use. 

Pour over chicken (or other meat) and marinate in refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours and bake or grill.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

All in a Day: Summer School or Summer Break?

Today the All in a Day bloggers are sharing how we plan to spend our summers -- doing school or taking a break?

We are trying to straddle the fence over here and combine summer school with a summer break!  How do we plan to accomplish both, you wonder??  By doing school work 3 days a week (Monday through Wednesday) and taking off Thursday through Friday (plus the weekends). 

This plan will enable us to complete our required 180 days while also having time to enjoy the beach, the swimming pool, and some downtime.  It fits our life well, because Tiffany plans to be here during our Off Days enjoying the beach with us, and she plans to be at her apartment on Sunday through Wednesday, fulfilling her responsibilities as a church pianist.

I'm also working on my Summer Goals List . . . which I will share in another post.

What are your plans for the summer? 

Many of our All in a Day bloggers are taking a summer break from blogging, but you can still check these All in a Day blogs:

Carrie @ http://www.ourfullhouse.com/ Our Full House
Renee @ http://bakersdozen.typepad.com/ Bakers Dozen

And be sure to link up your blog!  You know the routine!  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

House Cleaning Tip

This post is a part of Legacy of Home's Open House.  Participating bloggers are sharing recipes, ideas, and tips on various topics affecting homemakers every day this week.  Today the focus is on sharing our favorite housecleaning tips.

My simple tip is to clean your kitchen, because as the "heart of your home," the kitchen seems to set the tone for the rest of the house.  Have you found this to be true?

I know that the first step in the FlyLady system is to shine your sink . . . .and keep it clean and shining!

I'll admit that my kitchen is often messy.  That's because I prepare meals for ten or more people in it every day of the week. Often there are too many dishes to fit in the dishwasher; therefore, dishes are sitting on the counter tops waiting for the next load.  Or, there may be hand dishes in the sink waiting for a "more convenient time" to be washed, plus clean dishes drying beside the sink.  Most days, as soon as I get the kitchen all clean, an older son will get home from work and fix a dinner plate  . . . or a child will come mix up some lemonade or make a snack. So, it does seem to be an impossible task at times, trying to keep the kitchen clean and neat.

However, I have noticed that if the kitchen is a mess, that I'm not as motivated to cook or clean; I'm more inclined to let little messes build up in the rest of the house; and I'm more prone to feeling discouraged or overwhelmed.

On the other hand, if the kitchen is clean, it lifts my spirits, motivates me to pick up the rest of the house, beckons me to prepare a nice meal and set a pretty table, and somehow sets the tone for the rest of the home.

Try it -- clean your kitchen and see how it makes you feel!   :)

Celebrating 200 with a Giveaway!!

I noticed today that I now have 200 Followers for my blog!  Wow!  I am certainly amazed and humbled by the fact that other busy moms really take the time to read about me and my family and my perspective on life!

I've decided to celebrate with a little Giveaway to thank my readers!  :)

I love reading about other large homeschooling families and learning how they manage "to do it all."  One of my favorite books is A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris, wife of Michael Farris, the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association.   Like me, Vickie is the busy mother of ten children, and I have read this book multiple times through the years when I needed a strong dose of encouragement!  My copy is well-worn, highlighted and marked up!!  (It is very hard for me to read a book without wearing out a highlighter!!)   I loved this book so much that at some point through the years, I bought an extra copy to have on hand to give to a friend.  YOU can be that friend!  :)  All you have to do is leave me a comment here on my blog, telling me something you like about my blog (or even something you think I could improve on), sharing a favorite post, or perhaps suggesting a topic for a future post, or just leave some encouraging word.  You may also share about the Giveaway on Facebook or your blog if you'd like an additional entry.  That isn't too hard, is it??  ;)

I will draw a winner this Sunday, June 12th and announce the winner here on my blog.  I will also notify you by email if you leave your email address.

To whet your appetite, here is a description of the book from the back cover:

"If you've ever wondered, 'Okay, so how do you do it?' you just picked up the right book!  Through her warm, practical style, Vickie will fill you with encouragement and practical suggestions for those days when the challenge seems overwhelming.  And for those thinking of embarking on the home schooling adventure, she offers her insights gleaned from years of experience, giving confidence and resolve.  After all, she's a mom just like you!"   

