Friday, September 7, 2012

Unplanned Book Review

Unplanned by Abby Johnson is a book about the author's experience with running a Planned Parenthood. She has an eye opening experience during an abortion and finds that she can no longer support them.

I feel that abortion is a topic that is extremely important. I think that it is too easily glossed over and that people don't really know what happens during and after an abortion or they just choose to look the other way. I think this is a good book for every one to read.

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner Giveaway at Growing Home

A wonderful blog that I follow, Growing Home is hosting a giveaway for a daily planner.

Follow the link below to check it out:

Monday, September 3, 2012

I haven't posted in over a month.

I haven't posted in over a month. I was getting to be on the computer for way too long each day. It started showing in my family and our home. My first job is to be my husband's wife and I was way more concerned with writing blogs and linking up and finding new topics, etc. I really felt that the Lord was pressing on my heart to just take a break. So, I did. I am very happy to say that my house is cleaner, more organized and I've spent much more quality time with my Lord, my husband and my children.

I still plan to write blogs, but it will definitely be completely random, without any certain schedule. I apologize for stopping without explanation to those of you who regularly read. For that I am very sorry. I hope that you understand that it was just better for me to just step away.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Almost Amish Book Review

Almost Amish is a book by Nancy Sleeth about how we can incorporate Amish daily habits and traditions into our own lives. I enjoyed this book. She includes many helpful hints on how to save money and how to live with less. She also includes tips on how to reduce waste, electricity use and stretch your every day items. There are also Amish recipes, including bread and soup that will be fun to try.

I recommend this book as a nice light read and to help get over our nation's current overabundance craze.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

CSA Box #5

Beets, Swiss Chard, Carrots, Lettuce, Onions and Broccoli.

The only new veggies this week were the onion and broccoli. Actually it is a different type of lettuce, so we will probably put that into a salad.

From our previous  CSA Box #4, we also got Swiss Chard which my husband made into Swiss Chard and Onion Tacos.

Linking up with:


My New Challenge

I decided to give myself a new challenge. I have read several blogs where they post pictures of what they ate that day. In the spirit of trying to keep track of what I eat, I figured this would be a good way to do that. I'm calling it, What I Ate Today!

Sunday July 15

Not Picture: 1 Tootsie Roll, 1 Hershey's Kiss, and 1 Slice Dutch Apple Pie with Ice cream.

What did you eat today? I'm sure it was way healthier than me! :)

Linking up with:



Friday, July 13, 2012

The Scarlet Thread Book Review

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers is the story of Sierra Madrid in present day California and her ancestor Mary Kathryn McMurray during their journey across the Oregon Trail.

When I first began reading this book, I really didn't like the character Sierra. I felt that she was a whiny, ungrateful, mean-spirited, selfish person. It was actually very difficult for me to get into the book because of those feelings. I am happy to say that she goes through life-changing circumstances and by the end of the book I liked the character.

This book is a very good read. I especially enjoyed the excerpts from Mary Kathryn's journal on their Oregon Trail journey. I recommend reading this book. I can't say that I would read it again, but I did enjoy it and am happy to have read it.

The Tehran Initiative Book Review

The Tehran Initiative is the second book in a new series by Joel C. Rosenberg. It continues the story began in The Twelfth Imam.

Just like The Twelfth Imam, I couldn't put this book down. I have four children and I was able to read this book in 3 days. It is very good and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

David Shirazi continues to do his CIA field work in Iran. There is actually tons more action in this book than the first, which is kind of hard to believe. This book was great! I highly recommend reading this book! It is very good!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Apologia Giveaway on

TimberDoodle is giving away Apologia Science books! Check it out here:

I am interested in the Astronomy and Anatomy Science Books.

Monday, July 9, 2012

CSA Box #4

Friday, we received our fourth box from our CSA share. It contained Kale, Collard Greens, Fennel, Bok Choy, Lettuce, Green Onions and Turnips.

