Friday, October 29, 2010

Life is Short

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Last weekend I attended an annual family reunion. I like going. I like seeing family who I don't typically see throughout the year.

During the chatter, catching up, and kids whizzing about, a few moments suddenly turned grave. Shock. Silence. Some tears. A life seemed to be hanging in the balance. My grandpa's life.

I was reminded of the fragility of life. It doesn't last forever. We only have so much time to make a difference, to be the best person we can be. Each day is a choice to live life to the fullest.

I am pondering that even my life is but a breath.

(My mom and grandpa)

My grandpa was taken to the hospital in an ambulance that day, but thankfully, he is home and doing much better. May his last years on earth be fruitful and may God be glorified.

I am encouraged to keep pressing on and raising up children for the Lord. To make a difference. To cherish every moment.

May my 3 little acorns grow up to be "Oaks of Righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." (Isaiah 61:3) If this be the case, then my life will have been a life well spent.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Even She Can Push It

Pin It Now! Several months ago we had to purchase a new vacuum. I really didn't want to go with the cheap-vacuum-from-Wal-Mart-to-get-by this time around.

I was tired of vacuuming my entire downstairs with the hose! My other vacuum said it worked on tile--not so much. When I vacuumed my shaggy-type rug with it, no vacuum lines. (Was this thing really working?)

After a few days of research, my hubby and I decided to buy the Oreck XL Classic. I LOVE it!!!

Even she can push it. :)

I still help with cord holding while she vacuums her own room, but I was taking the picture. ;)

Other features I love:

  • It really is lightweight.
  • It works perfectly on tile--huge to me!!
  • I get vacuum lines where I thought vacuum lines weren't possible. (Even on my shaggy rug.)
  • Hose and attachments come seperately with a handheld vacuum--like this.

Oreck XL works for me and I am so glad my hubby spent the extra money on a GREAT vacuum!

*Linked to Works for me Wednesday

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Plants vs Zombies Party

Pin It Now! Finally, an X-box game for the entire family's enjoyment!! It is super fun and made for a great family game night. I even made junkfood and let the kids eat in the living room!

Orange Crush, popcorn, fall m&ms, and festive cookies. Served before bed. Yep. Gotta let go every once in a while. :)

Picking plants is so much fun. I even have a Zen garden now that Shiloh waters for me every morning. If only there were real flowers that sprouted silver and gold coins!

I think the zombies wore my sweet girl out~time for bed. What a fun time.

What are your favorite family games?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

15 Year Old McDonald's Hamburger Meal. Seriously.

Pin It Now! You've got to check this out!

The last 2 pictures were submitted by my brother-in-law. I have heard him tell the story many times of THE Happy Meal his mother-in-law bought in 1996!!!! Yes, that is not a misprint--1996, people!

I don't eat there often, but I do admit I have. And another confession: I kinda like their cheeseburgers, but . . . um, my body totally recognizes that those burgers are toxic.

Makes me want to buy a burger for a homeschool experiment. And, I think I will. We are studying nutrition this year and all.

So, go now. See the 15 year old burger and fries for yourself! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who's in the Garden & FRESHhanger Winners

Pin It Now! This is such a cute toddler/preschool book, I wanted to share it with you all. I am missing the big, fat board book phase terribly!! Every once in a while Shiloh lets me read one to her. She's mostly reading books to me now, and I have moved on to reading her Disney Fairy novels.

You can check out my TOS review here. :)

FRESHhanger winners: Tammy and Heather! Heather, please contact me ASAP--I didn't see any contact info, and I am not sure which follower you are.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Beautiful Mariposa

Pin It Now! My sweet girl finally has a pair of "real" fairy wings!! Thank you Grandma Honey. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Paula Deen's Porkloin is the BEST!!!

Pin It Now! *Please take a moment to enter my giveaway!!
Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients• 1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin, with fat left on
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
• 1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
• 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

DirectionsPreheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Place the pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, massage the mixture onto the pork loin, covering all of the meat and fat.
Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests.

*Our family loves this meal--even my kids gobble it up!!! It would make a great Christmas dinner, too, served with homemade cranberry sauce and fresh green beans--YUM!!

Linked to:

Tasty Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday

*Updated to include Crock Pot Method (1-15-13)

I have found that this same recipe works wonders in the crock pot! Instead of a pork tenderloin, I use a pork roast. Even if it isn't exactly 4 lbs. I use the same amounts of spices, herbs, and oil. Sometimes I put the meat in the crock pot all by itself, but this last time, I added potatoes and carrots.

This meal is just so yummy. :)

Now linking up with Try a New Recipe Tuesday.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

FRESHhanger {Giveaway}

Pin It Now! Congratulations to #3--Tammy and #1--Heather! Thanks for entering. :) Heather, I don't see contact info., and I am not sure which follower you are. Please contact me ASAP!

What is FRESHhanger?

-- a natural product that deodorizes clothing through the power of Activated Carbon.

What's so great about this product? First of all, it is natural, which is what initially caught my eye. Also, this product is a space-tested material that refreshes clothes from all kinds of unpleasant odors such as: smoke, food, and perspiration. FRESHhanger has the potential to save you big bucks, too, if you usually spend money on dry cleaning.

