Family Friendly Salsa Recipe – Mild and Full of Flavor

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I love spicy salsa, and by spicy I mean burn your tongue and make you cry spicy. My husband and kids don’t like it that way. Weird, huh? I also like homemade salsa way better than straight from the can, and I don’t mind using a few shortcuts to make it. Using the Pioneer Woman’s Restaurant Style Salsa as a starting point, I created a salsa that is family friendly and still has great flavor. Want it hot? Chop up some jalapenos and toss ’em in.

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 7 oz can roasted green chilies (toss the other half of the can in some taco meat)
  • handful of fresh cilantro (about half a grocery store bunch)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Chop the cilantro, and then mix with the onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and green chilies. Add the sugar, cumin, and salt.
  2. Cut the lime in half, and then squeeze the juice over the tomato mixture, mix well.
  3. Add more seasoning if desired.

This makes about four cups of salsa, if you’re going to store it in the fridge for more than a couple days I suggest you boil it over the stove for about five minutes. It still tastes great that way!

Do not can this recipe! I have not tested the ph, and have no idea if it’s safe in a hot water bath.  

A Procrastinators Guide to Eating Right…Tomorrow

Something terrifying has happened in the last eight months. I’ve gained, like, a bunch of weight. I’m irked with myself. The problem is I’m usually thinking about it as I’m dunking my doughnut in my sweetened, creamtastic coffee. Okay, so I don’t always have a doughnut – sometimes it’s a cinnamon roll. I have that kind of willpower right now.

The biggest problem? Just a little over a year ago I was, dare I say it, pretty fit. We ate clean. We rode our bikes for miles. I jogged and did strength training. I was that person. The person that I hate right now, because she makes me feel so horrible about the decisions I’ve made recently!

Okay, enough whining! Here’s the fixin’ it part. There is an odd quirk in my personality, if I write it down, I have to do it. So here I am writing it down! And I’m doing this thing…tomorrow. No, seriously, it’s eight in the evening, it kind of has to be tomorrow.

I’m starting with one goal, because honestly I’m not sure I’ve got much more than that in me right now.

Eat Clean 

Isn’t that nice? It looks pretty doesn’t it? I’ve stocked my fridge and I’m ready for tomorrow! Who wants to join me?

Super Duper Pink Bed – Woodworking Plan Review

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We did it!!! We finished something!

We made this ultra pink bed using the Camp Loft Bed plan at Ana-White.com. It was SOOO easy.  We’ve never built anything before, and this turned out great. It’s super cute, super sturdy, and it went together fast. Now the painting…that’s a whole different story. My hubby and I need a little work in the painting department. Who cares, though?!? It’s finished!

Bring on the next Pinterest project!

Home School Science Curriculum – God’s Design For Science

God’s Design for Life – Part of the God’s Design for Science Curriculum

I feel like dancing and singing around my kitchen right now. Really, I do. Why? Because the science curriculum that I have had on my wish list for years just came in the mail. I found it when my son was a wee munchkin tot and we had just started looking into schooling at home. God’s Design For Life is what sold me on homeschooling, and sadly my children were nowhere near old enough for it. Now they are, and now I have it, and after reading through the first book and teacher’s supplement I am even more excited about it than I was.

What makes it so special?

  • First of all, it’s by Answers in Genesis – aka the Creation Museum people. This means my children will be learning a young earth, creationist point of view that is ultimately designed to give God all the glory. I got chills reading through the first few lessons!
  • It’s designed for homeschoolers! This is huge. It means the activities are specifically designed for a family, and not for a class full of children. In the past I purchased a curriculum that had this problem, and ended up replacing it a month into school. The activities did not work well with two kiddos, and I ended up struggling to adjust them so we could do them, and let’s face it – that didn’t work for me.
  • There are two sets of text in each lesson – the beginner text and the regular (little kid, big kid). The beginner text is larger, and it’s much more simplified for little learners, but it’s still packed with information. The best part? Start your children in early elementary, cover the entire series in the first four years, and then cycle back to the beginning using the regular, more detailed text. Money saver!!!
  • All the lesson plans are done, and there is a master supply list in the back of the teacher supplement. This leaves my evenings free for very important things, like contemplating the complexities of the universe or playing Tetris Blast on my Kindle.
  • The photos are pretty. Yes, I am superficial like that. Who wants a science course that’s all text and no photo? What’s the point?!? Oh, I also loath hastily illustrated pictures. Don’t give me a cartoon bird in my science – give me the bird!

