Sunday, February 27, 2011
It is hard to believe that March is almost here! I am planning a family tea party to celebrate the six March birthdays in my extended family including: Lily (my eldest daughter is turning eight), Olivia (my youngest daughter is turning one), my mother (50 years young!), sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and myself. I am turning the big 30- how is that even possible? If you have any tea party tips, I would love to glean from your ideas!
Monday- Baked Ziti, Bread Machine Buttery Rolls
(We loved this new to us recipe, last week, so we will enjoy it this week, too!
Tuesday- Breakfast for dinner (Whole-Wheat Waffles, Spinach Omelettes)
Wednesday- Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
Thursday- Chicken Fajitas
Friday- Homemade Pizza
For more menu plans, visit Laura. What are your menu plans this week?
Posted by Christine at 8:48 PM
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I want to grow and learn throughout my life. I chose relatively simple goals, as I am in a very busy season of life, raising four precious gifts from the Lord. I selected goals that weren't terribly time-consuming. I hope my children will be encouraged by their mama's desire to learn new arts. I consider it a wonderful homeschooling project for my children to observe/participate in as well. I hope to post a monthly update of my successes/failures after I have completed each goal. I would love to hear your words of wisdom regarding any experience you have had with any of these projects.
I had always used Keebler's pie crusts, previously, and I wanted to make a rich cheesecake in a springform pan. It happens to be my hubby's favorite type of cake, and his birthday was in January. The middle of the cake cracked, so I am not sure how to prevent that from happening again. I had read how some people put their springform pans in another pan of water while their cheesecake is baking, to prevent their cake from cracking. If you have any experience with this, I would love to hear what helps to keep your cheesecake from cracking. Thanks! Overall, I absolutely loved the coffee-house style cheesecake.
March- Make Apple Butter
April- Make Challah
(I thought this would be a perfect project for Easter! I was reading a bit about the history of Challah, and it is fascinating. The challah loaf commemorates the manna that God provided the Israelites with!)
May- Make Ginger Ale
When I was expecting baby #4, I was on a quest for some healthier ginger ale. I was horrified to see that most commercial ginger ales contain high fructose corn syrup and no ginger. It really is shocking that they get away with calling themselves "ginger ale". During that pregnancy, I did enjoy one bottle of Reed's natural ginger brew from the health food store. At $2.50 a bottle, that was a very rare treat. I would love to learn to make it myself.
June- Learn to Can!
I have to say that I am really nervous about canning; I need to just get on with it and give it a try!
July- Make Lattice-Topped Apple Pie
I have finally gotten the hang of making pie crusts, but I have never made a lattice-topped pie.
August- Dehydrate Herbs from garden for use year-round
September- Make Tincture (Perhaps a Wild Cherry Tincture)
October- Embroidered Hand Prints
Be still my heart....this will be a treasure for this mama.
November- Homemade Lip Balm (Great Christmas Gift Idea!)
December- No Sew Fleece Blanket
I would love to hear what learning goals you have, this year. If you plan on listing your goals, please leave a link in the comments section. It would be so much fun to learn together!
Posted by Christine at 1:51 PM
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I had often seen other mothers using shopping cart covers, but I used to write them off as an unnecessary baby-gear gadget. Infantino sent me a complimentary baby Infantino Cloud Shopping Cart Cover to review, through their test drive program. Since test driving the shopping cart cover, I have found the cover to be a very useful item. When my nearly one-year old daughter would ride in the cart, she would often try to lick or chew the metal parts of the cart. The Infantino Cloud Shopping Cart Cover contains 360 degree coverage, so no matter which way my daughter turned, she could only chew on the cover's fabric. With cold and flu season in full-force, I really appreciate the fact that my daughter can be cozy in the buggy and chew on the cover, with less of a chance of germ exposure. I love the fun, gender-neutral fabric, which the Infantino designers utilized in designing this cover. The Infantino Cloud Shopping Cart Cover also doubles as a high chair cover, which is so helpful in restaurants! The Cloud cover comes in a totable bag, making it very convenient to bring into a store or restaurant.This is the final Infantino product that I will be reviewing; I hope you enjoyed reading about their quality products.
Check out Infantino on:
I am a participant in a Mom Central Consulting campaign for Infantino and have received various Infantino products as part of my participation. I was under no obligation to write a favorable review, and this post contains only my honest opinions.
Posted by Christine at 7:38 PM
Monday- Baked Ziti, Homemade Bread, Salad (This is a new to me recipe, but I love that this meal can feed 8 people for around $5. That is fantastic!)
