Saturday, August 16, 2014

Zucchini "Pasta" with Alfredo Sauce

For all you amateurs out there, like me, here's a simple tutorial on how to make a Zucchini Alfredo "pasta" that your kids (read kids AND HUSBAND) will actually eat.
We cut out eating pasta regularly a long time ago (you can read about that here & here) & we aren't over it yet.  I mean we are over the belly bloat and feeling tired/sick after eating it, but we aren't over the simplicity of the meal.  Then along came this beautiful idea...
Start with 1-2 Zucchini & 1 jar of sauce (any will do).

Peel it if you want to.  I mostly peel it, but leave some to skink to hang on to.

Compost the peels, trash them, or run them down the garbage disposal.  Doesn't make a difference to me.

I use the Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline slicer- but you can cut the zucchini with a knife any way you choose.  Sometimes we do cubes, just because.  I like strips the best.

Let it cook down a little while you snap pictures and check your Instagram


Pour on the sauce

Stir some more and cook until the sauce is warmed

Serve to your child/children and try not to freak when they like it- then they would know it's kinda sorta healthy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Declutter: 9 Things You Can Throw Away Today!

If you're looking to DECLUTTER
here's a short list of things you
can throw in the trash TODAY!
--> Or recycle if your area allows for it.
Let's start in the closet:
Your surplus of stained t-shirts- We've all got them.  The ones we keep in the back of our closet "just in case".  In case of what?  Keep one for painting, toss the rest.
Ill fitting undies-  Where did those even come from?  Probably something you picked up on a whim a few pregnancies back, or even longer ago.  Quit digging past them in the drawer to get to your favorites.  If they don't fit well, just throw them away.  I'll wait...
Socks-  Chill out, I don't mean all of your socks, dude.  I like walking barefoot, but I'm not THAT radical.  Just toss the ones that have so many holes they cover less than 85% of your feet.
Old Cell Phones-  I mean your really old ones.  The ones if you took them into Verizon they would look at you sideways and tell you they don't still carry the technology to support that old beast, because it's just so outdated.  Your moderately outdated smart phones ones make great "tablets" for the little kiddos to play games on-  You can thank my cousin for this tip!
Junk Mail- You know it's junk when they promise you some big prize just for filling out a card with your name, phone number, social security number, # of past normal pap smears, your address (hello?  you sent this to me!) and all you have to do is mail it back in.  They've even paid the postage for you.  Let it go, you ain't won nothin'.

That pile of magazines that you feel guilty about for not reading. You will get new ones next month {or maybe even sooner if you're a magazine subscription hoarder.. like me}.  Don't be afraid of what you'll miss.  The best things in life are free.  If it was that big of a deal you'd hear about it through some other avenue than just a magazine.

Ratty old towels. Don't save them for crafts, shop rags, whatever. You will just see them in a different pile later and wish you had thrown them in the first place.

Expired condiments- Yes mom, I wrote this one just for you.  Update: I visited your fridge on the 4th and was pleasantly surprised that I couldn't find any ketchup.  I'm assuming it was old and you tossed it!  Virtual High Five!

Anything "gross" in your fridge-  Unless you homeschool, then we know there is at least one gross thing in there.  Just be sure it's clearly labeled "SCIENCE".

As a bonus task- Clear off your kitchen counter and wash it down.  If your counter is the regular "catch all" try to keep it cleared off through the weekend and see if it improves your mood.  I know this works for me!

Come back and tell me if your efforts were successful! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

{Guest Post} A Response to The Death of Robin Williams: Notes on Suicide and Salvation

