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Showing posts from September, 2012

Balsamic Braised Pot Roast

We're 4 weeks into our school year and it is going so well, for which I'm very grateful to God.  I am not naturally a very organized or a very disciplined person, so it takes something for me to stay on schedule with school while keeping the house in order, planning and cooking dinners, etc.  Our workload, and the amount of time I need to be actively involved in schooling (reading aloud or teaching vs. assigning an independent workbook page) has doubled or tripled this year, but the Lord is really helping me to enjoy it. Our material is so interesting.  My daughter fell in love with The Boxcar Children, the first book Sonlight had us read. In the next week she zoomed through books #2 and #3 by herself, which I picked up at a thrift store after seeing her delight in the first.  I'm so appreciating Apologia's reverent, God-centered approach to explaining the universe in our Astronomy text, and The Gospel Story Bible has already prompted so many good questions and discuss…

Go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.

This past week we scored two boxes full of books from our favorite library sale.  In addition to finding several books we'll eventually need for school on the cheap, I was pleased to nab nice copies of a few classics I didn't own; a beautifully illustrated version of Aesop's Fables; a book version of a song I spent many hours listening to as a child* and can still recite today (Engelbert the Elephant); the "final chapter" of the The Once and Future King that I didn't know existed--The Book of Merlyn; several of the books we didn't own yet in the Little House on the Prairie series, many great picture books, the complete Winnie the Pooh collection, and a stack of sheet music for the piano players in the house. 

One of the books my husband found at the sale was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I'd only seen the movies, never read the book by Dahl, and reading it the other night I fell in love with the Oompa-Loompa song for Mike Teavee about T.V. vs. …

{Less Sweet} Sweet & Sour Chicken

Every once in a while I have a hankerin' for Chinese takeout--the sweet, deep-fried kind that caters to American palates.  My stomach always feels terrible afterwards though, and I hate spending money on a stomach ache.  We have several stir-fries in our regular meal rotation that I've written about, and a few more I haven't yet, but when I want to scratch the takeout itch I've started to reach for this super-easy recipe that doesn't even require me to dirty the wok. 

With sugar and ketchup as main ingredients in the sauce, it's hardly surprising that my kids both love this meal too, but I cut down on the sugar pretty significantly from the original, and serve it with nutty brown rice and fresh, steamed veggies on the side--broccoli from the farmer's market and peas from our garden this time.  I appreciate that it's baked, rather than deep-fried.  It's still not what I call health food, but it's healthier, and satisfies a craving mighty well. …

Italian Sausage & Summer Veggie Toss with Quinoa

While on the whole this hasn't been our garden's most prolific year, we seem to have our usual abundance of zucchini.  And I keep trying to come up with different and yummy ways to use it to keep us from tiring of it.  (You can see all my other zucchini recipes here.) This dish was nice and speedy--perfect for the first week of school.

We've come to enjoy quinoa (that's ki:nwa, not key:no:a) recently, and I've started to sub it in in recipes where I'd normally consider using rice.  We all really liked it tossed with these veggies and sausage a few nights ago, and from my daughter the meal earned arms-in-the-air "I LOOOVE THIS" praise.  She claimed some of the leftovers for lunch two days in a row. :)

All of the seasoning measurements in this recipe are close approximates.  I almost never measure spices anything unless I am baking, so you'll want to taste as you go along and before serving to prevent over or under-seasoning this.  

Italian Sausage…

For Those Who Will Believe

We've been using the family devotional guide, Lord, Teach Us To Pray, with our small group and also at home with our children each evening.  I'm not always able to listen as closely as I'd like when my husband is leading these times; sometimes it's necessary for me to help keep my son quietly occupied so that my daughter can really hear the teaching.  But I'm really thankful that I was able to hear my husband read John 17 the other day.  I know I've read it myself before.  And the truth that Jesus is a high priest for those that trust Him has been precious to me; I'll often paraphrase Hebrews 7:25 when praying: Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.  I came to love that verse in the context of Hebrews 7:18-28:   

[18] For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness [19] (for the law made nothing perfect); but…

Nest Updates: Kids' Rooms

We wrapped up the summer with a flurry of activity around the house this past weekend.  Both kiddos were due for bed upgrades--my daughter from a toddler to a twin bed, and my son from a crib to a toddler bed.  Although there's nothing particularly remarkable or innovative about what we've done, we're so pleased with the way both spaces turned out, and hope they'll be environments in which a lot of fun and learning can happen this year.  I wanted to share these little snapshots of our nest with you. 

I'll start with my son's room. This is what it looks like now:

But let's take a look at what we started with, back in February of 2010, a few months after we moved into our house.

A swine-colored monitor graveyard.  Awesome.  The walls were a mess of poor patch jobs and flaking paint.  Being in this room was like rolling around on a giant fillet of salmon.  But my husband meticulously fixed the walls and they went from the eyesores you see above, to this:

We …