Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Going paperless when planning is possible with Paperless Home Organization

PhotobucketAre you thinking about going paperless? I am working toward paperless planning and was blessed to received a copy of Paperless Home Organization by Mystie Winckler of Simplified Pantry to review and share my thoughts with you.

I started out reading the ebook on my laptop thinking , I already use GMail and Google Calendar what else could I possibly need. Then I was introduced to Evernote. I added the free app to my laptop, my phone, and even the family desktop to keep websites and the notes filed together.
Since I use my phone as much or more than my laptop , I was happy to have Evernote join GMail, Google Calendar, etc.. on my app list. It is so easy to sync those items and makes it possible to share events with my son who also has a GMail account. I have our homeschool calendar set up and he subscribes to it meaning he knows when we have activities, field trips, etc. Also having GMail for both my oldest and myself means we can also chat when I am not at home and he needs a question answered. Eventually my husband will have a smart phone and will will be able to sync his calendar as well but for now, I manually add events to his Outlook calendar for him.
I do keep several calendars on Google Calendar for different things; family, homeschool, blogging, and dinner menus.
Going paperless as far as calendars and notes has made a difference in my stress level. It is all right where I need it even when I am not at home. Later this summer when my youngest gets a GMail account , I will sync his Calendar to our homeschool calendar as well. I will likely also set the boys up with Evernote as well especially as we start adding more research projects to their assignments and options.
While I love having my notebook for thinking "out loud" and being creative, being able to keep life organized with calendars , emails, and webnotes paperless helps keep things moving smoothly. Using the available and free technology makes paperless organizing not only easy, but also affordable. I love how Mystie keeps in real throughout the book. I even kept a list of things in a note within Evernote as I read through the book so I could try new things with the various apps.
I could go on and on about how effective using GMail , Evernote, and Google Calendar are for a Mom on the go, I really love having everything in one place no matter what technology I am using. I even the Blogger app on my phone to make blogging easy from my phone and then finishing up the post on the computer. Everything works together to make life a bit easier.
I color coded my various Google Calendars including assignments for school (I will add student names to assignments once both boys are using the calendar). Here you can take a look at a light week calendar. I will continue to tweak the calendar as we use it more and more (color coding, abbreviations, etc) but going paperless is great, and if the need arises I can still print a calendar.
Since moving to paperless means less stress, I can focus more on cooking, something I love. Of course Mystie has that covered too, with  Simplified Pantry's Simplify Dinner where she shares wonderful homestyle meals with basics. You can download a Sample of the ebook. I have been trying to add more the her recipes and tips. I am actually thinking of printing this one for my guys to use when they are responsible for dinner. There is even a Gluten Free/ Dairy Free option for the Simplified Dinners book.
Most of the Crew on the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Mystie's products and share their thoughts, check out their reviews by clicking on the button below.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Scripture 5/26

Jeremiah 32:40a
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them , that I will not turn away from them , to do them good;

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Traditional pickling or Lacto fermentation?

I was blessed to attend a local day of talks about Fermenting.  Since this is new to me, I decided to share my experiences with you. I am by no means an expert, I’m just learning and experimenting to see what will work for my family.
So far I have a jar of saurkraut, a jar of kimchi, and a jar of leeks fermenting in the pantry.
The leeks have a weight holding them down so I wrapped a towel and rubber band around them. The saurkraut is almost done maybe another 2 or 3 days before I move it into the refrigerator.  The kimchi is new today so I am guessing a couple of weeks.  I am very interested in the natural advantages to lacto fermenting as well as the cost savings in that I don’t have to process it, just store it.
I also started a small batch of milk kefir that I am excited to try for breakfast smoothie on Monday.  The next on my fermentation bucket list is kombucha and I will hopefully have a batch going tomorrow night.
I still have traditional pickles in the pantry and will continue to process some of our food stores in the traditional manner like the Dilly Beans and Salsa.
So while I explore lacto fermentation, I’m not totally abandoning my traditional methods.