Now, it only feels fair to give you the couple of downsides to this curriculum.

  • The books are…textbooks. I know and love homeschoolin’ moms who would rather shoot themselves in the foot than teach from a textbook. Me? Meh, not so much. I sorta love how crisp, fresh, and full of possibilities they are. A whole bunch of learning in a neat and tidy package! Whohoo!
  • The pages aren’t glossy. Yeah, that’s really all I got.

What I Learned From Grandma

What I Learned From Grandma

My grandmother passed away last week. It’s the first time someone close to me has died, and I have to admit it’s still a little surreal. I feel blessed to have had her in my life, and I am so grateful my children were  able to know her as well. She became a believer late in her life,  and I am overjoyed to know she is with the Lord now. It’s moments like these I truly understand being overwhelmed by His mercy. He loved her and He took her – because of Him, I will see her again. I am so grateful.

Today, for reasons unknown to me, I have decided to write about a few of the things she taught me. Things I hope to pass to my own daughter, and hopefully my future grandchildren.

1. She taught me how to sew, and boy – she was meticulous. That horrible little seam ripper was my constant companion through many of my first projects, and all because Grandma did not believe in tossing something in the trash and starting over.

2. She taught me how water flowers, pick veggies, and weed a garden. When I was growing up her yard was stocked full of flowers and veggies. She had a huge vegetable garden, and we would weed it together. For hours…and hours.

3. She taught me how to make a snapdragon flower talk.  You squeeze the back of the flower and it will open its ‘mouth’.

4. She taught me how to perfectly measure flour and how to scrape every last drop of batter off the beaters.

5. She taught me how to make jam, can peaches, and listen eagerly for that satisfying ‘ping’ when they seal.

6. She taught me how to be loyal – Specifically to an old, worn out, red potholder and a set of aged cookie sheets.

7. She taught me how to shell shrimp, crack a crab leg, and perfectly pull every single little bone from a trout. She also taught me how to make a lobster tail dance

8. She taught me the importance of crossword puzzles and trivia. “They keep your mind sharp,” she would say, and she was sharp until close to the very end.

9. She taught me that Christmas packages are more special when tied with a ribbon, and they always were.

10. She taught me how much it hurts to lose someone you love. I miss her so much.

Awesome Summer – Single Serving Lemonade Recipe

My son loves lemonade, and I don’t care for all the added junk in the powdered mixes. Don’t get me wrong – we use them every once in a awhile, but I would rather just mix up a glass with fresh ingredients when he wants one.

Our recipe is super tart and super sweet – adjust your ingredients according to your personal tastes.

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Serves 1

  • 1/4 cup sugar (we like to use turbinado sugar – it gives it a molasses kind of taste)
  •  1/4 lemon juice
  • ice
  • water
  1. Mix the sugar and the lemon juice together in a 16 oz glass. If your sugar doesn’t want to dissolve, you can heat the mixture up in the microwave for 10 – 20 seconds (do this before you add the ice and water)
  2. Fill the glass up with ice, and then fill the rest of the way up with water.
  3. Give it a good stir, and enjoy!

Summer Reading – Dragonkeeper Chronicles – Great Fantasy Series for Teens and Adults

Summer is the perfect time to dive into a new series! I just adore a good fantasy, but they’re hard to find. It’s even harder to find one that is appropriate for impressionable teenagers. A few years ago I picked up Dragonspell from the adult fantasy section at our public library, and I really enjoyed it. Donita Paul, the author, did an excellent job of writing a Christian allegory. Dragonspell was not my favorite book of the series (Dragonknight  was), but all together the books are fabulous. Truly. I found the series scattered across the young adult and adult sections in our library – it’s like they couldn’t decide where to place them! So be prepared to search if you check them out from your library. I haven’t bought them yet, but I do plan on adding them to our family collection soon. They would be great to read aloud with the entire family, even if some of your children are a little young to read them alone.

Dragonspell – Book 1 of the Dragon Keepers Chronicles