cooking (25) crafts (10) Fitness (1) gardening (3) Home Organization (10) kids (68) school (9) sewing (28)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: Moonblood

Moonblood is a book about a kingdom that has been attacked by dragons and is now rebuilding, the dragon has left the kingdom, but the Prince left when the dragon was there, so now the people of the kingdom don't trust in him. In an attempt to regain their confidence Lionheart banishes Rose Red (a girl who has been his best friend, but all the towns people think she brings evil into the kingdom). Rose Red is now held captive by her evil father. Lionheart regrets banishing Rose Red and goes into the woods in search of her, encountering strange things along the way.

The author ( Anne Elisabeth Stengl) has a great imagination, but there are so many different story lines going on, I found it a chore to concentrate on who is who. I didn't realize how the stories were all connected until I was 100+ pages into the book.  It is easier to understand as you get deeper into the book, but there are times when the story becomes a little too complex.

Perhaps for people who are more passionate about Fantasy books, the book will be more enjoyable.  I like to read all sorts of genres, but fantasy isn't my favorite (although I love A Wrinkle in Time).

Lastly, this is a christian book, but the christian principals do not jump out at you at all.  You really have to be looking for them, and they are pretty basic "Do good" principles. 

I received this book complimentary from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Last minute baby shower gift

I made 3 burp cloths, a reversible bib, and a taggie with 3 receiving blankets. I still have a lot of fabric left over so I will make baby blocks if I have enough time and stuffing!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: Chasing The Sun

I recently finished reading Tracie Peterson's book "Chasing the Sun."  It is a historical fiction, set in the time of the Civil War.  I enjoyed reading the book, and had a hard time putting it down.  It is a story of a young woman (Hannah) who moves with her father and half siblings from Mississippi to Texas. Hannah doesn't want to move, but she is a good Christian girl who obeys her father's wishes and loves her younger siblings.
As the story progresses, we learn that Hannah and her family have been given land that belongs to a young man (William), who left to fight for the North.  William didn't want to fight either, but obeyed his father's wishes.
There are many twists and turns in the story and just enough of a love interest to keep me turning pages.  Lies are told, there is a murder that is revealed, true friends and allies turn up in very unexpected places.  Hannah is a very interesting character--she is strong willed, honest, and open-minded to see people for who they are (not for what others say they are).  William, too, is a very likeable character.  He is hard-working, honest, and respectful.
If you are looking for a light book that will keep the pages turning and leave you feeling good about humanity, then I recommend this book.  The romance in the book is subdued and very appropriate for the era.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Alice Hansen Family Fund

Please take a moment to read this blog entry.  It breaks make heart to think of the pain this family is going through.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Try Insanity For Free

"And I'm smilin because I love it!" -Shaun T.

As many of you know, Bryan and I have been doing P90X for the last month and a half.  We are having such a good time doing it and are looking forward to a trying a new program in a little over a month. I am thinking TurboFire and then Insanity.  If you are curious about Insanity but don't want to spend the money, this link is for you!  But, the Beachbody programs are worth what you pay.  You aren't getting just one workout--you get probably an average of 10 workouts with each program!  There is no getting bored!

Thanks to my good friend, Jenn, who found this from Self magazine!

If you are curious and want to try INSANITY, here's 20 minute: 6 moves- (Double Diamond, Stance Jacks, Hit the Floor, Power Jump, The Heisman, Switch Kick) from the INSANITY DVD craze. (from SELF magazine)  All of the moves are explained in detail on the website.

Once you fall in love,  order the INSANITY DVDs for yourself and commit to a 60-day program, you'll see amazing results.  You can order INSANITY from me: it comes with free bonus workout, 100% money back guarantee, & a free coach - ME.  Order INSANITY here -

Click on SHOP, then you'll see Fitness Programs - click INSANITY

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Breakfast muffins and kids


 I thought I should post a picture of two of the kids.  This first picture is Jack and another boy in the homeschool group at our monthly meeting.  They were playing a Mexican jumping bean game.

Audrey washing her carrot


Ayden was checking the garden.   He, like the other two, loves to be outside.  He loves to eat the cherry tomatoes too!

And I will end the post with a recipe. . .   I made these Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins from "Annie Eats."  They are a pretty healthy breakfast muffin: whole wheat flour, oats, applesauce, low fat buttermilk, 1 egg, and only 2 TBS of canola oil.  (hmmm, next time I think I will use the coconut oil instead.)  If you want the recipe, click on the link above.  For some reason, I had to cook mine for much longer, just looking at them, they seem to need more oats.  I used a jumbo muffin tin, so I expected to have to cook it longer but not THAT much longer.  If you make these, just cook them for the recommended time and then use a toothpick to check if they are done.  If not, keep adding 3 min at a time.  Ours were pretty gooey but they were cooked and delicious.  The kids gobbled them up!