This was originally posted over on Unionvale Mom Spot, and since the original posting I have made several batches of sauer kraut , lacto fermented pickles, 2 successful batches of kimchi, and a batch of lacto-fermented asparagus. I am looking forward to the 2013 growing season and creating more healthy options for my family.

Schoolhouse Library | #sponsored post


Are you looking for a source for some great audio resources as well as a variety of units to use in your homeschool? As a member of the Schoolhouse Review crew, I can't wait to get a good look at all the resources.  The Schoolhouse Library: from Schoolhouse is one resource you don't want to miss. For a one time purchase of $25 you will have access to over 175 ebooks and audiobooks including books like: 
  • 2 Study Guides from YWAM
  • Draw Write Now Sampler E-Book by Barker Creek
  • Heroines of the Past-Victorian unit study from Amy Puetz
  • Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History from Knowledge Quest
  • Teaching Writing E-Book from WriteShop
  • 15 audio E-Books from My Audio School in history and literature
  • A Glimpse at Carnivorous Plants Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child
  • Video from Jessica Hulcy on  “Learning as a Family”
  • From Frazzled to Focused: 7 Planning Tools for Busy Moms from Mary Jo Tate

The site will have over 25 topics to find ebooks and audios in such as: 
  • Art and Crafts
  • Bible
  • Economics
  • Electives
  • Encouragement
  • Geography
  • Government
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Reading
  • Organization (with several planners)
  • Nature Study
  • Special Needs
  • And many more!
This would make a great starter for a new homeschooler and a great resource for a seasoned homeschooler.SchoolhouseLibrarySticky-1
I will be receiving access to the above mentioned product in exchange for sharing this information with my readers. No other monetary compensation was received or will be received.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Inspiring journal pages

Christie ZimmerI came across a pinned idea and had to check it out.

Christie Zimmer from Grace is Overrated: : created a beautiful set of journal pages and has shared them on her blog.
If you are looking for a fun , inspired journal, this is one to check out. There are 50 pages you can print for personal use.  What a fun journal to create, and colorful too.

Mom Fashion: Simple Spring details

For Mother's Day my hot guy helped me pick out a spring top at Ross in McMinnville.
I am being more intentional with pieces I add to my wardrobe.
This one is unique, light and airy, colorful, and sparkly.

I love the beaded details of the butterfly. I have 2 necklaces that are a perfect match for dressing it up.

I love the versatility; I can wear it casual or dressy.  I wore it for dinner Mother's Day with a long khaki skirt and then again on Tuesday with a brown skirt and boots. Same shirt different looks.  The elastic and dye / printing technique makes for an interesting effect. This isn't the best picture for figure flattery but my youngest wanted to be photographer.
It is all about being comfortable and having a little fun. Next we will work on the figure, glad spring and summer are on the way and fresh garden veggies will be the center of my dinning pleasures.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Spanish for You! a review for You!

Spanish for You Logo photo spanishforyoulog_zpsa3fadef7.jpg
We received an e-book package from Spanish for You! to review in our homeschool and share with our readers.
Spanish for You - Estaciones photo spanishforyou-estaciones_zps3adcc14c.jpgWe received Estaciones which translates to Seasons. You can check out the sample pages
What is Spanish for You! Estaciones ? This program is a topic specific program designed for multi-age groups with mastery in mind.
What comes with the program? A soft cover book or e-book , 24-30 week lesson guide for the grades you need  (PDF download), self-checking worksheets (PDF download), audio files of entire book in native speaker as well as traditional non-native speaker (MP3 download), and flashcard / activity pictures (PDF download)
What about lesson plans? those are purchased separately.
How much does the program cost?  Products start at $9.99, the package we received as it was a complete package with all grades retails for $64.95
How did we use the program? 
We started out using the program with our 2nd grader and 4th grader. We realized it was a good fit for the 2nd grader yet, since it is really designed for 3rd grade and up, so we let him work on other things during the times we were working on this. As we continued with the program, Cameron found too many struggles with the style and the audio recordings and asked to set it aside for a while. We used the program for 3 weeks and then set it aside for 2 weeks and then returned to it in shorted sessions. He is struggling with adding a language right now with so many variables. He has found that rather than a textbook program of study for Spanish, he is actually learning better through play with some of the neighbor kids. His afternoon playmate and himself have made friends with the hispanic children next door to the playmate where the young boy they play with has decided to teach them Spanish. Cameron comes home and we verify the words in our lessons and a couple of Spanish kids' dictionaries.  He is slowly feeling like we can add more table time to our Spanish lessons. 
While the program didn't work as planned , I can report that it has inspired Cameron to learn Spanish and it is becoming our go to for Spanish activities, especially the flashcard/ activity cards. We have been working on game ideas to go along with the cards and are considering laminating them with contact paper for longevity.
I have also been enjoying their blog full of ideas and inspiration for teacher and student (since I don't remember much of the Spanish I learned as a tutor in jr. high). I especially enjoyed a post about using comics strips to practice Spanish, I added that as an activity to come for the boys.
There are more reviews to read from the crew, just click the button below.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Scripture 5/12