Tuesday- Breakfast for Dinner- Baked English Omelette, Hashbrowns, Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Wednesday- Hamburger Vegetable Soup (We tried this for the first time last week and loved it! This is such a hearty soup with a delicious variety of veggies.)
Thursday- Mexican Chicken Skillet
Friday- Homemade Pizza- Family Fun Night
Breakfasts- Green Smoothies (Daily),Steel Cut Oatmeal, Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, Muffins, Fruit and Granola Parfaits
Lunch- Hummus and Veggies, Homemade Sweet Potato Fries, Banana/Honey/PB sandwich, homemade wontons, Salad
What are you enjoying this week?
For more menu plans, visit Laura.
Posted by Christine at 6:35 PM
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Posted by Christine at 3:39 PM
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
"I once read a really cool tip for new moms that applies to homeschooling as well. Instead of writing a to-do list, write a list of everything you did as the day goes on. Then at the end of the day, you'll see how much you got accomplished without setting your sights high."
Instead of agonizing over whether we accomplished everything on our "to do" list, I decided to write down what we did learn. It was very freeing and empowering. If you are including your little ones in your chore time, cooking time, etc., they are probably learning much more than you may realize.
The following was what my daughter learned/did during an ordinary homeschooling day, last week.
Lily's Learning Log- 2/10/11
- Recited Bible verses, listened to one chapter of the Bible
- Completed workbook assignments in Math, Language Arts, and Bible Reading
- Learned about Samuel Morse, wrote her name in Morse Code
- Read books to her 3 year-old sister.
- Swept kitchen
- Washed dishes
- Completed science experiment learning about acids and bases from this kit.
- Helped Mommy make Chicken Lasagna
- listened to one chapter of Beautiful Girlhood
- Playtime with Olivia (11 months).
I must tell you that I was so encouraged after I jotted down this list of Lily's accomplishments for the day. I am so used to just crossing off goals, and there are usually plenty that we don't get around to completing. But seeing how much she learned and accomplished was so inspiring to me.
Education is so much more than merely covering every topic on the scope and sequence list. I truly desire that my children will be lifelong learners; I believe that starts by making learning interesting and exciting. I love what Jamie says about reading,
"Our goal for our children should not only be reading ability, but reading longevity. We shouldn't really care if our children can read at age four - it's more important that they're still reading at age 24."
I love watching my children learn, whether it be through reading a story, writing a letter to Grandma, or taking a nature walk. It is such a blessing to watch them learn, and to be fortunate enough to learn right along beside them!
What ways have you found to relax and to enjoy learning along with your little ones? Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 2:25 PM
Monday, February 14, 2011
We just finished our first week with using cash only for grocery shopping. In Dave Ramsey's FPU, I found it fascinating to learn that our brain actually feels pain when we part with cash. Consumers tend to spend 20% more when using other forms of payment, such as credit cards. I usually grocery shop at 3-4 stores, so I take out my weekly allowance for groceries before shopping. I also started using my calculator to figure out my total as I check out. This works out well except for my sweet little Olivia, who is usually in the ERGO baby carrier, usually finds a way to hit the clear button. She is so funny!
Though I don't usually look forward to sitting down and planning the budget, I am always very glad that I did. As Dave Ramsey says, "Managed money has more muscle." I have definitely found that budgeting is very freeing, as it is nice to know that I can spend x amount on food without feeling like I overspent. We definitely tended to spend more on groceries when we just mentally set aside a certain amount for groceries and used our debit cards. I was thrilled to even have a few dollars left over, after buying everything I needed for the week. If you are interested in reducing your grocery budget, I highly recommend Crystal's 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget Series.
Monday- February 14- Chicken Lasagna, Bread, Salad ( I think I gain 20 pounds every time I eat this delightful meal....but I daresay it is worth it!)
Tuesday- February 15- Pasta Salad
Wednesday- February 16- Spaghetti, Salad, Bread
Thursday- February 17- Hamburger Vegetable Soup
Friday- February 18- Homemade Pizza
Saturday- February 19- Out
Blueberry Streusel Muffins
I would love to hear more about how you budget for groceries each week.
For more menu plans, visit Laura.
Posted by Christine at 6:00 AM
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Though I am always reading a bunch of books, my main non-fiction book, during January, was Raising Real Men. Raising Real Men is a practical guide in the rubrics of raising sons to be godly men of character. I daresay that this book is a must-read if you have been blessed with a son. Hal and Mel Young, authors of Raising Real Men, are no strangers to raising boys to become men. The Youngs have been blessed with six sons! Raising Real Men covered such important topics as: encouraging sons to emulate noble heroes, reading recommendations, raising an independent-spirited son (despite living in a culture which nourishes perpetual adolescence), preparing sons for leadership, and so much more. I relished this engaging, biblical, and witty work; I will turn to it often throughout the course of raising my son.
