Thursday, 29 August 2013

Back to Homeschool Giveaway Going on at Notebooking Nook!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

I'm Thinking About Homeschooling: Part 1 - Now What?

This post includes affiliate links. Please read my discloser for more details.

If you're reading this post, than I'm assuming you're considering homeschooling as a serious option! If so, congratulations! It's one of the most rewarding things you can do next to being a mother to your kids. They do go hand-in-hand. Both are very difficult and have their own set of challenges and both reap so many blessings and rewards.

When I started homeschooling 16 years ago I honestly didn't know where to begin. I didn't know where to turn to for help. I didn't know anyone who homeschooled, I had no idea how to turn on a computer and there weren't even very many books on the topic. I was lost! I wished I had had someone... anyone to give me a little guidance. If I could go back in time and give myself advice, here's what it would be.

Where to Begin

You might be asking yourself... Where do I begin? My suggestion is educate yourself first about what is the best way to teach your children. The majority of home schools do not look like a public school class room. That doesn't mean we don't have structure, most of us do the best we can in that area. But homeschooling is a way of life. Below's a list of books that I hope will be helpful to you in your search for a teaching method for your children.

As you read through these books, take notes and remember that these books are reference books. They are meant to be referred to over and over again. Once you decide what style will work best for your family, you'll want to start working on a plan and looking for curriculum. I'll discuss planning and curriculum choices in other posts later in this series.

What To Do With the Kids 

If you've already pulled your kids out of school and still don't have a your plan or method worked out... don't stress too much about what to do with your kids while you're preparing to homeschool. Seriously, focus on figuring out how to teach them. It might take you a few months and that's okay! You'll save yourself a lot of grieve in the long run if you take the time to learn what's going to work best for your family first.

In the meantime, keep lots of things on hand for your kids to do. Here's a list of activities to have on hand for kids to do when mom is busy. Please take your child's age into consideration when choosing from the list below. You also don't have to spend a lot of money. Be creative with what you already have on hand!

Stay encouraged! There's a lot of support out there now for new homeschoolers. But first thing, focus on a plan for you and your kids. You will not regret the time you spend investigating all the methods.  

Upcoming posts in this series:
  • learning styles
  • choosing curriculum
  • how to plan a school year 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A Wedding Menu to Make Your Mouth Water

We was debating about what to serve at Cassie and LaMar's wedding reception. We knew we wanted appetizers. But did I want to prepare it all myself? Or hire someone to cater? In the end, I was planning to prepare the food with my 3 sisters' help.

I spoke to a good friend (Dianne) about it and she was, first, not excited about my menu, and second, sure I was nuts for trying to do it all. Dianne offered to prepare all the food herself... she did enroll some help from her husband, daughter and another friend of mine and her daughter. What awesome friends I have!!

Let me share what we were planning to originally serve:
  • pulled-pork sliders
  • egg salad sliders
  • chicken salad sliders
  • large bowl of shrimp (to self-serve cocktails)
  • 3 different cold salads
  • spinach dip and fancy crackers
  • chocolate dipped strawberries
  • 3 spa waters
Yeah, my friend wasn't impressed. I was somewhat okay with the menu, but I was concerned about the amount of work it would take with everything else I had to do for the wedding.

I did end up making the chocolate dipped strawberries myself, which took most of the night before and  morning of the reception (FYI, Cassie and LaMar got married the morning on Friday, March 8 and the reception was the evening of March 9th).

Dianne put together an amazing menu, created a detailed shopping list for me and then got to work. Let me also mention that all this happened about a week before the wedding! Dianne was also in the process of moving! Here's the amazing menu we ended up serving... I'll link to the recipes, when possible. 

These are homemade sweet potato chips. She deep fried them in coconut oil so there wouldn't be that smell you get with vegetable oil. They were delicious and stayed crispy!

They put ranch at the bottom of the baguettes. We were trying to avoid having bowls of dips and things of the table. It worked well.

She found this on a members only site. But I think you get the point. They added a light dressing to this salad.

We used disposable wine goblets for the shrimp cocktails. She added mango salsa and cucumber under the cocktail sauce. I think these turned out beautiful and what a crowd pleaser these were!

A baguette slice with a slice of roast beef, cucumber, tomato, and cheese 


Grapes dipped in caramel bits, then crushed nuts! Yes, these were another crowd pleaser!

I dipped about 300 strawberries. We used to do this for a fundraiser at church and I was mainly in charge of dipping. I don't know how I managed to forget how long it actually takes. One of the longest processes is cleaning and choosing the best ones to dip.

We used strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, grapes, and blueberries... I may be missing something but you get the point. We served them on a platter similar to this in this same way... only much taller!

We served water, lemon water and lemon and strawberry spa water. This photo was taken (by me) while we were still setting up, so it's not what the finished table looked liked.