This coming week I pray my boys can learn from this verse from the past week's lesson. We are having issues with language usage. While not always bad, the way the words are used is improper and sometime inappropriate.

But shun profane and vain babblings for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2 Timothy 2:16

I am grateful for our weekly lesson each week as I travel this path before me.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Papa's Pearls: a book of wisdom passed down and shared by a family.

I received this collection of stories and reminiscences to review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
This little jewel of a book, Papa's pearls by Diane Flynn Keith is a wonderful collection of stories by a father.
This collection of stories all focus on things learned from Papa (Carol Joseph Flynn, the author's father) and shared by his daughter the author. "Papa" as his family called him was born prior to the great Depression and shares lessons learned in his early years as well as the harder years of the Depression and even the years struggling after World War II as a young married man trying to make a way in this world but stay on the straight and narrow. (Not an easy task and one that didn't always stay straight or narrow).
Initially I was going to read it to my boys, but decided to hold off a bit longer. I, myself read the book in just a couple of sittings as it is a nice easy read. I felt like I was having the stories told to me rather than just reading them.  I have begun reading the boys a story once a week as a treat. It has inspired them to ask to hear more stories from my own father. I keep telling them they just have to ask their "papa" and he will tell them all kinds of stories.
The book is a reminder to all anyone that reads it to really value the time you have with your parents or grandparents and their stories. Reading it, I really got to thinking I wish I had asked my grandpa to tell me more stories.
You can enjoy the stories while learning lessons about "using your street smarts" and " I love you, You know that right?" along with lessons Papa taught his children about flexibility and checking in. Catch a glimpse of a simpler time when a days work was hard but meant success and honesty and integrity was an intrical part of everyday life.

You can order an autographed copy of the book from Homefires or a copy of the paperback or electronic  from Amazon. The autographed copy sells for $21.97 including shipping and makes a wonderful gift. (hint: Father's Day is coming as well as Graduation season). You can also follow the author and the book on the author's  blog, Facebook, Twitter, and  Google +


Happy Mother's Day from Monsters University #MonstersU

I can't wait to see Monsters University on the big screen, opening in 3D June 21, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Natural Toothpaste? sure why not!

I usually buy Crest toothpaste for my husband , but this last batch was weak and  wasn't really working for me. Knowing that baking soda can be used (I've purchased toothpaste with baking soda before), I decided to research making my own. I couldn't find a formal recipe just people mentioning they had done it or someone in their family had. I decided to go ahead and put something together. 

