Mother’s Day 2015


I was thinking one evening when a thought crossed my mind. Yes, it is a strange phenomena to have a thought cross your mind whilst thinking. Anywho, I was thinking about how we, meaning Corin and myself, used to hijack your blog and write all sorts of crazy things on it. There was the time you and Dad went on your first cruise and we had a field day writing posts and getting your readers to join us in pretending we had posted something pretty horrid, or were we pretending?

So, the idea sprouted for us to write letters to you, but this time the boys get to join in as they’re all growed up. Everyone was all for it and so the thought became a reality. So, without further ado…

Aaron's going away party

Happy Mother’s Day From Corin

Dear Mom,

You’ve put up with so much from me over the years.


Sometimes I wonder how you managed to let me live!  So I thought I’d thank for for just a few of the MANY things you’ve done for me. Thank you for:
Putting up with me when I was more of a witch…


Than an angel.


Thanks for not strangling me when I kept calling you Marilla during my daydreamy Anne (with an E) days weeks months years.


Thanks for teaching me that you just have to laugh.  (otherwise you’ll cry, and then your nose will be all stuffy and your eyes will be all swollen…)  It’s saved me more times than you’ll ever know.




Thanks for putting up with me no matter how cool I thought I was…


Thanks for being my advice nurse and emergency room support team.



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Thanks for helping me realize that we’re ALL a little bit crazy (but only the very best kind).



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Thanks for letting me/us turn your kitchen into a Roman Colosseum every year.
Thanks for teaching me ways to subtly change the subject if a conversation wasn’t to my liking.


And for letting me practice my driving every single day (and helping scrounge up $5.11 every day).

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Thank you for teaching me to hold my plans loosely, but still commiserating with me when things don’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Like when you texted with me for hours when our family vacation ended in a broken nose, hoards of fevered and vomiting children, and frozen bank accounts, 400 miles from home. O.o,/span>

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Thanks for all of it, and SOOOOO much more!  Love you!

Happy Mother’s Day From Dani

Hey Mom,

Now that I am a mom, though a very new one, I realize how much you had to give up for us kids. A job where your work was valued and appreciated for kids who were unable to value your labor and were horrid at showing appreciation, although it was there. Behind the Bactene screams of scraped knees, the nightmares that were calmed, the puke you (and Dad) cleaned up over and over and over and over (sorry for being the one who had the every illness turns to puking gene). Games you played, schooling you did (but I just don’t GET IT!), meals you cooked, vitamins you dished out (YOU EXPECT ME TO SWALLOW THAT?!?!?! <cough> I’m choking <cough><cough> I’m dying!). Bad attitudes you corrected, broken hearts comforted.

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You gave us so much of your time, energy and talents over the years and I want to thank you. The time you took teaching us how to cook, letting Corin and I surprise you and Dad with dinner and not saying a word over our special dinner of scrambled eggs and whatever else we were capable of putting together unsupervised while you and Dad were outside working in the yard. You both smiled as you ate toast off of your best china, although I bet you raided the fridge when we were in bed. Over the years you taught us how to make bread, plan a weeks menu (Corin, if you say anything about crunchy tuna casserole…), shop and prepare it. There were also the marathon “Once a Month Cooking” sessions and all of the canning we did where I learned how to master my Julia Childs impression as I read out loud from the Ball canning book while pitting peaches.

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You instilled in me a love of baking and how to enjoy cooking. You taught us how to maintain a garden, how to pick up tomato horn worms <shudder> and that salt kills slugs… and plants. You fed my desire to create things by admiring all of my loom potholders, Barbie fashions, watercolors and rabbit sketches as a kid and encouraged me even as an adult to continue to pursue new skills. You still take the time to advise and admire my latest projects! You also gave us room to grow on our own with responsibilities, deciding I could raise a couple rabbits, giving responsibilities around our home and in the future letting me manage our farm animals including the raising and selling of our dairy goats and then planning out and managing a large garden on our property. Later, you and Dad backed me and walked with me as I navigated all the legal joys of running a small business.There was the room to grow and room to fail and all within a safe place where we knew we were loved and yet was preparing us for adulthood.


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More recently you came and helped me as I struggled those first few weeks with my own little man. When we landed back in the hospital you dropped everything and drove the hour to sit with me at the hospital. You did it again the next day and were quick to come down a third day when we were first home again so Sean could go to work not worrying about us. You did our laundry, made us yummy food and did all of those fabulous mom things that I hope I can do for my kids one day.




