Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Menus for April 14-27

 I realize I am a day late, but I did want to be sure to get our menus shared. Part of getting food costs under control is having a menu. Once you know what is for dinner, you know what to buy. You are less likely to overbuy, have to visit the store multiple times for extra purchases, or most tempting, just eat out. Take 30 minutes and come up with 14+ meal ideas and write them down. Once you have that done, then you can plan them out with your family's schedule. Homemade lasagna isn't going to get done the night you have baseball practice, choir rehearsal, piano lessons, and a dentist appointment. That day, you need a crock pot meal!  And when you know what meals you will actually be needing, then you can write out a grocery list. The grocery list takes a little longer to do, but so worth the time. And make it a family project. Send kids to retrieve cookbooks, to look in cupboards for extra canned corns, or to get a count as to how much beef is left in the freezer. Soon, you will begin to see your food costs diminish, and much more healthy dinners at your table. And the frazzled, stressed out Mom?  Well, I can't get rid of her. But I can make dinner time much more smooth with having a plan!

What we will be eating the next two weeks

So, what will you be having for dinner this week?

Friday, April 11, 2014

In Love with Lavender

Before I gush too much about one of my favorite oils,  I want to let you know about a little contest I am having. I would like to name this series on Essential Oils, but am out of all creative names! So I thought I would let you, my readers, help me! I need something, short, sweet, and of course cute that I can label all my posts about oils. And as a thank you to the one who comes up with the winning entry, I am going to give them a free 15ml bottle of Lavender oil!

So let me tell you why I am giving away Young Living's Lavender Oil. In my opinion it is one of the most versatile oils Young Living has to offer. I think you can use it for just about ANYTHING. But let me tell you of my very first experience with it. I received my Premium Starter Kit in February. Our youngest daughter, Marian Glen, was 10 months old, and had only slept through the night once, maybe twice all those months. Most nights, there were at least two feedings, and multiple crying fits and screams during the night. Sleeping for more than two straight hours was considered a blessing around here. And as a girl who needs her beauty sleep? I was turning into the nasty villain of the movies, not the Pretty Princess. So when my order came in, I set up the diffuser, filled it with water and 10 drops of Lavender Oil, turned it on, and then fed Marian Glen. When she had her fill, and was passed out in my arms, I tried for the dreaded transfer to bed. You know the one. They are dead to the world, but the second they leave your arms, the blood-curdling screams begin? She rolled right over in bed, and STAYED ASLEEP!! And six glorious hours later, she woke up again to nurse. And went right back to sleep, and slept for four more hours. That night of sleep was worth every penny I spent on that kit!

But I use it for all sorts of stuff. Just this week I have used it for:
  • allergy relief
  • minor cuts on the children
  • diaper rash ointment
  • Epson salt bath
  • room freshener
  • bedtime relaxer
This is truly one of the top oils you can purchase. You can diffuse it, apply it straight to the skin, and, since Young Living Oils are therapeutic grade oils, you can take it internally. It is also included in the Everyday Oil Collection, which is included in the Premium Starter Kit. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the oil, purchasing, or how we have been changing our lifestyle to become more natural in how we treat our family.  As always, if you choose to purchase something, I would be honored if you used my member ID, 1638227 as your referring distributor!

And did you see? By purchasing the Premium Starter Kit, you are getting the Home Diffuser basically for free! It is an amazing way to step into the world of Essential Oils!

*I am not a doctor. I am a Mom looking for ways to naturally treat ailments in our home. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. And yes, buy purchasing anything from these links, I will receive compensation. However, all opinions and statements are mine and completely unsolicited from the company.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Essential Oils are Entering our Home

I have to tell you, I love my newest adventure. I took the plunge and jumped into the world of essential oils.  After much research, thought, and prayer, I joined the Young Living Essential Oils' team.  From learning what oils to use when, convincing skeptical teens I'm not poisoning them, and being brave enough to let go of "what we've always done" treatments, it has been quite the experience for our family. One that we LOVE.

So from time to time, I will be sharing with you how we are getting rid of the harsh chemicals in our household, and learning to use products that are natural, from God's creation,  and good for our health and well being. So to start this series off, let me share with you where I started.

Our home is full of migraine sufferers, allergy victims, and insomniacs. And as we have been raising our children, we have become less enthused about over-the-counter meds and other conventional treatments. There just seemed to be something not right about giving our then four year old heavy duty pain meds for her migraine. But what do you do as your baby is screaming at you to "make it stop"? Enter in some good friends, more research, and a parent's desire to do just that. Make it all stop.

