I have a medical condition…

I’ve been debating sharing this illness with anyone for a while now but I think it’s time. I can’t hide it any longer.

 

I have self diagnosed it to be “blogger’s guilt.”

 

Okay, I made it up entirely but it is weighing heavily on my heart.

 

Maybe my condition is a slight case of ADD, procrastination, overwhelmed-mom syndrome… I’m not sure yet.

Either way, I am apologizing (once again) for neglecting my blog. I set out 3 years ago to share our home, life and adventures and, personally, I’ve let myself down.

Well, today is a new day my friends! Today is the day I tell you about our home, life and adventures… for now.

Our home: It’s a mess!

~Halloween was yesterday! We are still recuperating from the festivities.

~My dining room table looks like a laundromat threw up all over it and into surrounding baskets.Not for any other reason than I. HATE. LAUNDRY.

~We’ve packed our pantry and kitchen cupboards to the point of becoming a “counter-keeping family” (another phrase I’ve just coined-right now) where we don’t have enough closet space, so, our cereal boxes and extra juice bottles are sitting on the counter.

~Our yard can now be classified as a leaf-covered meadow for frolicking fawn, which is nice; but my kids are not going out there to acquire tick born illnesses and get bitten by snakes.

~Cabin fever is beginning to set in from lack of outdoor play time.

~Baby girl #6 is awake more during the day and due to her cute and happiness factors, I will just eat her up instead of getting any work done.

~If you didn’t know, I have an etsy shop! I’m not a huge success but at night, when the kids are in bed, I’m in my workshop doing my thing.

~Another thing, if you didn’t know, we home-school. Although, this year has been extremely lax, I’m getting down to the wire and after submitting my paperwork for this session (since my Juniper turned 8 this year, it’s time to report to the state) we need to keep track and stay on task for 180 days!

~Again, if you didn’t know, I’ve been working on writing a book. (about homeschooling, actually it’s about deciding whether or not to home-school) It’s been taking me forever because of my other disorder: perfectionism. {I had to swallow my hesitation and just get it published!}

 

So if all that wasn’t enough, add in regular life things, like grocery shopping, changing diapers and scrolling my facebook feed ( all things imperative to living) my bitty, baby blog has taken more than the back burner…she’s fallen off the stove. So much so, google adwords canceled my account (not that $1.94 is a lot to lose :/ ) Now, I’ll have to gain readership and activity, then reapply in the hope of creating any kind of income here.

 

Otherwise, you all can head over to my etsy shop and buy one of my signs ūüôā

 

Or, sign up to receive emails and head over to Amazon and grab a copy of my new book… Deciding to Homeschool: A Guide for Parents on the Fence

Meet the Author

That’s right! This mama has finally published an e-book!

Two years in the making, I’m proud to announce, Deciding to Homeschool: A Guide for Parents on the Fence

 

I couldn’t be more proud to share this with you, and I hope to help a lot of people decide if this lifestyle is right for them, and shed some light on the struggles we face as a homeschooling family.

If you read it, I hope you’ll send some feedback my way, even if it’s negative.

I’ve been holding off on publishing for quite some time; my fear of failure and my self-esteem have been stifling me.

So, why now?

Some unforeseen circumstances have presented in our life; and, to be perfectly honest, we need the money.

I know, it’s shallow and one might say I’m “selling out,” but I’m killing a couple birds here.

  1. Helping support my family (if anyone actually buys it)
  2. Sharing our experiences and my blunt opinions will (hopefully) help others
  3. Realizing this dream of being an author, a dream I’ve had since childhood
  4. Shedding some light on our life for anyone questioning themselves

So, with all these birds being killed… now, is as good a time as any.

 

To kick things off it’s available for FREE download until Friday, October 28, 2016!

Deciding to Homeschool: A Guide for Parents on the Fence

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FREE KINDLE SUBSCRIPTION

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DO NOT BUY THIS!!!!

