Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Meal Planning! Ideas and a link-up for your great recipes!

I tend to spend a whole lot less on groceries when I make a meal plan for the upcoming month...but along with that I think I tend to fall into a rut of the same meals over and over :) We raise meat chickens and turkeys and my husband hunts and we all the freezer is full of lots of different meats :)

SO -- how about a linkup to share some of your favorite meal recipes with me?  I'd love to expand our repertoire with some of your great recipe ideas, and I'm sure many of you could use some fresh recipe ideas as well!

Hey, how about healthy-ish ideas :)  NOT looking for stuff like packaged mixes or processed foods :)

To join in, please add a link to your blog post (from whenever, doesn't need to be from this month!) with the "name" section the name of the recipe!

Thanks in advance for all the great ideas! :)

Link right up here!! :)

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Angel of Forest Hill by Cindy Woodsmall (review)

Looking for a quick and easy read for the winter holidays?  This Amish-like book by Cindy Woodsmall, The Angel of Forest Hill, is worth reading!  It's a short and enjoyable read, though a bit lightweight (I think).

Rose, the main character, has been sent away from her very large Amish family by her bishop to help out a very small Amish community -- all the way (from Pennsylvania) to West Virginia.  She is intended to assist a family who has two children and one imminent.  When she arrives she is met with a mourning family, the mother having died in childbirth.

The community tries to find a way to help out the new widower and the solution suggested by his father is that he marry Rose, not of love (of course) but a kind of way to find a live-in mother type figure to care for the children.  Rose agrees and they begin this strange relationship of sorts.

A few years go by and Rose and Joel have formed some sort of bonds.  They work well together, though their relationship is not like a traditional marriage.

I don't want to give too much away...the story follows the progression of their relationship from this sham marriage to the possibility of something more meaningful.  There are major hurdles along the way, some being Rose's past upbringing, some jealousy and anger, and others.

I thought it was a nice story.  It was not really deep, can be read quickly.  It didn't seem like many Amish-type books I've read before -- the characters seemed much more liberal.

Basically it's a love story with (yes) a happy ending :) If you're looking for a feel-good quick read, pick this one up!

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Blog buttons :)

Here's a new blog button someone's helping me to make...


Monday, December 19, 2016

Sea smoke

Brrrrr! So cold! Early in the winter when the temps get really low (below 0) and the lake is still liquid, occasionally we get a glimpse of what they used to call "sea smoke" back when we lived in Maine near the ocean. Driving across the causeway with the lake on both sides, it feels slightly mysterious, as if we are in some suspenseful movie scene. So...sea smoke (though technically not "sea" as it is a freshwater lake, and not "smoke" because it's just not :) ) is kind of a frosty fog rising from the water when before it's frozen and when the air temps are very cold (this morning around zero).

Here are pictures, slightly blurry since we were driving, but maybe you can get a feel for this peculiar phenomenon! :) The lake in this pic is beginning to freeze, so the "smoke" is not enveloping us, but rather out a ways where it is not yet frozen. You might have to click on the pictures to enlarge them to get the full effect :)

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I have never been a couponer (well, before a couple of years ago!)

Several years ago I had an acquaintance who would post on facebook the items that she would buy for the week, along with the money she spent. I was completely amazed, but had no idea how she did it. After a few months of watching her posts I finally got up the courage to ask her how on earth she did that. She responded with some information about couponing, with the help of couponing websites. I previously had no idea that these existed, but that began my couponing adventures.

We have a pretty low grocery budget, and I have been so blessed by what we have been able to purchase with our funds. When items are on a great sale, when you add a coupon on top of that, the price sinks down very low. In that case I usually buy some ahead, to last through the times when the prices are high again.

It takes a chunk of time to coordinate and plan out the grocery lists for the week, but the savings are very noticeable. My family is eating well and we are spending less.

Three of my most favorite sites to visit for coupon matchups are: Krazy Coupon Lady (, Living Rich With Coupons (here), and Inspiring Savings (here).

I have been blessed through couponing, which is why I wanted to share with you all! :)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Cyberpatriot, a cybersecurity learning and competing opportunity

Have you ever heard of CyberPatriot, "... the National Youth Cyber Education Program" ? (

My daughter learned about this program through a mentor at a computer camp she attended this summer -- he was willing to help us get a team started of our homeschooled kids and their friends who were interested (well, it turned out that it was just my kids and one friend!) Anyhow, he volunteered to help us as our team mentor.

Thus began our CyberPatriot adventure! I signed up as the coach (which is kind of laughable, considering my low computer savvy) and signed our team up (my 3 plus 1). Our mentor and the state representative of the Air Force Association held a few training sessions in which the students learned about cybersecurity and how to fix vulnerabilities on different operating systems (such as windows 7, windows 8, windows 2008, different versions of ubuntu, and more!)

This is a competition-driven learning adventure, I suppose because competition spurs many people on to learn more -- with different tiers of competition, ending with a national competition of the best of the teams. This is year 9 (CyberPatriot IX) and the number of teams competing is around 4404 teams. Teams are made up of a coach and up to 5 members. There are high school teams, middle school teams, and "all service" teams (JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, and such).

This program is through The Air Force Association. It's a great opportunity for your interested student to learn more about cybersecurity! To find out more about it, check out this link:

(ps, a lot of schools have teams, you may be able to join one of them...or you can form your own. We are a homeschooled team, I know there are other organizational teams, such as through Girl Scouts and such).

Here are some pictures of our team competing in the November and December rounds.

Friday, December 2, 2016

This week...

You know, when I was a mother of babies and toddlers I used to say silly things like, "We'll never be so busy as _________ seems to be (usually a parent of a high schooler)" Well, here I am and yes, I am eating my words.

I have a pretty awesome life, so blessed by God in so many ways.

But we're busy. BUSY. B---U---S---Y

Busy with what, you say? Well, here are a few snippets from the week... butchering turkeys (ick), picking child up from community college class, taking kids to youth group, taking kids to and from piano lessons, taking kids to and from violin lessons, grocery shopping, working on robot with kids, making mittens and driftwood trees for craft sale this weekend, OH YEAH--HOMESCHOOLING, of course :), taking son to and from guitar lessons, taking daughter to orthodontist appointment, freezing turkey, canning turkey, canning turkey stock, making turkey soup, Christmas shopping (online, b/c I don't like shopping in stores haha), and much, so much, more!

I thank God for where he has put me and for the strength and hope that comes from Him. My daughter used this verse this week in an assignment for one of her classes and it really speaks to me: 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you." YES!!!! Just what I need, thank you Lord for caring for me and taking my anxieties.

Well, got to get ready for that craft fair! I'll leave you with a "before" pic of those turkeys which will provide a LOT of meals for us this winter!