You taught us to love God, love others, work hard with our own hands and mind our own business. For all of those things I am eternally grateful. Thank you!






Happy Mother’s Day From Aaron

Dear Mom,

Aaron March 2008

By the time you are reading this I will be beginning my third week of boot camp here at MCRD San Diego. I wanted to write this short letter to wish you a happy Mother’s Day and to thank you. Thank you for raising me to know the difference between right and wrong, for raisng me to know the Lord, and for schooling me for all those years. Thank you for bearing through my rebellious teen years, for the help and guidance in getting my first job, and for being there through the frustrations of early adulthood. Thank you for encouraging me, supporting me, and being proud of me as I pursue my career in the United States Marine Corp. But most importantly, thank you for being my mom.


Happy Mothers day. Love you lots and hope to see you soon


Happy Mother’s Day from Will

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!! I wanted to thank you for always helping me when I need it (especially with school), and putting up with me when I get frustrated.


And let you know even though it might not always appear like it, I appreciate the help.

image2Thanks for being the best mom ever!




Quick Tip Tuesday – Bacon in a Flash!

Quick Tip Tuesday


Breakfast! I like to make hearty, nutritious breakfasts for my guys. Bacon is at the top of their breakfast favorites list, but cooking enough for everyone, can be time consuming. Some mornings I have plenty of time, but other (most!) mornings are too rushed.


I buy my bacon in three pound packages, a case at a time. On a morning when I have some extra time, or during an afternoon at home, I thaw a three pound package, cook it all on foil lined cookie sheets in the oven, and then package it in meal-size portions and freeze. The trick is to cook the bacon until it’s done, but not quite crisp, before freezing.


I can open a package of cooked bacon and heat it to crispy perfection in a frying pan or microwave in just a few, short minutes. (Thaw it overnight in the fridge, or quickly in the microwave in the morning).

Bacon in a flash – this week’s tip for Quick Tip Tuesday!

Quick Tip Tuesday will pop up as often as possible, with a quick and/or easy tip for your home. The tips might be related to organizing, cleaning, family fun, or whatever pops into my head that I think might be helpful to someone. I might also share a link to another site if I find something that I think is useful. The current tip might not be new to you, but I guarantee that it will be new to someone; and there’s sure to be something new for everyone at some point in time. Be watching for more Quick Tip Tuesdays!


Good Eats for this Week!

I’m late getting my menu plan posted, but better late than never! I have the filling for the Crispy Turkey Wellington for tonight’s dinner already made and in the fridge. The Almond Poppy Seed Bread for breakfast in the morning is in the bread machine. I’ve been busy in the kitchen, but found some time this afternoon to post the menu plan.


There’s lots of goodness on the menu this week! I’ll be gone Friday evening and all day Saturday, but I’ll spend some time before I leave to make the soup, and bake the french bread my family will enjoy Friday night, and to put together the casserole I’ll pop into the oven when I get home Saturday evening. Here’s what we’re having.


Breakfast – Pancakes
Lunch – Left over soup, and left over Focaccia
Dinner – Crispy Turkey Wellington, Roasted Garlic Green Beans, Green Salad


Breakfast – Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Almond Poppy Seed toast
Lunch-  left over Turkey Wellington, fruit
Dinner – Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles, Chopped Asian Salad


Breakfast – Bagels and cream cheese
Lunch – Canned Soup, almond poppy seed toast
Dinner – breakfast quesadillas (bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese, salsa), country fries, fruit


Breakfast – Oatmeal
Lunch – PBJ Sandwiches, chips
Dinner – Mediterranean Meat Pie, Steamed broccoli


Breakfast – pancakes
Lunch – Mac & Cheese, Kielbasa, fruit
Dinner- Lentil Vegetable Soup with Bacon, French Bread (Soup recipe in Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys – this is an Amazon Associates link. Here’s my full disclosure policy.)


Breakfast – Audrey’s Coffee Cake
Lunch – Left-over soup, bread
Dinner – Tomato-Mac-Cheese-Corn Casserole, salad


Breakfast – cereal or Audrey’s coffee cake
Lunch – out
Dinner – Loaded Baked Potatoes

I’m joining Laura for this week’s Menu Plan Monday.

Is menu planning a skill you’d like to learn? Need some help getting started? My Menu Planning Series will help!


