Philippians 4:6I’m anxious.

Like the I-need-to-scrape-paint-on-our-front-porch-or-stuff-my-face anxious.

The kind that makes it hard to concentrate.

Makes it difficult to work.  At least I can write.

Lord willing, big changes are coming.  And I hope I can divulge them with you soon.  Just keep watching.

And in the meantime, what are you feeling anxious about?

My Top Homeschool Resources

This week, my sister made the comment that she is considering homeschooling my niece for Kindergarten and 1st grade.  While I am not one with the patience to do anything like that, props to her!  But it got me thinking, as she asked her “teacher friends” about resources.  Even though I don’t homeschool my kids, I subscribe to many blogs that make learning at home a lot easier.  I’m that crazy mom that makes her kids learn over the summer (don’t worry, they get more than enough play time!).  And I’m glad I do.  Over this past summer, my daughter jumped 7 reading levels.  I think I’ll take it over the summer slide.

Here are some of the recommendations I gave her, and I hope they help you too!

Teachers Pay Teachers – You don’t have to be a teacher to join this site, and you don’t always have to pay.  There are many free resources available every week.

Teachers Notebook – Similar to Teachers Pay Teachers, you don’t have to be a teacher, and there are often free resources.

Educents – This website offers deals on homeschool material all the time, sometimes even free!

These are some of the blogs I follow that offer homeschool deals:

Free Homeschool Deals – A great site with a host of free homeschool deals; I find a ton of stuff from here!

Homeschool Creations – While there’s not as much available here, I still find a lot of good resources, sometimes some additional deals and freebies.

Intoxicated on Life – Mostly scripture copywork, but also has some other good resources for homeschooling

if you are thinking of homeschooling, a homeschooling mom friend of mine suggests contacting your local homeschool association.  You can locate them on google.  No matter how you use these resources, good luck!  And let me know which ones are your favorites!

Taco Bake

Taco bake

Recently, it occurred to me that, at age 14, Cinderella needs to become responsible for helping to cook meals.  Not only will it help me, but it will also give her some responsibility while helping her learn some good recipes for the day when she is out on her own.  She was in the mood for tacos when we spoke about it, so she was all about taking over the Taco Bake recipe tonight.

Now, I can’t start this post without mentioning that I got this recipe from The Country Cook.  You can find her original post here.

1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
* water as called for on back of seasoning packet
3 large flour tortillas (8-inch size)
1/2 cup Salsa Con Queso

1 1/2-2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Brown beef, and drain excess grease.  We used meat directly fromTaco bake before baking the butcher, which didn’t have much fat, apparently, because there wasn’t much to drain off.  This is good news for my diet.
  • Add in taco seasoning (we used McCormick’s mild, low sodium) and water, following directions on back of seasoning packet.
  • Once the taco meat is ready, turn off heat and add in 1/2 cup salsa con queso.  We used Tostitos Smooth & Cheesy Dip so that it wouldn’t be so spicy.  This worked very well for our recipe!
  • Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Spray an 8-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Layer the bottom of  the pan with a flour tortilla.  (Ours were a little bigger than what were called for, but it worked out anyway).
  • Add about 1/3 of the ground beef taco filling on the the first layer, followed by 1/3 of the shredded cheese (generic worked just fine for this recipe).
  • Continue until you are done with all the layers: another tortilla, more taco mixture, more
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and edges are slightly golden brown.

This recipe went over very well at our house.  The only person who didn’t like it was Tinkerbell, and she doesn’t like anything.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Quick and Easy Earache Remedy

picture of a baby's ear

So within the last couple of weeks, my entire household (with the exception of Rapunzel) has been sick.  Not only that, but some friends of ours from church and our family have had the same thing, generally beginning with some congestion and a cold, developing into an upper respiratory or bronchial problem.  Several individuals, including myself and our own little Tinkerbell, ended up with some ear pain as well.

I think it was last week that I had my ear pain.  It started on Christmas, and as we drove around I had a great amount of ear pressure in the morning and the evening.  I didn’t do anything for it.  The day after Christmas, we did more driving.  I had more ear pressure in the morning and in the evening.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything for it then either.  The following day, I had to do something.  The pain wasn’t extreme, but it was enough to bother me so I looked up some pain relief methods online.  I wasn’t about to spend $100 to visit the doctor and another arm and leg for some sort of antibiotics when I could fix it myself.

This may not be news to most of you, but I hadn’t thought of it.  What helped me a little bit was lying down with a warm washcloth on my ear.  I did that, I think, for no more than a half hour at a time.  Both ears hurt, so I did one ear for half an hour, wet the cloth, and then did the other ear for half an hour.  In addition to some acetaminophen, it fixed me up well enough to go to sleep okay.

I have also cut up some garlic and mixed it with honey for some minor ear issues with Rapunzel before, though that wasn’t an issue that was easily provided measurable results.  Of course, when it comes to children under three, I would probably consult a doctor before using anything other than the damp washcloth method.

What are some remedies you have used in the past that work?

Welcoming 2013: My Hopes and Dreams for the New Year

Picture of a clock with confetti
Well happy new year, everybody!  I hope all of you had a safe and joyous end of 2012 and that you welcome 2013 with open arms.  I know I am!  Every year, I have high expectations and this year is no different.  I’ve been a resolution person ever since I can remember.  This year I’m sharing them with you; however, I’ve cut down my list.  Hopefully it’s a little more manageable this year, because I often have such high standards that I never follow through with my resolution at all.  Well, here goes anyway:

2013 Resolutions:

  • Lose 52 pounds (that’s 1 pound per week)
  • Pay off one debt

Okay, so it’s not very much, but then again they’re the only things on my list that are measurable.  Here’s what I really hope to accomplish this year:

  • Build my relationship with Christ
    I want to do this by becoming more regular with my personal devotions, marriage devotions, and family devotions; making time for prayer; perhaps finding a mentor; and attending faith-building activities like church events and camps/retreats
  • Strengthen family relationships
    I’d really love to spend an hour a week with each of my kids, but that seems to be a lofty goal since there are 4 of them.  I’d like to aim for half an hour per week.  I also want to continue working on the notebooks with the three oldest.  Family devotions and marriage devotions will fall into this also.  I’d also like to remember to call my grandpa and “grammie” more often and talk to my extended family more often.
  • Organize my home
    At the beginning of this year, I want to sit down and evaluate how things are done.  Our meal plan seems to work out (most of the time).  I think Cinderella is old enough to begin planning and preparing one meal a week.  This will help her learn some more responsibility and help me out too.  I’d like to assign each of the kids a couple of chores that they are responsible for each week, which will also lighten my load, and I have some printable calendars I’d really love to use to manage my weekly “to do” list.  Hopefully this will help me plan and schedule better than the haphazard disaster that I have now.
  • Become more positive
    There really isn’t a good way to measure this, but what I want to do is serve more often.  I’d like to help out more around the church with a better attitude, serve in the community with my family once in a while, and write notes/send cards to those who don’t usually receive them.  I think if I focus on others I’ll be happier about the situations going on around me
  • Build my business(es)
    This will go hand-in-hand with organizing.  When I schedule time to work on my business(es), I’ll be able to train more, write more, schedule parties, build community, and everything else that goes along with it.

Do you make resolutions?  What are your goals for this year?  Please share!