Edited to add:

I did not experience this personally, I do not have a son. The following is an introduction from the author in the Source: Link. (I’ve added quotation marks to show her original words)

I also feel compelled to tell you that parenting is tough stuff! For a number reasons, we are all scrutinized for the tiniest indiscretion, especially when children are involved. Perhaps the mother in the post topic had a bad day, maybe the sunscreen from whichever dollar store it was purchased was really old or experienced extreme temperatures, maybe the sun was exceptionally strong that day (from a solar storm or something…).

Well, I’m not defending the mother per-say, I’m also not saying anyone who uses this sunscreen is a bad parent.

I shared the post to help anyone who might find the information and experience useful.

Maybe you or your kids have sensitive skin, maybe if you hadn’t seen this one persons account right before your vacation, you would have bought this very same product and had this very same horrific outcome.

 

Let’s try to be mindful of the fact that once we do or say something, anything, we cannot UN-do it. Even on the internet.

 

“I do not usually do things like this, but I felt compelled to share our families experience, so hopefully no one has to suffer like my son did.¬† Last Wednesday our family decided to go swimmin‚Ķ”

Source: DO NOT BUY THIS!!!!  

 

My deepest apologies for the misleading post.

Let’s Talk About Breast, Baby…

… let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be; let’s talk about BREAST

milk, that is.

If you haven’t heard, I’ve had my sixth baby. She’s about to be six months old in a few weeks.

Well, I’m ashamed to say that with my sixth, I’ve finally learned the ins and outs of breastfeeding.

How can that be, you ask? Well, no one ever told me some of the things one would need to know in order to successfully feed from the breast.

That’s right! I took lamaze, and child care classes with my first; they didn’t tell me.

I had a lactation consultant in the hospital and they didn’t tell me.

Obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, midwives… no one told me!!!!

They were all so concerned with the latch and supply at birth (two things I thankfully never had any issues with), not what happens 4-6 months down the road.

Finally with my sixth, I was determined to make breastfeeding past 6 months successful (it wasn’t with the others) and so when I registered for my insurance they asked,

“Are you expecting?”

“Yes!” I replied.

“Would you like a free breast-pump?”

I figured if feeding the baby myself wasn’t going to last, maybe pumping would at least keep her drinking my milk, so I accepted.

A few days after my baby was born, with an abundance of milk, I tried out the pump.

I read the manual cover to cover and learned something that probably would have kept my first five daughters on the breast a lot longer.

You have to prime the nipple!!!!!!

I never knew that the baby needed to suckle for up to two minutes before the milk would flow, all of my babies would reach the four-five month mark and fuss every time I tried to nurse them. Only a few seconds of getting them to the breast and they would wriggle and squirm and cry, cry, cry.

Apparently, I assumed the milk would flow like it did for the first few months…just pour out of me with or without the baby, but, girl was I wrong!

Your body and hormones change. The milk supply regulates according to the baby’s needs. If the baby doesn’t eat it, it won’t come. (the opposite of the field of dreams)

So, learning this vital tidbit of nursing information, I know to have patience with my little one right now. Instead of giving in to her fussiness and handing her a bottle like I did five times before, I soothe her and sing to her and stroke her bald head while she fusses for two minutes, the time it takes for the milk to flow, and then I hear it; the soft sound of swallowing; she’s got milk.

 

***This is a hot-button topic among moms nowadays getting into the #mommywars but just to be clear on my position:

FED IS BEST no matter bottle or breast!

It’s just my personal preference to nurse my babies.

Maybe in another post I’ll go into all the reasons behind my preference but today is not that day.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip {from scratch with love }

My biggest hit at family parties, this dip recipe has evolved over the years, because at times I would throw it together with whatever I had on hand. Well, I can say it always tasted the same somehow, and each time it was delectable!