My reading selection for February is Organized Simplicity.
Don't miss my current giveaway of my favorite health book ever, Cancer Step Outside the Box.
Check out my 2011 reading list here.
For more book lists, visit Life as Mom.
I received a free copy of Raising Real Men for review purposes.
Posted by Christine at 9:58 PM
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Approximately one out of three people, currently living, will be diagnosed with cancer. Almost everyone knows someone, a friend, relative, or neighbor, whose life has been affected by the "C" word. Within a span of eight years, Ty Bollinger lost seven family members to cancer. Consequently, Ty plunged himself into researching cancer preventatives, as well as alternative cancer treatments. He has combined all of his thorough research into one volume, Cancer Step Outside of the Box. I have read many books on health and proper nutrition, over the years. Yet, I haven't encountered one as comprehensive, inspiring (yes, hopeful!), and well-documented as Cancer Step Outside the Box is. I appreciate Mr.Bollinger's clear explanation regarding the probable cause(s) of cancer, and his practical recommendations for restoring health. There are excellent sections in this book regarding toxins to be avoided, and super-foods and supplements recommendations. I appreciate that this book is such a thorough work on such a timely topic, and that the author shares from a Christian perspective.
Ty Bollinger is graciously giving a signed copy of Cancer Step Outside of the Box to a Lily of the Valley blog reader!
Please leave a comment on this post. Include your e-mail address, so I can contact you if you are the winner.
Optional Additional Entries (Leave a separate comment for each one.)
1. Sign up for the Cancer Truth Newsletter.
2. Share about this giveaway on twitter, facebook, blog.
3. Become a Facebook Fan of Cancer Truth and Lily of the Valley.
This giveaway ends Thursday, February 17, at noon EST, and is open to US residents.
Disclaimer: The author of Cancer Step Outside the Box sent me a free e-book copy, and has provided the signed edition of this book, for this giveaway.
Posted by Christine at 3:48 PM
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
We all know that we need to eat a large amount of vegetables, every day, to maintain health. Unfortunately, according to a CDC report, Americans aren't eating enough portions of fruits and vegetables. Growing up on mainly processed foods, it has taken me years to baby step my way into eating healthier. One fabulous thing about consuming more fruits and vegetables is that the healthier you eat, the healthier your cravings tend to be! The following are a few tips for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into one's diet.
1. Start your day with a green smoothie.
Anyone who has read this blog for a while has certainly heard a lot about green smoothies. They have definitely changed my life. My family and I usually drink green smoothies first thing in the morning. This is a fantastic way to get a hearty dose of fruits and vegetables into your diet before eating anything else! Blending leafy greens, fruit, and water is not only nutritious, but is very tasty. I encourage you to try it, no matter what type of blender you have. I own a Vita Mix, which I absolutely love. Even if you have a lower powered blender, try adding some spinach or kale in when making a smoothie. Green smoothies are a wonderful convenience food. You can even take your blended concoction with you on the road while running errands. I am convinced that green smoothies are the way to eat your green leafies, which have so many health benefits.
Tips for helping children and newbies to enjoy smoothies here.
2. Keep fresh vegetables on hand for easy snacking.
Stock your fridge with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, broccoli florets, etc.. Use homemade hummus or guacamole for dipping. Vegetables are wonderful when a snack attack happens!
3. Add vegetables to your main dish.
Add vegetables to your pasta salads, sandwich wraps, etc.. Sandwich wraps are scrumptious with avocado slices, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, and baby spinach.
I love adding a variety of fresh vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, broccoli, and peppers to homemade pasta salad.
4. Serve at least one side dish of vegetables at dinner.
Short on ideas? Roast some root vegetables, steam some broccoli, or bake a butternut squash.
5. Start by eating one or two vegetarian meals for dinner each week.
Some of our favorites include Middle Eastern Lentil Soup, Mediterranean Vegetable Stew, and Tempeh Chili.
6.Eat a salad before eating any cooked food.
Raw vegetables and fruits contain enzymes, which are the life force in food. Eating raw before eating cooked foods provides you with enzymes which aid in digestion of your food.
7. Find healthy dessert alternatives.
I love baking and I definitely indulge my sweet tooth more than I ought to. One wonderful thing I have found is that there is almost always a healthy (and delicious) alternative for nearly every decadent dessert! Check out these raw dessert recipes.
This is a scrumptious, healthy chocolate pudding that I love to make. You won't believe the secret ingredient! Check out the recipe here.
What tips do you have for incorporating more veggies in your diet?
Visit Tammy for more kitchen tips!
Posted by Christine at 12:49 PM