I used spark people's nutrition calculator,
Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
  12 Servings

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 148.1
  Total Fat 3.7 g
      Saturated Fat 0.6 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
  Cholesterol 15.8 mg
  Sodium 162.4 mg
  Potassium 135.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 35.1 g
      Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
      Sugars 14.6 g
  Protein 3.6 g

  Vitamin A 0.7 %
  Vitamin B-12 1.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 1.9 %
  Vitamin C 0.8 %
  Vitamin D 0.8 %
  Vitamin E 3.5 %
  Calcium 5.5 %
  Copper 6.7 %
  Folate 3.1 %
  Iron 5.9 %
  Magnesium 8.3 %
  Manganese 42.6 %
  Niacin 1.2 %
  Pantothenic Acid     2.7 %
  Phosphorus     11.6 %
  Riboflavin 3.4 %
  Selenium 0.7 %
  Thiamin 8.8 %
  Zinc 5.0 %

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Healthy Habits

As many of you know, my husband and I have dedicated ourselves to a healthier lifestyle.  We have been working out every day for the last 45 days, and we intend to keep going till we can go no more!  I have also decreased the number of Pioneer Woman recipes that I prepare and increased the healthier recipes.  I love love love PW, but I am not a rancher, so I probably shouldn't eat like one every day :o) 

I have also become a beachbody coach.  I love being surrounded by so many positive and encouraging people.  Working out and living healthy has changed our lives so much already, and I want to spread that knowledge and help other people live healthier lives.

How have we changed?  Besides the obvious. . . losing weight (although I haven't lost much since I didn't have a lot to lose).  1. We have more energy.  Neither of us have that afternoon crash where you just want to take a nap.  2. Our moods are much better.  3. I have lost 11 inches all over my body (not quite sure how many Bryan has lost) 4.  Bryan was diagnosed with degenerative disc and had a herniated disc in his lower back--this has disappeared!  And I have scoliosis in my lower back from birth and lost my cervical neck curve from a car accident, when I have back pain, the stretching in the workouts gets rid of the pain.

Now many people have been asking for help with healthy meals and snacks.  I have been posting my healthy dinners.  But I haven't touched on other meals.

Breakfast: we like to mix it up.  Eggs, cold cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and granola, pancakes or waffles, english muffins. . .  and we usually have some fruit.

Lunch: usually leftovers or sandwiches.  Sometimes I will make chicken nuggets or fish sticks or hot dogs or homemade mac and cheese.  I know that these aren't exactly healthy, but in moderation they can't be that bad.  I make sure that the kids are getting an appropriate serving.  Lunches get a veggie and a fruit: raw carrots, celery, cooked green beans, corn, or broccoli; apples, grapes, bananas, mangoes, raisens. . .
Homemade fat free sugar free yogurt with Homemade sugar free strawberry preserves

Snacks: smoothies are a big hit in our house (I use yogurt, fruit (preferably frozen), and a liquid)  if the fruit isn't frozen then you need some ice.
 The general rule of thumb with snacks is to keep them small and to combine food groups.  For instance, you could have pineapple and pistachios, (Read the label and find out what 1 serving of each is!!!)  or apricots and almonds or raisins and peanuts.
Another good combination is cheese (string cheese, cottage cheese, laughing cow wedge) and apples
Whole wheat crackers and cheese or peanut butter
Sliced veggies and hummus, or low fat ranch, or a yogurt based dip.  Or celery with peanut butter
Hard boiled eggs
Last but definitely not least, Shakeology.  This is a powerhouse of goodness! 

Final thoughts: 
1. Always check the portion size.
2. When you buy fresh produce, wash it and cut it up as soon as you get home from the store.
3. Only buy the amount of fresh produce that you will eat in a week--the rest will go bad!
4. Keep track of your calories if healthy eating is new to you.  My Fitness Pal is a great resource!

Do you have any great tips?  Anything I am missing??  I love to hear what everyone else is doing!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!  These were delicious--I can't believe I have had two pork recipes in a row that I have actually enjoyed!!  The sauce calls for "herbs."  I happened to have parsley and chives in the garden, so that is what I used. 

