Friday, February 26, 2010

Schoolroom Reorganization & Menu Ideas

Every once in a while, I have a desire to reorganize the schoolroom and attempt to make it better functioning for our daily homeschooling. Maybe I am crazy....I won't deny it! ;)

A family friend gave us a new desk for our schooling. We had school desks already...but the one had a leg that was crooked...so at church, when a friend offered me a school desk she had, I was thrilled! :) Madelyn is sitting in the *new* desk and chair in the picture above!

THIS is how it used to look when I reorganized it back in November. And below is a pic of my side....not really changed much at all. :)

If you are homeschooling....if you have a schoolroom....if you could leave the link in your comment...I would love to see it! I love to see where others do their schooling and such! :)

***Also....here is the general list of Meal Planning Ideas that I have in my Home Binder (that I mentioned in THIS post). Places where I just have something simple written down like, for example, "baked chicken".....I will add mashed potatoes and a veggie with that....or au gratin potatoes and a veggie. And I may bake the chicken in BBQ sauce or cream of mush. soup or something like that. So when "baked chicken" is written on my list...it has many different variations that I can use as well. So although my list looks small....I have in my mind all the different variations I could use with each one! :)

***And.....I just wanted to add from the 2 week menu post I had made previously that I *do* use coupons some...although most of the time, I buy generic which is usually cheaper than the more expensive items even with a coupon! But I do try my best to get the best deals!

Also on that post...when I said I make homemade noodles...some people thought I make my own pasta...I don't do that. I usually buy cheap boxes of it when it is on sale. I make my own *egg noodles* to have with dishes such as *beef and noodles* etc. :) ~They are so yummy!~ I just didn't want to mislead anyone! :)

For recipes and greate meal ideas...I also go to allrecipes.com! I love that place! :)




Well....off I should go. Things to do today! :) We have lots of snow outside....public schools are cancelled...but alas, our homeschooling will continue! ;) **AND*** if you want to see a pic of me when I was little....go see my sister's post HERE! hehe....I am the little one on the right with the chubby cheeks! ;)

Hope you are all keeping warm and enjoying your days! Thanks for visiting!!!! :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baking Cake Mix Cookies

Yesterday, Madelyn asked if we could make some cake mix cookies. I agreed and pretty much let her do everything! She loved it! :) After washing her hands...she quickly put on an apron (made by Fine Linen). She did a great job cracking the eggs......

Mix, mix, mix..... (doesn't she look sooooo *cute*?).........

Rollin' em up!......(notice the crock pot....I had ham cooking for supper~YUM!)......

Yummy cake mix cookies (from a funfetti cake mix)......

I completely enjoyed watching her make them. Sometimes, I forget that as she gets older, she can *do* more. :) It's truly such a bittersweet thing...watching our children grow from fully needing us....to needing us less and less with each passing year. Isn't it?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2 Week Menu Planning ~ How I Do It

One of my blog readers asked if I would share how I menu plan for 2 weeks. It's really very simple. I grocery shop every other Wednesday. So usually the Tuesday before that, I menu plan for the next 2 weeks. I write meals on each day in my planner....and I also keep a seperate list of choices for those 2 weeks of things I could make. (Because sometimes you have a supper planned on a night that you decide that you and your family aren't truly *hungry* for that meal....so I have other options available!) Then I go through my meals I have planned and check for ingredients I already have and those I will need. I write down the things I need on a grocery list!

**I try to plan meals such as salads and such for the days right after I go grocery shopping so I can use those fresh ingredients before they go bad. I plan things such as spaghetti and french toast for the end of the two weeks because they don't include products that go bad....(except the bread can...but usually by that time, the bread is not-so-fresh...so it makes it perfect for french toast or grilled cheese!

**I keep a list of different meal ideas in my Home Organization Binder. That way when I am meal planning, when I can't *think* of anything...I have something to fall back on with ideas!