RIP Robin Williams

Today’s guest post comes from my friend BeckyBecky is one of those down-to-earth moms with great perspective and a positive attitude.  Her blog doesn't currently have a recent post, that's only because she's been busy living the stories that she will someday get a chance to sit down and type out for all of you to read.  These days, she's purposefully raising kids who are thoughtful, funny and love the Lord.  I think those conditions will make for the best stories!  This post came from her Facebook wall after the news had been released about the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams last night.  I wanted to write a post, but found hers to be just what I was thinking, and even more!  Here are her inspiring words:
I feel very deeply for the family of Robin Williams. I am so sad for all of us whose lives have been shaken by suicide. This kind of news breaks open wounds that were healing.
Everyone is wondering, "how could this happen to someone who appeared so joyful?!" ...Let this be a reminder to all of us: do not put your faith and happiness into things that perish; relationships, money, fame, alcohol, religious works, etc. There is truly One way to lasting joy, peace, and life.. Jesus Christ.
I have experienced life on both sides. For 22 years I tried to navigate this world on my own. I hated not knowing what the purpose of living was. I hated not understanding my feelings and my longing for something more. I hated trying to convince myself that I was a good person when my thoughts and desires clearly proved me wrong. When I met Jesus, I experienced true forgiveness and peace. I’ve never known anything like it. The veil was lifted and I was given a new heart just like the Bible promises. That’s why they call it "born again", you are, in the realest sense, given a new life. The changes in me were immediate. Those closest to me saw that something was different. Most of them didn’t like it. I didn’t laugh at the same things, I chose not to participate in the same things. My desire became doing what was pleasing to God. Afterall, when someone does something so wonderful for you, in this case literally saving my life, don’t you want to do whatever you can to show your gratitude?!? The past 7 years I have been molding my life to be more like my Savior. Many, many times I have failed miserably. I don’t feel I am perfect or better or holier than anyone. I’m just forgiven and forever grateful. I make mistakes every single day, but God is a loving Father and He forgives me and gives me whatever I need to move forward victoriously. But I have to ASK for that. Repentance is required. A turning from sin is required. Obedience is required. Does that sound like too much? Believe me, it’s not.
Two years ago next month will mark the darkest day I have ever known. My little brother, a person very dear to me whom I loved and admired very much, took his own life. God was so loving and gracious to me during that time and since as I am still healing. I don’t know how I would have ever gotten through that nightmare without Gods peace which passes all understanding. I am still not totally through it and news like this celebrity death bring flooding back very painful memories from that day.
I guess the point I’m trying to make in this very long post is that I have experienced suicide and I have experienced life with and without any answers. Some of you may read this and roll your eyes and write me off as using this tragedy to push religion on others. Although my intent is not to push anything on anyone, least of all a "religion", I am offering the way to hope and peace and joy because I have personally experienced it and it is a REAL thing. I love you all.. what kind of a person would I be to find something so wonderful and something that actually works and not share it?!? Jesus Christ is the only medicine for a broken heart and a broken soul. You have a choice to lay down your pride and arrogance and self-loving ways.. or dont. I have never since that day regretted dying to myself and living for Christ. Not once. Please don’t tune me out at the mention of His name. You have no idea what you have been missing if you don’t know Christ’s love and forgiveness. You have everything to lose by choosing to ignore this message.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ladies, It's okay to FAKE IT!

Okay Ladies, here's just a simple post today-  I'm giving you permission to fake it.  No not THAT "it".  I'm talking about fake the whole "I've got it together all day long thing".
  This is how I typically dress- Black shirt, black yoga pants.  The totally flawless skin and perfect hair are compliments of the program I used to design this.  Thanks my dear 11 year old, for introducing me to this style game!  haha! 
Each day around 3:30 I know my husband is coming home soon and I USUALLY do these things:
  • Swap out the yoga pants for blue jeans
  • Throw on a necklace
  • Do something to my hair- brush it, make it shine, add a flower sometimes I just run the flat iron through it.
  This whole process takes under 10 minutes, actually more like under 5, but it's SO worth it to look a little bit more spiffed up when he walks in the door.  I'm not talking prom prep or anything- just little changes that make a difference. 
What changes can YOU make to impress your guy? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blog Share: Bringing Social Justice to Her Closet

Read what my friend has to say about bringing social justice to her closet.  I love the simplicity of this method and the idea behind it.
  I am great about cleaning out my closet every few years, but not about refilling it with practical pieces that reflect my style (whatever that is).  As a result I have a lot of random items, but still wear the same things over, and over, and over... I think her tips will help me, and maybe you too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Diva Cup

TMI ALERT: I'm taking the plunge & giving this menstrual cup a try...  ahhh I feel like I'm a teenager again.. super freaked out by this... Hopefully I love it & it functions as described though!

Simple Craft: DIY Brag Tags

Hey Guys, Today's simple crafts is making brag tags!
Last school year my kids earned brag tags by reading on their own. I'll link to that when I edit this
For this school year I decided we would make some of our own tags in addition to using the ones from last year.
Instead of only getting them for reading they will also get one when they accomplished a goal.  My kids are highly motivated by earning "stuff".  I don't love it, but it's just how it is.  So these little tags are perfect for our family.

Here's how you can make these:
Trace a tag onto cardstock (or design your own shape) .
Design the front with the goal you want to accomplish.
Cut them out.
Sign your name on the back so you know who's it is.
Laminate them.
Cut them out again.
Punch or cut a hole for a necklace to go through.


What are your goals for your kids this year?  What are theirs?  Ask them, you may be surprised!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

DIY Lavender Sleep Spray and a Real Mom Confession

I picked up this tiny spray bottle for just under $1 @ Wal-Mart tonight.  I filled it with water and added 15 drops of lavender.
I'm going to mist this on my sheets and breathe deep the beautiful aroma as I  drift off to Dreamland and try to forget that I just lashed out  on my husband for checking out another woman at the store.  {lashed out seems vague. Let me explain, I threw a temper tantrum right in the isle it happened in, then stomped away....oy! Yeah, bad move}.
You see what happened was I smiled to myself when I noticed her check him out... but shit when I saw it go back the other way.  #keepingitreal #tomorrowisanewday #pmsHormones #psycholady

PS.  I still think I'm right in being upset, but I cannot let this consume another minute of my life. It already ruined what is usually a pleasant 45 minute drive together.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Break our heart for what breaks yours: One mom's uproar over an "unflattering" bathing suit picture.