If you have spinach and some fixin’s for a dip you can make this recipe and everyone will love it, or like me you can hoard a batch to eat after everyone’s asleep.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip {from scratch with love }


Ingredients:

1 package or 2 bunches fresh (or 1 package frozen) spinach    **if using frozen spinach skip steps 2 & 3

8 oz. marinated artichoke hearts

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

1-3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese (divided)

olive oil

butter

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.*
  2. Heat a large skillet at medium temperature and drizzle olive oil.
  3. Add FRESH spinach and saute until wilted.
  4. Drain spinach and artichokes.
  5. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with butter (alternative options: coconut oil, vegetable shortening or cooking spray)
  6. Finely chop spinach and artichokes, then add to the greased baking dish.
  7. Add the next 3 ingredients and/or salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Combine and fold in half of the shredded cheese (we favor cheddar).
  9. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
  10. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

This recipe is best served hot and pairs well with tortilla chips, bread and vegetable slices.

 

The BEST Ever Baked Chicken (from scratch)

After a recent Facebook poll of my four readers, I’m sharing my delicious recipe for the BEST ever baked chicken.

The key to this recipe is the cooking process. I sear the meat at a higher oven temp. to lock in the juices then cover it for a steaming effect and the result? Juicy, tender, flavorful chicken!

From scratch with love, here is my recipe.

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The BEST Ever Baked Chicken (from scratch)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1-1.5 lbs. boneless, skin-less, chicken breasts

4 Tablespoons butter (divided)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425.*
  2. Filet chicken breasts into four congruent pieces.
  3. Mix flour and spices together.
  4. Toss chicken in flour mixture to coat.
  5. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a baking dish(in the preheated oven) for about 1 minute.
  6. Add coated chicken to the preheated pan.
  7. Top chicken with remaining butter (cubed).
  8. Bake at 425* for 30 minutes.
  9. Carefully turn chicken.
  10. Reduce heat to 350.*
  11. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
  12. Continue baking at 350*for an additional 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165.*

Tips & Tricks

Put spices and flour into a zipper storage bag, add chicken and shake to coat.

If you prefer crispy chicken, do not reduce heat or cover, but still turn cutlets half way through cooking time.

Try out the recipe and let me know how it turns out!

 

Have you ever dreamed of being a writer?

I have!

 

It’s been nine months since I shared my new writing adventure, self-publishing a book.

Diligently researching, writing, rewriting and erasing, it has been fun. Today, I formatted my unfinished manuscript for Kindle and decided to print a copy for editing the old fashioned way.

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I have to say, aside from my kids, signs, and cakes, I’ve never been more proud of something I’ve created. Holding these pages, it seems more real than typing away tirelessly and staring at a screen.

 

There is something more special to me about holding it in my hands. Although, it’s only about half done, I can almost taste the reward of accomplishing this dream of mine.

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It actually looks like a real book! Ha!

I have my hands in a lot of pots right now and it seems the more I put myself out there in these creative outlets, the easier and less scary it becomes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m scared out of my mind, self-doubt filling my bones with every word I type.

 

“what if noone wants this?”

“what if they laugh?”

“what if my computer, memory card and external hard drive all simultaneously combust and all my hard work is lost?”

 

I can’t help but think about all the things I want to say but can’t. ¬†All the things I think are important but not relevant to my (hopefully) future readers.

Needless to say, I will be editing tonight, the old-fashioned way.

 

Wish me luck!

 

Love & gratitude,

 

Lisa

Why We Say “Grace”

Even if you’re not very religious or don’t believe in God, sitting down as a family to break bread can be¬†very special.

For my family, it’s a time that we all get to be together and enjoy a meal.
Before eating, we hold hands and say something nice about our day then give thanks.

Sometimes it’s as simple as thanking the person who prepared the meal or worked hard to pay for it.

Our littlest ones usually initiate or remind us to make this ritual happen. We’ll sit down and some will have already taken a bite, but then they put out their little hands ask “amen?”