**I try to make homemade bread, homemade noodles and such, for meals, between the two week period as well. Homemaking things takes work but is *in my opinion* one of the best ways to prepare your meals! :)

**I buy 2 gallons of milk when I go grocery shopping. They don't usually last the whole two week period....so I usually have to go get milk at some point in the two week period.

**When I shop, I *try* to stick completely to my list (I *always* shop with a list!!!)...unless something is on a GREAT sale that I *know* we will use. I also add things up as I go so I can stay in budget. I will admit though...the last time I went grocery shopping (last week), I went $4 over budget....however, in sales...I saved over $50!!!! So...I got over $200 worth of groceries for $157!

**I used to grocery shop at Walmart....but it is a 15 minute drive from my home and they don't have many *sales*. One of our local grocery stores has pretty good prices on things....plus has great sales (BOGO free, cents off, etc)....so I go there instead. Occasionally I stop at walmart for toiletries and such though.

So.....I think that's it. I think I covered everything...although I may have forgotten something. If you have any questions or other suggestions, I would love to hear them! I will do my best to address any questions either by emailing you or if I get enough questions...I will make a PART 2 to this post! :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Around The House Pics

"Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest."

~Robert Montgomery




I don't know about you...but I love to see pictures of people's homes. I love to see how others decorate! So I took a few pics around 'bout my house to share. I have done this before...but some things moved over time and *improved* in my opinion! ;)

Below is another angle of my kitchen. It reflects the ugly walls that need redone (when time and money are available)...so it's not a place I photograph much. But there is my chalkboard sign I got from Julie, that I wrote *Welcome* on! And you can also see my aprons I have hanging there! I had a couple candles lit through the day and evening...but you don't get the beautiful effect from them unless you turn the flash off...which then produces a bit of a blurry pic for me sometimes. (And...I am being completely real with my pics....see below in the drying rack, dishes drying! AND there are even a few things *in* the sink that need to be washed!!)


A shot of my dining room with a glance into the living room......

Below is another look into my dining room...notice my table is clear of all the taxes I was working on! Soo thrilled to have that done and they are all ready to mail out this coming week! You can also see a peek into the kitchen on the left...on my fridge I have a vinyl chalkboard decal from Back40Life!

HERE is a link to their blog and HERE is a link to their etsy store! They have some super cute stuff! I also have THIS decal to put up. I plan on putting it on the wall in my bedroom...but I need Chris's help and he's been busy! :)

And a quick looksee into my bathroom. First...the door....I love my *lil* BATH sign! :)

And then in the bathroom....for anyone newer to my blog and doesn't know already, I went with a Mary Engelbreit theme! :)

Anyhoo....not a huge tour...but just a fun look around. :) If you want to see other posts that include pics of my home...you can go HERE. It's small, it's not fancy. I just try to make it sweet and as comfortable as possible for all of us! If you have pics of your home posted...I would love to see them! Please let me know in a comment so I can pop over for a visit sometime soon! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! :)

"Home is home, be it ever so humble."
~Proverb

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cute Cupboard Door Project!

My kitchen cupboards....here when we moved in and definitely not something I am highly fond of. However....we live carefully and redo things as we can and the budget isn't going to allow for a huge kitchen re-do anytime soon...so until then...I improvise! ;)

A long while back....maybe years, I had accidently closed this cupboard door a little too hard. (It was ugly glass anyway!)....so after cleaning up the mess...we lived with this cupboard door with this huge hole. Well...last evening, I was looking at a book I have and all of a sudden an idea came to me (although I am sure it is *not* an original idea, as I assume many others have done this before me)! I asked Chris if we had any chicken wire left from making the chicken run a couple years ago. He said we did (....as he sat and wondered why the little gears in my head were turning!) I explained to him my idea....and so.....tonight, we did it! And voila! A super cute kitchen cupboard door!!!

