Sunday, February 27, 2011

What we are having for dinner this week

Sunday night- Homemade tomato soup with fresh Artisan Bread- this soup and bread are to die for...if I had to pick a last meal this would be my choice :)

Monday- Rotisserie chicken from Publix with broccoli and rice

Tuesday-  Pioneer woman's Pork-chops green beans and baked potatoes

Wednesday- Bonefish Grill Chimichurri Tilapia with whipped potatoes and tomatoes/mozzarella/ basil salad

Thursday- Grilled Chicken With Lemon Basil Pasta by Pioneer woman

Friday- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and apples

How to clean your kitchen efficiently!

As I write this article, I even question whether someone like me is even qualified to give any advice on cleaning.  If you stop in at my house you would be shocked at the mess you will find.  My house usually has toys strewn from one end to the other, dirty dishes on the get the idea.  My shtick is more about cleaning efficiently, not about keeping it clean all the time.

Cleaning the kitchen is a daily job that needs to be done throughout the day at my house.  I am still trying to master how to get it done efficiently because as I have said before, I loath cleaning and want to spend the minimum amount of time doing it.

  • The best advice I've heard on keeping the kitchen clean is to run the dishwasher every night and empty the dishwasher every morning.  That way as you mess up the dishes you can put them directly in the dishwasher!  I try to run the dishwasher even if it's not full and even if I still haven't put everything in it, yes, some nights there are still dirty dishes on the table and I am too tired to finish the job completely but I still run the dishwasher...
  • Get your kids to carry their plates into the kitchen after each meal.  I am amazed at how much faster it is to clean up after a meal if I simply ask my kids to carry their plates into the kitchen. My next goal with my kids is to have them wash their plates off and put them in the dishwasher....I think I'll start that tomorrow.
  • Keep a roll of garbage bags at the bottom of your garbage can so you don't have to hunt for bags.
  • If you have any pot or pans that need to soak for a few minutes, that's a good time to wipe the counters down.
  • Another trick I learned,  is after you sweep the kitchen floor, get an old wet rag and wipe up the dirty spots rather mopping the whole floor every time it gets a few spots.
  • has an article with some more tips on cleaning efficiently, I like their idea of having a basket that you load all items into that don't belong in the kitchen as your cleaning up.  We always have random paper and toy that I am running around putting away extending my kitchen clean up time.  
What about you do you, have any time saving tips to share?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teaching Beginner's Piano without breaking the bank.

Being a homeschool mom and being frugal, I decided I wanted to teach my kids beginner piano on my own.  Before I shell out hundreds of dollars, I want to find out if it's something my kids really are interested in.  Luckily, I have a friend, Debbie, who is a piano teacher who had some great recommendations as to what books to start my children's piano journey.

She recommended Pianamals.   We bought it about a year ago but really didn't start the program until about 3 months ago.  I LOVE this program, it comes with a CD.  It starts of really simple and slowly integrates the letters and notes.  My kids are eager and excited to learn.  They love playing along with the cd, and I'm not pulling teeth to get them to practice.

If you are considering starting piano lessons, I highly recommend this program to begin!

Toys with lots of pieces that you shouldn’t get rid of….

Whenever someone is asking me what to get my kids as a gift, my usual answer is not something with a lot of pieces…PLEASE.  But there are a few children’s toys with lots of pieces that are worth having.  Pattern Blocks are worth buying and keeping.  Every time we get them out I am amazed at what my kids create.  They also have cards that your children can follow to make different designs.
This is a spiral galaxy that Ethan designed.

This is a dragonfly that Hannah designed.

Easy Homemade breadmaker needed!

My sister Angela told me about this recipe and I love it.  Who doesn't like having fresh made bread to serve with dinner.
My kids LOVE this bread and so do our neighbors whom I've shared it with.