Unionvale Mom's SpotI used coconut oil as my liquid, baking soda as a polish, and peppermint essential oil for flavor and scent. 
I mixed it together in a 4 oz Kerr canning jar with a popsicle stick. I adjusted as I went along to get a good consistency so I can't really share a recipe, but am guesstimating 1 Tbsp Coconut oil, 2-3 Tbsp Baking Soda and 8-10 drops of essential oil blended well.
I have been using it for just over a week and it doesn't take a lot, so far I really like it. Next time I may add more peppermint oil. 
I am rinsing with an antiseptic mouth wash (I might try creating my own mouth wash later on.)
My husband thinks I'm a little crazy, but I was using things we already had so we didn't have to try something new only to find out we didn't like it. He hasn't tried the homemade stuff yet, but is considering it.
I am enjoying trying new creations and thankfully my husband is seeing the benefits in our budget and how everyone feels. 
After using the homemade toothpaste for a while, I have decided that I need to find coconut oil that doesn't have the flavor and possibly some cinnamon oil instead of peppermint.

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***this is a sponsored post. I received a sample in exchange for posting this on the blog****

Friday, May 3, 2013

Canning season ready or not; Strawberry jelly with honey

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a gallon of raw local honey with the intention of making some jam and jelly. Well I finally got around to cleaning out the canning jars and the pantry so I felt like I could make a batch. 
I searched online for a simple recipe and found one at for Honey- Grape Jelly. I decided it was simple enough (only 3 ingredients) that I would try it. 
I used strawberry juice I canned last season 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened juice,  1/3 cup pectin (I purchase it in bulk from our local Gleaners group), and 2 3/4 cups honey. 
Only 3 ingredients!

Unionvale Home I set to cooking it on my stove and decided I would even use jelly jars this time (I usually make all my jams and jellies in pints). It didn't take very long since you don't boil it. I poured the jelly into 6 half pint jars and covered them with a towel until the cooled off. I decided not to process this batch since I am sure my boys will have it eaten in a week or less. I think the next batch I will process for 5 minutes to seal the jars. (Found 5 minutes listed on another blog).  I was really nervous about it setting up , but this morning when I checked it, all 6 jars had set! (insert happy dance here!!!)
The color is beautiful!! If I had the supplies I would do a traditional wax seal on them, but this round like I said is going straight into the fridge and my crazy boys will eat it in a week!

Now , I guess it is time to start filling all these jars with wonderful goodies! Guess I should finish planting my garden so I have something to process!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Del Taco #sponsored Buck & Under menu with a freebie coming May 8th

Are you ready for Buck & Under and Free Food Wednesdays? Starting May 8th, Del Taco with introduce a Free Food Wednesday menu item with any purchase from 3-9 pm.  (May 8 and 15 it is a free item with any menu purchase on the 22nd and 29th it will be a free item with a purchase from the New Tastes menu.)

NEW! BUCK & UNDER MENU. Starting at 50¢, 75¢, $1. Click to view full menu
I love a good deal and the boys and I love quick tacos so this menu is going to be a hit! 11 items $1.00 or less, things like a Mini Cheddar, Mini Bacon Quesadilla and a Crunchy Chipotle Beef Taco ; other menu items include a Value Bean & Cheese Burrito, Jacked Up Value Bean, Rice & Cheese Burrito, Grilled Chicken Taco, ½-Pound Bean & Cheese Burrito, Double Beef Classic Taco, Strawberry Lemonade with real strawberry slices and Medium Size Brewed Iced Tea.
My boys are going to love Strawberry Lemonade for only $1.00! at the New Tastes menu!! It  includes a Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Taco, a Chili Cheese Fry Burrito and a Fiery 6 Layer Burrito; those all sounds so good!

“Our new menu has given our current fans a new reason to believe in all that we have to offer at Del Taco,” said John Cappasola, Chief Brand Officer at Del Taco. “And, we’re seeing new customers giving us a try and finding out how positively different Del Taco is from everything else that is out there.”

You have to check out their specials offered on the website too

Del Taco has more than 550 restaurants in 18 states, find your closest location
Fresh made Pico de Galo sounds so good, and I don't think I can pick just 1 item off the menu, Thankfully I can afford to pick a couple to have! I'm thinking our next trip to Salem is going to include a stop at Del Taco, what about you!

This post was sponsored by Del Taco. I am receiving a Del Taco gift card for sharing information with my readers.