I served them over a bed of buttered whole wheat egg noodles.  I just tossed the noodles with a tablespoon of butter, a splash of chicken broth, salt, pepper, and some left over diced asparagus. 

If you eat pork, I definitely recommend heading over to Skinny Taste and trying out this quick, easy, and delicious meal!

Lotion Bars

I recently saw a recipe for making my own lotion bars.  I thought they sounded like a really nice and fast gift.  I ordered all of my ingredients from amazon (surprise surprise).  All you need is beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil.   My only advice is to get the beeswax in small enough pieces.  I ordered small bars of beeswax (1 oz each) that I roughly chopped before melting.  Jillee used pellets, which melt much quicker. 

I already had these cute molds (I also have the flower mold) from making bird seed favors for my sister's bridal shower.

Beeswax $6.80
Shea Butter $3.00
Coconut Oil $1.90  (Subscribe and Save price)

Total: 11.70 for 6 bars ($1.95 a bar)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Audrey's New Swimsuit!

I can't tell you how easy this swimsuit was to put together!!!  I have been looking at many tutorials for swimsuits, but this one seemed to make the most sense to me.  That particular post is just the directions to assemble the suit.  She also did a blog on how to create your own pattern; which is what I did.  I just took Audrey's swim suit from last year and added 2 inches to the middle so that her new suit would be 2 inches longer than last year's suit.  She is so skinny that I didn't need to add to the width.

The bathing suit probably only took me about an hour to complete and I love the final product!

Meal Recap


Yesterday, we had Greek Turkey Meatballs and a Greek Tomato Salad.  I also made the Skinny tzatziki.  I followed her recipe to a T and it was delicious.  The tzatziki has to sit for a while so I recommend making this in the morning or even a day ahead.  I didn't have to strain my yogurt out since I used my home made yogurt that I had already strained to "yogurt cheese" consistency.
The salad was the best part of the meal.  I used Creole Tomatoes from my garden, cucumbers from my garden, olives, and feta cheese.  Then I tossed it lightly with salt, pepper, and Wishbone Greek Vinaigrette  dressing.

Everyone enjoyed this meal.  Audrey really loved dipping the meatballs in the tzatziki.

Tonight we had Bangin Good Shrimp.  This recipe, I did change up quite a bit, as the original sounded a little bland.  This meal is so quick and easy!  Just put greens on your plate (I had romaine and green cabbage). Lightly drizzle the greens with Newman's Own Lowfat Sesame Ginger dressing. In a medium sized bowl, put 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp seasoned salt, 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp minced onion, and fresh ground pepper.  (I don't actually measure my spices, so those are all guesstimates.)  Toss 1 lb of peeled/ deveined shrimp in the cornstarch.  Heat 1 tsp canola oil in a fry pan.  When the pan is hot, toss the shrimp in and cook until the shrimp are pink (about 3 -5 minutes).  Keep your pan hot to get a good sear!  Put the shrimp on top of greens and top with scallions.  (I forgot them)

This was delicious!  Everyone except Audrey liked it.  She kept telling me it was too hot.  I think it was a little spicy for her.  The dressing has a little kick to it and the cayenne on the shrimp might have been a bit much.

Sugar Free Strawberry Preserves

 Somehow this week really got away from me.  I have had all this pictures in my camera but I haven't uploaded them.  

On Monday, I took the kids to pick strawberries.  (Which, by the way, wasn't cheaper than buying them in the store, but they are delicious and we had a lot of fun.)  I came home with a flat of strawberries and decided to make preserves.  But I didn't want any sugar in them.  I couldn't find a recipe online for truly sugar-free jelly/jam/preserves so I just did my own thing.

Step 1: Wash and hull your berries.  I used a straw to hull.  Just push the straw through the berry from the bottom to the top.  All of the leaves should come right off.

Step 2: Mash the strawberries so that you have roughly 4 cups.  I left mine with big chunks because I like it that way.  If you wanted it smooth, I guess you could use your blender or food processor.
  Step 3: Put the strawberries in a saucepan, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer.  Add honey to taste and 1 packet of unflavored gelatin.

Step 4: Put the strawberries into a sterilized canning jar, put the lid on and immediately turn it upside down for 5 min.  Flip it right side up and cool completely.  The top is sealed if the center is sucked down (you can't push it up and down).

Enjoy!!  Since I didn't use pectin, it didn't really gel up.  I don't know if it would gel better if I used 2 packets of gelatin.  My next batch, I will cave and use pectin.

Mmmmm, homemade strawberry preserves on top of homemade yogurt!