Can you relate to this story I read last night?  It's about a mom who finds a picture of herself  {in a bathing suit} that her son took with her cell phone.  She's upset that it is an unflattering picture, but the boy doesn't see it that way.  To him, it's a picture of his beautiful momma relaxing on the beach.  Oh sweet boy, never change your gentle heart. 

I know I can relate to this plenty well!  Last week I sweat my rear off at the park rather than putting on a tank top and showing my arms (in hindsight, my "jiggly" arms were nothin' offensive compared to the massive amounts of sweat dripping off my face and drenching my shirt). 
 This week, I got over it and it felt soooo good!  Tank tops are where it's at on these hot days!  I've learned to embrace the camera from another mommy friend who learned of the challenge on another blog. Now I'm learning to embrace the mirror and my real self too.

Here's a link to the original story.  Please give it a read and allow it to soak into your soul for a minute before you move on.  You probably learned long ago to love others as Jesus loves us.  But what about LOVE OURSELVES, as Jesus loves us?  As our kids love us?  As our husband or friends love us? 

Here is a picture of my kids and I at the beach a few weeks ago.  The day it was taken I could tell you all the things I despise about the picture.  Today, when I look at this picture, I'm just so thankful to God that I got to be THERE in that moment, with my kids, and that we have a photo of it to remind us of the good times we had. 

My prayer today comes from the song titled Hosanna, which means Praise & JOY.

Oh Dear Heavenly Father,
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Practical Tips For Being A SLIGHTLY BETTER WIFE

A  Slightly Better Wife is not what I am, but what I strive to be.
Here are just a handful of things I've been doing this week to work at being a better wife.

1.  Be ready for sex when he is, even initiate it sometimes.  Yeah okay, so this falls under TMI, but I'm a big girl, I do what I want.  Sex within marriage is absolutely okay, and in our relationship I'd even say it's necessary to keep the peace- for both of us!  It used to be pretty one sided, and then one sided the other way, but now we're working it out and it's a beautiful {abundant} thing.  So if he makes the move and I really feel like saying no or making an excuse, but can't come up with a good one, we just do it anyway.  It's not a chore or a hassle, it's actually rather enjoyable and I'm always glad I didn't back out.

Okay, moving on....

2.  Having meals and snacks ready.  I'm terrrrrrrrrible at this.  Really, I used to rock at menu planning, but I've just lost my passion for it.  I'm using my new planner to write in what or where we are eating each night so there aren't any temper tantrums (from momma OR the baby) at meal time.

3. Putting my phone down when he's talking to me.  I didn't realize how much this bothered him, until he told me.  Now I see other people doing it and it makes me so sad.  LOOK UP people, there's a great big world out there. 

4.  I'm trying not to complain about things I've already complained about.  I mean I really just shouldn't complain at all, but it's gonna happen, so at least I can bring up new subjects, not beat away at the old ones.  Yes, he knows how much someone drives me crazy when they post super similar pictures to the ones I posted (copycats have always been a pet peeve of mine, I guess I should praise myself for being a trendsetter).  Yes he understands how many loads of laundry I've done and what a chore it was.  And yeah, he really could go without hearing about how much it bothers me that the floor is covered in crumbs AGAIN when I just cleaned it a few hours ago.

5.  Praying for him.  I pray for him often and always, but I'm trying to focus my prayers into something deeper, something more real.  I'd love to share about this in another post soon!

So this is what I'm doing and what is working out alright over here.  How about you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fun Friday! Only The Best Educational Games

One thing that really worked for us last school year was designating FRIDAY as our FUN day throughout the fall. So from our start day (mid-August) until our Christmas break we only did traditional learning 4 days a week. Friday was set aside for running errands, free reading, arts and crafts, free play, and a lot of GAMES! Here are our top 15 game purchases from our 2013-2014 school year.  Oh, and of course you don't need to be a homeschooler to enjoy these games! 

The prices on these right now are really great, and if you have Amazon Prime you can score free shipping (if not, you can sign up here to Start a Free Trial Now ). 
I've been a Prime member for years and LOVE it! 
If you don't have Amazon Prime these items ship free when you spend $35.  These all also make great gifts, so buy one for yourselves and one to give!

Here is a very real look at our game closet!  It's not Pinterest worthy, but it works for us!

This post contains my affiliate links.  You may read more about why I use affiliate links here.