I plan on making the Kale Chips again. They were so delicious. For that recipe, check out my blog post here.

The Collard Greens will be going to our Benny Rabbit of course. He just loves them! He will also get the tops and stems of any of the veggies that we don't use.

My husband, who is an AWESOME cook, used some of the green onions and fennel in a corn salsa that he made on Saturday. Sunday evening he used some of the swiss chard and bok choy in pasta. Both were very good!

I'm not sure how will use the turnips just yet. I have heard that they are good mashed, so we might do them that way. Please share any comments or recipes that you have tried in the comments!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Twelfth Imam Book Review

The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg is a book about Islam's coming Messiah. The central characters include David Shirazi a CIA NOC Agent and Dr Najjar Malik a physicist with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. This book is the first in a series and basically sets up the characters, their back stories and how the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi or Islam's Messiah comes to power.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. It is action-packed and well written. There are several incredibly violent scenes as well. The characters are all well developed and easy to connect to. I found myself unable to put this book down several times. I highly recommend reading this book and have already started the next one in the series.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

CSA Box #3

On Friday, we picked up our third CSA box.

I have really enjoyed getting these for the last two weeks and was so excited to get our box again this week.

Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Pak Choi(aka Bok Choy), Carrots, Strawberries, Beets and Spinach

This box is definitely going to be a new experience for us. Clark and I haven't ever had Swiss Chard or Pak Choi (aka Bok Choy). We also haven't ever liked beets. In the interest of trying new things, we are going to try the beet recipe for Roasted Beet Risotto that was in our CSA Box Notes.

Do you like Beets? Do you have any recipes for Beets that you can share?

Linking up with:

The First Gardener Book Review

The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones is about the Governor of Tennessee, Gray London, and his wife, Mackenzie. They have a five year old daughter, Maddie and are trying for another child. They had great trouble conceiving their first child and are still having trouble conceiving. The Governor's mansion has a beautiful garden with Jeremiah as the head gardener.

This will be a complicated review. I really liked the characters. I thought that they were well-developed and I felt connected to them for the most part. However, I really didn't like the circumstances of the story. I don't want to give anything away, but I really didn't like the deaths in the story. They seemed very needless. I like my fantasy to be fantasy. The ending didn't even seem to "wrap up" or conclude everything. Every few chapters, there is a chapter written in Jeremiah's voice with the Southern accent written out. I went back and forth on whether or not I liked it. Overall, I have to say that I didn't like the book. The characters were wonderfully written but the story was needlessly sad in my opinion. Product Page:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Introducing Benny! Our new pet rabbit.

Our friends, a wonderful married couple that we've known for the last few years, recently got four rabbits to start raising for meat. They intended on purchasing two males and two females. Well, as it turned out, they had three males and one female. That just wouldn't work. With three cages and four rabbits, the males were constantly fighting.

So we were asked if we would like a bunny. I immediately said, "YES!" because I would have tons of animals at the house if I got my way, lol. After my husband agreed that we could get the rabbit we set about getting the needed supplies.

Once the cage and feeding appartus were purchased, the rabbit was rushed right over. The kids immediately fell in love with our new pet and named him Benny. My husband, in his quick wit, calls him Benny Rabbit.

As you can see, we completely misjudged the size of the rabbit and just a mere four days after getting him we were back at the store getting a new, much larger cage.

 I've never had a rabbit before, so my dear friend gave me a quick lesson on how to handle them. Apparently, I didn't listen or just am unable to do it because this is what happened when I tried to pick him up later that evening.

Yes, it hurt and bled a little bit. It was the first of many scratches. We've now had our Benny Rabbit a week and I think that he is warming up to me. In other words, there haven't been any new scratches in the last two days. :)

linking with

Monday, June 25, 2012

CSA Box #2

Our second CSA box has arrived. We received a few new things this week that we are eager to try.

Spinach, Carrots, Garlic Scapes, Strawberries, Green Onions, Strawberry Spread and Collard Greens.