It is something that’s just nice to do. It connects us, makes us humble. It reminds us there are worse things than our worst things.
So, when we sit down and thank the Lord for our food, health and such, we are also creating a foundation for a family dynamic that no amount of money could bring us.
I love these people. Our two year old thanks God for the food and asks for everyone to be happy, healthy and play games; our five year old thanks Him for food and our blessings, then asks for our dreams to come true and to make our house clean and beautiful.
These precious little creatures are thoughtful gracious and innocently lovely.

So for grace:

Dear Lord, Thank you for my blessings. For every smile, every tear and everything in between. I can’t ask for anything because I have the whole world in my heart. A gift from you, Lord. Thank you. Amen.

 

***Do you say grace? Tell me in the comments what family traditions bind you and your loved ones.

A day in the life and what a day it’s been!

Oh, boy! (eh, girls)

It’s been one of those days. I wasn’t planning a post for today but I just need to get it out and here I sit with tears in my eyes at what could have happened.

This morning was quiet and slow to get started. I was able to pick up the whirlwind of debris that gets left after grandma visits for a few days. I was able to sit and drink a cup of coffee in the quiet house. Then one by one my little cherubs slowly made the descent down the hall stairs and we began the breakfast to-do. Most mornings we all come down together and eat together, but this morning I decided to take the few minutes to straighten up while they slept.

No qualms; no issues; just a quiet morning. Then, 9:30 came around and it was time to get going. I made my second sale in my etsy shop (YAY!) and needed to get to the post office to ship my sign. I also had plans to meet up with my long time and dear friend “D” for lunch and pumpkin picking. We all dressed in our tights and sweaters, hair brushed and out the door. But something inside me was a-miss. I just couldn’t get it all done in the time I needed to. I felt flustered, a rare occasion, I’m usually laid back and have everything under control.

Well, we made it to the Post office and after a brief talk with my girls preparing them to stand still and stay as quiet as possible as not to disturb the other patrons, we made our way into an empty post office. The post office is never empty. Anyway, we shipped the sign and everyone remained relatively calm. Back in the car and on the way to the Farm, it was a nice ride, otherwise uneventful save for Oak and Dogwood falling asleep.

The farm was busy. So busy, there was almost an hour-long wait for our food, despite my calling in our order ahead of time. Our friends had already been there for an hour and had time to play and eat. We were late. We are never¬†late. Or, we have never been late until now for some reason. THIS time. THIS pregnancy I can’t get my bearings. I don’t have it all together, I’m not calm. I’m a mess!

It’s taking a lot of swallowing my pride to admit all this. I don’t feel like a failure, but I don’t feel like myself. I’m out of control and it’s not a good feeling.

After we finally got our food and ate, it was time to roll over to the pumpkins.

Ash had asked several times by then if she could go and play. The farm has a nice shady play area with a big wooden train for the kids to climb on and a petting zoo-like area where they can feed chickens and goats. I told her time and time again, “not yet we have to do ___insert another activity___ first and then later we will play.” So we were looking at pumpkins and taking our annual photo with our babies before lally-gaggling and wrangling our crew to go and pay for the pumpkins because my dear friends had to be leaving.

As we are waiting to pay I’m talking and getting as much conversation in our visit as possible when I notice three of my five aren’t by my side. I look up and they are about 20′ away running into the play area. Dogwood, safe in the stroller, and Ash patiently awaiting my approval, are with me and I’m very familiar with this farm and knowing the play area is completely fenced in with only one way in and out, I’m comfortable not being that crazy mom who runs through a crowded market yelling after her kids to get back here…etc. I let them wander. (I’m no helicopter) But, after paying for the pumpkin and saying our goodbyes to our friends, Oak and Lemon come out of the play area HYSTERICAL and in tears. Some strange woman picks up my three-year old as I say, “I’m right here.”

