Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It is Time to Love Our Fellow Man

I think that everyone knows that we are living in a very broken world filled to the brim with a lot of broken people. While I know that no one person can save the world, I do know that if every single person did just a little more, we could make our world such a better place.

All it takes is a quick stop on face book and you can find people in need, angry people, sad people, lonely people. People angry about politics, people angry about their work, people angry about their home life. Sad people, people who feel unwanted, unneeded and unloved. Lonely people, people desperate for anyone to notice them, need them, love them, give them a simple gesture of human kindness.

I see so many people blaming all the world's problems on this politician, that politician, this law, that law, this program or that program. When what we need to all be doing is taking a deep look inside ourselves and saying what can "I" do to help. How can "I" change my community, how "I" help my fellow mankind?

Honestly, the answer is so simple. No, you can not save everyone, no you can not change the lives of everyone but you can help someone and that help could mean everything to that person. You can reach out.

If someone is hungry, feed them. Programs are wonderful, if you yourself can not send someone a meal, donate your money to a program, volunteer your time or make food to bring to a program. If you can make someone a meal, make enough for them to either eat with your family or eat with them. Not only would you be feeding their body but you can feed their need for interaction. Show them love, kindness and respect. Never judge why they are in a needy place, just reach out and help.

If someone needs clothing, dress them. Almost every single person I know can afford to let go of some clothing. I know for a fact that in my household, we have extra and we are bagging stuff up for donation. Instead of goodwill or a thrift shop, give directly to a needy family, call your local churches and see if they know someone they can give it to, take it to a homeless shelter or a food pantry.

If someone needs a hug, hug them. I recently stopped at the table of a complete stranger and I hugged them. They were crying, alone at a coffee shop table. My heart ached for them, so I took the time and I sat with them, I did my best to offer comfort, compassion and I gave them a big hug. They thanked my over and over again. The words they said as I left, stuck with me. "Thank you for noticing and stopping. Most people would have just walked by." What a sad truth that is, most people would just walk by. We have to stop walking by, we need to stop and notice the pain all around us. Stop and notice when people just need someone to stop and notice them.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Home Schooling in the Raw - Why we home school year round




Several years ago, Chris and I made the choice to home school our children year round. We decided this when Alexzander ( who is now almost 11 and in 5th grade ) was starting second grade, we noticed that we were spending far to much time at the beginning of the school year, repeating and relearning everything he forgot over the summer. It was time consuming for us and frustrating for him.

Since that year, we have been schooling on a year round schedule. We start our new year the Tuesday after Labor Day. We take two weeks off each season. Generally, our breaks go like this, two weeks off around Thanksgiving, two weeks off around Christmas, two weeks off around Easter and two weeks off around the 4th of July. We do have some assignments during their breaks, generally they have a special reading assignment that earns them prizes for completely, a fun craft or project during those weeks and any make up work they still have.

Our summer school months ( June - beginning of next school year ) are different than the rest of the school year. We have a lighter work load, focus strongly on summer reading programs ( we do two from local libraries and I even printed my own last year )  and outdoor lessons. They generally have a couple work sheets a week that keep them on track with what they have learned and prep them for the next school year.  We take lots of field trips, family get aways ( it is so easy to do educational stuff on the road ) and camping trips. They help us in our garden, we take part in local events and just take learning where ever we can.

                                                     



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

No longer doing meal planning

Just making a quick post to let everyone know that for the time being, I am not going meal planning. We have not been sticking to the plan anyway and I am just not wanting to do it.

There will be several more posts coming very soon, including more homeschooling in the raw and some about the current things going on in our day to day lives.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Home Schooling in the Raw - Teaching Charity





My oldest two kids are Destiny ( age 9, 4th grade ) and Alexzander ( age 10, 5th grade ). My husband and I wanted to take the time to teach them the importance of giving and charity work. Both of them have helped in the past at different volunteer projects but we wanted them to have a more hands on lesson.