(Notice ugly wallpaper in the cupboard. blech.) I removed all the wallpaper in the kitchen except in that cupboard. I would have to remove *all* the dishes and stuff to do it...and I just haven't had the oomph to do all that. Someday, though, I will get the bug in me and I will do it. :) Until then...I barely notice the ugly wallpaper and forget it is there...*untilll* I try to take a cute picture of a neat project and there it is.....ugly wallpaper....staring back at me. Oh well.

I really like it and it ties in with the farmhouse kitchen type theme I am trying to have in there! Now, I know many people would never want chicken wire in their kitchen....but for *me* it's perfect. It just fits! :) I am super pleased with it!

Have you been working on any fun home projects?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jaxson got a haircut!

My little guy has gotten a haircut. His hair has actually been shorter than this...but we let it grow out and curl a bit....it was just so cute! I was getting it trimmed by my aunt who is a hairdresser. But finally...his hair needed cut and we just decided to trim it ourselves with the clippers. He looks so handsome..and the curls will grow back! :) HERE is a link of pics of it longer! He is my lil monkey! ;) **Actually...the first words out of my mouth after giving birth to him were to Chris: "Honey...we had a gorilla!" AHAHAHAHA! (He was over 9lbs big and his nose was slightly smooshed from being in the birth canal as being born!)*

Last night, my mom took my three kiddos to Kids Night at Pizza Hut. (She does that occasionally...the kids love it!) So, for Chris and I, I made one of my favorite frugal recipes, Chicken a la King! (I leave out the bell pepper, pimento and buillion powder.) It was delicious!

Once the kids got home...Jaxson got to go with grammie (my mom) to have a sleepover. While Chris worked outside getting the wood (for the woodstove) out of the back of his truck, Madelyn and I played Go Tell It On The Mountain card game. It is a Christian version of Go Fish. Madelyn got it for Valentine's Day from my sister and Cory. Then X and Madelyn played while I finished knitting another square for the afghan I am making my sister and her husband. (pic below) I also spent some time, before bed, reading a new book I got by Sheila Walsh. It's called "A Gift of Life" and it is a compilation of 2 books in 1! I am enjoying it! :)

Schooling is done for today. I have my grocery list and meat market list all written out. After lunch...the kids and I will be off to get groceries and then pick up Jaxson and come home. :) I started another square for the afghan. I will be sure to share it when it is finished! Hope you are each having an enjoyable week!!! So glad you stopped by! :)

***And...if you don't already...I completely recommend watching The Glenn Beck program on Fox News @ 5pm EST. It's important...to learn the accurate history of our country and what is going on with our gov't! If you can't watch then....you can go HERE to watch shows/clips you missed! You will be glad you did. Truly....educate yourself. If not for yourself...for your kids and your grandkids! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jewels

In the My Father's World curriculum that I am using for Xavier's Kgarten schooling...we started on the letter J...and Jewels! We have talked about some different jewels like diamonds and other gemstones. We looked some up in a book that we have as well as looking at mama's engagement ring that has a small diamond in it. :) Today...to start our day...we made our own jewels out of construction paper and straws. (We were going to use some macaroni noodles too....but the ones I had were too small and difficult to string on the yarn.)......


This was a fun art project for Madelyn to do as well....so she joined us! :)

Jaxson wearing the necklace that he made with his jewels.....

Xavier and his necklace of jewels....

And Madelyn, who decided to make a crown instead, wearing her jewels!.....

After we finished making our jewelry....Madelyn started her workbook work and I worked with Xavier and Jaxson on their learning! :)

Anddd....I must share my excitement with you. I got a new printer. I got it at Staples. They were having a great sale...plus I could take in my old printer (that I never used again after it ran out of ink) and have it recycled with them and that gave me a $50 credit onto my bill as well!!! So I got this printer/scanner/copier for a great deal and I am soooo glad! Now I can print out knitting patterns and recipes without having to sit and write them all out by hand!!! :)


And...I am happy to report that I finished stuffing all the envelopes for the taxes that will be sent out in our area! Remember the pic I posted on THIS post? Yep....finished all of those! I was thrilled to seal the last envelope!