Oh the drama and travesty! I’m not one of those people who make a scene or feed off of attention, actually I’m the opposite so to have all this going on had me upset to say the least. All these eyes on me and my screaming kids, a spotlight shining on our frazzled current state, ugh!

I hugged my crying kids, asked if they were hurt and we finished saying goodbye to our friends.

Later while Ash and Dogwood were playing and looking at the animals, I asked Lemon why she was so upset and this next part shattered me to pieces. “I thought you left me, mommy.”

I asked her what made her run away from mom in the first place and she said she was just so excited.

We talked, and cried. I told her that I would never leave her and assured her that I knew where she was the whole time. I also scolded her for breaking a big rule and leaving mom without permission.

SO, what could have happened? My three daughters could have been kidnapped or killed. How can I be so cool about it?

I’m not! I”m going crazy inside and I could scream and cry and ball up in the fetal position for the rest of the day, but I won’t, because I have five little faces watching me and my every move. They feed off my energy. They get to be who they are from a combination of me, their dad and their own devices, so I have to make sure what they get from me is sane, not unstable and easy to give up. I have to be strong for my girls.

For not having planned a post I spit out nearly 1,000 words in an emotional whirlwind of honesty and parental shame like I’ve never done before. I’m exposed. My secrets out. I don’t have it all together.

Have your kids ever run away before?

And that’s okay.

Pancakes Anyone?

Who doesn’t love pancakes?

I pride myself on cooking from scratch with love for my family. I know every ingredient that goes into our bellies and I’m confident I feed their growing bodies healthy food. That being said, sometimes it’s nice to have a treat! Pancakes! Who doesn’t love pancakes?

There is something to be said about the satisfaction of taking a handful of ingredients and turning it into something delicious, that’s my pancakes and it’s the only pancake recipe you will ever need!

We use an all-purpose gluten free baking mix but regular flour will work just as well.

flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, milk, vanilla, butter
flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, milk, vanilla, butter

After heating a fry pan or griddle, slowly heat 4 TBS. butter in a small saucepan.

While the butter melts, mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set them aside.

MELT BUTTER
MELT BUTTER

1 1/2 cup flour (sometimes I substitute 1/2 cup flour for cornmeal because I love corn cakes!)

2 TBS. sugar 

ADD SUGAR
ADD SUGAR

2 TBS. baking powder

MIX ALL DRY INGREDIENTS; SET ASIDE

Then in a separate larger bowl, whisk together

2 eggs

ADD EGGS
ADD EGGS

&

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

MEASURE VANILLA
MEASURE VANILLA

By now the butter has melted; whisk it into the egg mixture with

1 c. cold milk

to cool the butter before adding to the egg mixture and then pouring in the dry ingredients.

ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO EGG MIXTURE AND MIX GENTLY
ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO EGG MIXTURE                           AND MIX GENTLY

Don’t mix too much, some lumps are okay.

Measure about 1/4 c of batter onto the buttered pan and wait for the bubbles.

When the edges look dry, flip and cook the other side for about 30 seconds.

That’s it! The perfect pancakes.

The Perfect Pancakes From Scratch

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons butter (melted)

1 1/2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons sugar 

2 Tablespoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup cold milk

Directions

  1. Pre-heat pan or griddle to 350-375.*
  2. Sift dry ingredients in medium bowl.
  3. Mix eggs, vanilla, butter and milk in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg mixture.
  5. Combine until smooth (some lumps are okay, don’t over mix).
  6. Grease pan and pour batter in 1/4 cup increments.
  7. Watch for bubbles and wait for edges to look dry.
  8. Flip and cook for 30 sec.
  9. Plate, drizzle and ENJOY!!!

This recipe makes 12-14 perfectly fluffy pancakes!

Tasty Tip: Use the small sauce pan from melting the butter to heat up pure maple syrup for a buttery rich drizzle.

We also utilize our oven’s warming drawer to heat up our plates and syrup so we never eat a cold pancake.

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