We sat down as a family and decided that they should run their own fundraiser for a local charity. After some discussion, they picked The Marion County Humane Society.  They have spent a lot of time out there, playing with the kitties and petting the dogs. We actually adopted our dog, Charlie, from the shelter two years ago.

( The day we brought Charlie home. ) 

                                             

After picking what charity they wanted to help, they set to work with how they would reach their goals. Destiny is an aspiring artist and she wanted to use her skills to help. Her goal is $500 and she is making that money by selling hand painted mugs ( custom greeting cards coming soon! ).

                                                 
                                                 

She has sold many mugs and they are inching their way closer to their money goal!! She is doing an amazing job.

Alexzander is enjoying learn to bake, that is how he wanted to particiapate in the fundraiser. He made a list of items and each time someone donates something from their list, he bakes them a batch of chocolate chip cookies or banana bread.

His list - 

3 large bags of dog food ( Goal met!! ) 
3 small bags of dog ( only need 1 more to meet their goal ) 
5 bags of cat food ( only need 3 more to meet their goal ) 
3 tubs of cat litter
5 boxes of cat treats ( only need 4 more to meet their goal ) 
5 boxes of dog treats ( 1 more needed to meet their goal ) 
3 toy bones
3 squeaky toys

                                                   

They have already made several donations and their items list is slowly being completed! They have done a wonderful job so far and we are extremely proud of them! They were even featured in our local news paper.
                                                 

I made them a facebook page, you can follow their progress here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Meat Shredder Review

I recently had the chance to review these meat shredders, we do a lot of shredded roast beef sandwiches and shredded chicken sandwiches. Usually, I shred with a fork and it can take some time to do it this way. These little shredders cut my time nearly in half and they do a much better job.

These meat shredders fit on your hand, with just a small amount of effort, you can shred your meat without problem. The shredders are made of a thicker plastic material, I have used them several times now without issue. I have read that others have had problems with the tips breaking but I think the only way that would happen would be if your meat was not cooked to the point of being ready to shred.

Clean up in a breeze, a quick wipe and rinse is all it took.I would recommend these to anyone that makes a lot of shredded meat!

****I did receive this item at a discounted rate, in exchange for an honest review. ****

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February Meal Plan Part 2

Feb 11th - 18th
Sunday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Chicken fries, tater tots and fruit
Dinner - Sandwiches, veggies and dip


Monday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Turkey and veggie soup
Dinner - Shredded beef sandwiches and veggies


Tuesday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Mac and cheese and broccoli
Dinner - Cheesy, ham eggs and fruit

Wednesday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Sandwiches, string cheese and fruit
Dinner - Cheesy beef burgers, home made fries and veggies


Thursday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Spaghetti and meatsauce
Dinner - Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Friday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Mac and cheese and broccoli
Dinner - Chicken tacos, rice and beans


Saturday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Chicken fries, tater tots and veggies/dip
Dinner - Skillet lasagna and salad


Feb 19th - 25th
Sunday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Turkey wrap ups and veggies/dip
Dinner - Creamy tomato pasta and salad


Monday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Tuna sandwiches and veggies and dip
Dinner - Beef and noodles and veggies


Tuesday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Creamy spinach tortellini
Dinner - Meatball subs and veggies

Wednesday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Sandwiches and veggies/dip
Dinner - Cheeseburger casserole and veggies


Thursday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Meatball sub casserole and veggies

Friday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Cheesy pasta and salad

Saturday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Pizza and salad
Dinner - Spaghetti and meat sauce, garlic toast and salad

Feb 26th - 28th
Sunday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Pancakes and fruit
Dinner - Tacos, rice and refried beans


Monday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Sandwiches and veggies/dip
Dinner - Meatloaf, potatoes and corn

Tuesday
Breakfast - Yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and fruit
Lunch - Eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Chicken, potatoes and veggies

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Meal plan - Feb part 1

Feb. 1st - 4th
Wednesday -
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - Eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Gone
Snack - Ice cream bard