FRESHhanger is designed to fit right over your hangers. Just hang up your clothes as usual, and let deodorizing begin! FRESHhanger is fast-working--it reduces odor by 88% in just 4 hours.

It's convenient to use and fits hangers of all shapes and sizes. FRESHhanger is fragrance free, so odors are not merely masked. Product should be effective for up to 6 months. To learn more about FRESHhanger and the research behind Activated Carbon, please click the link.

My Personal Experience

I have to admit I was quite surprised at the effectiveness of this product. I was skeptical at first. When I took FRESHhanger out of its package there was absolutely NO smell, so I wondered how in the world it was going to work.

It just so happened that when I tried FRESHhanger out for the first time, my husband had returned from a trip to Tennessee where he spent most of his time on the river or near a campfire. Needless to say, his clothes reeked of smoke! Because I use fragrance-free laundry detergent, his clothes didn't smell any better after washing them.

So, I thought this was the PERFECT opportunity to test FRESHhanger's claims. I literally sniffed my husband's clothes every single day, and after a few days, I was shocked! The campfire odor was completely gone. I even made my husband sniff to make absolutely sure. His shirt really did smell fresh without harsh scents. His quote to me on the phone when he found out I was writing this post: "Wow, those really do work. When I put my shirt on, I was overwhelmed with freshness!"

*Since we don't have clothes that need to be dry cleaned, I will be using FRESHhanger for our coat closet this winter. I don't like to wash jackets every time we wear them.

Win a package of FRESHhanger to try out for yourself!

**I will choose 2 winners on Friday October 22, 12 noon Mountain time. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win!

Here's how to enter: First and mandatory entry-- leave a brief comment telling me how you'd use FRESHhanger.

Optional Extra Entries:

  • Visit FRESHhanger and tell me one fact about the product-- 2 entries (leave a separate comment for each entry)

  • Follow me or Subscribe--5 entries (Please leave a separate comment for each entry)

  • Make a FRESHhanger purchase for that person on your Christmas list who has everything!--10 entries ( leave a separate comment for each entry)

***FRESHhanger is currently available on-line and in Bed, Bath, and Beyond stores in Arizona.

Linked to Works for me Wednesday

Friday, October 15, 2010

Starlight Sailor

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I just love this bedtime story! I like to start training my children to love fantasy fiction at a young age. :)

Dragons . . . unicorns . . . my kind of tale.

To read my full TOS review click here. (Please ignore my comma error~the book really is cute!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bear Canyon Lake

Pin It Now! Our one day, Sunday getaway to Bear Canyon Lake.

We started off our morning with breakfast at IHOP, which was so yummy! I haven't eaten breakfast out in ages. That garage sale money sure came in handy. :)

It is amazing that in just a couple of hours the desert just disappears. How refreshing to "feel" fall in October!!

Beautiful scenery. The bathrooms at this place weren't so beautiful. I was mortified, actually, that I had to pee in a toilet that was just a hole. Bleh. And nowhere to wash hands. Ugh, it was gross. I successfully moved on and put it out of my mind, though. :)

The lake was so serene. The kids enjoyed the rocky hike to get there. I was just glad there were no slips or other catastrophes!

Picnic in the woods. I'd forgotten what forest smelled like. Mmmm, so calming--wish I could bottle it and take it home!!

The changing of the leaves wasn't consistent throughout, but towards the end of our drive we saw some pretty colors. Hey, we'll take what we can get!!

Sticks always instantly become light-sabers, swords--some kind of weapon.

Bye autumn foliage. You'll be missed. As I post this, it is 102 degrees in the desert. Ugh. At least the mornings are around 65 degrees~just trying to stay positive!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WFMW: Easy Fairy Wings

Pin It Now! My daughter doesn't have a pair of "real" fairy wings, but she still loves to dress up and pretend. I solved our no-wings-dilemma by cutting up some scrapbook paper.

Super easy fairy wings work for us!

First, fold a piece of paper in half. I used 8 1/2 x 11 and 12 x 12 sheets.

Next, cut out a fairy wing shape. I didn't have a template or anything.

Open up to reveal beautiful wings!

I made several shapes--that bottom one looks more like a pinwheel. The blue is my favorite. :)

Attach wings with a safety pin. I actually used 2 b/c I didn't have a big one. And it probably would've looked better had I pinned them on from the inside of her outfit. Oh well, she loved them and "flew" all over the house!

For more WFMW tips, visit We are THAT Family.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Easy Egg and Cheese Lunch

Pin It Now! Two of my kids' favorite lunches are bird's nests and these easy fried egg and cheese sandwiches.

We've recently started buying farm fresh eggs from a friend and my children boast that they taste so much better, and I think they are healthier, too!

Fried Egg and Cheese Sandwiches are our latest creation. Very simple.