You only need a 4 ingredients
1. Water
2.  Flour
3.  Yeast
4.  Cornmeal...which I actually didn't have the first time I made it and it worked out just fine

Here is the video to watch
sometimes it helps just to watch someone do it before trying it yourself

Here is the link to the recipe

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ever Wonder About Worship? by Vicki Hoodikoff

    In Revelation 7:9 we read about God’s dream of welcoming all nations around His throne.  “Every tribe, people, tongue, language,” It states.  A future kingdom, composed of a multitude that is uncountable, gathered before the throne of God worshipping Him.
     I often wonder how that scene will sound. .  How did he know they were from every tribe?  John said that he saw.   Did he see the faces of the Buriati people of Siberia?  Or perhaps he heard the melodious tongue of the Ukrainian people?  Whatever the explanation, John saw it and this vision confirmed Jesus’ last words for His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.”  It is God’s desire to see the multitudes, a myriad of people.
     The very first time the word worship appears in the Bible is in the book of Genesis.  Chapter 22:5 reads: Abraham said to his servants, Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there.   We will worship and then we will come back to you.
     I find it somewhat intriguing that not one mention of a musical instrument is recorded.  In fact, it continues to say that Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son’s back, while he himself carried the fire and the knife.  This is the first recorded picture of worship.  Abraham displayed this in a complete, obedient act of homage to his God.  The hebrew word for worship is shachah; meaning to fall prostrate, bow, crouch or fall down, flat position, do reverence, humbly beseech, make homage to royalty or God.  Ironically this understanding of worship has nothing to do with musical instruments or styles of music, genres, etc.  It has everything to do with a lifestyle of absolute surrender and obedience to one’s God.  
     The apostle Paul further supports this idea of worship throughout his writings to the church.  In the Greek it is translated into “proskuneo”, which means to kiss toward, to crouch to, to pay homage, do reverence to.    In antiquity times it is the likening of a dog licking his master’s hand. 
     The sacrifice God provided for each and every nation causes us to bow ourselves in worship before a worthy God.  YAWEH is our worthy-ship, our master in whom we are indebted and the focus of our complete adoration and homage.  This is the true meaning of worship.  Abraham set the example when he was willing to sacrifice his only son, a foreshadowing of God who actually sacrificed his only son.
      So all this led me to one question.  How would the nations express their gratitude and honor to God for sending us His son?  How do the Slavic people whom I live amongst display their reverence and thankfulness to God for supplying them with the “Lamb” of God?   Would they even use musical instruments to convey their thoughts to God?  What we refer to as “worship time” in some churches really is meant to be a life style, but can be expressed in part through the medium of singing, praise and dance.   I believe God loves to hear the unique sounds of the nations expressing their heart-felt love to Him.  The” song” may be the same one of adoration, gratitude and worthiness, but the style and  the instruments are varied as the people that use them.  The nose stringed instruments of Central  Asia may just sound as lovely to God as the grand piano of Europe when both are played in a manor of a “dog licking His master’s hand”.

     While the Biblical understanding of worship is really about a daily, obedient life-style to God, living in complete submission to His word and adoration to Him, as Abraham modeled, there is a place for us to set aside time corporately to focus on a worthy God.  Yet, how we “kiss toward” or  express that sincere love to Him will vary depending on each individual, each culture, etc.  Can you imagine the scene in Revelation that John saw?  Can you hear the multitude of the nations expressing there love to Him?  This Lamb of God that took away your sins, your neighbor’s, also took them away for those in the far reaches of Siberia and the ethnic groups beyond.  So let’s worship in deed and song and moreover from our hearts and minds remembering that the God we revere is worthy of praise from all nations.  
Vicki Hoodikoff has been a missionary in the Eastern Europe for the past 18 years.  She lives there with her husband and 2 children.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What I love about Noah

1.  I love that when I'm about to pick him up, he starts bouncing in excitement.
2.  I love the look he gives me when I rock him and sing to him as he sucks on his fingers.
3.  I love his fat little thighs.
4.  I love to hear him babbling.
5.  I love when I sit in his playyard every few minutes he comes over to hug me.