Thursday -
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - French toast and fruit
Dinner - Ham, veggies and potatoes
Snack - Hot chocolate and cookies

Friday -
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch -  Mac and cheese with tuna and broccoli
Dinner - Cheesy ham and eggs, toast and fruit
Snack - Ice cream

Saturday -
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch -  Tomato soup ( making mine with frozen garden tomatoes ) and cheesy garlic bread
Dinner - Cheesy ham pasta bake and veggies
Snack - Popcorn

Feb. 5th - 11th

Sunday -
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Super Bowl Party
Snack -  Super Bowl Party

Monday
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - Tuna or PBJ sandwiches and carrots/dip
Dinner - Au gratin potatoes and veggies
Snack -  Apple slices

Tuesday
Breakfast -Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - Eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Ham and bean soup and dinner rolls
Snack - Birthday cake

Wednesday
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - Spaghetti and meat sauce
Dinner - Meatloaf, potatoes and veggies
Snack - Popcorn

Thursday
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - Tuna sandwiches and PBJ  and fruit
Dinner - Mac and cheese with tuna and broccoli
Snack - Popcorn

Friday
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Chicken cordon blue grilled cheese sandwiches and veggies
Snack - Valentine cookie exchange

Saturday
Breakfast - Yogurt, cereal or oatmeal with fruit
Lunch -  Ham and cheese sandwiches and veggies
Dinner - Cassandra's birthday party!
Snack - Hot chocolate and birthday cake

Friday, January 20, 2017

My thoughts for today

This is likely the only political post you see from me. I am not one that posts on these topics because personally, I just do not like to talk politics. This is not directed at any one person, so please don't feel singled out. This is just me, expressing my feelings during the turmoil we all seem to be facing.

I have friends on both sides and I hope that you know I love you all but so many things I see today ( again from both sides ) are just making me feel so disheartened.

If you are unhappy about the election results, you are allowed those feelings. You are allowed to voice them the way you please as long as you are not wishing ill on others, wanting to see people die or things of that nature. I can not even count the number of comments that came cross different news stories that I was reading were people were actually wishing death on the new President or Vice President. I am disgusted by this, these men have families, these men are people.

You want to protest, peacefully, have at it. You have that right but the moment you start destroying things, you are no longer a protester, you are a vandal and deserve to be punished for your actions. Throwing bricks at windows, throwing bricks at police officers. It is just disgusting behavior.

Those on both sides that are posting things on social media and saying things that no one should say about another person, you really should stop. You are only hurting people. You claim you love all your friends, regardless of who they voted for, then prove it by watching your words. The things you post can and do hurt others and this is not okay.

Those that are celebrating the election. If you are being cruel in your words, name calling the other side and being hateful, you need to take a long hard look in the mirror because what you are doing is nothing more than petty behavior that does nothing to make your side look better. We are all Americans, we are all people and we all should be lifting each other up. We all need to help our fellow man. People on all sides, if you truly want a great America, it does not start in the White House, it starts with you, in your heart. The way we treat each other makes all the difference.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Meal plan 1/16 - 1/31

I took a break from meal planning, the Christmas season and the following weeks are busy here and I just decided to take a break. I am ready to get back into the swing of it.

1/16 - 1/22

Monday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Mac and cheese with broccoli, apple slices
Dinner - Cheese pizza
Snack - Nutter butter cupcakes

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Alfredo and broccoli
Dinner - Skillet lasagna and cauliflower rice
Snack - Pretzels

Wednesday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - PBJ or PB and honey sandwiches, half an apple and a kiwi
Dinner - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Snack - Peach pie

Thursday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pancakes and apple slices
Dinner - Salsa chicken tacos, refried beans and rice
Snack - Popcorn

Friday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Ravoli
Dinner - Beef tips over rice and veggies
Snack - Pumpkin muffins

Saturday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Chicken and cheese quesadillas and carrots and dip
Dinner - Skillet lasagna and salad
Snack - Apple slices