We had an enjoyable Valentine's Day yesterday! After an enjoyable sunday school and church (and receiving some flowers from my secret sister)...we went to Chris's parents' house for lunch where we had homemade beef and noodles (yum!) and I got some snuggle time with my sweet nephew, Isaiah! :) Then in the afternoon...the kids went riding on the sleigh, that's hooked up to the horses, with some of Chris's family. I should go...I know I would enjoy it...but on Sunday afternoons...I love to just rest. Know what I mean? But we are so blessed to have close family with all the horses, sleigh and buggies!

So...the kids had a ton of fun with that. Then...when they got home and warmed up, my mom came and got them to take them out for supper and to visit my grandma while Chris and I went to a Vday dinner at our church, a benefit for our youth group! We had salad, prime rib, twice baked potatoes and green beans with sherbet for dessert! It was fantastic!!! We had such a wonderful day!!! :) I hope you had a fantastic day as well with those that you love!

Well.....I suppose this post has gone on long enough. Sometimes I am afraid that people may not want to read as much as I post...but that's OK. ;) I will leave you with some cutie patootie pics of my kiddos getting ready for bed the other night! :)



Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have an enjoyable week! :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making Bread

With all this snow and cold temps...one great way to get the house warmed up is to bake some bread! :)

One of my favorite bread recipes is THIS one for Amish White Bread.

When it is time to mix in the flour...although it doesn't say it in the recipe...make sure you mix well after each addition of a cup of flour. :)

And...if your home isn't 70* or above to let your bread rise...I turn on my oven to a low setting and set my bowl (covered with a damp cloth) near the vent thingy at the back of the stove...where some of the heat from the oven vents out.

Then you let the dough double (although mine sure doesn't look doubled in this picture, does it? But it was!)......

Then you divide the dough and put them in greased bread pans. Every time I make bread...I try so hard to get the halves equal....but every time...I end up with one loaf a lil bigger than the other! ;)

After covering them with the damp cloth and letting them rise for half an hour....you put them in a preheated oven for 30 minutes....and then.....

....out comes 2 beautiful loaves of bread!

Honestly...there is no comparison between homemade and store bought bread. Homemade is sooo much better! :) We love it here and I make it often. :) Do you make bread? What are some of your favorite recipes?

**And some people have asked me before if I have a bread machine. I do (it was a gift)...but I have never used it. ;) I prefer to do it by hand!

Well....I gotta run. We have schooling to do and I have some knitting to fix. Yes, fix. :( I goofed up a row and although I have fixed mistakes before....I am having trouble with this one. It's quite frustrating. I pray I can get it fixed soon and easily!

Thanks for stopping by! I truly appreciate it! :) Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's Cold Out There!

Well....snow is a usual occurence here in PA during the winter season. Today...we have *lots* of snow! We are basically snowed in. Public schools are closed...but our *home* school will still be functioning! I love that to get to school...the kids and I only need to walk into our schoolroom! :)

It's super cold out and I am thankful to be able to be home, warm & cozy with my children. One thing that happens as it gets colder out is that I add another blanket or quilt to our bed! Right now...we have fleece sheets, a large fleece blanket, 1 comforter and 2 quilts on our bed! That may sound like an awful lot....but at the moment, in our bedroom, we have no heat. It is part of the addition we added to our house. We haven't put the heat in yet. Plus...the downstairs part of the addition isn't finished yet...so it doesn't have heat or insulation or anything either....so there isn't even any heat rising from below! One morning, I actually could see my breath in my bedroom! Brrrrrrr!

But...before you think I am crazy and wonder "how can she sleep in there?"....I must say...with all the blankets on the bed...plus Chris's body warmth in the bed....I stay quite cozy! It's a great time to cuddle! (I must say though...as I look at the pic of my bed...the A on the wall is a bit crooked! Guess I need to fix that! ACK...and I am also just realizing that my bed isn't centered between the windows! Oh my goodness! I never noticed that before! Good grief!)