On Our Table For The Week of March 1, 2015

No lengthy explanations about my absence, at least not today. Instead, I’m just going to jump back in with a full week’s menu plan, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

(This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links will be noted with a double asterisk **.)

Breakfast – Waffles
Lunch – Hot Roast Beef, Monterey Jack, and Spinach Panini, Herb Roasted Red Potatoes
Dinner – Skillet Chili Mac (from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook**), Green Salad

Breakfast – NYC Deli Breakfast Sandwiches (inspired by Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys**)
Lunch – Canned Soup, My Easy Soft Breadsticks
Dinner – Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti (freezing half for another night), Broccoli Slaw

Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Toasted Cinnamon- Sugar Tortillas
Lunch – Left over Chicken Spaghetti, or Sandwiches
Dinner – Sloppy Joes (from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook**), Chopped Salad

Breakfast – Old Fashioned Oatmeal
Lunch – PBJ Sandwiches, Chips
Dinner – Weeknight Slow Cooker Chili (from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook**), Corn Muffins

Breakfast – Pancakes
Lunch – Mac & Cheese (the blue box stuff!**), Fruit
Dinner – Pan Seared Chicken with Apricot Orange Sauce, Risotto (both from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook**), Steamed Broccoli

Breakfast – Cereal
Lunch – BBQ Chicken Salads with Apples
Dinner – Pasta E Fagioli (from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook**),  My own French Bread with Garlic Butter

Breakfast – Bagels and Cream Cheese
Lunch – Out after church
Dinner – Tamara’s Focaccia

Trying a couple of new recipes, (both from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook**)
Glazed Maple-Pecan Oatmeal Scones
All Purpose Chocolate Cake

Is menu planning a skill you’d like to learn? Looking for some fresh ideas? My Menu Planning Series can help!





(Disclosure – Some of the links above are affiliate links. If you click on those links, and then make a purchase, it may put a few pennies into my pocket. There is no additional cost to you. I am always grateful to those of you who choose to bless me this way. You can read about how I spend those pennies, and more about how I earn them, in my full disclosure policy.)


Menu for Week of February 1, 2015 – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

I’m back to planning all three meals for my family. I’ll tell you why later this week. It’s complicated and embarrassing and I should have known better, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson. I’m not beating myself up over it, there’s nothing to be gained that way. I’m extending myself grace, knowing that what I’m taking away from the experience is valuable and something I would not have realized had I not stepped away from planning breakfast and lunch for awhile.

Please, do extend yourself grace when things get messed up! Learn from your mistakes, obviously, but don’t keep stewing over all the things you think you should have done differently. Move on! Taylor Swift knows what she’s talking about – shake it off!

(Note – This post contains affiliate links*)

Here’s what’s on the menu this week.

Breakfast – Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
Lunch – Out After Church
Dinner – Cheese Quesadillas, Popcorn, Fruit

Breakfast – New York City Deli Breakfast Sandwich, as found in Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys
Lunch – Soup (from a can, because that’s how I roll midweek), Toasted tortillas with butter
Dinner – Chicken Spaghetti, green salad  (I’ll bake half of the Chicken Spaghetti recipe, and freeze the other half)

Breakfast – Pancakes, Bacon
Lunch – PBJ Sandwiches, Fruit & Yogurt
Dinner – Mexican Pumpkin Soup (recipe later this week!), Corn Muffins

Wednesday – It’s a mid-week Fiesta!
Breakfast – Breakfast Burritos, filled with chopped, link sausages, scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa)
Lunch – Left over Mexican Pumpkin Soup, and Corn Muffins
Dinner – Tacos, Green Salad

Breakfast – Old fashioned oatmeal, with real maple syrup, cinnamon and raisins
Lunch – Meat Sandwiches, chips
Dinner – Ham Steaks, Fried Potatoes, Green Beans

Breakfast – French Toast
Lunch – Bean and Cheese Burritos, sliced cucumbers, baby carrots
Dinner – Southwest Quiche, toast (This is already made and in the freezer. I won’t be home, so the guys can pull this out and pop it in the oven for dinner.)

Breakfast – Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins
Lunch – On Your Own
Dinner – Take Mom Out (!!)

Is menu planning a skill you’d like to learn this year? Are you a seasoned planner looking for a few new ideas? My Menu Planning Series can help!