It was only two days after my starter package from Young Living arrived that we had our first migraine. And it was a doosey. My husband was writhing in pain, and pills were not going to help. He was just throwing them up from being so nauseated. I began a regimen of peppermint, PanAway, and Deep Relief. I rubbed the oils on his feet, neck, and temples, and diffused the peppermint while he tried to relax in the bathtub. Very quickly, he was back in bed, and I kept the diffuser going, and added peppermint to his stomach to help aid with the nausea. He was not instantly healed, but we were able to avoid a trip to the hospital for IV fluids, and he was sleeping off the migraine within the hour.

And, as soon as he was asleep, I rinsed the diffuser, put in some lavender, and took it to the room where our baby sleeps. Marian is the most non-sleeping baby in history I think! She was 9 months old, and we had yet to go more than three hours sleeping. I turned that machine on, eased myself into my bed, and crashed. And did not know anything until seven the next morning! It was a full NINE HOURS of uninterrupted sleep! Y'all, that right there was worth every.single.penny.

This is just a start of how oils are changing our lives. From cleaning products, sore muscles, stomach virus and more, I have lots to share with you. And I would love for you to join me in our adventure! Purchasing the Premium Starter Kit is the most economical way to start your journey.  And with a Premium Starter Kit and member sign up, purchase, I will send you a free reference book to help you learn how to use your new essential oils! Be sure to use my member number 1638227 when you sign up so you can get your free guide.

*I am not a doctor. I am a Mom looking for ways to naturally treat ailments in our home. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. And yes, buy purchasing anything from these links, I will receive compensation. However, all opinions and statements are mine and completely unsolicited from the company.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: Asia, It's People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson

It's not often a curriculum moves you. To tears, to prayer, to action. However, "Asia, It's People and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson" just happens to be one of those. From the very first story, I was hooked. By the second story I was ugly crying. In fact, I read it cover to cover in my first sitting with it. And my children are mesmerized.

Although written for ages 8 to 12, it really fits well for families. Broken down to be a 16 week course studying 6 countries, this unit study is easily adapted to expand or condense to meet your families needs.  I enjoyed the story sections and used them as read-alongs for the whole family. They captured us, connected us to the people of these countries, yet weren't so long that the littles got restless.

Our family especially enjoyed the links to Voice of the Martyrs, and connecting further ways to pray for people around the world. As a homeschool parent, I found the history sections to be a great way to continue learning, as well as using the Activities for each section. But I think what was most enjoyable, and altering, were the discussion questions at the end of each part. After feeling so connected to the people in the stories, and then asking questions that make it so real to you, you cannot walk away without DOING something. Questions like, "Have you ever felt like no one cares about you? What made you feel that way? What helped you remember how much God-and many other people-care about you?". Or even "How would you feel it you had to move away because your neighbors didn't want you to love Jesus?"

I encourage you, homeschooling family or not, to prayerfully consider this book. It is a wonderful way for you as a family to set your hearts and minds on brothers and sisters around the world who are in need of our prayers and our actions.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stuffed Shells, Mexican Style

I am always looking for something new to cook. If not to keep the family guessing, to mix it up for me in the kitchen. So I was hunting something new the other day, and I found this recipe on Pinterest. Because I find all the cool stuff on Pinterest. Anyway, thought I would share it with you. I made some modifications, so to find the original recipe, click here. Read on, and you can see how we made it (basically the same way, just with homemade mixes and sauce) And can I make a suggestion? Keep the recipe doubled the way I give it to you. You will add about five minutes to your prep/cooking time, and will have a second meal to freeze for those days you just need something to throw into the oven! Of course for us, we ate both pans in one sitting. And were fighting over who got to lick out the pans!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe *following
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 box Jumbo Shells (approximately 40 shells)
  • 1 Enchilada Sauce recipe *following
  • 1-2 cups salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Montery Jack Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, or a combo of the two

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt to taste, and the pasta shells. Boil the shells for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the shells and rinse in cool water.

2. While the pasta is working, brown up your ground beef and onions over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain excess grease from the pan and set aside. Add the Taco Seasoning and stir to mix.

3. Add in cream cheese, cooking over medium to low heat, stirring until cheese is mixed in and melted through. Take off heat and set aside.

4. Mix together the Enchilada Sauce and the salsa, adding enough salsa to make a nice gravy of sorts. Add less if you prefer thicker sauces, more if you like thinner sauces.

5. Pour about half of the gravy into the bottom of two 9X13 pans and spread around to cover. Fill each jumbo shell with a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture and place into the pan. Repeat until the shells are all filled, placing about 20 shells in each pan. If there is any left over meat, sprinkle over the stuffed shells.