As you can see we received spinach, strawberries and carrots again this week. The garlic scapes look really neat up close with a swirl at the top. They are what is at the top of garlic, who knew?

Apparently, they can be used the same way as regular garlic. My husbad used some of them on pork steaks that he grilled. They were delicious!!

I plan on using the strawberry spread on toast and pb&j. I was going to cook the collard greens, as we've never eaten them before and some of my husband's family come from the south and had good southern recipes for me, but we recently got a rabbit and I read that collard greens are good for them, so our Benny Rabbit will get them. He also loves the tops of the carrots!!

So my questions for this week's box are:

Have you ever eaten Collard Greens or Garlic Scapes?

Linking up with:


Attracted to Fire Book Review

I recently read Attracted to Fire, a work of fiction by author Diann Mills. This book is about Secret Service Agents who are assigned to protect the Vice President's drug and alcohol addicted daughter after her life has been threatened. They take her to an isolated ranch in West Texas to go through a sort of rehab while the Secret Service tries to find out what her would-be killer's identity. There are a  cook, the doctor and his assistant/nurse, two ranch hands, and a six agent team comprising of one female agent and five male agents, one of which doesn't think women have a place in the Secret Service.

I enjoyed reading this book. The story has elements of suspense, romance, and mystery. It was a very easy read and had, in my opinion, well-developed characters and back story. The chapters were short which helped in moving the story along and changing which character's perspective was being explored. There were some romantic elements that I didn't particularly enjoy, but nothing terribly offensive.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and its characters and would recommend it to anyone wanting a nice, easy read that can be picked up for short bouts of reading.

I reviewed this book for the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. I did not receive a free copy from the publisher.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kale Chips - CSA Box #1

CSA Box #1 contained Kale. I've heard from several different people and some celebrity chefs that Kale chips are very good. So, since we got that in our very first box, I thought that I would give it a try. My best friend, Tiffany who write The Crafty Home blog also signed up for the CSA and made chips with her Kale as well.

I found my original recipe at the Food Network website.

Cutting up the "chips"

Into the oven they go...

My oldest daughter grabbing more chips.

They were delicious. I added a little parmesan to give it more flavor before going in the oven.

Kale Chips

1 head of Kale washed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher Salt to taste
Parmesan to taste

Cut Kale into bite sized chips place on baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil and salt on top and toss kale to coat. Sprinkle parmesan on top. Bake in oven 20 minutes turning halfway.

I also used the carrots from the box in my first homemade chicken pot pie.

It was yummy too! Not too bad for my first pot pie!!

Linking up with Time Warp Wife.



Monday, June 18, 2012

CSA Box #1

In an earlier post, I mentioned that we have bought a full share in a CSA farm this year. I learned about this from another wonderful blog, Frugal Living NW and was quite eager to give it a try.

For those of you don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically you buy a share of the farm's harvest. So for the next 19 weeks or so, I'll be getting a box of certified Organic fruits and vegetables every Friday.

This Friday was our first ever box and I was so excited.

I'm excited because you won't know what you are going to get every week. I'm excited to try new foods and recipes. It is almost like an episode of Chopped!

Spinach, Carrots, Strawberries, Fresh Garlic, Lettuce and Kale

My girls were especially excited to see the strawberries. They were very sweet and delicious! My husband used the fresh garlic on steaks that he grilled this weekend for his Father's Day dinner.

I plan on sharing my boxes every week and what I plan to do with the produce.  To find a CSA in your area go to

Have you ever bought a share in a CSA? Do you have any recipes to share?

Linking up with:



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Duggar Blog Giveaway

Duggar Family Blog is doing a Giveaway.

Four people will win and you can pick your prize from those listed below:

1. The Duggars: 20 and Counting (1st book)
2. A Love That Multiplies (2nd Book)
3. $15 Amazon Gift Card

Go to the blog and check it out!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Front Yard Planters

We have three brick planters in the front yard of our house. When we moved into the house there were so many ferns and plants in front that we had no idea how big the planter was. After removing the ferns and whatnot, the planter and yard near the front door looked awful and bare. So, today I decided to change that. My wonderful husband took me out to buy a few flowers and potting soil to make it look a little better. My third child was eager to help out with this project.