It was difficult to get a great picture of our totally fun popcorn bar because it was in front of a window, but it was a HUGE hit with the kids! So much fun! I purchased the popcorn here. We had 6 flavors... a plain, caramel, cheese, chocolate, snicker doodle, and fruit. I purchased the little cups to hold the popcorn in at Oriental Trading. I found most the apothecary jars at Home Goods for around $13.00. I got the scoops at a local kitchen supple store.

I added a post about the wedding cake here

The kids and we were thrilled with how the food turned out! What a blessing to have such amazing friends who will step up and lend you a hand when you really need it! 

Photo credits, unless otherwise stated, are by kelly lynn photography.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Stuffed Red Peppers

My daughters and I love finding fun recipes on Pinterest! But most of all, we want to find out if they taste as good as they look. As a little side note to that last comment, as you can tell from the photo collage at the end of this post, I'm no photographer! I do like to take pictures, but I definitely need quite a bit of work! But that's not what this post is about. Tonight we made stuffed red peppers. 

The original post for the stuffed peppers came from I was searching for some low-carb recipes and came across this. Her picture is much better than mine... as you can see below. Doesn't that just look like something you'd want to make! Well we thought so! 

We thought it would be fun to start documenting the pins we try and give it a short review. I'll also add anything we did differently from the original recipe.

Ease of Recipe

Easy, in my opinion. The most time consuming thing was chopping the vegetables. No biggie.


Good flavor. It could have used more salt, pepper, and garlic. But other than that, very good.

What We Did Differently

The only thing we did differently was add cheese while it baked. It didn't say to do that but it looks like it's done in the photo, so we did.

Will We Make Them Again?

Yes! My husband loved them and was happy to get something a little different from the norm. We will add the extra ingredients mentioned above.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Cassie & LaMar's Wedding Cake

I'm still waiting for the photos taken at Cassie and LaMar's reception but I did take a few myself. I wish I'd taken more but I was a little busy with other things :)

A sweet lady from our church, Carla, made the cake. Once it arrived, I had to snap a picture of it! She did a beautiful job. She doesn't typically do buttercream frosting (she prefers fondant) but in my humble opinion, you'd never know it! We all loved the way it turned out, and it tasted as good as it looked.

I mean, seriously! Pretty impressive, I think!

We had her make cupcakes and cake pops as well. Still waiting on the pics for the pops.

Lastly, we had a grooms cake made. It was a surprise for LaMar from Cassie. He likes Captain America... so there you go!

I hope Carla will be around for many more weddings to come! Great job and thanks so much!!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Cassie and LaMar - For Time and All Eternity

We had a wedding in our family a few weeks ago. Our beautiful daughter, Cassie, married a good, kind, and worthy young man, LaMar. March 8 is their anniversary and what a lovely day it was. We had a little rain, but from what we heard, that's a good thing.

We are truly happy for both of them and pray they will receive all the blessings Heavenly Father has prepared for them. We love you both!

"And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:5-6

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Honey Jar Wedding Favor

I'm taking a little break from wedding planning to show you what my daughter and I came up with for her wedding favors. Cassie's having a rustic style wedding and she thought it might be cute to pass out honey jars... which is quite trendy from I've been told :)

I purchased the jars empty (I'll add the link to the empty jars below in the supplies list) and filled them with honey that I purchased at Sam's Club. One case has 160 jars. We decided to purchase them empty because, 1) it was more cost effective and 2) we wanted to create our own look.

Supply List: (Note: This tutorial makes 160 jars)
  • 160 - 1.5 ounce jam jars w/lids  
  • honey of your choice -- I used about 15 pounds 
  • 1 1/4 yard of any fabric (we choose lace) cut into 4" squares
  • cutting board (optional -- you don't need if you use scissors)
  • rotary cutter (optional -- you could also use scissors or pinking shears))
  • scissors (optional)
  • measure stick (optional)
  • 24 weight ivory paper
  • paper cutter
  • double-stick tape
  • large clear elastics
  • twine (I got the kind in the hardware section of Wal-mart... it ties easier)
  • color printer
The jars come in a box with NO kind of cushion or wrapping. I ordered 2 cases and didn't have a broken jar in the bunch. So I suppose they know what they're doing :)

First, add honey to all your jars. I used about 15 pounds. Do not attempt to use honey from a 5 gallon bucket! I don't think that would work well at all. I mean you can, of course, if you'd like to but I personally wouldn't :) I used 3 / 5 pound squeezable bottles. 

I next cut out my 4" squares and added them to the lids with the clear elastic. I think this creates a better look than just adding the twine. Plus it holds the lace into place while adding the twine. 

Next, add twine or ribbon bows. We used about 17" pieces for our jars. We precut them to make adding them quicker.

Meant to BEE... Honey :)
I then created labels to add to the jars. I tried to use a label maker but it wouldn't line up right for me when printing them out. But if you're a pro with that, that's what I would do... much faster! If you use address labels, you obviously won't need the double-stick tape. My labels measured 1"x3" and fit perfectly.

That's it! We loved how they turned out! Only 9 more days until the wedding!

I'll be adding a lot more of what we are doing for the wedding when I make time for that... which might be after the wedding is over. We'll see!

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