*disclosure – Some of the links above are affiliate links. If you click on those links, and then make a purchase, it may put a few pennies into my pocket. Of course, there is no additional cost to you. I am always grateful to those of you who choose to bless me this way. You can read about how I spend those pennies, and more about how I earn them, in my disclosure policy.


The First Ten Books For 2015

I have been blessed with an abundance of new books to be read! After hearing some new-to-me speakers, I bought a few for myself at my church’s local IF:Gathering and then again at Women of Faith. Most, though, were gifts. No matter how I came to own them, I have a LOT of new books to read!

My dilemma, of course, is in deciding what to read first. I want to read them all! Long time readers know how important it is that I think that we are reading. It’s good for us!


(If you click on the links below, and then make a purchase, some of them will be affiliate links that may put a few pennies into my pocket. Of course, there is no additional cost to you. I am always grateful to those of you who choose to bless me this way. You can read about how I spend those pennies, and more about how I earn them, in my disclosure policy.)

For the last two or three months, my reading has been limited to research on women’s ministry and mentoring, or to books that are part of a group study. It’s been good reading, and I’ll be reviewing those books soon. I am, however, very much looking forward to reading from my stacks and stacks of new books.

I decided to choose ten books to fill my reading basket to start the year. I had three or four books that I’d started, but not finished, so those were the first onto the “first ten” list. Aaron gifted me a sweet, “fluffy” novel  for Christmas, and that was an obvious choice after all the heavy reading of the last few weeks. I chose the rest rather quickly, because the more I looked and tried to decide, the harder the choice became.

Here are the First Ten Books For 2015 in my reading basket.


Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love was released on January 6, and delivered to my door on January 8. Sally and I – we go way back! (Just for the record, she doesn’t have a clue who I am!) The Clarkson’s Educating the WholeHearted Child (mine is an ancient edition from the 90’s) completely changed the way that I homeschooled my children. I’ve read most of Sally’s books over the years, and she has blessed me in so many ways over the years. Own Your Life is right at the top of my first ten books for 2015 list.



It might sound strange to include a cookbook in my reading basket, but it’s really the only way that I can guarantee, during this on the go season, that I’ll actually remember to pull it out and look through it. My goal, of course, isn’t to read it from cover to cover, but rather to look through, mark some new recipes to try, and then cook ’em up! Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys was recommended by a young woman I’ve known since she was a young teen, and who is now the mother of three boys. She’s a foodie, too! She says this is a cookbook that women will enjoy cooking from, and that the guys will enjoy eating those dishes, so I know it’ll be a hit here. (By the way – she runs a fabulous Etsy store and her purses, bags and scarves are gorgeous and well made.)



I added this book to my reading basket last year, and never got around to it. I’ve read it before. Twice. I’m looking forward to a long, slow re-read of Jane Brocket’s wonderful book on the home. The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home is just what it claims to be, and my soul is yearning for a bit more of the “gentle” arts in my home this year.



I’ve had this book for quite awhile, but it’s just now making its way into my reading basket. Despite its rather ominous sounding title, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age promises to be a good read. I’ll let you know!



I wish this book had a better title, though I like the sub-title! I’ve been reading it for awhile, and I’m about half way through it. God has used this book in powerful ways in my life, but I didn’t expect that when I started reading it. I’m kind of looking forward to reading the rest and seeing how God might use that, too. The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense was recommended by my in real life, book loving friend, Sheri.



I’m about three fourths of the way through The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. I’ve enjoyed it, so far, and I’m making it a priority to finish it up in the next week or two.



My Aaron bought this book for me for Christmas. As I mentioned earlier, my reading has been rather heavy, as of late, so starting a bit of “fluffy” reading was just the thing. Savannah was recommended by my friend Kendra and I am really enjoying it.



I’ve learned something about myself. I don’t enjoy reading a book after I’ve seen the movie. It’s not that I think the movie is better, because it usually is not. I almost always find the book far better and more satisfying. However, with The Book Thief, I’m just having a hard time getting into the story. My plan is to finish Savannah (see above), and then start The Book Thief over from the beginning.



I’ve enjoyed most everything I’ve read by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Her grace filled writing is like a breath of fresh air. I’m very much looking forward to reading Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice.



Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World, by Nish Weiseth. Looking forward to starting this one, too.

I’d love hearing what you’re reading now, or if you’ve already read any of these ten for yourself. Leave a comment here, or on the Facebook page.