Before - closeup


A wonderful helper

Smoothing out the new dirt

After - Some colorful flowers

I forgot to take befores of the other two small planters on either side of the garage. But here are the after pictures.

Have you planted any flowers this year? This small little project helped me to feel better about how the front yard looks now. There is still a lot of work to do, like planting grass seed and leveling but just this little fix has helped a ton!! :)

Linking up with:



Monday, June 11, 2012

The Backyard Part 1

As I've mentioned in a previous post, we bought a foreclosure last year. The house needed lots and lots of TLC and at times I think maybe too much for us to handle. I was pregnant with our fourth child at the time, so I wasn't much help. That left my poor husband to do most of the work, so we decided to work on getting the inside of the house liveable first and the work on the outside later.

Later has arrived!!

Our wonderful friends Eric and Christina let us borrow their goats for almost two months to help us with the incredibly overgrown backyard. They ate and ate and ate until we could actually see the yard's somewhat beautiful beginnings.

Some of the goats' work.

Also standing probably 15 to 20 feet tall, on either side of the house, are two GIANT laurels. These things are so HUGE! Clark's grandma got him a chainsaw for his birthday, so he immediately went out to start cutting them down.

The North Side Laurel

South Side Laurel

As you can see, there was a LOT of brush. So, we rented a UHAUL and filled the entire 20 foot truck with laurel branches and it wasn't even all of it and took it to the dump.

North laurel all cut down

South side laurel still needs to be cut down.

As you can see, there is still lots of work to do but we have done so much that the backyard is actually starting to feel like a backyard. It is wonderful! I look forward to the day when we can sit back there with a HUGE garden, beautiful flowers and kids playing on a swingset. That is the dream! :) One day..

Linking up with


Friday, June 8, 2012


Rats! No, I don't mean that as a exclamation of discouragement. I mean it quite literally, rats. Wednesday morning, we took my husband to work and came home to start our schoolwork. I planned to wash a few loads of laundry as well. I grabbed a basket of dirty clothes and went out into the garage. I dropped the basket onto a storage tote that was sitting near the washing machine to prepare to put it into the machine. No sooner than I had done that, I heard a noise and looked at the wall and saw a GIANT, and I mean GIANT rat running away along the wall.

I, of course, calmly walked back into the house and shut the door. Well, maybe not so calmly. With an extremely LOUD scream of terror and surprise I ran into the house and slammed the door, thus scaring my two year old into tears. Shakily, I calmed her down and called my husband. He suggested opening the garage door so that it could run out and start empty the garage of its contents so that we could try and scare it out of the garage. Ever the obedient wife, I open the garage door and go outside with my oldest child and start emptying the garage slowly.

I didn't want to be by myself so I called my friend Rebekah and asked her to come over for support and maybe a little help. She came over and helped me empty out the garage and bang around looking for the rat. We didn't find it. We did find a hold behind the water heater which we think it went into since it was headed into that area when I saw it. She went to the store and got a rat trap and we set it out with peanut butter.

The next morning I went out to check the trap, bracing myself for a grim sight. When I entered the garage, I noticed that the trap hadn't tripped. Upon further inspection, it was quite clear that the rat had licked the trap clean of the peanut butter without tripping it. So ,we have a somewhat clever rat! So we set it out the next night with some cheese on it. Apparently we have a really clever rat! It ate the cheese off of the trap without tripping it again. My husband said that it even stood nearby because there were droppings near the trap. So my husband went to the store to buy a glue trap which we have set out tonight and will see if that works.

My friend gave us another idea that we will try if the glue trap doesn't work tonight. She suggested gluing a peanut to the trap. They do that whenever they have problems with rats and it works every time.  I just feel such a weight knowing that there is this thing carrying disease and stuff in my garage. I'm terrified that it will get into our house and hurt my babies and/or myself. I feel like my house is filthy and I by proxy. I will feel quite relieved when this is past us.