Even though it's snowing....we're still keeping busy here at home! After the normal schooling and housework....I work on some knitting for my sister's afghan I'm making.....


And...as the new tax collector of my area...I have started stuffing envelopes to be ready to send out in the beginning of March. Difficult...? No...as long as I stay organized. Time Consuming? YES! :) But I am thankful for the work to be able to do at home and still add a little to our family's income!


Despite the fact that my entire dining room table is monopolized...I need to think of the positives....look at the beautiful view out the dining room windows!

(The snow is blowing around and blustery....thus some of the snow has stuck to the window screens!)

How's your weather? I hope you are staying warm and I know sometimes it can feel a bit *crazy* to be snowed in...but instead of feeling anxious about it....enjoy it! Pop some popcorn, have some hot chocolate, read a great book, work on some crafts, play a game with the kids, watch a movie...there's lots that can be enjoyed indoors!

Thanks for dropping by for a visit! Stay warm and have a great day!!! :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

"One kind word......."

...can warm three winter months." ~Japanese Proverb

I like the above quote. Isn't it true? We could also change it slightly to say that "Good friends and family can warm three winter months." :) This past weekend....we have had lots of snow and cold here in PA! But we have been blessed with enjoyable evenings with family and friends!

Saturday evening, our good friends invited us over for supper and to visit. We had a yummy supper and good conversation (lots of laughter)! The kids enjoyed playing the Wii for a bit after supper while Chris and I got to hold our friends' month-old baby boy!

Holding a baby is so wonderful. It's one of my favorite things to do! They smell so sweet and are so small and cuddly! I am so thankful that we have friends with a little one. I feel that mine grew so quickly and I am so happy to be able to enjoy holding other little ones when I can!


Then yesterday....after church, we rested at home during the afternoon then went to a Super Bowl party at Chris's brother's house. I don't dislike football...but I don't get really *into* it either. But it's fun to get together with family....so we went and had a nice time. I took my knitting basket and worked on the afghan I am knitting for my sister and her husband.

Dan (Chris's brother) had a small TV set up for the kids in their front room and had his Wii set up to it and the kids had fun playing legos with their cousins and playing the Wii for a bit.


Everyone got to take turns holding my new little nephew, Isaiah. He is such a sweetie. I was overly blessed this weekend with getting to hold a wee one on both Saturday and Sunday! Madelyn enjoyed holding the babies each day, as well!


I have also been busy...after schooling is done for each day...I come upstairs and work on organizing my room. I have a pretty large room and with no closets in our home....our bedroom has kind of turned into a storage room over the years. I decided to hunker down and if it's going to be half bedroom/half storage area....then by golly it is going to be an organized one! :)


I got all my yarn together from various places. I have a lot of yarn. I love having different choices to knit with! :)


I have taken bins (which have been filled with things...not organized)....cleaned them out...thrown things away....got things ready to take to Goodwill...and then refilled the bins with things we want to keep and I labeled each bin!

The bins in my room aren't particularly *pretty* but at least they are organized! :)


I have also hung some things up in my room....this grouping below isn't finished. I want to hang something else above the berry/twig wreath and maybe do some other things with it...but I don't have the *right* things at the moment for those spaces...so I will add them when I can find what I am looking for! :)


And finally....although it doesn't really *match* our room decor...I hung a picture that my husband drew back in high school. I love it. He doesn't think it is very good...but I think it's great! Drawing/painting is where my talent lies and I think Chris has that talent too (although he would deny it). I am hoping our kids will inherit those genes from us! :)

So...although it has been cold here in Western PA....we are keeping warm by spending time with good friends and family, as well as keeping busy with schooling, housework, beginning my duties as tax collector and also starting practices for our church's annual big Easter play.

Life is not perfect....but I truly feel I live a blessed life. I am thankful for how God takes care of us....through times of struggle and times of joy. :) I hope you are having a great start to your week! Thanks for stopping by!