Now I will tantalize you with the Table of Contents:

Introduction:  Ordinary Moms Don't Have Time to Write Books (Actually My Daughter Wrote This One)

Chapter 1:  Dispelling the Myth of Super Mom (How God Chose an Unlikely Candidate for This Job)

Chapter 2:  Why Am I Doing This Anyway?  (The Importance of a Solid Foundation)

Chapter 3:  A Matter of Surrender (Learning to Trust God with My Family Size)

Chapter 4:  Surrendering Again (Miscarriage, Menopause, and the Rest of My Story)

Chapter 5:  Homeschooling a Houseful (The Practicalities of Teaching a Large Family)

Chapter 6:  Soap Suds, Shopping Trips and Soccer Practice (Running this Crazy Home)

Chapter 7:  Mary vs. Martha (Putting the Lord and His Priorities First)

Chapter 8:  To Love and to Cherish (Putting Your Husband Second Only to the Lord)

Chapter 9:  When Do I Get a Coffee Break?  (Time for Yourself)

Chapter 10:  Planning a Wedding When Your Baby Won't Sleep Through the Night (Being a Mother to Many Ages)

Chapter 11:  Exchanging Ambition for Service (The Eternal Value of Motherhood)

Chapter 12:  Strong Trees from Small Seeds (The Vision of a Spiritual Heritage)

As you can see from just reading the Contents, Vickie writes with great candor and humor!  This is a very encouraging book for a mom who may feel she is drowning -- so if you need someone to throw you a life line -- make sure you enter this giveaway!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Looking for a Cool, Refreshing Snack for a Hot Day??

Today I am participating in Legacy of Home's Open House. All week we will be sharing different aspects of our homemaking and linking up, so we can learn from each other. Why not join us??  Today we are sharing recipes, which is always fun!

If you're looking for a cool, refreshing snack for a hot day, you'll love this:

Cucumber Dip and Baked Pita Chips

Actually, I've shared this recipe on here before, but it is good enough to share again!  I created this recipe last summer after having something similar at a little island cafe when we were house hunting on the Georgia coast.  As soon as I got home, I set about to recreate it!

I've been craving it lately, so I made some this afternoon after I got home all hot and sweaty from running errands. It is quite quick and easy to make!

To make the dip:

Cream together:

2 packages cream cheese, slightly softened


1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
2 TBSP mayonnaise

Mix in:

1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 Tablespoon dill

Scrape the mixing bowl, mixing until creamy and well blended. Chill well in the refrigerator (or in the freezer for a bit if you are impatient!) and serve with baked pita chips and/or raw veggies.

To make the chips:

Take a stack of whole wheat or multi-grain pita bread and cut through all layers into eighths. Toss pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt (or a little garlic powder and sea salt). Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

This is Absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS when you serve warm chips with cold cucumber dip.   Ahhhh!  :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Week in Review

It has been a full week!  Tiffany surprised us by arriving Sunday night about 10 pm, eager to dive into her summer break with gusto!!!  :)

We were ready to do whatever it took to help her get her summer off to a good start!  In the spirit of sacrifice, we went to the beach with her four times during the week!!   ;)   Therefore, this post is loaded with beach photos!!!  

However, it wasn't all fun in the sun.  The week held a few surprises, too.  One afternoon we had some key adventures.  First, Tiffany found someone's car keys in the ocean . . . and after using the clicker to blow their horn, we went on a search through the parking lot for the matching vehicle!  Then, we didn't know what to do with the keys . . . .but finally spotted a policeman and gave them to him.  Then, when we went to leave, we discovered with dismay that Tiffany's keys were locked in her car!!  :(  After a loong wait for AAA to dispatch a locksmith, we were finally able to enter the car and head for home!!   It was not a disaster, but it did make for a long day and required some flexibility!

Another day brought a devastating turn of events for Joe, when he was in a wreck and totalled his "Monte Carjoe."  Even though it was discouraging to lose his car, we are grateful that he was not seriously injured . . . or worse!!  Still, it was a reminder that you never know what a day may bring forth . . .

Well, I could share more of the ups and downs . . . but I'll just wrap up the week by sharing these photos from our relaxing days at the beach:

Click here to read about our week from my daughter, Hannah's perspective. 
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