Have you ever had rats in your house? How did you rid your home of them? What are your thoughts?

June Goals - Update

Last Friday, I posted a blog about goals that I was working toward in the month of June. The first goal was to stop drinking soda. That didn't happen, but I am happy to say that I have drank less soda than I usually do, so I'm hoping that is a step in the right direction.

My second goal was the 30 for 30 challenge about spending 30 minutes everyday in the month of June playing with your children. I am happy to say that I have been able to make sure that I play with them every day! I haven't actually timed it, so I don't know if I've hit 30 minutes exactly but I have made the effort to play with them and spend time with them every day.

My third goal was to cut out fast food. We have done really well with this goal. We have still eaten out a few times, but not every day which, unfortunately, we had been doing for the few weeks prior. I actually cooked dinner last night! My husband is a fabulous cook and loves to do it, so whenever he has time he likes to make dinner, which unfortunately has spoiled me and gotten me lazy with meal planning.

All this goal setting got me thinking about how it is good to set goals, even if you don't achieve them. It gives us something to strive toward and work on.

Did you set goals for this month, year, etc? How are you doing in regards to those goals? I welcome all of your comments. :)

Linking up with Our Good Life

Linking up with Consider the Lillies at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our Unexpected Benefits of Homeschooling

This is our first year homeschooling. I don't know why I chose to wait to start homeschooling until my son was in fourth grade and my daughter was in first grade. :) I was also pregnant with my fourth child and had a very busy two year old running around. I'm starting to understand why my Mom says that I do everything the hard way. :)

Anyway, I had felt like the Lord had been convicting me to homeschool for a few years before we finally made the decision. There are many reasons why we homeschool, our faith, good education, behavior issues, etc. The thing that I want to talk about in this blog post are the unexpected benefits we found so far in our homeschooling journey.

1.) More family time:  This one is obvious as since the kids do their schooling at home, we are together more often. The unexpected benefit was that even though Daddy works out of the home, we found more time with him too. Running to his work while we were out or taking Daddy lunch provided extra time for the kids to see and talk to him.

2.) More Opportunities to learn: This one was a benefit that I hadn't even thought of before we started homeschooling. Since I know what they are learning in their school lessons each day, it is easier for me to incorporate that into everyday situations. For example, my son and I were learning about caterpillars and how they cocoon and turn into butterflies. Well, a few days after that we were looking at our plants in the backyard and found a cocoon on our cauliflower plant. It was so neat to be able to take what we had read in the Science book and see it before us happening in reality.

3.) More Time for Extracurricular Interests: This one was really a great, unexpected benefit since both of my school-aged children decided they wanted to try playing basketball for the first time this year. Since we can usually get all of our schooling done in around four hours, we have more time to visit friends, take music lessons, and do sports.

4.) More Time for Real World Learning:  Since my children are with me all of the time, I have the benefit of being able to teach them many skills that they will use as adults and parents themselves. When I run to the bank or go to an appointment or pay a bill, they are with me. I can teach them how to deposit money at the bank, clean the house, call for services, etc. My Mother was very good at teaching me how to do all these things, but I've had a few friends who were completely unprepared for running a house. These skills are almost more important that the lessons we learn in schooling since they will be used more often.

These are just a few of the unexpected benefits that I've found in my homeschooling journey. There was a time in my life where I would have never considered homeschooling my children. I'm happy that the Lord has changed my heart and mind and now we are able to enjoy this new chapter in our lives.

 Do you homeschool your kids? Have you ever thought about homeschooling your kids? Are you against homeschooling? Please share your thoughts in the comments! :)

Linking up with Time Warp Wife at

and Linking with.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My children - Mommy and Me Monday

Today is Monday. It is the start of the week. We had a very busy weekend, so I decided that we would all stay in pjs and work on cleaning the house and maybe get a little schoolwork done too.