Where I've "BEEN", Keepin' it Real

I don't have too much new to post right now, but that's only because I've been so busy trying to nail down our curriculum choices for the 2014-2015 school year.  I've been spending a lot of time here: Children's Books, and here: Educational and Teaching Books on Amazon.  I will get a post up soon that has our plan for the year. Until then, please check back at what we used last year if you are looking for a little homeschool planning inspiration.

Also to keep things real, I want to share with you my status from my personal Facebook page today:

What does a #boymom do post outdoor church service? This. That is after she shakes the bark off her clothes and cleans the grass out of her hair & shoes. Really though, it was a beautiful outdoor service that I really needed today. The devil is the enemy. Not the neighbor, the friend, the spouse, but the devil. God is good, he will show up and rescue you and me. He will pull the weeds so the crops will produce abundantly. Just keep on loving people and serving Him.

Verse of the day: LOVE

Thursday, July 17, 2014

28 Random truths about ME

1.  I was proposed to and broke up with, on my 18th birthday. It was symbolic to me of how I always get my hopes up and get crapped on every birthday. I'm not bitter about that or anything... :/  I suppose it just comes with having a birthday so close to a holiday.
2.  My "bad" birthdays are still not as bad as what others are facing, and for that I'm grateful to God.
3.   I left college & my amazing job to be a stay at home mom, out of necessity.  It's a long painful story with a redeeming end where I got to adopt my sweet "little girl", who is now the big girl in our family picture.
4.   Friendship has always been and I'm assuming always will be a struggle for me, because of my own self confidence issues that were formed throughout grade school.
5.   My ideal day is one where I'm able to take naps, eat out for every meal, walk to anything I want to see, and do it all with my little loves.
6.   I dreamt of being a traveling nurse, eventually a doctor, and that I'd cure Alzheimer's. That didn't happen.  But it's okay, because I just learned that right now, being a mom is "enough".
7.   I didn't attend church while I was in school.  I wanted so badly to be invited by someone, to learn about God, to learn how to find true happiness in Him, not others. If only I had the courage to go alone. I know now, God had a different plan for how I'd meet him.
8.   This year we forfeited a big vacation for a top of the line washer and dryer set.  That's when I knew I was maturing. 
9.   I was the self proclaimed (later I convinced everyone else too) "Head Master Chef" in a pizza place for 4 yrs.
10.      Pizza and watermelon are my favorite foods. 
11.      I spend too much time researching and not enough time just "going with it". 
12.      My greatest fear is being forgotten after my time on earth is through.
13.      Sometimes I wear my husband's socks. Like I'm wearing them right now...
14.      Adoption holds a special place in my heart and I'd love to have the chance to give a little one (or two.. or more..) a forever family, if it's God's will.
15.      I greatly enjoy thrift stores, department stores, warehouse stores, online stores, and shopping in general! 
16.      I find joy in giving, but have a hard time accepting/receiving.
17.      I married my first serious boyfriend (what does that say about the proposal I got at 18.. yeah, it must not have been as big of a deal as I made it to be at the time).  A decision I'll never {again} regret.  We had some rough times, but without the struggle, we wouldn't have found our strength.  And there's a whole lot of strength there now. :)
18.      I pretty much always paint my toenails pink. "LOLA" by ZOYA it's my fav.  I prefer to keep my fingernails clear since I cannot for the life of me paint them perfectly.
19.     I admire beautifully decorated pristine homes, but the energy in so many of them just bring me down.
20.     The most visually appealing place I've ever experienced was Alaska. There I saw breathtaking beauty like I had never seen anywhere else in the world. The scenery, oh the scenery, it's just magical.
21.     I love all things music.  Listening, creating, singing.  Unfortunately I have a life long incurable case of stage fright.  I could kick the boy that told me I sounded like a frog in 3rd grade.  I'd probably be wiser to kick myself for believing him.
22.     Even when I fail at something I feel like I can try it again and get different results.  I'm not sure if this is courageous, or just dumb.
23.     I unexplainedly (is that even a word?) lost my memory a few years back.  Frustrated by what I was going through, I rehabilitated myself through diet and mind exercises.  I now try to fill my kids lives with memories and take plenty of pictures to help them jog their memories, in case they are ever to forget all the fun we've had together. 
24.     I have a slight obsession with white boards. Is there a deeper meaning here?  Maybe like how things can so easily be erased from them and they can be made white as snow again?  or maybe just because they're so versatile and don't leave clutter like paper does.  Hmm, who knows.  They're just great.
25.     I love repainting old furniture.  I'm not great at it, but I take much joy in the process.
26.     My favorite place in the world is in my husband's arms.  Cheesy, yeah, but so true.
27.     I recharge my momma batteries by laying on the deck  and reading a good book or listening to a gentle tune on the radio. 
28.     My favorite bible verse is: Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray”.