6. Pour the remaining sauce over the two pans. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.

7. Remove pans from oven and the foil from the pans. Cover with the cheeses, and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and the dish is bubbly.

*Taco Seasoning

1 heaping TBS chili powder
3tsp. paprika (smoked if you want a deeper flavor)
3tsp. cumin
2tsp. onion powder
2tsp. garlic powder
1tsp. salt
dash of cayenne
Combine all the ingredients. Use as you would packaged mixes. Makes 6 TBS

*Enchilada Sauce

6TBS reserved fat from ground beef (or butter if you would rather)
6TBS flour
3 cups beef stock
2TBS chili powder
2tsp. cumin

Place fat in a skillet over medium heat, whisk in flour to make a roux, cooking for a couple of minutes. Slowly add stock, whisking as you go to remove all lumps. Once gravy is smooth, add the remaining two ingredients, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Use as you would any enchilada sauce.

Y'all, we completely fell in love with this. I cooked up some corn for a side, but a small salad would be great as well. I hope you try this, and enjoy!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why is Today So Special?

Yesterday, I asked Anderson if he knew why November 14th was so special. He had no idea. So, I set him on the couch with me and told him this story:

There once was a Mommy and Daddy who waited a very long time for a special little boy. They had prayed over him, and God was going to bless this Mommy and Daddy soon. And on November 14th, this little boy was born.  He was a beautiful baby boy. And everyone was so excited to finally see him! The Mommy and Daddy wrapped him in a blanket so he would stay warm, and put a little hat on his head to protect him. They held him for hours, and just stared at his little face in wonder. Their hearts grew so big with the love they had for him! The Daddy looked at the Mommy and asked her what she thought they should name him. The Mommy looked at his face and smiled, and said, "I believe his name should be Anderson Dean". And that was what he was named.

And at that moment, Anderson sucked all the air out of the room and looked at me with big crocodile tears in his eyes and whispered, "That's ME! Mommy, you loved me so much! I just didn't know how special I really was".

My friends, take the time to tell your babies what they mean to you. Tell them often. Tell others of your child's specialness in front of your child. Remember, they are special, not because of what they can do. But because they are a gift to you. Whether this child is your only one, you spent years trying to have a child, or like this guy, he is the seventh one, each is EXTREMELY important. The most precious gift you have. Our children yearn to know of our deep abounding love, and it is honey to their souls to have their parents speak those words of affirmation over them.

Happy Birthday, my precious boy. Today you are five; a whole hand old. You have a life about you that amazes me. You abound with energy, yet need the security of the adults in your life assuring you along the way. Your heart is to look after your sisters or those smaller than you. You play hard, love hard. You live your life, all the ups and downs, with a passion that knows no bounds. And yes, child, I prayed for you. I wanted you. And I have spent everyday rejoicing God saw fit to bless me with you. I love you Anderson Dean Buster!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4- Malcolm's Favorite Game

And now, we move into the children's favorite games section.  This is my favorite part of the 31 Days of Family Games.  When I polled the kids, there was great angst among them when I said there could only be one favorite. I thought Malcolm was going to come undone. But at long last, he has chosen his top game. I will be sure to let you know along the way what games were all vying for this spot.

Malcolm's favorite game, The Lord of the Rings,  was received as a birthday present last year. And for those of you with older boys, this will be one to add to the Christmas wish list. It took him a couple of days of reading the rules to sort of grasp the concept of the game. This is one of those games that is going to take a while to fully learn. After a round or two, most people will have gotten the rules for the most part, and won't have to consult the rulebook as often. It will, however, still require some attention to detail to master. Also, the game (Sauron) usually seems to win. In my book, that's a plus since it makes the rare wins all the more meaningful.

{links are affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you purchase through it}

It is listed for players ages 12 and up. And for up to five players. Our nine year old played with his brothers and Dad, but this age listing is pretty spot on. It is an intense game of strategy, cooperation, and even some luck.  All of it taking place on FIVE different boards! I know this is a list of FAMILY games, but I will be honest, I have not played it yet.  However, I have watched, and have listened to all the post game reports, and I am worn out just by that!  And since a win is rare, the excitement over the "almosts", and "next times" is really just a great bonding experience. I especially love watching the excitement in Malcolm and his Dad's eyes as they are dissecting the last game played.  And watch out for when you do get a win! Trust me, the entire neighborhood will hear about it!

Join us tomorrow as we get a look at one of our girl's favorite game!