I have been meaning to teach one or both of the oldest kids to wash the dishes. Well I was washing dishes this morning and my oldest daughter came up and asked me if she could help. So today she learned how to wash dishes.

She did a pretty good job and I think that this will be a regular chore for her from now on. Since we had the camera out, my other children wanted pictures too.

Then, I started thinking about how we have taken fewer pictures with each child. I have often wondered why.

Do you have more than one child? Do you feel that you took more pictures of your first baby than the other baby or babies? I welcome your comments! :)

I'm linking up with Mommy and Me Monday.

MDA Lock-up.

 My husband (through his workplace) is participating for the second year in the MDA Lock-up. It is a really fun day. They come and "arrest" my husband at his job and then take him to "jail". There they take his picture and feed him food and have him call people that he knows to help him raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  You can donate money to help him get out of "jail" or donate money to make him stay in "jail". If you are interested in donating, please click on the link below to help him raise money and stay out of "jail". :)

MDA Lockup

Thank you very much.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goals for June 2012

I have decided to come up with a few goals for June. Tomorrow (or today depending on your time zone) is June 1st. For the month of June, or longer, I plan on giving up soda, partaking in the 30 for 30 challenge, and reducing our fast food intake.

I am a self-confessed soda addict! I love it. I drink at least 2 or 3 sodas a day. I know that this is wrong. I know that it is terrible for my health and my teeth. I know that it is just empty calories and that I am just basically drinking high fructose corn syrup. Those are the reasons why I am choosing to stop drinking it. I was successful in stopping in the past, for several months actually, and then I tried to slowly add it back in my diet and quicker than I expected it was back to epic proportions!!

My friend posted this on facebook It is a challenge for the month of June to play with your kids everyday for 30 minutes. It really convicted me. I have four beautiful children and I rarely actually sit down and play with them. I do help them figure out what to play and watch them play, but rarely play with them. I remember when I was a kid, how I always loved it when my mother would play with me and give me personal attention. This is something I really want to succeed with.

Oh and now we come to fast food. Unfortunately, due to laziness and/or the failure to adequately plan meals we are regular staples at McDonald's and other fast food restaurants. My husband is well known at Little Caesar's Pizza. I think that they may even know our regular order. I want to start cooking healthy meals at home with my family. It makes me feel so wonderful when I sit down at our table to a home cooked meal that I prepared for my family.

Do you have any goals for the month of June? Please share in the comments! :)

Linking up with Our Good Life  Linking up with Consider the Lilies.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Do you know the difference between right and wrong?

I was reading the most recent issue of Focus on the Family's magazine, Thriving Family. Like most mothers, I constantly worry about my children and if I'm leading them in the way that they should go. This particular issue had an article that I was very surprised to read. Apparently, parents are no longer teaching their children the difference between right and wrong. The article included a quote about how the only thing young adults had to go on was their gut feelings on whether something was right and wrong.

  The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." We are instructed to teach a child the way he should go, the right way.

My mother always took the time when I was young and in to my teen years to make sure I understood when I was wrong and how to make amends. This is our job as parents, one given to us by God.

What are your thoughts? Is this a surprise to you as well? I welcome your comments. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Relaunch 2012

I haven't blogged in over a year. A lot of things changed in my life: We bought our first home. In July of 2011 we moved into a 1500 square foot foreclosure that needed a ton of work. In hindsight, it might have been a bit too much for first time homebuyers, but not nearly as bad as some of the foreclosure that we saw. The yard was ridiculously overgrown, the house smelled that every animal known to man had lived there, and none of the windows seem to have been installed properly. We had our fourth child. Our second son and fourth child was born in January. He is truly a blessing and I honestly don't know how we ever lived without him. We joined a CSA. We joined a Community Supported Agriculture Farm. There will be much more on this later as I plan to devote the blog to this almost exclusively this summer. Those are just a few of the changes in our busy blessed lives. Jessie