What I love about Ethan

1.  I love that Ethan will read books to Hannah if she asks him too.
2.  I love to hear him play with Noah.
3.  I love how excited he is to learn.
4.  I love that he calls his Dad his "best buddy"
5.  I love that he sings and isn't embarrassed

What I love about Hannah

1.  I love that she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to tell you what it is.
2.  I love that she calls a porcupine a pokey pine.
3.  I love that she usually is humming a song.
4.  I love that she tells me she loves me about 20 times a day.
5.  I love that she loves learning new vocabulary words and thinks candy is delectable.

What is Love?

Love is what you have when the feelings are gone...really...when you no longer have those butterflies or excitement....that's when love really kicks in.  When your kids are being bratty, when your spouse isn't measuring up to what you think they should be.  That's when love kicks in.

According to the 2 Corinthians 
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 

Love never fails if you believe the beginning of this passage, the patient, and kind part.  

When I was pregnant with my first son Ethan, I had only been married two years. I was sick as a dog, I was vomiting all the time, my face was covered in pimples, every bad thing that happens when a woman is pregnant happened to me.  I was a emotional mess, not very lovable.  I'm sure my husband Evan wanted to run away, far away.  But he didn't, he was patient, he was kind, he was protective, he was a perfect example of love.  He told me that someone had told him, what makes marriage special is the commitment, and he was and is committed to me.  That's what love is....

In life we can either look at each other's faults or treasure other people's good qualities.  I strive to focus on the positive and pray to "love" others the way my Savior has first loved me!

Cleaning more efficiently-The Bathroom

I was complaining to my husband, once again, about how much time I spend cleaning our house.  With 3 little ones always under my feet, it's hard to get anything done.  My husband suggested coming up with ways to clean more efficiently.  So I am starting with my least favorite job, cleaning the bathroom!

One of the reasons it takes me so long to clean the bathrooms is that I have some cleaning supplies in one bathroom and a some in the other.  I spend half the time looking for the different items I need to clean.  So I decided to buy a whole set of supplies for each bathroom.  Here is my list
1.  Rubber Gloves
2.  Glass Cleaner
3.  Paper Towels
4.  Toilet bowl cleaner
5.  Clorox wipes
6.  Comet
7.  Sponge
8.  Plastic bags to line the trash cans
9.  Toilet brush
10.  Big bottle of soap to refill smaller one on the sink

I keeping all of these items locked in a cabinet under the sink in the bathroom.

Order of cleaning.
1.  Clean the bathroom mirror
2.  Clean the sink
3.  Clean the toilet
4.  Scrub tub
5.  Empty Garbage-  I am putting about 5 bags in the trash can as liners so I can just pull the top one off.
6.  Sweep and Mop the floor

I think I can get the bathroom clean in under 10 minutes if I have all my supplies right there.
How about you?  Do you have any efficient ways to clean?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Motivational Television for Kids

One of our FAVORITE programs at my house is Nova Science Now, this program is about the latest scientific discoveries going on right now.  My 4 year old even finds this program interesting!  Growing up I was never really interested in academics, so watching this show is truly inspirational.

The latest episode we watched was on the new materials companies are manufacturing.  It is really cool stuff and what better way to motivate kids to learn than seeing the result of studying and understanding chemistry.  I guess that's what I love so much about this program, it makes learning full of purpose, so useful, not just memorizing the periodic chart in order to pass a test.

Another episode we watched was about how scientists figured out that the pattern on shark skin was great to prevent bacteria from growing.  They are starting to use this pattern in hospitals to prevent super-infections.

Set your DVR's right now, or go to their website to watch NOVA Science Now

Turn off Wipeout people and turn on PBS!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to safely clean baby toys!

Our family is sick again this season.  And before I break out the bleach I figured I would do a little research on some natural ways to clean off the toys versus using bleach and lysol.
I don't want my clothes getting bleached and I feel like I don't want the toys going back in the babies mouth covered in lysol.
So here is an article I found that might help some of my friends out there.

How To Clean Baby Toys