Sunday -
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Chili
Snack - Carrots and dip

1/23 - 1/29

Monday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Left overs or PBJ sandwiches and fruit
Dinner - Shredded chicken sandwiches, baked potatoes and veggies
Snack - Honey toast

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Alfredo and broccoli
Dinner - Baked chicken legs, baked potatoes and veggies
Snack - Apple sauce

Wednesday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch -  Mac and cheese with tuna, broccoli
Dinner - Crock pot pork roast, veggies and potatoes
Snack - Peach pie

Thursday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Shredded pork sandwiches, baked potatoes and veggies
Snack -  Cookies

Friday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch -  PBJ or PB and honey sandwiches and apple slices
Dinner - Roasted turkey, potatoes and veggies
Snack - Apple sauce

Saturday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Turkey and veggie soup or left overs
Dinner - Creamed turkey biscuits and veggies
Snack - Carrots and dip

Sunday -
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pizza
Dinner - Turkey tetrazzini, salad and home made bread
Snack - Carrots and dip

1/30 - 1/31
Monday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Left overs or PBJ sandwiches and fruit
Dinner - Spaggetti and meatsauce
Snack - Honey toast

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Alfredo and broccoli
Dinner - Meatload, mashed potatoes and veggies
Snack - Apple sauce

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Nutterbutter Cupcakes



Monday brought us a lovely little ice storm and when you are stuck inside, there is nothing better than home made cupcakes. A couple days before hand I found a recipe for nutter butter cupcakes and Chris really wanted me to make them. Unfortunately, the first attempt was a failed one, due to a recipe that just made no sense.

I really wanted to make these so I decided to make up my own recipe and let me tell you, these were one of the most delicious cupcakes I have ever had!

                                                 


Ingredients -
1/2 a cup of softened salted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbs cinnamon
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 plus 2 tbs milk
4 crushed nutter butters

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream your butter, vanilla, yogurt, sugar and 2 tbs milk.

In a separate bowl mix flour, cinnamon, crushed nutterbutters and baking powder.

Mix flour mixture and milk alternatively into the butter mixture. Do not over mix.

Pour into molds ( about 3/4 full ) and bake for around 30 minutes.

Let cool completely before frosting.


Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanutbutter ( we used peanut butter with honey, highly recommended )
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tbs milk

Mix peanut butter, 1 tbs milk and softened butter until well mixed.

Slowly add powdered sugar, adding the other three tbs of milk as needed.

Mix for at least 4 -5 minutes to get the fluffiest texture.

                                              

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top the cup cake with a nutter butter cookie.

Enjoy!!

Serves around 12



Friday, January 13, 2017

Home Schooling in the Raw - After a break

I know that many families are like us and are just getting back into a normal routine after the holidays. We took a two week break for Christmas and Monday was our first day back to school.
This week was rough, my kids were not wanting to settle back into their school routine and every day we had one issue or another with getting them to get their work done. The worst offender was my five year old. Amelia was not ready for her winter break to be over. She was not wanting to sit and do her work and all week long it seemed like I was having to tell her the same things over and over again.

Monday was met with much groaning. None of the Walters' kids were real excited to get their work done. Kairi and Amelia did seem to really enjoy the new science lessons we have started ( you can find what we are doing on my blog, it is a unit study on the animals of Iowa ) and Alex and Destiny are enjoying the books they started. Alex is ready James and the Giant Peach and Destiny is reading Peter Pan. We did manage to get school done at a decent hour, I did expect it would take longer since they were still not on schedule. The week rolled on, it seemed like each day got a little better and was met with less grumbling than the day before.

Break times are a lot of fun but each time we break, I am reminded why we do not take the whole summer off! It is hard to get back on track.

I am thankful that is Friday! We made it through the week, all the required work is done and here is to hoping our next week is better, I think they are finally readjusted to their school schedule.

It is Time to Love Our Fellow Man

I think that everyone knows that we are living in a very broken world filled to the brim with a lot of broken people. While I know that no o...