  • Fry desired number of eggs--I lightly salt and pepper mine
  • Place fried eggs on slightly toasted bread--it was fun to use the round flat bread :)
  • Cover egg with a slice of favorite cheese--we used Colby/jack
  • Top with another piece of slightly toasted bread or leave open faced--we do both
*Linked to

Tasty Tuesday

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday

Tuesdays at the Table

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Honor of 10/10/10

Pin It Now! 10 Random Things About Me

  1. My arms must be shaved at all times.

  2. Fantasy Fiction is my favorite book genre.

  3. I think Jones Cola tastes better than Coke or Pepsi.

  4. Messes and noise have a tendency to stress me out.

  5. My favorite Bible verses are Proverbs 3:5-6.

  6. I wear flip flops year round.

  7. Green Tea Fraps are my favorite Starbucks drink.

  8. I like cleaning with essential oils.

  9. I write A LOT.

  10. I almost always wear sunglasses on my eyes or on my head.

10 Things for Which I am Thankful

  1. Four year pruning that has built much character

  2. We are still in our home.

  3. Healthy family

  4. 2 vehicles

  5. Husband's new position

  6. Air conditioning

  7. Lovely home school group

  8. My garden and fruit trees

  9. Less insomnia

  10. That I am slowly becoming more heavenly minded

10 Wishes

  1. Freckles would disappear

  2. To be able to go on a family vacation this year to Disneyland

  3. Island in my kitchen even if it is just a cheap one

  4. A new wardrobe, oh and I need some running shoes!

  5. More advertising on blog so I can support The Mercy House

  6. That all of my sweet children will love Jesus with all their hearts, minds and souls!

  7. Blueberry bushes and grapevines

  8. To be able to visit TN family

  9. No more gray hairs--I think the count is up to 4 or 5 :(

  10. To be able to buy extended family Christmas gifts this year

Saturday, October 09, 2010

First Quarter . . . Done!

Pin It Now! I am simply dumbfounded by the fact that I have completed 10 weeks of school already!! So, technically we are done with the first quarter plus one week. Now it is time for a break--FALL BREAK. :)

Gigantic praise for no one getting sick for an entire school quarter!! Hootyhoo! (I don't count the 2-day cold my daughter caught right before her surgery.) I don't think that's happened the whole 4 years we've been living in AZ.

I had thoroughly anticipated a challenging school year since a kindergartner was being added to the mix, but I am so happy to report that this school year has been quite pleasant. It's astonishing that I have a kid in junior high who pretty much completes school on his own, my third grader has surprised me this year by tackling a few more subjects without too much mama help, and my 5 year old is very easy to teach and has such a sweet disposition!! (Plus, I think it helps that 11 years of motherhood has relaxed me a smidge.)

The one thing that feels so strange about my 7th year of homeschooling is that I am falling WAY behind on keeping up with my boys' science and history. They both read everything on their own now, and instead of spending my time reading their books, I am teaching a beautiful little girl how to read and write. I actually enjoy learning right along with my kids and staying on top of every last detail, but there is only so much time in a day!!

So, now on to Fall Break--so many "to dos" are already piling up!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Introducing Cooper

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Yes, this is my backyard.

No, this is not our puppy.

He's cute, though. Some kind of rare, long haired dachshund breed--can't remember the proper name. My dad and his wife had to get him b/c their rescue golden retriever needed a pal. :)

I know where my kids are going to want to spend part of their fall break!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

WFMW: The Last Drop

Pin It Now! Cutting lotion bottles works for me!!

Whether it's hand lotion, body lotion, face moisturizer, sun tan lotion, etc., I make sure I get the very last drop out of every bottle!

It's easy and just takes a second to cut the bottles/tubes in half. You wouldn't believe how much lotion is still in the containers! Sometimes there are so many extra applications that I have to store the remaining contents in a plastic baggie, or I stuff a baby wash cloth in the opening to keep the lotion from drying out.

Some bottles are easier to cut through than others, but to me it is totally worth the effort.

For more fabulous tips, visit We are THAT Family.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Monterey Meatloaf

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I tried really hard to resist the urge to frown, huff, and grumble on meatloaf nights as a kid. I hated meatloaf. I swore I'd NEVER fix it when I grew up.

That was until I found this recipe for Monterey Jack Meatloaf--oh, bless my soul it IS GOOD!!!!

And my kids LOVE it. Meatloaf is not a bad word in my house! You've just got to try it especially if you have a thing for ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness. YUM.

Wish my pictures did this meal justice! Here is the recipe:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese, divided*
In large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt, and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Press half of the beef mixture onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of a greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over meat to within 1/2 in. of sides. Pat remaining beef mixture over cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-55 min. or until meat is no longer pink. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 5 more min. or until cheese is melted. Let stand for about 10 min. before slicing.

*I don't shred my cheese. I buy the block kind and cut it into cubes. I do shred some for the topping, though. Just my personal preference. :)

Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday
Works for me Wednesday
Raising Homemakers

Friday, October 01, 2010

Barbie's Arsenal

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I don't even know what to say. I just hope she has a license for all this. Oh my, and there's a child in the room!
Maybe toys really do come to life at night and she needs to defend herself and the rest of Barbieland from Clone Troopers and Halo dudes??


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