April 9, 2014

{writing} What Easter is Not.

Today you can find me over here, writing about Easter and sharing a fun Easter freebie!

Easter is many things to me. The Resurrection of Jesus. A celebration of my faith in Him. A time for family to gather and share our gratitude for all He has done. Spring. New life. Easter baskets. A big family dinner. Laughing kids and adults lingering at the table with coffee. Easter dresses and white cardigans. Tulips and daffodils. My grandmother’s tablecloth, dyed Easter eggs and cinnamon swirl bread. Coordinating outfits for the whole family.

Click over to Homeschool Mosaics to read what Easter is not. Not for me, anyway...

March 25, 2014

My Favorite Planner!

The 2014-2015 of  the Well Planned Day planners are now being shipped! There are several to choose from - the family Well Planned Day for homeschoolers, the On The Go planner for busy moms (just the right size to drop in your purse!), the student planner, the high school planner - both one year and four year - and the college planner.  For any bloggers out there, WPD has a new blog planner as well!

They are ALL on sale for just a few more days! Start your homeschool planning off right and grab one of these planners. Trust me, you won't regret it!

March 20, 2014

{review & giveaway} The Sparkle Egg

Update: This giveaway is now over. The winner is comment #3 - Amanda!  Congratulations!!

Happy First Day of Spring!! It doesn't really feel like it around here. We still have tons of snow, it's blustery and cold. But the calendar says it's spring.  And with spring, comes Easter.

I was recently given the opportunity to review a great new Easter book published by Ideals BooksThe Sparkle Egg, written by Jill Hardie and illustrated by Christine Kornacki, is a beautiful story. It teaches of Christ's full redemption and how one boy realized he was truly free.

I don't want to tell the whole story, but I'll fill you in a bit. Sam is feeling guilty about something he did. His parents talked to him about forgiveness. They prayed. They forgave him. But that nagging guilt over his behavior is still bothering Sam. As Easter approaches, Sam's parents tell him about the Sparkle Egg.

Without giving away any more of the story, I'll say that the Sparkle Egg is a genius idea for Christian parents that want to communicate to their children the extent of Christ's forgiveness.  I was raised in a non-Christian home, so ideas like this are just so eye opening to me! The Sparkle Egg is pretty special and reading it in the context of the story is moving. It's a beautiful story and lesson about being fully free through Christ's redemption.

The really special thing for me was watching Lauren read some of the sentences to Addie. It's so nice to have great stories in the house for my little reader. The Sparkle Egg is definitely one that I wouldn't mind her reading again and again.

There are also instructions on how to make your own Sparkle Egg at the end of the book. It would be a great tradition to start with your children this Easter.

To celebrate the first day of spring, Christ's unending forgiveness and the quickly approaching Easter holiday, I'm hosting a giveaway for one copy of The Sparkle Egg! All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me your favorite Easter tradition. Dying eggs? A special recipe? Dinner with family? Tell me all about it!

The contest will end April 3 at midnight. The winner will be announced on April 4 and notified by email. One entry per person, please.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

March 14, 2014

Five Things Friday. Finally.

I've missed a couple of Fridays lately. Sorry. We've been a bit swamped.

On My Heart: Teaching my daughters to do things well, not to just do things. This is mainly focusing on chores right now but I'm praying that the lessons sink in deep. There is a testimony at work when we do things well, with a good attitude and with joy. It may not seem like it matters to make your bed when no one is coming over and you're just going to get in it again anyway. But it matters.  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Col. 3:23-24) Peace is also on my heart. Living at peace.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18) I don't think this means I have to be best friends with everyone I meet. But I need to have a peaceful relationship. And if that means to keep my heart peaceful, I keep my distance, ... maybe that's okay. I'm still chewing on that one.

On My Mind: I don't even want to say it. Health. Exercise. Ugh. Can anyone else ugh with me? It's hard to be disciplined in what we eat and do. I'm slowly working healthier carbs into our diet. I'm also painfully sore this morning after doing a new workout. We aren't going totally gluten-free for several reasons, but we are working on healthier options. It's hard, people. That's what's on my mind. As I go through my day, it's on my mind. Thinking if I'm making a good choice. How will this choice I'm making impact my calorie totals at the end of the day. It's a lot of thinking and choosing, rather than just grabbing and going. Being intentional about anything takes work, right?

On My iPod: We have an edit here.... drum roll ..... I got an iPhone. Prior to this I was using either an ipod Nano that is seriously older than half my kids or a cracked, barely working iPod touch. I should clean up the Nano and save it because it might be a collector's item in a few years. Due to some new responsibilities I have, it was necessary that I was easy to get ahold of. My little $15 Tracfone was not reliable. So an upgrade was necessary. Right now on my phone, I'm learning how to use Siri, how to talk my texts and playing with different ringtones. But the newest music on my phone is some old music. It's a CD that was given to us when Lael and Alyssa were little called Sing the Word. They listened to it so much, it wore out! So we bought it again for Lauren and Addie. They listen to it when they go to sleep and through the day. Thankfully digital files don't wear out!

On My DVR: Hmm... that's a good question. Let me check, hang on. Okay. Treehouse Masters and Building Wild are two shows that my Hubs got me into. The guys on these shows build the coolest things! We are totally into When Calls The Heart now. Elizabeth and Jack are so cute. If you haven't caught it yet, I would highly recommend it. One thing that isn't yet on my DVR is Dancing With The Stars. I haven't really watched it in the past, but one of my favorite celebrities is going to be on this season. Candace Cameron Bure (DJ from Full House) has become popular again, for writing books and sharing some pretty good thoughts on submission while on national television. She's outspoken about her Christianity and I appreciate that. I'm just not sure how she's going to balance some level of modesty while dancing.

On My Schedule: We have a birthday coming up (Lauren will be 7!!), that's always hard to schedule because trade show season is also starting. My husband is the sales manager for a local HVAC company. So when all those spring home shows start, he works at them. It makes for a busy March and April for us. We have lots we want to do and people we want to have over. But work comes first and that means trade shows.

March 9, 2014

The Best Pizza Crust

There are people in my house that can be a bit picky when it comes to food. So when I found this pizza crust recipe (no idea where I found it now), I tripled it and wrote it in my recipe book. It comes out great every time and the picky person in my house comments every time on how good it is.

The Best Pizza Crust

2 1/4 tablespoons yeast
3 cups warm water
7 1/2 cups flour (I use all-purpose)
3 teaspoons honey
3 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons oil (I'm sure there is some smarter equivalent for this)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine yeast and water, stir well. Add in honey salt and oil, mix. Then add in flour and mix with wooden spoon until it pulls together. Then knead until it's a soft, workable dough. I don't ever knead this for very long, no more than a minute or two. Add flour if needed.

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Then split into three sections. This makes three large pizzas. Sprinkle pizza pan with cornmeal or cooking spray. Pat dough out to desired thickness. Top as desired and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Our favorite pizzas are currently white garlic sauce with crumbled sausage and broccoli or oil and garlic with crumbled hamburger topped a mix of mozzarella and cheddar. And there is of course meat lover's pizza. There is always meat lover's.